We round up the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Wednesday’s four Double Gameweek 36 fixtures in our Scout Notes summary.
GOALS, ASSISTS AND BONUS
INJURIES AND BANS
Manchester City’s injury crisis may have gotten worse on Wednesday. Already without three defenders for the run-in, the Citizens lost both of their starting centre-halves to injury at Molineux and had to call upon a half-fit Nathan Ake as a substitute.
Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) and Fernandinho (£4.7m) are the men in question and Pep Guardiola was unsure about whether he will have the pair available in Gameweek 37.
“Well, apparently it doesn’t look good. I would say some muscular problems for Fernandinho, and it will be difficult for Sunday. Aymer had a tough knock on his knee, and we have just four days so we will see how they recover for Sunday.” – Pep Guardiola
The match between Leeds United and Chelsea proved to be damaging for both clubs from an injury perspective, meanwhile.
Daniel James (£6.0m) will miss the rest of the season after being dismissed for a foul on Mateo Kovacic, who sustained an ankle injury in the process and is now “very unlikely” to be fit for the FA Cup final.
Leeds also lost Jack Harrison (£5.5m) to a “contusion”, although Raphinha‘s (£6.3m) exit was merely to do with cramp.
Elsewhere, Wesley Fofana (£4.3m) withdrew from the Leicester squad to face Norwich because of calf tightness but Brendan Rodgers said the centre-half “will be fine for the weekend”.
FPL TALKING POINTS
De Bruyne Brilliance – But City Defence Down to Bare Bones
Anyone planning to Free Hit without Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m) in Gameweek 37 may have had cause for contemplation after the Belgian went goal-mad at Molineux.
De Bruyne, flitting between a number 10 position and a false nine (something he might not be doing as much of next season once Erling Haaland is aboard), was in unchartered territory as he scored four goals against Wolves, narrowly missing out on FPL history as he signed off for the Gameweek with 30 points.
Son Heung-min‘s (£11.0m) purple patch of form has been widely hailed but De Bruyne is in equally good nick, level with the South Korean for attacking returns (20) from Gameweek 17 onwards and ahead of him for points.
Above: De Bruyne leads every other Premier League player for FPL points since his season was kickstarted in Gameweek 17’s win over Leeds United
Only owned by 18.25% of the top 10k heading into Gameweek 36, he may be just as much of a differential in Gameweek 37 due to the lack of a ‘double’ for City and their fixture being one of the trickiest on paper.
Of more concern for Sunday’s match will be the clean sheet potential for Joao Cancelo (£7.3m) and co: not only do West Ham boast the division’s best goals scored and xG totals outside of the ‘big six’, City could be down as many as six defenders in east London.
At least predicting the starting defence at West Ham will be pretty easy, something that isn’t true for the positions further forward. A midweek benching for Gabriel Jesus (£8.6m) had been widely tipped after the Brazilian’s long unbroken run of starts but expectations that Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) would feature were wide of the mark as he was named among the substitutes for the fourth league match in a row.
CHELSEA On the brink of UCL Qualification
Chelsea’s win over Leeds means that they are effectively one point away from ensuring qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League, such is their superior goal difference to the north London sides.
The Blues will have their passage confirmed if Spurs fail to beat their local rivals on Thursday.
Second-guessing Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI in Gameweek 37, for a match that will take place well into next week, may be even trickier, as the visit of Leicester will be a dead rubber if Spurs and/or Arsenal slip up in the coming week.
Underscoring their impressive if stop-start campaigns, and reminding us of the risk in going without either player in Gameweek 37, it was Mason Mount (£7.7m) and Reece James (£6.4m) who helped do the damage against Leeds. While the odd substitute appearance can be hard to swallow, the pair are averaging 6.2 and 6.3 points per start this season, a very good return indeed for mid-price options.
James was stationed at right wing-back again, with the extra attacking onus in that role helping him create five chances (one of which was an assist for Mount) en route to yet more bonus points.
MORE PITCH-TIME FOR GELHARDT?
Anyone looking for the cheapest possible playing forward for the last two Gameweeks might have had their interest piqued by developments at Elland Road.
James’s suspension and a possible injury to Harrison, coupled with Patrick Bamford‘s (£7.7m) ongoing absence, could elevate the chances of further run-outs for Joe Gelhardt (£4.7m). A starter against Arsenal on Sunday before an early red card saw him unfortunately hooked as part of a system change, he was back among the substitutes against Chelsea but again came off the bench to feature.
Gelhardt has now been handed pitch-time in eight of the 10 matches that Jesse Marsch has overseen.
SECOND THOUGHTS OVER EVERTON ATTACK?
Many of us will be doubling or tripling up on Everton assets ahead of Double Gameweek 37, with Richarlison (£7.6m) even leading the way in our captain poll.
The fact that both of the Toffees’ Gameweek 37 matches are on home soil, where they have been pretty good of late, is an added incentive.
But it’s worth reiterating that the goals haven’t exactly flowed under Frank Lampard, with only the bottom two scoring on fewer occasions than Everton since the change in management. They are ranked 20th for big chances created in that time, too, failing to create a single gilt-edged opportunity against relegated Watford on Wednesday.
The defence is looking more solid at least, with three clean sheets and only four goals conceded in their last six matches.
A move to a wing-back system has helped tighten things up but it has also unshackled Vitalli Mykolenko (£4.9m) a bit, with the Ukrainian (whose advanced average position is seen below) getting forward to rack up three goal attempts at Vicarage Road.
Going big on FPL ‘differentials’ too early and too recklessly can derail a season but we’re into last-chance saloon territory for any FPL manager wanting to roll the dice to boost a rank or win a mini-league.
Owned by just 0.27% of the top 10k, Jamie Vardy (£10.3m) fits the ‘desperate gamble’ bill. Looking sharp on Wednesday and registering more goal attempts (seven) than anyone else in the division in midweek, he bagged twice against Norwich and could have had other/further goals, forcing a stop from Angus Gunn (£4.0m) with a big chance early in the match. His first goal owed much to a deflection but his peeling off the last man for both strikes was vintage Vardy, and he’ll face ropey backlines in the form of Watford and Southampton in two of his last three fixtures.
Whether or not he can string together three more successive starts in the space of a week is the next question but the Wednesday-Sunday-Thursday turnaround in Gameweeks 36-37 is more generous than the Foxes have become accustomed to in Europe.
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