FPL Season 2020-20: Gameweek 21 preview

“Arsenal are hosting Manchester United on Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash” (CC by 3.0). Image by Markus Unger.

Gameweek 20 can be considered as largely another one for the differentials. With 15 FPL points and an ownership of 18.4%, West Ham’s Robert Soucek was one of the highest-scoring and most-owned player in the Team of the Week. City’s Joao Cancelo top scored with 17 points and ranks next in terms of ownership with 17.5% (up 2% in 24 hours) and Sadio Mane also scored 15 points but with an ownership of just 7.8%. It’s clear that GW20 was another unpredictable round.

Onto gameweek 21, then. This weekend serves up another enticing set of fixtures containing encounters that are interesting from both a fantasy point of view and the point of view of a neutral supporter. On Saturday, for example, Arsenal are hosting Manchester United and Southampton welcome Aston Villa to Saint Mary’s, whilst the next day, Leeds visit the King Power Stadium in Leicester and Liverpool visit West Ham. None of these games are easy to predict, but the potential entertainment value looks high. Then there are the encounters between Everton at Newcastle at Goodison Park, Manchester City and Sheffield United at the Etihad, and Brighton versus a Kane-less Spurs at the AmEx, just to name a few of the games that will surely be targeted en masse by FPL managers this week. In other words, plenty to look forward to!

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 21 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 30th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 29th, 2020)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Martinez (AST), Ryan (BRI)Ederson (CIT), Martinez (AST), Schmeichel (LEI)
DEFZouma (CHE), Walker-Peters (ZOU), Dallas (LEE), Tierney (ARS)Cancelo (CIT), Stones (CIT), Dias (CIT)Man City’s table-topping rock-solid defence.
MIDDe Bruyne (CIT), Foden (CIT), Neto (WOL)Gundogan (CIT), Sterling (CIT), Soucek (WHU), Saka (ARS)Excellent budget options emerging to enable investment elsewhere.
FORKane (TOT), Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Watkins (AV), Antonio (WHU)DCL’s return, Watkins price & form, Antonio back in the game. Kane & Vardy injuries.

Kane Replacement

The concensus from FISO for a replacement for Kane is to make a transfer to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and this is born out by the transfer table above. Everton do have 1 or 2 games in hand on every other EPL club, apart from Aston Villa. The extra budget available will allow strengthening in other areas of your team.

After a pretty spectacular start to the 2020-21 campaign, Everton cooled down a bit, though they have still been bringing home results. They are currently in seventh place, just two points off fourth, in part thanks to taking 16 points from their last seven league games. With 11 goals and 4 assists, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (7.6m) has been directly involved in just over half of all Toffee goals in the Premier League, though it should be noted that his last goal came all the way back in gameweek 11. He did add 3 assists to his totals since then and he is now back from injury to face a struggling Newcastle side on Saturday afternoon. The Toon have conceded 10 goals in their last five league games, a run in which they did not win a single point. We’re expecting Everton to make it six consecutive defeats for the Magpies and DCL to finally get his name back on the score sheet again.

Non-premium pick

Now that there are so many very budget-priced players emerging, John Stones (£5.2m) represents a relatively considerable allocation of funds, but overall, we still don’t consider his £5.2m price tag to be premium. Especially not when considering the prices of fellow City defender like Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and even Kyle Walker. Stone’s brace back in gameweek 19 was obviously a freak occurrence, but the English defender represents exceptional value even without that 21-point return. He has become a key cog in what is currently the best defensive set-up in English football by some distance and he is up against the league’s least prolific attack this weekend. Sheffield United have scored just 12 goals so far and they are visiting the Etihad on Saturday. A clean sheet and with that a sixth return in seven games for Stones is expected here.

The budget enabler

With 6 goals in his last six games, it’s actually crazy that Ilkay Gündogan (£5.7m) can be included in our budget-enabler category. The Manchester City midfielder has seen an enormous surge in attacking returns since he was situated in a more advanced role by Pep Guardiola and his price tag obviously wasn’t set by FPL towers with that move in mind. He is a sure starter for the Cityzens, he’s on penalties with KDB out injured and he gets several chances per game. On top of that, City are playing bottom-ranked Sheffield United this weekend. At £5.7m, it’s hard to imagine his stock not rising at meteoric speed over the coming weeks, especially if he remains in his red-hot form for a while longer. He performs like a premium player and is priced like a 2-pointer. What more can we wish for?

A differential pick or two

In that same Man City team, Bernardo Silva (£7.4m) has worked hard on his appeal as a fantasy asset as well, albeit at a slightly different pace than his Turkish teammate. Still, the Portuguese technician has started every league game since gameweek 14, and has started returning in the last two rounds as well: 1 goal versus Aston Villa and 1 assist against West Brom for a total of 13 FPL points. The absence of De Bruyne seems to have resulted in a bit more advanced role for Bilva, which could be interesting with a home game against Sheffield United and an away game versus Burnley coming up in the next two rounds. At an ownership of just 1.0%, he could be a shrewd differential investment.

Our second differential fantasy pick for gameweek 21 has seemingly benefited from a team mate’s injury, though to a lesser extent. Harvey Barnes (£6.8m) was already in good form before Jamie Vardy underwent a hernia operation, but from the Everton game this week, it looks like the young English winger will be one of the players to step up in the final third while Vardy is absent. He provided the assist for the equaliser against the Toffees on Wednesday, while he has already scored 3 goals and provided 1 assist in the five gameweeks prior to that game. Despite this fine run of form, Barnes is still owned by just 5.7% of FPL managers, so with the home game against leaky Leeds coming up, his differential appeal is real.

The captaincy

We feel that Brighton could be the perfect kind of opponent for José Mourinho’s Spurs despite Kane’s absence. If they score, chances are Heung-Min Son will be involved, seeing as he has already been directly involved in 54% of all Spurs league goals.

If you don’t have Son or feel that without Kane with him at the AmEx on Sunday he offers less value, Man City offer a few interesting candidates for the GW21 armband as well. The likes of Sterling and Gündogan could deliver a haul against Sheffield United at home, while Cancelo, Dias and Stones look like a certain 12 points against the Blades. The more differential captaincy picks for this weekend include DCL and James Rodriguez against Newcastle at home, Leicester’s Barnes and Maddison against Leeds at home, and the in-form Michail Antonio at home versus Liverpool.