FPL Preview – Week 37

Image: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal; photo courtesy of squawka.com

By Stuart Thomson

With only 2 weeks left until the end of the Premier League season, we’re getting to crunch time in FPL. Whether you’re playing for money, pride or—in the case of my work league—trying to avoid coming last and getting loser cake for the rest of the league, hopefully you’re in a position where your team’s performance still matters.

This week is a monster gameweek with 10 teams enjoying 2 fixtures. To simplify picks and to minimize repetition, this week we’re gonna break it down by team rather than fixture. That way, you can easily see which teams have a double and potential for extra points.

Hopefully you’ve planned well already—remember we talked about all these extra fixtures a few weeks ago—and don’t need to break the bank to shape your team for this week. Or perhaps you’ve already wildcarded and built up a decent side with these games in mind. If you still have your wildcard to play, then you can do pretty much whatever you want this week, but remember you can’t play any extra bonus chips if you wildcard. Those still with a bench boost chip will benefit the most from stacking up on double gameweek players.

Arsenal
Fixtures: Stoke (Away), Sunderland (Home)

With 2 matches against bottom-half teams, Arsenal are one of the few sides with 2 favorable fixtures this week.

Sanchez (£11.6m) again failed to excite against Man Utd, but managed to get back on the scoresheet in midweek against Southampton. This served as a timely reminder it’s just impossible to count him out. Aside from Sanchez, one of the best options for Arsenal this week could be at the back. Stoke have failed to score in 3 of their last 7 games, while Sunderland have only scored in 2 of their last 11 games. Probably the safest bets for gametime are goalkeeper Cech (£5.3m) and defender Monreal (£5.8m). If you’re feeling confident, doubling up on the two could be a good shout.

Bournemouth
Fixtures: Burnley (Home)

Josh King (£6.2m) is the most likely of the Bournemouth players to still be in your FPL team and is one of only a few players on a single gameweek that I think is worth hanging onto. He got an assist last week and the visit of Burnley is not the worst fixture available.

Burnley
Fixtures: Bournemouth (Away)

Vokes (£5.6m) scored twice last week against West Brom, but has only scored in back-to-back games once this season. That said, Bournemouth have been poor defensively of late, conceding 11 goals in their last 6 games. With the abundance of double gameweek players elsewhere however, I don’t see any Burnley players as vital for this week.

Chelsea
Fixtures: West Brom (Away), Watford (Home)

Since their 2-0 defeat to Man Utd, Chelsea are absolutely killing it, scoring 10 in the last 3 games and keeping 2 clean sheets. Defensively, Alonso’s attacking returns and advanced position make him the best option from the Chelsea defense. Going forward, Chelsea’s abundance of talent continues to provide a conundrum. Last week Fabregas (£6.9m) got 2 assists and has now created 4 in the last 3 games. He has however seen limited gametime in Chelsea’s away fixtures. If you go for him here, note that he’s not assured of 2 starts. Pedro blanked last week but I’d still fancy him to do a job in either of these fixtures and at £6.8m is a decent value option.

Hazard (£10.6m) and Costa (£10.5m), of course, are always dangerous options but may be at risk of rotation if Chelsea can seal the Premier League title on Friday night.

Crystal Palace
Fixtures: Hull (Home)

Hull have lost 6 of their last 8 away games, conceding 17 in the process. While the Palace bubble has somewhat burst with 3 consecutive defeats—including a 5-0 thumping last week from Man City—they may be able to return to winning ways against Hull. Palace’s attacking options Zaha (£5.8m), Townsend (£5.8m) and Benteke (£7.3m) have all suffered during their recent run of difficult fixtures but should see more opportunities against Hull.

Everton
Fixtures: Watford (Home)

Everton have won 7 of their last 8 at home, scoring 26 in those fixtures. Watford have lost their last 4 games on the road, scoring none and conceding 10. I expect a blowout from Everton here and Lukaku (£10.2m) should enjoy this opportunity after blanking in his last 3 games. Still, at his price I’d be way more inclined to favor a double gameweeker such as Kane or Costa—probably Costa given his fixtures.

Hull
Fixtures: Crystal Palace (Away)

Hull might have sealed their fate last week with a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland taking them back into the bottom 3 and there’s nobody I’m really loving for Hull just now. I don’t fancy their chances of a clean sheet this week and in attack there’s not enough consistency to warrant any investment.

Leicester
Fixtures: Man City (Away), Spurs (Home)

It’s a tough one to call over who has the worst double gameweek between Leicester and West Brom. I just can’t find any scenario in which I would want any Leicester players here, despite the talent of Vardy (£9.9m), and Mahrez (£8.9m) finally getting back on the scoresheet last week. At just £4.9m, Albrighton doesn’t have a huge price tag to justify and there won’t be a lot of better options in his price bracket, but I don’t expect huge returns here.

Liverpool
Fixtures: West Ham (Away)

Liverpool’s excitement factor has dipped recently, failing to score more than once in any of their last 4 games. West Ham have now kept 3 consecutive clean sheets, including their 1-0 win over title challengers Spurs last week. I’m not convinced by any Liverpool options this week and am currently considering a points hit to get Firmino out for a double gameweek player in better form. The only argument against this move is the final fixture of the season at home to Middlesbrough, which should be a good opportunity for points especially if Boro are already relegated.

Man City
Fixtures: Leicester (Home), West Brom (Home)

So after Aguero missed last week’s game through injury, I swapped him out for Gabriel Jesus (£8.9m) who proceeded to disappoint. In his defense, Jesus did get an assist, but in a 5-0 victory, that’s not really what you’re looking for from your striker. I did have this week’s fixtures in mind when picking him though so am expecting him to bounce back to scoring ways.

Last week’s win saw 7 different City players registering attacking returns, with the pick of the bunch Kevin De Bruyne (£10.4m) getting a goal, 2 assists and maximum bonus points. At the back, both Otamendi (£5.9m) and Kompany (£6m) got a goal as well as the clean sheet to pick up 14 and 11 points respectively. I’m big on Kompany for the coming week, with the Belgian picking up 34 points in total in his last 4 games.

Man Utd
Fixtures: Tottenham (Away), Southampton (Away)

United are another team that I’m just not excited about, despite their double. Mourinho looks to be mainly focused on the Europa League and there’s a good chance that players will be rested. That aside, Man Utd just aren’t scoring that many goals. Defensive options could be useful, but I don’t expect anything from the Tottenham game, so the benefits of the double gameweek are slightly limited.

Middlesbrough
Fixtures: Southampton (Home)

You don’t need to do this. There are so many better options this week.

Southampton
Fixtures: Middlesbrough (Away), Man Utd (Home)

Chances are you might already own some Southampton players given their early double gameweek in 36. Yoshida (£4.5m) and Stephens (£4.2m) have been tremendously popular choices at the back, given their budget prices and recent form. If you have either of the 2, you’re probably not going to entertain the idea of bumping them out this week.

Stoke
Fixtures: Arsenal (Home)

Another very meh fixture. Arnautovic (£7.1m) got 2 assists last week in the draw with Bournemouth, but him and Shaqiri (£6m)—although both capable of random acts of brilliance—are often more frustrating than anything else. Again, with all the double gameweeks, Stoke aren’t at the top of my list this week.

Sunderland
Fixtures: Swansea (Home), Arsenal (Away)

Sunderland are already relegated so have nothing really to play for. They did remember how to win last week against Hull though, so with the pressure off some players could still have a point to prove and try to earn themselves a move to stay in the Premier League next season. Defoe finally got back on the scoresheet last week and his goals have often come in bunches this season, so at £7.5m he could be a worthwhile punt.

Aside from Defoe and goalkeeper Pickford (£4.2m), no Sunderland players have really done enough to justify selection. I’m not really super-keen on Pickford this week, in what could be 2 difficult games. Swansea will be aiming to secure their top-flight status and despite Arsenal’s inconsistent form, that shouldn’t really be a game that Sunderland are winning.

Swansea
Fixtures: Sunderland (Away)

A point clear of the drop, Swansea have enough motivation to push for a win here. Llorente (£6.1m) bagged a goal last week and now has 2 in his last 3 games, while Sigurdsson (£7.4m) has a goal and an assist in this period. This game is a difficult one to call with Swansea losing 6 of their last 8 away games, while Sunderland have been without a win in their last 8 at home. The impetus of staying in the Premier League could be a big factor though and both Llorente and Siggy will again be key to any Swansea success.

Tottenham
Fixtures: Man Utd (Home), Leicester (Away)

Spurs don’t have the best fixtures on paper and they could have already lost the league if Chelsea win their early kick-off on Friday night. If so, they’ll just be playing for their pride, but who cares about pride? It’s all about trophies! A 1-0 defeat last week to West Ham was the first time in 10 games that neither Kane (£11.7m) nor Alli (£9.2m) scored or got an assist. Expect normality to resume at some point over this week fixtures.

Watford
Fixtures: Everton (Away), Chelsea (Away)

Nope, don’t do it. This does not look like it will end well for Watford, Or your team if you think that these fixtures warrant a stake in Watford.

West Brom
Fixtures: Chelsea (Home), Man City (Away)

Okay, here’s where you have to find a balance between wanting a double gameweek player, and not wanting a player who’s playing against 2 of the best teams in the league. If you’re already stuck with a West Brom player, fine; if not, avoid.

West Ham
Fixtures: Liverpool (Home)

West Ham have 3 consecutive cleansheets since the return of goalkeeper Adrian (£4.6m) and defender Winston Reid (£4.9m). With only 1 goal scored in the last 3 games, the defense would ordinarily be the best route into any West Ham ownership. However, this week’s opponents Liverpool have only failed to score in 5 PL games this season. With that in mind, I would recommend avoiding West Ham altogether.

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