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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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