FPL 2022/23 Pre-season Club Previews – Part 1

Welcome back to another season of Fantasy Premier League football, welcome back to FISO!

After a thrilling 2021-22 campaign, which saw Manchester City booking their third consecutive title victory, the upcoming season is already looking like a whole other kind of beast due to the 2022 World Cup being held in November and December this year. It’s unusual, but money talks and in the end, a World Cup immediately followed by the Christmas holidays, doesn’t sound so bad at all, right?

Plus, as FPL Towers recently announced, special measures will be taken to accommodate the unprecedented November-December break. Unlimited free transfers will be activated in the game between 13:30 on Saturday, November 12th, and 13:30 on Monday, December 26th. This means, in essence, that fantasy managers will have a kind of third Wildcard at their disposal this upcoming season. Save this information, because it can make or break your season before the first half of the campaign has even begun.

As a result of this season’s calender, the Premier League is kicking off a little bit earlier than usual as well. On Friday, August 5th, the world’s greatest league kicks off with a good old-fashioned London derby between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park. In the build-up, we will be taking an in-depth look at each of the 20 squads competing in the Premier League this season with a special focus on their FPL potential. In this first instalment, we’re kicking off with ambitious Arsenal and an Aston Villa side that’s determined to do better than last season’s rather disappointing 14th place.

ARSENAL – FPL 2022/23 team preview

Last season was a strange one for Arsenal, because it was the first time since the 1995-96 campaign that the Gunners did not feature in Europe at all. Far from a highlight for the club, but as a famous Dutch footballing genius used to say, every disadvantage has its advantage. That advantage, in the case of Arsenal, was that there were no European distractions during the last campaign, meaning that all of the focus could be shifted to domestic competitions.

In the Premier League, the North Londoners finished in fifth place, just 2 points off the coveted fourth and final Champions League spot. It was nevertheless their best finish since the fifth place back in the 2019-20 season and for periods throughout the period, Mikel Arteta’s men definitely looked like they’re getting back to a position from which they can seriously compete for a top-4 spot. While their FA Cup run was nothing to write home about last season, exiting at the hands of Nottingham Forest in the Third Round, the Gunners did manage to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup. A 2-0 loss against later winners Liverpool ended their run and with that, their hopes for silverware.

Besides the improving performances overall and the qualification for Europa League football, last season also saw Arsenal fielding the youngest team on average with an age of just over 24 years old. This confirms what many FPL managers already knew, namely that the current Arsenal roster is full of young and exciting talent, and more importantly from a fantasy perspective, at decent prices. In that light, the addition of Man City star Gabriel Jesus for a cool £45 million fits perfectly, as does the less-covered acquisition of 22-year-old Portuguese offensive midfielder Fábio Vieira from FC Porto for a whopping £34m (including add-ons). Without those reinforcements, the Gunners already boasted the sixth-best offense in the league with 61 goals in 38 games. Defensively, they recorded 13 clean sheets, placing them fifth in the league behind the season’s top four.

Arsenal’s tactics sheet

The idea behind Mikel Arteta’s appointment as manager back in December 2019 was to continue the club long-standing tradition of playing free-flowing attacking football, building up from the back and controlling the game’s pace. The club started last season with a 3-4-2-1 formation, but a lack of dynamism from the back and the performances of their attacking players warranted a change to a more versatile 4-2-3-1 formation. While this initially caused some worries about their defensive stability, it turned out that this wasn’t the case, in big part thanks to new signings Ben White, who formed a stable partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes in the heart of the defense, and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

As we mentioned before, Arsenal play out from the back and do so often over the flanks, where Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares and especially Kieran Tierney offer quality outlets. By dropping deeper when the team initiates attacks, the central midfielders force opponents to crowd the midfield, essentially leaving space on the flanks for Arsenal’s explosive wingers to get into dangerous positions even early on. What stands out in terms of their attacks is the rotation of their offensive players. The likes of Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli are such gifted talents that they can shift all over the attacking third and pop up dangerously from practically anywhere. Playing with a mobile and equally technical striker in the person of Gabriel Jesus or even Eddie Nketiah should only make them harder to stop this season.

ARSENAL – Potential FPL targets

Last season, Bukayo Saka (£8.0m) was a no-brainer for us, considering his enormous potential in combination with his bargain price tag. We recommended him as one of the best Gunners to target and he did not disappoint one bit: 11 goals, 9 assists and 179 FPL points in just under 3,000 minutes of Premier League football. Therefore, and despite the hefty increase of his FPL price, he is among the best Arsenal fantasy picks once again. No other Gunner scored more FPL points than him last season and he was amongst the stand-out performers in most matches. Add to that the facts that he is about as nailed-on a fantasy asset as they come, is on penalties AND is once again listed as a midfielder in the official fantasy game, and there should be no doubt about who to focus on when it comes to the Arsenal roster. Do keep in mind that the additions of attacking options Gabriel Jesus and Fábio Vieira, as well as the added strain of European games, could end in more rotation among the Arsenal squad. Saka is nevertheless this Arsenal’s star man and should be a safe fantasy pick for a medium-sized investment.

It’s always a bit risky to name players who just arrived at a club as major potential FPL target, weeks before the season has even officially started, but we believe that the case of Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) does not apply here. The Brazilian has been playing in the Premier League since January 1st, 2017, amassing an impressive 233 appearances for Manchester City, scoring 95 goals and 46 assists. In other words, Jesus needs no introduction to the English footballing elite. The main issue for him at City was his relatively limited playing time and seeing as a player of his calibre will surely have had dozens of top-quality options this summer, we feel that more regular minutes for the attacker this season represented an important part of the negotiations. Looking at his current pre-GW1 ownership of 59.2% at the time of writing, we’re probably not the only ones feeling this feeling. At £8.0m, it could be more than worth it to own the expected focal point of Mikel Arteta’s side.

Earlier on, we mentioned Arsenal’s decent defensive performance last season and how £50-million acquisition Ben White (£4.5m) played his role in stabilising a traditionally shaky defence. In that light, we find it quite surprising that the Brighton Player of the Year 2020-21 has not seen his price rise for the new season. Just like that, you’ve got a nailed-on defender in a team that should be contending for at least a top-6 finish at a bargain price. Sure, White’s not a wing-back and provides zero attacking returns last season, but we’re considering him one of the stand-out budget enablers prior to GW1. He was part of a defence that recorded 13 clean sheets over the previous campaign and ended up with 107 FPL points. Add to that the fact that Arsenal are facing only two sides with an FDR rating higher than 2 in the first eight gameweeks (Leicester at home in GW2 and Man United away in GW6) and you can see why we included him in our list of potential Arsenal FPL targets over the likes of Smith-Rowe and Martinelli, for example.

ASTON VILLA – FPL 2022-23 team preview

The 2022-2023 Premier League campaign will be Steven Gerrard’s first full season as manager of the Villans and hopes are, as usual, high at Villa Park. Back in November of last year, the Liverpool legend succeeded Dean Smith, who had just recorded the fifth consecutive loss. Despite his track record at Rangers, opting for Gerrard in the middle of the season could be considered a risk, but it panned out nicely, though their eventual 14th-place finish does not immediately indicate that. The style of play was promising at times though, and the hope is that Stevie G can continue building on that foundation.

Of course, last season was also year 1 AG, After Grealish. The absolute star man of the Villans, who at the age of 25 made 213 appearances for his boyhood club (32 goals, 43 assists), was sold to Manchester City in August 2021 for a record £100 million. That money was quickly invested back into the squad with the acquisitions of, among others, Emi Buendia from Norwich, Leon Bailey from Leverkusen and Danny Ings from Southampton, but there was more to come. Good players and big names, sure, but there was more to come. In the January transfer window, newly appointed Gerrard managed to bring in direct reinforcements of proven world-class in the persons of former teammate and former PL sensation Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona, as well as World Champion Lucas Digne from Everton.

As far as the current transfer window is concerned, the Villans have been relatively quiet so far, though the summer is long still. There is less necessity for them to reinforce in big ways this time, seeing as most of the multi-million Pound signings from last season are likely to play significant roles throughout the upcoming campaign. Their major investment so far has been the powerful Diego Carlos, a central defender from Sevilla who cost them around £26 million, though the signing of Boubacar Kamara from Olympique Marseilles on a free should not be underestimated either. Villa missed a physical controlling midfielder last season and the 22-year-old French international might just be the solution.

Villa’s tactics sheet

With Gerrard currently managing his first pre-season at Aston Villa, the former England international will have plenty of more time to implement his preferred playing philosophy in comparison to when he started mid-season last year. Add to that the major reinforcements that he was allowed to bring in January and it’s easy to see why the team should improve considerably from its disappointing 14th place last season. The expectation is that, in order to achieve that, the manager will remain loyal to his love for attacking football, goals and excitement.

Gerrard’s style foundation is strict tactical discipline with plenty of movement, both on and off the ball. The wingers, especially, play key roles in his preferred 4-3-2-1 or 4-3-1-2 formations, depending on whether he wants to play with one or two strikers. They get the freedom to drift inside and join the striker(s), while the full-backs bomb forward to reach the backline and create chances. With Lucas Digne on the left and Matty Cash, Villa Player of the Season 2021-22, on the right, the side boasts the perfect personnel for such tactics. They shared 4 goals and 7 assists among the two of them last season.

At the same time, Gerrard is not afraid to instil a patient approach when it comes to the build-up. Villa like to control the game, especially in the midfield, and the aim is to get the ball into the box to take shots instead of taking shots from outside. Since Gerrard’s appointment, Villa on average take 7.8 shots per game from inside and 2.5 per game from outside. Considering the types of strikers they possess, Ings in particular, this makes a lot of sense.

ASTON VILLA – Potential FPL targets

Surprisingly, one of Villa’s stand-out performers from last season, right-back Matty Cash (£5.0m) has not gotten a price rise from FPL Towers this season. He developed into one of the most popular full-backs in the league, which is quite a feat when you consider the extreme competition. His modest price made him a kind of “luxury enabler” for many fantasy managers and he delivered duly with 4 goals and 3 assists from just over 3,300 minutes of Premier League action, which resulted in 147 FPL points. Add 13 clean sheets to that and it’s no surprise why he is currently in just over 20% of all teams prior to gameweek 1. The Poland international is nailed-on under Gerrard and there is no reason to believe he will not surpass his excellent 2021-22 campaign this season.

The only player on the Aston Villa roster who boasts a higher ownership percentage at the moment of writing, though by a minimal margin, is Philippe Coutinho (£7.0m), who we feel could actually end up being a major bargain for fantasy managers. His main issue in terms of fantasy selections is that the mid-price midfielder category is quite stacked this season, but he should definitely be on your scouting lists. The Brazilian international, who played with his current manager at Liverpool from 2013 to 2018, returned to Anfield in January and racked up 16 starts in the Premier League between gameweeks 22 and 38. Over that stretch, he showed a glimpse or perhaps even a bit more already of what he is capable of with 5 goals and 3 assists for a total of 83 FPL points. Assuming a full pre-season with the club and more time for his manager to work on the tactics, Coutinho might just end up becoming one of the better midfielders in the official fantasy game. He has the qualities to make a mockery of his price tag, that’s for sure.

Despite ending the 2021-2022 Premier League season with 11 goals and 2 assists from 33 starts, Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) possibly looks back on the campaign with a feeling of being able to do better. In the first half of the season, especially, the 26-year-old striker had difficulties finding the back of the net, just like many of his teammates were struggling to find consistent good form. Still, with 131 FPL points, Watkins ended the season as Villa’s topscorer, while in the entire league, only seven forwards did better than him. What we’re trying to say is that he is good and his last season was decent, but we feel he can do considerably better still. Gerrard’s preferred style of playing should fit the attacker perfectly and with a favorable opening set of fixtures to the season, his current 4.5% ownership could see him become one of the popular early-season differentials. It’s Bournemouth away, Everton at home and Crystal Palace away for the Villans in the first three gameweeks, so keep an eye on Watkins’ form during pre-season.

For more in-depth discussions on the Fantasy Premier League game check out our FPL forum.

Unforgettable Premier League moments making history

It’s just fair to say that the Premier league is  one of the most popular and favourite competitions of both football fans and punters, especially as it gives unforgettable moments with a strong viewership and unparalleled betting value. In fact, going through bookmakers at https://allbets.tv/ one can easily see the distinctive place of Premier League bets, particularly as Premier League matches are a treat for the senses!

Throughout the 30-year life of the Premier League and over the course of thousands of football games, there have been a number of moments standing out and making history for one of the world’s most iconic tournaments. From outstanding and top-notch goals to surreal incidents and from unexpected and unimagined outcomes to somewhat not cheerful events, the Premier League is full of unforgettables.

The Premier League is not only loved for its amazing football games, especially among top clubs giving unique performances, but it is loved also because it gives football fans and viewers the chance to see and experience moments that have actually made history.

The all-time favourite “Aguerrroooo”!

It was the ending of the 2011/12 -the 20th season of Premier League featuring Manchester City fighting against Queens Park Rangers, while Manchester United playing against Sunderland. Manchester United was winning and was nearly certain that they were about to get their 13th title in the Premier League, once Man City got defeated by QPR. City was 2-1 down, but in a sudden twist of things, and in the last moments, the unthinkable did happen. Sergio Aguero scores and settles the title of the tournament! Martin Tyler, the commentator, screams “Aguerrrooooo” and ……. GOAL! It was the defining moment Manchester City would claim Premier League victory and would lay the path towards lifting the trophy for the first time, while beating its all-time, biggest rival, Manchester United! The rest is history.

Beckham’s iconic goal from his own half

It was the 1996/97 season, Manchester United playing against Wimbleton, when David Beckham at the age of 21 was about to make history with his wonder goal and launch a brilliant career. No matter whether you are a fan of Beckham or you think of him as one of the great football players of the Premier League, you simply can’t deny the astonishing goal he made from his own half, when he saw Wimbleton’s Sullivan off his line and chose to give it a shot!

Leicester winning the trophy!

For the first time in the history of the Club, the Foxes lifted the Premier League’s trophy in the 2015/16 season. Being an absolute underdog (bookmakers’ offered odds at 5.000-1) at the beginning of the season and nearly relegated at the end of the previous season, it took Leicester’s dedication, focus and commitment to gradually build their performance over the course of the games and in the end become the winner of the English Premier League – a league with all those top world-class football clubs competing for the trophy.

Eric Cantona’s outburst 

It was the 1995-96 season and Manchester United was playing against Crystal Palace, when a bizarre event took place, leading to a series of disciplinary actions. Eric Cantona, the French player of Manchester United was banned for nine-months from football, when he responded with a flying “kung-fu” kick to a Palace fan and launched himself to punch him after being shouted at and abused. Just moments before, Cantona was given a red-card for kicking Palace’s defender Richard Shaw and he was walking off, when the fan’s behaviour triggered his outburst. Notably, Eric Cantona recently admitted that he regrets not hitting the fan harder…. Although not a cheerful episode, it remains one of the most shocking ones that have marked the Premier League’s history.

Blackburn win

In the 1994-95 season Blackburn Rovers were about to write their own fairytale. There were two matches that would determine the winner of the third Premier League to be held since the beginning – Manchester United or Blackburn Rovers. The Rovers were losing 2-1 to Liverpool at Anfield, but at the same time Manchester United’s match at Upton Park with West Ham was ending with their defeat, crowning Blackburn the winners of the League. This had been the first victory for the club!

A Guide to the Three Newly Promoted Teams

All Change! Can Fulham not only find EPL stability but also provide fantasy football managers with a bargain?

It is almost that time of year, when thoughts once again turn to selecting your fantasy football team. This season will be different. This will be the season you come out of the traps flying because as we all know the start is absolutely crucial. Playing catch-up is not impossible, but becomes increasingly difficult as everyone’s teams start to take on a similar look and those unknown stars of August are the subject of every blog post and podcast and, of course our very own forums, come October.

The new kid on the block when it comes to fantasy gaming is eSports, with even some of the biggest clubs in Europe developing their own teams, but the popularity of fantasy football continues to build year on year. The reason for that is its sheer simplicity, combined with the fact that if you want to, you can spend tens of hours a week researching that perfect starting eleven.  Another reason for its endearing popularity is the constant input of fresh blood, both in terms of players and new teams. And with just that in mind, let’s have a look at the three new additions to the EPL to see if they can provide us with any of the tiny margins that will be crucial come May.

Fulham

A new season awaits…

This is the season Fulham will attempt to break out from being very much a yoyo club to a firmly established Premier League one. A lot will depend on what happens this summer, both in terms of who they can bring in, and who they can prevent from leaving. Aleksandar Mitrović had an incredible season last time out and played a huge part in the West Londoners bouncing straight back with his 43-goal haul. He has shown that he can score in the EPL before, netting 24 times in his 104 appearances for Fulham and Newcastle. Rumours are linking the Serb with a move back to the North East, but either way, his value may be pushed artificially high due to his exploits last season.

Better value could very well come in the form of Harry Wilson. The attacking midfielder/winger contributed an incredible 20 assists last season, as well as an equally impressive 10 goals. He won’t have it so easy in England’s top tier, but Marco Silva will be buoyed by Brentford’s performances in the EPL last season and is extremely likely to follow suit and play the attacking style that saw his side blow teams away in the Championship.  

Bournemouth

The other club to win automatic promotion, and a club that pushed Fulham all the way and amassed an impressive 88 points of their own are the Cherries. Like Fulham, their scoring stats are dominated by one man, Dominic Solanke. In a normal season, his 28 goals and 7 assists would have won the ex-Chelsea youth and Liverpool player all the plaudits, but as we know, Mitrović had everything but a normal season.  Looking at the past is sometimes key to predicting the future and questions will be asked whether the striker can take the experience from the Championship into the altogether different arena that is the EPL. So far, the answer to that question has been no, with 63 appearances yielding just 3 goals. He is a couple of years older however and he has the confidence of being the main man at a club, something that has never been the case. He thrived on that last season, and will be a cheap option for a player who will not only play every game, but will also be the team’s main goal threat. Left-back Jordan is another option if you are looking for a cheap defender who will play and contribute the occasional goal and assist.

Nottingham Forest

The job Steve Cooper did to not just turn Forest around last season but to get them into the Premier League was nothing short of remarkable. There are those who feel the side would have benefitted from another year in the Championship to really prepare a team that is ready to take on the challenge for the toughest league in the world, but if opportunity comes knocking you are not going to turn promotion down. Forest’s goals were more evenly dispersed than with their fellow promoted sides, with the young Brennan Johnson leading the line from midfield with 16 goals and 9 assists. They will miss Philip Zinckernagel, and it is likely the club will see several additions over the coming weeks, so the best advice would be to keep your powder dry with Forest players until their squad looks like it is at least nearly complete.

Can any side dethrone Manchester City next season?

Despite Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team running them close, Manchester City managed to survive a final day scare against Aston Villa to secure a dramatic fourth Premier League title in five seasons. For Pep Guardiola’s side, the familiar title win signifies the evident gulf between them and the rest, particularly when it comes to finances and the way in which the Spaniard’s methods have created a winning mentality at the club. But can any side catch Manchester City next season?

While Liverpool managed to take it down to the very last game of the campaign, there is a consensus among the football-supporting community that the blue side of Manchester is an unstoppable force, particularly while Pep Guardiola remains in charge. Should the former Barcelona boss depart the club, other sides would certainly grow in confidence. At the moment, when it comes to pre-season write-ups, pundit predictions, and fans making the most of any Bet365 UK sports betting opportunities, it’s impossible to look past Manchester City once again next season. In fact, the Citizens are only going to get stronger in the coming weeks.

Borussia Dortmund superstar to take City up a level

While many experts felt that Manchester City would miss Sergio Aguero’s presence last season, Pep Guardiola’s side managed to uncover another layer to their ever-changing approach by producing the goods without a recognised striker. Now, though, with Erling Haaland officially joining the club on July 1, City could potentially be even more devastating. The talented Norwegian striker is moving to Manchester at a time when he’s arguably the most famous young star in football. At the age of just 21, the Borussia Dortmund goal-getter is likely to lead a new era at the Etihad. Given his physical prowess and unwavering confidence at such a young age, Pep Guardiola’s side appear to have signed the real deal. Working alongside the Spanish innovator will surely add another dimension to Haaland’s game also, with Guardiola expected to demand more off the ball from his new superstar.

For the rest of the Premier League, the signing of Haaland is an ominous warning. With 62 goals in 67 appearances for the German giants, Haaland clearly knows where the goal is. His desire to score, alongside City’s usually reliable service, will surely see the former Red Bull Salzburg prodigy develop further and mature into one of the best players in the world. Right now, although the hype surrounding him is understandably through the roof, Erling Haaland has some developing to do. With that in mind, he has certainly chosen the ideal destination for the next stage of his career.

Julian Alvarez has gone under the radar

While the football world is salivating at the prospect of Erling Harland in the Premier League next season, City bosses will be quietly confident in the signing of Julian Alvarez, too. City paid an initial £14.1m to sign the exciting forward from River Plate and many expected him to spend next season back on-loan at his beloved club, but there are strong reports suggesting that Alvarez will be fast-tracked into the first team fold. The 22-year-old was the Primera Division’s top scorer in 2021 with 20 goals in 35 games, while also being named the South American Footballer of the Year. With both Haaland and Alvarez supplementing a formidable attack, Manchester City’s attacking options are scary.

Liverpool could be weaker

While Manchester City are expected to go all out for both domestic and European honours next season, there are concerning reports surrounding the team that is most likely to challenge them for the Premier League crown, Liverpool. With Sadio Mane heading to Bayern Munich and doubts over the future of star man Mohamed Salah, Manchester City’s main competition could be weaker. As such, next season could be five in six for the Citizens. In fact, while Pep Guardiola’s still there, it’s almost a foregone conclusion.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 38 preview

So, here we are. After 370 matches, 1,032 goals and countless double gameweeks, gameweek 38 is finally here. The final gameweek of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign brings us the last ten games of this rollercoaster of a season. As is usual for the last gameweek of the year, heavy rotation is expected, though a lot is at stake still for more than a few teams as well. We’ll place a quick overview below of those teams still fighting for something, i.e. getting into Europe for next season or avoiding relegation to the championship.

Also, Spurs were hit by food poisoning this week, allegedly. Manager Antonio Conte says all is fine in the world though, but we recommend keeping an eye out for team news over the coming 24 hours.

TEAMGW38 OPPONENTSITUATION
Manchester CityAston Villa (home)Victory = certain champions
LiverpoolWolves (home)Need victory to keep chance of title
4. SpursNorwich (away)Victory = certain CL
5. ArsenalEverton (home)Need victory to keep chance of CL
6. Manchester UnitedCrystal Palace (away)Victory = certain EL
7. West HamBrighton (away)Need victory to keep chance of EL
17. BurnleyNewcastle (home)Victory = avoid relegation
18. LeedsBrentford (away)Need victory to keep chance of PL

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 38 is set at 14h30 (UK time) on Sunday, May 22nd, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per May 21st, 2022)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKSa (WOL), Martinez (AST), Ramsdale (ARS)Lloris (TOT), Alisson (LIV), Steele (BRI)GW38 fixtures
DEFVan Dijk (LIV), Cash (AST), Coady (WOL)Matip (LIV), James (CHE), Alonso (CHE)GW38 fixtures
MIDSalah (LIV), Coutinho (AST), Saka (ARS)Son (TOT), Bowen (WHU), De Bruyne (MCI)GW38 fixtures
FORDennis (WAT), Ings (AST), Watkins (AST)Kane (TOT), Toney (BRE), Nketiah (ARS)GW38 fixtures

Premium pick

Kevin de Bruyne (£12.1m). Man City need to win against Aston Villa at home to clinch the Premier League title, which, apart from its enormous prestige, would also mean that the Cityzens do not end their season trophyless. In other words, this is THE game of gameweek 38, in our opinion. Pep Guardiola’s men control their own fate, as winning against the Villans will bring them the title regardless of what Liverpool do against Wolves at Anfield. With food poisoning rumours surrounding Harry Kane and injury worries putting Mo Salah in doubt, KDB simply looks like the safest premium fantasy bet for GW38. He will start, he is on many set-pieces and he’s one of the best midfielders we’ve seen this decade, while his ownership is still below 20%. We’re expecting big things from him on the final gameday.

Non-premium pick

Our premium fantasy pick is a City asset, so we figured it’d be no less than right for the balance to pick a Liverpool player as our non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 38. With Mo Salah currently flagged in the official game (“Muscle injury – 75% chance of playing”) and Luis Diaz (£8.1m) being benched in GW37 against Southampton, our attention has shifted to the latter. The Colombian arrived at Anfield in January and did not need long to make an impact. In ten starts and two sub appearances, he has been good for 4 goals and 3 assists, totalling 62 FPL points. Despite him missing out in gameweek 37, we feel that Diaz could be a good punt this weekend. Liverpool can only win and hope for a minor miracle at the Etihad, which is how we expect them to turn up on Sunday as well. How it will turn out is anyone’s guess, but taking a little punt on Diaz might just turn out to be the banger you want to end your season with.

The budget enabler

In the past two months or so, Eddie Nketiah (£5.7m) became one of the best budget players in the game. Since his first league start of the season back in gameweek 33 away at Saint Mary’s, the youngster has started every single gameweek for Arsenal, scoring two braces over that period: one in gameweek 33 at Stamford Bridge and one versus Leeds at home in GW36. With so much at stake for the Gunners when they host Everton on Sunday, we can’t image manager Mikel Arteta suddenly benching Nketiah, especially as the academy graduate has shown good form over the past weeks. A considerable amount of Free Hits are still unactivated in the official game, which makes us think that GW38 will see considerable Free Hit activity and if we’re right, Nketiah is likely to be part of many of those squads, if not all of them. Everton have been terrible on the road this season, conceding 59 goals (only four teams conceded more) and recording an Expected Goals Conceded (xGC) of 58.3, which places them in thirteenth place. On top of that, they just secured Premier League survival, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Arsenal face an Everton side that has been celebrating for the past few days.

The differential

Even though Brentford in reality don’t have much to play for anymore, we’re recommending Christian Eriksen (£5.6m) as our differential fantasy pick for gameweek 38. Currently in eleventh place, the Bees could still move up to ninth if they win against Leeds at home, while a defeat could potentially see them drop to fourteenth. Apart from the difference in prize money, Brentford also seem to want to end their fantastic return season to the Prem in style. They’re coming off back-to-back victories against Southampton at home and Everton at Goodison Park, scoring six goals in the process. Eriksen created two of those goals, bringing his total returns since his arrival in January to 1 goal and 4 assists. The Danish international, who was called up for his national side recently as well, recorded 11 FPL points over the last two games, which at a price of £5.6m and an ownership of just 1.7% is very decent. He’s also a guaranteed starter and the man for practically all set-pieces. In other words, a major differential in a home game against a side fighting relegation.

The captaincy

Plenty of appealing fixtures on the agenda for the final gameweek of the 2021/22 Premier League season, meaning there are plenty of feasible captaincy candidates as well. As you might have guessed already though, after reading our premium fantasy pick for GW38, we won’t be looking further than Kevin de Bruyne this week. It promises to become a crazy final day of the campaign, but from a fantasy perspective, Sunday’s encounter at the Etihad has all the makings of a perfect storm for KDB. Our final armband of the season is for the Belgian.

Alternatives for the City midfielder can be found at Anfield, where Liverpool will be hosting Wolves. While Salah is flagged currently, the likes of Sadio Mané and Luis Diaz become very interesting captaincy targets, especially considering their below-8% ownership. In London, Heung Min-Son should be around the top of your watchlists as should his partner in crime Harry Kane, though rumour has it the England captain is not 100% after food poisoning. Other interesting options could be Eddie Nketiah at home to Everton, Cristiano Ronaldo away at Palace and Jarrod Bowen at Brighton. Want to finish your season with a real punt? An expert’s punt, so to say? Why not slap the armband on Wilfried Zaha then, for his visit to former club Manchester United, where he never fully blossomed?

FPL Season 2021/22: Double gameweek 37 preview

Two double gameweeks in a row, what a way to work towards the end of this 2021/22 campaign. After a spectacular DGW36, where the average score was a whopping 79 points and the week’s highest scorer recorded an incredible 225 points. Of course, triple captaining quadruple goalscorer Kevin de Bruyne helps as the Belgian raked in a season-record 30 FPL points against Wolves. Overall, KDB wasn’t the only player to cross the 20-point mark. His teammate Raheem Sterling recorded 28 points (3 goals and 1 assist in two starts), while Spurs star Son Heung-Min managed a total of 20 FPL points (2 goals and 1 assist). It was clearly a good week for premium midfielders.

Gameweek 37 is another double one, kicking off on Sunday when between 12h00 and 17h30, no less than seven Premier League games will be playing. Despite no top-six sides playing twice this round, the doubles do offer some interesting matchups. The doubles of Aston Villa against Palace and Burnley, and a resurgent Everton twice at home against Brentford and Palace, in particular, stand out. As a result, many of our fantasy picks for double gameweek 37 will come from teams with two games, though it would be imprudent to discard the single gameweekers. The likes of Mo Salah (away at Southampton), Kevin de Bruyne (away at West Ham), and Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son (at home to Burnley) could deliver big as well and could also be popular with managers looking to use their Free Hit in DGW37.

Finally, don’t forget that there is also one team blanking in DGW37, namely Manchester United!

TEAMDGW OPPONENTS
Aston VillaCrystal Palace (home) + Burnley (home)
BurnleySpurs (away) + Aston Villa (away)
Crystal PalaceAston Villa (away) + Everton (away)
EvertonBrentford (home) + Crystal Palace (home)
LeicesterWatford (away) + Chelsea (away)

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 37 is set at 10h30 (UK time) on Sunday, May 15th, 2022.

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

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKDe Gea (MUN), Ramsdale (ARS), Guaita (CRY)Pickford (EVE), Schmeichel (LEI), Martinez (AST)DGW37
DEFDias (MCI), Laporte (MCI), White (ARS)Cash (AST), Jansson (BRE), Cucurella (BRI)DGW37, Dias injury, Laporte injury doubt
MIDSalah (LIV), Mount (CHE), Havertz (CHE)Zaha (CRY), Son (TOT), De Bruyne (MCI)DGW37, Son and KDB goal-scoring form
FORDennis (WAT), Ronaldo (MUN), Jesus (MCI)Nketiah (ARS), Richarlison (EVE), Ings (AST)DGW37, Nketiah budget striker

Premium pick

When it comes to the premium fantasy picks for DGW37, we’re presented with an abundance of good choices, something we’ve not been accustomed to this season. Harry Kane coming off a brace against Arsenal and preparing for a home encounter with Burnley. His teammate Son recording a goal and an assist in that same game. Kevin de Bruyne outshining everyone by scoring four against Wolves with West Ham in London up next. Plenty of choice, as you can see, but there’s one very usual suspect we have not mentioned yet and that’s Mo Salah (£13.3m). Why is that? Because he didn’t perform. No returns against Spurs at home followed by an 18-minute cameo at Villa Park combined for an extremely disappointing DGW36 for the Egyptian. The one good thing? Bar any injury scares during the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday, he’s certain to start against Southampton next Tuesday, well rested, raring to go and hopefully (for his owners) flying high after winning the FA Cup. As we wrote earlier, there are plenty of good options in the premium bracket this round, but our gut feeling is telling us to go with Mo as he faces a Soton side halfway to the beach that has conceded more big chances than any other side in the league since New Year.

Non-premium pick

After a single-gameweek premium fantasy pick, the rest of our fantasy picks for double gameweek 37 will come from teams with two fixtures, starting with Everton talisman Richarlison (£7.6m). For a successful relegation fight, one of the key factors is one or more players standing up and being able to summon that little bit of extra “something” needed in times of despair. In the case of Everton’s impressive recent turn-around, Richarlison is one of those players. From Gameweek 31 onwards, the Brazilian recorded 4 goals in seven starts, giving himself the highest Expected Goal Involvement (xGI) in the entire league. Even without the two penalties he scored over that stretch, Richarlison is still third best for xGI among all players in the official game. With two home games up next and the Toffees still just two points above the drop zone, he is a stand-out non-premium fantasy pick for us. Brentford have not kept a clean sheet away from home since GW5, while Palace could be without goalkeeper Guaita and nailed-on central defender Guèhi, which could only benefit Everton and their main man up front Richarlison in particular.

The budget enabler

One of the ultimate budget enablers in the second half of this season has been Anthony Gordon (£4.7m). The young winger started accumulating Premier League minutes from gameweek 5 onwards, got his first start of the season in GW7, became a regular from GW11 onwards and has been fixed feature in the starting line-up since around GW17. With 4 goals and 3 assists, his breakthrough season is going pretty well, but it should also be noted, especially from an FPL perspective, that he has not managed an attacking return since his winning goal against Man United in gameweek 32. He did start and play 90 minutes in every game since then, including both games in Everton double gameweek 36, which bodes well for their upcoming double gameweek 37. In the fight for survival, manager Frank Lampard has reserved the left-wing spot for Gordon, which, at his price, makes him an excellent option as the fifth midfielder in your squad or as a cheap DGW addition if you feel your squad is a bit light this week.

The differential

Considering his current 13 goals and 1 assist from 28 starts in the Premier League, it’s a bit surprising to see Wilfried Zaha’s (£6.9m) ownership at just 7.9% at the time of writing. He is the most transferred-in midfielder in the build-up to double gameweek 37 in which he will be facing Aston Villa and Everton, both away. Not the easiest of fixtures, especially not knowing that Crystal Palace have little to really play for anymore, but any FPL manager who’s been paying a bit of attention the past few seasons knows that Zaha could deliver big here. He is the Eagles’ talisman, a secured starter and on penalty duties as well, which only furthers his appeal. The Ivory Coast international was on target in both gameweek 35 (against Southampton away) and gameweek 36 (at home vs Watford), bringing his total number of goal involvements to 14, a direct involvement of just over 30% in all of his side’s goals. That bodes well for his upcoming double gameweek.

The captaincy

The captaincy debate is interesting this week, as many highly owned and in-form single-gameweek players have enticing fixtures, while there are appealing double gameweek prospects as well. If you’re set on always captaining a double gameweek player, Wilfried Zaha looks like a great punt. Alternatives for the Ivorian are James Maddison and even Jamie Vardy for their double against Watford and Chelsea, Richarlison who will face Brentford and Palace, or even the likes of Coutinho and Watkins (if declared fit on time) for their encounters with Palace and Burnley.

As far as the single gameweekers go, much of the debate will be between the premium FPL assets with favourable fixtures. The game’s top scorer Mo Salah will follow Saturday’s FA Cup final battle with an away game against Southampton, while Kevin de Bruyne will want to continue his great form against West Ham as the Cityzens have scored 22 goals in their last five league games. After a resounding 3-0 victory in the North London derby, Kane and Son should also be on your radar as Spurs have one of the most favourable fixtures of DGW37, at home to Burnley.

FPL Season 2021/22: Double gameweek 36 preview

It’s finally here. The double gameweek FPL managers and pundits alike have been talking about for weeks, if not months. The biggest double gameweek of the season. Double gameweek 36. Between this coming Saturday afternoon and the evening of Thursday, May 12th, no less than sixteen matches will be played, with an unprecedented twelve teams doubling. See the table below for a quick overview of which teams have a double gameweek coming up and who their respective opponents are.

TEAMDGW OPPONENTS
ArsenalSpurs (away) + Leeds (home)
Aston VillaLiverpool (home) + Burnley (away)
ChelseaLeeds (away) + Wolves (home)
EvertonWatford (away) + Leicester (away)
LeedsChelsea (home) + Arsenal (away)
LeicesterNorwich (home) + Everton (home)
LiverpoolAston Villa (away) + Spurs (home)
Manchester CityWolves (away) + Newcastle (home)
NorwichLeicester (away) + West Ham (home)
SpursArsenal (home) + Liverpool (away)
WatfordEverton (home) + Crystal Palace (away)
WolvesMan City (home) + Chelsea (away)

As you can see from the above table and as you have probably known for a while already, there are a few teams with very interesting matchups. Liverpool and Man City stand out in that sense, and especially because they will be focusing entirely on the Premier League until the end of the season. It should be noted that the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool will take place on Saturday, May 14th. The Blues in particular are expected to rotate considerably for their second match of their DGW36 against Leeds. The same, to an extent, goes for Leicester, who have two great games on paper, but have largely be focusing on their Europa League exploits these weeks. Besides that, the Arsenal double is not bad, whilst relegation battlers Everton and Watford face a decent double gameweek as well, on paper at least. As a result, and taking into account the considerable expected chip activation (Bench Boosts and Free Hits, in particular) for the upcoming gameweek, it’s no surprise that our DGW36 fantasy picks are dominated by assets from teams with two encounters.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 36 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Saturday, May 7th, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per May 5th, 2022)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKSa (WOL), De Gea (MUN), Sanchez (BRI)Schmeichel (LEI), Pickford (EVE), Foster (WAT)DGW36
DEFReguilon (TOT), White (ARS), Coady (WOL)Alonso (CHE), Matip (LIV), Cash (AST)DGW36, injuries to Reguilon and White
MIDCoutinho (AST), Maddison (LEI), Mount (CHE)Saka (ARS), Son (TOT), Foden (MCI)DGW36, Maddison and Mount rotation risk
FORToney (BRE), Broja (SOU), Antonio (WHU)Jesus (MCI), Nketiah (ARS), Richarlison (EVE)DGW36

Premium pick

It’s hard to imagine what Man City manager Pep Guardiola was thinking when he decided to take off Kevin de Bruyne (£11.9m) in the 72nd minute against Real Madrid in their return game of the Champions League semi-finals. Perhaps it was tactical. Perhaps he figured the final was a done deal by that time and that it was best to preserve his star player for the thrilling title race in the Premier League. Whatever the Spanish manager’s reasoning, it definitely did not work for his side and now the Cityzens have just the domestic league to focus on. Not so great news for City fans, but an excellent development for FPL managers. City’s elimination from Europa and their 1-point lead over Liverpool in the league have us thinking that rotation will be relatively minimal for Pep standards over the final three gameweeks. As their most influential player, we expect De Bruyne to start all games from now on, which has immediately catapulted him to the top of our premium picks list for DGW36. He blanked against Leeds in GW35, but managed 4 goals and 4 assists in the six games prior to that, and now has a double Wolves and Newcastle coming up. That prospect has us picking him over even Mo Salah as the best premium fantasy pick for double gameweek 36.

Non-premium pick

Bukayo Saka (£6.7m) was a bit of an injury doubt in the build-up to gameweek 35, but he made it in the end to the joy of the almost 30% of FPL managers who own him. He ended up picking up 4 FPL points at West Ham, the result of an assist and a yellow card, which followed back-to-backs in which he returned handsomely (1 goal in GW33, 1 goal and 1 assist in GW34). With a total of 168 FPL for the season already, the English international has by far surpassed his best FPL season as he has become an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s starting eleven. In DGW36, the Gunners are playing the North London derby at Spurs and a home game against Leeds, games they will need to win if they want to stay in the race for fourth place in the league. Saka is probably the best pick from the Arsenal roster, especially now that he seems to have taken penalty duties onto himself as well. We expect him to be part of lots of Free Hits and Bench Boosts this week, also because his £6.7m price tag easily allows for his inclusion, so we recommend to bring the winger in if you can.

The budget enabler

There are a few interesting budget fantasy options on our radar for DGW36, but it’s hard to look past Anthony Gordon (£4.6m). The young Everton winger has conquered a starting spot under manager Frank Lampard and with a double gameweek coming up against interesting opposition, he is the ultimate budget enabler for this upcoming gameweek. Of course, Everton’s struggles this season are a known fact, but the Toffees look to have found a bit of spirit in their fight for Premier League survival of late. Over the last four league games, they beat both Man United and Chelsea at home (1-0 both times), drew 1-1 with Leicester and lost 2-0 in the Merseyside Derby. Results to take some hope from, at the very least. Up next are fellow relegation candidates Watford at Vicarage Road for a game that can really go either way and a visit to Leicester just two days after the Foxes played their all-important Europea League semi-final return against José Mourinho’s AS Roma. Who knows, Everton might just be able to take 3, 4 or even 6 points from these games. If they do, any returns that stand-out budget fantasy pick can add to his current 4 goals and 3 assists would be a massive bonus.

The differential

With Liverpool facing Spurs at home on Saturday followed by Aston Villa at Villa Park on Tuesday for their double gameweek 36, we can’t write up a gameweek fantasy picks article without including at least one of their assets. This time, it’s Luis Diaz (£8.0m), who made it in our differential fantasy pick category. The Colombian international has made quite an impact on the Reds, which he underlined by completely turning around the Champions League semi-final return against Villareal this week after coming on at half-time. In the Premier League, he has already recorded 3 goals and 2 assists for a total of 47 FPL points from eight starts. Rotation is a risk when it comes to Diaz, as he competes with Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Diogo Jota for one of the three forward spots, but he has looked worthy of a starting berth lately. That’s why we would not be at all surprised to see him rack up at least 100 playing minutes over his double gameweek 36 and likely considerably more. His current ownership of 3.8% therefore makes him a fascinating differential prospect for the final weeks of the 2021/22 season.

The captaincy

As far as the captaincy goes this week, there are a few very good options on offer. We made our mind up a while ago already though, around minute 72 of the Champions League encounter between Manchester City and Real Madrid to be exact. That’s when Kevin de Bruyne walked off the pitch in the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and right into our squad for gameweek 36, armband proudly around his Belgian upper arm. A City side on a quest for revenge, fighting for the last change of silverware, facing on-the-beach Wolves and Newcastle; KDB is our captaincy pick for DGW36.

If you can’t fit the Belgian in or if you feel like rotation risk is still too much of a factor, you can easily shift your attention to Mo Salah. This season’s top points-scorer is hosting Spurs on Saturday before visiting Aston Villa three days later, and if there is one player who can haul in such circumstances, it’s the Egyptian. Other interesting options for the armband this week are Bukayo Saka against Spurs and Leeds, Sadio Mané, and one of Harvey Barnes or James Maddison for their double against Norwich and Everton.

FPL Season 2021-22: Gameweek 35 preview

Gameweek 35 is already almost upon us, about 36 hours after double gameweek 34 ended with a 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Manchester United at Old Trafford. Gameweeks have been coming thick and fast lately, and this will continue until the very end of the season. In fact, the upcoming gameweek 35 is something of a lull before the storm, as gameweek 36 and 37 are both (major) double gameweeks before the season ends in gameweek 38. That means there are just four rounds to go in FPL, but plenty can still happen in what’s promising to become a spectacular end to the 2021-22 FPL campaign.

As far as the upcoming double gameweek goes, the current top three face favourable opposition, though all three of them are playing away from home. Liverpool are visiting Newcastle to open the gameweek on Saturday, followed by Manchester City rolling up to Elland Road for the last game of the day and Chelsea traveling to struggling Everton on Sunday. On top of that, a Spurs side without a shot on target since gameweek 32 will host leaky Leicester this weekend, Manchester United are welcoming Brentford to Old Trafford and Arsenal are going to West Ham, who are plagued by injuries in defence and just played a Europa Conference League semi-final against AS Roma.

Don’t forget, the deadline for your FPL gameweek 35 transfers is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, April 30th, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 29th, 2022)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRamsdale (ARS), De Gea (MUN), Sa (WOL)Schmeichel (LEI), Foster (WAT), Martinez (AST) 
DEFRudiger (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Schar (NEW)Cash (AST), Alonso (CHE), Matip (LIV)Upcoming DGWs, Livramento injury
MIDSaka (ARS), Son (TOT), Maddison (LEI)De Bruyne (MCI), Coutinho (AST), Mount (CHE)Upcoming DGWs, Saka injury doubts, Maddison rotation
FORKane (TOT), Antonio (WHU), Wood (NEW)Jesus (MCI), Watkins (AST), Dennis (WAT)Upcoming DGWs, Kane 180 minutes without shot on target, Jesus coming off 4 goals

Premium pick

We may have already gone through 34 gameweeks this season, but some things never change. Mo Salah (£13.3m) is our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 35, despite strong competition from the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Harry Kane. It’s the business end of the season and the high-intensity games are piling up at breakneck speed for Liverpool, but their Egyptian superstar is just carrying on with what he has been doing all season: scoring goals, giving assists and delighting the almost 60% of FPL managers who trust him every weekend. He has scored 2 goals and given 3 assists over the last three gameweeks for a total of 30 FPL points over that stretch, while his season totals currently sit on 22 goals and 14 assists in 31 league games. The Reds are just one point behind leaders Man City and even though this weekend’s opponent Newcastle have been in great form of late, we find it hard to imagine the Magpies forcing Liverpool’s title ambitions onto the backburner.

Non-premium pick

Our non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 35 is based more on his upcoming fixtures than on his current form. Philippe Coutinho (£7.0m) had a magnificent start as a Villain when he came over from Barcelona in the last January transfer window, but the Brazilian has been quiet of late, at least in terms of FPL returns. Between gameweeks 22 and 28, he managed 4 goals and 3 assists for a total of 55 FPL points. Since GW28, he has registered five consecutive blanks, though it should be noted that the opposition over that period was quite difficult (West Ham, Arsenal, Wolves, Spurs, Leicester) and Villa don’t have that much to play for anymore. What’s interesting about Coutinho, is that he is facing Norwich at home this weekend, followed by back-to-back double gameweeks in which he will face, in order, Burnley (away), Liverpool (home), Palace (home) and Burnley (home). The Brazilian international is a nailed-on starter under manager Steven Gerrard and he has set-piece duties as well, which in combination with his friendly price tag make him an interesting pick not just for GW35, but until the end of the season.

The budget enabler

Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah (£5.5m) has burst into his side’s starting eleven right on time for the very business end of the season. Of course, we need to mention here that he has only just recently displaced Alexandre Lacazette from the Gunners’ number-nine position, but he has been largely impressive and we don’t see any immediate reason why Mikel Arteta would suddenly decide to switch it up again. Nketiah started the last three games in the league and managed a brace back in gameweek 33 in Arsenal’s spectacular 2-4 away win over Chelsea. He is facing a depleted West Ham defence this weekend, as the Hammers will be missing at least Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop, followed by a double gameweek 36 against Leeds (home) and Spurs (away). At a price of just £5.5m, Nketiah has all the makings of a perfect budget-enabler for the final month of the season, but keep in mind that Lacazette is vying for his spot as well.

The differential

To be honest, our premium pick debate for gameweek 35 was between Mo Salah and Kevin de Bruyne (£11.9m). Two factors made us pick Salah, namely the lower risk of rotation he carries and the fact that KDB is actually still owned by just 9.8% of FPL managers, which means that he still qualifies for our differential pick category! The Belgian playmaker has been one of City’s best performers over the past few weeks and months, which is not that surprising considering he is one of the very best creative midfielders in the world. In the six league games he started since gameweek 28, KDB scored 4 goals and gave 4 assists, collecting a delicious 56 FPL points in the process. In GW35, City are visiting Leeds for what could well end up being a goal fest, though it should be noted that Pep Guardiola’s men will also be travelling to Madrid on Wednesday to face a certain local football club in the semi-finals of the Champions League (and thanking the UEFA rule makers that Away goals no longer count). Rotation will undoubtedly be the name of the game as far as City assets are concerned this weekend, but with Liverpool just a point behind and playing Newcastle earlier that day, the Cityzens won’t be able to afford too much change either. In any case, De Bruyne might miss a minute here and there, but if you can, you should probably bring him in for now until the rest of the season. Oh, and he has a double gameweek against Newcastle (home) and Wolves (away) in GW36 as well.

The captaincy

As you probably guessed from the content above, the captaincy this week is between Mo Salah and Kevin de Bruyne for us, and we’ve ended up going with the latter. Both have the potential to haul bigtime, let that be clear, but we feel that Newcastle away for Liverpool is a tad more difficult a fixture than Leeds away is for Man City at the moment. Picking KDB does come with the higher risk of rotation, but with almost five days between the Leeds game and the Real Madrid cracker, there should be enough resting time available for the Belgian to feature from the start in both encounters. On top of that, with an ownership of less than 10%, he can be a great help to FPL managers chasing in their respective mini-leagues.

If you don’t captain Kevin de Bruyne, then captain Salah. If you don’t captain Salah, probably captain Harry Kane for his home game against Leicester, who are focusing entirely on the Conference League. If you don’t captain Kane either, please send us a screenshot of your team. Kidding, of course, because in reality there are more than a few decent alternatives left for GW35. Kai Havertz or Mason Mount away against Everton could pay off handsomely, as could Cristiano Ronaldo at home against Brentford and Bukayo Saka away versus West Ham.

FPL Season 2021/22: Double Gameweek 34 preview

And just like that, we’ve got just five gameweeks left for the 2021-22 Fantasy Premier League season. If you’re still trailing in your mini-leagues (or eyeing that sweet top 10k overall spot, for example, why not?), time is running out for your final moves. With just over 67% of all managers still sitting on their second Free Hit (just over 51% in the current top 10k) and around 60% of all managers still holding their second Wildcard (16% amongst the top 10k), you can expect considerable chip activity over the very business end of the season. Double gameweek 34 especially seems to be a good moment for many FPL managers to deploy one, with the second Wildcard feeling like a popular choice in the online FPL community.


A GW34 Wildcard would allow them to start preparing for the major double gameweeks in rounds 36 and 37, while also optimising their starting eleven for a DGW34 with potential. We see title contestants Liverpool and Manchester City face very favourable opposition at home in Everton and Watford, respectively, while both Chelsea (West Ham home, Man United away) and Manchester United (Arsenal away, Chelsea home) are doubling. On top of that, the upcoming gameweek features Crystal Palace at their trusted Selhurst Park hosting Leeds, Spurs visiting Brentford to keep their top-4 dreams alive, and a seemingly resurgent Burnley side battling for survival welcoming Wolves to Turf Moor. Plenty to look forward to, including an interesting captaincy debate.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 34 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 22nd, 2022)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRamsdale (ARS), De Gea (MUN), Sa (WOL)Schmeichel (LEI), Foster (WAT), Ederson (MCI) 
DEFRudiger (CHE), Doherty (TOT), Tierney (ARS)James (CHE), Alonso (CHE), Laporte (MCI)Injuries to Rudiger + Doherty + Tierney. James + Alonso DGW
MIDSaka (ARS), Maddison (LEI), Coutinho (AST)Mount (CHE), Salah (LIV), Havertz (CHE)Chelsea DGW, Salah home vs Everton
FORKane (TOT), Lacazette (ARS), Antonio (WHU)Pukki (NOR), Werner (CHE), Ronaldo (MUN)Werner + Ronaldo DGW

Premium pick

Remember the time when Mo Salah (£13.2m) blanked two games in a row (he was rested for the first one) in gameweek 29 and 30, and “people” started saying that he’d lost his super form of earlier in the season? That perhaps Mo was just too tired? Too disappointed even, after consecutive national team upsets? Well, all the Egyptian needed was back-to-back encounters with the Premier League’s Manchester sides to show that doubting him is simply ridiculous. He took it easy with an assist and 5 FPL points in GW32 against Man City at the Etihad. He then brought down the house against Man United in GW33, scoring a brace and giving an assist at Old Trafford for an amazing 19 FPL points. Up next are Everton at Anfield for what could end up being a historic game and all we can say is, unless you’re trailing and planning some shock differential moves, just count on Salah. Get him, keep him, captain him.

Non-premium pick

With Chelsea out of Europe, the Blues now have the Premier League to focus on, as well as the FA Cup final against Liverpool on May 14th. This should ease the rotation risk amongst Blues assets a bit, at least over the coming weeks as Chelsea can’t afford to drop too many points if they want to keep Spurs and Arsenal at a safe distance from third place. Combine all that with the fact that Chelsea are one of two sides doubling this round and it suddenly makes sense that five of the seven most transferred-in players for this week call Stamford Bridge their home. Number one in that particular list is Mason Mount (£7.7m), who has been in great form of late. The England international is one of the most nailed-on offensive players for manager Thomas Tuchel and he’s been extremely effective over the past five gameweeks: 5 starts, 3 goals, 3 assists, 41 FPL points. Up next are West Ham at home and Man United away, two games we feel the Blues simply have to win if they want to secure third place on time. With no other obligations to deal with for now, Mount looks like a prime candidate for two starts in DGW34, so bring him in if you can.

The budget enabler

Beside Chelsea, it’s Manchester United who have a double this gameweek and it looks like a perfect storm for Anthony Elanga (£4.8m). The 19-year-old Swedish international has been racking up more minutes of late, with his consecutive starts in double gameweek 33 as a confirmation of his growing role in the team. Of course, the absence of Ronaldo, Greenwood, Cavani and Pogba frees up spots on the sides of the midfield, but a lot of it is Elanga’s own merit as well. In nine starts since gameweek 22, the Carrington graduate recorded 2 goals and 2 assists, with both of those assists coming last week against Norwich. Due to his rivals Jadon Sancho and especially Marcus Rashford simply not living up to expectations this season, Elanga seems to have steadily moved up the pecking order to make himself a serious candidate for at least 100-120 minutes of action over the next two games. The Red Devils will be facing Arsenal away and Chelsea at home this double gameweek, two must-win games if they want to keep their hopes of a top-4 finish alive. Not the easiest of matchups and Elanga is definitely a punt, but at a price of just £4.8m and owned by less than 1% of managers, he could be worth it bigtime.

The differential

Our differential fantasy pick for DGW34 is also our second Chelsea pick after Mason Mount. Kai Havertz (£7.9m) needed some time to adapt to Thomas Tuchel’s system, but he now seems to have cemented his place in the German manager’s starting eleven. He did miss considerable minutes in gameweeks 31 (45 minutes, 1 goal vs Southampton) and 32 (30 minutes vs Arsenal), but that was mainly due to the Blues also playing a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid in that same period. Now that Chelsea are out of Europe, securing third place in the Prem and winning the FA Cup final in May are the priorities, and Havertz will play an integral part in those remaining objectives over the coming gameweeks. Tuchel deploys him as a central false nine who drifts in and out from the right depending on whether Reece James is positioned as a central defender or a wing-back. This means that he’s involved in plenty of action, which is underlined by the 5 goals and 1 assist he has recorded since gameweek 28. With a current ownership of 8.4%, Havertz could be a fantastic differential against West Ham and Man United this week.

The captaincy

We deliberated on the captaincy for quite some time, as we suspect more than a few FPL managers will this week. There are the Chelsea assets who are doubling, and the likes of Mount, Havertz and James could deliver big, while even a punt on Ronaldo or Bruno Fernandes for United’s tough double gameweek could pay off handsomely. This time though, we feel like there could be some truth in the century-old adagio of not focusing solely on double gameweek players when some proven single-gameweek assets have favorable fixtures as well.

That’s because Premier League powerhouses Liverpool and Man City are each preparing for home games against relegation candidates. Where the Cityzens are facing Watford on Saturday, the Reds are hosting archrivals Everton a day later. There’s KDB, Mahrez, Foden, Mané, Jota, Luis Diaz, Trent and even Cancelo or Robertson, all decent picks for the armband, but in the end, there was only one for us: Mo Salah.

FPL Season 21/22: Double Gameweek 33 preview

Potentially treacherous waters ahead in gameweek 33, or so it seems. With no less than seven sides doubling (see table below), GW33 has been on many an FPL manager’s mind for some time, but is this double gameweek really as much of an opportunity as we’d like to think? Most of the doubling sides don’t represent the most attractive combination of fixtures, while several popular and premium assets are facing a single, but favourable gameweek. There is, of course, plenty to be won this upcoming weekend and week, but it might just not be as simple as pilling up on double gameweek players, sitting back, and waiting until the 100-point barrier is breached.

TEAMDGW OPPONENTS
ArsenalSouthampton (away), Chelsea (away)
BrightonSpurs (away), Man City (away)
BurnleyWest Ham (away), Southampton (home)
LeicesterNewcastle (away), Everton (away)
Manchester UnitedNorwich (home), Liverpool (away)
NewcastleLeicester (home), Crystal Palace (home)
SouthamptonArsenal (home), Burnley (away)

Looking at the table above, you can see what we meant before. None of the double gameweek sides really have excellent match-ups, apart from maybe Newcastle and Leicester. For different reasons though, these are not the most reliable sides, from an FPL point of view at least. The traditional top six are represented by Arsenal and Man United as far as DGW teams are concerned, but their respective double fixtures are average at best, especially considering Arsenal’s and United’s latest form. At the same time, Liverpool are hosting a vulnerable United side this weekend and Man City will be entertaining Brighton at the Etihad. Spurs will also play at home against the Seagulls and West Ham are welcoming managerless Burnley to London on Sunday, so there are plenty of interesting single-gameweek targets to consider as well. In other words, we’ve got another potential rollercoaster of a gameweek on our hands.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 33 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, April 16th, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 15th, 2022)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKSa (WOL), Ramsdale (ARS), Martinez (AST)Schmeichel (LEI), Ramsdale (ARS), Dubravka (NEW)DGW33
DEFDoherty (TOT), Tierney (ARS), Coady (WOL)Schär (NEW), Cancelo (MCI), White (ARS)Newcastle + Arsenal DGW, Cancelo fixtures, Doherty + Tierney injuries
MIDCoutinho (AST), Salah (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)Maddison (LEI), Son (TOT), Kulusevski (TOT)Maddison DGW, Spurs fixtures
FORDennis (WAT), Antonio (WHU), Watkins (AST)Toney (BRE), Wood (NEW), Kane (TOT)Wood DGW, Kane fixtures

Premium pick

Even though the likes of Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son (both at home to Brighton), Mo Salah (at home vs Man United) and Kevin de Bruyne (at home vs Brighton) all present big haul potential, we figured to follow the double gameweek route for our premium fantasy pick of the week. Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) has been Manchester United’s best performer this season with 9 goals and 7 assists for a total of 136 FPL points, though considering United’s overall unpredictable form throughout the season, this might not say as much as we’d like. What it does say though, is that in fantasy terms, Bruno is the stand-out pick on the Red Devils’ roster. Over the past six league outings, no teammate has created more than his 13 big chances, while just two players in the entire league attempted more shots on goal than the Portuguese international over that same period. United will be facing Norwich at home, followed by a visit to Anfield. The way we see it, this is a combination of about as favourable a fixture as one can get this season with a bonus against Liverpool on top. After all, for example, a goal and 2 bonus points versus Norwich followed by a 2-pointer against Liverpool would still see Bruno bag 12-13 FPL points.

Non-premium pick

For this week’s non-premium fantasy pick, we are looking at Leicester City, as the Foxes face what is probably the most favourable double gameweek match-up, on paper at least. First up is a visit to a much-improved Newcastle side, followed by a visit to Goodison Park. At the same time, Leicester just qualified for the Conference League’s semi-finals after an intense 90 minutes against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday and their next league game is set for Sunday afternoon. In total, they have to deal with four games over a period of about nine days, so fatigue and rotation are real concerns. That’s not what you want from a double gameweek asset, so in our choice for Harvey Barnes (£6.6m) we have taken recent starts and playing minutes into account a lot. On paper, teammate James Maddison looks like the most explosive and definitely the more popular attacking Leicester option, but the England man just completed 90 minutes against PSV and played at least 88 minutes in each of his side’s last four league games. We feel he’s due a rest, especially with Leicester now focusing more on their European adventure than the league, and Barnes was just rested in gameweek 32. He was also taken off at halftime against PSV, which in all honestly probably had more to do with his sub-par performance than any kind of minute management, but it seems likely that he will be racking up more minutes over the upcoming double gameweek than Maddison. At £6.6m, fortunately, he does not represent too much of a risky investment, and he does sit on 3 goals and 8 assists for the season so far, so if you’re looking for Leicester attacker for DGW33, Barnes would be our recommendation.

The budget enabler

Together with Leicester, it’s probably Newcastle who got the most favourable double gameweek match-up with home games against Leicester and Crystal Palace. The Toon have undergone something of a transformation under Eddie Howe, though their very recent form has not been very good. Wolves were beaten 1-0 at home in GW32, but before that, three consecutive away games were lost, although it should be noted that those games were against Chelsea, Everton and Spurs. The double brings Magpie assets into contention nevertheless and especially in terms of budget options, we see potential there. That’s why our budget enabler for DGW33 is Fabian Schär (£4.4m) and we’re not the only ones with this idea. The Swiss defender is currently the most-transferred-in defender ahead of gameweek 33 and it’s not too hard to see why. He’s a nailed-on starter for the Magpies, they’re defence has improved since the arrival of Howe and Schär is even on some set-pieces as well. He has 2 goals and 2 assists to his name as well, and over the last five gameweeks, no Newcastle player brought home more FPL points than Schär’s 39 points. Not the most exciting of fantasy picks, we admit, but at £4.4m, he represents good budget-enabling potential, in particular for those managers considering a Free Hit this week.

The differential

Speaking of Free Hits, we’ve seen more than a few drafts being discussed by pundits, experts and casual managers alike over the past week. What we find surprising is that so few drafts seem to take James Ward-Prowse (£6.4m) into consideration. Sure, we understand that his double gameweek combination of Arsenal at home and Burnley away is not the best, and that Southampton just got thrashed 0-6 by Chelsea in GW32, but that doesn’t mean JWP can’t deliver this week. Why? Because the 27-year-old is one of the best set-piece takers in the history of the Premier League. It’s that simple. His wonderful free-kick against Wolves last weekend meant he has now scored 13 direct free-kicks in the Prem, a total only bettered by David Beckham with 18 successful attempts. He’s on practically all corners and free-kicks, both direct and indirect, and he takes the penalties as well. In a double gameweek, the potential for points from those set-piece duties is doubled as well, and at a price of £6.4m and with a current ownership of just 6.5%, we believe JWP should at least be on your watchlists.

The captaincy

Double gameweek 33 could very well result in one of the most spread-out captaincy debates this season, as there is not a real, clear-cut favourite candidate this time. Classic safe picks like Mo Salah and Harry Kane do have a favourable fixture, but not a double, just like Kevin de Bruyne, for example. At the same time, generally (much) less likely captaincy candidates such as James Maddison, Chris Wood and Bukayo Saka have decent double match-ups, but the question is, would you really slap the armband on one of them without a worry?

We have decided that we won’t and that we will go with Bruno Fernandes for our GW33 FPL Captain instead this week. Completely confident in this captaincy pick? Well, it’s United. Blinded by the doubles? Perhaps. Seeing the potential of a haul? Definitely. As we wrote before, the right way to look at Bruno’s double gameweek is as a home game versus Norwich plus a complete bonus appearance against Liverpool. Don’t expect more than 2 FPL points from the visit to Anfield, but focus on the visit of the Canaries. We feel a double-digit haul is not out of the question at all and that’s what you want from a captain, right?