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EPL GW-31 FPL Player Picks

It may be only a mini double, but they all count!

Luke Ayling - Leeds United - Premier League
Leeds defender Luke Ayling scored a rare goal last time out
Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

The international break is over, and it spelled more national-team heartbreak for Mo Salah. The Egyptian once again missed his spot-kick in a penalty shootout against Senegal, Sadio Mané once again slotting home the winning PK. This is was exactly what happened in the AFCON final earlier this year. What was different this time, though, was the laser-pointer attack Senegal fans launched on Mo to distract him.

Egypt’s loss means failing to qualify for the World Cup tournament, and Senegal’s win means a ticket to Qatar. Rapturous Senegal fans celebrated by pelting Salah with bottles as he left the pitch and then trashing the Egyptian team bus.

At least he isn’t an Italian who lost to North Macedonia.

On a brighter note, the English Premier League offers us a mini-double this week, Burnley and Everton featuring twice. Perhaps not the most exciting double we’ve seen in recent times, but better than nothing... or is it?

Below are my GW-31 FPL player picks. You’ll note that there are a few differentials on the list; you can find more here.


Goalkeepers

Nick Pope (£5.4, BUR vs MCI, BUR vs EVE): I know what you’re thinking: Pope may struggle to keep Man City out of his net. But it’s worth noting that the Citizens failed to score last time out against Crystal Palace despite the fact that City is under severe pressure from Liverpool. Pope has two bites of the cherry this game-week and even if he concedes, he’s likely to get in plenty of saves (and four points just for showing up)!

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Jordan Pickford (£4.9, WHU vs EVE, BUR vs EVE): I’ve gone for both DGW keepers, with Pickford selected for similar reasons as Pope. Even better, Pickford has the added advantage of not having to face Man City.


Defenders

Trevoh Chalobah (£4.7, CHE vs BRE): Reece James has returned to training, but Tuchel may save him for next week’s Champions League tie rather than risk him against opposition of Brentford’s caliber. Chalobah could therefore represent a budget route into the Chelsea side this weekend, and with a goal and an assist in his last three matches, he’s a real differential at less than 3% ownership. Follow team news though; if it looks like James will start, then he’s the Blues defender you’ll want.

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Luke Ayling (£4.3, LEE vs SOU): It’s not very often that Ayling produces attacking returns, but let’s hope he has developed a taste after a strong performance in the comeback win over Wolves last time out where he scored and assisted. Southampton has conceded six in the last two games, so this fixture could yield returns at both ends of the pitch for Ayling.

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Andrew Robertson (£7.3, LIV vs WAT): With TAA unlikely to return from injury in time for this weekend’s visit of Watford, Robertson is the pick of the litter among Liverpool’s back four. The premium defender has produced well in recent times, adding to his tally with an assist against Arsenal, bringing his total to 11 helpers for the season. A clean sheet could very well be in the cards too.

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Joao Cancelo (£6.9, BUR vs MCI): Pep roulette is an ever-present worry for FPL managers, but City’s slim lead over Liverpool means that Pep can’t afford to take chances in the league even though he has a crucially-important appointment with Atletico Madrid next week. Prospects for a clean sheet look very good here, and FPL’s #2 defender offers attacking potential as well.


Midfielders

Mo Salah (£13.3, LIV vs WAT): Salah must be distraught after another penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Senegal. However, this won’t deter many of his 60% ownership from captaining him in a game against an inconsistent Watford side. Salah scored and assisted in a 13-point performance in the 5-0 reverse fixture earlier this season, but be aware that this time around he could see his minutes managed after toiling through 120 minutes of play against Senegal on Tuesday.

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Son Heung-Min (£10.9, TOT vs NEW): Son has been overshadowed slightly in recent weeks as the vastly cheaper Dejan Kulusevski has been muscling in on his points in FPL. Son reminded us of his explosiveness with a brace against West Ham last time out, and he’s worth having alongside Harry Kane for this matchup as the duo have linked up well together all season.

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Said Benrahma (£5.9, WHU vs EVE): Benrahma owners (many of which may be inactive managers who abandoned their teams after the early game-weeks!) have benefited from the absence of fellow Hammer Jarrod Bowen. Benrahma is regaining some of the form (or attacking role) that he enjoyed earlier in the season, posting a goal plus two assists in his last two games. Next up is an enticing fixture against a struggling Everton side.

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Kai Havertz (£7.9, CHE vs BRE): Havertz featured during the break for Germany but was subbed off early in the draw with the Netherlands, boding well for his readiness for this game-week. Havertz is in red-hot form at the moment with four goals plus an assist in his last three appearances. His relatively thin ownership of just over 6% could help you move up your mini-league leader board this week!

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Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7, BUR vs MCI): Their tasty home ties will understandably entice many FPL managers into selecting Salah, Kane, and/or Son as their premium investments this week. But KDB deserves consideration too. As mentioned above, Pep can’t afford to drop points this weekend, so the likelihood is that KDB starts. And we all know how devastating he can be: His 18 point haul against Man United in GW-29 is merely the latest reminder.


Forwards

Harry Kane (£12.5, TOT vs NEW): Kane is increasingly looking back to his best and had a productive international break, scoring a penalty to become England’s joint-second top goal-scorer of all time, now just four behind Wayne Rooney. He’s truly a man in form and almost someone you cannot afford to be without right now.

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Teemu Pukki (£5.8, BHA vs NOR): It would be a stretch to call this season a “Pukki Party” like the one he threw a couple of seasons ago. But the Finnish striker has been steadily registering points in recent weeks, offering decent value for money and low ownership against a Brighton side who have had a habit of conceding goals recently. Pukki scored during the international break against Iceland and then rested for the second game, so he’ll be ready and rested to face the Seagulls.

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Rodrigo (£6.2, LEE vs SOU): Rodrigo should continue to feature for Leeds after the news that Patrick Bamford could miss the rest of the season with a ruptured ligament in his foot. Rodrigo has scored in consecutive league games and is a cheap differential at less than 2% ownership.


What do you make of our picks this game-week? Are you targeting any doubles? Has any player impressed you during the internationals? Please take our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Poll

My captain for GW-31 will be

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Andrew Robertson
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    Joao Cancelo
    (5 votes)
  • 56%
    Mohamed Salah
    (66 votes)
  • 4%
    Heung-Min Son
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Kai Havertz
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Kevin De Bruyne
    (8 votes)
  • 19%
    Harry Kane
    (23 votes)
  • 2%
    Other, specify in comments
    (3 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now

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