Gameweek 27 will cause a headache for Fantasy Football managers for a whole load of reasons.
With Manchester City facing Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, it’s a reduced fixture list, with Everton and Brighton also without a game.
Add into the mix Manchester United and Liverpool facing each other, and this has the feel of a low-scoring, damage-limitation exercise.
To confuse matters further, there are three gameweeks to negotiate in the space of eight days and an early deadline tomorrow, so quick decisions are a must…
What to do with City and Chelsea assets?
The City trio of Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero have been prolific points scorers in recent weeks, while Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso remain among the most-picked players in the game despite Chelsea’s stuttering form.
The temptation will be to sell one or two and buy them back quickly, but beware of recent price rises – don’t sell Agüero if you can’t afford to bring him back in.
City face West Ham, Bournemouth and Watford when they return to league action, so you might be better off playing the long game.
Chelsea’s next three are tougher (Tottenham, Fulham, Wolves) and their recent form less reassuring. Prioritise selling royal blue over sky blue to free up cash.
Need a stop-gap to see you through the weekend? Consider these options…
Fabian Schär (£4.6m)
Newcastle are solid defensively and should be a decent bet for a clean sheet at home to Huddersfield. Rafa Benítez’s men were agonisingly close to keeping out Wolves in their last game, having only conceded once each in meetings with Man City and Spurs.
Schär assisted the Magpies’ goal at Molineux and registered a whopping 21 points last time they hosted a relegation rival – a 3-0 win over Cardiff in mid-January.
Felipe Anderson (£7.2m)
West Ham have been a regular source of frustration for FPL managers this season, but you have to fancy them to score goals at home to the bottom club on Friday night.
Fulham are the only team in England’s top four leagues not to win an away game this season and have conceded a whopping 32 goals in 13 games on the road. Anderson and Arnautović (£6.8m) will be licking their lips.
Son Heung-Min (£9.0m)
Your Hazard replacement? Son’s price has skyrocketed since his return from the Asian Cup and with good reason.
It’s unfair to label him a stop-gap – he should be a long-term pick by now – but he’s surely a must-have with the paucity of top-six options this week, even against rejuvenated Burnley.
Jamie Vardy (£8.8m)
Vardy hasn’t always been first choice under former Saints boss Claude Puel, but the striker came off the bench to score against Tottenham last time out and should have done enough to return to the starting line-up – despite also missing a penalty at Wembley.
Leicester’s upcoming fixtures are the best of any team in the division. Seven of their next eight games are against teams in the bottom half (Watford are the exception), starting with Crystal Palace at home, so worth considering Foxes defenders too.
Be patient with Saints
Our last FPL preview focused on the in-form Saints trio of Jan Bednarek, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond.
Whilst points returns against Palace, Burnley and Cardiff were inconsistent, don’t be too hasty in shipping them out despite the tough trip to Arsenal this weekend.
The Gunners have only kept one clean sheet since the sides last met in December, and only two in their last 19 Premier League games.
Goals at both ends are virtually guaranteed when Arsenal are involved and Saints’ next game is at home to Fulham on Wednesday, so don’t pull the trigger just yet…