We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points of the day in FPL Daily, a series that generally services weekdays where there is no press conference round-up or Premier League match – but we’re bringing you this European special tonight.
For a round-up of the day’s stand-out team news from Thursday’s pre-match pressers, click here.
CITY TO FACE FULL-STRENGTH WEST HAM IN GAMEWEEK 37?
West Ham United’s exit from the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League could be significant for the title race and owners of Manchester City assets.
The Hammers will face Pep Guardiola’s side in Gameweek 37 but had they beaten Eintracht Frankfurt over two legs, they would have had a Europa League final to contest three days after the City game – so we’d have surely seen some key players rested in the league.
Now, however, West Ham are free to focus their minds on the Premier League again and a push for either UEFA Europa League or Conference League qualification.
And David Moyes’s side potentially being at full strength in Gameweek 37 would, perhaps, make Free Hitters think twice about tripling up on City assets, particularly when five teams (of admittedly lesser quality) elsewhere are doubling.
LEICESTER’S ‘DOUBLE DOUBLE’ MORE APPEALING?
Not many Fantasy managers will be interested in West Ham assets at present, given their lack of a Double Gameweek, but Leicester are a different matter altogether.
They ‘double’ in both Gameweek 36 and 37, play four of the bottom six in the run-in and face Chelsea five days after the Blues have been in FA Cup final action.
Ongoing involvement in the Europa Conference League would have perhaps seen Brendan Rodgers handle some of his key assets carefully during the final three Gameweeks but the Foxes were dumped out of the competition by Roma on Thursday, so the focus now switches back to domestic matters.
A European qualification spot remains a long shot – they can, just about, still catch West Ham – but Rodgers is nevertheless intent on finishing the season strongly.
“Over the last couple of seasons, European football will have opened their eyes. A lot of them had never experienced that before. Especially this season, coming deep into a European competition is great experience for them.
“They’ll be reborn again next year with that notion that they can look to qualify for Europe and have many more nights. You lose, but you really learn, and I’m sure the players will learn tonight.
“We want to finish the season as strong as we can, as best as we can. We wanted to reach the final… we haven’t done that, but every game now is very, very important for us and we’ll look to show a good reaction and finish the season as high as we can.” – Brendan Rodgers
Managed minutes may still be the order of the day for some players this weekend, with the Everton game taking place less than 72 hours after this one, and it may be the case that injury-prone assets like Jonny Evans (£5.4m) are still handled carefully for the rest of the season.
After the Everton game, however, a Wednesday-Sunday-Thursday turnaround for the second part of Gameweek 36 and all of Double Gameweek 37 is fairly generous and should ensure plenty of game-time for James Maddison (£6.9m) and co.
Maddison and Jamie Vardy (£10.3m) both got lasted the full match in Rome, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (£4.4m) handed 77 minutes.
FOXES’ DEAD-BALL WEAKNESS
As any Leicester fan will tell you, defending set plays has been a real problem for the Foxes in 2021/22.
No side has allowed more chances to be created from dead-ball situations, while their expected goals conceded (xGC) tally from set plays is also a league-worst.
True to form, the goal they conceded against Roma was from a corner.
The ongoing fallibility and Rodgers’ rather defeatist comments about fixing it will perhaps be of encouragement to owners of Anthony Gordon (£4.6m), the corner-taking budget midfielder whose Everton side face Leicester on Sunday.
“The corner’s been an Achilles heel for us all season to be perfectly honest, so to concede the goal in that manner was hugely disappointing.
“It’s been an issue for us all season. We clearly lack physicality. The courage is there for the players, but clearly, within the team, especially with Wilf [Ndidi] missing, we don’t have the physicality in the team. That has been a problem for us all season. We’ve tried man-marking, we’ve tried zonal, but it’s too easy to score.” – Brendan Rodgers
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