EURO 2020: Which FPL assets are shining so far?

“After kicking out the Germans, England are now just 2 games away from a European final at Wembley”

The Euros are always something special. The world-class encounters, the emotions, the fan zones. The world’s third-biggest sports event is a month-long football bonanza for fans and professionals all over the world. Whilst many fans just follow their country, others place a bet or two or play fantasy football games to increase their involvement in the televised matches. Some will compare betting sites at Betopin to check ratings and promotional offers. And that’s not all, because the tournament has an impact on the subsequent FPL season as well. Especially the more experienced fantasy managers know that factors like extended holidays for some players who reach deep into the European Championship, injuries and form will play a bigger role than usual at the start of the campaign.

Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to observe Euro 2020 from an FPL manager point of view as well. Who is playing a lot? Who is in form? Who is struggling with his fitness? Who is showing growth during the tournament? These are the types of questions that can help fantasy managers in their decision-making process when setting up their gameweek 1 squad. With the group stage out of the way and the knock-out stages in full swing, we figured it could be both interesting and helpful to take a look at some of the FPL assets that have been performing well up until now.

Vladimir Coufal (West Ham, £5.0m)

After eliminating the Netherlands in the round of 16, the Czech Republic have catapulted themselves towards the top of the list of surprise packages. Up next are Denmark in the quarter-finals, and if the Czechs can manage to keep up their intensity and solid defence, a spot in the semi-finals is definitely on the cards. One of the main men at Nároďák is West Ham defender Vladimir Coufal, who has not yet missed a single minute of Euro 2020 football. He is a fixed component of the national side at right-back, and he already has 2 clean sheets and 1 assists from four games to his name. He’s tireless, he likes bombing forward and he is modestly prized on FPL, assuming that West Ham will be able to build on last season’s performances.

Tomáš Soucek (West Ham, £6.0m)

We’re sticking with the Hammers for the moment, because one of last season’s West Ham and FPL favourites is having an excellent Euro 2020 as well. With 10 goals and 2 assists over the 20/21 campaign, Tomáš Soucek had a rather spectacular debut season at the highest English level, especially considering the fact that he is usually deployed as a central or even defensive midfielder. With his national team this summer, he is showing that this club performance was far from a fluke. In terms of returns, he just has a single assist to his name, but despite his deeper midfield deployment, only Austria midfielder Marcel Sabitzer currently has more goal attempts to his name than the Czech Hammer. What’s more, out of his 8 shots, 6 have come from inside the box. At a price of just £6.0m and with a kind opening Premier League schedule coming up, last year’s highest-scoring West Ham midfielder could be a great value pick for gameweek 1.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, £11.0m)

England have so far played four games and scored 4 goals, and three of those goals have been scored by Man City star Raheem Sterling. The question is, of course, how likely the English winger is to still be at City after the summer transfer window closes after rumours of a serious contract spat between him and the club. In any case, for the moment he is still a Citizen and as a Citizen, he is having a good World Cup, at least in terms of impact and returns. If Sterling can carry this clinical form into the coming PL season, he could be a popular premium asset at the start of the campaign, despite City’s mixed bag of opening fixtures. On top of that, it’s interesting to keep in mind that the England man is considerably more affordable than the premium likes of Mo Salah (£12.5m), Harry Kane (£12.5m) and Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m).

Jordan Pickford (Everton, £5.0m)

As we wrote earlier, with just 4 scored goals, England have been far from prolific so far during the ongoing Euros 2020. The Three Lions did reach the quarter-finals already and they have their defensive performances to thank for a large part of it: they are yet to concede a goal. That’s a compliment for the entire team and the defence in particular with Jordan Pickford between the sticks. The Everton goalie is Gareth Southgate’s number one and his Euro 2020 record is flawless so far. What makes this performance even more interesting, for FPL managers that is, is the fact that the young Englishman looks to be one of the most appealing mid-price goalkeepers in the official game at just £5.0m. Of course, it remains to be seen who will be the next manager at Goodison Park, but if the Toffees can build on last year’s performances, Pickford is worth considering.

Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton, £5.0m)

We mentioned the Czech Republic earlier as one of Euro 2020’s surprise so far and Denmark fits that category as well. After their dramatic tournament opener, the Scandinavians have managed to take force from their misfortune, which explains their current spot in the quarter-finals. Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard is one of the big men in the back for the Danes. He has started 3 of the four games and was a substitute in the other game, and he was part of 1 clean sheet. At Soton, he is a pretty reliable starter who offers some offensive threat as well, as underlined by his 3 goals and 1 assist last season. The Saints don’t have the best set of opening fixtures to the 2021/22 campaign, but his mid-price price tag should see Vestergaard find his way on to more than a few scouting lists in the build-up to gameweek 1.

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.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics.

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 37 preview

“A major clash for the European spots on Tuesday night: Chelsea vs Leicester at Stamford Bridge”

There are just two rounds left of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign and while both the champions (Manchester City) and the relegated sides (Sheffield United, West Brom, Fulham) are confirmed by now, there is still plenty left to be decided when it comes to the European spots for next season. Gameweek 37 will likely bring about a lot of conclusions in that area. Considering how shambolic the final gameweek of an FPL season can be, due to lack of incentives and increased rotation and the like, it might not be the worst move to roll a transfer in GW37, assuming your squad can handle it.

After a spectacular double-triple gameweek 35 and a blank gameweek 36, GW37 is bringing us back to normal in more than one way. Not only does the round feature a standard ten fixtures, but it also sees (limited) crowds return to the English stadiums after more than a year away. What effect is that going to have on the season’s final two rounds? It could give this round’s already favourable home encounters for Manchester United (vs Fulham), Everton (vs Wolves) and Newcastle (vs Sheffield United) an extra edge, for example. The same might happen for some of the underdogs playing at home next, like West Brom (hosting West Ham), Burnley (hosting Liverpool) and even Brighton (hosting Man City).

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 37 is set at 16h30 (UK time) tomorrow Tuesday, May 18th.

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 17th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Pope (BUR), Ederson (CIT)Meslier (LEE), Alisson (LIV), Mendy (CHE)Final 2 fixtures, Pope possible injury
DEFDias (CIT), Dunk (BRI), Maguire (UTD)Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Dallas (LEE), Wan-Bissaka (UTD)Final 2 fixtures, Dallas OoP, TAA attacking returns, Maguire injury
MIDJota (LIV), Lingard (WHU), Son (TOT)Greenwood (UTD), Torres (CIT), Harrison (LEE)Final 2 fixtures, Greenwood & Torres form, Jota injury
FORWatkins (AST), Iheanacho (LEI), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Antonio (WHU), Bamford (LEE), Cavani (UTD)Final 2 fixtures, Leicester fixtures difficult

Premium pick

It was, of course, goalkeeper Alisson Becker who grabbed all of the headlines when he scored his crucial winning header in the 5th minute of extra time against West Brom, but for FPL managers, what happened about an hour earlier was of more interest to the majority. In the 33rd minute, Mo Salah (£12.8m) put Liverpool ahead with his 22nd goal of the season and his 5th over the last seven PL outings. Considering the form he is currently in, the fact that he is co-leading the Golden Boot race, Liverpool’s ongoing battle for a top-4 finish and the Reds’ favourable remaining two fixtures, the Egyptian forward is a premium asset you want to own for the final bit. Next up is a visit to Turf Moor.

Non-premium picks

From a fantasy point of view, gameweek 37’s outstanding fixture is Manchester United versus Fulham at Old Trafford. Where the visitors have already been relegated, the Red Devils need a victory to definitely secure second place. Doing so will mean that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can fully focus on the upcoming Europa League final, just three days after their final league game at Molineux. Expect there to be plenty of rotation at United for the last two games of the season, but we think Mason Greenwood (£7.2m) is a hard-to-ignore transfer target. The youngster is in blistering form with 6 goals and 1 assist from his last 7 league games, and he was largely rested during United’s last game. We expect this to be a one-sided affair that the Mancunians will want to wrap as quickly as they can and Greenwood should be there to help make it happen.

It’s very possible if you are one of the FPL managers who had the foresight at the start of this season to select Patrick Bamford (£6.5m), that the Leeds striker will end up being in your squad from start to end. He started the season at a very friendly price of £5.5m and has made a mockery of that tag since, scoring 15 goals and providing 10 assists for a total of 176 FPL points. Bamfy is less productive than during the first half of the season, but the return of Raphinha should have a very positive impact on Leeds’ attacking play and the chances their striker will get. He was unfortunate to come off in the 57th minute against Burnley in the weekend, but manager Marcelo Bielso does not tend to tinker much with his starting lineups. Despite Rodrigo’s excellent two goals in GW36. Bamford should head the Leeds attack for the remaining two fixtures, Southampton away followed by West Brom at home, and with him on penalties as well, a finish in style of an excellent season could be on the cards for the Forward.

The budget enabler

We’re sticking with the Whites for our budget enabler this week, as Raphinha (£5.5m) combines the previously mentioned favourable fixtures with a ridiculously low price tag and a key creative role in an attacking Leeds side. The Brazilian winger returned to fitness as a substitute in GW35 against Leeds and immediately provided an assist. Last weekend, he was back into the starting eleven and once again gave an assist, his 9th of the season on top of his 6 goals. Up next are Southampton at Saint Mary’s, which should be a pretty open game, followed by West Brom at Elland Road to finish a more than decent return season to the Premier League. An attacking return or two for Raphinha over those two fixtures looks to be on the cards.

A differential pick or two

Joe Willock (£4.7m) is our first differential fantasy pick for gameweek 37. Despite scoring an incredible 5 goals in just 213 minutes of playing time over the last seven Premier League games for Newcastle, the Arsenal academy graduate is currently still owned by just 0.9% of FPL managers. Steve Bruce’s men recently secured another year of Premier League action, so it will remain to be seen how the Magpies will turn up for their last two games, but with Sheffield United (home) and Fulham (away) they have a very appealing final stretch on the agenda. Willock is currently the man in form for Newcastle, which makes it hard to imagine him not starting against both of the already relegated sides. He could be a very shrewd option as budget-friendly differential fifth midfielder for any squad.

Our second differential pick is a major one, both in terms of name and differential value. Much unlike what we had gotten used to from him over the past years, Sadio Mané (£11.7m) has had a relatively quiet 2020-21 campaign. Still, for a player of his quality, that means that he currently has 9 goals and 10 assists to his name. Acceptable tallies, but we know that he can do much better. In any case, with Diogo Jota out for the rest of the season, Mané will get the chance to work on his stats against Burnley and Crystal Palace, and help Liverpool to a Champions League spot in the process. His current ownership of just 5.9% makes him a differential with a enormously high ceiling over the coming games.

The captaincy

Based on goal-scoring form, fixtures, and the fact that Liverpool are still fighting for a Champions League spot while Salah is tied with Harry Kane atop the top scorer’s chart, we’re putting the captain’s armband on the Egyptian superstar’s upper arm. Upcoming opponents Burnley shipped a surprising 4 goals at their own ground against Leeds over the weekend, which does not bode well for the Clarets defence when Liverpool drop by on Wednesday.
Salah’s main rival for the armband this round will be Bruno Fernandes, whose Manchester United side are hosting Fulham on Tuesday. Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani are interesting differential picks for the captaincy. The same goes for Michail Antonio away against West Brom, Dominic Calvert-Lewin at home versus Wolves, and mega differential captaincy pick Joe Willock.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 36 preview

“Manchester City can officially become Premier League champions at St. James’ Park if they beat Newcastle on Friday” (CC by 2.0). Image by Yellow Book ltd.

We now have just three gameweeks to go until the end of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign and after the double gameweek 35, we now have to deal with a blank gameweek. Even though just four teams are blanking this FPL round, those four teams do contain more than a few popular fantasy assets:

Manchester United

This means that highly-owned players such as Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw and Kelechi Iheanacho will all be missing out. Gameweek 36 is nonetheless offering a fixture set full of potential for FPL managers. In terms of favourable fixtures, Everton’s home game against Sheffield United, Liverpool’s visit to the Hawthornes, and Southampton hosting Leeds look enticing. If you’re willing to deal with extreme rotation risk, even Man City’s away game at Newcastle, their potential championship-winning game, could be interesting as well.

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 36 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, May 14th.

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 12th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Schmeichel (LEI), Mendy (CHE)Meslier (LEE), Mendy (CHE), Ederson (CIT)BGW36, Leeds fixtures
DEFDunk (BRI), Castagne (LEI), Shaw (UTD)Dallas (LEE), Coufal (WHU), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)BGW36, Dunk red card
MIDBruno (UTD), Mount (CHE), Rashford (UTD)Son (TOT), Salah (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)BGW36, Leeds and Liverpool fixtures
FORIheanacho (LEI), Vardy (LEI), Watkins (AST)Bamford (LEE), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Antonio (WHU)BGW36, Leeds and West Ham fixtures

Premium pick

Our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 36 is largely focused on fixture, though Mo Salah (£12.7m) is considered as one of those elite players who can deliver big regardless of the opposition. This coming Sunday the Reds are visiting West Brom for what’s one of the weekend’s juiciest fixtures. Whilst the Baggies have just been relegated, Liverpool are still battling for a Champions League spot and Mo Salah is just one goal behind Harry Kane in the domestic Golden Boot race. In other words, a clash of interests and one that could lead to a big haul for Salah. With 20 goals and 5 assists so far, the Egyptian star man reached the 200-point mark in FPL for the fourth consecutive season after his assist against Southampton in GW35 and he is now facing the league’s worst defence. We’re expecting an all-out attack Liverpool with Mo at the centre of it for this one.

Non-premium picks

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) finds himself in a similar boat as Salah, in the sense that, like the Liverpool star, the Everton striker still has plenty to play for in these final games of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign. As a team, the Toffees are just two points off the top six with three games to go. As an individual player, DCL has had a brilliant season so far, and he will want to use the last few games of the season to work on his current tallies (16 goals, 6 assists)) and definitely confirm his spot in England’s squad for the upcoming European Championship. He still has one game of his double gameweek 35 to go (Villa away on Thursday evening) and after that, he will be facing relegated Sheffield United at Goodison Park on Sunday. The Blades have conceded 62 goals in 35 league games this season, including two at home against Palace last weekend, and DCL could add to those sub-par numbers this weekend.

Selecting Danny Ings (£8.4m) as our second non-premium fantasy pick might feel a bit like we’re chasing the points after his brace against Crystal Palace this week, but we prefer to see it more as jumping on a proven goalscorer who returned from injury in style and who has a couple of interesting games coming up next. In gameweek 35, the Southampton forward netted twice for a total of 13 FPL points and stayed on the pitch for 75 minutes. Up next are Fulham on Saturday followed by a game against Leeds, both at Saint Mary’s. It’s true that Southampton have not much left to play for this season and Ings does pose a constant injury threat to any managerial plans, but the 28-year old could very well be bringing in more FPL points over the coming days.

The budget enabler

Most FPL managers are well aware of the fact that Fantasy Premier League management comes with an additional risk to be taken into account when selecting squads towards the end of the season. As the final game nears, more and more teams will be “on the beach”, as they say, meaning that those teams no longer have anything to play for in the league (other than some EPL finishing places cash) and whose results are therefore now even less predictable than usual. One of the teams to which this theory could be applied is Leeds, who are currently in tenth place, seven points off the top six with three games to go. Still, the Whites did not show any signs of slowing down against Spurs in GW35 and they have one of the most favourable fixture calendars until the end of the season with Southampton away and West Brom at home following this weekend’s game at Turf Moor. That’s why we have gone with Raphinha (£5.4m) as our budget enabler of the week. The Brazilian winger missed a few weeks due to injury, but returned with an assist and 4 FPL points against Spurs last Saturday. That brought his totals for the seasons to 6 goals and 8 assists from 24 starts in the league. In our opinion, considering all of the above, Raphinha is criminally under-owned at the moment.

A differential pick or two

After 5 goals and 1 assist in his last three league outings, and 8 goals and 3 assists in his last eight outings, Chris Wood (£6.4m) has made a very deserved return to our weekly gameweek preview, in the differential category this time. The Burnley forward is still owned by just 3.5% of FPL managers at the time of writing, while only Kelechi Iheanacho has managed to record a higher FPL points average than Wood over the past 30 days (8.25 points). To make matters even more interesting, Wood also has decent upcoming fixtures from a fantasy-forward-with-penalty-duties’ point of view: Leeds at home, Liverpool at home, Sheffield United away. Thanks to their important 0-2 victory over Fulham, which officially confirmed the Cottagers’ relegation, Burnley are now assured of at least one other season of Premier League action. Hopefully it will lead to a bit more freedom and a bit less pressure on the pitch for the final games, with a few more Wood goals as a result.

As our second differential fantasy pick for BGW36, we have gone with a defender who has made an excellent impression in his first year in the Premier League. Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) has so far been part of 8 clean sheets for West Ham this season, while also providing no less than 8 assists. Only his team mate Aaron Cresswell and Everton defender Lucas Digne created more goals than the West Ham right-back amongst defender in the official fantasy game. With West Brom away and Southampton at home after this weekend’s encounter Brighton at the AmEx, there could be points at both ends of the pitch for Coufal. His ownership currently sits at 7.0%, which makes him an interesting and very much affordable differential option for the season’s final stages.

The captaincy

Naturally, the absence of Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester and Man United in this blank gameweek somewhat limits the options for the captain’s armband, but our choice would have been Mo Salah in any case. The Egyptian forward is supposed to start every single game until the end in order to help Liverpool to a Champions League spot and himself to the Golden Boot, plus he is on penalties as well, and it’s West Brom at the Hawthornes this weekend for the Reds. We’re hoping for a bigtime Salah haul.

The fact that options are limited by the blanking teams does not mean that there are no other decent alternatives for the captaincy, though. Everton hosting Sheffield United brings Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison into the picture, for example. With Leeds visiting Burnley on Saturday, you could also opt for Bamford, while Southampton’s home encounter with relegated Fulham could be a favourable one for Danny Ings or even James Ward-Prowse.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 35 preview

“Are we getting a preview of the next Champions League final at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening?” (CC by 4.0). Image by: Ank Kumar.

Ah, the European Super League. Some of the business men and women behind a few of Europe’s biggest (or should we say, most heavily financed?) clubs must have thought that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had become a bit tame or repetitive, and that European football would benefit from a little excitement. A little encouraging stab in the back, if you will.

The plans did not go as hoped, though, and a few hours after the Super League announcement, the some clubs started to regret their back-room decision-making. We figured that would largely be it, bar some ongoing discussion about punishments and new rules, but the red side of Manchester still had a surprise up its sleeve. Last Sunday, instead of Manchester United vs Liverpool taking place at Old Trafford, thousands of fans invaded the pitch and the surrounding areas prior to the game to make a statement against the brilliantly worked out and marketed plans for a European Super League by a few club owners and financiers, including their own.

As far as FPL goes, this has further complicated what was already promising to be a heated end to the fantasy Premier League season. For details and explanations, be sure to check out Ben Crellin’s Twitter account (@BenCrellin). Below are the doubles (and the one treble!) taking place in gameweek 35:

DGW35Game 1Game 2Game 3
Aston VillaManchester United (H)Everton (H)
Crystal PalaceSheffield United (a)Southampton (a)
EvertonWest Ham (a)Aston Villa (a)
SouthamptonLiverpool (a)Crystal Palace (H)
Manchester UnitedAston Villa (a)Leicester (H)Liverpool (H)
LiverpoolSouthampton (H)Man Utd (a)
ArsenalWest Brom (H)Chelsea (a)
ChelseaManchester City (a)Arsenal (H)
LeicesterNewcastle (H)Manchester United (a)
TGW35 fixtures

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for triple gameweek 35 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, May 7th.

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 6th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Lloris (TOT), Ederson (CIT)Guaita (CRY), Mendy (CHE), Henderson (UTD)TGW35
DEFDias (CIT), Stones (CIT), Cresswell (WHU),Shaw (UTD), AWB (UTD), Digne (EVE),TGW35, Stones red card
MIDGündogan (CIT), Son (TOT, Lingard (WH), Jota (LIV)JWP (SOU), Zaha (CRY), Greenwood, Rashford & Fernandes (all UTD)TGW35 for MU
FORBamford (LEE), Kane (TOT), Vardy (LEI)Calvert-Lewin (EVE),Iheanacho (LEI), Cavani (UTD), Watkins (AST)TGW35, Kane blank in GW34, Vardy less involved

Premium pick

We’re kicking this weekend’s fantasy recommendations off with one of the players who currently finds himself in the previously discussed fixture heaven. Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) could be playing 3 times in GW35. Already owned by a massive 55% that percentage will only increase over the next 36 hours with Villa, Leicester and Liverpool all to play for Man United in one gameweek.

Non-premium picks

Another week, another return for Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.3m). The Leicester striker is in absolutely blistering form at the moment, which is why we keep including him in our gameweek previews. Since scoring back in GW26, the Nigerian recorded an incredible 8 goals and 2 assists for a total of 73 FPL points over that same period. As a matter of fact, the only blank he recorded over that run came at home against Man City in GW30. As far as the upcoming GW35 goes, Leicester has one of the more favourable double match-ups (Newcastle at home, Man United away) and with the Foxes still very much on route for a Champions League spot, this could be a big round for Nacho. At the moment, there is no striker in the English top flight who needs less minutes to score a goal than him (116 minutes per goal).

Speaking of favourable match-ups, Crystal Palace have probably the best upcoming schedule on paper with a double gameweek featuring away games against Sheffield United and West Ham followed by a home game against Aston Villa. The main problem, from an FPL point of view at least, is that the Eagles are rather mediocre, both defensively and offensively. As a result, there really is one man to consider for the double gameweek, apart from goalkeeper Vicente Guaita maybe, and that is the man around whom everything revolves in the Palace attack, Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m). The Ivorian forward is the team’s top scorer by some distance (10 goals and 4 assists) and he gets an extra FPL point for a clean sheet as well, which could be particularly relevant for the first encounter. Going for Palace and Zaha in GW35 is obviously a bit of a punt, but with the player’s 9,7% current ownership, it could be just what your fantasy team needs in these final weeks of the season.

The budget enabler

Our budget enabler for gameweek 35 could very well turn out to be one of the outstanding performers once the round is over. Despite a more than decent 8 goals and 6 assists to his name, James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) is still a very much affordable midfielder in the official game. The 26-year old midfielder is Southampton’s captain as well as the team’s principal set-piece delivery man. Add to that the fact that the Saints are playing twice in gameweek 35 (Man United away, Palace home) without blanking in gameweek 36 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him return soon. Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men know that one more victory practically secures another season of Premier League action and after the good showing against Leicester in GW34, confidence and fixtures could be converging just at the right moment for FPL managers to bring in JWP.

A differential pick or two

Each season features a few players who, as the season advances, manage to play themselves back into their manager’s good graces and the team’s starting eleven. This season, Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.9m) could be included in that category. The Icelandic midfielder started the 2020-21 somewhat on the fringes of the starting eleven, in big part due to the hyped arrival of James Rodriguez, but nowadays, he is a fixed part of Carlo Ancelotti’s attacking set-up at Everton. He started the last five games and takes care of a few set-pieces as well, especially now that the previously mentioned James is out with an injury. Sigurdsson has scored 6 goals and provided 4 assists already this season, which is not bad, but which are tallies on which he will want to build as well during DGW35, undoubtedly. West Ham and Aston Villa are no push-overs, especially not at their own grounds, but the Toffees are still eyeing those European spots as well, so Siggie could be an explosive differential (current ownership: 3%).

Since his return to fitness back in gameweek 32, James Maddison (£7.3m) has not managed yet to add a goal or an assist to his totals for the season (8 goals, 7 assists), which can be considered underwhelming knowing that he faced West Brom, Palace and Southampton since GW32. The English midfielder did not play badly though, and manager Brendan Rodgers’ considers him a fixed part of his starting eleven. On top of that and as stated earlier, Leicester are still fighting to maintain their current Champions League slot. On a more personal level, Maddison is fighting for a spot in England’s Euro “2020 in 2021” squad, which should only encourage him to perform better. Newcastle at home and direct rival Manchester United looks like a promising double gameweek 35 for Maddison and the rest of the Foxes, though keep in the back of your head that Leicester will also be playing the FA Cup final against Chelsea four days after the clash with United.

The captaincy

With a Man United triple gameweek, our armband this round has to go on a United player and we’re going going with the ever reliable Bruno Fernandes. Of course, there are some other good options as well from Manchester United such as Greenwood, Rashford or maybe one of the defenders (a central defender – Maguire – is more likely to play all 3 games in a row than a full-back – Shaw). Outside of Man United, man on fire Kelechi Iheanacho against Newcastle at home and Man United at Old Trafford looks interesting, as does the Nigerian’s team mate Jamie Vardy. With games against Villa and West Ham coming up, Everton attackers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could haul as well. In the “high risk, high reward” category for GW35, we can see, amongst other names, Wilfried Zaha (Sheffield United, Southampton, both away), Ollie Watkins (Man United, Everton, both home), and James Ward-Prowse (Liverpool away, Palace home).

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 34 preview

“Derby time at Old Trafford on Sunday” (CC by 1.0). Image by Ank Kumar.

We’re currently moving through the business end of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign at lightning speed, with gameweek 34 kicking off on Friday evening once again. GW33 wasn’t a particularly outstanding round for many managers, with an average of 36 points. Of course, popular FPL fantasy assets like Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Kevin de Bruyne had a blank gameweek, but plenty of other much-selected players with a game blanked as well. The heavily owned likes of Bruno Fernandes, Jesse Lingard and Patrick Bamford failed to record any attacking returns, for example, while the top three of last week’s highest-scoring players features hattrick hero Chris Wood (20, owned by 2.5%), ‘man on fire’ Kelechi Iheanacho (12, owned by 22.8%) and Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell (12, owned by 13.5%).

With just five gameweeks to go now until the end of the season, GW34 is going to be an interesting one. The eye catcher of the weekend is obviously the clash between traditional arch rivals Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, though the West London derby between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge a day earlier could give fireworks as well. From a purely FPL point of view, managers will be eyeing Spurs’ home encounter with relegated Sheffield United and Leicester’s visit to Southampton on Friday, while Palace vs Man City, Brighton vs Leeds and Burnley against West Ham have potential for serious FPL joy as well.

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 34 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, April 30th.

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 April 29th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), Patricio (WOL), McCarthy (SOU)Meslier (LEE), Mendy (CHE), Ederson (CIT)
DEFStones (CIT), Cresswell (WHU), Keane (EVE)Dallas (LEE), Chilwell (CHE), Dias (CIT)Red card Stones, injury worries for Cresswell and Keane
MIDFernandes (UTD), Jota (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)Son (TOT), Pereira (WBA), Lingard (WHU)Fernandes form, Raphinha injury, Son fixtures, Lingard form
FORWatkins (AST), Vardy (LEI), Lacazette (ARS), Bamford (LEE)Iheanacho (LEI), Kane (TOT), Wood (BUR)Form of the incoming forwards, Lacazette injury

Premium pick

In gameweek 33, Harry Kane (£11.8m) became the single player to collect the most triple captain armbands in one round, in great part thanks to his double gameweek against Everton (away) and Southampton (home). With a brace versus Everton and a total of 12 FPL points, his start to GW33 was delightful, but an unfortunate ankle injury at the very end of the game made him miss the encounter with Southampton. A missed opportunity for the triple captainers, but still a decent haul. Up next are Sheffield United for the official game’s second-highest points scorer (218 FPL points) and with the Englishman back to fitness and currently owned by 45.1% of FPL managers, he will likely be amongst the most popular premium picks again this weekend. Kane has an incredible 21 goals and 13 assists to his name already, while the Blades have officially been relegated and boast one of the league’s leakiest defences. Looks like a bit of a no-brainer.

Non-premium picks

The stars of form and fixtures seem to be aligning for Jesse Lingard (£6.6m) this weekend, as the West Ham star is facing Burnley at Turf Moor this weekend. In truth, no away game at Burnley is ever a walk-over, especially not with the Clarets coming off a resounding 0-4 away victory over Wolves, but we can see this West Ham side coming away with a good result here. The Hammers are in the midst of a tense race for a Champions League spot for next season and as far Lingard himself is concerned, the Manchester United loanee is on fire. He got his first Premier League minutes of the season back in GW22, on his debut for West Ham, and has not looked back since. J-Lingz currently has 9 goals and 4 assists to his name for an average of no less than 7,5 FPL points per game as he quickly became the focal point of West Ham’s attacking moves and penalties. With games against Brighton, West Brom and Southampton still on the calendar after coming weekend’s encounter with Burnley, he could be a good signing until the end of the season.

After a returns drought of five gameweeks, Richarlison (£7.8m) got himself back into the points again last week with a lucky assist and 5 FPL points versus Arsenal, courtesy of a Bernd Leno howler. The fixture calendar looks quite favourable for Everton from now until the end of the season, with home games against Villa, Sheffield United and Wolves still to come in the final weeks of the season. What’s more, as one of four team’s so far, the Toffees look to have a double gameweek in 35, where they will play West Ham and Aston Villa away from home, and no blank in gameweek 36. First up are Aston Villa at the London Stadium though, which means a match between two sides still very much in the fight for a European ticket. Like Lingard earlier, Richarlison could be a set-and-forget signing for what’s left of the 2020-21 campaign.

The budget enabler

Since gameweek 26, Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.2m) has scored 9 goals and provided 1 assist for a total of 68 FPL points. What’s more, he has recorded three double-digit hauls in his last five outings, more than any other player in the official game over that same period. We featured him in our budget enabler section last week as well, but the Nigerian striker is in such form that we simply can’t ignore him for the coming weekend. At his current price of just £6.2m, he is an absolute steal and he has at least two favourable fixtures coming up next. This weekend, it’s a visit to Saint Mary’s followed by a home game against Newcastle in gameweek 35 (and possibly an away game against Man United if Leicester end up getting a double gameweek). Right now, Iheanacho is as nailed-on in Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven as they come and the Foxes are still fighting to secure Champions League football next season, so he should definitely be on your watchlists, at least.

A differential pick or two

Under Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea have rapidly become an organised, hard-to-beat unit and despite the German coach’ tendency to rotate (especially now that the Blues are on the verge of the Champions League final), their roster features a few interesting FPL targets. One of them is central defender Antonio Rüdiger (£4.7m) who is a fixed started under Tuchel, but who seems to have gone somewhat under the FPL radar so far. Despite a rather good 10 clean sheets from his last 14 league starts, the German defender is still in just 6.6% of FPL teams. On top of that, his price tag is more than acceptable still. On Saturday, Chelsea are hosting almost-relegated West London rivals Fulham, who boast the least effective attack in the league after Sheffield United. This should be good news for Chelsea and makes Rüdiger into a nice differential for this weekend.

Our second differential fantasy pick for gameweek 34 is one who could provide considerable differential value over the short term. Eddie Nketiah (£5.3m) is currently owned by just 0.6% of FPL managers and he might be the only fit first-team striker for the Gunners when they visit Newcastle on Sunday. As the moment of writing, both Lacazette and Aubameyang are flagged in the official game, so we do advise to keep an eye on development in that area, seeing as Nketiah could be a very shrewd investment for your team in case the previously named duo’s absence is confirmed for the coming weekend as well. He scored against Fulham back in GW32 but blanked in the 73 minutes of playing time he got last weekend, so hopefully he’s found his scoring boots again for the clash with the Magpies.

The captaincy

With Harry Kane back to fitness and raring to secure the 2020-21 Premier League Golden Boot, and with Spurs in the middle of an intense battle for a top-four finish, we did not have to ponder too long about putting the GW34 captain’s armband on the English forward’s arm for gameweek 34. On top of that, Tottenham are hosting relegated Sheffield United on Sunday and despite the Blades having just booked their first victory since gameweek 26 by beating Brighton 1-0 in GW32, we’re betting on Kane to make the difference here.

He is, of course, not the only fantasy asset with haul potential in the Premier League this weekend. His team mate Heung-Min Son is obviously a very good alternative, while the Jamie Vardy and the on-fire Kelechi Ihaenacho look promising as well for their visit to Saint Mary’s this Friday. If you manage to guess the starting eleven in between two Champions League semi-finals, a Man City player against Palace at Selhurst Park could pay off handsomely. The same goes, to a certain extent, for Chelsea’s players and their home game against Fulham on Sunday. For the more risk-prone FPL managers amongst us, captaining Jesse Lingard versus Burnley or Richarlison against Aston Villa could see you soar up the ranks as well.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 33 Preview

“On Saturday, West Ham are hosting Chelsea for what could be the banger of the weekend” (CC by 2.0). Image by @cfcunofficial.

After the small double gameweek last round, we now need to deal with a mini blank gameweek. Four teams are blanking in GW33, including two sides with plenty of popular fantasy assets, namely Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. This means that popular picks like Harry Kane (current ownership: 50.9%), Heung-Min Son (48%), Ilkay Gündogan (25.8%) and Ruben Dias (24.1%) will not be featuring this weekend. The other two sides blanking this weekend are Southampton and Fulham, but we expect that the impact of their absence on the FPL community will be relatively limited.

Just £1.80 to enter for 4 days of EPL action & £9,000 of guaranteed prizes incl £900 to the winner!

Enough with the teams not playing though, because this round also offers us more than a few interesting fixtures, at least from an FPL manager’s point of view. Liverpool and Leicester both have home games against Newcastle and Crystal Palace, respectively, while Manchester United are travelling to Elland Road for what could easily end up being a goal bonanza. Wolves and Villa are facing pretty favourable opposition as well, at home against Burnley and West Brom, respectively, while Arsenal versus Everton on Friday and West Ham hosting Chelsea on Sunday are, on paper, the biggest encounters of the weekend.

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 33 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, April 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 April 21st, 2021)

GKPope (BUR), Lloris (TOT), Ederson (CIT)Martinez (AST), Patricio (WOL), Schmeichel (LEI)
DEFCresswell (WHU), Stones (CIT), Cancelo (CIT)Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Dallas (LEE), Dunk (BRI)City blanks, Cresswell injured, TAA form
MIDSon (TOT), Gündogan (CIT), De Bruyne (CIT)Lingard (WHU), Salah (LIV), Greenwood (UTD)City and Spurs blank in GW33
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Kane (TOT), Antonio (WHU)Iheanacho (LEI), Watkins (AST), Vardy (LEI)All transferred-out players are or could be injured, Iheanacho form

Premium pick

With Spurs and City absent from this gameweek, we’re expecting Mo Salah (£12.5m) to be amongst the most popular premium fantasy picks. Actually, even if Spurs and City would play this round, Liverpool’s Egyptian talisman would still be amongst the top picks for their home game against Newcastle. The Reds still have everything to play as they are currently in sixth place, two points off fourth place and another season of Champions League season. In that light, the late draw with Leeds in GW32 was a downer for Jurgen Klopp’s men and they’ll be raring to make up for it. Salah featured only as a 71st minute sub and could not make the difference in twenty minutes. He did score in the two prior gameweeks and we honestly don’t think that he will be missing many more minutes of Liverpool’s favourable season run-in from now on. On top of that, he is after the Premier League Golden Boot as well, so a defence as leaky as Newcastle’s looks like a perfect match for a rested Mo.

Non-premium picks

When it comes to Edinson Cavani (£7.9m), you will simply need to expect that he is somehow still subject to rotation under Ole Gunnar Solskjear, despite only star man Bruno Fernandes and club icon Marcus Rashford scoring more than his current 8 goals (and 3 assists). The Uruguayan forward found the net in both GW31 and GW32, against Spurs and Burnley respectively, and will undoubtedly be looking forward to facing Leeds at Elland Road on Sunday. The Whites have already conceded 50 goals this season and even though their 1-1 draw against Liverpool this week shows that they are no push-overs by any stretch, this game has all the makings of a goal fest. Remember back in GW14, when an unchained Man United side smashed Leeds 6-2? We’re hoping for a similar scoreline, but this time with Cavani at the middle of it.

By following that same train of thought, we figured that it could be smart to include a second Red Devil in our fantasy picks for gameweek 33 as well. Looking at the recent performances of the non-premium fantasy assets on the United roster (meaning, with a price of less than £9.5m), it’s pretty hard to not highlight Mason Greenwood (£7.1m) at the moment. The English youngster is going through a bit of a purple patch since gameweek 30, scoring 4 goals and providing 1 assist in his last three outings for a total of 32 FPL points. It’s hard to imagine him being dropped from the starting eleven in this kind of form, so he is more than worth considering for United’s game at Elland Road coming weekend.

The budget enabler

Back in the build-up to gameweek 31, Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.1m) was still priced at just £5.8m, but his fantasy football popularity and therefore his price tag have grown considerably since then. That’s not so surprising, of course, considering that the Leicester striker has scored 7 goals in his last six Premier League games, as well as the only and therefore winning goal in the FA semi-final against Southampton this week. Even at his current price, Iheanacho is still an incredible bargain, especially when looking at the medium-term schedule for the Foxes. They are hosting Palace this weekend before travelling to Southampton and then playing home versus Newcastle, all of which are games in which Leicester are expected to have the upper hand. This looks good for the in-form Iheanacho, because at the same time, Palace are currently ranking amongst the bottom-five teams in the league when it comes to most of the important defensive indicators, including shots conceded, shots on target conceded and big chances conceded. Why would the Nigerian attacker not be in your team by now?

A differential pick or two

With Harvey Barnes out injured, the Leicester midfield does not offer too many high-ceiling fantasy options for FPL managers this season, which is why the return to fitness (after sitting out a minor disciplinary measure) of James Maddison (£7.2m) is good news. The talented Englishman (current ownership: 5.9%) has not really had the best of season, in part due to ongoing injury niggles, but he has still notched 8 goals and 7 assists so far, from just 18 league starts. Those are more than decent stats and with the upcoming schedule looking so kind to Leicester (Crystal Palace home this weekend, then Southampton away and Newcastle home), Maddison looks like a fantasy pick with potential. We expect him to slot right back into Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven to provide the front two with ammunition as the most advanced midfielder. The Foxes are smack in the middle of the battle for the Champions League spots and they have just qualified for the FA Cup final as well, so we reckon Rodgers and everything Leicester around the world will be delighted to have Maddison back.

It’s true that the Wolverhampton Wanderers are not having their best season since returning to the Premier League, which explains why none of their players boast an FPL ownership of more than 7.3%. While they don’t offer much from an attacking point of view, there is value to be found in their defence. In their last five league games, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men recorded 3 clean sheets, and the next three games are Burnley at home, West Brom at the Hawthornes and Brighton at home. In other words, a Wolves defender does not look like such a silly investment at the moment, which is why we have included Conor Coady (£4.9m) in our fantasy picks for GW33. The English central defender is a mainstay in the Wolves defence, whether they play with a back-four or a back-five, which is why he is our Wolf of choice. His single goal so far this campaign shows that we should not expect too much attacking spectacle from him, but more clean sheets could definitely be on the way.

The captaincy

Gameweek 33 is presenting us with more than a few very good to decent options for the captain’s armband. We have gone with Mo Salah this week as Liverpool host Newcastle, seeing as the Reds are heavy favourites here and Salah is leading the Golden Boot race at the moment. We know that Jurgen Klopp’s men have been maddeningly inconsistent this season, but amongst all the chaos and disappointment, Mo has still managed 19 goals and 4 assists in the league alone so far.

For those not sure of our captaincy decision, Bruno Fernandes provides a practically equal alternative. United’s Portuguese playmaker is facing leaky Leeds and is on penalties as well. His team mates Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford could be good shouts as well. At Leicester, Iheanacho is a prime candidate, while Jamie Vardy should never be written off. In terms of riskier fantasy picks, putting the armband on Nelson Semedo against Burnley, Leandro Trossard against Sheffield United, or Ollie Watkins against West Brom could pay off handsomely as well.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 32 preview

“Are we in for a goal fest at Elland Road this coming Monday?” (Part of the public domain). Image by John Tillyard.

Gameweek 31 was once again a playground for the lesser owned fantasy assets, as many budget and mid-priced players recorded big hauls last weekend. The official Team of the Week features six players with an ownership below 2.5% and only two assets owned by more than 24% of FPL managers. The player with the highest ownership in this team though, Stuart Dallas, did crown himself Player of the Week with 17 FPL points, courtesy of a brace against Manchester City. Following him are West Brom’s Sam Johnstone and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic with 15 FPL points each, and the on-fire Jesse Lingard with 14 FPL points.

Talk of the town for gameweek 32 is obviously Spurs’ double gameweek, as this is going to have a major impact on transfer and captaincy decision in the build-up to Friday’s deadline. José Mourinho’s men are first visiting Everton before hosting Southampton and with neither opponent being in scintillating form at the moment, many an FPL manager’s eye will be on Kane, Son and friends. Apart from the the Spurs double, the upcoming stretched gameweek offers a few other appealing fixtures as well, including West Ham rolling up to Saint James’ Park, Man United hosting Burnley, and Leeds and Liverpool squaring off at Elland Road.

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 32 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, April 16th..

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 April 7th, 2021)

GKPope (BUR), Martinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU)Lloris (TOT), Patricio (WOL), Mendy (CHE)Spurs DGW, Wolves fixtures
DEFCresswell (WHU), Cancelo (CIT), Dias (CIT)Dallas (LEE), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Reguilón (TOT)Spurs DGW, TAA form, Liverpool eliminated from CL
MIDGündogan (CIT), Neto (WOL), Raphinha (LEE)Lingard (WHU), Son (TOT), Mount (CHE)Spurs DGW, Lingard and Mount form, Neto injury
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Antonio (WHU), Bamford (LEE)Iheanacho (LEI), Kane (TOT), Lacazette (ARS)Spurs DGW, form of incoming transfers

Premium pick

His form has been more or less consistently high throughout the season, so when the fixtures line up as well, Harry Kane (£11.7m) automatically becomes a fantasy asset of major interest. This week, his Spurs side are the only side to have a double fixture, consisting of an away game at Goodison Park followed by a home game versus Southampton. With 19 goals and 13 assists so far, Kane has been directly involved in no less than 62% of Tottenham’s goals, a league high. It’s not hard to imagine the England man netting against both of these teams. Everton have taken 2 points from their last 4 games, conceding 6 times in the process, while over that same period, the Saints got 3 points and conceded a worrying 12 goals.

Non-premium picks

This season more than ever, it’s difficult to speak about Kane without mentioning his team mate and partner up front Heung-Min Son (£9.4m). After a relatively dry period in terms of FPL points since his goal back in GW23, the Korean forward got himself on the score sheet again last weekend against Manchester United. He is now up against Everton and Southampton, which could bode very well for the roughly 45% of FPL managers currently owning him. They’ll be hoping that Son can build on his 14 goals and 9 assists against two sides that have been far from their best of late. Is a tenth double-digit haul of the season on the way for the Spurs’ Korean superstar?

At this moment, there are probably few fantasy assets offering a better price-potential ratio than Liverpool’s Diogo Jota. At a price of just £7.0m, the Portuguese forward offers a cut-price way into Jurgen Klopp’s attack. It’s true that the Reds are not having the best of seasons, but remember that Wednesday night’s Champions League elimination versus Real Madrid could be a positive thing for FPL managers. Liverpool have just the Premier League to focus on now (currently placed 6th just 3 points from top 4 qualification) and at the same time, they have one of the kindest fixture runs until the end of the season. The scene seems set for a strong and positive end to the 2020-21 campaign, and we expect Jota, who scored 3 goals in his last three games, to play an important role in the process.

The budget enabler

We just wrote that Jota’s price-potential ratio is almost unbeatable at the moment, but if there is one player who might offer an even better ratio, it’s Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m). Since conquering a spot in Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven back in GW26, the Leicester striker has scored an incredible 7 goals and recorded an impressive 52 FPL points. His impact has been such, in fact, that the Foxes have even adjusted their tactics to accommodate Nacho’s inclusion in the starting lineup, from a single-striker setup with Jamie Vardy up top to a striker duo. Up next for Leicester are West Brom, who rank bottom for most of the key defensive indicators, including conceded goal, conceded shots on target and conceded big chances. Let’s see if Iheanacho can keep up his recent 10-point-per-game average at home against the Baggies.

A differential pick or two

It seems like, at any point during the season, there are always a few players who fly under the FPL radar, no matter how well they perform. Take Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m), for example. The Frenchman has scored 5 goals and provided 1 assist over the past six league games for a total of 43 FPL points, but is still owned by just 8.2% of all FPL managers. On top of that, Arsenal are hosting Fulham on Sunday. While the Cottagers could turn out to be a tougher nut to crack for Arsenal than they hoped, Lacazette currently looks like the player most likely to score in this encounter. With Everton (home), Newcastle (away) and West Brom (home) after that, he could even be a good shout for the medium to long-term.

We’re finishing gameweek 31’s round of fantasy picks with a real differential, as Adama Traoré (£6.0m) is currently in just 5.2% of FPL squads. That’s not such a surprising number when you consider that his GW30 stoppage time winner against Fulham was his first goal in 49 Premier League outings. However, the Spanish winger might well have found a bit of form, seeing as he has scored a goal and provided an assist over the past 2 games. Up next are Sheffield United, which looks like a perfect opportunity for Traoré to make it three consecutive games with attacking returns. The Wolves will have to make do without Raul Jimenez, Pedro Neto and Ruben Neves for their attacking ideas, so it could end up being a low-scoring affair at Molineux, but a punt on their Spanish bulldozer could pay off more than handsomely.

The captaincy

Considering the fixtures in gameweek 32, we figured the mainstream captaincy battle will be between Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, and we have gone with the former. As mentioned earlier, Spurs have two games this round and both look winnable. Neither Everton nor Southampton are flying at the moment and their defences will likely have a lot of trouble dealing with Tottenham’s attacking block. Though Son is an excellent choice as well, we have gone with Kane, who is his side’s star player, on penalties and on plenty of free kicks as well for the captaincy in GW32.

If you’re not convinced by Spurs’ double gameweek or don’t feel confident bringing in players who will blank in GW33, you have more than a few good alternatives at your disposal. Bruno Fernandes at home against Burnley looks like a safe pick, while Salah or Jota away against Leeds could result in major hauls as well. In the round’s last game, Leicester are hosting West Brom, which brings the likes of Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho in the picture. For a daring punt, Jesse Lingard away against Newcastle looks like a stand-out option.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics.

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 31 preview

You thought the FPL was going to calm down a bit now that the main part of double gameweek season has come to an end, didn’t you? Well, think again, because with five teams still active in the continental competitions, things will only continue to heat up over the coming weeks. This Guardiola quote:

Next game, we are going to play fresh legs. And against Leeds, more than ever, fresh legs.” – Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola on his starting line-up against Leicester in GW30 after the game and before the Champions League game against Dortmund last Tuesday.

only serves as a heads up in that sense. A majority of the popular fantasy picks from Man City, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are likely to carry an elevated rotation risk. Add to that the upcoming League Cup final (Man City v Spurs on Sun 25th April) and further FA Cup knockout stages, and you’ll understand why we strongly recommend to keep a close eye on starting lineups and team developments over the coming months for these teams. Another place to keep an eye on is for its reviews of the newest and the best bookmaker betting websites.

Including gameweek 31 we are now eight rounds away from the end of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, though Man City might decide the title race early. The Cityzens need 10 more points from their remaining seven games to win the league for the fifth time in their history and the fifth time since the 2011-12 season. That means that we have really come to the business end of the season now. As far as the FPL goes, a surge in chip and wildcard activity is expected in the build-up to GW31 as managers try to play the calendar fixture swings and make a final push for eternal FPL glory.

In any case, don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 31 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, April 9th.

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 April 7th, 2021)

GKMartinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU), Pope (BUR)Forster (SOU), Mendy (CHE), Leno (ARS) 
DEFDallas (LEE), Cancelo (CIT), Stones (CIT)Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Dias (CIT), Phillips (LIV)City rotation, Leeds fixtures
MIDBale (TOT), Gündogan (CIT), Raphinha (LEE)Jota (LIV), Lingard (WHU), Salah (LIV)Jota and Lingard in form, Liverpool fixtures, City rotation
FORBamford (LEE), Antonio (WHU), Watkins (AST)Iheanacho (LEI), Kane (TOT), Lacazette (ARS)Leeds, West Ham and Villa fixtures, Iheanacho and Kane form

Premium pick

Manchester City are hosting leaky Leeds United this weekend, so naturally, different City fantasy assets come to mind when it comes to picking a premium option for our recommendations this week. It could end up in a goal bonanza after all, but the problem is the rotation risk. Pep has already announced severe rotation measures and we decided we’re simply not risking it this time. Instead, we have gone with Mo Salah (£12.4m) who seems to be on the way back to a bit of goal-scoring form. He scored for the first time since gameweek 24 last week against Arsenal and he was also the one to score against Real Madrid in the mid-week Champions League game. With Fabinho back in the middle and Jota providing some much needed fresh blood in attack, the Reds are starting to look a bit more like their last year selves at last albeit still inconsistent. Up next are Aston Villa at Anfield. Not an easy fixture by any stretch, but a good opportunity for Liverpool and Salah to show that they are still alive and kicking.

Non-premium picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 31 looks a bit like we’re chasing the points, but with this weekend offering plenty of hard-to-predict fixtures, it could be just the right time to bring in Danny Ings (£8.4m). The Southampton striker returned to fitness and the starting lineup against Burnley last weekend, and immediately showed what he is capable of by delivering a goal and an assist for a total of 11 FPL points. Those returns have brought his tallies for the season to 9 goals and 4 assists. It’s true that the Saints are not in very good form at the moment and the upcoming away game against West Brom could be a tricky one, especially with the Baggies coming off a more than impressive 2-5 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but Ingsy has shown in the past that he can always score. We hope that this will be the case against the league’s leakiest defence coming Monday.

Our first non-premium suggestion for the upcoming round of FPL is also a striker. With a current tenth place, Arsenal are performing way below their potential this season and this reality has had its effect on the value and popularity of their fantasy assets as well. Forward Alexandre Lacazette (£8.2m) is Gunner with most goals to his name at the moment (13) and we feel that he could add to that tally on Sunday, when they visit Bramall Lane. The Frenchman could not make the difference in GW30 against Liverpool, but he did score 2 goals and gave 1 assist in the two games prior to last weekend. Only West Brom have let in more goals than Sheffield United so far and the Blades seem resigned to relegation at the end of the season. Lacazette will be eyeing to pile on to that misery, though you should pay attention to Arsenal’s mid-week Europa League match against Slavia Prague for information regarding starting spots, fitness and possible injuries.

The budget enabler

Arsenal’s favourable match-up has even led us to double up on their fantasy assets this weekend. At a price of just £5.2m, Bukayo Saka is still very much under-priced, though it has been a while since he last delivered an attacking return in the Premier League. That was an assist back in gameweek 24, his fourth of the season on top of 5 scored goals. Apart from the must-win encounter with Sheffield United this Sunday, the Gunners’ calendar looks good on the medium term as well, with Fulham, Everton, West Brom (all home) and Newcastle (away) following the Sheffield United game. Like many other interesting players, Saka has become a bit more vulnerable to rotation over the past months, but he should still be getting plenty of Premier League minutes, which with his price tag makes him an appealing budget-enabling option for your midfield.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential fantasy pick for gameweek 31 is heavily influenced by the fixture schedule, as Wolves are playing Sheffield United, Burnley, Brighton (all at home) and West Brom after this weekend’s away game against Fulham. As a result of this favourable run, we figured a Wolves defender could be a wise investment, despite Nuno Espirito Santo’s men not being as solid in the back as usual this season. We ended up with Conor Coady (£4.8m) as he looks to be both the surest and the least expensive route into the Wolves defence and Willy Boly has now been ruled out due to illness for the next week. The England international has been part of 8 clean sheets so far this season and he has also scored once, against City at the Etihad back in gameweek 26. The fact that there is no European football or another cup tournament to take into account here is an added plus when bringing in the 5.4%-owned Coady for your team.

Despite scoring 7 goals, providing 5 assists, collecting a very decent total of 128 FPL points so far and sporting a bargain price tag, James Ward-Prowse (£5.9m) is still just eligible for our differential pick category with an ownership of 9.8%. We discussed the potential merits of bringing Ings in this week and many of the arguments made for him go in favour of JWP as well. The Saints are out of form themselves, but facing West Brom at the Hawthornes, which changes things a bit. The Baggies are unlikely to thump two bigger opponents in a row and we think that there could be goals in this one, most of them for Southampton. That would be good news for Ward-Prowse and the FPL managers who own him by then, as he is Southampton’s main set-piece specialist.

The captaincy

As with our premium fantasy pick recommendation for this weekend, we also adjusted our preferences a bit in terms of the captaincy choice due to the increased and increasing rotation uncertainty when it comes to Man City assets. As a result, we have give the GW31 captain’s armband to Mo Salah this week, who seems to have found his scoring boots once again. A goal against Arsenal in gameweek 30 and a goal against Real Madrid on Tuesday sounds promising for the upcoming home game against Aston Villa.

If you’re not going near Liverpool yet, which is understandable as well, then you can still opt for a City man. The likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gündogan could all haul big at home against Leeds. The main question is who will be playing and who won’t on Saturday. Maybe it’s Aguero time? Besides that, you could take a punt on Lacazette versus Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, or Danny Ings or James Ward-Prowse versus West Bromwich Albion.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics.

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.