Usually in the intros to Best Picks articles that follow an international or cup break I complain bitterly about how nobody cares and everyone just wants to see the Premier League. As a Wigan fan however I rather enjoyed this temporary break, which gave the mighty Latics just enough time to dismantle English football’s top dogs and favourites to win the Champions League, Manchester City. My support clearly spurred Wigan on to this historic victory, and hopefully my FPL tips will help you achieve some of the same glory.
Budget Option: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (5.1m)
Burnley are an intriguing team because they sit seventh in the Premier League table despite being the second lowest scorers in their entire top flight. Funnily enough it is a midfielder we’re interested in this week, and Gudmundsson has been one of the Clarets’ bright sparks going forward. The Iceland international has contributed two goals and five assists so far during this campaign, but both of his goals have come in the last six games. That is a decent return for a £5.1m midfielder, and Burnley host Southampton this weekend; a team that is without a league clean sheet in their last six games.
Budget Option: Theo Walcott (7.3m)
The former Arsenal winger has two goals and an assist in his first four games for new club Everton, and while he has blanked in the past two matches, a clash with the defensively calamitous Watford should provide a good opportunity to get back into the groove. The Hornets have conceded a whopping 47 times in this campaign, and have registered just one clean sheet in their last 14 league games, which is half the season so far. Everton meanwhile have scored seven in their last four, and ran out as 3-2 winners over Watford in the meeting between the two clubs back in November.
Premium Option: Mohamed Salah (10.4m)
You don’t really need reminding that Mohamed Salah is a weekly must-start, but this week I mention him because he provides a good captain option. The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Aguero face tough fixtures this week, while the Egyptian gets a juicy matchup against West Ham at Anfield. With an insane 22 goals and nine assists this season, Salah is a top tier FPL option, and he should feast against a Hammers side that has kept just one clean sheet in the last nine league games. Liverpool meanwhile head into this game off the back of a destructive 0-5 win away at Porto in the Champions League, so they should be feeling fairly confident.
Premium Option to AVOID: Eden Hazard (10.7m)
There is little doubt of Hazard’s talent, but the fact remains that he has registered just two official assists this season (four in FPL’s loose terms), which is an interesting statistic. He does have 11 goals to go with that however, but this weekend he faces Manchester United at Old Trafford. Premier League fans may remember how he was marked out of the game by Ander Herrera last season, and I fear that Jose Mourinho will have an equally effective strategy to deal with the Belgian this time around too. I’d avoid the costly winger and look elsewhere for this gameweek.
Budget Option: Jordan Ayew (5.4m)
The Swansea forward annoyingly broke his streak of scoring in every other game last week, but the optimist in me thinks that that means he is preparing for a hat-trick this weekend. Ayew has five goals this season, but four of those have come in the last nine games, and Carlos Carvalhal is revolutionising the Swans. Unbeaten in their last 10 games across all competitions, Swansea should be able to ease past Brighton on Saturday, especially given the fact that the Seagulls haven’t kept a league clean sheet for six games.
Premium Option: Harry Kane (12.8m)
Kane’s inclusion in this list is similar to Salah’s, and he should make a phenomenal captain choice this weekend. Tottenham face a Crystal Palace side that has leaked 42 goals this season, including nine in their last four games. Spurs meanwhile have bagged 52 this season, with Kane netting 23 of those, and their 2-2 away draw with Juventus should give them a lot of confidence heading into this game. The England international has been in explosive goal-scoring form this season, with six braces and two hat-trick, and he is certainly capable f adding to either of those tallies in this game.
Premium Option to AVOID: Romelu Lukaku (11.2m)
The Belgian is always a fairly unreliable striker, but against Chelsea he doesn’t seem like a safe bet. With 12 goals and five assists there is still little doubt of Lukaku’s talent, and he still preys on the smaller clubs. The Blues have been defensively sound again this season, conceding just 23 goals in 27 games, and they will certainly have a plan to deal with the power and strength of the striker. Lukaku does only have one goal in his previous four league games, and I doubt that tally will increase this weekend.
This gameweek finds itself in the bizarre situation of having all its games fall at the weekend, except for Arsenal v Manchester City, which is on the following Thursday. Don’t panic when you find your Agueros and Aubameyangs on zero points at the end of the weekend, just sarcastically applaud the crazy fixture scheduling.
There are a lot of big games in this gameweek, with Manchester United facing Chelsea and Arsenal facing Manchester City. These games are always difficult to predict, but most FPL managers will have a lot of players involved in these games. The key is to keep an eye on team news and, honestly, guess the right way with which teams you think will come out on top.
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