Pro Pundit Teams

Seven-time top 10k finisher Zophar on Man Utd’s best Triple Gameweek 35 players

One of the most consistent FPL managers in the game, Zophar, is on course for his eighth top 10k finish. Here, he takes an in-depth look at Manchester United’s assets ahead of their Triple Gameweek.


It’s been a surreal 12 hours.

My own team, Chelsea, have trounced Real Madrid and progressed to the Champions League final, a scenario that many of us would have deemed impossible midway through the season.

As tempted as I am to wax lyrical for another 1,000 words about the Blues, I cannot ignore the elephant in the room: Manchester United’s TRIPLE Gameweek!

The Manchester United v Liverpool fixture being postponed in Gameweek 34 hit all of us hard and myself included, as I had five players in that fixture. While this immediate, surprise rescheduling gives us an opportunity to get some of those points back, the schedule indicates that it might not be that simple. Let’s get stuck into it.

I’m writing this piece before United have played in the UEFA Europa League, and while the Red Devils carry a four-goal advantage going into the second leg, I don’t see them fielding a weakened team as that would offer Roma a glimmer of hope – which is the last thing they’d want to do. I expect the likes of Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m), Edinson Cavani (£7.9m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.6m) to start, with early substitutions the likely route to rest.

The Red Devils play a total of four games in a space of seven days, a schedule that is largely unprecedented and given that it is at the tail-end of the season, when players are already mentally and physically fatigued from a congested schedule, rotation is inevitable. 

Motivation

Manchester United are in a firm position to clinch UEFA Champions League qualification, sitting nine points clear of fifth placed West Ham. With their superior goal difference, the Red Devils effectively need just three points to seal it. So there’s no real need to flog players and risk injury with such short turnarounds. There is some merit to finishing as high up the table as possible, too, so that has to be factored in as well. 

Scheduling

The turnaround time from the Europa League to the Villa fixture isn’t too bad. After all, it’s the usual Thursday-Sunday schedule that they’ve handled all season. A full rest since their last Europa League game due to the Liverpool postponement would also help in terms of energy levels.

The curveball here is the next two fixtures, against more formidable opposition on Tuesday and Thursday. 

Now, do United consider resting players for Villa to prioritise the Leicester and Liverpool games or do they go for the more ‘winnable’ points? I think they go for the former as the game against Leicester is almost a six-pointer, as it would open up the gap against the Foxes. The Liverpool fixture is always a big one too because of the rivalry. It’s not ideal when you think about captaincy for Fernandes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he played all three. 

Which players are the most likely to see minutes?

Harry Maguire (£5.5m), Fernandes and Rashford are the only players to feature in every single league match for United this season, while only Maguire has played every minute. 

On this basis, you would assume that the most nailed-on asset in defence is obviously Maguire. I think Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.7m) is also relatively safe for starts but I would worry about Luke Shaw (£5.4m) with Alex Telles (£5.3m) available and the Englishman’s past history with muscle injuries. Victor Lindelof (£4.8m) doesn’t fill me with confidence with Eric Bailly (£4.8m) around, either.

Fernandes is the obvious attacking pick, having seen the most minutes of any of their attackers. For the next best pick, let’s have a closer look at the minutes over the last seven Gameweeks rather than the season.

The likes of Wan-Bissaka, Shaw, Lindelof, Maguire and Dean Henderson (£5.2m) have played the entirety the last seven Gameweeks, with Fernandes missing out by just one minute.

Rashford’s game-time has been managed to an extent due to the niggling injury he has been carrying and he’s struggled to play two games a week, let alone four, so I am not tempted by him there. We have often seen Paul Pogba (£7.6m) play on the left, as well, which reduces the appeal of Rashford on the right.

It is encouraging to see Mason Greenwood (£7.2m) feature in all five of their last league matches for an average of 75 minutes each. At just 19 years of age, the youngster can recover quicker than most in the United squad and should see a decent amount of minutes across the three matches, especially given Rashford’s struggles. 

Attacking stats

My team

I’m sitting with two free transfers and £0.2m in the bank. As it stands, I have four players who will blank in Gameweek 36, and Rhian Brewster (£4.3m). 

My plan is to sell Son Heung-min (£9.6m) for Greenwood this week and roll the other transfer. Then, next week, I plan on reversing that move and bringing Gareth Bale (£9.1m) in for Fernandes. I do think the Red Devils will play a weakened team in Gameweek 38 with the Europa League final in mind, so I might get only the Fulham fixture out of Fernandes. This would also allow me to fund Brewster to Michail Antonio (£6.4m) for a -4. This would allow me to bench Kelechi Iheanacho, Shaw and AntonioRudiger and have a strong squad for any unexpected rotation in the final weeks. 

I know there’s talk – and justifiably so – about this Triple Gameweek being a trap and whatnot, but this is only the second time I’ve seen it happen in my 12 years of playing FPL and I just cannot bring myself not to max out on it. In five years’ time, I don’t want to be saying that I had only two players when Manchester United had a Triple Gameweek, irrespective of the outcome. 

Enjoy the chaos. One thing is for sure, there will never be a season like this again.

Thanks for reading. 

THE FPL WIRE PODCAST WITH ZOPHAR, LATERISER AND TOM FREEMAN


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1,947 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Little Frank
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Best option (on a FH):
    1. Pickford Maguire Ward
    2. Guaita Shaw Rudiger

    1. HVT
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      1, not mad on either tho (Pick/Ward/Rudi)

    2. stu92
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Can you do 2 but with an Everton defender (Keane if Digne too expensive?) instead of Rudi? Not a fan of him or Pickford due to fixtures/possible rotation.

  2. Gideons Rolling Another One
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Lingard + Welbeck to bench fodder + DCL for -4 or hold and play one of welbeck or lingard?

    1. HVT
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Hold

    2. antis0cial
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Hold

    3. Gideons Rolling Another One
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Cheers both

  3. Lindelol
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    best captain choice this GW (not Bruno)

    1. HVT
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Salah

    2. Steiger
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Salah

    3. n14mul
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Salah or outside punt on Greenwood as I am doing, cannot go united this week

    4. Mince n Tatties
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Is that because you don’t have Bruno?
      I have Bruno and Salah - but seriously considering putting the armband on Salah

      1. Lindelol
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        I am on FH but don't know if Bruno is the right choice

        1. Mince n Tatties
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 23 days ago

          I"m with you - Salah will play both - and Man Utd will be knackered by Thursday

  4. Silecro
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Morning, which one should bring me points galore this week?

    A) Bruno & Ward
    B) Rashford & Digne

    1. LC1
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      A for me

    2. antis0cial
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      I wouldn't like to go without Bruno this week so A

    3. You've got red on you.
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      A cos Bruno

    4. n14mul
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      After rash rested yesterday I would go rash for a differential

  5. antis0cial
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    G2g or do I need a United def? Only option would be Dallas to lindelof for a -4

    Areola
    TAA* Digne* Dallas
    Bruno** Greenwood** Salah* Jota*
    Nacho* DCL* Kane

    1. LC1
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      I wouldn't say for a hit as you'll most probs want Dallas back next week and for the rest of the season

    2. RAFA THE GAFFA
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      G2G

  6. LC1
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Anything worth a hit here for my bench boost team;

    Martinez
    Maguire Holding Rudiger Castagne
    Bruno(C) Zaha Lingard Salah
    DCL Iheanacho

    Forster Kane Lingard Phillips

    Good luck everyone - It's going to be a crazy one!

    1. antis0cial
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Looks good, good luck!

      1. LC1
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Ta pal

  7. n14mul
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Morning,

    I'm lucky enough to have a fh this week and stuck between 2 drafts. Only difference is

    A. Mane & Godfrey
    B. Vardy & Digne

    Which is the better?

    1. LC1
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      B for me mate.

    2. You've got red on you.
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      B

  8. You've got red on you.
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Any free hit tweaks you would recommend?

    Henderson
    Maguire - Robinson - TAA
    Bruno (C) - Zaha - Salah
    Vardy - Iheanacho - DCL

    1. n14mul
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Nice team

    2. LC1
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      I'd recommend an extra player 😉

      Looks a very good team!

      1. LC1
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Is Robinson, Robertson? Or Fulhams Robinson?

      2. You've got red on you.
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Haha! Very confident - dont need 11 players.

        It's Robertson and Digne should be in there.

        1. LC1
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 23 days ago

          Pretty perfect then with Digne and Robertson! GL mate.

  9. Ian Davis
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Gundogan out to?:

    A) Zaha
    B) JWP
    C) Jota

    1. Steiger
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      I'd plump for B

  10. Kiwivillan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 23 days ago

    Looking at current team for 36 using FH this week makes way more sense than WC and could still use WC for 36 or 37. FH looks quite powerful this week. Sound good?

  11. Kryptonite666
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 23 days ago

    How’s my Freehit team. Tried to differentiate against ML leader

    Guiata
    Digne AWB Castagne
    Salah Mane Fernandes Greenwood
    Vardy DCL Iheanacho

    1. Rolls-Royce
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Looks good! Similar to mine.

    2. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Awesome

    3. Reece’s Pieces
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Very similar to mine too. Mane is your key differential I expect

      • GinjaWhinja
        • 12 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Only player I’d fear going without is Trent. But I think that team probably makes up for his absence. Great line-up.

    4. Tubayyeb
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Pick ONE to Start GW35:

      A) Lingard
      B) Rudiger
      C) Holding

      1. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        B

      2. LC1
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        B

    5. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Lloris, Son, Lingard, Kane ->
      Henderson, Bruno, Zaha, DCL -8

      Sound okay?

      1. Mike82
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        I'd worry that son and kane will haul personally

        1. n14mul
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 23 days ago

          Agree, only worrying factor this week

    6. Mike82
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Is a -8 worth it if using bench boost?

    7. TimoTime
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 23 days ago

      G2G or need more dgw players?

      Martinez
      Shaw, reguillon, TAA
      (B)runo, son, lingard, greenwood
      Kane, Watkins, nacho

      Dias, raph, Dallas

      1.2 ITB

    8. Jones Kusi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      What do I do here!?
      2 FT 0.1 ITB
      No chips left.

      Forster Mendy
      Rudiger Philips Fofana Coady Holding
      Lingard Jota Salah Son Bruno
      Nacho Kane Davis

      1. tommo123
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Bring some UTD in

    9. tommo123
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Martinez, Johnstone
      TAA, AWB, Digne, Targett, Dias
      Siggy, Fernandes, Greenwood, Traore, Lingz
      Kane, Nacho, Watkins

      G2g with BB ?

    10. melvinmbabazi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      1FT, 0.1 ITB, thoughts? Playing BB

      Mendy / Forster

      TAA / Shaw / Ward / Holding / Coufal

      Salah / Fernandes / Greenwood / Son / Lingard

      Kane / Iheanacho / Vydra

      Thanks

      1. tommo123
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Hold

    11. Oscar Slater
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Could I have a couple of opinions please?...

      I'm bench boosting this weekend and I'm thinking of going in ball deep with 15 DGW players (two TGW) for a 24 point hit. One transfer next week gives me 11 on the park. PPG & RMT suggest I'll show a profit. Currently ranked 81k and miles clear in my mini league fwiw.

      Out: Fabri, Dallas, Lingard, Son, Bale, Kane, Bamford
      In: Guaita, Robertson, Zaha, Salah, Greenwood, DCL, Watkins.

      Yes?

      1. waldo666
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        No.

      2. tommo123
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        NO

      3. Oscar Slater
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Oh, and we also have a cash monthly league and points hits don't count in the first GW 😉

      4. Oscar Slater
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        A couple of opinions I asked for and a couple of pretty emphatic one's I got!

        I might reassess things then! 🙂

    12. Eastman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Best keeper on a fh? Schmeical?

    13. AC/DC AFC
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 23 days ago

      Good article.

      Just what we need.

      So Maguire over AWB.

      I have Greenwood and will get Bruno back in.

      So the final question is the class of Cavani likely to shine better than Watkins up front?

      1. tommo123
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        I've gone AWB, I think if he plays two and maguire plays three his returns could still be better

        1. AC/DC AFC
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 23 days ago

          I can just see Maguire heading in a corner against Leicester and perhaps Villa too?

      2. waldo666
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        If Cavani can get around 160 minutes or so over the 3 games then yeah I reckon he does quite easily.

      3. zøphar
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        Thanks mate , glad you found it helpful

    14. lewis274
        2 months, 23 days ago

        jota -> zaha done

        1. waldo666
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 23 days ago

          Why?

          1. lewis274
              2 months, 23 days ago

              why not ? jota won’t start

              1. waldo666
                • 10 Years
                2 months, 23 days ago

                Possibly but with fitness concerns around Zaha either may he. Pretty low risk if for free though, I suppose.

        2. Aster
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Zaha or Ward

            Greenwood or Rash

            1. tommo123
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Zaha + Greeny

            2. RAFA THE GAFFA
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Zaha and Greenwood

          • ZAWAd25
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Son + Rudiger >> Maguire + Zaha (-4)? (Have Mendy)

            1. AC/DC AFC
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Not convinced but Zaha could do something and Rudiger could be saved for the finals too.

          • RAFA THE GAFFA
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Repost. Was bottom sorry.

            Morning all. Thoughts on this? I will be Bench boost. One downside is only 7 (plus 1FT) for GW36.

            Lingard+Coady >> Greenwood+Ward (-4)?

            Mendy
            TAA. Shaw. Rudiger. Holding
            Salah. Bruno. Jota
            Kane. DCL. Nacho
            (Forster, ASM, Lingard, Coady)

            1. AC/DC AFC
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Is Jota going to get sufficient time on the pitch to do anything?

            2. Pompel
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Wouldn't go into GW36 with only 7 , so I think I'd pass on Greenwood in your situation and get Zaha or JWP instead.

              1. RAFA THE GAFFA
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 23 days ago

                Yeah it’s a tricky call. Zaha could work I guess. My only small worry is two main rivals have Greenwood who are trying to catch a 30pt lead off me

                1. Pompel
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  2 months, 23 days ago

                  Don't think Zaha vs Greenwood delta will be as big as 30 pts. And as I went with Greenwood over Zaha, that should mean Zaha smashes it 😉

          • AC/DC AFC
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Cavani is a class act and more suited for the European opponents too.

            His rotation on 71 mins helps last night.

            But his normal pattern is 90 mins, 45 mins, 90 mins.

            So is 2 games for Watkins better?

            Will Cavani be saved for the final more than most of the others?

            1. waldo666
              • 10 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Watkins fixtures aren't that crash hot, I have him but if I could have Cavani over him for free this week, I absolutely would.

              1. AC/DC AFC
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 23 days ago

                Means sacrificing Maguire then.

                1. waldo666
                  • 10 Years
                  2 months, 23 days ago

                  Hmmm, that does change things somewhat. If it ends up costing a hit I wouldn't do it and not even sure I would if it means losing another TGW and probably the one most likely to get the most minutes.

          • Salan
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Always like Zophar's articles, which are reasonable with logics behind, and clear mind path for steady substitution.

            Pleasure to read.

            1. Salan
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Substitution I mean transfers planned/made.

            2. zøphar
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 23 days ago

              Appreciate the kind words Salan, thank you

              1. Corgzzzz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                2 months, 23 days ago

                Morning Zoph. Following on from last night, would you consider Pogba, ahead of Rashy and Greenwood...........Love the wire by the way and your laugh always makes me laugh.....

          • Jimjam
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Martinez, Forster
            Shaw, Dallas, Rudiger, Saiss, Coufal
            Salah, Bruno, Bale, Jota, Lingard
            Kane, Iheanacho, Bamford

            1FT, 0.3 in bank

            Saiss & Bamford --> Mitchell & DCL (-4)?

          • juanmata8
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            WC. What do you think?

            Guaita (Mcgill)
            Digne TAA Shaw* (Philips, Dallas)
            Bruno* Salah Zaha Greenwood* (Burke)
            DCL Nacho* Kane

            The idea is to navigate the 4 blanks by doing Greenwood > Lingard & Nacho > Antonio next week to field a full 11 (excluding Burke)

          • The Red Devil
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 23 days ago

            Those playing Forster in goal worried? I'm probably doing son to Greenwood & might use those funds to upgrade Sanchez to Schmeichel, thoughts?