FPL GW31 Differentials XI

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My differential pick article will provide FPL Managers with a line-up of gems you may not be considering but may pick up valuable points to help you outscore the competition. My starting eleven of differentials will be made up of players with an ownership of less than 10%, meaning if selected by you, you could be outscoring 9 of every 10 Managers in the game!

Last week was my worst week so far. I don’t think anyone expected the Chelsea result, but this week we rise up from the canvas after being knocked down and come back stronger!

This starting eleven was selected on Wednesday 7th April 2021 and as of this date hadan average ownership of 4.6%, and an overall value of £68.8m.

Goalkeeper

Edouard MENDY– 9.5% – £5.2M
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I have previously mentioned in an article that I am not a fan of either Chelsea goalkeeper, however, Edouard Mendy is a nailed-on starter with a very, very good defence in front of him. Since Mendy was benched against Newcastle he has kept 4 clean sheets in 5 Premier League games, plus the 2 vs Atletico Madrid, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, Everton & Liverpool had only 1 shot on target for him to save, while West Brom had 7 shots and scored 5 times at the weekend, but as mentioned previously, he does appear to have a water-tight defence in front of him, as long as they have 11 men it seems… Fellow JFG writer @fpl_marshal advised that Chelsea had not conceded a single big chance in the four games previous to the West Brom result and I’m expecting usual service to resume. I think Mendy will be in a lot of wildcards so it may even be worth getting him in simply to counteract those transfers.

Defenders

Gabriel MAGALHÃES – 4.5% – £4.9M
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The Arsenal defence doesn’t seem to be settled at the minute, with Gabriel, David Luiz, Pablo Mari & Rob Holding all getting game time recently. I believeGabriel is to be the more nailed on selection and looking at their past line-ups, it appears that Gabriel & David Luiz are the preferred partnership. Although Arsenal haven’t had a good run of results of late, even though they are through to the latter stages of the Europa League and did come back from 3-0 down against West Ham before the embarrassing performance vs Liverpool, there are signs that Mikel Arteta is taking Arsenal forward (3-1 win away to Leicester and 2-1 win at home to Spurs to add to the afore mentioned Europa League qualification and West Ham game). With games against Sheffield United & Fulham next I think an Arsenal defender could be the way forward, especially with Newcastle & West Brom to play and with Gabriel looking like one of the preferred two, he’s one of my preferred selections this week!

Nathaniel PHILLIPS – 1.5% – £4.0M
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As a Liverpool fan it pains me to say that unfortunately Nathaniel Phillips is not the answer long-term for the club, however, he most certainly isthe answer short-term. Rhys Williams was preferred to Phillips in the original Champions League squad,but Phillips has played himself up the pecking order and is now part of the first-choice pairing, along with Ozan Kabak (0.4% owned at £5.0m). In their past five games together, they have kept 4 clean sheetswith Real Madrid being the first team to score past the pairing and even then, you can make a case for Phillips not doing much wrong overall. At £4.0m I think, like Mendy, he will be in a lot of wildcards and it’s hard to make a case for not getting him in. Liverpool have a favourable run in the League with Villa (A), Leeds (A), Newcastle (H) coming up before travelling to Manchester United and ending the season with Southampton (H), West Brom (A), Burnley (A) & Crystal Palace (H). I would expect Phillips to start most of, if not all, of those games, so getting him in is almost a no brainer!

Matthew LOWTON – 2.4% – £4.4M
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In my first article for JFG in GW24 I selected Matthew Lowton and he got me off to a flier with a return of 17 points and now his time has come to provide the goods again! In GW24 Lowton returned with a clean-sheet, a goal & 3 bonus points and while not expecting those numbers again, Burnley host a Newcastle side who before their draw with Tottenham had scored 3 in their previous 6, with their last game of scoring more than twice coming back in GW23. Those stats suggest the Newcastle result vs Tottenham was an anomaly and with Burnley not keeping a clean sheet in 6 games, they are due one. I can see this game being a bore draw, which would be good for my selection of Lowton, along with the FPL Managers bringing in Burnley defenders on their wildcard.

Midfielders

Matheus PEREIRA – 1.9% – £5.3M
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21 points in GW30, how can I not select Matheus Pereira this week as a galvanised West Brom host Southampton although prior to GW30 Pereira had not returned since GW21 when he scored 13 points. Pereira has 4 double-digit returns this season and is THE key player for West Brom, he has been involved in 48% of their League goals this season (7G/5A out of 25) showing a lot of the play flows through him. West Brom have no choice but to go for results in their remaining matches with 3 points needed in 6 of their last 8 games to reach the magic 40 points (although previous seasons show less than that is normally required to assure Premier League survival) so expect them to play on the front foot and Pereira to be involved in most attacks of theirs as Sam Allardyce looks to pull off the great escape.

Pedro NETO – 7.5% – £5.7M
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What a talent this guy is! His stats are not all that impressive (5G/5A in 30 games) but he has played every Wolves game in the Premier League, starting 29 out of 30 and scored the only goal in the reverse fixture of this weekend as Wolves beat Fulham 1-0. If you watch a Wolves game, Neto is often the key man and I can only see his numbers improving year-on-year. At £5.7m with Fulham (A), Sheffield United (H), Burnley (H) & West Brom (A) in his next four games, I can’t see a reason why you wouldn’t want this little magician in your team.

Riyad MAHREZ – 7.6% – £8.2M
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I wanted a Manchester City midfielder, and this was the toss of a coin between Mahrez and Foden. I went with Mahrez as Foden performed better vs Dortmund so he may be benched in preparation of the second leg, there’s no other logic than that as you cannot judge Pep roulette, however, we know Leeds will not sit back and defend so I am anticipating a lot of opportunities for the Manchester City midfielders to create chances and with MahrezI think you could be looking at returns aplenty this weekend.

James MADDISON – 4.8% – £7.1M
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Guess who’s back? Back again… Madders back, tell a friend…! He returned for the final 18 minutes vs Manchester City so isn’t a guaranteed starter this weekend, however, like Neto, he has a lovely run-in to pick up where he left off. Prior to injury Maddison scored 5 points (GW21), 11 points (GW22), 8 points (GW24) & 9 points (GW25) with his only blank coming in GW23 as Leicester drew 0-0 with Wolves. Since his injury in GW25 Kelechi Ịheanachọ has come to be one of the first names on the team sheet meaning Maddison will be have more space to operate in, with Ịheanachọ & Vardy drawing the defenders away, along with those two providing more options ahead of him as he looks to continue his purple patch prior to injury. If you get him in now you could reap the rewards of a differential that many will be getting in in the coming weeks!

Forwards

Aleksandar MITROVIĆ– 3.4% – £5.5M
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Last week was poor from me, but one of three returns came from Mitro as he scored and came away with 2 bonus points. Mitrović is on a fantastic run of form with 6 goals in his last 4 games for club and country, and with Fulham losing their last 3 they will be looking to Mitrović to provide the goals that lift them out of the relegation zone. As mentioned when discussing my Pedro Neto selection, the reverse fixture of this weekend, vs Wolves, finished 1-0 to Wolves, but with Fulham being 3 points behind a Newcastle team that have a game in hand on them they will need to start picking up wins sooner rather than later. Wolves have not looked as organised with a back 4 as they did when playing with wing-backs meaning Mitrović & Fulham may enjoy some success this weekend as they look to climb away from the relegation zone, get some a positive result on the board and drag other teams into trouble.

Alexandre LACAZETTE – 6.3% – £8.2M
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Can Arsenal play as bad as they did vs Liverpool? Surely not! If they do then they are in big trouble. The man leading the line in 4 of their past 5 League games has been Alexandre Lacazette, scoring 3 goals in those games. Lacazette looks to be the more reliable of strikers available to Mikel Arteta and he has bettered his Premier League tally from last season already (10 in 2019/20 and 11 so far this season) and will be looking to score the most League goals he has for Arsenal since joining (this currently stands at 14 in 2017/18). Arsenal face Sheffield United this weekend, and with all due respect to Sheffield United, if there is one team you would like to face after rolling over and having your tummy tickled in losing 3-0 at home, it is Sheffield United. Before the weekend Arsenal do have a game vs Slavia Prague to play but if Lacazette can come through that game unscathed, I can’t see why Arteta wouldn’t trust him to lead the line and fire Arsenal to a much needed win.

Sergio AGÜERO – 1.3% – £10.3M
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62 minutes vs Leicester, 22 touches and 0 shots on target. The Agüero we know and love has gone, but why couldn’t he deliver more Premier League memories for us to enjoy before he departs in the Summer? I fully expect Agüero to play in the League and be on the bench in the Champions League when fit and while he may not have that extra yard of pace, he has the awareness to create space for himself. As mentioned with Mahrez, you can’t judge Pep roulette but with the Leeds game sandwiched in between their double-header against Dortmund I think rotation will be key and this could be a game for Agüero to prosper.

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