Pro Pundit Teams

Why I’m considering Jarrod Bowen in my Free Hit squad for Blank Gameweek 31

One of the world’s best FPL managers, Tom Freeman, discusses West Ham, Burnley, Dele Alli and Chelsea as he looks ahead to Blank Gameweek 31.


With Gameweek 29 coming to a premature end due to coronavirus fears, focus has turned to preparing my squad for Blank Gameweek 31.

There are currently only four Premier League matches scheduled on that weekend, and with just five players from the teams involved in my squad, I’ll likely be activating my Free Hit chip in an attempt to break into the top 10k.

Aside from the obvious targets at Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United interest me. I’ve been encouraged by a few of their performances recently, and now they’ve figured out their best formation and got to grips with David Moyes’ more direct, counter-attacking style, I think they’re worth a look.

Whilst I’ve been hyping both Michail Antonio (£6.9m) and Pablo Fornals (£6.0m) via my Spot the Differential column, right now, Jarrod Bowen (£6.5m) is my top target.

After a couple of substitute appearances, he was thrown into the starting XI against Southampton in Gameweek 28, and scored his first goal on his first start. He followed that up with a tidy performance at Arsenal, hitting the post and then later, forcing Bernd Leno (£5.0m) into a decent save. He also seems to have developed a good understanding with Jeremy Ngakia (£4.0m) at right-back, who could be a useful, cheap pickup himself.

Looking at West Ham as a unit at the Emirates, there was actually quite a lot to like – the line-up was positive, they asked questions and looked the more likely of the two teams to score (they managed 14 shots, six of which were on target); they just need to be a bit more clinical in front of goal.

Their opposition in Gameweek 31 also plays a part in my thinking as Tottenham Hotspur have kept only three clean sheets in 26 games since Jose Mourinho was appointed in November.

For those considering a move, I’ll leave my ‘Hitman’ custom table here. In this particular version, it focuses on midfielders using data from the last three Gameweeks, which coincides with Moyes reverting to a back four.

This table has been quite a handy tool for me this season, highlighting the likes of Ismaila Sarr (£6.3m), Harvey Barnes (£6.1m) and Diogo Jota (£6.4m) nice and early, which bodes well for Bowen, who features despite playing significantly fewer minutes than others on the list:

Another side showing form is Burnley, who have picked up 12 points over the last six games – only Liverpool have taken more. 

Charlie Taylor (£4.3m) and Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) have been excellent down their left side, which often sees the latter position himself in the half space. Nineteen of their 32 crosses on Saturday arrived via the pair.

Nick Pope (£4.8m) in goal, plus defenders Ben Mee (£5.0m) and James Tarkowski (5.1m) all look decent options, whilst the return of Chris Wood (£6.1m) is well timed. He scored and earned nine points against Spurs, and has now found the net four times since the turn of the year.

Despite it looking like the wheels have come off at Spurs, Dele Alli (£8.3m) seems to be returning regardless and has been putting up good numbers. Now it looks like he might be on penalty duties too, so he might be worth a spot.

The only other player I’m really considering outside of those mentioned above, and of course Liverpool and Wolves assets, is Sarr, though the fact they come up against Burnley puts me off – nobody has picked up more clean sheets than the Clarets at home this season.

If I do use my Free Hit chip in Gameweek 31, it has immediate implications, as I can look to take advantage by moving for a Chelsea player this week – something those navigating the blank via transfers may not be able to do, because let’s face it, they’ll probably have other priorities.

The appeal lies in the Blues’ opponents this weekend, my club Aston Villa. We’ve conceded more goals than any other side, we’ve faced the most shots at goal and continually get undone by set pieces. Whilst Chelsea haven’t been the most consistent of sides under Frank Lampard, they do seem to have turned a bit of a corner recently, and with a top four spot and the FA Cup still to play for, should have plenty of motivation.  

Billy Gilmour (£4.5m) looks quality, and has turned in two hugely impressive back-to-back performances. Against Everton, he completed more passes than any other player on the pitch, and whilst he didn’t claim an assist, his vision was key to both of Chelsea’s first half goals.

Mason Mount (£6.1m) was really good too, but it’s also worth noting some of the veterans’ importance, like Pedro (£6.8m), Willian (£6.9m) and Olivier Giroud (£6.5m). Giroud led the line superbly, holding the ball up and bringing others into play, and bagged a goal and set up multiple chances. I’m actually considering transferring him in for Danny Ings (£7.1m) this week.

Chelsea’s fixtures to follow the blank are appealing too, and they travel well: they’ve picked up the same amount of points on the road as they have done at Stamford Bridge this season, despite playing one less game, and scored more.

In terms of captaincy this week, I’ll be avoiding the Merseyside derby. It’s currently on Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m), who is up against one of the worst defences in the league right now. It’s fair to say he’s lifted the whole club since his arrival, and I see Manchester United comfortably beating Spurs.

So, here’s how I’m currently set up ahead of Gameweek 30, with Giroud likely to come in for Ings.

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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664 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Old Man
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 20 days ago

    I have a gut feeling that there might be a few suprise results this weekend.

    1. Old Man
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      * surprise (hand/mind/eye malfunction)

    2. Jarvish Scott Talent
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      My gut feeling is we won't see any results

      1. BNMC
          2 months, 20 days ago

          And I'll still somehow get a red arrow

        • Old Man
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          Really? That would be the biggest surprise. I think there will be at least one more wekend of PL footie before they do anything radical.

          1. Bubz
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            I think there will be football this weekend unless a player tests positive

            1. jtreble
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Tick, tick, tick ...

    3. JJeyy
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Last time Pedro scored a brace for Chelsea = Villa away

      1. Miguel Sanchez
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Thought you were going Willian

        1. JJeyy
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          Still up in the air...

        2. Abra Dubravka
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 20 days ago

          a bit of doubt is inevitable. Stick with Willian

    4. mad_beer ✅
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      So many running races are being cancelled. All that hard work. 🙁

      1. Fulchester's New Centr…
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Each 30 min runs adds 25 minutes to your life so...

        1. Fitzy.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          ...you're 5 minutes down on the deal

          1. Fulchester's New Centr…
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Bingo

        2. Brosstan
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          Imagine spending your best years running so you can get some extra hours at the age of 80+

      2. IRBOX ⚽
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Running is for life, just prepare for the next. My 5/10k PB’s (super quick) occurred during easy long mileage training

    5. Abra Dubravka
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Grealish & Maddison --> Sarr & Willian for free?

      Leave me with:
      Henderson (Pope)
      TAA, Robbo, Saiss, Lascelles (Stephens)
      KDB(C), Salah, Willian (Traore, Sarr)
      Jimenez, Vardy, Ings.

      Then have 8 for GW31, and plan to do Ings to Wood to field 9?

    6. Andrew
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Anyone using FH for GW31 (assuming the season isn't cancelled)

      1. Wild Rover
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Plenty, especially those with low ownership of gw31 players who have no wc

    7. jayzico
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      I had Auba(c). Anyone know if we still get the treble points once Arsenal have played citeh?

      1. Old Man
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Ha - good joke that one! If you are serious then the answer is no.

        1. jayzico
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          That's not right.How unfair

      2. El Fenomeno R9
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        They will maybe move City vs Arsenal game in this GW,we we (C)him again for 2 points then again midweek game vs City canceled

        1. El Fenomeno R9
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          We will*

    8. RichardNixon
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Mclaren just pulled out of Australian F1 after crew member tested positive. NBA suspended, La Liga suspended, Serie A suspended. Premier League is just a matter of time

      1. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        ... and that’s just for starters. 🙂

    9. El Fenomeno R9
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      They should cancel BGW31 and quarantine,20+ days before GW 32 starts

      1. Jarvish Scott Talent
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        That would be great for my chip strategy, so I agree.

      2. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        That would make too much sense. Ban.

      1. Konstaapeli
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Delaying the inevitable.

      2. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        It’s started ...

    10. dunas_dog
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Best Stevens replacement - max 6 m so .1 short of Alonso. Probably should get week 31 defender and already have 3 Liverpool and 3 Wolves so

      A C Taylor
      B Van Aanholt
      C Get Alonso and Ings to Deeney for -4
      D Any better suggestions?

      Tempted with C

      1. Hart-ake
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        A to be sensible, C would tempt me though!

    11. Jarvish Scott Talent
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Carnage. Everywhere.

      1. Karan14 (Brazil Nuts)
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Literally EVERYWHERE!!!

      2. Berbinho's Forehead
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        I was going to say something about my bed but don't want to get banned, we'll be needing FFS to cover our boredom when we're quarantined 😆

      3. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        ... it’s like a ... a virus.

    12. Rains of Castamere
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Was considering captaining Mane this GW but with it being Monday night and anything could happen between Saturday and Monday, it's probably best going with a Saturday captain - yeah?

      1. Karan14 (Brazil Nuts)
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Yes im getting Giroud(c) if this gameweek even happens.

      2. Fitzy.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        If you've got a Saturday vice captain you're covered too

    13. jtreble
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      Mods, can we get a PL shutdown HT thread started?

      1. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Flagged.

    14. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      To think it was only a month ago when were all freaked out by Storm Ciara. Simpler times.

      1. Jarvish Scott Talent
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Could have played 3 more rounds of fixtures during that stupid winter break

    15. FPL Kakarot
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 20 days ago

      So is the possiblity of a DGW30 quite likely now?

      Correct me if I am wrong but would it be....

      City v Arsenal and Burnley

      Arsenal v Brighton and City

      1. BNMC
          2 months, 20 days ago

          Too soon

        • Karan14 (Brazil Nuts)
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          Not again

        • The Rumour Mill
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          No, it isn't.

        • SHOOTER MCGINN
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          No fans to worry about do maybe

        • Scheister
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          No room in the schedule for this week

        • Jarvish Scott Talent
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          Quite likely, no. Possible, yes. If games are played behind closed doors they will need minimum time to be arranged. Matches were switched around in Italy at very late notice all over the place last week (which seems about 6 months ago now!)

        • Klaren
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 20 days ago

          City Real Madrid is cancelled (no announcement yet but there will be soon) so it's a possibility but no one can know yet.

      2. Scheister
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Going to FH in 31
        This week:
        A) Dunk to Alonso
        B) Saka to Mount

      3. Pep Roulette
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        A. Willian
        B. Pedro
        C. Mount

      4. Ragnar Lothbrok
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 20 days ago

        Will be using FH in 31, but dont want to waste a transfer. Who should I change for this week?

        Pope (Button)

        TAA / Soy / Lascelles (Stephen's/Dunk)

        Mane / Salah / KDB / Barnes (dendon)

        PEA / DCL / Jota

        Bring in someone who's worth having GW 32 onwards?

      5. El Presidente
          2 months, 20 days ago

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51800660

          I think we are done for now.

          1. Wolves Ay We
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Done what for now?

            1. Jarvish Scott Talent
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Guessing he is claickbaiting a link to Liverpool losing for the "lulz"

              1. Wolves Ay We
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 20 days ago

                Isn't clickbaiting a banning offence?

                1. Jarvish Scott Talent
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 20 days ago

                  Dunno - one of the few things I have never been banned for.

          2. Bubz
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            ?

          3. IRBOX ⚽
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Just cancel the entire FPL season. Has been a joke from GW1

          4. El Presidente
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Sorry, wrong topic wrong website.

              I'm going mad here 🙂

          5. Wolves Ay We
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Are we going to let Coronavirus beat us? NO! The matches will go on behind closed doors. If a players gets the virus and need isolation for 2 weeks, then we shall play again in 2 weeks. But we SHOULD finish the season even if it takes us into the Summer.

            Who is with me!

            1. IRBOX ⚽
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Wish all you want, season is dead and buried

            2. Brosstan
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Grasping at straws

            3. jtreble
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              I see a small problem here: don’t you have to quarantine **teams** over the incubation period. 🙂

          6. Wolves Ay We
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Can we have an analysis of which teams will be most affected by the lack of fans?

            1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Manchester city

              1. Fozzyb34r
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 20 days ago

                Surely they’d be the least affected, they’re used to an empty stadium

                1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
                  • 2 Years
                  2 months, 20 days ago

                  Sarcasm brooo

                  1. Fozzyb34r
                    • 5 Years
                    2 months, 20 days ago

                    There was me thinking you just misread it

            2. Berbinho's Forehead
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              For home games it's City and Arsenal. Anyone who tells you otherwise is in denial.

              1. Berbinho's Forehead
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 20 days ago

                Ok I read your comment wrong 😆

                To be fair it's the teams who are fighting for the title/Europe/survival who have the best atmospheres at this time of the season.

            3. Karan14 (Brazil Nuts)
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              You guys always have a great atmosphere always.

          7. FPL ElasticO
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Who should you bench??

            A. Stephens
            B. DCL

            1. Dr. Mantis Toboggan
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Absolutely A

          8. SHOWSTOPPERRR
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            That monster auba haul yesterday saves my season..Looking forward to Next gw..

            1. Fulchester's New Centr…
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Schrödinger Cup?

          9. 16ShimiC16
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Not sure if im going to take a hit now in preparation for next week incase it gets cancelled ...

          10. No Professionals
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Anyone free hitting now to maximise the last gw of the season?

          11. Silecro
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            SCENES !!!

          12. Fulchester's New Centr…
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            MOD next week:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Spjx7L7Jpow

            Link originally by Jason NI, but made me laugh.

          13. Jarvish Scott Talent
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            BBC: Spanish news outlet Marca are reporting that the Champions League and Europa League will be suspended because of coronavirus with an announcement imminent.

          14. RichardNixon
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            Marca reporting that Champions League and Europa League to be suspended. Announcement imminent

          15. Christina.
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 20 days ago

            So no foreplay for me tonight.

            Just sex.

            1. Hy liverpool
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Haha

            2. Jarvish Scott Talent
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 20 days ago

              Result