Following Thursday’s announcement that eight top-flight teams are due to play twice in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Double Gameweek 22, over a third of Fantasy Football Scout users have said they are planning to activate their Free Hit chip.
With that in mind, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at the best FPL options for those looking at ‘Free Hit’ transfer targets ahead of the upcoming fixtures.
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DAVID DE GEA
After conceding in each of their last three outings against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Burnley and Newcastle United, questions have been raised over Manchester United’s defence, with the early promise under Ralf Rangnick giving way to some all-too-familiar concerns.
Still, a Double Gameweek involving trips to Aston Villa and Brentford does give David de Gea (£5.2m) the chance to add to his clean sheet tally.
The Spaniard has been excellent for United this season despite the club’s poor results, recapturing his best form.
Since Rangnick arrived in Gameweek 15, de Gea is averaging 5.2 points per match, while his +3.10 expected goals (xG) prevented total is better than any other keeper. Notably, his 87.5% save percentage is only trumped by Wolves’ Jose Sa (£5.1m), with his seven saves against Newcastle a prime example of just how crucial he is to the Red Devils.
DE GEA’S RECORD UNDER RANGNICK:
|15||Crystal Palace (h)||1-0||2||0||6|
|16||Norwich City (a)||1-0||5||3||10|
|19||Newcastle United (a)||1-1||7||1||5|
|21||Wolverhampton Wanderers (h)||0-1||5||0||3|
Across the entire season, just four clean sheets in 19 appearances is underwhelming and well behind others on this list, but two of those have arrived under the German tactician, making de Gea one of the best Double Gameweek 22 goalkeepers on offer.
As for United, Luke Shaw (£5.0m) and Scott McTominay (£5.4m) are on the banned list for their Double Gameweek opener at Villa Park, though Harry Maguire (£5.4m) might be back.
Robert Sanchez (£4.6m) has been in fine form for Brighton and Hove Albion this season, keeping six clean sheets across his 18 Premier League appearances.
It’s also worth noting that since returning from suspension in Gameweek 13, the Spanish international has racked up an impressive 28 saves, more than any other keeper bar de Gea, Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) and Daniel Bachmann (£4.3m).
SANCHEZ’S RECORD SINCE RETURNING FROM SUSPENSION:
|13||Leeds United (h)||0-0||4||1||8|
|14||West Ham United (a)||1-1||4||1||4|
|17||Wolverhampton Wanderers (h)||0-1||4||0||3|
The second of Brighton’s Double Gameweek fixtures against Chelsea is a little off-putting, given that Thomas Tuchel’s side have scored in all but one of their 10 Premier League away matches this term.
However, there is potential for a clean sheet against Crystal Palace, with the Eagles only managing nine goals on the road in 2021/22, while their 7.75 xG tally ranks in the bottom three.
Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) is enjoying a decent season at Tottenham Hotspur, and from the point that Antonio Conte took charge in north London, has quietly kept five clean sheets in eight fixtures, averaging 5.1 points per match.
During that time, he has saved 83.3% of shots faced, though his save count of 20 is lower than others on this list.
LLORIS’ RECORD UNDER CONTE:
|12||Leeds United (h)||2-1||6||0||4|
|15||Norwich City (h)||3-0||1||0||6|
|19||Crystal Palace (h)||3-0||0||0||6|
The Lilywhites’ double-header is also far from straightforward, with games against Arsenal and Leicester City, who rank fifth and sixth respectively for goals scored in 2021/22.
That suggests it may be wiser to use that third Spurs slot, presuming you already own Son Heung-min (£10.7m) and Harry Kane (£12.2m) of course, on a defender with potential for attacking returns, like Sergio Reguilon (£5.4m) or the kinder-priced Emerson Royal (£4.9m).
Having lost Edouard Mendy (£6.2m) to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.7m) will deputise for Chelsea in Double Gameweek 22.
The Spaniard had a disastrous 2019/20 campaign, but has performed well when called upon this season, particularly in the EFL Cup. Add to that his UEFA Super Cup penalty shootout heroics against Villarreal and a clean sheet in his only Premier League outing so far, and there is very little Kepa has done wrong.
Encouragingly, he also kept a clean sheet on his return to the starting XI against Spurs on Wednesday, and comfortably dealt with late attempts from Kane and Giovani Lo Celso (£5.9m).
However, a quick look at the schedule does dampen enthusiasm a little, with Manchester City one of their two fixtures. Despite that, there is potential for save points at the Etihad, whilst Brighton have already failed to score in four of their nine home matches this season.
THE OTHER CANDIDATES
Daniel Bachmann and Watford arguably have the best pair of fixtures on offer, though Ben Foster (£4.1m) may still have a chance of being fit, albeit small, which will need to be monitored on the run-up to Double Gameweek 22.
However, given that the Hornets are the only Premier League side who have failed to keep a single clean sheet all season, it’s debatable if it’s worth it even with appealing fixtures against Newcastle United (a) and Burnley (a).
Elsewhere, Kasper Schmeichel (£4.8m), Nick Pope (£5.4m) and Alvaro Fernandez (£4.5m) are alternative options who should play twice, but their respective defences have been poor to date, whilst there are arguably more appealing options ahead of them, including Matthew Lowton (£4.4m) and Timothy Castagne (£5.3m).
Meanwhile, Jordan Pickford (£4.9m) probably has the best clean sheet potential amongst those playing once, though individual errors are hurting Everton at the moment, with midfield duo Allan (£4.4m) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.4m) often exposed under Rafa Benitez.
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