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There’s no time to rest for Fantasy Premier League managers as Double Gameweek 32 is quickly followed by Blank Gameweek 33.
An average score of 73 points from DGW32 was, well, average. This is the time in the season when less dedicated managers fall away and the cream rises to the top courtesy of good planning. BGW33 presents another opportunity for FPL managers who have planned ahead to pull away with only 12 teams in action.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham are among those clubs without a fixture in this round. Meanwhile, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea’s assets will be in high demand as they face Southampton, Everton and West Ham respectively.
CAPTAIN – EDEN HAZARD | CHELSEA | 11.1M
Sergio Aguero was our captain pick for DGW32 and even though he only played 56 minutes over the two games owing to an injury, he did deliver a goal and assist. The City striker’s captaincy was therefore still a success but one can only imagine what could’ve been if he was fit throughout.
The Citizens aren’t in action this week though so Eden Hazard takes over the armband with Chelsea playing host to West Ham. The Blues did struggle away to Cardiff City, as their Belgian talisman started on the bench.
It’s worth noting that the Bluebirds were and are still fighting tooth and nail to avoid the drop, West Ham have nothing to play for. Gonzalo Higuain started against Cardiff but Chelsea and Hazard seem to click when Olivier Giroud leads the line instead and on the back of their performance at home to Brighton in midweek, perhaps Maurizio Sarri will be tempted to keep faith with the Frenchman.
Hazard comes to life when playing alongside Giroud whose movement and link-up play is conducive to his style of play. The Belgian’s Expected Goals doubles when the former Arsenal striker starts instead of Higuain and his Expected Assists is more than three times as good. It’s no surprise then that he picked up a goal, assist and maximum bonus points against Brighton.
If Giroud starts again, which he is likely to do against the Hammers, captaining Hazard could pay off handsomely.
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MOHAMED SALAH (11.2m) should be scoring goals, the fact that he’s enduring a lean spell is almost inexplicable. He’s having more chances and shots than any other Liverpool player by a country mile and we’ve said it before but it remains true – he just needs it all to click in one game to open the floodgates again. While there’s every chance of him scoring away to Southampton, it’s difficult to see the Saints on the wrong end of a battering at the moment.
SADIO MANE (10.1m) has been the chief benefactor of Salah’s dry spell. The Senegalese seems to pop up at the right place at the right time and unlike his Egyptian counterpart, he’s been ever so clinical. The stats point to Salah but form is clearly with Mane who has five goals and an assist in as many outings. Take your pick.
JAMIE VARDY (9.1m) may not be an obvious candidate for the armband with the aforementioned trio jostling for it in most FPL teams this GW but under the circumstances, he’s just as worthy. The Leicester City striker has fired blanks only twice in the last seven GWs, scoring six times and bagging one assist. With the Foxes travelling to a relegated Huddersfield side this time, it’s safe to say they’ll have more bite than the Terriers.
TWO TO WATCH
ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE | ARSENAL | 9.4M
Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t been getting the credit he deserves in FPL and that’s largely because people still see him as someone who plays second fiddle to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, the Frenchman has been the more consistent of the two lately. In his last 11 appearances, Lacazette has failed to deliver just twice. In that time, he’s scored eight goals and provided three assists. Arsenal have a terrific run-in, facing none of the top six for the rest of the season.
RYAN FRASER | BOURNEMOUTH | 6.2M
Speaking of good run-ins, Bournemouth are another side boasting appealing fixtures for the rest of the campaign as Spurs are the only big team they have left to face. That’s why Ryan Fraser is one to watch out for. Since Callum Wilson’s return from injury, the Scot has looked a far greater threat, like he did earlier in the season. Fraser has more points than City’s Leroy Sane this term while he’s only five behind Son Heung-min. The Cherries host Burnley in BGW33.
BLANK GAMEWEEK STRATEGY
It’s unlikely that you’d have all your chips intact at this stage but if you do, then this is a great time to use your Free Hit. Avoid using your Wildcard unless absolutely necessary as there’s a big DGW35 just around the corner.
If you aren’t playing a chip this time, then remember that it’s worth taking a four-point hit if it brings you closer to fielding a full XI. However, make sure the player you bring in as a result is worth the hit, certainly someone who’s a nailed-on starter at the very least.
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