FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 22 preview

After what at times felt like the longest gameweek in the history of FPL, double gameweek 21 is now behind us and we have about 48 hours to prepare for double gameweek 22. Such is life in the (fantasy) Premier League at the moment. West Ham assets particularly stood out last week, with Manuel Lanzini, Jarrod Bowen and Vlad Coufal all recording double-digit hauls, while Lukasz Fabianski and Michail Antonio both made the team of the week with 9-pointers. Issa Diop completed the Hammers’ contingent with 8 points. They now have a single gameweek coming up, but seeing as their fixture is Leeds at home, you can expect heavy investment in West Ham assets before the DGW22 hits.

Other popular single gameweekers will be Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, currently brought in by more than half a million managers since the DGW21 deadline passed, and possibly Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray for their away game at Carrow Road, despite disappointing from a fantasy point of view in DGW21.

As has been the case lately, try and hold out on making transfers for as long as possible, especially not now that double gameweek announcements can be made at any moment.

The Doubles Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and doubles. For GW22, at the time of writing, we have double gameweeks for the following teams:

GW22 doubles(as of 13 Jan 18:00)
BrightonCrystal Palace (home), Chelsea (home)
BurnleyLeicester (home), Watford (home)
LeicesterBurnley (away), Spurs (home)
Manchester UnitedAston Villa (away), Brentford (away)
SpursArsenal (home), Leicester (away)
WatfordNewcastle (away), Burnley (away)

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, January 14th, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 13th, 2022)

GKMendy (CHE), Ramsdale (ARS), Foster (WAT)Sá (WOL), Ederson (MCI), De Gea (MUN)
DEFJames (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Tierney (ARS), Rüdiger (CHE), Cancelo (MCI)TAA yellow-flagged, James + Livramento injured
MIDSalah (LIV), Son (TOT), Benrahma (WHU)Jota (LIV), Son (TOT), Bowen (WHU), Saka (ARS)Son injury, Salah and Benrahma AFCON
FORWatkins (AST), Dennis (WAT), Vardy (LEI)Antonio (WHU), Ronaldo (MUN), Kane (TOT)Dennis yellow-flagged, Vardy injured

Premium pick

Acceptable form and a decent double gameweek coming up. Over 200,000 managers have already brought in Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) in the build-up to gameweek 22 to bring his current total ownership to 31.5% at the time of writing. With the double gameweek fixtures not offering any real stand-out combinations at first glance, Manchester United’s double against Aston Villa and Brentford, both away, is likely to tempt a large number of managers to captain the Portuguese superstar for DGW22. The Red Devils have been far from impressive lately, and neither Villa nor the Bees will prove to be walk-overs for Ralf Rangnick’s men, but then again, it’s not THAT crazy to expect Manchester United to take six points from these games. Ronaldo should be fit after missing out in the FA Cup on Monday and we’re expecting him to be the focal point of the United attack, while he is also on penalties. A return or two over the next two games to build on his current 8 goals and 3 assist so far isn’t too much to ask, right?

Non-premium pick

Despite having just a single fixture in what is a double gameweek for seven teams, Liverpool’s Diogo Jota (£8.3m) is currently the most transferred-in midfielder with about 24 hours to go to the DGW22 deadline. The Reds are preparing for a home game against Brentford, who just shipped four goals away against Southampton on Tuesday, and things are looking good for their Portuguese forward. Jota, who is classified as a midfielder in the official game He is the main man in Liverpool’s forward line now that both Mo Salah and Sadio Mané are involved in the African Cup of Nations. He has scored 2 goals and given 1 assist in his last four league games, and sits on a total of 10 goals and 2 assists for the season so far. The Portugal international is likely facing a depleted Brentford backline, with three defenders currently flagged, just coming off a 4-1 loss at Saint Mary’s. Over half a million fantasy managers have already brought Jota in and the added value of this transfer is that fixture-wise, he can be a decently-priced set-and-forget option until at least gameweek 26.

The budget enabler

For our budget enabler of the week, we’re looking at Brighton and Hove Albion, one of the seven teams with a double gameweek. Admittedly, the Seagulls don’t seem to have the easiest double match-up on paper, but there is some potential there, especially, quite surprisingly perhaps, in the attacking department. Neither the Eagles (8 goals conceded in the last four) nor the Blues (4 goals conceded in the last three) have been their defensive best of late, and Brighton’s striker Neal Maupay (£6.5m) seems to have hit a good vein of form at the moment. He has scored 7 goals and given 1 assist this season, and 1 of those goals plus the single assist were recorded over the last three gameweeks. Looking back a bit further, we can see that the Frenchman has actually returned in five of his last six league outings for a total of 30 FPL points. Not bad for a budget striker who is a nailed-on option for his gaffer and about to face two suspect defences. The way we see it, the home game against Palace is the main event, while the home encounter with Chelsea is a bonus.

The differential

One of the reasons why double gameweek 22 isn’t as straight-forward as many would like, is that on paper, Watford have the best double match-up. The Hornets will be facing Newcastle and Burnley away from home, but of course, they are a relegation candidate themselves. In other words, Newcastle and Burnley will be eyeing the three points against Watford as well. Still, we feel that Josh King (£5.8m) could be a shrewd investment. Most of the eyes have been on Dennis as Watford’s stand-out attacking option (who has also just returned to training) and with good reason, but King has been ticking along nicely as well. The Norway international already has 5 goals and 4 assists to his name this season, and he’s a nailed-on starter under manager Claudio Ranieri. What’s more, he’s on penalties and that’s especially interesting during double gameweeks in our opinion. In the end, the 37.5%-owned Dennis (King is currently in 8% of all squads) has recorded “just” 3 goals and 1 assist more than King, making the latter a very interesting differential for DGW22. We might even be so bold as to suggest, him as a big-time outsider punt for the captaincy. For those who can afford such boldness, of course.

The captaincy

As we wrote earlier, we’re expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to be the main captain of choice in DGW22 and we’re leaning towards him as well. With Manchester United currently in sixth in the Prem, six points behind West Ham in fourth, away games against teams such as Villa and especially promoted Brentford are must-wins. Ronaldo should be fit enough to start both games, especially considering the fact that the Red Devils have a four-day resting period in between the two games and despite some pundits doubting the Portuguese’s physical ability to start and perform in both (what?!). He’s probably the safest bet for the armband this weekend.

Besides CR7, there is also Harry Kane, who is facing Arsenal at home and Leicester away in DGW22. The England captain blanked against Watford in GW21, but he did score in three consecutive games prior to that fixture. He’s nailed-on, on penalties, and well… Harry Kane. If you want to go the more differential route with your captaincy pick, the previously mentioned Josh King offers an interesting prospect, while James Maddison for his double against Burnley and Spurs is an outside pick with a big potential upside as well.