FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 30 preview

“Big game time at the King Power on Saturday: Leicester vs Manchester City (CC by 1.0) Image by: DougPR.

With a few days to go until the kick-off for gameweek 30, an extended period without Premier League football is coming to an end and that’s something of a rarity this season. The scheduling has been especially nightmare-ish this campaign with a lot of blank and double gameweek-related twists and turns making the management of your FPL team more unpredictable than ever. Therefore, the past two weeks have felt like a bit of a breather for many FPL managers. The players, though, will be coming off two weeks of international World Cup qualifiers and friendly games. This goes only for the internationals, of course, but many Premier League players play for their respective national teams, so keep an eye on this when making your plans for gameweek 30.

As far as the return to PL action goes, the upcoming weekend is once again offering a set of interesting fixtures for both avid FPL managers and casual Premier League fans. The category “Favourable fixtures” includes encounters between Chelsea and West Brom at Stamford Bridge, Leeds versus Sheffield United at Elland Road and Spurs visiting Saint James’ Park, while GW30 will also be the stage for some major clashes. Saturday evening in particular offers some classic top-of-the-table action with Leicester hosting Manchester City and Liverpool visiting Arsenal and if you’re not sure which way the matches might go consider looking at some Correct Score Tips to give you guidance on the expected results. 

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 30 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, April 3rd. Also 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 March 31st, 2021)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Martinez (AST), Pope (BUR)Mendy (CHE), Martinez (AST), Meslier (LEE)
DEFDunk (BRI), Cancelo (CIT), Dallas (LEE)Shaw (UTD), Azpilicueta (CHE), Rüdiger (CHE)Chelsea defensive stats, Shaw performances
MIDSon (TOT), Bale (TOT), Aubameyang (ARS)Lingard (WHU), Fernandes (UTD), Mount (CHE)Son injury, Spurs and Arsenal favourable fixtures, form of incoming transfers.
FORWatkins (AST), Bamford (LEE), Antonio (WHU)Iheanacho (LEI), Kane (TOT), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Iheanacho form, Kane form and fixtures

Premium pick

Of all players with at least five Premier League starts under their belts, only West Ham’s Jesse Lingard is currently offering a higher FPL points return per game than Manchester United talisman Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m). The Portuguese midfielder is averaging 7.2 FPL points per game, and is the leading Red Devil for both goals scored (16) and assists provided (12). On top of that, in a weekend in which rotation could be widespread due to World Cup qualification fatigue, it’s positive to note that Bruno played just a game and a half for Portugal this international break. He came on after 45 minutes against Azerbaijan, he played the full 90 minutes against Serbia, and then missed last Tuesday’s clash with Luxembourg due to a yellow card suspension. This represents his first week-long break from football since November. The United star should be rested and raring to go when Brighton visit Old Trafford on Sunday.

Non-premium picks

There are a few good fixtures coming up in gameweek 30, but from an FPL point of view at least, the game between Chelsea and West Brom in London is probably the most favourable. Rotation is, of course, a real threat when it comes to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side, but Mason Mount (£7.0m) has seemingly once again nailed down a starting spot in the side. The English youngster has so far played 225 out of the possible 270 minutes of international football this break. This means it might not be the freshest of Mounts who will turn up for the encounter with the Baggies this Saturday, but chances are he will still turn up. He already has 5 goals and 5 assists to his name this season, and he has completely missed just one game this season, back in gameweek 4, so keep an eye on him for your upcoming transfer plans.

Like Mount, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) is away on international duty this international break, though he has not yet featured as much as his England team mate. DCL played 63 minutes last week against San Marino (and scored a brace) and remained on the bench for the duration of last weekend’s qualifier against Albania and then came on as a sub for Kane against Poland. Everton are however only playing their GW30 match next Monday. In other words, bar injuries or other negative news, expect Calvert-Lewin in the starting line-up when Crystal Palace visit Goodison Park. The Eagles have conceded a worrying 1.9 goals per away game this season and, over the last six gameweeks, only Sheffield United and Wolves conceded more shots in the box, so Everton are clear favourites for a comfortable win here despite losing their last 2 Premier League matches.

The budget enabler

If you would have told us before the start of this season that by gameweek 30, Che Adams (£5.8m) would be amongst the most on-fire fantasy assets of that moment, we might not have believed you despite his obvious strengths (strength being the main one!). We would have been proven wrong because the Southampton striker is actually going through a bit of purple patch at the moment. Adams scored 4 goals in the first 26 rounds of the current campaign, but has netted three consecutive already since gameweek 27. Sheffield United, Manchester City and Brighton, definitely not the most obliging of defences, were all introduced to his new found goalscoring boots. With Danny Ings probably still out injured, Adams will continue to carry much of his team’s attacking responsibilities, though we think that even with Ings fully fit, he will continue to start. The Saints are playing the resurgent Burnley at home on Sunday and West Brom at the Hawthornes in gameweek 31, so Che Adams could be a very wise decision for your valuable budget.

A differential pick or two

It sounds a bit incredible, so we’re writing it down here, just to be sure: Chelsea have taken 9 clean sheets from their last twelve Premier League encounters, more than any other team in the division. Of those twelve games, César Azpilicueta (£5.8m) started eleven and the Spanish veteran recorded no less than 71 FPL points over that same run. It’s true that he is not cheap, but the Blues have the highest chance of a clean sheet this weekend when West Brom pops over and their fixture schedule post-gameweek 30 is pretty good as well. The fact that Azpi is still owned by just 6.5% of FPL managers makes him into an interesting differential pick on the short and medium term.

We already mentioned the increased rotation risk regarding Chelsea assets ever since Thomas Tuchel took over as head coach, but considering their excellent match-up this weekend and their decent fixture calendar after that, we included Kai Havertz (£8.2m) in this week’s differential category. His start to life in the Premier League has been underwhelming, but he has been coming into some form recently. Tuchel started playing the German wonderkid as a false nine a few weeks ago and he has been delivering since then, for club and FPL. He completed the 90 minutes in the last two league games and got 2 assists for a total of 12 FPL points over that period. Not an amazing return either, but Havertz is also the Chelsea player with most shots in the box and most shots on target since gameweek 27. He looks to be settling in Tuchel’s system and now could be a good, early point to get on the train. Do bear in mind that Chelsea have a Champions League quarter final during the week.

The captaincy

Gameweek 30 is providing us with a very interesting selection of good captaincy candidates, though we do want to repeat that fatigue and the subsequent heightened rotation risks could have an impact on FPL developments this weekend. In any case, we have gone with Bruno Fernandes for the armband this gameweek, as the stars seems to have aligned to allow for a successful return to club football by the Portuguese playmaker. United are in decent form, Bruno himself is almost completely fixture-proof, and he was reasonably rested by Portugal. We’re betting on him to return this round.

Not convinced by Bruno’s potential, or perhaps you don’t have the possibilities or the budget to bring him in for this one? No problem, because there are good alternatives as well. Chelsea at home to West Brom brings Mason Mount and even Kai Havertz into the picture. Leeds hosting Sheffield United automatically turns Patrick Bamford (if fit) and also Raphinha into captaincy candidates. Spurs striker Harry Kane is the most likely to return big when struggling Newcastle welcome them to Saint James’ Park on Sunday. The more risk-prone FPL managers could opt for Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison against Palace, or Michail Antonio away against Wolves.