There may still be a couple of fixtures remaining in the current Gameweek but we’ve one eye on the weekend and beyond this lunchtime as we roll out the latest Watchlist rankings. Our player recommendations for the next four-to-six Gameweeks are listed in the sidebar on your right – read on for the reasoning behind this week’s refresh:
With double Gameweek 31 now behind us, Chelsea duo Petr Cech and John Terry rise to the top of their respective classifications. Five goals conceded in their last 15 league matches sums up the resilience that has helped steer Jose Mourinho’s side to the summit and with Palace, Stoke, Swansea, Sunderland, Norwich and Cardiff all to follow, only a tricky Gameweek 36 trip to Anfield looks problematic. Terry’s goal threat ensure he remains our favoured Chelsea defender for the run-in but such a schedule could easily justify a defensive double-up.
Seamus Coleman slips to second in the defender rankings. Everton have three tricky home clashes over the next six, as Arsenal, United and City all roll up to Goodison, though a trip to Fulham and double Gameweek 34 keep the right-back in our thoughts as he looks to add to his current six-goal tally.
Five consecutive clean sheets highlights the improved resilience offered by Man City in recent matches as the Etihad side tighten up in their bid for the title. Both Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta still have five home fixtures (SOU, SUN, WBA, AVL, WHM) remaining in the last seven Gameweeks – although trips to Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton could pose problems, those latter two matches are part of double Gameweek 34 and 37, suggesting Manuel Pellegrini’s side are set for a profitable run-in at both ends of the park.
Ryan Shawcross makes a significant climb in this week’s refresh. Home games with Hull, Newcastle, Spurs and Fulham, supplemented by trips to Cardiff and West Brom, afford Stoke the chance to finish the season in style. Costing 5.4, Shawcross may be the priciest of Mark Hughes’ defensive regulars but his propensity for picking up bonus makes him the standout option at the back for the Potters.
Cardiff’s upcoming set of fixtures bode well for David Marshall and Steven Caulker. Games against West Brom, Palace, Stoke and Sunderland could prove decisive in their bid to beat the drop and may even help address a run of which has seen the Welsh outfit muster a single clean sheet in the last 15. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side do concede, Marshall’s save points and Caulker’s threat in the area may well supplement their Fantasy returns.
Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris come into consideration as Tottenham brace themselves for a kind schedule to finish the season. Certainly, this weekend’s trip to Anfield diminishes their appeal but following that, Tim Sherwood’s side face only one of the current top 10 (SUN, wba, FUL, sto, whm, AVL) in their final six Gameweeks.
Villa duo Brad Guzan and Ron Vlaar are set for a kind run of fixtures once this weekend’s trip to United has passed. Paul Lambert’s troops square up to Fulham, Palace, Southampton and Swansea before a double Gameweek 37 – at 4.3, Vlaar looks the standout value option here, though last weekend’s home defeat to Stoke is somewhat concerning.
Ben Foster also comes into consideration as the schedule smiles a little kinder on West Brom. Pepe Mel’s side are yet to welcome Cardiff, West Ham and Stoke to The Hawthorns, whilst a trip to Norwich and double Gameweek 37 could yet bring returns the Baggies’ way.
Palace’s Joel Ward is another cut-price option, with three decent fixtures in the next four. Available for 4.3 and with a share of corners, Ward squares up to Cardiff and West Ham on either side of a double Gameweek 34, which consists of a home clash with Villa and trip to Goodison.
Eden Hazard holds steady at the summit in light of Chelsea’s aforementioned fixtures, with City pair Yaya Toure and David Silva giving chase in the top four. Silva’s owners will be buoyed by a move to the role in “the hole” for last night’s Manchester derby, though his failure to produce was again compounded by the Ivorian’s late goal at Old Trafford, as Toure took his tally to 17 for the season. The Spaniard looks a decent double-up option, though, for those already holding his prolific team-mate.
Last night’s display at Old Trafford confirmed Samir Nasri as a viable option in the City midfield. The Frenchman – who bettered Silva by three assists to one over the double – has started 17 of the last 18 league matches he has been available for and, at 8.1, with an ownership of just 3%, could appeal to those Toure owners who feel Silva, at 9.4, is a little too hefty on the budget to bring on board.
Robert Snodgrass keeps his top five spot after netting for the fourth time in seven appearances in last weekend’s win over Sunderland. The Canaries playmaker, who is still a bargain 5.9 in FPL, has three crucial clashes with Swansea, West Brom and Fulham up next which look vital to his side’s survival prospects.
With goals in each of his last couple of appearances, Ross Barkley earns a spot in this week’s refresh. Whilst Roberto Martinez looks set to rotate his attacking midfield trio on a game-by-game basis, Barkley, at just 5.1, looks the better value, and perhaps the less frustrating, of the Toffees options for the run-in.
Jordan Mutch also makes a late case for consideration as a cut-price option after serving up his second double figure haul in the last three Gameweeks against Liverpool on Saturday. Six goals and as many assists from 19 starts sums up his impact for Cardiff – at just 4.5 in FPL, he travels to West Brom and Sunderland in the next five and also entertains Palace and Stoke.
Two goals and an assist in last week’s comeback win over Southampton suggests Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen is finding his form ahead of the above-mentioned run of fixtures. Having dropped from 8.0 to 6.5 in FPL, the Dane looks a deadly differential over the remainder of the season, with a mere 3% ownership. With Emmanuel Adebayor struggling to shake off hamstring and heel problems, Eriksen could prove Spurs’ main man over the final few matches – expect him to rise further in our estimations once this weekend’s trip to Liverpool has passed.
Jordan Henderson comes in as our Liverpool midfielder of choice. The reason for this is that Steven Gerrard is just one yellow away from a two-match ban – he needs to navigate the next four fixtures without picking up another caution. With Brendan Rodgers alternating Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho at the tip of the midfield diamond, Henderson’s security of starts earns him a rare spot on the Watchlist.
Having made his first start since mid-December in last night’s draw at Arsenal, we’re name-checking Michu ahead of Swansea’s kind run of fixtures. Tentatively eased back into the action following knee surgery, the Spaniard is far from budget-friendly at 8.4 in FPL but with Garry Monk rotating the Swans midfield on a regular basis, Michu – when match fit – is likely to be the only guaranteed starter. If the Welsh club are to scramble to safety, games against Norwich, Hull, Newcastle, Villa and Sunderland in the final seven Gameweeks offer every reason for optimism.
Villa’s Fabian Delph is another cut-price contender to consider. Available for just 4.3, the former Leeds man has now scored or assisted in each of the last three Gameweeks – his most consistent run of form – ahead of a kind run of fixtures for Paul Lambert’s side.
Liverpool’s unstoppable duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge remain first and second respectively. The upcoming fixtures are by no means easy, though – home games against Spurs, City and Chelsea, in addition to trips to West Ham, Norwich and Palace – but Brendan Rodgers’ side are scoring with such a relentless ease right now (36 goals in 10 games since Sturridge returned from injury) the “SAS” remain at the forefront of our thoughts for now.
Romelu Lukaku tucks in just behind his fellow Merseyside-based frontmen. With three goals and an assist in his last four since returning from injury, the Everton frontman looks set to pick up further investment ahead of the trip to Fulham and Gameweek 34 double and seems immune to his manager’s rotational whims.
Eight goals in 12 appearances since the turn of the year earns Wilfried Bony a climb. At just 7.1, the Swansea forward was mainly overlooked for the double but netted on his travels to Everton and Arsenal and looks full of confidence ahead of a kind-looking run of matches. An ownership of just 5% also highlights his differential appeal for our third forward slot.
Edin Dzeko’s brace at Old Trafford last night continues his fine form. Having frustrated his owners by calling off sick for the weekend mauling of Fulham, the Bosnian took his tally to seven goals and two assists in his last nine starts and, at 6.8, looks a real value option if he can nail down that spot in the first XI from here on in. Certainly, with Sergio Aguero struggling with injury and Alvaro Negredo lacking form, Dzeko looks poised to take advantage of City’s very favourable schedule.
Emmanuel Adebayor takes a tumble as injuries begin to hamper his game time. The Tottenham forward has just one assist in his last four appearances and missed out last weekend – if he can recover, though, the schedule from Gameweek 33 onwards is very much in his favour.
Further down, Fraizer Campbell and Peter Crouch are budget options with decent fixtures to follow. Costing 5.2, Campbell grabbed a goal and assist against Liverpool last weekend, whilst the 5.6-priced Crouch has three goals and a pair of assists over Stoke’s last seven league matches and is turning in some impressive displays for Mark Hughes’ in-form outfit.