It’s here: the final day of the season! Soon all the tinkering will stop and the rollercoaster ride will begin. Strap yourselves in!
Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 38+. Today’s deadline is at 15:00 BST, one hour before all ten matches kick-off.
The basics first: check the team news. Neale watches all the press conferences throughout the season and will have a sense for how each Premier League manager might approach their last game.
His predicted line-ups and notes contain the most up-to-date information about each team. Make sure your picks or potential transfer targets are included in his best-guess starting XIs. We might get some early team news but it helps to be prepared as much as possible beforehand.
There are a number of different ways to approach Gameweek 38+ and what you choose to do may depend on your overall rank and mini-league situation.
Mark Sutherns, for instance, hasn’t enjoyed his best campaign despite climbing the ranks since the resumption. And he revealed on the FPL show that Christian Pulisic will be his captain because he needs something different to break into the top 100k.
But this isn’t a recommendation that all FPL managers do the same, as Mark himself admitted a safe pick would be a Manchester City player such as Raheem Sterling or, perhaps, Kevin De Bruyne. In the conclusion to his Captain Sensible article, David wrote:
Sterling is clearly the most promising asset from Guardiola’s squad based on his last four performances. No Citizen can match him for big chances or shots on target during that period as he has rediscovered his clinical edge and an impassioned desire to hit 20 or more goals in the Premier League this season.– David, Captain Sensible
Not only is Sterling in good form but he faces a team in bad shape. Norwich City have conceded 54 shots in the box over their last four matches; only Brighton have been worse.
It’s easy to understand why so many are considering Pep Guardiola’s troops. To add fuel to the fire, Pep himself revealed that scoring goals will be a motivation for his players:
Every game there has to be a target, a focus, a desire to win the game, and maybe, scoring 100 goals is one of the reasons why.– Pep Guardiola
The Citizens are currently on 97 goals for the season. So, is everyone tripling up on the former champions?
On the Scoutcast, Az unveiled an alternative Free Hit team, one without Aubameyang, while both Joe and guest Aleksander will have two City attackers. Aleksander is currently third in the world and is debating whether he goes all out to win FPL – which means picking some differentials – or playing safe and trying to hold onto the bronze medal.
And in his regular review, TheFantasyFreÆK explained how he favours the City front three.
It seems only Mark will have one City player as he considers swapping Willian for David Silva.
Who knows where the points are going to go, it’s a bit of a lottery isn’t it?– Mark Sutherns, FPL Show
But there are plenty of opportunities this week for captain and transfer options with a number of enticing match-ups.
Newcastle, as Neale outlined on the Team News video, are down five of their recognised six centre-halfs, while David described them as being “among the most obliging defences of the last four matches”.
Good news for Liverpool and perhaps Mohamed Salah, who has, according to expected goals, been “the ‘unluckiest’ player in the Premier League from Gameweek 30+ onwards when we factor in both the quality of his chances and the execution of his shots”.
As Pro Pundit Holly notes:
[Salah’s] top for shots (21), shots on target (12) and shots inside the box (19), so ignore him at your peril.– Pro Pundit Holly
On the Breakfast Club, Neale explained that Mané’s aerial ability could lead to points against the Magpies. Steve Bruce’s side have conceded the most headed chances since the restart, which is consistent with their performance all season.
There could be a lot of joy in the air for Liverpool.– Neale, Breakfast Club
Crystal Palace are another side who are expected to struggle, with injuries across their backline. Good news for Harry Kane:
Not only are the Eagles giving up a host of high-quality chances, Spurs’ centre-forward has been steadily improving his total of big chances and shots on target over the last four.– David, Captain Sensible
Kane’s teammate Son Heung-min was mentioned by Aleksander on the Scoutcast, and Johnny Orphan, currently 53rd in the world, has an interesting theory that the Eagles’ current right-back Joel Ward is a weak link in their defence.
Meanwhile, Watford’s recent poor form will give encouragement to those backing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. The latter was selected by Pro Pundit Tom Freeman as one of his three differentials this week.
[The Hornets’] 13 big chances conceded over the last four matches is the same number as Palace and Norwich but means giving up one every 2.7 shots in the box.– David, Captain Sensible
Seven of those big chances conceded were against Manchester City, it has to be said.
We might feel reasonably confident in predicting wins for City, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal but a number of matches are much harder to call.
Take Chelsea v Wolves, for example. Both teams need to get a result to fulfil their European ambitions. The boldness of Mark’s decision to hand Pulisic the armband is highlighted when we consider the strength of the opposition defence:
Five big chances conceded by Wolverhampton Wanderers since the restart, which is the lowest total in the division. No club has conceded fewer goals (four), shots in the box (16) or efforts in the box (41) than Wolves from Gameweek 30+ onwards.– Neale, Big Numbers
And Manchester United’s trip to Leicester City is another game with a lot potentially riding on the result – a place in the Champions League could be at stake.
Their recent schedule afforded Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men very little time to recover between matches, which may well have contributed to some tired-looking performances. However, as Az warned on the Scoutcast, taking out United players could hurt given their huge ownership levels.
But, equally, this could be a very cagey match as a draw will be good enough for both teams should Wolves beat Chelsea.
Go cheap at the back?
With many managers looking to invest in appealing attacking assets, identifying cut-price defenders with clean sheet potential could be key to Gameweek 38+ success.
So Chris Wood’s comments ahead of Burnley’s match against Brighton were music to our ears:
As a team, we’ll be fighting like hell for [Nick Pope]. He’s an outstanding goalkeeper. Hopefully, we can get him one more so he can get his hands on the Golden Glove.– Chris Wood
Not only do Burnley offer several cheap defensive options but there’s also the chance they could produce some attacking returns too:
36 chances conceded by Brighton and Hove Albion from their right flank since the restart. Only relegated Norwich City have allowed more opportunities to be created from that zone than the Seagulls… Erik Pieters could potentially exploit that weakness when the two sides meet on Sunday, then.– Neale, Big Numbers
Since replacing Bernd Leno in goal in Gameweek 30+, Emiliano Martinez has saved 83.3% of the shots on target he’s faced. At £4.4m, he could help enable more expensive options further forward.
And Southampton have the fifth-best chance of recording a clean sheet according to the latest odds supplied, as ever, by G-Whizz. Alex McCarthy, Jack Stephens and Kyle Walker-Peters are all sub-£4.5m options for our squads.
Enjoy the final day
Lateriser12 reminded us that we should try to have fun, and one way of doing that is by playing the game our way:
… you still need to make well informed decisions that are based on stats and the eye-test and on the correct side of probability. The point is that you have to be happy you made the right choice for your playing style, regardless of the outcome.– Lateriser12
In his article this week, he quoted former community member Eunuch Jelly, who defined what made playing FPL so enjoyable for him:
If you keep your eye on the ball, you can set yourself up for hours of enjoyment at the expense of your rivals. I urge you to transcend points and find the true heart of the game, where those who take a different path can mock others for a few minutes on the weekend and be the real champions of the game.– Eunuch Jelly
Whether it’s getting one over on a rival or reaching a certain rank, FPL is a game which unites us all.
And speaking of the Fantasy community, here’s your chance to get more involved with the site by joining the Scout Network.
Be it a cool tool, a video channel, amazing tech skills or anything else in between, we want to hear from you.
For an update on all FFS Mini-Leagues and Community Competitions – including the winners of both the Head-to-Head league and Last Man Standing – please click here to read the latest round-up.
The Head-to-Head fixtures for Gameweek 38+ can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in (although you probably know by now!), follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
May your arrows be green!
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