“Football is the most important of the least important things in life” – Arrigo Sacchi
On June 17, the Premier League will return with two postponed fixtures, Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal – let the countdown begin.
Firstly, it feels good to be writing again. It’s been a challenging few months, but with Project Restart gaining momentum day by day, the buzz is back. So, as focus turns to Fantasy Premier League (FPL), I thought I’d use this piece to discuss several players I’m targeting for the run-in and why I think they can make a difference. I’ll also touch upon their respective teams’ outlooks, along with chip strategy.
It makes sense to start in B6, with my club, Aston Villa.
The reality is we sit 19th in the table, with the worst defence in the division, having imploded before the break – let’s say I’m realistic about our chances of survival.
But there is a Double Gameweek, and if we’re looking for positives, we sit just two points behind both Watford (17th) and West Ham United (16th) with a game in hand.
We rank 12th for goals scored, and in Jack Grealish (£6.4m) and a fit-again John McGinn (£5.4m), we have a midfield double act who are a level above what most teams around us in the table possess.
We also only have to look to the Bundesliga and Hertha Berlin to see how a team can struggle pre-lockdown and then emerge as one of the form teams following the restart.
For the majority of the season, Dean Smith has used a 4-3-3 / 4-1-4-1 system, designed to try and get Grealish, our talisman, on the ball as often as possible. In an attacking sense, it’s largely worked – Grealish has scored more goals and created more chances than any of his teammates.
However, our over-reliance on one outlet has often come at a cost – we can sometimes be predictable in possession and lack creativity whenever Grealish isn’t at the top of his game. McGinn’s return to fitness should at least ease the burden on the captain’s shoulders.
This heatmap below illustrates where Villa have created their chances this season, and emphasises just how much we rely on Grealish down our left.
Looking beyond the double, Son Heung-min (£9.7m) will be in my starting XI in Gameweek 31+ and is a serious captaincy candidate that week when Tottenham Hotspur host West Ham.
Despite missing seven Gameweeks through injury and suspension, the South Korean has racked up five double-digit hauls and 18 goal contributions already this season, and with an ownership of just 4.7%, I feel it’s too good an opportunity to pass up.
Arguably, no team has benefitted from the break more than Spurs, with the likes of Harry Kane (£10.8m) and Moussa Sissoko (£4.8m) now fit for selection, and with some big games to come against teams around them in the table, it’s all to play for.
Having used my Triple Captain chip in Gameweek 24, I’m currently leaning towards activating my Bench Boost chip in Gameweek 30+, with a Wildcard to follow in Gameweek 31+.
The Free Hit chip can then be used as and when it’s needed.
For those still struggling to decide which route to take, check out Zophar’s article, ‘What is the best FPL chip strategy for Double Gameweek 30+ and beyond?’, from earlier this week – it’s well worth a read.
At this stage, I’d usually post my team for the forthcoming Gameweek, but as I’m still debating several selections and the fact that things will no doubt change between now and deadline, there seems little point.
Instead, I’ll jump on the forum early next week and post my final squad, if there is enough interest.
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.
Nominated for ‘Best in Fantasy Football – Editorial’ at the Football Content Awards 2020
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