One of the world’s best FPL managers, Tom Freeman, talks Double Gameweek 24, Southampton, Spurs, Everton and Aston Villa in his latest article.
So, we’re just past the halfway point of the season and I sit 37,727th overall in Fantasy Premier League, having banked 57 points in Gameweek 22.
Having been ranked 36,928th in Gameweek 20, I’ve struggled to progress in recent weeks, but with the first Double Gameweek of the season almost upon us, now feels like an opportunity to push on.
My advice would be to pick three of Liverpool’s four highest-scoring players – Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), Sadio Mané (£12.4m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.3) – whichever combination works best within your current structure.
Whilst Roberto Firmino’s (£9.3m) away performances are worth noting (all seven of his league goals have come on the road this season), we need to remember that these players aren’t solely for Gameweek 24.
Fixtures to follow include notable home games with West Ham United and Bournemouth, which suggest goals, and lots of them, which is why I favour the more attacking setup including both Mané and Salah.
With Reds assets in place, a question I’ve asked myself is, should we invest in West Ham?
On Friday’s evidence, it’s hard to get excited. I thought they were abject in possession, with nobody looking to support and run beyond Sébastien Haller (£7.0m). As it stands, I need to see more from them. All eyes on the London Stadium on Saturday.
On a more positive note, Southampton are a team I do like.
The Saints took just eight points from their opening 12 matches but now look at them. Only leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City stand above them in the form table over the last ten games.
Alex McCarthy (£4.4m) or Jack Stephens (£4.3m) are my favoured routes into their defence.
With some good forthcoming fixtures, working one of them into your plans, alongside Danny Ings (£6.8m), looks like an astute move.
Southampton’s FA Cup fourth round opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, are a team who I thought got a lot right in Saturday’s narrow defeat to Liverpool, and had chances late on to at least draw level.
After the break, they were less direct and offered more threat following the introduction of Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m) on 69 minutes. The Argentine has been so, so good recently and picked up where he left off on Saturday, by scoring Spurs’ opener in their FA Cup replay against Middlesbrough earlier this week. Another positive performance against Watford and he’s going to become an option.
Whilst I think Lo Celso could be the key to unlocking Spurs potential, this quote from Mourinho suggests Ben Davies (£5.3m) could be that player and hints at how he wants to play going forward:
If you want to know what I wanted to do, look to my first game, against West Ham. That’s the way I thought I was going to develop the team. Defend with a back four, attack with a back three. That was the first day of unlucky, goodbye Ben Davies.
What Spurs do need to do is tighten up – they’ve kept only two clean sheets in the league this season, the joint-worst record alongside Norwich City.
Talking of clean sheets, Everton have now kept ten in their last 16 home league games.
Despite talk of possible rotation, Mason Holgate (£4.4m) could still be a nice, cheap route into their defence. If you can afford a bit more, I like Djibril Sidibé (£5.4m), who has at times been used further forward, and Lucas Digne (£5.7m).
Also, Richarlison (£8.1m) has now returned in three of Carlo Ancelotti’s opening four league matches. In fact, no midfielder has taken more shots than him over that period.
A final word on my club, Aston Villa.
Sunday’s performance by Man City was superb but was aided by Villa gifting them goals from unforced errors. Kortney Hause (£4.4m), Danny Drinkwater (£4.4m) – they were all at it.
Regarding Drinkwater, why throw an unfit player into this type of game? It was baffling. I like Dean Smith but he’s been getting more wrong than right recently.
That being said, these types of game won’t shape our season, it’s the next three that will.
I still think there is hope, and the signing of Pepé Reina (£4.5m) will give everyone a lift, but Villa need to find a better balance in midfield and add a forward, quickly.
For Jack Grealish (£6.5m) owners, I’d be tempted to hold onto him a little longer. Against teams currently placed 12th and below this season, Grealish has returned four goals and five assists in ten games. If we’re going to score, he’ll probably be involved.
Looking ahead to Gameweek 23, I have two free transfers, with £0.3m in the bank.
Here’s how I’m currently set up:
I’m still undecided on transfers but am considering selling Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.1m).
Leicester City have regressed in recent weeks and without Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m) screening the back four, I don’t see too many clean sheets over their next run of fixtures.
With Man City starting to pick up again, I’m leaning towards Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7m) as my captain but will likely make a late call on that one.
Thanks for reading… until next time.
Tom Freeman – aka avfc82 – comes onto the team to make most of us feel wildly insecure about our overall rank history. A long-time Fantasy Football Scout user, he has finished inside the top 1,000 a staggering five times since 2009.
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