With Gameweek 31+ starting one day after the last game of Double gameweek 30+, we’re forced to think quickly and move with our plans double time.
As I highlighted in my previous Team Reveal article, I’m going with the Free Hit this GW because I’m not happy with how my team looks for GW31+ and I don’t want to commit to the players I choose with a Wildcard, as there is a lot more information to be gathered, so the Free Hit is perfect.
Gives me a bit more time to gather the relevant information and allows me to tailor make a team for GW31+.
The Team (subject to change)
Now this team isn’t 100% nailed, because we still have DGW30+ going on currently, but as long as there is no injuries/suspensions or Nyland doesn’t get dropped, this is what I’ll likely be going with.
There might be a question over Vardy after just watching Leicester, but if Brighton look poor against Arsenal in the second game this afternoon, then I think Vardy can do damage in that one.
I’ve gone with Nyland of Aston Villa after seeing he started the game against Sheffield United over Pepe Reina however, having since seen that Leno suffered that horrific injury, if I choose to go with this side, Emi Martinez (£4.2m) will be my keeper.
Now this is mainly down to the fact that, after choosing everything else, I literally had no more cash left for a keeper. It really just enables me to focus my funds further up the pitch.
If you’re on a WC or a Free Hit, Trent Alexander-Arnold is a MUST. Even if Liverpool beat Everton in DGW30+, they’ll still need to win this one against Palace to mathematically secure the title so we can at least be pretty certain Klopp goes full strength for this.
Another must for me whether you’ve got a Wildcard or Free Hit or neither, is Matt Doherty.
He’s yet to play (at the time of writing) but was exceptional pre-lockdown scoring 1 and bagging 2 assists along with the 4 clean sheets Wolves picked up. With them being at home to a pretty toothless Bournemouth side, who have scored just 12 goals in their 15 away games, it looks a great fixture for the Irishman to hit a decent haul.
The last defensive spot could change, but again, with the other players I had selected, it didn’t leave me with much £ for this spot but regardless, I believe Mason Holgate is a good pick for this GW.
Norwich struggled in their first game back, slumping to a 0-3 loss at home to Southampton and although after one game, match-fitness should be improved, it’s the quality that’s costing them and after another defeat, and no fans to cheer them on in their home games, it’s really tough to see them getting out of this and I expect Everton to pile on the misery.
At £4.3m, Holgate represents great value and he does have some decent attacking threat, having got himself 4 assists so far this season. Everton haven’t been the most solid team at the back this season, and even after Ancelotti’s appointment, it doesn’t seem like they have improved much defensively but it’s really just the opponents in Norwich, makes it a good chance for a clean sheet and a potentially savvy pick for this GW.
One of Mo Salah or Sadio Mané has to be in a Free Hit team in my opinion. At home, to Crystal Palace, to potentially mathematically win the title, I think they’ll be fully focused and wanting to put on a show.
Both were in great form pre-lockdown, but I’m going with Salah based on how dangerous he is. If we compare their stats pre-lockdown, you can see Salah is far more dangerous however, Mané seems to do as much as Salah with less chances so there’s two ways you can look at it.
Salah v Mané underlying stats last 5 games pre-lockdown:
- 59 penalty area touches
- 17 total goal attempts.
- 16 goal attempts inside the box.
- 9 chances created (3 big chances)
- 2 big chances.
- 4 goals.
- 0 assists.
Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):
- 29 penalty area touches
- 7 total goal attempts.
- 5 goal attempts inside the box.
- 3 chances created (0 big chances)
- 2 big chances.
- 3 goals.
- 1 assist.
For me, the extra danger he poses and the fact he’s been far more creative than Mané makes me want to go with Salah over him, and that’s what I’ll do but, both are great choices.
Elsewhere, no matter who they play, Kevin de Bruyne has to be the stand-out pick.
An incredible player and FPL asset who, in my opinion deserves to be named as player of the season without a shadow of a doubt. A tough game against Chelsea but I expect the game to be quite open with both sides attacking each other.
The reverse fixture ended in a 2-1 City win with De Bruyne and Mahrez scoring the goals for City and Kante netting for the Blues.
Outside of those auto-picks, there’s some room to express but for me, Bruno Fernandes stands out for me at his price. Having picked him up early in GW27, he’s a player that will stay in my side for the rest of the season having seen his creative impact on Ole’s Manchester United side.
We’ve also had the benefit (at the time of writing), to see how United and Bruno played on their return against Spurs in last night’s match and I have to say, I’m still as impressed by him, if not more.
He reminds me of Alexis Sanchez in his prime at Arsenal in the sense that, he’s constantly looking for a forward pass or shot and given that, and the fact he’s beaten Pogba and Rashford to penalties as well as taking free kicks and corners, it just makes him such a dangerous FPL asset.
We also got to see how he and Paul Pogba might play together for a short period last night and the signs are promising. There was some nice link up play between the two, but given that Bruno is the player, of the two, that is playing the number 10 with Pogba deeper, and that he’s on pens over Pogba, it has to be Bruno over Pogba. But Pogba looked very good when he came on and I think he’s a good pick too.
The slightly more ‘punty’ pick for me, is Son Heung Min.
At just 6.3% ownership, the South-Korean could be a very powerful differential for this gameweek up against a defensively frail West Ham side.
In his 21 appearances, Son has 18 goal contributions and can be so explosive, having hit 5 double-figure hauls already this season. It was difficult to judge Spurs from an attacking point of view against Manchester United as Mourinho typically likes to set his side up to sit deep and counter, but I suspect against West Ham they will play on the front foot and look to control the game and I think Son could do some serious damage.
Raul Jimenez and Calvert-Lewin (DCL) are auto includes for me if you’re on a Free Hit.
Norwich looked woeful against Southampton, so loading up on the attack looks a simple decision with DCL, given his cheap price and the fact he has 5 goals and an assist in his last 7 Premier League outings.
Jimenez looks unstoppable right now and continued where he left off pre-lockdown, scoring a lovely header and bagging 2 bonus points against West Ham last night. With a pretty woeful looking Cherries side up next for the Mexican striker, it looks a no-brainer.
Now the last spot is where things might change. Currently, I have Jamie Vardy in, who have a home game against Brighton.
Now, having seen that Leicester weren’t completely at the races against Watford and the fact Vardy didn’t have much of a sniff, combined with Brighton winning 2-1 against Arsenal, it has made me question the selection slightly.
However, Watford were in good form before lockdown and seem to be far more organised under Nigel Pearson so it was a tough game for Leicester and although Brighton won their match against Arsenal, they did allow Aubameyang 7 goal attempts, 4 inside the box.
Now, if Vardy gets that many chances, I’ll be very surprised to see a blank for him but I am tempted to downgrade him to Nketiah and upgrade Douglas Luiz to Richarlison, as he was another who was on form pre-lockdown and it’s so tempting to really take advantage of how poor Norwich have been.
That would also give me extra £ to upgrade the keeper to Rui Patricio and my bench fodder Kelly to Ferderico Fernandez.
I like the above team a lot however, I may well end up going with this.
I will have to make a late call but currently, I am perhaps 60/40 with going with the above here, as it allows me to upgrade Nyland to a Wolves defender who I’m quite confident will keep a clean sheet against Bournemouth.
I’ve just a feeling Vardy and Leicester will wake up in that game and return well. Perhaps that FOMO is playing a part. I’ll confirm what I go with before the deadline on Twitter.
Hope this had provided food for thought – enjoy the rest of DGW30+. Hope you all hit the 100 club!