FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 38 preview

“Is Mo Salah taking the Golden Boot at Anfield on Sunday or will it be Kane at the King Power?”

The day has finally arrived. The final gameweek of what has probably been the craziest, most unpredictable Premier League and FPL season in (recent) memory. The COVID-19 pandemic, the Super League wannabe-coup, a few weather postponements and the usual entertainment that is the Premier League made this one of the most challenging seasons for FPL managers all over the world.

Even though the champions have been crowned already and the relegated teams have been determined, there is still quite a lot to play for on this final game day:

Top four finish (+ 5th place)Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester
6th place (Europa League)West Ham, Spurs (3 points behind), Everton (but goal difference inferior by 8 compared to Hammers)
7th place (Conference League)Arsenal, Leeds

Enjoy the last round of Premier League fixtures of this 2020/21 campaign and we hope that you’ve enjoyed our gameweek previews again this season. To those who have read them, occasionally or every week, thank you! We appreciate it and we hope that it made your FPL season just a little bit better. It’s been a pleasure and count on us being back for the build-up to the 2021/22 season with detailed team and season previews to give you that edge right from the start.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 38 is set at 14h30 (UK time) on Sunday, May 23rd.

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 May 21st, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Pope (BUR), Meslier (LEE)Alisson (LIV), Meslier (LEE), Mendy (CHE)GW38 fixtures
DEFCancelo (CIT), Dias (CIT), Digne (EVE)Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Dallas (LEE), Robertson (LIV)GW38 fixtures, Cancelo red card
MIDJota (LIV), Gündogan (CIT), Son (TOT)Salah (LIV), Willock (NEW), Harrison (LEE)GW38 fixtures, Jota injury
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Kane (TOT), Watkins (AST)Bamford (LEE), Wood (BUR), Firmino (LIV)GW38 fixtures

Premium pick

We had big hopes for Mo Salah (£12.9m) last weekend against a Burnley side on the way to the beach, but we were disappointed. Three Liverpool goals, but no direct involvement from the Egyptian saw him record just 3 FPL points. Also, it meant that he is still on par for the Golden Boot with Harry Kane, who blanked as well. Both are on 22 goals and it might come down to the very final day of the season to decide who will be this year’s sharpest shooter. That’s also why we are repeating Salah as our stand-out premium fantasy pick for gameweek 38. The Reds are facing Crystal Palace at home and they need a win to secure Champions League football next season, so we’re assuming Momo is going to get plenty of chances to clinch both a top-4 spot and the top scorer’s title.

Non-premium picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick then is Patrick Bamford (£6.6m), who has represented exceptional value this season. Starting at £5.5 million, the Leeds striker currently has 16 goals and 11 assists to his name, which is outstanding. He added a goal and an assist to those totals last weekend against Southampton for a 12-point haul. Leeds seem to be playing their own attacking game until the end and Bamfy is as nailed-on as they come as their main man up front. They are facing relegated West Brom at Elland Road on Sunday and it’s interesting to note that Bamford recorded a brace of assists against them back in gameweek 16. This time around, the Baggies have nothing left to play for. All this probably explains why the Leeds man is currently the most transferred-in forward in the build-up to GW38.

The thing about Michail Antonio (£6.6m) in GW38 is that he is nailed-on as a striker in a team that needs a result in order to secure European football for next season. He came off the pitch last weekend with a goal and 3 bonus points against West Brom, which brought his totals to 10 goals, 5 assists and 116 FPL points for the Premier League season. Over the last six games, Antonio ranks first amongst strikers for expected goals and second amongst strikers for expected goal involvement (so goal or assist). The Hammers are hosting Southampton on Sunday and with the Saints having nothing left to play for but honour, we can see the English striker getting a lot of opportunities in this one.

The budget enabler

A goal in each of his last 6 games, a price tag of just £4.8 million and a current ownership of just 2.8% That must be a mistake, right? Well, it isn’t, because with his winning goal against Sheffield United last weekend, Joe Willock became the youngest player in Premier League history to achieve that feat and just the third Newcastle player to do so, after Papiss Cissé and a certain Alan Shearer. Away at Craven Cottage on Sunday, he can even join Alan Shearer as the only Magpie with 7 consecutive games with a goal, which makes him an interesting budget-enabler for those FPL managers considering a major final match day move to surge up the rankings. Since securing safety, Newcastle are fourth amongst all teams when it comes to expected goals, while Fulham are seventh worst for expected goals conceded. Sounds like a really interesting match-up for a last day of the season, if you ask us.

A differential pick or two

One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to Manchester United this gameweek is that three days later, they are playing the Europa League final. Combine that with the fact that they have secured second place in the league already and it’s not hard to imagine there will be some changes to the United side turning up at Molineux on Sunday. That creates room for punts and we picked Alex Telles (£5.3m) as an interesting target. First-choice left-back Luke Shaw will likely be rested for the clash with Wolves, which opens the doors for the Portuguese set-piece specialist to show his skills. Wolves are not the same when it comes to defending set-pieces without Willy Boly and at the same time, they struggle up front as well. Just 7 goals in the last ten games is not a very scary total. Telles sits in just 0.5% of all teams at the moment.

Last weekend, our premium pick Salah did not deliver, but his team mate (and one of our differential picks for GW37) Sadio Mané (£11.6m) did. The Senegalese international recorded 6 FPL points, courtesy of an assist and a clean sheet, after giving an assist in GW36 as well. With Diogo Jota confirmed out, Mané will start up front with Salah and Firmino against Crystal Palace at Anfield, and with the Reds needing a win to secure Champions League football, we see few better differential options than Mané. He has gone a little bit under the radar this season as all all eyes were on Salah for a similar price tag, but the winger has still amassed 9 goals and 11 assists in the league after 37 games. He sits in just 6.7% of all teams, so a straight swap for, for example, a premium European-final-bound United or City asset is a ballsy, but potentially very rewarding move.

The captaincy

For our captaincy decision this week, we went between the two battlers for the Golden Boot, Harry Kane and Mo Salah, and we’ve ended up choosing the latter. Liverpool have much more to play for, they are a better team and a much more favourable fixture. Kane is, of course, completely fixture-proof and having an incredible season with 22 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League alone, but we’re expecting Salah to outperform him and win the topscorer’s title.

These two players will probably be the most popular GW38 captain picks this week, but an outfield captain could be rewarding as well, especially for the FPL managers still in a close race for first spot in their mini-leagues. The likes of Patrick Bamford at home to West Brom, Sadio Mané at home to Crystal Palace and Antonio against Southampton could all deliver this weekend. Even Burnley’s Chris Wood can be considered for the Clarets’ away game against Sheffield United, as the New Zealand striker has 5 goals and 1 assist to his name from the last five games.

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