FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 38 Preview

“Is Jurgen Klopp going to surprise in the Premier League as well after Liverpool’s heroics against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals?” (CC by 2.0 ) by Asia Johanna

And so we’ve come to the end of yet another thrilling Premier League campaign and yet another roller coaster FPL season. The final gameweek promises plenty of emotion, as the championship has not been decided yet, unbelievable but true. With a win at Brighton, Pep Guardiola’s Man City will crown themselves champions with an incredible 98 points from 38 games, after surpassing the 100-point mark last season. Any other result at the AMEX, in combination with a Liverpool victory at Anfield versus a Wolves team that has nothing to play for any more (already assured of 7th place), and the Reds grab the title with 97 points. No matter the outcome, both clubs have been brilliant throughout the season, something that’s illustrated by the fact that the runner-up for the 2018-19 campaign will finish with at least 95 points. In any other Premier League season bar last, that tally would have been more than enough to comfortably take the title home.

The easy thing about gameweek 38 is that there is just one more week to take into account in terms of your FPL transfer plans. The only other remaining relevant games on the schedule are the FA Cup final between City and Watford (May 18th), and of course the all-English European finals: Spurs vs Liverpool in the Champions League final on the 1st of June and Chelsea vs Arsenal in the Europa League final on May 29th. Relevant is a relative term in this case though, because we don’t believe that these games, considering their dates, will have too much impact on the starting line-ups for the Premier League’s gameweek 38. Still, players from any of these six teams with a niggling injury might be spared coming Sunday in order to nurture the injury as well as possible in the build-up to a final.

What could be of more influence on player selection this weekend, is the fact that the majority of teams in the Premier League no longer have something to play far apart from their honour. For this reason, we’ve created a simple overview of what’s at stake for every Premier League club in the final gameweek of the season:

Brighton Manchester City Brighton are safe from relegation, City win the title if they beat Brighton
Burnley Arsenal Burnley are safe from relegation, Arsenal secure fifth place if they beat Burnley. Arsenal can fall to sixth place if they lose or draw, and Man United beat Cardiff
Crystal Palace Bournemouth Nothing at stake but twelfth place
Fulham Newcastle Fulham have been relegated and play their last home game of the season, Newcastle are safe from relegation
Leicester Chelsea Chelsea secure third place if they beat Leicester, but if they draw or lose and Spurs beat Everton, Chelsea drop to fourth place. If Leicester beat Chelsea and Everton lose away to Spurs, Leicester takes eight place.
Liverpool Wolves If Liverpool beat Wolves and City draw or lose against Brighton, Liverpool take the title. Wolves have secured seventh place.
Manchester United Cardiff Cardiff have been relegated. If United beat Cardiff and Arsenal draw or lose against Burnley, United take fifth place.
Southampton Huddersfield Southampton are safe from relegation, Huddersfield have been relegated.
Spurs Everton If Spurs beat Everton and Chelsea draw or lose against Leicester, Spurs take third place.  If Everton lose to Spurs and Leicester beat Chelsea, Everton drops to ninth.
Watford West Ham Both teams are safe from relegation, while there is no chance of European qualification for either of them via the Premier League ranking.

*In some scenarios, the goal difference might make a small difference, but we have disregarded this factor when determining the stakes for the table above.

Do not forget that the deadline for gameweek 38 has been set at 14h00 (BST) on Sunday, May 12th, and that all games will kick off at 15h00 (BST). Be sure to check your chips as well: if you have any chips left, this is your last chance to activate them, just like you would if you were playing online pokies in Australia. Now onto our last picks for the 2018-2019 FPL season.

Premium picks

As you probably imagined, our picks for gameweek 38 are dominated by Man City and Liverpool assets, not for the first time this season. With just one game left to go, the title race is still wide open, meaning that we’re counting on both managers to field their strongest possible starting eleven. Seeing as Raheem Sterling is part of our captaincy picks later on, our first premium pick of the week is his team mate Sergio Aguero (£12.0m). The flow of play on Sunday is predictable, as Brighton will most likely sit deep and make disrupting City’s offensive plans their top priority. The Seagulls have conceded 10 goals in their last 6 games, a run that included a collective lapse of concentration in gameweek 34 that ended with a 0-5 drubbing at home to an inconsistent Bournemouth side. As far as Aguero goes, the Argentinian striker has not been on his most productive run over the last few gameweeks, at least in terms of FPL returns. In the last four games, he scored a goal and provided a single assist, while the home game against Leicester last weekend represents the first time Kun didn’t get a return from a home game in which he started this season. Truth be told, fortune wasn’t on his side as he did hit the crossbar in that game and Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel kept Aguero from the score sheet with an excellent save in the closing minutes. With both the Premier League title and the 2018-19 top scorer’s title on the line for the agile forward (he stands at 20 goals currently, two behind Salah), expect Aguero to start and City to come out with guns blazing.

Our second premium pick for GW38 is Liverpool’s Sadio Mané (£10.3m), as his team mate Mo Salah is our second suggestion for the armband this week after Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the Egyptian will have recovered from his concussion by the time Wolves roll up to Anfield on Sunday. The Senegalese forward did not manage to get directly involved in any of the four goals during the instant legendary comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final during the week, but he played an excellent game nonetheless, providing constant threat to the Barça backline. Mané has been in scintillating form at Anfield this season, scoring 11 goals in 18 home games. Over the last four games overall, he scored 3 and guess where those were scored? Exactly, in front of the Reds faithful. Wolves are far from push-overs, but with seventh place in the PL guaranteed, they may turn up a bit more relaxed than usual for the last game of the season. It’s also possible that manager Nuno Espirito Santo uses the opportunity to give a few of his less regular starters some playing minutes. In any case, considering the stakes for Liverpool, it’s hard for us not to see a victory for the Reds here. On top of that, Salah (first with 22 goals) and Mané (shared second with 20 goals) can still both realistically win the Premier League Golden Boot, which is a great prospect from an FPL point of view.

Our final premium pick of the week, and indeed of the season, is one inspired by… well, hope, or maybe stubbornness. Whatever the case, we believe Manchester United’s Paul Pogba (£8.6m) is worth a mention, despite United’s inexplicable form at the moment. You’d think United assets would be on the way out after their horror show of a performance against Huddersfield last week, but Pogba is actually one of the most-transferred in players in the build-up to gameweek 38. Truth be told, he was relatively one of the less disappointing Red Devils on the pitch versus the Terriers and he did hit the woodwork twice in that game, all of which goes towards explaining his inclusion in our list. United are hosting recently relegated Cardiff on Sunday afternoon, so you’d think (or at least hope) that the locals can bring it one more time, in front of their home fans, to give a largely disappointing season a positive ending. United have scored 33 goals in 18 home games (with Pogba scoring 10 and preparing 3 of those goals), while the Bluebirds have scored just 11 goals on the road this whole season, losing 13 of their 18 away games. Add to that Pogba’s penalty duties and nailed-on starting spot, and it suddenly doesn’t look like such a bad idea to include the Frenchman in your FPL squad, although as we’ve hinted it is a bit of a gamble with other promising options available just like American online gambling sites can be.

The FISO Forum transfer topic for FPL GW38 will give you more ideas.

A differential pick or two

With Southampton safe from relegation and considering their 3-0 loss to West Ham last weekend, a Saints asset might not be top of your transfer targets list for GW38. Still, with their final game of the season taking place at home to Huddersfield, a player like Nathan Redmond (£5.5m) could well be worth a punt. The English forward is a nailed-on starter for manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, despite his surprising start on the bench against the Hammers last weekend. The Austrian coach brought Redmond on after the break though, enough for the Saints star to make four attempts on goal from inside the penalty area. He has scored 2 goals and provided 1 assist over his last five Premier League games, and all of those returns came in the two home games during that period (2 goals vs Wolves in GW33 and an assist vs Bournemouth in GW36). The visiting Terriers have lost 14 of their 18 away games this season and they have conceded a worrying 44 goals over that run. A end-of-the-season haul could well be on the cards for Redmond. It’s also noted that goalkeeper Gunn who was also benched last week will be starting on Sunday according to Hasenhüttl.

Our second differential pick of the season is Fulham’s Ryan Babel (£5.6m), who will be looking to leave a good impression in what is most likely to be his last game for the club. Though not enough to avoid the relegation that had been looming over Fulham for many months already, the Dutch international has had a fantastic impact on his team, scoring 5 goals and providing 4 assists since arriving to Craven Cottage in the last winter transfer window. Apart from 2 goals, all of those returns were recorded on his own ground, where Fulham will be hosting Newcastle on Sunday. In his last five home games, Babel got an impressive 39 FPL points: 9 in GW36 vs Cardiff, 14 in GW34 vs Everton, 2 vs City in GW32, 9 vs Liverpool in GW31 and 5 in GW29 against Chelsea. Newcastle, on the other hand, have conceded 23 goals in 18 away games, of which they lost 7. With a price tag of just £5.6m, his FPL position as a midfielder but him being deployed as a forward in real life, and a current ownership of just 1.6%, Babel could be a surprising differential asset in the final stages of your mini-leagues.

The captaincy

As we mentioned earlier in this article, both of our suggestions for the captain’s armband in gameweek 38 are directly involved in the deciding games for the Premier League title. With Mo Salah (£13.3) playing at home and considering his current leading position in the Golden Boot ranking, the Egyptian forward is our first captaincy pick this week. Despite him not being in the squad for the mid-week semi-final against Barcelona in the Champions League due to a concussion, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that his talisman will be ready for the clash with Wolves on Sunday. Salah has provided attacking returns for his owners in the last six gameweeks, a run over which he scored 5 goals and gave 3 assists. On top of that, there is no other player in the Premier League who has had more shots on target in home games this season than Mo’s 30. Besides the championship, the Liverpool wizard is also defending his lead in the Premier League Golden Boot race, which he is currently leading by 2 goals (22 vs three players with 20 goals in second place: Aguero, Aubameyang, and his team mate Mané). This may result in a bit more selfishness in front of goal than usual, which, considering his underlying stats, is not bad news either for those who own Salah or are planning on bringing him in.

Man City’s Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) was recently elected PFA Young Player of the Season and it’s not hard to see why. The young English forward has been spectacular for Pep Guardiola this season, scoring 17 goals in the Premier League and preparing another 14 goals for team mates. In a deep squad where rotation is an ever-present risk, Sterling is one of Pep’s most-used players (2,680 minutes in the PL alone this season) and we can only see him featuring from the kick-off against Brighton on Sunday. It is true that the City star has been less productive lately, with just a single assist in his last three games to illustrate that, and City have been struggling lately to translate their footballing dominance on the pitch into comfortable victories. Add to that that Brighton are likely to do whatever they can to frustrate Pep Guardiola and his players in their quest to put the game beyond doubt as soon as possible, thereby making the result at Anfield redundant. It’s hard not to see City winning this one though, but it’s unclear whether they’ll do it comfortably or by the skin of their teeth. Both scenarios are real possibilities. In any case, the visitors will be creating chances and when they do, more often than not, Raheem Sterling is involved. His arm is probably one of the safest places for the armband in gameweek 38.

According to the FISO Forum Captain Poll for FPL GW38, Aguero and then Salah clearly lead the way from Sterling and Mane.