FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 30 Preview

At the Emirates Stadium
“On Sunday, the highlight of the weekend will take place at the Emirates Stadium when Arsenal host Manchester United” (CC by 2.0) by Jesús Gorriti

When there is a gameweek in which eight of the top ten selected captains blank while the remaining two players record scores of 7 points (Kane, penalty goal) and 6 points (Hazard, assist), it’s better to just forget about that gameweek and move on. The likes of Salah, Aguero and Sterling returned blanks, but Aubameyang and especially Pogba did their FPL owners one worse: -1 point each, mostly courtesy of missed penalties. Instead of a healthy 15-16 points with the armband on, these heavily captained players rewarded their managers with -2 points. But like we said, let’s move on. A shout-out to some of the top performers, like Watford’s Troy Deeney (1 goal, 1 assist, 11 points), West Ham’s Declan Rice (1 goal, clean sheet, 15 points) and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez (1 goal, 1 assist, 12 points), and don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 30 is set at 11h30 AM (GMT+0) on Saturday, March 9th.

Some observations ahead of gameweek 30

After Man United‘s 0-2 loss to PSG at Old Trafford, more than a few FPL managers will have thought that United getting eliminated from the Champions League wasn’t such a bad scenario, from an FPL point of view. The focus would solely be on finishing as high up in the Premier League table as possible, giving us one more team from the top six with very little risk of rotation. Things turned out differently, though. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men overcame the 0-2 deficit by booking a miraculous 1-3 win in the Stade de Princes, making United the third team to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals (after Ajax and Spurs, and before Porto). This means in no way that you should ditch your United assets, but just keep in mind that their European adventure is continuing. Meanwhile, the unlikely victory over PSG could give them a huge boost of confidence for the weeks to come. And a boost is possible from an online American adventure with casino america for example.

Like United, though in a slightly less surprising fashion, Tottenham have also qualified for the quarter-finals stage of the UEFA Champions League. The Spurs beat Dortmund 0-1 in Germany, courtesy of a Harry Kane goal, which was more than enough after their 3-0 victory in London. Mauricio Pocchetino’s men seem to have dropped out of the battle for the Premier League, but they’ll still be aiming to qualify for the Champions League again next year. On top of that, after their convincing 4-0 aggregate win over Dortmund and with several big name teams already out of the competition, the Londoners will be looking at advancing in Europe as well. In other words, it’s busy times ahead for Pocchetino’s relatively stretched squad.

At that other London side battling for a top-four finish, a new interesting FPL prospect has come onto our radar. Well, “new” and “prospect” are maybe not the best words to describe a player who joined Arsenal from Man United about a year ago, and who was at the time considered one of the finest attacking midfielders in Europe. Henrik Mkhitaryan has been mostly disappointing this season, which is illustrated by his current ownership (6.1%), but he’s been on fire of late. His 2 goals, 3 assists and 31 FPL points over the last three rounds have made him the highest-scoring Arsenal midfielder this season (85 points). With a price tag of just £6.8m, the Armenian could become a popular player in the final nine gameweeks of the season. He did however play for the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 1-3 away loss tonight to Rennes in France in the UEFA Europa League. Arsenal’s Europa Cup title betting odds have widened greatly with that 3-1 loss but a 2-0 win at home will still take them through so someone betting online could still place a bet on Arsenal to take the title.

Elsewhere in London, it seems that Crystal Palace have finally found a way to relieve star man Wilfried Zaha of some of the burden of carrying the entire team’s attacking hopes. The Ivory Coast international is exceptional by any standard, but too often Palace were too dependent on his creativity and goals. With the arrival of Belgian international and Chelsea loanee Michi Batshuayi, Eagles coach Roy Hodgson can let Zaha play with a bit more freedom, which usually benefits a player of his style. Since his arrival in gameweek 25, Batshuayi has scored 2 goals and provided 1 assist, while Zaha scored 4 of his 8 Premier League goals over that period. Defensively, the Eagles are decent (only seven teams have let in more goals this season), so if the reinvigorated attack can keep hold, they should have no problem to avoid the relegation zone during the business end of the season.

Premium picks

Our first premium pick of the week is one of the more disappointing players of the past weeks, namely Liverpool’s Mo Salah (£13.4m). The Egyptian’s last goal in the Premier League came as part of a 3-0 home victory over Bournemouth in gameweek 26 and he hasn’t brought his FPL owners any attacking returns since. Still, over the last six gameweeks, Salah has fired more shots on goal (9) than any other FPL midfielder and only Leicester’s Harvey Barnes has taken more total shots than him (20 vs. 21) over that same period. In other words, it’s not like Salah is playing particularly horrendous lately, it just seems like his finishing is a bit off (like it was at the start of the season). Sunday’s opponents Burnley have conceded 8 goals in the last five games, which included encounters against low-scoring outfits like Southampton, Brighton and Newcastle, and only four teams have allowed for more shots in the box (31) than the Clarets since gameweek 24. It looks like a great opportunity for Salah to get back to scoring ways.

We’re sticking with Liverpool for our second premium pick of the week, partly because of the match-up at home to Burnley, partly because Liverpool have no blanks this season, and partly because Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.5m) is just very good. The young English right-back was largely absent from gameweek 23 to gameweek 27 as a result of an injury in combination with some rotation, but he’s back now and it looks like he’s here to stay until the end of the season. Over the last two gameweeks, Liverpool faced Watford at home and Everton away, which resulted in two clean sheets for TAA and the rest of his team mate’s. On top of that, the right-back provided three assists over that period, all of which came in the game against Watford, and brought home a fantastic 27 FPL points for his FPL owners. With a mostly kind run of fixtures leading up to the end of the season, more hauls are on the cards for Alexander-Arnold.

The third premium pick for gameweek 30 isn’t so much premium in terms of his price tag (£6.1m), but he definitely is in terms of his ownership (19.9%) and potential over the coming weeks (Huddersfield away, Newcastle home, Leicester away, Burnley home, Brighton away, Fulham home and Southampton away in the next seven games). Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser was a big FPL favourite and absolute bargain in the first half of the 2018-19 campaign (4 goals and 8 assists in 19 games), but as the Cherries started losing form and consistency, Fraser’s output diminished as well. His last attacking returns came in gameweek 21, when the Scottish winger scored a goal and provided an assist in the 3-3 draw at home to Watford. The Cherries have had a difficult run since then, including games against City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, and an away game to Huddersfield coming Saturday could be the perfect chance to kick off a run of good results for Fraser and the rest of Eddie Howe’s men.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential pick for gameweek 30 is a shameless repetition of last week’s first differential pick. Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (£8.9m), though seemingly not yet in red hot form, has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games, rewarding the 5.7% of FPL managers that own him with 20 FPL points. He looks set to be a nailed-on starter under new boss Brendan Rogers and with a nice run of winnable fixtures coming up, Vardy could be a shrewd investment. Even shrewder when you realise that Leicester are not blanking this season: the Foxes face Burnley away in gameweek 31 and Huddersfield away in gameweek 33. On Saturday, Leicester are facing Fulham at the King Power and we’re betting on Vardy to make his owners proud.

West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski (£4.7m) is the second differential pick of the week. The Polish goalkeeper isn’t so much a differential in terms of ownership (17.4%), but we feel that it’s a pretty “differential move” to name him in this list for gameweek 30. Fabianski is something of an FPL favourite for many managers, not in the last place thanks to his regular save points, and he could be a decent source of points over the coming weeks. As matter of fact, only United, City and Liverpool have conceded less goals than the Hammers over the past five weeks, and gameweek 30 sees Fabianski facing a rather toothless Cardiff offense. The Bluebirds have scored just six goals so far in 2019, which is explained by some of the underlying stats: both their shots on target (22) and their attempts from inside the box (46) are the lowest of any Premier League outfit this calendar year. Following the Cardiff game are blank gameweek 31 and double gameweek 32, in which Fabianski is playing two home games, against Huddersfield and Everton respectively. If you’ve already got Fabianski and are looking for a change up front then consider Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) instead who’s caught fire at Man United but is only owned by 4.8% of FPL managers.

For more GW30 transfer ideas have a look through this FPL GW 30 fiso forum thread.

The captaincy

When Man City play a home game, Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) is a prime candidate for the captain’s armband. It’s that simple. City have scored 50 goals in 15 home games in the Prem so far, and 15 of those goals were netted by the Argentinian striker. Though Saturday’s opponents Watford are far from pushovers, it’s kind of hard to see the Hornets keeping a clean sheet after having already conceded 22 goals in 15 away games this season. As a matter of fact, Kun hasn’t blanked yet this season in a home game in which he was part of the starting eleven and his points-per-game average for home games he’s started is close to ridiculous: 11.6 points, in part thanks to 3 (three!) hattricks. In the reverse fixture played on December 4th of last year, Watford put up a good fight but eventually lost 1-2 to a dominant City, courtesy of goals by Sané and Mahrez. With an overall ownership of 40.3%, captaining Aguero this weekend is as much a wise choice as it is rank protection, despite the slight worry that fit again Jesus may replace him (at least at some point during the match) due to Champions League commitments on Tuesday next week at home to Schalke where City already lead 3-2 (with 3 away goals in the bank).

Our final pick of the week is Liverpool’s Sadio Mané (£9.8m), who we’ve preferred over his team mate Salah as a recommendation for the armband due to the latter’s current dip in (point-scoring) form. The Senegalese forward is in fine form in the build-up to the blank and double gameweeks (Liverpool have neither this season), which is underlined by his six goals in the last seven Premier League games he played in. Over that period, he’s brought home 51 FPL points for the 26.1% of managers who have him in their teams. The fixture at Anfield against Burnley this weekend is followed by an away game versus Fulham in gameweek 31 and a visit to Saint Mary’s in the blank gameweek 33, both of which are games in which Mané could record a haul.

The weekly FPL Captain Poll on the FISO forum has Aguero and Salah leading the popularity stakes for GW30.