FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 33 Preview

“Man City’s Bernardo Silva, pictured in action for his national team, was one of gameweek 32’s outstanding performers despite playing just 1 game” (CC by 3.0 ) by soccer.ru

Gameweek 32, supposedly the biggest double gameweek of the 2018-2019 Premier League season, was a mixed bag. Over the past weeks, something of a template had been forming, especially among Free Hitters, and several of these template players ended up recording sub-optimal returns. As usual, Man City’s Pep Guardiola played a large role in the disappointment for many FPL managers, as none of his forwards played more than 90 minutes over their double gameweek. Aguero, the GW’s most-captained player, enjoyed less than an hour of football over that stretch due to an injury. The same went for United’s Marcus Rashford, who failed to feature in United’s second game against Watford. To the relief of many though, both forwards still managed to get their name on the scoresheet (Aguero 10 points and Rashford 7). Other highly-owned players, like Raheem Sterling (3 points), Paul Pogba (4 points) and Harry Kane (4 points) failed to perform in terms of the FPL as well, while slightly more differential picks like Eden Hazard (15 points), Eriksen (20) and Laporte (18) rewarded their owners handsomely. A week average of 73 is quite high, but due to injuries and extreme rotation, GW32 caused less mayhem in the FPL world than many would have expected. Maybe gameweek 33 is more up to the task…

Gameweek 33 is a blank gameweek that brings us just 6 games. We’ll place an overview of this weekend’s fixtures below:

Southampton Liverpool Fri 5 April, 20h00
Bournemouth Burnley Sat 6 April, 15h00
Huddersfield Leicester Sat 6 April, 15h00
Newcastle Crystal Palace Sat 6 April, 15h00
Everton Arsenal Sun 7 April, 14h05
Chelsea West Ham Mon 8 April, 20h00

The teams without a fixture this week are: Man City, Spurs, Man United, Wolves, Watford, Brighton, Cardiff and Fulham

Before we move on to this week’s picks, a quick overview of how our picks for gameweek 32 fared:

Premium Raheem Sterling (Man City) 3
Premium Paul Pogba (Man United) 2
Premium Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 16
Differential Christian Eriksen (Spurs) 20
Differential Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 6
Captain Kun Aguero (Man City) 10
Captain Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 15

Don’t forget that gameweek 33 is already upon us : deadline is tomorrow Friday April 5th, at 20h00 (BST).

Premium picks

Liverpool’s Sadio Mané (£10.0m) blanked in his single gameweek 32 fixture against Spurs at Anfield, but he recorded an impressive 43 FPL points in the four games before that, courtesy of 5 goals and an assist. Looking back even further, the Senegalese forward has brought his FPL owners 80 points since gameweek 23, which represents an average of 8 points per game. What’s more, he hasn’t provided consecutive blanks since gameweeks 21 and 22. In other words, the man’s on fire. This weekend the Reds are rolling up to Saint Mary’s to face Southampton, a team that has won three of its last four Premier League games. The Saints scored 7 goals and conceded 4 over that period, though it should be noted that 3 of those 4 goals were conceded against United at Old Trafford in gameweek 29. Southampton are no push-overs under Ralph Hasenhüttl as he’s turned the side into one that’s capable of fabricating surprise performances and results, but it looks like a Liverpool side chasing the title will be a bit too much for them.

Bournemouth at home to Burnley is one of this weekend’s stand-out fixtures in terms of FPL points potential, so expect the ownership of several Cherries assets to rise in the build-up to the Friday evening deadline. One of the decisions many managers will be looking to make is the one between Joshua King and Callum Wilson (£6.5m), the two equally-priced Bournemouth forwards. Despite the former being on penalties for the Cherries, we’ve gone with early-season favourite Callum Wilson, because the Burnley game at the Vitality this weekend looks like a game in which the Cherries will get several opportunities from open play as well. Wilson’s record until now (11 goals and 9 assists in 24 games) shows that he knows where the goal is this season and with Burnley allowing for 50 attempts on goal over the past four games, he might well be adding to those tallies on Saturday. Bournemouth have scored 28 goals in 16 home games, and the English striker was directly involved in 11 of those goals (5 goals and 6 assists), so he looks like a good investment at a price of £6.5m.

Our final premium pick of the week is based more on his underlying stats and the so-called eye test than on his actual FPL numbers over the past rounds. Mo Salah‘s (£13.2m) price has been dropping quite rapidly over the past month or so, due to his disappointing returns of late. The Egyptian’s last goal came in gameweek 26 in a 3-0 home victory over Bournemouth, while he has recorded just 2 assists since then, good for the underwhelming total of 21 FPL points over that period. Last round, he still took four attempts at goal though, one of which was on target, and he had the most touches in the penalty area of all Liverpool players. As we’ve said in earlier articles, Salah does keep getting into the right positions and he does get the ball a lot in dangerous areas, but he just seems to be missing a bit of sharpness in front of goal at the moment. While the Reds have scored 26 goals in 16 away games, the Saints have conceded 22 goals in 15 home games and they have only kept one clean sheet against a team from the big six: 0-0 at Stamford Bridge back in gameweek 21. No better time than now for Salah to rejoice the 35.9% of FPL managers who still believe in him with a return on the score sheet.

For more Transfer ideas check out the fiso forum GW33 transfers topic

A differential pick or two

With an away game to recently relegated Huddersfield on the cards for Leicester in gameweek 33, our first differential pick is a Fox. Attacking midfielder James Maddison (£6.8m) is a nailed-on starter under Brendan Rodgers and he’s repaid that confidence so far. In the last five Premier League games, the young Englishman scored 1 goal and provided 2 assists, taking on a direct involvement in 3 of the 10 goals scored by Leicester over that period. He’s owned by just 7.1% of FPL managers and he’s facing a Huddersfield side that was officially relegated after their 2-0 loss to Palace last weekend. It remains to be seen in what state the Terriers will show up this weekend in front of their own fans, but the harsh history is that they have lost 12 of the 16 games at home, a run in which they conceded 24 goals. Maddison took for shots on goal and made five key passes in the 2-0 home victory over Bournemouth in GW32, and with a bit more luck he could’ve recorded some attacking returns. This weekend’s game against Huddersfield provides him with the perfect opportunity to make up for lost chances.

Our second differential pick of the week is a differential in terms of FPL ownership (4.2%) and a bit of a punt in terms of playing time. Chelsea’s Willian (£7.1m) is not having the best season of his career, just like Chelsea are not having the most consistent season of their history, but he has still scored 3 goals and provided 7 assists in 1850 minutes of Premier League football. He has started just 3 of the club’s last 8 PL games, but he did provide 2 assists over that period. The Brazilian forward played 90 minutes in Chelsea first fixture of the double gameweek 32 and just 6 minutes in their second game (against Brighton on Wednesday), so a spot in the starting eleven against West Ham at home coming Monday looks like a real possibility. In the last five games that Willian started for the Blues, he brought home a decent 26 points, which averages a bit over 5 points per game. Against a Hammers side who have shipped 23 goals in 15 away games, Willian should get the opportunities to at least maintain that average.

If you are using your Free Hit Chip for this gameweek then have a look at discussions on the fiso forum GW33 Free Hit topic.

The captaincy

Our first suggestion for the captain’s armband is Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (£9.0m), who, in an under-the-rader kind of way, has been bringing home the bacon recently. New Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers sees the Englishman as the focal point of his attacking plans and the striker has repaid that belief in him with 5 goals and 1 assist in his last 5 Premier League games. As a matter of fact, when looking at the calendar year 2019 so far, only Aguero’s 10 goals trump Vardy’s 7 goals (in 12 games). In terms of considering him as a candidate for the captaincy though, it should be noted that Vardy has recorded just two double-figure hauls this season, namely in gameweek 6 (11 points vs Huddersfield at home) and in gameweek 30 (16 points vs Fulham at home). He doesn’t tend to be the guy that lights up FPL’s Team of the Week selections, but he’s a goalscorer and he’s in form right now. The combination of this form and the away fixture against a possibly very disheartened Huddersfield outfit make Vardy an outstanding choice for the armband. It would be far from a surprise to see him chip in with a goal and who knows, he could even record his third double-figure score of the season.

For a bit over 30% of all FPL managers, Eden Hazard‘s (£11.0m) performance at the closing of gameweek will have caused a sigh of (huge) relief. In a very unpredictable double gameweek in which several big names failed to deliver, the diminutive Belgian stood up and brought home 15 points, courtesy of a goal and an assist versus Brighton at Stamford Bridge. This weekend he’s facing West Ham at home and the Hammers have not only conceded 7 goals in the last 4 away games (and 5 in the last 2 home games), they have also allowed for more big chances than any other team over that period (15). Chelsea have scored 32 goals in 16 home games, and 9 of those goals (as well as 5 assists) came from Hazard. In a truncated gameweek like the upcoming one, he looks like a must-have and an undeniable prime candidate for the armband.

According to the FISO Forum GW33 Captain Poll, Hazard is leading the way for the armband from Salah with Vardy and Mane in a distant 3rd and 4th.