It’s now or never time in the Premier League, for the business end of the season is here and the same applies for its virtual counterpart—the Fantasy Premier League (FPL)—as well.
For the pressure is intense in the hyper-competitive world of FPL, with no manager ready to give a quarter as they seek to secure bragging rights and pride after what has been a roller coaster season.
And while the title race is a foregone conclusion, the race for the top-four is still very much on, as is the battle for to avoid relegation, which just adds plenty of uncertainty to the mix for all the wannabe Pep Guardiolas.
Worry not, for The Statesman has your back with an incisive article ahead of every gameweek to help you decide where your hard-earned virtual money should be spent.
The indicators are:
Teams in BOLD are top 4 contenders.
Prices (in £ million) marked in Green indicates a rise in Base Price.
Prices (in £ million) marked in Red indicates fall in Base Price.
Team: Newcastle United
Fixtures: Southampton (H), N/A, Huddersfield (H), Leicester (A) and Arsenal (H)
Why yes: Newcastle, despite their loss to Liverpool last week, have been improving of late and a lot has to do with their custodian—Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian has come into his own of late to push aside Robb Elliot and Matt Darlow and start regularly for Rafa Benitez. Southampton are an extremely goal-shy unit and the Magpies should be able to keep a clean-sheet at home. Excellent back-up, if nothing else.
Why no: Considering both teams are in the relegation dog-fight, scrappy ties are likely to be the order of the day. Newcastle, like most teams, don’t play in Gameweek 31.
Fixtures: Crystal Palace (H), N/A, Spurs (H), West Ham (H) and Southampton (A)
Why yes: Chelsea may be in a bit of a rut at the moment, but they possess enough quality to bounce back immediately. Palace were left deflated after Manchester United beat them courtesy of a late stunner from Nemanja Matic and may be in line for a hammering at the Bridge. Christensen is the cheapest starter in the Blues’ backline and is an ideal pick as they have relatively routine fixtures, bar one, ahead.
Why no: The Blues are likely to focus on next week’s UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona and Antonio Conte might rotate his squad for the visit of the relegation-threatened Eagles. Chelsea don’t have a fixture in Gameweek 31 and face Spurs in Gameweek 31. The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso may be more expensive, but are far more likely to get points on both ends of the pitch.
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Fixtures: Bournemouth (A), N/A, Chelsea (A), Stoke (A), Man City (H) and Brighton (A)
Why yes: Spurs will be smarting after their midweek exit from the UEFA Champions League but with the European spots in the Premier League still to play for, expect them to return to winning ways against a Cherries side who haven’t won in three games. Aurier didn’t play against Juve due to a suspension so will be fresh for the Bournemouth trip and expect the Frenchman to bombard the flanks all game long.
Why no: He’s prone to the red mist and while Spurs are a lock to win, keeping a clean-sheet away from home in the Premier League is easier said than done. The Lilywhites won’t be playing in Gameweek 31 and have tough fixtures after that.
Team: West Ham United
Fixtures: Burnley (H), N/A, Southampton (H), Chelsea (A) and Stoke (H)
Why yes: Arnautovic remains the focal point of all the Hammers attacks and against Burnley at home, could be in line for a big points haul. The mercurial midfielder is a relatively cheap option and with West Ham ready to fight tooth and nail for Premier League survival, could prove to be a massive differential in the weeks to come.
Why no: David Moyes’ men aren’t in the best of shape and face a rejuvenated Burnley side this gameweek while they don’t have a match in the next.
Team: Manchester City
Fixtures: Stoke (A), N/A, Everton (A), Man United (H) and Spurs (A)
Why yes: City have a plethora of offensive options you could choose from, but their Portuguese magician is arguably their most in-form player. If he doesn’t score, he assists and against a porous Potters defence, he could wreak havoc. Among the cheaper options from the Sky Blues, Bernardo Silva is a thrifty pick who will punch above his weight, both literally and figuratively.
Why no: He’s been starting so many games back-to-back and could be in line for a rest now. The Citizens wont’ be featuring in Gameweek 31.
Team: Huddersfield Town
Fixtures: Swansea (H), Crystal Palace (H), Newcastle (A), Brighton (A) and Watford (H)
Why yes: Swansea may be riding high at the moment, but they still concede on a regular basis. Enter Mounie, a man in excellent nick and at home, he’s odds-on to score. With the Terriers fighting to avoid relegation, this tie could be a goal-fest. David Wagner’s men have excellent fixtures ahead and as a bonus, play in Gameweek 31 as well.
Why no: Mounie scores in patches and then goes quiet for long periods, which may put off many FPL managers.
Team: Stoke City
Fixtures: Man City (H), Everton (H), Arsenal (A), Spurs (H) and West Ham (A)
Why yes: This gameweek’s wildcard pick, Crouch could do some damage to a suspect City defence when they visit the Potters. With Mame Biram Diouf injured, Stoke will certainly introduce their lanky weapon in the second-half if not earlier. With his height, he can best any defender in the air and expect him to make a lively cameo. Stoke are among the few sides that play in Gameweek 31.
Why no: At 37, Crouch isn’t a confirmed starter anymore and it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can have with limited playing time. Stoke have some tough fixtures lined up.
PS: The Gameweek deadline is 11.30 am GMT/5 pm IST.
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