Following on my earlier Free Hit Strategy article https://fplconnect.blog/2020/06/08/fantasy-premier-league-tips-free-hit-strategy/amp/ outlining my plan and reasons for deploying my Free Hit chip in Gameweek 32, it is now time for me to reveal my FPL team.
In total, the starting XI will have six different players to what I would have chosen for my regular team in which I would have captained the safe pick of Raúl Jiménez. I believe this amount coupled with a captaincy switch to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang justifies the bold use of the chip.
I am obviously hoping to be at least 15 points above the gameweek average score and also outscore my normal team, which wasn’t the case for me in the 2017/18 season when the chip was first introduced. Below are the six starting XI changes:
IN: Azpilicueta, Traoré, Martial, Pulisic, Rashford, Aubameyang (captain).
OUT: Maguire, Femenía, Son, De Bruyne, Mané, Calvert-Lewin
I shall now elaborate on each player’s inclusion in my Free Hit squad.
Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martínez (£4.2m) vs Norwich City (H)
Firstly, I am not expecting a clean sheet from the Gunners’ shot-stopper such is the unreliability of their defence. However, the Canaries have blanked in their past three league games and clean sheets are not the only source of FPL points for keepers with save points and penalty saves on offer too.
The Argentinian has picked up a save point in each of his previous two games along with a clean sheet and one bonus point against Southampton. I am backing him to continue providing good value given how cheap he is. Note that he is close to a price rise as well.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) vs Manchester City (a)
Once I realised I had the budget to keep the Liverpool star, there was no consideration of any other defensive options with an easier fixture this gameweek.
Although my main reason for free hitting is to avoid the Man City vs Liverpool clash, I just feel that his inclusion buys me some insurance given that he will still be one of the most highly-owned players in the gameweek who is more than capable of wreaking havoc.
Matt Doherty (£6.4m) vs Aston Villa (a)
The attacking Irishman has picked up from where he left off since the league resumed with a massive 18 points. With Willy Boly back in the Wolves’ defence, he is a source of clean sheets, goals and assists.
His ownership is now over the 10% mark and the fixture looks great on paper. He is part of my Wolves triple-up and I am hopeful of receiving a team news leak before their early kick-off at Villa Park.
César Azpilicueta (£5.9m) vs West Ham United (a)
With three double-digit hauls to date this season, the Chelsea captain is guaranteed to start, if fit, away to a side who have failed to score in their past three league matches. The Spaniard picked up two assists in his last away game against a similarly weak opponent in Aston Villa and is more nailed on to start than the equally attacking Marcos Alonso.
Bruno Fernandes (£8.6m) vs Brighton (a)
The Portuguese has certainly hit the ground running since his introduction to the league in January and is under-priced by close to a million in FPL. With domination over set-pieces including penalties (at least the first penalty in a match), there is also the tantalising prospect of seeing how he will team up with the equally talented Paul Pogba.
He will probably again be captained by a few FPL managers after being unlucky to come away with nothing from the Sheffield United game.
Adama Traoré (£5.8m) vs Aston Villa (a)
After being substituted early against Bournemouth in order to presumably get some rest for this fixture against his old club, the Spaniard seems set to continue his prolific partnership with Jiménez.
His crossing ability has come on leaps and bounds and I am attracted by his price and the knowledge that he may well be confirmed as starting before the gameweek deadline, which is a big plus this week.
Anthony Martial (£8.1m) vs Brighton (a)
The enigmatic Frenchman will have received a massive confidence boost after his first career hattrick on Wednesday, which is highly promising as he has always had the talent.
He dovetailed with Rashford with devastating effect and his midfield classification means he gets an extra point for a goal as well as a clean sheet point. At that price, he was the first Man Utd pick in my team but I feel that the captaincy is pushing it a bit too far given that I already have two other Man Utd attackers against a Brighton team that have recently displayed some defensive resilience.
Christian Pulisic (£6.9m) vs West Ham United (a)
I still haven’t forgotten the American letting me down badly in November when he proceeded to embark on a barren run of form just after I bought him. Pulisic seems reinvigorated after the break and has quickly become Lampard’s main attacking threat, particularly on the counter-attack as demonstrated by his goal versus Man City.
I therefore believe that the West Ham game will suit him perfectly on a big, open pitch against a team that badly need points in order to survive.
Raúl Jiménez Vice-captain (£8.1m) vs Aston Villa (a)
Mr Consistency delivered again in his first two games back and is primed to be the leading striker in the majority of FPL teams as Wolves embark on their bold chase for a Champions League qualifying slot. He will be my safe vice-captain option in case Aubameyang fails to appear.
His side’s successful run to date in Europe demonstrates that they will be able to deal with the intense fixture run and it is a huge bonus for us to know that they won’t have any European distractions until after the league season finishes. Do be aware though that the Mexican’s girlfriend is due to give birth before the season runs out so keep an eye on any possible team leak just in case.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Captain (£11m) vs Norwich City (H)
Allow me to start by declaring that this is a risky captaincy choice due to the possibility that he could finally be benched, especially after a FA Cup quarter-final that falls after this gameweek’s deadline and before this match.
Coupled with the fact that he has blanked in his past four appearances during his side’s poor run of form, it does beg the question as to why am I doing it?
A home fixture against the worst side in the league who are also in cup action is the biggest selling point for me. Despite his recent woes, he is still a proven FPL asset and previous Golden Boot winner. If benched, he is still more than capable of coming on and contributing with a return or two.
Marcus Rashford (£9m) vs Brighton (a)
Completing my attacking Man Utd triple-up is their number 10 who really should have grabbed a goal along with his two assists on Wednesday. It remains to be seen if he alternates penalties with Fernandes, which somewhat dampens his appeal but his link-up play with Martial in particular was scary to watch for me as a non-owner in his last game.
David Button – £3.9m bench fodder
Nicolas Pépé – The definiton of an impact sub with doubts over his starting position at Arsenal but not over his ability to make a decent points contribution. At £9.2m he is expensive to bench but I don’t feel the need to spend funds elsewhere in my team.
Kiko Femenía – Keeping the Spaniard from my normal team as he’s very cheap at £4.2m and should start again at home to Southampton.
Matthew Lowton – Another £4.2m defender with a good fixture away to Crystal Palace who should start.