Fantasy Premier League tips: Mohamed Salah still captain material, Callum Wilson one to bring in

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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.

Gameweek 31 is a tricky one in Fantasy Premier League. Not only is it followed by an international break but the fact that only half the league will be in action serves up plenty of challenges.

Hopefully, you’ve planned for this blank Gameweek but even if you haven’t the Free Hit chip is certainly worth using now if still in your possession. Failing that, it’s worth conceding a four-point hit to make an extra transfer and attempt to field at least eight or nine players. An eight-point hit may be worthwhile as well but make sure you then bring in assets who will be in action during blank GW33 as well.

Chelsea and Liverpool are the only top-six sides in action this weekend travelling to Everton and Fulham respectively.

Here are a few tips ahead of GW31.

CAPTAIN – MOHAMED SALAH | LIVERPOOL | 13.4M

Sergio Aguero was the captain pick for GW30 but unless you’ve been living under a rock, Raheem Sterling was the one who shone with a hat-trick against Watford at the Etihad. The Argentine did at least pick up an assist though but is of course not in action for GW31.

Instead, Mohamed Salah gets the nod despite his poor returns of late. The Egyptian did end his run of three GWs without attacking returns having bagged an assist at home to Burnley. Hopefully, that opens the floodgates because his underlying stats suggest he’s due for a big haul.

The Reds face relegation favourites Fulham away from home and Salah will be relishing the prospect of picking apart their defence. The Cottagers have conceded two or more goals in each of their last 10 league matches. They’ve also been on the receiving end of 65 shots in their last four home games – the most in the league by some distance.

So why Salah instead of the in-form Sadio Mane then? Well, while the duo are neck and neck in terms of threat when playing at Anfield, Salah is miles ahead of the Senegalese on the road.

He’s had 18 shots in his last four home matches to Mane’s 15 but in Liverpool’s last four away fixtures, he’s registered 10 shots to just three.

Mohamed Salah

ALTERNATIVES

EDEN HAZARD (13.4m) is often a frustrating FPL asset as well but with 16 points over the last two GWs, he may be entering another prolific spell. Everton have conceded 49 shots in their last four games at home, second only to Fulham. With 12 shots in his last four away fixtures, Hazard will hope to transfer that potential into goals.

SADIO MANE (9.9m) has looked sharp in recent weeks and there’s certainly an argument to be made for captaining him over Salah. For one, he’s 3.5m cheaper but more importantly, he’s definitely been more clinical. He’s scored eight times in the last eight GWs, blanking only twice over that period.

BOLD CHOICE

JAMIE VARDY (9.0m) is one of the players threatening to go on an excellent run of form. The striker has already scored four times in the last three GWs and perhaps should’ve had even more. He picked up 16 points last time out against Fulham, scoring a brace and picking up an assist. The Foxes travel to Burnley this weekend who haven’t kept a cleansheet since GW23.

Jamie Vardy

TWO TO WATCH

CALLUM WILSON | BOURNEMOUTH | 6.4M

He’s back and he’s picked up from where he left off. Callum Wilson made his return from injury in Bournemouth’s 2-0 win at Huddersfield and came away with a goal and assist. The Cherries only have one fixture against top six opposition left this season – at home to Spurs in the penultimate round. Joshua King may keep his place alongside Wilson but it’s the latter who’s just a magnet for big chances and therefore a greater threat.

Callum Wilson

JAMES MADDISON | LEICESTER CITY | 6.7M

Like Vardy, James Maddison has the look of a player coming back into form. In his debut Premier League campaign, the 22-year-old has created more chances than anyone else across the division and has picked up two assists in his last three outings.

James Maddison

TWO TO AVOID

FELIPE ANDERSON | WEST HAM | 7.2M

West Ham have had a good run of fixtures and that is what’s prompted several FPL managers to keep faith with Felipe Anderson. It’s become abundantly clear now though that he is not worth his 7.2m price tag. The Brazilian – after a fine first half of the season – has disappointed lately. He’s only delivered once in 11 GWs.

Felipe Anderson

MARCOS ALONSO | CHELSEA | 6.4M

Still owned by around 27 per cent, Marcos Alonso is certainly one to drop – Maurizio Sarri has anyway. The Spaniard hasn’t been named in the matchday squad for Chelsea’s last two league games, only turning up for their Europa League fixture against Dynamo Kyiv. His replacement Emerson Palmieri is available at an attractive price of 5.2m but the Blues’ defence as a unit haven’t been convincing of late, picking up only two cleansheets in their last eight.

Marcos Alonso

Marcos Alonso

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Predicting which Arsenal stars should join Mesut Ozil for Dubai friendly, and who'll miss out

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Arsenal fans in the Middle East are set for the rare opportunity to see their heroes in the flesh this month when a glamour friendly against Al Nasr, for the formal reopening of Al Maktoum Stadium, headlines a five-day training camp in Dubai.

Tickets for March 26’s (18:00 UAE kick-off) game are priced at Dh100 (category 3) and Dh150 (category 2). They go on sale from 18:00 (UAE time) on Wednesday through Platinum List and onsite at the 15,058-capacity venue.

But with the clash falling in the international break, which Gunners stars will feature? We’ve made an educated guess about who’ll make the flight to the UAE – and who’ll be otherwise engaged:

CERTAINTIES

International retirement for Mesut Ozil after Germany’s horrific World Cup should provide a boon for the UAE’s Arsenal supporters.

Countryman Shkodran Mustafi is out of favour with Die Mannschaft. Fellow defender Laurent Koscielny has made himself unavailable for from France duty, which is a similar story for Petr Cech with Czech Republic.

Barcelona loanee Denis Suarez will welcome more time to get acclimatised.

Youngsters should provide the spine of Emery’s travelling squad. Striker Eddie Nketiah came on at the weekend in the 2-0 win against Manchester United and is joint-second-top scorer in Premier League 2 Division 1.

Joe Willock, Charlie Gilmour, Zech Medley, Tyreece John-Jules and Bukayo Saka are among those from the reserves to get tastes of action in the Europa League this term.

MAYBES

Alexandre Lacazette could, yet, be the main draw for Arsenal in Dubai.

He was not selected by France for their run to glory at World Cup 2018. Injury ruled him out of November’s squad, yet this call-up only came because of Anthony Martial’s knock. It is probably far too soon for Matteo Guendouzi to be selected by Les Bleus.

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⭐️ L E G E N D ✨

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Nacho Monreal made the summer tournament, but has been ignored by new Spain head coach Luis Enrique.

Bernd Leno is probably now third-choice goalkeeper for Germany, though this status isn’t certain. Veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner remains available for Switzerland.

DEFINITELY NOT

Arsenal’s status as one of the world’s elite outfits guarantees that their international contingency is sizeable.

March’s commencement of Euro 2020 qualifying, proper, should rob the Gunners of; Greece’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Armenia’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Wales’ Aaron Ramsey, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sead Kolasinac and Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka.

It should also be the same story for Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny and Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi because of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. The China Cup should mean Uruguay’s Lucas Torreira is otherwise engaged, too.

Serious injury, meanwhile, rules out Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin.

POSSIBLE XI V AL NASR

Cech; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Guendouzi, Gilmour; Suarez, Ozil, Willock; Lacazette

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Premier League giants Arsenal announce Dubai friendly against Al Nasr for this month

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Arsenal fans in the Middle East are set for the rare opportunity to see their heroes in the flesh this month when a glamour friendly against Al Nasr, for the formal reopening of Al Maktoum Stadium, headlines a five-day training camp in Dubai.

Tickets for March 26’s (18:00 UAE kick-off) game are priced at Dh100 (category 3) and Dh150 (category 2). They go on sale from 18:00 (UAE time) on Wednesday through Platinum List and onsite at the 15,058-capacity venue.

The meeting falling within the international break will deny the Gunners several star names, but it should not stop the likes of attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil and centre-back Laurent Koscielny from featuring. Head coach Unai Emery will use the trip to prepare for April 1’s Premier League-resumption against Newcastle United.

“It will be great to get some warm weather training and break up the usual routine as we enter the final stage of the season,” said the Spaniard, who took over from the iconic Arsene Wenger last summer. “The facilities in Dubai are fantastic and it will be an honour to be part of the formal opening ceremony for the new stadium.”

The Al Maktoum was extensively renovated in time for January’s Asian Cup. Malcolm Macdonald, John Matthews and John Radford were on target in a 3-1 victory for Arsenal back in November 1976 when the sides last met.

Arsenal sit fourth after Sunday’s 2-0 win against Manchester United. Nasr, captained by ex-Spain striker Alvaro Negredo, are 11th in the Arabian Gulf League.

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