Last week was dreadful. FPL managers watched in horror as Liverpool not only lost their unbeaten record but lost it spectacularly as Watford thrashed them 3-0.
The other big captaincy hope of Vardy was injured and had to watch from the sidelines as his Leicester side were beaten by rock bottom Norwich! But we must, as always, move swiftly on and forget about such a terrible week.
This is a big week for FPL managers, and I’m not even talking about the fixtures next weekend for GW29. Over the course of Monday to Thursday night, the FA Cup 5th Round will be played out and we will discover which teams will have a blank GW31 (and therefore a DGW at some point later in the season).
Arsenal are already through, meaning their match against Southampton is confirmed as postponed. The other potential teams to get through to the QFs and therefore have a blank GW31 are
- Chelsea (play Liverpool in the 5th Round and Man City in GW31)
- Leicester (play Birmingham in the 5th Round and Brighton in GW31)
- Liverpool (play Chelsea in the 5th Round and Crystal Palace in GW31)
- Man City (play Sheffield Wednesday in the 5th Round and Chelsea in GW31)
- Man United (play Derby in the 5th Round and Sheffield United in GW31)
- Newcastle (play West Brom in the 5th Round and Aston Villa in GW31)
- Norwich (play Tottenham in the 5th Round and Everton in GW31)
- Sheffield United (play Reading in the 5th Round and Man United in GW31)
- Tottenham (play Norwich in the 5th Round and West Ham in GW31)
By process of elimination, the only games guaranteed to be played in GW31 at the moment are
- Wolves vs Bournemouth
- Burnley vs Watford
We know one of Tottenham vs West Ham or Norwich vs Everton will also be played because both West Ham and Everton are out and Tottenham play Norwich in the 5th Round, but otherwise, we could end up in a situation where we have just 3 matches in a single GW!
This is the scenario for which the Free Hit chip was designed. In case you’ve forgotten or this is your first season and you have heeded my advice and held onto it (well done!), the Free Hit allows you to change your entire team for a single GW before reverting to the original team you had the week before.
So, if we do have just 3 games as per above and your team contains Salah, Mane, TAA, Fernandes, Vardy, Ings, Aguero, Aubameyang etc, you don’t have to transfer them all out for a hit for a bunch of players from Burnley/Bournemouth/Watford. Instead, you can play your Free Hit and fill your team with the necessary players before reverting to your decent squad a week later (I still maintain it should be called the Boomerang chip).
For now, keep a close eye on the FA Cup results, don’t make any transfers until the end of the week and have a plan, whether that is to Free Hit in GW31 or just fill your team with players with a game.
Also, it’s important not to be afraid to field a team with less than 11 players. Would you rather have TAA for 6 GWs and a blank in the middle or Ben Mee for 7 GWs? I can make an educated guess as to which would get more points!
Finally, there are rumours abounding that Man City’s match against Arsenal (postponed due to last week’s Carabao Cup final) will be rescheduled for the middle of next week. Obviously, if this does happen we’ll have a Man City and Arsenal DGW.
- Man City would play Man United away and Arsenal at home
- Arsenal would play West Ham at home and Man City away
If this does happen you won’t want to take an unnecessary hit to get in players from the teams above! I would make Aubameyang my top priority and my captain and maybe look at somebody like Mahrez or Saka as cheaper options.
But enough of prognosticating the future machinations of the fixture list! We have GW29 to focus on first.
Liverpool face Bournemouth and will surely want to bounce back with a win, elsewhere Man City face a Manchester derby and Leicester, who are on poor form, face an Aston Villa side that needs to start picking up a point or face the drop. There are also interesting ties at Stamford Bridge as they welcome Everton and at Arsenal as they welcome a resurgent West Ham (maybe there’s a little optimism creeping in there).
So what should you consider and who should be your key targets?