After some crazy action in the Champions League in midweek, this round of Premier League fixtures is going to be incredibly interesting. It’s a double gameweek for FPL purposes and that means big points totals that have the potential to shake leagues up. Part one of the Best Picks series is back to help you pick a goalkeeper and defenders to take advantage of the extra games.
Budget Option: Nick Pope (5.0m)
The fact that Burnley have two games in this gameweek is brilliant news for owners of any piece of their ludicrously stout, and surprisingly cheap, defence. The Clarets have conceded just 28 league goals all season and have kept an impressive 11 clean sheets. Two home games against Leicester and Chelsea should provide decent opportunities to add to that tally, and Pope is one of the cheapest goalkeepers who provides a consistent weekly shutout chance. The fact that he gets two games this week is just a bonus.
Premium Option: David De Gea (5.9m)
While Burnley have been a defensive powerhouse this season, Manchester United have been even better – the second best in the league to be exact. With just 25 goals conceded and a whopping 16 clean sheets, it is little surprise that De Gea is the highest scoring FPL goalkeeper in the game. Normally I’d be turned off by his high price, but with United’s double gameweek consisting of matches against bottom of the league West Brom and mid-table Bournemouth he’s worth his weight in gold.
Premium Option to AVOID: Ederson (5.6m)
You may think it’s foolish to advise against starting the goalkeeper from the best defensive team in the Premier League this season, but if you’ve seen Manchester City’s recent collapse then you’ll know that anything could happen this week. They get a touch match against Tottenham at Wembley and, given their recent form and the talented attackers of the North London side, I’m not confident that the Cityzens will return with a clean sheet. If your budget can stretch the extra £0.3m then De Gea is a necessity.
Budget Option: Lewis Dunk (4.5m)
Brighton have been one of the surprise packages of this Premier League season and have the best defensive record in the bottom half of the table. They have eight clean sheets so far and a double gameweek gives them a good opportunity to increase that tally, especially in the game against struggling Crystal Palace. A clash with Spurs is a different story, but of the lower sides with two games I trust the Seagulls’ back line the most. Dunk is the cheapest way into that defence and has been a reliable starter all campaign.
Premium Option: Antonio Valencia (6.9m)
Much like De Gea I think it is important to have a Manchester United defender in your team this week. I’ve gone for Valencia due to his attacking threat – three goals and an assist this season – but any of their back line will do in truth. With two easy-looking games, a hugely reliable defence and a manager who loves to grind out results, United are the team to lean on during this double gameweek.
Premium Option: Cesar Azpilicueta (6.9m)
As much as I think Chelsea are in a volatile state at the moment and every game is a lottery, it is difficult to ignore the fact that they face both Southampton and Burnley in this gameweek – two teams not famed for their goal scoring ability. Add to that the fact that the Blues have actually conceded less than a goal per game on average and you could be looking at some decent points totals for their defenders. Azpilicueta has added two goals and six assists too so he’s the premium option from their back line.
With double gameweeks it’s always important to either maximise your points or minimise the ground you lose to others in your league. If you haven’t used your Free Hit chip then now is as good a time as any. Cram your team full of Man United, Tottenham and Chelsea players and reap the rewards.
If you have already used your Free Hit then just play as smart as possible. Don’t lose loads of points by making multiple transfers because it won’t be worth it. Instead you should make sure you have several of the high-ownership big hitters and you should be able to weather the storm.
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