On Fantasy Football Scout this week, a fab four from Liverpool have been causing a stir as the fixtures turn in favour of the Reds and the soothsayers have been playing Pep Roulette again – could Raheem Sterling (£11.3m) reward those bold enough to spin the wheel?
There’s a Friday deadline for Gameweek 31 and you have until 18:30 BST deadline to make any last-minute changes to your side.
Mo, Trent, Nat and Diego
Top of the fixture ticker for the remainder of the season, Liverpool first take on an Aston Villa side shorn of their talisman Jack Grealish (£7.5m). Dean Smith confirmed that his latest injury flare-up “will probably put him back a couple of weeks”.
Encouragingly for their backers, Villa have been struggling defensively.
As Captain Sensible writer Jan mentioned, they are the biggest over-performers in the Premier League and should have conceded at least three more goals over their last four matches.
And if we cast our net a little further back to Gameweek 21, no team has conceded more shots than Dean Smith’s side since then.
Jan and the Scout Picks selectors have handed Salah the armband for Saturday’s enticing encounter.
Golden Boot race motivation and penalty duties ensure Salah just edges out Jota in Jan’s estimation, while Pro Pundit Lateriser commented:
Salah has now scored in back-to-back matches and I’ve seen him play further forward in the last two games than he has for most of this season.
Meanwhile Jota was described by Az as “the number one target on the Wildcard”, which many are playing this week.
Such confidence is underpinned by an impressive 50 per cent goal involvement this season when he’s been on the pitch, as highlighted by both Jan and Lateriser, as well as Karam on the Scoutcast.
And although rotation remains a risk, there is comfort in the knowledge that the Portuguese has found the net in three of his six cameos off the bench and bagged a brace at Arsenal last weekend, as Neale pointed out when he delved into the stats ahead of Gameweek 31.
Both players seem excellent choices for our FPL teams but, as Seb advised us, captaincy is important when it comes to selecting Salah:
I do not plan on handing the Egyptian the armband and thus his value is seriously diminished. Salah is only worth his price if you plan on doubling those points.– Seb
Otherwise the main decision when deciding on the ideal Liverpool trio appears to come down to a decision between Alexander-Arnold and budget defender Phillips.
The enterprising full-back costs £3.3 million more than his central defensive colleague – is he worth the extra outlay?
Last four matches
Over the last four matches, only two players have created more chances than the Liverpool full-back, namely Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m), who both cost considerably more.
As Seb mentioned on the Scoutcast, Trent has been accelerating away from his fellow full-back Andy Robertson (£7.1m) in terms of underlying stats since Gameweek 24. And the Scot has created just three chances in his last four compared to the Englishman’s 11.
Defensively the signs are also positive. The return of Fabinho (£5.4m) to midfield makes a big difference to Liverpool’s prospects of recording a clean sheet.
Jürgen Klopp’s side badly missed the Brazilian as a number six, and look a far better side with him sitting in front of the back four.– Tom
In the end the decision will likely come down to the needs of your FPL team.
Phillips costs just £4.0m, and as one of the cheapest starting defenders in the game, could be a quality enabler for the remainder of the season.– Tom
While Seb countered:
If I was on a Wildcard, I’d have definitely gone for the Liverpool right-back over the cut-price Phillips as I don’t like looking for value from the best teams with the best fixtures.
Digressing away from Liverpool for a moment, Leeds fan Seb backed up recent Meet the Manager interviewee Tom Stephenson’s plan to ‘save a transfer’ by including Raphinha (£5.6m) on his Wildcard.
If you can afford to keep [Raphinha] on the bench I think he provides a great sub and saves you a transfer for when you want him back for those aforementioned fixtures.– Seb
According to Andy, “only an idiot would continue to try and second-guess Pep Guardiola” – and yet, here we are again.
Speaking after the win over Leicester City on Sunday, Pep Guardiola promised that there’d be “fresh legs, more than ever” for the upcoming clash with Leeds.
Given that neither Sterling nor Gabriel Jesus (£9.2m) started the midweek Champions League quarter-final, they are tipped to make the first XI in what should be an open game against Leeds United. As Neale reminded us:
17 penalty box touches, five goal attempts and five key passes recorded by Raheem Sterling when Manchester City and Leeds United met in the very open reverse fixture of Saturday’s game.– Neale
It’s even tempted Joe to consider an uncharacteristic one-week punt on the Brazilian, despite Seb’s warning that he’s a trap.
Joe’s plan on his Wildcard would be to switch out Jesus to Jamie Vardy (£10.1m), who is at a similar price point.
James Maddison’s (£7.1m) return from injury could be good news for our FPL teams, although his price point is considered awkward by Joe.
Nonetheless both Az and Tom have been singing his praises, having picked up on an intriguing quote from the Leicester City midfielder:
Me, the gaffer and Jack, the analyst, sat down and looked at where I can get more goals. Playing a bit deeper, I was a No.8 today, and breaking into the box and getting beyond that last line and really, kind of, almost smelling where the ball is going to drop. It’s not an easy thing to do. Frank Lampard was the best at it, arriving late and scoring goals, and that’s what I did today.– James Maddison
Tom went on to add that:
Personal motivation could be a key factor, too. If Maddison is to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championship this summer, he will need to play a starring role during the run-in.– Tom
Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.8m) was lauded for his clinical finishing on the Scoutcast and offers an excellent mid-price alternative up front.
There are concerns that he could drop out of the side for Maddison, having been replaced the Englishman against Manchester City. But, as Karam explained, Iheanacho played for Nigeria during the international break and only returned 48 hours before kick-off.
For the time being, Neale has predicted that Iheanacho will start against West Ham with Maddison set for another appearance from the subs bench.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
RedLightning provided us with his usual comprehensive round-up of the latest Community mini-leagues and competitions, which included a new section on a Community Manager of the Week.
The inaugural winner was Kushral Pakhrel (aka Fantasizer), nominated by FPL Egregious for his impressive tally of 92 points scored in Blank Gameweek 29.
Kushral’s deft use of his Free Hit chip was underpinned by three Brighton players, who contributed 44 points to his total and helped him to a Gameweek rank of 620.
There are five rounds to go in our cup competitions with the finals set to take place in Gameweek 35.
This Gameweek, round six of the FFS Open Cup sees the lowest-ranked manager left in the competition, ronaldez, face Community regular Jarvish, who is aiming for his second top 10,000 finish in the last three seasons.
While Psyurmh, ranked 615,244 takes on 2018/19 FFS Members Cup runner-up Jambo17.
And in this year’s Members Cup, Torpedo will be hoping to overcome the odds when he comes up against FPLMAD, who is currently 1,876,860 places above him in the overall standings.
Neale reviewed the results from the previous rounds yesterday.
Finally, the Head-to-Head fixtures for Gameweek 31 can be found below.
The scores and tables update every night on the Head-to-Head Leagues main page so you can keep track of the action as the Gameweek unfolds.
May your arrows be green!