Gameweek 24 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL
Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer
Written by @FantasyGaffer
You may have heard, there is now a podcast as Bang Average as this column; with myself, Ryan and Mike talking all formats of #FPL. Go and subscribe, this will still be here when you get back.
It is officially the run-in, with GW24 touching off the final 15 matches of the EPL season. For those chasing the pack, we have a couple differential plays that are must add. For those looking to turn high team value into productive superstars, we’ve vetted all the relevant stats. Give it 1 more week and I’ve a feeling there may be an Alexis Sanchez bandwagon taking off should his proposed move to Manchester United come to fruition
At this time of year it is more important than ever to know which highly owned players must make their way into your XI, while keeping your full squad full of those under-owned gems (Martial, 2.5%; Mane 7.2%) who are going to see increased minutes down the stretch. Big names? We’ve got a few….
Defender – Alonso/Azpilicueta, Chelsea
A week ago we picked Brighton defenders as a value play. While Duffy, Dunk and Bruno leads their side in BPS rank, they allowed and ignominious brace to West Brom, lost 2-0 and failed to do better than 2pts apiece. Against Chelsea, we’re back amoungst the favourites with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso both looking good value. Alsonso (6g, 1a) and Dave (1g, 6a) are key parts of the attacking Marcos is level-second on the squad in goals (Hazard, 6) while Azpilicueta is level-best in helpers with Willian. £7.3m-rated Alonso (131pts) and £7.0m Azpi (121pts) are not just the most expensive and highest-scoring defenders, they are the second and third most owned at the position. Why? Just four players have outscored Alsonso this term – none costs less than Mahrez’s £8.6. For his part Dave would be the second-highest scoring forward and is level-eighth in total points with DDG!
Midfielder – Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
An utterly ridiculous statistic this season is that Salah has failed to score in consecutive matches just once all season – he was held without a goal or assist in GW8 and GW9. Far more likely is to see the Egyptian talisman among the goals (18) and assists (8) as he remains the most potent attacking threat in the EPL. 52.3% selected, he’ll certainly be captained by more than 25% of all FPL managers this weekend which makes choosing any other option both foolhardy and exciting. Swansea aren’t good. Liverpool just put Manchester City to the sword for four goals at Anfield – the Citizens had previously allowed 13 goals with only five on the road. Even after the loss, Pep’s side have allowed the fewest shots on target (52) of any club. Imagine what Salah (ooohhh Mane, Mane) and Co. will do against Swansea – dead last in shots allowed on target (122), averaging worse than five per match (5.30).
Forward – Harry Kane, Tottenham
Kane has been electric in front of goal, leading the EPL in goals (20), shots (130) and shots on target (53). He also boasts two of the most consistent link-ups in the EPL with both Trippier and Alli assisting four Kane goals; only Azpilicueta to Morata (6) have been better. Southampton are 17th in shots on target allowed (113), worse than just Everton (118), Stoke (119) and Swansea (122). While the recent narrative is Southampton being a sound defensive team that is difficult to break down at St. Mary’s, this season has not played out that way. Claude Puel gave way to Mauricio Pellegrino and Saints defense lost their identity. Only two home cleansheets this term – the last coming in GW9 – and just five clean sheets on the season make this an attractive opponent for Kane. The only possible downside to the armband? His teammates have been firing of late with Son Hueng-min, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen all back among the goals.
Captain – Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Hard to believe we’ve gotten so far away from Always Captain Kun that just including him here in a week when Mo Salah faces Swansea at the Liberty (18 ga in 12) and Harry Kane gets to travel away to Saints (17 ga in 12) is borderline controversial. Newcastle are 10th in the away table with a 3-2-6 record. Rafa Benitez’s side held City to a difficult 0-1 win – Kun boasts 13g, 5a including one of each over the last two. City did lose their unbeaten run at Liverpool, but this side are alive and well with six goals scored over their last two. 22.7% owned means he’ll be a popular choice this weekend but should still trail Salah and Kane in the armband ranks.
Outsider – Manuel Lanzini, West Ham
We’ll keep banging on about Lanzini as the Hammers midfielder still sits at 2.4% selected and suffered negative net transfers in GW23! An assist against Spurs, a brace at Huddersfield and a run coming with Bournemouth, Palace, Brighton and Watford in the next four. Of that, only Brighton is away. Lanzini is creating 1.7 chances per 90′ and has three goals with six FPL assists this term. The Cherries may have beat Arsenal last time out, but they’ve allowed 17 goals in just 11 away days and haven’t kept a cleansheet since GW13 – allowing 21 goals over their last 10 League clashes. With a number of big players facing soft opposition, it would take some stones to hand him the armband, but £6.8m means he’s close to ‘must own’ for those chasing the pack.
Draft – Luka Milivojevic, Crystal Palace
No team in the Premier League has a more difficult slate over the next nine than Crystal Palace. The Eagles will play Arsenal at The Emirates this weekend and will also travel to Everton, and Chelsea while playing host to Spurs, United and Liverpool between now and GW32. For the OFPL, that’s a problem. In Draft – that schedule means Roy Hodgson will have little chance to rotate his preferred midfielders. Owning Milovejevic (8.21 PPM; 14.33 L3W) is a good idea as he was recently given the armband, has 21 appearances this season and is selected by only 26% of draft leagues. He’s out there and will start. This side ideally starts Townsend, Zaha and Loftus-Cheek, with Yohan Cabaye a possible midfield 5th (in the Eagles XI and your 10-team draft league). Arsenal are in upheaval and Milivojevic posted 16pts when the two sides met in GW20 (notable stats: 3 Key Passes, 7 INT).