After some midweek Champions League VAR-nage, the Premier League is back in focus this weekend. With just nine games remaining for most clubs, it’s safe to say we are approaching the business end of the season. That is also the case in FPL terms. We are getting very close to chip time but before all of that, it looks like a good weekend for premium FPL assets.
Winnable home games for Manchester City and Liverpool bring both to the forefront of FPL plans, whilst a big game between Arsenal and Man Utd throws a spanner in the works.
It’s important to remember that week 31 will see only 10 teams play whilst week 32 will see a lot of teams play twice. Those fixtures are yet to be announced which makes it difficult to plan for – personally, I’ll be using the free hit chip, but more on that next week.
Here are five players to look out for in fantasy football this week:
1) Sergio Aguero (Man City, Forward, £11.8m)
Pep Guardiola is the natural enemy of the FPL player. After his comments last week that Aguero was “exhausted” he then played 90 minutes, only being replaced for stoppage time by the returning Gabriel Jesus. On the plus side for those who opted to go without him, he didn’t score. On the negative side, the conundrum rolls over for another week. Man City host Watford, who of course shipped six at Anfield recently. The champions have the bit between their teeth now and many will expect them to win this match and by some margin. Attacking assets are a must. Aguero’s record at home this year in incredible. Seven goals in the last three games really speaks for itself and if Watford are going to be porous, you can guarantee Aguero will take advantage. But will he play?Embed from Getty Images
Exhausted or not, he still played 90 minutes last weekend and has had a whole week to rest up. City will host Schalke in the Champions league on Tuesday but with a 3-2 lead already secured, that looks a more likely game for Jesus to start. Whether Aguero gets the full 90 or not remains to be seen but he has proven before he doesn’t need the whole game to do the damage. My personal opinion is that he will start and have a field day. Watford don’t seem capable of “parking the bus” which is commendable but probably to their detriment here. One point of note is that Man City don’t have a game in week 31 but will likely have two in week 32 when the games are announced.
2) Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, Forward, £6.9m)
Zaha has gone under the radar recently but he has four goals in his last four games and looks to be flourishing now that an out and out centre forward is being fielded. There’s no longer as much pressure on him to carry the Palace attack and defences are occupied by the very real threat of Michy Batshuayi. Brighton are the visitors to Selhurst Park this weekend – a derby match, so there’ll be no question of Palace taking it easy ahead of their FA Cup quarter final next weekend.Embed from Getty Images
Brighton have been dreadful away from home and aren’t in the best of form generally. They edged past bottom club Huddersfield last weekend and they’ll need to put up a brave defensive performance to keep Roy Hodgson’s men at bay for 90 minutes. The only thing going against Zaha is that he is categorised as a forward. He’s not as prolific as some forwards in the same price range such as Jimenez and Rashford but if you’re after a one week punt, I think Wilf could be the man.
3) Harry Kane (Tottenham, Forward, £12.4m)
Kane’s powers of recovery are second to none. Even after close to two months out, he has returned and scored two goals in three games plus a Champions League goal in Dortmund. Tottenham head to Southampton this weekend and he will be fancied to add to that tally.Embed from Getty Images
Kane picked up a goal and an assist in the reverse fixture and although Southampton have improved, they are still very much in the relegation fight. Tottenham don’t have a game next weekend so there’s no worry about reduced minutes but it does of course mean that you’ll have a £12.4m hole to fill next week. In the here and now though, Kane looks a solid choice for points this weekend even if Spurs haven’t been at their best recently.
4) Gonzalo Higuain (Chelsea, Forward, £9.6m)
It may have “only” been against Fulham last weekend, but Gonzalo Higuain looked sharp and a real goal threat. Wolves are the visitors to Stamford Bridge this weekend which will be an all together tougher test. Higuain’s pedigree speaks for itself though and as he is showing signs of adapting, his clever movement should stand him in good stead against Wolves.Embed from Getty Images
His selection is two fold – Chelsea play next weekend when many don’t, which means you could steal a march by having him before a wave of transfers in next week.
5) Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, Defender, £5,5m)
Liverpool are at home to Burnley this weekend which will be down as a home win on most people’s coupon. However, Liverpool’s attacking unit is all over the place at the moment and it must be a real concern to Liverpool fans. Mo Salah seems to have lost his touch, Mane flips from the sublime to the ridiculous on a weekly basis and Roberto Firmino is making his way back from injury. The midfield doesn’t seem to be filled with goals and rather than go without Liverpool players for a game they will expect to win, I’ve had to look further afield.Embed from Getty Images
Trent Alexander-Arnold is getting the nod as the fifth and final selection. If nothing else, he will at least offer clean sheet points and is £1m cheaper than Andy Robertson. Alexander-Arnold offers set piece threat too, even if Burnley will have the height advantage his trio of assists against Watford showed that if the delivery is good enough it doesn’t matter who is defending it. Of course Liverpool’s front three could click into gear at any point but it hasn’t looked likely recently.
In the OffsideRulePod league, we have another new leader. The Notorious managed by Gary Lan have taken top spot with a solid score of 50 in a week of poor scores (or maybe just me!). Contributions from Jimenez (12), Ward-Prowse (8) and Vardy (8) were Gary’s main heroes. It’s a four horse race at the moment though with the chasing pack closing all the time, it should be an exciting finish to the season.
That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next week to talk you through a slimmed down game week 31 with a look ahead to the blanks and doubles of the weeks to come. Good luck for your teams this week!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798