It’s another Double Gameweek, the sixth of the season, and an excellent opportunity to play the Triple Captain chip for those that still have it.
Golden Boot-chasing Harry Kane (£11.7m) will be aiming to go clear at the top of the goalscoring charts with two enticing games against Everton and Southampton. Tottenham Hotspur are the only side to be playing twice as Crystal Palace blank with the FA Cup semi-finals taking place.
There’s a Friday deadline for Double Gameweek 32 and you have until 18:30 BST deadline to make any last-minute changes to your side.
Mind the Gap
Gaining nearly 74 per cent of the vote in the Captain Poll – a whopping 60 per cent more than Son Heung-min (£9.5m) – Kane is the overwhelmingly popular choice for the armband.
The second most-owned player in Fantasy Premier League in over half of all sides, Kane’s effective ownership is likely to be huge.
Among those activating their Triple Captain chip is David, who, when remarking on Kane’s advantage in the poll, noted the risk of captaining anyone else:
So the gap even between Kane and Son is absolutely mammoth – you have to be so brave to go against Kane this week.– David, Captaincy Video
Jan’s Captain Sensible article, so often essential reading, drew the obvious conclusion:
With Spurs coming into the round as the only team to play twice, I find making a case for anyone else redundant, as their assets would be high among the captaincy candidates even if they had a single fixture against either Everton or Southampton.
Neale and Sam both pointed out that the Saints have shipped 11 more goals than any other club from Gameweek 19 onwards (37 in 14 matches), 12 of which have come in their last four games.
This means that even if you discount the 9-0 drumming at Manchester United in Gameweek 22, they’ve still conceded more goals than everyone else since the halfway point of the season.
If there’s one small concern from a Tottenham point of view it’s that the visit of Southampton next Wednesday comes only four days before the League Cup final.
Mourinho isn’t exactly blessed with a squad that allows him to rest his best players. And with Europa League qualification at risk, the simple fact is Tottenham need to win their league games.
Fantasy Football Scout founder, Mark, who looks odds-on to finish in the top 10,000 for the tenth time in his illustrious FPL career, has earmarked Son as his transfer this Gameweek despite injury and rotation concerns in this squad.
Kareem pulled out the E-word when referring to the Tottenham duo:
Having Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane is as essential as it can get if you can afford to bench them in Gameweek 33 as their fixtures continue to be strong beyond that.
Their participation in the League Cup final entails a blank in Gameweek 33 but that is followed by an appealing run in which they face Sheffield United, Leeds, Wolves and Aston Villa.
Tripling on Doublers
Lifelong Spurs fan Sam is intending to play her Wildcard in Gameweek 33, meaning that her Gameweek 32 transfer feels like something of a free hit. And, of course, there’s only one team to consider.
The Pro Pundit cast her eye over the potential candidates among Jose Mourinho’s troops.
Thanks to his ability to return points at both ends of the pitch Sergio Reguilón (£5.5m) is the top choice, with Sam noting that the full-back is second only to Son for crosses.
His biggest points returns of the season have come against Burnley (10) and Fulham (8), both of whom allowed Spurs to play the counter-attacking football that they relish.– Sam
An opinion backed up by Tom Freeman with the Brazilian headlining his differential picks.
There were two fascinating reads on player form by a couple of our Pro Pundits this week.
Former FPL Winner Simon March and serial top 10,000 manager Zophar considered the merits of red-hot duo Jesse Lingard (£6.5m) and Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m).
A player’s body language, which I know is difficult to explain or quantify, is often the biggest tell for me. The likes of Iheanacho and Lingard have an air about them which reflects their optimal mental state. They’ve had it for weeks now.– Zophar
Zophar examined the intangibles in football, aspects of the game that are impossible to measure, and it’s his belief that form is very much in the mind.
Confidence plays a huge role in sport and a positive mental state can often contribute to what we call good ‘form’.
In his Scout Notes on West Ham’s victory over Leicester last Sunday, David Wardale highlighted the purple patch Lingard and Iheanacho are enjoying:
Nearly two thirds of [Lingard’s] attempts have been on target and he’s converting close to a third of his chances into goals … Crucially, [Iheanacho] has outscored Jamie Vardy by 52 points to 23 since Double Gameweek 26, besting him for 21 attempts on goal to nine during the same period.
Simon acknowledged the thinking behind buying in-form players:
If high confidence should help a player play well, playing well should continue to boost confidence, creating a self-sustaining virtuous cycle of positive form.
But very few players are able to sustain their form long term – a notable exception being Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) in the 2017/18 season. One reason, according to Simon, is that eventually teams get ‘found out’ by opponents.
… the teams that face these teams will be trying to exploit their known weakness and nullify their key strengths … This cycle between observation and adaptation is often a big part of what we are actually referring to when we talk about ‘form’.
To help us understand why West Ham and Leicester might be doing so well recently, Simon, a graduate in behavioural economics, cited a famous study from WWII to illustrate ‘survivorship bias’. He explained how bomber planes were reinforced based on where bullet holes were found after they had returned following a sortie.
The problem, however, was that the planes that made it back to base were the ones that hadn’t been shot down, therefore the bullet holes actually highlighted the areas where the plane could survive being hit and it was, in fact, the other areas that needed to be reinforced first.
Teams may appear unstoppable in attack or impregnable in defence but, frequently, this appearance is exaggerated due to the way teams play against them or, often, the way teams don’t play against them.– Simon
As Neale reported in his recent Members only stats dive, West Ham have tweaked their playing style since Lingard joined, scoring significantly more goals from what Opta term “fast breaks”.
But could opponents soon start to cotton on to their new tactics?
As teams dominate, more data becomes available on how such teams play and how best to play against them. Sometimes all it takes is one tactical innovation; double-marking a certain player, surrendering space on the wings to pack the centre or exploiting an aerial weakness to bring a streak of dominance to an end.– Simon
Lingard was a notable omission from Tom Stephenson’s Gameweek 31 Wildcard, and for the moment the high-flying manager will continue to go without him.
Meanwhile Iheanacho may have a more difficult outing against West Brom than many expect, with Neale noting a marked defensive improvement in the Baggies:
The impact of the excellent Okay Yokuslu and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in front of the back four has been key: since the former’s debut in Gameweek 24, only Manchester United have conceded fewer goals than the Albion.– Neale
But when we make transfers we generally do so with more than one Gameweek in mind – and the fixtures remain encouraging for both West Ham and Leicester.
One player stands out in particular: Jesse Lingard. Not only are his expected goal involvement stats the highest, but West Ham also have some great fixtures to come, including Newcastle United, Burnley, Everton, West Brom and Southampton. He’s nailed, guaranteed to start and almost always plays 90 minutes.– Andy
And Zophar will be putting his money where his mouth is by adding both in-form players to his side:
We need to acknowledge the purple patch and look to capitalise on it right away. Both Iheanacho and Lingard will be making their way into my squad this week. If you don’t own one, or both, I strongly suggest you make plans to do so.– Zophar
On the Beach
As we enter the business end of the season, motivation often plays a bigger role for players and teams.
It can boost the performance of those aiming to qualify for Europe or escape relegation, and similarly for players we can see improvement in those gunning for a new contract or move away, and with the Euros this summer, those looking to secure a spot in a national team squad.
Conversely, we can also observe a dip in performance for those who have nothing to play for.
This means that we can conclude that teams that have little to play for at the end of the season perform significantly worse at the end of the season.– Andrew Puopolo, Harvard study on Premier League team performance
Four Premier League teams are still competing in either the Champions or Europa League, and those players will be looking to catch their manager’s eye.
At Chelsea, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic (both £8.2m) have impressed of late:
[Havertz] needs to be in high positions, either half positions or the number nine position. This is not a big difference for me. He got a second chance to show up after Porto and he did that.– Thomas Tuchel
While Pulisic has made the most of his opportunity, with Thomas Tuchel commenting “I think the half positions in the front three could be a perfect fit for him.”
Elsewhere, Bukayo Saka (£5.1m) was picked out by Andy when he ran the rule over replacements for the injured Pedro Neto (£5.7m). The Arsenal youngster scored against Slavia Prague last night and the Gunners enjoy favourable fixtures to end the season.
But the Manchester United fan was less upbeat about the prospects for Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m), urging managers to reassess the Portuguese after he faces Burnley and Leeds United in Gameweeks 32 and 33.
Compared to his fellow premium-priced players, Bruno hasn’t been producing the underlying stats to warrant his inclusion in our squads:
Over the last six matches, Kane’s expected goal involvement (xGI) without penalties is 5.57; contrast that to Salah at 3.83 and Fernandes at 2.62. The biggest thing for me is that number for Fernandes is made up from just 0.85 xG. He’s had just three shots in the box over that time, compared to Kane with 14 and Salah with 16.– Andy
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
Perhaps in the lull between the deadline and the first match of the Gameweek you might have time to take part in the Fantasy Football Scout Survey.
Put together by Az in his capacity as Members Strategy Manager, the survey is your chance to have a say on every aspect of the Fantasy Football Scout brand and should take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Five £50 Amazon vouchers are being offered as an incentive for filling out the survey, simply provide your email address to enter the draw.
We have another David and Goliath clash in round seven of the FFS Open Cup as the lowest-ranked manager, ronaldez, Jarvish’s conqueror in the last round, faces Shuddahaddum, the highest-ranked manager.
Finally, the Head-to-Head fixtures for Gameweek 32 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!