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It’s been a grim few weeks in Fantasy Premier League. Gameweek 27 was an unmitigated disaster, 28 offered some respite but 29 was cruel again with an average score of just 40 points.
The good news is, if you’ve had a bad run, this was a good time for it – but chin up now, it’s time to hunt down those big hauls again.
Arsenal host Manchester United in the clash of the weekend but the rest of the top six enjoy favourable fixtures. Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea host Watford, Burnley and Wolves respectively while Tottenham travel to Southampton.
Here are a few tips ahead of GW30.
CAPTAIN – SERGIO AGUERO | MANCHESTER CITY | 11.8M
Mohamed Salah faces Burnley at home and normally that would make him the obvious choice but the Liverpool talisman has let himself – and all his FPL owners – down in recent weeks.
As such, it’s prudent to turn to a player and team who have the bit between their teeth. After wrestling back the advantage in their race to the title with Liverpool, City look like the real deal. Against Bournemouth last week, they enjoyed 82 per cent of possession away from home, mustering 23 shots to none but luck was not on their side.
They wouldn’t be denied though and forced a win anyway through a solitary Riyad Mahrez goal. Sergio Aguero had a game-high five efforts and on another day would’ve scored from at least one of them.
The Argentine still looks sharp and has delivered in eight of his last 10 starts. Meanwhile, he’s yet to blank this season when he’s started at home. Watford were humiliated 5-0 at Anfield in GW28 and City will hope to enjoy an emphatic victory over them as well.
MOHAMED SALAH (13.4m) has now blanked in five of the last six GWs. He is still getting chances though and perhaps should’ve scored twice against Everton last week. That’s equal parts frustrating and encouraging for his FPL owners. He’s being wasteful in front of goal but on the other hand, he could burst into life with a brace or hat-trick at any point. Will Burnley at home on Sunday be that fixture?
RAHEEM STERLING (11.4m) has looked sharp in recent weeks and is another players bursting at the seams with FPL points. In fact, he’s already had three double-figure hauls in his last five starts. With 12 goals and 13 assists, he’s the second-highest scoring player in FPL this season.
ROMELU LUKAKU (10.7m) is on a stunning scoring streak after following up his two braces in the Premier League with another couple of strikes in United’s dramatic Champions League win over Paris-Saint Germain on Wednesday night. He’s sharper than he’s been all season and with the number of injuries in the squad, must start on Sunday. He’ll have to face Arsenal away though but did bag two assists at the Emirates five weeks ago in the FA Cup.
TWO TO WATCH
BERNARDO SILVA | MANCHESTER CITY | 7.5M
With Kevin De Bruyne sidelined with a hamstring injury, Bernardo Silva is likely going to be central to City’s plans once more. For his price, he represents great value and a cheap way into City’s midfield. However, he only really makes sense if you have enough players to carry you through Blank Gameweek 31 unless you plan to use your Free Hit chip then.
WILFRIED ZAHA | CRYSTAL PALACE | 6.9M
Again, if you plan to Free Hit in GW31, Wilfried Zaha should be on your radar. The tricky winger is starting to look dangerous again, scoring four times in the last four GWs. Brighton at home is certainly an appealing fixture for Palace before they entertain Huddersfield in GW32.
TWO TO AVOID
SON HEUNG-MIN | TOTTENHAM | 8.8M
As good as he’s been, Harry Kane’s return coupled with Spurs seemingly starting to run out of steam again at this stage of the season doesn’t bode well for Son Heung-min. The South Korean has blanked in the last three GWs and worringly, hasn’t really threatened the goal either with Kane resuming as the main focal point in attack.
ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC | FULHAM | 6.5M
Still owned by almost 13 per cent, Aleksandar Mitrovic has delivered returns in just one of the last nine GWs. Meanwhile, Fulham have managed just one win in that period as well. With Claudio Ranieri shown the door, things look bleak for the Londoners.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is confident he will be at Stamford Bridge next season and has already begun his pre-season preparations.
The Italian came under heavy pressure last month after Premier League thrashings at Bournemouth and Manchester City were followed by a disappointing FA Cup exit at home to Manchester United.
Sarri’s side have since produced a positive performance in their penalty shoot-out defeat to City in the Carabao Cup final and won successive league games against London rivals Tottenham and Fulham.
Asked about his job security, the former Napoli coach, who moved to Stamford Bridge on a three-year contract last summer, replied: “It’s not a big problem. The problem is the results. All the rest is not important at this moment.
“I want to win for the team, for the club, not for me. It’s not important.
“I’m confident. I was confident in the past, and I am confident now of course.
“We were talking about the problem of the next pre-season. So we were trying to organise in the best way the next pre-season.
“But I want to think only to our performances and our results. Nothing else.
“It’s not important if I’m here next season.”
Chelsea host Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie on Thursday evening before Wolves travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Sarri is considering making changes to his team for the Kiev game due to tiredness in his squad.
He echoed the concerns of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino about English clubs being at a disadvantage in European competitions due to punishing schedules.
“I think the Premier League could do something more for the teams involved in European competitions,” he said.
“If you play in the Europa League in Italy, after the match away you can ask to play on Monday.
“One day more to rest. I think that’s really very important.
“For example, when we will play in the Premier League after 62 or 63 hours after the match against Dynamo Kiev. I think it’s too early.”
The Blues sit sixth in the top flight, two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, with a game in hand.
Winning the Europa League would guarantee the club return to the Champions League next season, but Sarri is still hopeful of qualifying for the premier competition with a top-four finish.
“I think we can gain the spot in the Champions League in the Premier League,” said Sarri.
“We are fighting. We are only two points away, at the moment, and have to play one match (in hand).
“But the Europa League is a very important competition, the second in Europe, an important trophy with a spot for the Champions League.
“So it’s a very important target for us.”
Sarri, who has no injury concerns ahead of the two-legged tie which concludes in Kiev next week, expects a tough test from the Ukrainian runners-up.
“The two matches will be very difficult. They are a good team, a physical team and a young team, very dangerous on the counter-attacks with two very fast wingers,” he said.
“So we need two very good performances, I think. Our target is to play the same football at home and away.”
David Luiz has described Maurizio Sarri as a “great human” and praised him for sticking to his footballing principles during Chelsea‘s recent struggles.
Blues head coach Sarri came under intense pressure last month following a string of poor performances and humiliating Premier League defeats at Bournemouth and Manchester City.
The 60-year-old Italian was criticised for his possession-based ‘Sarri-ball’ style of play and repetitive substitutions, but has since improved the club’s fortunes.
“You don’t change your character because of the situation, I think you change the situation,” said Luiz, ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last-16 first-leg clash with Dynamo Kiev.
“He’s a great human, someone with the love and passion for football, someone loving with people and trying to help everybody, and trying to give the best advice.
“When you lose a game, like we did in Manchester (6-0), no-one is going to be happy and coming here joking around.
“He’s a real person, and real people have feelings good and bad.”
After sections of the Stamford Bridge crowd jeered Sarri during the FA Cup loss to Manchester United last month, Chelsea responded with a positive performance in the Carabao Cup final before eventually losing to Manchester City on penalties.
The Blues have since beaten London rivals Tottenham and Fulham in the league to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification through a top-four finish.
Despite some modifications, Brazil defender Luiz dismissed suggestions that Sarri had dispensed with his philosophy.
And the 31-year-old also insists he and his team-mates are fully behind the tactics.
“Change the style? I don’t think so, the style didn’t change,” he said.
“We just adapted some moments of the game, like the line to have high pressure or not. But our philosophy is to play from the back with possession and try to control the game.
“For many years everybody said Chelsea were winning but never controlled the game. Now we control the game and people say we don’t win.
“Every player believes in his philosophy and everyone is giving 100 per cent to achieve our goals.”