Well hello there. If you haven’t logged into your FPL yet this week, brace yourself. There are only five Premier League fixtures this weekend and if you haven’t been planning for this, you might only have a handful of players in action. Fear not though, I’m here to hopefully allay your fears. Firstly though, let’s look back at week 30.
A return to form! My score of 70 beat the average of 48. That repaired some of the damage and saw us rise up to 14,888th. If we’re going to retain that though we’ve got to negotiate this nightmare of a week. More on my team later.
What to do then? Personally, I’ve been planning for this and have made my peace with having about nine players. A popular move will be to use the free hit chip. This will allow you to change your entire team for one week only, reverting to your current team for week 32. I’m saving that for a double game week to try and maximise players playing twice, but there’s no right answer. There’s never a right answer.
Let’s get stuck into the five games we do have and decide after that.
There are only two of the top six in action and both are on Sunday. First up is Liverpool who are away to Fulham. A lot of teams will already have Liverpool players in so it should just be a case of retaining what you already have and possibly adding one more. You may as well spoil yourself and have Salah and Mane alongside a defender. Firmino returned to goalscoring form last week to bring himself back into contention but the gist here is that we expect Liverpool to win and win well.
A tougher game to call will be at Goodison Park. Chelsea were superb in Kiev on Thursday but this will be a very different game. Everton haven’t had a vintage season in front of their home fans and with Hazard rested up, they’ll fancy their chances of adding to the Goodison misery. From a stats point of view though, this match is a nightmare. Hazard hasn’t scored away from home in 2019. Sigurdsson hasn’t scored a home goal in 2019. Richarlison hasn’t scored a home goal in 2019. I could go on. The point is, if this was a normal game week I wouldn’t be rushing to buy players in this match. They would be picked on reputation and not form, that’s for sure.
There are only three other games and West Ham look like the best source of value this week. They are at home to bottom club (and injury-ravaged) Huddersfield. Felipe Anderson hasn’t been in the best form recently but he’ll not get a better chance to rediscover his form. Marko Arnautovic is pushing for a recall whilst a clean sheet looks very likely. Rice, Diop and Ogbonna are all less than £5m.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth and Newcastle looks like a tough match to call. Bournemouth have defensive injuries which might bring Rondon, Perez and Almiron into your thinking but the Magpies have found away wins hard to come by. Callum Wilson returned from injury with a goal last week and his partnership with Ryan Fraser is blossoming once more. I expect a lot of people will opt for these two, especially as Bournemouth’s upcoming fixtures are quite kind.
That only leaves Burnley and Leicester which is another tough one to predict. Leicester, under new management, of course, will be difficult to scout until Rodgers settles on a system. Jamie Vardy looks reinvigorated which makes him the star attraction here, but Ashley Barnes has quietly been in good form for Sean Dyche and he’s the pick of the Burnley options.
Salah or Mane? Mane or Salah? These two seem the most likely candidates for the armband this week with honourable mentions to Vardy and Eden Hazard, who might thrive against an Everton team lacking confidence.
At the moment I only have 7 players…
Fabianski, Digne, Robertson, Salah, Anderson, Vardy, Rondon plus two free transfers.
I’m thinking Mane for Sterling and Arnautovic for Rashford. An extra thing to think about is that any FA Cup semi-finalists will not have a game in week 33 – indeed Wolves vs Man Utd has already been moved to week 32.
If things go to form that’ll mean Man City vs Cardiff will need rearranging and Tottenham vs Brighton is also at risk. I’m planning to use the free hit for week 32, but I don’t want to be lumbered with a load of players who won’t play in week 33. It is somewhat of a jigsaw and I’ve never been good at puzzles.
It is expected that a lot of the rearranged games will be scheduled over the international break, which is coming up next week. I’m already regretting what will doubtless be several nights of tinkering with a free hit in advance of week 32, but that’s FPL for you. The deadline this week is 14:00 on Saturday 16 March.
All that is left for me to do is wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green. See you in a few weeks!