FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 28 Preview

“Watford’s Gerard Deulefeu, pictured in action for his childhood club FC Barçelona, recorded this season’s highest FPL score by a single player, with 23 points” (CC by 3.0) by Clément Bucco-Lechat

After what the great majority of FPL managers could rightly call a disaster of a gameweek, we have less than 48 hours to process our disappointment/anger/sadness/all of the above and prepare for gameweek 28. With eight of the ten most-selected captains, including Aubameyang, Pogba and Salah, blanking, the average score for gameweek 27 stood at just 33 points. The week’s best performers were mostly differential players, like Watford’s Deulofeu (23 points, owned by 2.4%) and Deeney (15 points, 4.6%), and Arsenal’s Mhkitaryan (14 points, 4.1%).

Before we list our picks of the week, we want to remind everyone that the deadline for the upcoming gameweek 28 expires on Tuesday February 26th, at 18h45 (GMT+0).

Some observations ahead of gameweek 28

While Liverpool’s much-lauded attacking play seems to be going through a bit of a rough patch the past few weeks, their goalless draw at Old Trafford was as much up to their own failure to truly create as it was up to the home team’s defensive resolve. The post-Mourinho era has been largely marked by much-improved attacking performances, embodied by the likes of Pogba, Rashford and Martial, but the Red Devils have quietly built a pretty impressive defensive foundation as well. In terms of the Premier League, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the Mancunians have conceded just 6 goals in 10 games, with only Burnley managing to score more than once in a single game (a 2-2 draw in gameweek 24). To illustrate their latest defensive form: United have kept clean sheets in their last three Premier League games (Leicester away, Fulham away and Liverpool home).

More towards the end of the table, it’s becoming clearer and clearer which teams are likely to be battling relegation until the end of the season. One of the clubs that seems to be avoiding the relegation scrap by a hair, despite what many, including their own manager, had expected, is Newcastle. The Magpies have taken 10 out of 15 points over the last five Premier League games, a run that includes victories over Cardiff, Man City and Huddersfield, as well as a draw at Molineux. Attack leader Salomon Rondón is currently finding himself in a nice stretch of good form, central defender Florian Lejeune is back from a long-term injury, homegrown midfielder Sean Longstaff has cemented a starting berth, fellow central midfielder Isaac Hayden is proving his capacity to be decisive, and new signing Miguel Almirón showed against Newcastle that he could have a huge impact on a sometimes toothless Newcastle attack playing in close support to
Rondón. You never know how long it lasts on Tyneside, but things are looking well for Rafa Benitez and his men and the fixture list looks welcoming.

A few months ago, we wrote a paragraph about Burnley’s then-current horrible form and how manager Sean Dyche had his work cut out for him if they wanted to stay in the Premier League. Fast-forward to last weekend and we can conclude that Dyche has once again shown what an incredible manager he is for Burnley. The Clarets have definitely left their long early-season slump behind and they haven’t lost a game since their disheartening 1-5 loss against Everton in gameweek 19. Over that stretch of eight games, Burnley booked five victories, including last weekend’s 2-1 home win over Spurs. An acceptable run of upcoming fixtures in combination with the fact that they will not have any blank gameweeks this season should see the FPL popularity of their players rise over the coming weeks.

Gameweek 27 was a weekend of surprise results and Palace’s 1-4 away victory over Leicester belongs to that category. Not that Roy Hodgson’s men are incapable of booking impressive results, because they definitely aren’t, but booking such a big victory over Leicester at the King Power is no mean feat. The Eagles were simply better than the Foxes, who especially had problems with keeping Wilfried Zaha in check. The Ivory Coast international put in a bright display and crowned it with two goals, making it three consecutive games with at least one goal, but it was an overall concentrated display that brought Palace the victory. Where last weekend proved to be Claude Puel’s last game in charge of Leicester, Palace took a big step towards securing another year of Premier League football.

Premium picks

Perhaps a sign of Mohammed Salah‘s (£13.6m) enormous quality and potential, we’re recommending  the Egyptian forward as our first premium pick despite a recent run of disappointing performances. Salah scored one goal in his last four Premier League and brought his owners just 15 FPL points over that period, which really is too little considering his price tag. In the eight games before that, though, Mo scored 9 goals, provided 3 assists and recorded an incredible 87 points. Liverpool are hosting an in-form Watford outfit on Wednesday, and despite the fact that the visitors have conceded just four goals in the last six games, they did allow 14 big chances. Only Brighton and Championship-bound Huddersfield allowed more (15 each). Salah scored a goal in the reverse fixture when Liverpool booked a comfortable 0-3 away victory and a similar outcome could be the result in gameweek 28.

Our second premium pick is one that comes with some rotation risk, which is basically the only reason we’re not recommending him as a candidate for the captaincy. Man City’s Kun Aguero (£11.6m) played the full 120 minutes plus the penalty shoot-out in the League Cup final versus Chelsea on Sunday, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pep utilise his favourite trick coming Wednesday: rotation. This scenario becomes more likely when considering his main rival for the number nine position, Gabriel Jesus, was left out of the match day squad against Chelsea. The Brazilian is marked as having a 75% chance of playing though, due to a slight hamstring injury, so Kun might just as well get another full 90 minutes against West Ham at home. And that’s the reason we’re recommending him here, because City at the Etihad versus the Hammers points at a goalscoring bonanza. West Ham have conceded 20 goals in 13 away games, while Kun alone has scored 14 goals in 12 home games. Let that record sink in for a moment and then make a move for the Argentinian.

Our third premium pick for this gameweek is Wolverhampton’s Matt Doherty (£5.6m), the marauding right-back who was mentioned in this section of our articles more than once during the first half of the 2018-19 campaign. The Irish defender’s spectacular form may have simmered down somewhat, but don’t doubt for a second that he’s still a player of superior quality. He’s an integral part of a very solid Wolves side who are facing Huddersfield away in gameweek 28. The Terriers have scored just 6 (six!) goals in 14 home games this season, while conceding no less than 22 goals. Wolves are heavy favourites to win this one and there could be points on the cards at both ends of the pitch for Doherty.

A differential pick or two

Maybe recommending a player facing Fulham has become a bit of a habit, but if it has, then with good reason: the Cottagers have conceded an unacceptable 61 goals in 27 goals, 35 of which were conceded in 14 away games. Southampton will be hoping to add to Fulham’s defensive misery at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday and if they do, we believe James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) will be involved. The attacking midfielder hasn’t recorded an attacking return in his last three Premier League games, but he did score in three consecutive games before that. What adds to JWP’s appeal is that he takes charge of most of Southampton’ set-pieces, which raises his potential for assists. With an FPL ownership of just 2.2% and a nailed-on spot in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s starting eleven, he could prove to be a real short-term differential, as well as a very decent longer-term budget enabler.

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (£8.8m) is our second differential pick of the week. With the club in a bit of turmoil after a disappointing run of results that culminated in Claude Puel’s sacking as manager last weekend, even more people will be looking to the club’s figurehead for a response. It seems that Vardy wasn’t always on the best terms with Puel, illustrated by him being left out of the starting eleven on a couple of occasions, but it’s hard to imagine caretaker managers Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler not going with the English striker. The Foxes have a more than decent squad and should be capable of a more attacking approach than shown under Puel. Vardy scored 2 goals and provided 1 assist in his last seven Premier League games, so his goalscoring form isn’t exactly red-hot at the moment, but with an excellent run of fixtures coming up, this could be a good moment to bring him in. You don’t want to arrive late to a Vardy party.

For more ideas of transfers into your gameweek 28 squad, have a look at discussions on this fiso forum GW28 topic.

The captaincy

With Man City hosting West Ham on Wednesday, recommending a City player for the captain’s armband is more or less inevitable. For reasons explained earlier we haven’t gone with Kun Aguero, but with his team mate Leroy Sané (£9.5m). The German winger has seen his Premier League cut considerably since a few weeks ago, but he played just 34 minutes in the League Cup final against Chelsea. Kun and Raheem Sterling completed the 120 minutes on Sunday, as did Bernardo Silva, so it seems likely that Sané will be starting against West Ham. On the other hand, what does “likely” really mean when it comes to Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven? Sané hasn’t brought the 10.2% of FPL managers that own him any attacking returns since gameweek 24, which was the last game in which he played at least 70 minutes in the Premier League. His gameweek offers several good options for the captaincy, but if you own Sané, you should probably captain him.

Probably the biggest disappointment of gameweek 27 was the benching of Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m), despite the early warnings regarding this possibility. The Gunners will be looking to consolidate their fourth spot in the League with a home victory over Bournemouth. The Cherries are having a great season overall, but their defense in away games is still a source of some worry. They have conceded 30 goals in 13 away games, meaning only Fulham have conceded more goals on the road. Arsenal, on the other hand, have no problem scoring at home, illustrated by their 30 goals in 14 home games. After some extra days of rest and just 15 minutes of game time against Southampton last Sunday, it’s hard not to see Aubameyang amongst the goals coming Wednesday. Forget gameweek 27 and put the armband on the Gabonese striker if you can.

To see what the fiso crowd are choosing as their GW28 Captain, have a look at this fiso forum GW28 Captain Poll.