The Premier League is back! The International break was the last pause before the end of season run-in so it is full steam ahead from now until May. If we were lacking games in week 31, week 32 has come roaring at us with five extra games. Could this be a points bonanza?
With Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United amongst those playing twice, there is a good opportunity to make up some points on your rivals this week with a well played chip. Changing your entire team using the free hit chip could mean a whole team playing twice, whilst Chelsea and Man City’s double fixtures might have you reaching for the triple captain chip.
Here are five players you should consider getting in your team one way or another for game week 32.
1) Raheem Sterling (Midfield, Man City, £11.6m)
It feels like Sterling made a move over the International break to cement his place as the top player in the Premier League at the moment. Four goals including a hat-trick against Czech Republic really shows just how far he has come. His form for Man City has been faultless for almost two seasons now, so a double header against Fulham and Cardiff will be music to the ears of FPL managers.Embed from Getty Images
Fulham look slightly less catastrophic under Scott Parker but Man City run up several goals against most teams. Even if it is at Craven Cottage, it’s very difficult to look past a comfortable away win. Then with Cardiff visiting the Etihad on Wednesday, it should be more of the same. As ever the question marks will be over rotation. Man City have an FA Cup semi-final next weekend but Sterling, along with Sergio Aguero, seems integral to Man City’s success. Managers will therefore be hoping any rests are handed out for the cup clash ahead of the Champions League tie with Tottenham. If you are free hitting (or maybe just a good planner) having both Sterling and Aguero is a good position to be in this week.
2) Harry Kane (Forward, Tottenham, £12.5m)
Tottenham have finally made a signing! Their new stadium has opened it’s doors and Spurs will host Palace on Wednesday evening. First though, Kane and co. must travel to Anfield for a tough looking clash which may be pivotal in the title race.Embed from Getty Images
It’s really the second game that sees Kane earn selection this week. His goal threat is obvious but it feels almost written in the stars that Kane will have a big say in his side’s first game in the much talked about stadium. Crystal Palace aren’t bad travellers but with Sakho out injured, Kane will fancy his chances. If Harry Kane has two games (not in August) I would always expect him to score in at least one of them and I don’t think Kane owners will be disappointed here.
3) Eden Hazard (Midfielder, Chelsea, £10.9m)
Hazard has had a relatively quiet 2019. As Chelsea have struggled for consistency Hazard has suffered through playing as a false 9 and more or less carrying his team at times. So why is the pricey Hazard being put forward for this week?Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea’s fixtures are Cardiff away and Brighton at home. There’s no risk of rotation for the Belgian and these are the sorts of games Hazard generally does well in. He netted a hat-trick against Cardiff at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season whilst also netting in the win at the Amex. To top it off, Cardiff and Brighton are the top two sides in the table for penalties conceded. Hazard will be hoping for more clumsiness this weekend to allow him to add to his tally against two struggling sides.
4) Paul Pogba (Midfielder, Man Utd, £8.9m)
Manchester United, merely by coincidence, play two FA Cup semi-finalists this week. A home game with Watford is followed by a trip to Wolves and there’s every chance both clubs will have one eye on Wembley next weekend.Embed from Getty Images
Pogba’s selection is largely based around a lack of alternatives. Man Utd have doubts over Lukaku and Rashford but Pogba seems to be fit and firing. With a weekend off ahead of the Champions League clash with Barcelona it seems unlikely there will be any risk of rotation. Solskjaer will know the importance of finishing fourth so it’ll be all guns blazing to try and collect 6 points from two tricky games.
5) Michy Batshuayi (Forward, Crystal Palace, £6.5m)
With four pretty expensive players named so far, it’s about time we added a little balance to the budget. Crystal Palace have two games this week, starting with Huddersfield at home. Although the Terriers have shown signs of improvement, there’s no masking that they are on the cusp of being relegated with many games to spare. With all the attacking talent Palace have at their disposal, Batshuayi has hit the ground running as teams struggle to cope with him, Zaha, Townsend and company coming at them from all angles.Embed from Getty Images
The second game is the trip to Tottenham and their new ground. We’ve seen before teams struggle to adapt to new surroundings and it could be a strange night. Palace are good on the counter and playing in these conditions could really suit Roy Hodgson’s team. Tottenham will doubtless be favourites but with Palace’s attacking options there’s reasons to believe they will at least score.
Before the International break, the OffsideRulePod league had a minor shuffle and Derek re-took first place. He utilised his free hit to see captain Mane bag 26 points, more than half of his overall total. A good week from any of the top 6 would put them in contention at this late stage.
That’s all for another week. It’s another shortened game week next weekend with just six games due to the FA Cup but there’ll still be plenty of points on offer. Good luck!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798