Trying to second guess Premier League managers choices with their starting 11 is an art form, one that remains a critical starting point to a successful fantasy points haul. Fixture congestion, injury and suspension, that blooming influenza outbreak are among the reasons your average manager can find to drop a player that seemed certain to start.
Gameweek 29 brings us to a week where we have some clubs whose focus is spread and others where they have only one objective to worry about.
Before we get onto the picks a word of warning: If our media are to believed, we are in the beginning of the most powerful snow storm this great island has ever seen. The so called “beast from the East” has hit eastern areas of the UK and some disruption has already happened.
Want to know how bad it may turn out? Well our media, who in no way sensationalize their stories, have warned us to stay inside, protecting ourselves from “extreme snow”. I wonder, what exactly is extreme snow? What will the extreme snow do to us all if we set foot outside? It’s crouched just outside our doors, lying in wait for us. Does it know our fears? What will it do to us when it pounces? Can I pay more taxes to prevent all of this?
Some schools have banned snow ball fights, but one has banned even touching the deadly white stuff. Ges Smith, from the Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham, East London is the man making that call. The headteacher claimed that playing in the snow leaves children wet and “unfit for school”, and said: “The rules are don’t touch the snow. If you don’t touch the snow you’re not going to throw it.”
Rumors that Mr Smith has already banned flipping pancakes this month while looking to ban Easter Eggs, fluffy bunnies and smiling children in March are unproven.
Apologies for all the sarcasm but I’m English, aging and grumpy. For our UK readers stay safe and apply common sense.
In all reality, the snow won’t effect the pitches, but it could effect safety concerns around the ground and travel to the stadiums. I live in the south of England and we closed ous business at 2pm today and may not open tomorrow. It’s teh SAuturday games that may be most at risk. I would keep the free transfers in your pocket until we know more around Friday night/Saturday morning.
For the sake of discussion though, let’s assume the games are on and the extreme snow doesn't overthrow our government in the next 48 hours.
Whilst rotation outfield is a very real possibility for Spurs, Lloris seems as safe as it comes to start in goal assuming fit/healthy. If Tottenham Horspur hosting Huddersfield Town is the best fixture this week, then the French keeper is the top Premium pick.
If Liverpool hosting Newcastle is the pick for best fixture, then Karius offers the cheaper keeper. I thought he would get a clean sheet last week, and I think he may keep a clean sheet this week. However, with Liverpool you can never be sure.
Burnley are solid at home, face a side who travel poorly and he has been so close to scoring from set pieces. A great one week pick in FPL.
We are gambling here that Spurs still see Ben Davies as their current best left back and intend to keep him 100% healthy for the Juve game. If so, then in Fantrax Rose’s low price tempts as he has shown himself a strong point scorer in that game’s format.
The rampaging left back seems to have convinced his manager he is the clear 1st choice in that position. Having returned an assist last week, he can enjoy himself once more in Game week 29.
Virgil van Dijk
He let me down last week, failing to keep a clean sheet or produce that set piece goal. I predict he achieves one of those targets minimum this week.
Back in the 1st team and was excellent against Stoke last week. With a trip to West Bromwich Albion to follow, Mahrez is a great selection before we get to the blank week in FPL. In Fantrax he scored 22 points without a goal or assist last week, making him a must have this week as he looks to impress buyers until season’s end.
Huddersfield have breathing space and face a Spurs side in brilliant form and in a titanic battle for the 4th Champions League qualifying place. Spurs played an FA Cup replay midweek (with Alli on the bench) and are looking forward to Juventus in the Champions League round of 16 second leg. Judging when and whom Pochettino chooses to rotate will need a huge slice of luck. While it’s any two from four among Son, Eriksen, Moura and Lamela, I think Alli is the most likely of the five of the attacking midfield options. Aside from his diving in games, his performances have been much better in recent weeks, and he is well overdue for a goal. We have seen in the past that Alli can finish, and he often scores goals in bunches. He’s a good but not great one week pick in FPL and Fantrax.
While Alli offers a greater security of starting status (Moura started in the midweek cup match), I’m gambling here that Poch sees this fixture as the one to introduce his flying Brazilian to the Premier League. Not one for FPL but a player for those who play Fantrax and like to play with a little risk. Moura faces opposition who struggle to contain opposition and with a supportive home crowd it seems like just the game to perform and get a spotlight piece on Saturday nights Match of the Day (the most famous of football highlight shows).
The Liverpool differential is bang in form just like the whole Liverpool team. If you are chasing the pack in FPL you may want to take him over Firmino, while in Fantrax he seems an obvious pick.
Always full of pace, Sane is improving constantly under Pep. Much calmer in possession than a year ago, he is now willing to hold onto the ball and look for openings in addition to his brutal pace. At the progress he is showing, he could become a real star in the next couple seasons. It’s not an easy game facing Chelsea, but the defending league champions don’t look anywhere near as watertight in the back three while Conte bloods Christinson and Rudgier. Chelsea will surely adopt the approach they took when facing Barcelona: sitting deep and trying to exploit space on the counter. This is sensible, but encouraging City to attack has often been a mistake this season.
Scorer in six straight games, despite his wonderfully consistent form all season, he may be in his most purple patch yet. Salah is nearing the stage where he has opposition scared stiff of him; in possession will create more space for others. Benitez is a manager who can create a tactical plan to quiet opposing star players, but with the players he has, it’s hard to see that happening. Salah is a must-have this week (and probably every week he stays healthy).
Also in the best form of his Liverpool career and developing into one of the best all-round forwards players in the league.
Since winning his 1st team spot back, fan favorite Deeney has been on a role. Having started the last 5 he has a couple of goals. Facing the league worst side he can improve further.
Deadly, brilliant and still hungry for goals as ever before. When playing at home I dont care who he plays when playing in this city side.
His failure to score against Stoke broke a 4 week scoring run. With Bournemouth’s style they give players like Vardy too much space. On penalties I think he scores at least once this week
Maybe, possibly he could get a rest but I doubt it. More likely he starts the game, blasts a brace or hatty, then gets a breather for the final 15 minutes.