After a week of shocks for some of the top clubs, the Premier League fixture list is down to three weeks. With plenty to play for at both ends of the table, where can fantasy managers turn to for a boost during the run-in? With Gameweek 36 getting underway on Friday, time is already ticking towards another deadline.
With the last double game week of the season now behind us, it’s a lot more straight forward from here. As a general rule of thumb, look to include as many players still playing for something as possible. Fortunately, that still includes all of the top 6 and most of the top 10, as the battle for European spaces looks like going to the wire.
As usual, here are five picks to hopefully keep you in the green this week. Thanks to Liverpool vs Huddersfield, the deadline is Friday at 7pm – don’t forget!
1) Mo Salah (Liverpool, Midfield, £13.2m)
Possibly the most obvious pick of the week. Liverpool host Huddersfield on Friday night which should be a home win. Huddersfield, as we know, are very relegated. Yes, that is the correct terminology. Whilst they have shown some admirable fight in recent games they are just not good enough for this level and barring an unbelievable performance, even the most ardent of Huddersfield fans couldn’t back their team here. Therefore it makes perfect sense to fill your team with Liverpool players this week and to be honest it could have been any of Salah, Mane or Firmino. Salah has the most FPL points this season (230) but he is £3m more expensive than Mane who has 201. If you’re on a budget, Mane is perhaps the way to go.Embed from Getty Images
Salah has rediscovered some of his form which went missing for a few weeks. Two goals and two assists in his last four games have been valuable contributions for Liverpool. Mane can only boast one goal in his previous four games but has generally been Liverpool’s main threat in 2019, but both will be licking their lips ahead of this one. A slight downside is that Liverpool are off to Barcelona next week for a Champions League semi-final, so is this a game where some players could be afforded a rest? The game isn’t until Wednesday and the league should be Liverpool’s priority, so I think they’re all a safe bet until the end of the season unless something goes horribly awry here.
2) Bernardo Silva (Man City, Midfield, £7.6m)
Bernardo has been City’s Mr Reliable this season. Whether played wide or through central midfield, the Portugese superstar has been pulling strings and chipping in with vital goals along the way. His strike at Old Trafford was his seventh league goal of the season to go alongside 8 assists. Being versatile is sometimes a curse but with De Bruyne and now possibly Fernandinho injured his place in a frequently rotated team looks secure.Embed from Getty Images
With the title very much in their own hands and the Champions League no longer on the agenda, you’d expect Pep to play pretty much his strongest team from here. Aguero, Sterling, Laporte, Ederson and Bernardo seem like the pillars of that and all should start away at Burnley. Although the Clarets are no pushovers you can’t bet against Man City at the moment and owning some City attacking assets at this stage is the sensible thing to do. Bernardo’s price makes him appealing to go alongside Aguero or Sterling – or all three if you are greedy.
3) Jamie Vardy (Leicester, Forward, £9m)
It’s no secret that Vardy has rediscovered his form under Brendan Rodgers. He has 7 in 7 since the new manager took over and he’ll look to add to that when Leicester host Arsenal on Sunday lunch time. It may seem off to back against one of the top four contenders but Arsenal’s away form is atrocious. They are in defensive meltdown at the moment after shipping six goals this week against Crystal Palace and Wolves. The nuisance value of Vardy is not something those Arsenal defenders will want to see.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal defended so well away to Napoli but they’re all over the place in the league. Maybe a long campaign is taking an effect but I would think Vardy would place this Arsenal defence pretty high up his list of favourite opponents. Leicester need to win to give themselves a shot at 7th whilst Arsenal are trying to juggle a top four spot with a Europa League semi-final. It could be Vardy’s day.
4) Heung-Min Son (Tottenham, Midfield, £8.8m)
Tottenham are labouring a bit at the moment, which is no surprise after an excellent season and a thin squad already at breaking point. Even Vincent Janssen got on the pitch on Tuesday. So whilst they may have on eye on Ajax on Tuesday night, there is still an almighty scrap for them to secure a top four spot. They welcome West Ham to their new stadium on Saturday lunch time.Embed from Getty Images
With that Champions League tie in mind, I’ve plumped for Son here. He’s suspended for the first leg which should guarantee him minutes here. West Ham are a difficult team to predict but they haven’t won in four. They have nothing to play for and I think Spurs will find a way to win. With Son classified as a midfielder but playing up front, or at the very least off Llorente, he earns his place in the picks.
5) Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton, Forward, £5.4m)
Speaking of strange sides, that brings us to Everton. How can a side beat Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd but lose to Fulham? They’re off to Crystal Palace this weekend which is always tricky but Palace seem to play with more freedom away from home. The Eagles are safe whereas Everton are very much in the mix for that 7th spot, so this is a good opportunity to build on that thrashing of Man Utd. As we’re in the fifth spot, which has become the punt pick over the weeks, I’m putting forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.Embed from Getty Images
At £5.4m he’s very cheap for a starting striker for a top half team. He has contributed a goal or an assist in four of his last six games so whilst he isn’t prolific, he is at the very least an enabler. A starting striker at this price should free up your funds elsewhere whilst still providing a threat himself. If you’re flush with cash you can always go for Sigurdsson (Richarlison is an injury doubt) but I prefer to spend my big bucks on the Salah’s and Sterling’s of this world.
We’re very much into the business end of the season now and I’m clinging on to my top spot in the OffsideRulePod League. My 98 points this week came mostly courtesy of triple captain Sterling bringing in 24 points but Lucas Digne’s 14 and Matt Doherty’s 13 were most welcome. Some very impressive three figure scores from Ian and Javon came courtesy of good bench boost usage.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next week with the penultimate preview. Good luck with your teams and don’t forget the Friday deadline!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798