The long awaited Double Gameweek 22 fixtures have dropped and I would love to be all hyped and excited by going all in for such players but I’m just not at the moment. Let me explain why.
Here is the Season Ticker for the next six Gameweeks. Admittedly, a lot is uncertain as some of the remaining spare matches could be dropped into these weeks but we have to go with the information available at present.
I’m not sure what to make of this double, really. I don’t think the away fixtures at Aston Villa or Brentford are particularly easy, as both teams have shown they can be quite resolute on home turf. The Red Devils’ camp is not a happy place at the moment, so it is difficult to recommend their players with a high degree of enthusiasm. In attack, there is only Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) as an option but his numbers are significantly better at Old Trafford than on the road.
In defence, their back four is clouded in uncertainty but I like the look of bringing in David De Gea (£5.2m), especially if you have Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m) as your other goalkeeper. The appeal of Ronaldo is his good long-term fixtures but I still don’t know if I will be keeping him once Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) returns. It is likely that him or Son Heung-min (£10.7m) will have to make way and, as things stand, I’m leaning towards keeping the South Korean.
The Hornets are a team that really interest me ahead of the Double Gameweek. Their next three fixtures (new, bur, NOR) are likely to be decisive in their quest for top-flight survival and I don’t think Claudio Ranieri will be as defensive here as they were against Tottenham Hotspur. A trip to West Ham United isn’t bad for their attackers either but it gets a bit tougher afterwards against Brighton and Hove Albion, Aston Villa and Manchester United.
The way most of our teams are setup, we already have one Watford striker – either Joshua King (£5.8m) or Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1m). As a King owner, I have long been coveting Dennis so selling Michail Antonio (£7.8m) for the Nigerian ahead of these fixtures is very appealing. However, I know I will want Antonio back when both sides face off in Gameweek 24 and I could easily move Ronaldo to Antonio to fund a midfield upgrade to Salah. It does seem like too many transfers are being booked in though, such is the uncertain climate.
This is a short comment. If you bought one of their assets for Double Gameweek 21 you would probably play them here but the fixtures really do not warrant any new purchases, with games against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City and Arsenal soon.
Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls are a bit of a ‘don’t buy, don’t sell‘ team for me. Their double isn’t particularly appealing – a derby against Crystal Palace and a tough rematch with Chelsea. I also don’t see a clean sheet away to Leicester City, with a blank in Gameweek 24 to follow.
As it stands, Son will likely be my captain for Double Gameweek 22. The South Korean has historically performed well at home and is a big game player. Arsenal aren’t mugs anymore but the injury-ravaged Leicester City backline is very encouraging. Harry Kane (£12.2m) is a great option too, and one I prefer significantly over Ronaldo.
The defence is a bit trickier, though. Spurs will have their second Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea just before Double Gameweek 22 and, given they already trail 2-0, are likely to field a strong team there. I’d expect Sergio Reguilon (£5.4m) to start that one so will he be able to play the next two in a short period? I’m just not sure. I would prefer Emerson Royal (£5.0m) for that reason but, as he has shown over the past few weeks, his end product is poor. Neither of the fixtures are a clean sheet, in my opinion.
I honestly expected Burnley to pick up during December as they traditionally do but it just hasn’t happened and the constant postponements haven’t helped. However, they have been better at home defensively, as the tables show below. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the expected goals conceded (xGC) numbers because they’ve only played seven games at home, as opposed to ten away.
In terms of minutes per big chance conceded at home, Burnley are ranked tenth. The open-play goal attempts conceded looks good as well but I mention again, they have played several fewer home matches than most.
They are ranked second bottom for minutes per big chance conceded away, with only Newcastle United faring worse.
So there are two things I would read from this – firstly, a Burnley defender with two home fixtures is worth a punt. Someone like Matthew Lowton (£4.4m) will likely have three more doubles to come so is a decent long-term acquisition despite the difficult fixtures. Secondly, maybe we should temper our expectations on Leicester and Watford assets who are due to visit Turf Moor.
Burnley’s attackers are a no-go for me.
With Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.9m) at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and injuries to Patson Daka (£7.1m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.4m), the Foxes are likely to turn to one of Ayoze Perez (£5.7m) or Harvey Barnes (£6.5m) up top. Wilfred Ndidi (£4.8m) is likely to be a big miss in midfield, with Boubakary Soumare (£4.8m) likely having to play at centre back, perhaps meaning a deeper role for Youri Tielemans (£6.4m).
James Maddison (£6.9m) is the only one I would look at. Although the post-double fixtures aren’t very appealing, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them score in each of them and he is in good form.
Not much to say here, again a ‘don’t buy, don’t sell‘ policy, considering their upcoming blanks in Gameweeks 24 and 25.
I currently have one free transfer and £0.5m in the bank.
There’s a bit of reluctance to get rid of Demarai Gray (£5.5m), with Everton ranked third on the fixture ticker and two postponed matches still to be scheduled. I can’t really upgrade Bukayo Saka (£6.4m) to Maddison, either, not without a hit, whilst Arsenal have a decent fixture in Gameweek 23, too.
Reece James (£6.2m) is an issue that needs addressing, however. I could swap him for a Burnley defender or Emerson Royal but I really don’t want to be benching Joao Cancelo (£7.0m) either.
Antonio to Dennis is a move I’m tempted by, despite knowing I will want Antonio back in two Gameweeks’ time.
As it stands, I’m thinking of saving a transfer, with a view to get rid of James in Gameweek 23 and having two free transfers to get Salah back the week after.
Also, a quick word about using the Free Hit chip – I think there will be plenty of better opportunities to play it later in the season. The fixtures for this double don’t really appeal at all.
We will be discussing more about these teams and players in next week’s episode of The FPL Wire.
See you then!
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