International breaks are boring aren’t they!?
Yes, World Cup qualification is now underway and we have a whole array of fixtures available to watch across multiple platforms, but it just isn’t the same. Personally, I am enjoying the break from watching football given it literally feels like there’s a game on every day with the ongoing schedule, but FPL Twitter is another story altogether. Between sitcom polls, debates over pizza toppings and pictures of our pets, it just becomes a whole different place during an international break. Well, now its time to get back into FPL and focus on the final run in.
I am going to briefly focus in on the teams who have varying lengths of tantalising fixtures that we should be taking notice of between now and the end of the season. Disclaimer, this does not include Man City as no doubt we all currently have double or even triple City in our teams.
Getting on and off of those premium and differential assets at the right times in this period could see you climbing ranks, winning mini leagues and getting one up over your mates, so here goes!
Following on from the Liverpool fixture at home, Arsenal have one of the best run ins to the end of the season. The tricky side of this is the fact that they are still competing in the Europa League and winning that competition is very much Arsenals best and probably only chance of qualifying for the Champions League. This makes getting on the right Arsenal asset tricky given the potential squad rotation Arteta could provide. For me, Tierney (5.3m) would be ideal for the upcoming fixtures. Potential clean sheets alongside his attacking output could see some reasonable hauls during this period. Between rotation, injury and Arsenals general underperformance. Tierney’s points are not where they should be. But, against the likes of Newcastle, West Brom & Crystal Palace, we could see Tierney popping up with an assist or two.
Moving into midfield, I personally think Aubameyang (11.5m) is massively overpriced and seriously underperforming and not worth consideration. However, we all know what he is capable of and he could pick up double digit returns if his head and heart are in it. His attitude has been questioned recently and I would want to see an up turn in form before committing such a sizeable chunk of our budget to him. However, both Saka (5.3m) & Odegaard (6.0m) provide the ideal way into that Arsenal midfield. Both have proved capable of producing attacking returns and are often involved in the key moments that produce goals. Given their price points, if we see a little rotation then that shouldn’t put us off.Embed from Getty Images
Finally, Lacazette (8.2m) has hit form recently. 3 goals and an assist in his last 3 league starts for the gunners shows he has the eye for goal and if played through the middle with those aforementioned in behind, I expect he will continue to find the back of the net. Will you be brave enough to throwhim into your team?
The next 5 fixtures for Chelsea are staring us right in the face as huge opportunities. 8 clean sheets in the last 10 fixtures under Tuchel has me edging towards that defensive double up, but there is still ample opportunity to bring in those attacking assets. Rotation amongst that back line is a worry, with the full backs often seeing reduced minutes. If you were willing to take that risk then Alonso (5.7m), James (5.0m) & Chilwell (5.8m) could provide double digit hauls, but that could be followed up by a zero pointer as they miss out altogether in the next one. Because of this, I believe the 2 best assets to get on for this run defensively are Rudiger (4.6m) & Azpilicueta 5.8m). Seriously, the fact you can get a Chelsea defensive asset who plays regularly at this stage for only 4.6m is not worth passing by!
I will personally be getting on Rudiger as it frees up some further budget to jump on the more expensive attacking assets, not that money in the bank has been much of an issue recently! I surely can’t be the only one with 3m+ sat in the bank, right?
Moving into midfield, the 2 players I have my eye on are Mount (7.0m) & Havertz (8.2m). We all know that Mount has become a favourite under Tuchel, very much in the same fashion as he was under Lampard. His creative influence is incredibly positive and he is always looking to progress Chelsea’s attacking play up the pitch. 3 goals in his last 7 isn’t too bad for a 7m midfielder, particularly given that’s over 50% of his goals for the overall season in the recent weeks. Kai Havertz however is a very different story. He looked to be the forgotten man under Tuchel, failing to get minutes and seemingly hugely out of favour.
However, 2 assists against Everton made us all stand up a little and his recent UCL performances have us all wondering whether to take the punt. If you are chasing then at only 2.8% owned, he could be a key differential in making up that ground.
As for Chelsea’s forward line, the one player I desperately want to see succeed is Timo Werner (9.2m). Having owned him earlier in the season, it was so frustrating watching him miss chance after chance and it has very much been the same case recently too. However, there surely has to be a moment this season in which he goes big and if that is to happen, it inevitably will come over the next 5. Dare to dream, perhaps I will…
In spite of injuries to key players including Justin, Barnes & Maddison, the foxes are a team in form! Recently qualifying for the semi final of the FA Cup after overcoming Man United, Leicester have a very tasty run of fixtures following their tie against Man City. Both clean sheets and attacking returns could see a whole host of points coming from their assets over the next 5-6 game weeks. At the back, we have Fofana (5.0m) & Soyuncu (5.3m) as cheaper ways into their back line. If you fancy spending a little more on the full back options then Castagne (5.7m) & Pereira (5.9m) are available, but neither have particularly impressed recently. Could this upcoming run see an end to their barren spells?Embed from Getty Images
Moving into midfield, there is only one real standout option and that would be Tielemans (6.5m). His performances have been exceptional this season and in light of their recent injuries, Tielemans has stepped up to the task of being that creative force in the midfield. 6 goals and 3 assists this season so far isn’t a lot, but the majority of those have come during the 2nd half of this season and I am expecting those numbers to rise over the coming weeks.
Obviously, the name we are talking about at the moment when it comes to the foxes in Iheanacho (5.7m). 5 goals in his last 3 league games and picking up goals in the cup competitions too, Iheanacho is an absolute bargain at the moment. Yes, he has been given this opportunity following injuries to both Barnes & Maddison, but boy has he taken it! Rodgers recent comments also seem to state that Iheanacho is very much a part of the plan from now until the end of the season. Currently in only 2.7% of teams, I am expecting that to rise massively following the tie against City and then furthermore following the trip to West Ham.
At almost double the price, we of course have Jamie Vardy (10.1m). We all know what he is capable of, with 12 goals and 12 assists this season so far, but he has very much been the creator for Iheanacho lately, registering 4 assists in his last 6 and only 1 goal since his return from surgery. Could he step up and get back in the goals, I don’t doubt it. But, is he worth that much more than Iheanacho at present, I am not so sure?
Arguably Liverpool have the best full run of fixtures between now and the end of the season. The issue is that their form has between atrocious lately. They have gone from going on the longest unbeaten run at home to the longest losing run at home in a matter of months which is not good at all from the defending champions.
Currently down in 6th, Liverpool will need to hit the ground running after the international break and pick up maximum points in the majority of games between now and the end of the season. Because of this, could it be time to get back on Robertson (7.1m) & Alexander-Arnold (7.3m)? You may think this is crazy, but both are only owned by around 13% of the game at present and who would have thought that at the start of the season? Neither have performed to their usual standards this season with only 2 goals and 8 assists between them all season, but Klopp will need them for this run and perhaps a rest for TAA and some confidence with the national team for Robertson could see an uplift from now until the end of the season. Fair to say I am tempted!Embed from Getty Images
However, if you fancy Liverpool for the clean sheet potential, but don’t want to risk the budget on the premium backline then Kabak (5.0m) & Phillips (4.0m) are incredibly cheap ways into the defending champions back line. Given the injuries that Liverpool have at centre back, I can see both of these continuing to get regular minutes up until the end of the season. If I were wildcarding, I would perhaps go with one of the premiums and one of these two as a Liverpool defensive double up. Moving into Liverpool’s attacking line, given Salah (12.4m)has 17 goals and 4 assists this season, his form in the second half of this season has been so poor. Since game week 19, Salah has only 4 goals and one double digit haul. During that period, he went on a run of 6 blanks and is currently on a run of 5, continuing to frustrate 29% of the game.
Klopp will need his talisman to turn that form around and looking at that run of fixtures, surely that time will come. If you want to spend a little less then Mane (11.8m)is available but with 54 less points so far this season and only 0.6m cheaper, I am not sure it is worth it. However, one man that could be worth the gamble is Jota (6.7m). 5 goals in 8 games had us all raving about Jota, but then his injury scuppered all of that and he has missed 15 game weeks! However, in game week 26 he made a return and got his goal against his ex Wolves, winning the tie 1-0 for Liverpool and putting himself firmly back on our radar. I certainly think he is worth another punt.
Now, getting on and off of the Saints boys is a very short term transition. Saints will blank due to their FA Cup commitments and still have the game against Tottenham to be rearranged, however the 3 upcoming fixtures are not to be sniffed at. Through to the semi final of the FA Cup and with players returning from injury, the next 3 look like the ideal opportunity to pick up points.
Defensively, Fraser Forster (4.0m) is an absolute bargain and for those on wildcard, would be the ideal 2nd keeper to own. Play him potentially in the next 3 and then forget about him for the rest of the season without tieing up a load of budget. Bednarek (4.8m) & Vestergaard (4.7m) have developed a solid partnership, with the latter being the better option in my opinion due to the constant goal threat from set pieces. Walker-Peters (4.7m) has also recently returned from injury and could be a useful alternative for this mini run.Embed from Getty Images
Ward-Prowse (5.9m) has hit the headlines recently with his goal for England and given hit set piece expertise, he is well worth the 5.9m price tag. 7 goals and 5 assists this season with some exceptional free kicks amongst them, he will certainly be in the running for Saints’ player of the season. Redmond (6.4m) has failed to deliver and has looked particularly out of sorts, however his confidence and haul against Bournemouth in the cup has a few discussing again. Personally I wouldn’t go there with the returning Walcott (5.8m) & Ings (8.4m)likely to be back in contention after the international break, but its great to see him get a couple of goals.
Finally, Che Adams (5.8m) has recently declared his alegiance to Scotland and picked up his first international assist against Israel. 3 goals in 3 in the league has saw his confidence spike and I can only hope that that continues through to the end of the season.
West Ham have been nothing short of brilliant this season and deservedly find themselves in 5th in the league. Albeit mixed, they have 5 very decent fixtures to come, with 4 of them in the final 5 games of the season. Many of us have owned a few assets across the run of the season, but perhaps the time is upon us to start considering the double up again.
Defensively the standout option is obviously Cresswell (5.9m). The top defensive scorer with 135 points this season & joint top for bonus points alongside Luke Shaw, he has gone under the radar in my opinion. Owned by 28% of the game and with 10 assists so far this season, he has been brilliant for the hammers. However, if you’re budget is tight then perhaps Coufal (4.6m) could be the choice to go for. I have been very impressed with him this season and he has proven to be a bargain signing for both West Ham & in FPL.
Moving into Midfield, there are two standout candidates which we are all aware of. Soucek (5.3m) has been this years Lord Lundstram. 9 goals this season has him sitting on 122 points! He even bagged a hattrick during the international break and is a man that is loving playing football right now. The other candidate and in my opinion the standout midfield option right now is Lingard (6.2m). 5 goals and 3 assists in only 7 games is insane numbers for a player signed in January and who had played a very limited number of minutes for Man United over the last few seasons prior to that. Called back up to the England squad, he could well find himself on the plane for the Euros if he keeps this up.Embed from Getty Images
Finally, we have Antonio (6.7m). An injury hit season has saw him only net 7 times as well as having 5 assists to his name. However, ‘if’ and that is a big ‘if’ he can stay fit then the link up with Lingard could see him hit at least double figures in both fields by the end of the season. Worth the punt, quite possibly!
Not a team that I thought I would be writing about, however game weeks 31 through to 35 looks primed for clean sheets for Wolves at the very least. We all know how defensively solid they can be and if they get it right, we could see some decent returns from their assets. I will keep this one short and sweet given I truly believe that we should only be looking at them defensively, but there is one solid midfield option too.
Coady (4.8m), Saiss (4.9m) & Semedo (5.2m) have been the most reliable for minutes this season and all 3 have the ability to pick up bonus when keeping clean sheets too. Reasonably priced, they could well be worth bringing in for the run in. As for the attacking assets, Neto (5.7m) is the only player I would truly consider. 5 goals and 7 assists this season, he always looks to be the driving force in trying to push Wolves further up the field. Traore (6.0m) has been largely disappointing and with Podence (5.3m) & Jiminez (8.1m)both injured, Wolves have really lacked that spark up top and neither Silva (5.2m) nor Jose (6.8m) have managed to fill that void.
That sees the end to my latest article and hopefully it provides some food for thought in terms of those key assets that we should at the very least be considering over these final 9 game weeks of the season. Those still with a wildcard in tact could be very well placed to attack the run in and climb the ranks, whilst those like myself may well need to take a hit or two to jump onto the bandwagons of certain players in the coming weeks.
Good luck all and may your arrows be green!
Clean Sheet Wipeout!