It’s finally here, the much-anticipated blank gameweek 32. For months now, FPL managers have been aware of this one and with good reason. Despite the fact that “just” four teams are blanking in gameweek 32, these four teams boast loads of popular fantasy picks. This also explains why so many managers are expected to activate their Free Hit chip this weekend (and why those who don’t will be tempted to take hits for transfers), so keep that in mind.
|TEAMS BLANKING IN GW32|
With the teams listed above out of action for the weekend, the FPL manager’s focus automatically shifts to mainly Arsenal and Liverpool. The Gunners and the Reds are facing Southampton and Nottingham Forest at home, giving them the most favourable fixtures by some distance of all playing teams in blank gameweek 32. Assets from these sides will feature heavily in Free Hit squads and they dominate our picks for the weekend as well.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 32 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, April 21st, 2023.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 19th, 2023)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Kepa (CHE), Ward (LEI), De Gea (MUN)||Martinez (AST), Alisson (LIV), Raya (BRE)||BGW32|
|DEF||Chilwell (CHE), Martinez (MUN), Shaw (MUN)||Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Mings (AST), White (ARS)||BGW32, Martinez injury, Shaw injury doubt|
|MID||Rashford (MUN), Mitoma (BRI), Saka (ARS)||Eze (CRY), Salah (LIV), Martinelli (ARS)||BGW32, Rashford injury doubt|
|FOR||Haaland (MCI), Toney (BRE), Kane (TOT)||Watkins (AST), Jesus (ARS), Solanke (BOU)||BGW32|
Despite Liverpool’s very disappointing season and Mo Salah’s (£12.8m) alleged lack of form, the Egyptian is still the joint-third highest-scoring asset in the official game. He is tied with Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli as best midfielder in the game with 180 FPL points, a total that is only surpassed by forwards Harry Kane with 200 points and, of course, Erling Haaland with 227 points. That’s it. Salah took the gameweek 31 visit to Elland Road as an opportunity to work on his totals for the season by scoring 2 goals to make it 15 league goals so far, complemented by his 8 assists. The Liverpool talisman has now returned nine times in his last six starts (7 goals, 2 assists), including 4 goals in his last three starts, which were against Man City away, Arsenal at home and Leeds away. In other words, Salah is definitely finding the back of the net despite what some experts and pundits might be saying about him, and it’s a home game against Nottingham Forest up next. In a depleted gameweek and at a moment in which Liverpool are no longer competing for anything else but to finish as high as possible in the Prem, Salah doesn’t only scream premium fantasy pick for blank gameweek 32, but stand-out captaincy option as well.
Like Salah, Gabriel Martinelli (£6.9m) will be firmly part of the blank gameweek 32 Free Hit template. While the Brazilian already sits in about 44% of all teams at the time of writing, we assume that he will also be included in every activated Free Hit this week. That’s not a very risky or farfetched assumption at all when you look at Martinelli’s stats. In his last nine games, he was part of the starting eleven ten times and managed an incredible 6 goals and 3 assists over that run. As a matter of fact, he has not blanked since gameweek 26, scoring 3 goals and providing 3 assists in his last five league outings. The Brazilian will be looking to build on those performances in blank gameweek 32, when Southampton are visiting the Emirates Stadium. The Saints are bottom of the league as it stands, having scored just 24 goals and having conceded a worrying 53 goals in 31 games. While the Premier League is always ready to offer us surprises, we can’t really see this one going anywhere else but a comfortable victory for the title-chasing home side and if that happens, you’re most probably going to want to have Martinelli in your squad, Free Hit or not.
The budget enabler
Outside of Arsenal and Liverpool, Fulham look to have one of the more favourable fixtures for blank gameweek 32, from an attacking perspective at least. They are hosting a Leeds side that is just coming off a pretty serious drubbing on their own ground against Liverpool and while we’re not sure what kind of predicted result to stick on Saturday’s game between Fulham and Leeds at Craven Cottage, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the home side put one or two past Leeds goal Illan Meslier. With that assumption in the back of our heads and knowing that Aleksandr Mitrovic is out with a suspension, we’ve shifted our attention to Andreas Pereira (£4.3m) as the ultimate budget enabler in gameweek 32. The Belgium-born Brazilian is central to everything Fulham do in attack and he is on set-pieces as well, possibly including penalties now that Mitro won’t be available. Andreas has scored 3 goals and provided 10 assists so far this season, which is incredible for a player priced £4.5m or lower, and will now be facing the leakiest defence in the entire league. Leeds have conceded no less than 60 goals in 31 games, which comes down to an average of basically two goals per game, and exactly half of those goals were conceded on the road. Especially for those on a Free Hit, Andreas Pereira looks like one of the best budget-enabling fantasy picks for blank gameweek 32.
Four our differential pick for gameweek 32, we had our sights set on the Bournemouth roster after their dramatic last-second 2-3 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadion last Saturday and with a home game against struggling West Ham up next. We actually like Philip Billing a lot, but considering the many options in midfield for blank gameweek 32, we have opted to include forward Dominic Solanke (£5.5m) instead. Having said that, he might just be the best Cherry to pick anyway after his season-high 15-point haul against Spurs in GW31. He scored once himself and created 2 goals for others in possibly one of the best displays of his career to gift Bournemouth a precious three points. His totals for the 2022-23 Premier League campaign now sit at 5 goals and 9 assists. This is not bad for a budget starter (who is on penalties as well), but also partly explains why Solanke is currently part of just 3.1% of teams in the official game. It should be noted though, that this percentage is likely to be considerably higher this weekend as a result of Free Hit activations. The Cherries are hosting West Ham on Sunday in a true relegation battle and we’re quietly betting on the home side to come out on top in this one. The Hammers have been unreliable away from home, taking just 9 points from 14 games and conceding 20 goals over that same run. Assuming Solanke is coming into this one with sky-high confidence, he’s looking like a very interesting differential fantasy pick for blank gameweek 32.
As we mentioned earlier in this piece, Mo Salah is the clear captain for us in blank gameweek 32. Liverpool are only active in the Premier League at this point, they just boosted their confidence a bit with a resounding 1-6 win over Leeds and Salah is very much back to scoring ways, not unlike times in the past where he was the closest an FPL asset can be to be considered essential. On top of that, it’s Nottingham Forest at Anfield for the Reds this weekend.
Having said that, the above doesn’t mean that BGW32 isn’t offering decent alternatives for the captaincy. The Arsenal boys come to mind immediately and slapping the armband on any of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka or Martin Odegaard for their home game against Southampton feels like a good decision. Gabriel Jesus would count as a bit more differential pick, as would the likes of Harry Kane away at Newcastle, Ivan Toney at home to Aston Villa and Ollie Watkins for his visit to Brentford.