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Gameweek 32 preview
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest edition of Fantasy Gameweek. This is another significant week in Fantasy Premier League when some big teams don’t play at all - Brighton, Chelsea, Man City, and Man United. That means there are only eight matches this week. It is a similar gameweek to Gameweek 28, when we only had seven matches and the same teams blanked due to their involvement in the FA Cup.
If you have your free-hit left, this is the moment to use it. If you don’t then this gameweek is about navigating your way through the blanks.
Gameweek 32 is swiftly followed by a full set of midweek fixtures next week for Gameweek 33. Then we get Gameweek 34, when Brighton, Fulham, Liverpool, Man United, Man City and West Ham have a double gameweek. This is going to be a crucial period in the race to win your mini-league.
The deadline for transfers and changes to your team this week is 6.30pm UK time on Friday. These are your fixtures….
We could have called this edition Good Kop, Bad Kop given that Liverpool feature heavily and could be pivotal for the rest of the FPL season. After beating Leeds 6-1 last week, Liverpool now play Nottingham Forest at home, West Ham away in Gameweek 33 and then Spurs and Fulham at home in the double Gameweek 34. Given their recent performances, their attractive fixtures between now and the end of the season, and the FPL pedigree of the likes of Mo Salah (MID, £12.8m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (DEF, £7.4m), Liverpool could be decisive in how mini-league plays out. But which Liverpool are we actually going to see in these matches? The one that played against Leeds - which Jurgen Klopp described as Liverpool’s best performance of the season - or the disappointing version that has turned up so many times this season, including when Liverpool played Nottingham Forest away earlier in the season, losing 1-0.
The data from Impect, our data partner, suggests that Salah and Alexander-Arnold are among the top-performers in the league already. Indeed, Alexander-Arnold ranks as the best attacking-full-back since December 26 on the basis of his Offensive Impect score - more on that below. Backing Liverpool to have a strong finish to the season could be the way to try to chase down someone in your mini-league.
Salah and Alexander-Arnold are the third and fourth most transferred-in players so far in FPL this week, as you can see below. Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Arsenal players also feature.
A note on Arsenal here. They play bottom-of-the-table Southampton at home this week. Despite their recent “wobble”, the league-leaders have scored 18 goals in their last six games. That is an average of three per-game. This also includes eight in their last two home games and four from difficult trips to Liverpool and West Ham. Don’t let the noise around Arsenal getting nervous cloud your judgement when it comes to FPL - this is still a team and an attack to back heavily. You should be looking to get three Arsenal players in your team this week.
The top transfers-out in FPL this week make for interesting reading because they include some of the top point-scorers in FPL so far this season. Marcus Rashford (MID, £7.1m) is fit-again and played for Manchester United against Seville on Thursday night, while Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.2m) and Kaoru Mitoma (MID, £5.7m) also feature in this list. These players obviously have blanks this week but will be key players next week and beyond. This shows the benefit of having a free-hit this week and being able to go back to your normal team next week…
Now let’s get into the risers and fallers with Tom…
What a turnaround. Just a few weeks after an insipid 1-0 reversal against Bournemouth in March and a 4-1 thumping against a Haaland-less Manchester City, FPL managers have gone from wondering whether they could justify any Liverpool asset to debating if a triple-up is a worthwhile gamble.
Alexander-Arnold and Salah are the top options, as you can see from the data from Impect below. However, Cody Gakpo (MID, £7.7m) offers value-for-money as a midfielder operating as a genuine striker. Diogo Jota (FOR, £8.7), who bagged a brace against Leeds, or Darwin Nunez (FOR, £8.7m) are also options if we can understand a little more about how Jurgen Klopp plans to rotate his front-line.
Aston Villa players
Aston Villa have been in extraordinary form under Unai Emery, scoring at least two goals in each of their last five fixtures and conceding just one goal during that run. Since their 4-2 mid-February defeat to Arsenal at Villa Park, Villa have won seven games and drawn one.
The Gameweek 31 destruction of Champions League-chasing Newcastle United was their most impressive display of the season, with Eddie Howe’s men lucky to get out of the Midlands with just a 3-0 defeat. It could easily have been double that.
Ollie Watkins (FOR, £7.7m) has justifiably stolen the plaudits during that stretch. Since Gameweek 20, Watkins has delivered a goal or assist in every fixture bar their 1-0 home win against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 26. Watkins’ two-goal, 16-point salvo against Newcastle represented his best FPL haul of the season.
Despite all this he remains in just 23% of FPL teams and therefore still offers differential value ahead of fixtures against Brentford (A), Fulham (H) and Man United (A).
However, this isn’t just about Watkins. Villa’s defensive improvement under Emery has also been eye-catching. Tyrone Mings’ (DEF, £4.6m) return to form has been crucial, but the performances of rampaging wing-back Alex Moreno (DEF, £4.5m) have particularly caught the eye. He offers the crucial combination of attacking upside and defensive solidity. Moreno is the obvious choice for anyone wanting exposure to Villa’s backline ahead of the run-in. Since his first appearance for Villa in Gameweek 20 he has six clean sheets, three assists, and four bonus points.
Leeds United players (again)
It’s fair to say the sacking of Jesse Marsch and the appointment of Javi Gracia hasn’t had the desired effect at Elland Road. After shipping five at home against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 30, Leeds then conceded six more in their 6-1 home defeat against Liverpool in Gameweek 31.
This isn’t just about Leeds’ defence though. After years of tactical clarity under Marcelo Bielsa they now look hesitant - stuck between wanting to hold their opposition at bay and returning to the Argentinian’s lung-busting pressing game.
The result of this is huge gaps between their defence and midfield and their midfield and attack. Better-drilled opponents are exploiting this with ease. The next three fixtures for Leeds are Fulham (A), Leicester City (H) and Bournemouth (A). These are critical for their season. In better days we would have been saying this looks like a soft set of opponents, but on recent evidence it’s hard to see anything but more gloom for Leeds.
Chelsea players (again)
Chelsea are all over the place in every department and were lucky to only lose 2-1 at home against Brighton in Gameweek 31. The squad is burgeoning with talent but there seems no plan to knit those players together, and interim Frank Lampard’s CV doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence a solution will be found between now and the end of the season.
Reece James (DEF, £5.8m) remains an elite talent at right-back, but with no clear goalscoring threat and a lack of organisation throughout the team, it’s hard to see even him delivering value-for-money in FPL.
Now let’s look at how Premier League players rank in key performance indicators from Impect, our data partner. These rankings are based on data from December 26, the first gameweek after the World Cup, and each player must have played at least 25 per cent of the minutes available since then to be included. Players who are not playing this week are marked in italics
Offensive Impect - overall attacking effectiveness
Ollie Watkins - 100
Erling Haaland - 99.4
Marcus Rashford - 98.8
Harry Kane - 98.2
Mo Salah - 97.5
Kevin De Bruyne - 96.9
Solly March - 96.3
Jack Grealish - 95.7
Kaoru Mitoma - 95.1
Eberechi Eze - 94.5
Bypassed defenders - how many opposition defenders a player takes out of the game with their play, including passing and dribbling, a measure of their effectiveness and influence
Kevin De Bruyne - 12
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 12
Bruno Fernandes - 10
Alexis Mac Allister - 8
Solly March - 8
Alex Iwobi - 8
Pascal Gross - 8
Christian Norgaard - 8
Kieran Trippier - 8
Martin Odegaard -7
Post-shot xG - quality of chances and quality of shot
Ollie Watkins - 11.51
Harry Kane - 8.95
Erling Haaland - 7.78
Marcus Rashford - 7.04
Ivan Toney - 6.8
Mo Salah - 6.54
Kaoru Mitoma - 5.97
Alexis Mac Allister - 5.73
James Ward-Prowse - 5.63
Brennan Johnson - 5.62
Offensive Impect, defenders only
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 100
Lewis Dunk - 98.6
Kieran Trippier - 97.1
Ben White - 95.7
Luke Shaw - 94.3
Joel Veltman - 92.9
Marcos Senesi - 91.4
Pervis Estupinan - 90
Virgil Van Dijk - 88.6
Luke Ayling - 85.1
Thanks for reading Fantasy Gameweek and best of luck in Gameweek 32. Please share Fantasy Gameweek with those you think will find it useful and interesting. The FGPE index will be back and updated for you next week - you can find last week’s here.
Graham and Tom