After some disappointing weeks, the high-scoring GW32 was just what we needed to get excited about our Fantasy Premier League team again.
This week also saw the Premier League higher-ups finally get the finger out and reschedule those pesky postponed games. Suddenly all those notional Double Gameweeks emerged from the mists, there for all to see.
Here's the full schedule from now until the end of the season: pic.twitter.com/BXcJ8uqcZ9— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) April 12, 2017
As expected, the “bumper” DGW37 duly arrived, much to the relief of those planning to wildcard in GW36.
In the end, Arsenal’s match against Southampton was moved out to GW36 - a blessing and a curse for many FPL managers.
What to do with Sanchez
It hasn’t been easy owning the top-scoring player in FPL lately. Alexis Sánchez (ARS, 11.6) has reached new levels of despondency, as the painful realisation that he could once look ahead to see the likes of Messi and Neymar instead of Danny Welbeck slowly dawned on him.
Shunted out to the wing, Arsenal’s standout player has looked an increasingly peripheral figure, scoring a mere seven points in his last three GWs compared to, say, Dele Alli’s 26.
The only thing preventing a Sanchez firesale right now is the prospect of those two Double Gameweeks and the hope that he could yet repeat his triumphant triple-captain performance of last season.
Those who still have their wildcard are in the fortunate position of not having to worry about that. The switch to red-hot Eden Hazard (CHE, 10.4) looks relatively clear-cut, and by the time GW36 rolls around they can simply reassess any potential Sanchez return.
Those who have wildcarded already face the far tougher decision as the Arsenal man becoming harder to drop as each week brings them closer to those DGWs.
So either make a clean break now - or stick it out until the end of the season and hope Wenger finally sees sense.
Jumping on the Spurs juggernaut
As if life wasn’t unpleasant enough for Arsenal fans, they’ve also had to watch their north London rivals on another fully-fledged title charge this season.
It goes without saying by now that every FPL team needs Spurs attacking cover - it’s just a question of which players to get.
Premier League goals scored this season:
Dele Alli + Heung-min Son + Harry Kane = 46 😎
Entire Man United squad = 43 😳 pic.twitter.com/8PTJYzygqv— SPORF (@Sporf) April 9, 2017
Last weekend’s much-anticipated return of Harry Kane (TOT, 11.3) has already made him one of the most transferred-in players this week, despite doubts about whether he’s ready to play 90 minutes.
Be warned though - if you don’t get him now, you may have to wait a while. Rather unhelpfully, Tottenham’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea is being played at 5.15pm on April 22, right after the GW34 deadline.
That means that if you decide to hold off on getting him for this week’s plum tie against Bournemouth, you’d probably be better off waiting until the evening of April 27 to see if he gets through the FA Cup semi-final and the league trip to Palace unscathed. Any earlier, and you risk committing the ultimate FPL sin - buying an injured player.
That’s not to say you absolutely have to get him in this week.
The long-held assumption that Kane’s return will automatically see Heung-Min Son (TOT, 7.1) banished to the bench is far from certain, given the South Korean’s electric form and Tottenham’s easy transition to 4-2-3-1.
Son: "When I came off the manager told me to save it for the next game! It makes me sad not to get a hat-trick but maybe next week."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 8, 2017
Dele Alli (TOT, 9.2) could also cover much of Kane’s points, despite no longer being on penalty duty.
Those who wait until GW35 will also see Romelu Lukaku’s fixtures decline slightly, making a switch between the two relatively straightforward (if not entirely comfortable).
But if you’re determined to press ahead now, priced at £11.3m, the England frontman certainly doesn’t come cheap - sacrifices will have to be made.
Making room for Harry Kane
The easiest route to acquiring the Spurs man is a straight swap with another premium attacker, and there are a couple of obvious candidates here.
Aguero owners may be eyeing up those DGW37 visits of Leicester and West Brom with their Triple Captain chip in mind, but with Gabriel Jesus (MCI, 8.7) almost certainly back by then, the high-priced Argentinean is expendable, even at this early stage.
Those who gambled and won on Jamie Vardy over the past few weeks would also do well to cash in now as Champions League rotation beckons.
If you need to generate cash from elsewhere, the less glamourous area of defence is traditionally first against the wall. Thankfully, it’s a pretty viable tactic right now, given the recent drought of worthwhile premium defenders.
Many of those coveting Kane must first solve the problem of already having the maximum three Spurs players. For anyone in this position, dumping the expensive Kyle Walker (TOT, 6.4) kills two birds with one stone.
Anyone have Walker and Valencia? Want a hug? #FPL— Divocks Dad #FPL 🇨🇽 (@TheMarpleCurse) April 9, 2017
With a visit of Liverpool followed by a blank Gameweek coming up, it’s also an ideal time to discard any remaining West Brom players languishing around your squad.
When it comes to filling that hole left by your departing defender, you’ll need a dirt cheap option to generate some cash. But be warned - you often get what you pay for here.
Maya Yoshida (SOU, 4.4) and Jack Stephens (SOU, 4.1) remain the obvious candidates, having between them scored an incredible 49 points in their last three GWs.
With games against five of the top six Premier League teams coming up, new owners better readjust their expectations fast - but with two DGWs to look forward to, the Saints pair remain good value for money. There are rumblings of Stephens eventually losing his place to Martín Cáceres, so opt for Yoshi if you can afford him.
Maya Yoshida (SOU) has 3 straight #FPL returns with 2 clean sheets, a goal, 6 bonus points, and has played the last 12 league games in full.— FPL Statistics (@HypeTrainStats) April 11, 2017
Rummage around for bargains among the single DGW teams, carefully avoiding Sunderland and Watford, and you’ll find precious little to choose from.
If you’re happy to bench them for practically every other Gameweek, Boro defenders like Bernardo Zuniga (MID, 4.3) or Calum Chambers (MID, 4.3) face Bournemouth and Sunderland in DGW34 and should return decent points during their brief cameo in your team.
If you’re looking for a more long-term solution and prepared to forego the Double Gameweeks, consider getting a Stoke defender. Yes... a Stoke defender.
Although The Potters seem to have been on a miserable run lately, look at who they’ve faced - Chelsea, in-form Leicester, Burnley away and Liverpool.
Don’t forget they kept Man City scoreless at The Etihad just before that, and with the likes of Hull, Swansea and West Ham up next, stalwarts like Geoff Cameron (STO, 4.2) and Erik Pieters (STO, 4.7) could reward the faithful.
Elsewhere, Harry Maguire (HUL, 4.4) is a great option when fit, and while the likes of Mason Holgate (EVE, 4.1) and James Collins (WHU, 4.2) won’t pull up any trees defensively, they at least have a faint whiff of goal threat about them.
Both Liverpool and Man City have a tasty run of fixtures until the end of the season. With defence and attack being complete no-go areas for both, keep a close eye on their attacking midfielders over the next week or two. One of them will seem essential before too long.
Quick and direct, Wilfried Zaha (CRY, 5.9) seems to be getting better with every game. Having returned double-figure hauls against Chelsea and Arsenal, the prospect of facing Liverpool and Spurs should hold little fear for him.
Wilfried Zaha casually ended Mesut Ozil's career last night⚰️
🎥⚽️Video courtesy of Sky Sports pic.twitter.com/JtpggGLeUd— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) April 11, 2017
He also has the advantage of an early Double Gameweek, so you can always swap him out again for GW36 or 37.
If he doesn’t float your boat, don’t forget the game’s top-scoring midfielder over the past six Gameweeks, Joshua King (BOU, 6.0), costs just £0.1m more.
If former owners can forgive him for his mid-season absences, Cedric Soares (SOU, 4.8) is one to keep an eye on. Southampton’s last four games have seen the Portuguese left-back register four goal attempts and six successful crosses.
With both Gabbiadini and Austin nearing returns, his service could soon pay dividends.
Steven Davis and Gabbiadini have returned to full training. Both players are in contention for the game vs Man City. #SaintsFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) April 13, 2017
With 52.8% goal involvement over the season so far, teams have learned that if they stop Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA, 7.5), they stop Swansea - making him very much a marked man.
8 games without a goal now for Siggy. Who broke him? #FPL— FPL General (@FPLGeneral) April 8, 2017
His 12 goal attempts in the last four games offer some encouragement, but his stats also show him seeing significantly less of the ball of late. With similar-priced alternatives scoring week after week, it could be time to let go of an FPL darling.
Top of the League
After joining this past week, Mervyn Glasgow is top of the Official Irish Examiner League. Among long-term members, Brian Haugh and his Hauzinho's Harriers lead the way, thanks to a double Spurs midfield and goals from Aguero and Lukaku. Both have Bench Boost still to play, which could be a big factor in deciding the destiny of the title.
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