FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 36 Preview

“Man City’s Aymeric Laporte (shown above playing for his previous club, Athletic Bilbao) recorded a 15-point score in GW35 and has Burnley away coming up” (CC by 2.0) by L. F. Salas

Gameweek 35 was probably, in an overall sense, the round with the most impact on the 2018-19 FPL season. Teams with lots of popular assets like Arsenal and Man United disappointed enormously, while several teams with interesting differential assets performed well, including Watford and Wolves. Title candidate Man City had a great double week as well, beating both Spurs and United, but their big (read: most-owned and most-captained) guns were not the ones to shine brightest. Instead of Sterling and Aguero, we find Ederson, Laporte, Walker and Bernardo Silva in the GW35 Dream Team.

That Dream Team also confirms what’s been said before by more than one FPL pundit: when a double gameweek is coming up, don’t automatically discard the teams and players with one game. Last week’s Dream Team includes three single gameweek players after impressive performances: Sigurdsson and Digne (14 points both) from Everton, after their 4-0 destruction of Man United, and Newcastle’s hat-trick hero Ayoze Perez (17 points). That is, of course, wise advice for next season, because we are now just three (single) gameweeks away from the end of the 2018-19 Premier League season. Already betting interest on the 2019/20 Premier League season is increasing at places like wearebettors.

With the races for both the Premier League title and the remaining two Champions League spots in full swing, and the continued involvement of no less than four PL outfits in the final stages of the European tournaments, FPL managers will need to stay on top of their game until the very end. Fatigue, injuries and heavy rotation are having more and more effect on the starting line-ups of Spurs (who are facing Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League semi-finals), Liverpool (facing Barcelona in the CL semis), Arsenal (facing Valencia in the Europa League semi-finals) and Chelsea (facing Eintracht Frankfurt in the EL semis). The Europa League has now reached the stages that can make coaches prioritise those games over the Premier League games in that period as well. Whether it’s to make for a final push up the ranks or to consolidate your current position in your mini-league, be sure to keep a regular eye out for team news in order to get the drop on those FPL managers who don’t.

There are less than 48 hours between gameweek 35’s last games and gameweek 36’s opening game, so here are our recommended picks for the upcoming weekend. Don’t forget that the transfer deadline for GW36 is set at 19h00 (BST), tomorrow, Friday the 26th of April.

Premium picks

Our first premium pick for gameweek 36 is a defender and one that you should probably get into your team ASAP until the end of the season, if you don’t have him yet and can afford him. Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) is the highest-scoring defender in the game at the moment (192 points), followed by team mates Virgil van Dijk (188 points) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (150 points). The reason we’ve gone with Robertson instead of VVD or TAA is the Scot’s higher assist potential in comparison to the former and his higher chance of being in the starting line-up in comparison to the latter. That being said, if you can double up on Liverpool’s defence, you should consider that. The Reds boast the league’s best defensive record (20 goals conceded in 35 games) and they are facing Huddersfield at Anfield on Friday, the lowest-scoring team in the division (20 goals in 35 games). After that, it’s Newcastle away and Wolves at home for Liverpool, both games with clean sheet potential. Of course, Liverpool are facing Barcelona next week, but the fact that there are four days of rest (five when counting the match day) between that game and this Friday’s game against the Terriers should put rotation worries regarding Robertson to rest. The right-back has already got an impressive 10 assists to his name in the PL, a tally he might well improve upon further against Huddersfield.

We’re sticking with Liverpool for now, because we believe that Mo Salah (£13.2m) has tapped into a rich vein of form and he might continue that trend on Friday against Huddersfield. Not only are the Terriers the team that has scored the fewest goals in the division, they are also the team that has conceded the most goals (69 in 35 games) after Fulham (74 conceded). The Egyptian forward has returned 2 goals and 2 assists in his last four Premier League games, while he was responsible for the only goal in the reverse fixture (0-1 victory for the Reds) in gameweek 9. Over the campaign until now, Salah has scored 19 goals and provided 11 assists, making him the highest-scoring player in FPL. The fact that his form this season seems a bit more volatile than it was last season, just shows how extraterrestrial he was last season. Like his partner in attacking crime Sadio Mané, Salah also represents an excellent option for the captain’s armband. We’ve gone with the Senegalese machine, as you’ll see later on in this article, but the Egyptian could just as well bring home a huge haul for the roughly 35% of FPL managers that own him.

With Christian Eriksen (£9.3m) as our third premium pick of the week, we’re continuing this trend, in the sense that he’s an excellent candidate for the captaincy as well, but we’ve gone with his team mate Son for the armband later on in this piece. The Danish midfielder saved the Spurs in the last game against Brighton by scoring the only goal of the game in the 88th minute, an excellent left-foot effort from outside the area that resulted in a decent 7 FPL points. Over his last five Premier League games, Eriksen has scored 2 goals and gave 3 assists for a total of 35 points. Since gameweek 20, he hasn’t missed a minute of PL action, not even during the double gameweeks and the periods in which important European games were coming up. Considering his crucial role in the team, he looks safe from rotation until the end of the season, though it remains to be seen how the Champions League semi-finals against Ajax will pan out. This coming Saturday, Tottenham are hosting an unreliable West Ham who have lost 10 of their 17 away games this season. The Hammers conceded 27 goals in those 17 games. After that, a visit to the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth and a season-closer at home to Everton are on the agenda, and both of those are games in which Eriksen could record some attacking returns.

A differential pick or two

With Kevin de Bruyne’s misfortune confirmed, it looks like the rotational risk for Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) as a part of City’s starting eleven has decreased even further. The Portuguese magician can be deployed more or less anywhere in the centre or on the right side of the midfield and attack, and despite the difference in FPL potential that his positioning can make, a more or less nailed-on spot in Pep Guardiola’s goal machine can be worth it. After all, we know that City can score goals anywhere and at anytime, and for just £7.6m, Bernardo Silva can be your ticket into the goal-scoring festivities. He has scored 2 goals in his last four Premier League games, including the opener at Old Trafford this week, and his totals for the season currently stand at 7 goals and 8 assists in 2579 minutes of Premier League football. Man City crashed out of the Champions League against Spurs, so they can now place their full focus on the remaining league games (Burnley away, Leicester home, Brighton away). With an ownership of just 8.9%, the Portuguese Silva could provide your FPL team with some serious differential power.

Our second differential pick for gameweek 36 also boast an ownership of less than 10% at the time of writing (9.7% to be exact). Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) has been on fire since a month or two, but he seems to have stayed somewhat under the radar nevertheless. Perhaps the fact that the Foxes did not have any double gameweeks has something to do with it. In any case, we’re betting on the hard-working Englishman to cause Arsenal’s defence plenty of trouble when the two teams face off at the King Power Stadium on Sunday. He has scored 9 goals since gameweek 26 and also provided 2 assists over that period. Thanks to two 16-point hauls (in gameweeks 30 and 33), Vardy returned 71 FPL points since GW26 as well, including 9 points last weekend against West Ham (courtesy of a goal and three bonus points). Arsenal have kept just one clean sheet on the road this season, in gameweek 34 against a Watford team that played with 10 men for about 80 minutes. To make matters worse, the Gunners went through a nightmare gameweek 35, losing to both Palace and Wolves, and conceding 6 goals in the process. Add to that the upcoming Europa League semi-finals and the struggle for fourth place in the Prem, and we might just have a cocktail that allows Vardy to book his fourth double-digit haul of the season.

If you’re in need of help or advice with your GW36 transfers then check out the FISO Forum GW36 Transfer topic.

The captaincy

When it comes to the captaincy, we’ve already mentioned our two top picks for gameweek 36: Liverpool’s Sadio Mané (£10.0) and Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son (£8.8m). We consider the match-ups of these two teams, at home against Huddersfield and West Ham respectively, to be very favourable this week, although Man City assets should not be overlooked for their away game at Turf Moor. Back to our captaincy picks, though.

Sadio Mané has rather quietly been more than sensational for the Reds this season. He has scored 18 goals and provided 3 assists this season, and although he didn’t record a return away to Cardiff in gameweek 35, he did return a healthy 91 points over the 12 gameweeks before that (10 goals, 1 assist). At home to Huddersfield and in the middle of a thriller of a title race with Man City, Mané’s arm is probably the safest place to put the band this weekend. Considering his schedule after this weekend (Newcastle away and Wolves at home), the Senegalese winger is nothing short of a set-and-forget kind of transfer option, bar any exceptional news regarding injuries or rotation.

If you feel that Huddersfield at home might represent the proverbial banana peel for the Reds, then you can opt for Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son as your captain this weekend as well. The Korean attacker was a popular captaincy pick for the double gameweek 35, but his return of just 5 points (no attacking returns against City and Brighton) was a kick in the gut for many FPL managers. In gameweek 36 he’s up against West Ham, who have conceded 27 goals in 17 away games so far. Son scored a goal against Palace and provided an assist against Huddersfield in the two rounds before gameweek 35, and he’s been directly involved in a total of 20 goals this season (12 goals, 8 assists). Considering he just played 4 minutes in gameweek 34 and the fact that he’s suspended for the first leg at home to Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals, we believe that Son is a nailed-on starter up front for a team that still has everything to play for in terms of the Champions League spots for next season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him excel against the Hammers on Saturday.

Looking at the FISO Forum GW36 Captain Poll, Mané and Salah are leading the way with around 85% of the votes between them (so far).