FPL tips: Drop Liverpool's Sadio Mane, Man United winger one to watch

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Each week, Sport360 will bring you tips for the English Premier League’s official fantasy football game. Fancy pitting your wits against us? You can join “Sport360 Fans League” using the code 2326997-532303.

The long international break is behind us and we now enter one of the most intense periods of the Fantasy Premier League season.

There are no more breaks this year and the busy festive fixtures mean the action will be coming thick and fast.

What’s intriguing about this week is there aren’t any standout games from which you can expect a flurry of FPL points.

Premier League champions Manchester City travel to West Ham but Manuel Pellegrini’s side have held Chelsea 0-0 and beaten Man United 3-1 at home in recent weeks.

Liverpool and Arsenal also face tricky trips to Watford and Bournemouth respectively, while hit-and-miss United host Crystal Palace. A London derby sees Tottenham and Chelsea clash at Wembley.

Here are a few tips ahead of Gameweek 13.

CAPTAIN – RICHARLISON | EVERTON | 6.9M

Mohamed Salah was our pick in GW12 and he delivered with a goal and two bonus points against Cardiff City to take his tally to eight for the week, doubling to 16 with the armband.

A challenging fixture away to Watford on Saturday, however, means Richarlison gets the captaincy this time around. With no glaringly obvious captain candidates for GW13, it’s a good time to take a gamble on a non-premium player.

The Brazilian is owned by 27.2 per cent of teams so is hardly a differential but the reality is few – perhaps less than half – of those managers will trust him with the armband.

He’s grown into his new role up front and faces Cardiff at home. Richarlison scored on international duty for Brazil as well and will certainly have a few chances fall to him at Goodison Park.

Richarlison

Richarlison.

ALTERNATIVES

MOHAMED SALAH (13.0m) is another player who scored on international duty, a late winner against Tunisia at that. Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are both struggling in front of goal, prompting Jurgen Klopp to use the Egyptian in a central role. If Liverpool are going to come away with a win from Vicarage Road, Salah will most likely have something to do with it.

SERGIO AGUERO (11.4m) had a good rest over the international break and will be raring to go. West Ham have improved defensively but City are on a different level and will look to take advantage of the wide pitch at the London Stadium. A concern though is Aguero’s away form this season. He’s only contributed once away from the Etihad, a goal in a 5-0 win at Cardiff.

BOLD CHOICE

RAUL JIMENEZ (5.8m) is arguably the most consistent budget striker this season. The Mexican has delivered attacking returns in six of the last eight GWs and has started every game. His 12-point haul against Spurs in GW11 was particularly impressive and he faces Huddersfield at home this weekend.

Raul-Jimenez

TWO TO WATCH

ANTHONY MARTIAL  | MANCHESTER UNITED | 7.6M

You’ve probably been watching Anthony Martial for some time now. The United winger seems to have turned a corner at Old Trafford and has been on a great run of form. His underlying stats suggest this may not be just a purple patch either.

His 6.4 points per game average is bettered by only Eden Hazard and Salah for midfielders. He’s had more goals and attempted assists than anyone else in the last five GWs while only Alvaro Morata has had more shots on target (10) than his nine.

Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial.

LUCAS DIGNE | EVERTON | 4.8M

Speaking of underlying stats, few boast a better collection of them than Lucas Digne. Since he took over from Leighton Baines at left-back (GW4), no defender has had more attempted assists (19). He’s also had 11 shots and created three big chances in that time. While that hasn’t translated into FPL points this season, it seems like it’s only a matter of time.

Lucas Digne

TWO TO AVOID

SADIO MANE| LIVERPOOL | 9.9M

Like Firmino, Mane has been on the wane as well. The early-season hype around him and ludicrous suggestions that he’s ‘just as good as Salah but cheaper’ have faded. The Senegalese international has delivered just once in the last eight GWs and for 9.9m, that’s a poor output.

Sadio Mane

BENJAMIN MENDY | MANCHESTER CITY | 6.4M

This is a no-brainer. Benjamin Mendy is set to miss a handful of GWs after undergoing knee surgery last week. It makes no sense to leave a 6.4m defender on your bench over a lengthy period and with so many good options around, you can make the swap and probably invest elsewhere in your squad. Get rid now.

Benjamin Mendy.

Benjamin Mendy.

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