Rotation has been the name of the game for many Premier League managers in recent weeks. With even Harry Kane warming the bench last week it shows nobody is safe and after a tough week of European action for the Premier League’s top sides, we may see more this weekend. Is there a way to avoid FPL heartache?
The headline fixture of the weekend sees Liverpool host Man Utd on Sunday but we’ll also see an intriguing clash between Man City and Everton whilst Arsenal will be hoping Southampton don’t have the infamous new manager bounce. Tottenham will be hoping to follow up their miraculous Champions League progression with a comfortable home win against Burnley, which will make Harry Kane a strong favourite for the captaincy this week.
As we’ve reached the point in the season where squads are getting thin ahead of January, this week’s selections are all bargain picks who might come into their own at this time of year. Afterall, a strong bench is imperative when rotation is afoot!
1) Lucas Torreira (Arsenal, Midfielder, £5.1m)
Fresh from scoring the winner against Huddersfield last week, Torreira now has two goals in his last three games. Whilst I’m not portraying him as some sort of goalscoring midfielder, there’s no doubt that since the switch to three centre halves the Uruguayan has had more license to get forward.Embed from Getty Images
His goals haven’t been two tap-ins either, the overhead against Huddersfield was great technique whereas the goal against Tottenham came from a tight angle but with the confidence of a seasoned striker. It’s Southampton and Brighton away with Burnley at home sandwiched in the middle for Arsenal so if you’re struggling to fit in the more expensive Arsenal assets, Torreira could be your man.
2) Robert Snodgrass (West Ham, Midfielder, £5.3m)
I’ve long been championing West Ham’s festive fixtures and it’s still not too late to join in the fun. Many of you will already have found room for Felipe Anderson in your team, and rightly so, but if you haven’t been able to fit him in let me present to you Robert Snodgrass. I was as surprised as anybody to find out that not only is he still a Premier League player he’s starting regularly for West Ham. Granted, the awful injury to Yarmolenko has opened the door for him but Snodgrass is coming into his own in recent weeks.Embed from Getty Images
Three assists in his last three plus his first goal of the season against Crystal Palace at the weekend would suggest there is some gold in that left boot. The added plus is that the movement of Javier Hernandez and/or the enormous height of Andy Carroll should make assisting all the more likely and at just £5.3m, he could be your West Ham coverage for their trip to leaky Fulham this weekend.
3) Ilkay Gundogan (Man City, Midfielder, £5.4m)
This is a bit of a gamble but I’m working on the theory that Pep is running out of midfielders. Injuries to David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne have left Guardiola a little bit light in the engine room and whilst Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) would be the rich man’s choice, not all of us have that kind of money to play with. We’ve seen an experiment with Mahrez playing as part of the midfield three and whilst that’s not impossible, I’m hoping Gundogan will get the nod to join Fernandinho and Bernardo in the midfield three. As ever there’s always the “what if?” with Man City’s team selection but with young Phil Foden getting the full 90 minutes on Wednesday night (along with Gundogan), I don’t think he’ll get the start against a team of Everton’s stature.Embed from Getty Images
4) Isaac Success (Watford, Forward, £4.6m)
8 starts in his last 9 suggest Success is very much in favour with Javi Gracia, despite just one goal in that time. The bargain Watford striker was a constant nuisance against Everton and was perhaps unlucky with a few decisions but if you’re looking for a third striker, you won’t get much better value than £4.6m for a striker who starts. It’s at home to Cardiff for the the Hornets this weekend and the majority of Cardiff’s good work comes at home rather than on the road, so this could be his chance to double his tally for the season.Embed from Getty Images
5) Matt Doherty (Wolves, Defender, £5m)
It’s been a season for attacking defenders, with Alonso, Robertson and Mendy taking turns to impress in the early weeks of the season. Wolves’ Doherty, who is a guest on our podcast this month, has been quietly efficient with three goals and three assists at a much cheaper price. Two of those goals have come in the last three weeks and with Bournemouth the visitors to Molineux this weekend, there’s potential for more points ahead. If Callum Wilson fails to recover that will heighten the chances of clean sheet points for Doherty as well as potential attacking returns as Wolves look to have overcome their wobble.Embed from Getty Images
Derek retained his lead at the top of the OffsideRulePod FPL league with a score of 54, even if it was just below the average score of 55. Not having Salah may not have cost him his lead this week but it has seen the gap cut down to 27 points. I’m not bitter but Harry Kane’s sub appearance denied me getting another 21 points for Salah as my vice captain! I expect we’ll see more situations like that over the coming weeks.
That’s all for this week but I hope whatever changes you make serve you well and I’ll be back next week with the next installment.
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798