FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 31 preview

With the final international break of the 2021-22 season now behind us, we can truly and well say that we’ve reached the final stretch of the current FPL season. On top of the usual rotation and fatigue worries around this time of the year, the FA will also need to find spots in the schedule to organise the remaining twelve games that unexpectedly became blanks earlier in the season. The result of this is a run of eight gameweeks to end the FPL season in which practically every gameweek will be either a double gameweek, a blank gameweek or a hybrid of the two to some extent. In other words, a LOT can happen still.

In the upcoming GW31, just two teams are doubling and no team is blanking, making it one of the calmer gameweeks between now and the end of the season. Additionally, it’s Burnley and Everton who are doubling, as they first play Man City (home) and West Ham (away) respectively before facing each other in the last encounter of the gameweek. Not the best of doubles for either of them, which is why we expect more fantasy focus this weekend to be on the likes of Liverpool at home against Watford, Chelsea at home to Brentford and Manchester City away at Burnley.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 31 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, April 2nd, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 1st, 2022)

GKRamsdale (ARS), Sa (WOL), Schmeichel (LEI)Pope (BUR), Alisson (LIV), Schmeichel (LEI)Ramsdale injury
DEFAlexander-Arnold (LIV), Dias (MCI), Coady (WOL)Robertson (LIV), Cancelo (MCI), Van Dijk (LIV)TAA injury, Cancelo vs Burnley, Dias injury
MIDBowen (WHU), Coutinho (AST), Son (TOT)Havertz (CHE), Saka (ARS), Salah (LIV)Havertz and Salah favourable fixture, Bowen injury
FORJimenez (WOL), Dennis (WAT), Antonio (WHU)Weghorst (BUR), Kane (TOT), Toney (BRE)Weghorst DGW, Kane form + fixture, Jimenez red card

Premium pick

Yes, we know that Mo Salah (£13.3m) just lost a second all-important international game in quick succession against Senegal and it once again remains to be seen how he will turn up this weekend, but despite this, the Egyptian wizard is still the stand-out premium fantasy pick for GW31. Liverpool are welcoming Watford on Saturday for the gameweek opener, which is simply too favourable of a fixture to pass up from an FPL point of view, even if Salah runs the risk of having his minutes managed. He did, after all, go through an exhausting 120-minute ordeal on Tuesday. Then again, so did he when Egypt lost the Africa Cup final to Senegal and a few days later, he led the line for Liverpool in the Premier League after reports of the star man being raring to go from minute one after his return to the club. The man is a fitness wonder and besides that, what better way to start processing missing out on the World Cup than, say, scoring a hattrick for his club the very next game?

Non-premium pick

As we briefly mentioned earlier, one of the stand-out fixtures from a fantasy point of view this weekend is Chelsea versus Brentford at Stamford Bridge. There could very well be points at both ends of the pitch for the home side in this one and we’re opting for a bet on the Blues’ attack in the person of Kai Havertz (£7.9m). The German international featured for his country during the mid-week international friendlies, but he was taken off in the 69th minute against the Netherlands on Tuesday evening. He should be fit and ready to go against the Bees on Saturday afternoon. Havertz has been in red-hot form of late in the Premier League with 4 goals and 1 assist in his last three outings, and he’s started as a striker in the last four games. The German looks like a very high-ceiling pick this weekend.

The budget enabler

For our budget fantasy pick of the week, we are looking at one of the two teams doubling this gameweek, Burnley. The Clarets are playing Manchester City first followed by Everton, both at Turf Moor, and while the first game represents more or less the season’s most difficult fixture, the second game has all the makings of a doozy. Or in other words: bet on the favourable Everton fixture and hope for a very unexpected Man City bonus. That’s what we’re doing with Wout Weghorst (£6.4m) this weekend, at least. The Dutch striker has so far scored 1 goal and given 2 assists in nine starts for Burnley in the Premier League, though it should be noted that this included encounters with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. While a goal against City looks unlikely, a return or two against Everton would be much less surprising. Though the Toffees did keep a clean sheet against Newcastle last time out, they also conceded 9 goals in the four games prior to that feat. Burnley vs Everton is going to have a huge impact on the relegation battle and we’re hoping that new boy Weghorst can rise to the occasion.

The differential

Even though Gabriel Martinelli (£5.3m) missed out on Arsenal’s last league game due to non-COVID19-related illness, we are touting him as a good differential fantasy pick for gameweek 31. On Monday night, the Gunners are visiting Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace. The Eagles are far from walkovers this season under new coach Patrick Vieira, they conceded just 5 goals in their last four home games (which included Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City), but Arsenal are currently displaying some of their best form in years as well. As far as Martinelli goes, he’s been a starter for Mikel Arteta since about gameweek 14, and he has so far rewarded that trust with 5 goals and 4 assists. One of those goals and one of those assists were recorded over his last three league outings, which indicates some decent form from an attacking viewpoint. Palace will definitely provide a stern test for Martinelli and co, but at a price of just £5.3m and with an ownership of just 4.2%, the Brazilian provides more than interesting differential potential.

The captaincy

We could see this week’s captaincy debate being a heated one if it wasn’t for Mo Salah (again). This weekend, the Premier League’s best attacker, who is listed as a midfielder in FPL, is facing Watford at home and despite his recent national team exertions and disappointments, we’re backing him to deliver for the Reds on Saturday. He got a goal and an assist for 13 FPL points against the Hornets at Vicarage Road back in GW8, so we’re hoping for at least a matching of that haul this time out.

Fortunately for those not able to field Salah or not entirely sure of his starting spot on Saturday, there are other options for your GW31 Captain. Joao Cancelo away against Burnley could be an interesting option, though Kai Havertz at home to Brentford looks a better bet in our opinion. In the premium segment, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes could deliver at home to a leaky Leicester side, while Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min should not be overlooked for their home game against Newcastle on Sunday.