Midfielders and defenders continue to produce for managers in a season when most strikers have failed to impress. Jarrod Bowen rising up to outshine teammate Michail Antonio in West Ham’s last DGW clearly indicates how this season is going.
Oh! Sorry to all FPL managers who captained Emmanuel Dennis for Watford’s “double” game-week and were left chagrined by the league’s decision to postpone his match at Burnley. Last minute scratches are another issue managers have had to deal with. Every FPL manager deserves a pat on the back for the kind of turbulent season we have had to deal with. The hopeful news is that the league has promised to meet during the break between GW-23 and GW-24 and probably revise its postponement policy.
Once again, managers are advised to wait until close to FRIDAY’s deadline time before finalizing transfers (just don’t miss it!). My decision to play the waiting game allowed me to buy Bruno Fernandes instead of a Leicester midfielder last week. I don’t need to remind you how Fernandes week went or do I?
Alert: Ghana got knocked out of the African Cup of Nations after finishing last Afcon group play, so Ghanaian players (Partey, Salisu, Atsu, Ayew...) could be available for this weekend’s EPL fixtures.
Jose Sa (£5.2m Brentford vs Wolves)
Three clean sheets in Wolves’ last four games tells us why we should have Jose Sa in our FPL teams right now. The Portuguese goalkeeper has been crucial to Wolves keeping tight at the back this season. He made a remarkable nine saves in their last match against Southampton to earn three extra points for saves. The fact that no one remembers the departure of Rui Patricio is a testament to how good Jose Sa has been this season.
Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m Arsenal vs Burnley)
Providing impressive performance week after week, Ramsdale continues to justify Arsenal’s decision to fork out a mammoth £30m in the summer to secure his signature. The goal-minder has been one of the most reliable options for managers this season. Arsenal faces a weakened Burnley team not known for scoring many goals, so it won’t be out of place for the Gunners to increase their clean sheet stat against the Clarets. Let’s just hope that Burnley doesn’t postpone yet another match.
Joao Cancelo (£7.0m Southampton vs Man City)
Cancelo’s assist for De Bruyne’s beautiful curler against Chelsea was his fifth for the season. The defender has shown his adaptability by filling the Citizens’ left-back role on multiple occasions this season. Being asked to play there hasn’t stopped the full-back from providing impressive performances for Pep Guardiola’s side. Cancelo already has five assists and a goal this season.
Aymeric Laporte (£5.6m Southampton vs Man City)
Doubling up on Man City defenders might not be a bad idea as Pep Guardiola’s side has repeatedly dominated matches and starved opponents of opportunities. Despite being primarily tasked with keeping tight the back, the Spanish international has contributed two goals plus two assists at the other end of the pitch.
Antonio Rudiger (£6.2m Chelsea vs Tottenham)
Chelsea has had two recent EFL cup clashes against Tottenham without conceding a goal, and scoring a goal in the second leg makes Rudiger an impressive option for this game-week. The defender has been ever present for Thomas Tuchel’s side this season, and he will once again be expected to lead the defense when they welcome Spurs to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m Crystal Palace vs Liverpool)
Pretty much everyone owns Arnold or don’t we? TAA has continued to set new standards. With 10 assists already accrued in just 21 games, the right-back is on course to break his Premier League record of 13; we could even expect another seven before the season runs out. In Salah’s absence, the fullback has extra responsibility of holding down and creating chances from the right flank.
Coutinho announced his return to Premier League in impressive fashion by scoring and assisting a goal after coming off the bench to help Villa secure a draw against Man United. The Brazilian showed impressive understanding with fellow midfielders Jacob Ramsey and Emiliano Buendia, so we should keep an eye on how this partnership progresses.
Man of the moment Harrison delivered a match winning hattrick to help Leeds secure an unlikely victory against the Hammers at London Stadium. Harrison’s hattrick in that fixture makes it four goals in two games for a struggling Leeds side that currently occupies 15th.
Raphinha (£6.5m Leeds vs Newcastle)
While Harrison might have stolen all the headlines with his remarkable hattrick, Raphinha was also influential in Leeds’ victory. The Brazilian time and time again helped ease pressure on the Lilywhites by possessing the ball in tight places and playing passes at the perfect time. Only a Rodrigo goal-line obstruction stopped Raphinha from ending the match with two assists.
Jarrod Bowen (£6.8m Man United vs West Ham)
Bowen has raised his performances to become the most in-form player in the Premier League. The England midfielder has scored three goals and added another five assists in the Hammers’ last five matches to help revive their hopes of making the top four. Despite missing a last-minute chance to grab a draw against Leeds, expect Bowen to once again do damage against a porous Man United defense that has conceded two more goals than bottom placed Burnley.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.1m Southampton vs Man City)
Kevin De Bruyne’s return to form has come at the perfect time for a Man City side trying to open the gap between them and title rivals Liverpool and Chelsea. The Belgian’s finish to settle the tight encounter against Chelsea was a goal worthy of settling any match. A customary De Bruyne run through the middle and the curled shot that followed was a joy to behold. Pep Guardiola will once again expect his team’s best player to be at the helm when the Citizens visit the Saints this weekend.
Bukayo Saka (£6.4m Arsenal vs Burnley)
Four goals plus two assists in the Gunners’ last five matches tell you everything need to know about Hale End academy graduate Saka. The winger has stepped up his game in recent weeks to help the Gunners keep their top four chase going in the absence of suspended captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. It should however be noted that Saka picked up a knock in the EFL semifinal against Liverpool, so watch for news about his current condition before committing.
Martin Odegaard (£5.6m Arsenal vs Burnley)
Three assists plus three goals in the Gunners’ last seven games shows Odegaard’s transformation from bit-part player to one of the first names on the team sheet. The Norway international has claimed the position behind the striker by becoming more decisive and influential in the final third. Expect Odegaard to be fully rested and eager to impress after only recently returning from a Covid enforced break.
James Maddison (£6.9m Leicester v Brighton)
James Maddison has overcome early season wobbles to become a pivotal part of Brendan Rodgers’ side this season. In the last few weeks, Maddison has proved to be the difference for a Leicester side that is currently without the services of the club’s three senior strikers. Four goals plus five assists in the club’s last six games tells you the kind of form he is in right now.
Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1m Watford vs Norwich)
Zero goals in two games isn’t a stat we are used to when talking about Dennis. The Nigerian has come on in leaps and bounds since his summer transfer to the Hornets. We might believe Watford’s reluctance to release Dennis for the African cup of Nations might be affecting his performances for the club. However, Watford’s next fixture against Norwich might just be the perfect tonic for Dennis to return to form. Norwich has the worst defensive record in the Premier League.
Raul Jimenez (£7.4m Brentford vs Wolves)
Despite Jimenez not impressing recently, Wolves’ next fixture is against a Brentford team that has conceded seven goals in the last two games, increasing the lure to add him this game-week. A lack of reliable striking options for FPL managers means Jimenez might not be a bad bet.
What do you think of our picks this week? Any budget player you think will shine over the weekend? Whom are you planning to captain? Who will be a hit or a miss? Which player do you think I missed? How are the Covid outbreaks affecting your planning? Please let us know in the comments below!