Community Questions Gameweek 36: Talking Salah, Man City Rotation and DGW34 Underperformers

In this weeks series, I’m joined by Andrew from Fantasy Football Pundits to provide our perspectives on the community’s most pressing questions ahead of Gameweek 36

Welcome again to our community question series where I (Simon), usually have my say on the communities conundrums in an attempt to provide a different perspective, or perhaps some statistical information or insight some of you may not have thought about.

This week, I thought it prudent to bring on another one of my Twitter compadre’s to help provide you with a fresh, credible and interesting perspective.

Andrew or ‘Drew’ as he’s referred to on Twitter, is the social media and content manager at Fantasy Football Pundits. He’s an FPL enthusiast with a highest overall rank finish of 3,920 and is currently having a decent season at circa 80k. More than that, he’s a top guy who’s always willing to engage and have a conversation about FPL (or craft beer if that’s your thing). You can find him personally on Twitter at >> or you can sample the fantastic FPL content he manages at >>

Take a hit to take out DGW34 underperformers like Mahrez/Willian? 

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

Something quite a few managers in the community will be pondering I’m sure. On paper, I think it’s a simple enough to decision to say goodbye to such assets, but there are a few examples where I’m not sure I’d want to be taking the hit.

For example, FPL Midget specifically asked me whether Mahrez to Sterling this week would be worth a -4. Right now, it definitely feels better to be owning Sterling, but having seen that Sané was benched last week, what’s to say Sterling doesn’t get benched this time? And with Mahrez ‘nailed-on’ for starts (as far as we can tell) and in a decent fixture, is it really such a wise move to make?

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Not only that, but whilst West Ham are shambolic on the road defensively, at home, they’ve actually been quite decent, only conceding 21 goals (9 teams have conceded more) and 22 big chances (ranked joint 7th best for minimal big chances conceded). They’re also still fighting for Premier League survival and the last time City played them, they only just about overcame them 2-1, displaying that Moyes can get them to organise themselves well against such free-scoring, attacking sides.

Based on that, I honestly don’t think City will rout and win the game by 3/4+ goals, so I’d be careful about that particular move and if you do decide you do want to risk it, don’t be surprised to see your City asset benched or not return big.

Willian has been very unlucky not to have returned decent points for his owners, as he’s created plenty of chances and been having plenty of shots. With him missing out last week, he should see a return this week against Swansea. At that price, I’d be tempted to hold this week and see what happens.

Bailly however, needs to go. Vertonghen, Kompany, Monreal and Azpilicueta the few names I’d consider as replacements.

FFPundits (Drew): 

This is a great question and one that I’ve been asking myself all week. We all scrambled to recruit the likes of Willian and Mahrez for the over-hyped and under-performing Double Gameweek 34, and now we’ve a decision to make. For me, I think it’s time to wave bye-bye to such assets, even though I fear they’ll come back to haunt me next week, but that happens with every half-decent player we sell on FPL.

The likes of Eriksen, Sterling, Sané and Silva appeal to me more than Mahrez and Willian et al for the closing stages of the FPL season and like you said in your question, they are dead-weights – we placed our faith in them for the Double and they let us down, whilst alternate assets delivered healthier returns.

For me, with an attractive Double Gameweek 37 just around the corner, Kylie, I’d be happy to throw a -8/-12 at it to shift some of the dead-wood out of my FPL team, with both form and fixtures favourable elsewhere!

Take rotation risk Man City mids out for ‘nailed on’ players like Eriksen? Who’s most ‘nailed’ for starts of the Man City mids?

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

This is probably the hottest question right now, but the simple and boring answer, is that we honestly can’t know for sure, unless an individual or group of individuals wants to come out and create a ‘CityExpress’ Twitter account.

It’s simply guess-work at this point and aside from Gabriel Jesus (and even he could miss out, which wouldn’t surprise me), who I think is the most ‘nailed’ of the City assets, there’s no others that I look at and think, ‘You’re definitely playing every remaining PL game’.

We simply have to make a choice of those City assets we like or have a ‘gut-feeling’ about, and be prepared for some rotation. A good bench is probably the most essential thing to have moving forward into the final few Gameweeks of the season.

In terms of dropping KDB for Eriksen, I think it’s a good move. You’re moving out an expensive, out-of-form asset who will probably see limited minutes in some fashion, for a cheaper player who’s bang in form, with good fixtures and is unlikely to be dropped or see limited minutes.

FFPundits (Drew): 

The million dollar question Sir! Like one my colleagues said earlier this week, “if only there was a Manchester City Express account leaking Pep’s team-sheet each week!”…

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In my own humble opinion, Eriksen is a must-own for the remainder of the season and delivers FPL returns on a consistent and reliable basis – something which KDB did in the first half of the season, but seems to have gone off the boil of late.

In KDB’s last 5 Premier League outings, he has averaged 3.6 points-per-game, whilst Eriksen has returned an average of 7.6 points-per-game and played significantly more minutes.

Sure, folk may say that Eriksen’s points could be and possibly are saturated by Alli when he decides to put a performance in, but, for me, the likes of Sané, Sterling, Gündogan and the two Silva’s saturate the Ginger Princes’ much more.

I try not to use the word ‘nailed’ when it comes to Fantasy Football as, there’s no such thing in my opinion. However, if I had to place a bet on who would start in Man City’s midfield against West Ham this weekend, I’d say both Sterling and Sane alongside Jesus would seem a safe bet.

Is Gabriel Jesus essential given the quality of other premium forward options? 

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

I wouldn’t say ‘essential’, as there are other strikers, as Crispy mentions, that have the potential to match or better him for value like Aubameyang or Vardy, but he’s definitely one of the best prospects going into the final Gameweeks of the season.

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As stated before, he’s probably the most ‘nailed’ for starts with Agüero out for the rest of the season, leaving him as the only recognised central striker and he’ll want those minutes, having missed a large percentage of the season through injury, in order to build momentum and form for the World Cup.

City have great remaining fixtures including a tantalising double in DGW37, playing at home to Huddersfield and Brighton. Jesus could even become well-backed with the triple captain chip, with 40% of overall managers still yet to play it and should Kane blank at home to Watford this Gameweek, that could be enough to see allegiances move up north to the blue half of Manchester in the favour of the young Brazilian in DGW37 – do you really want to risk going without?

FFPundits (Drew): 

With Sergio Agüero still side-lined, I believe that Jesus is an essential pick for the Double Gameweek, yes. Sure, there’s a chance Pep will play Sterling up top with Bernardo Silva and Sané alongside, but again, that’s all guess-work and we have to try and make an informed decision based on gut-instinct here.

Whilst I’m a mega Manchester United fan when it comes to their defenders, I’m not a fan of them from an attacking sense, case in point, Romelu Lukaku. We all saw how easy it was for Jose to drop the Belgian after a couple of poor performances and with Rashford and Martial likely to receive some end of season game-time, I wouldn’t like to throw £11.5m of my budget at him – as tempting as United’s fixtures are.

The Aubamayang vs Lacazette situation is something I worry about myself as I’m an Aubameyang owner, but I have no plans to dump him between now and the end of the season and think he’ll play the majority of the available Premier League minutes.

As a Kane owner too, I am now happy with my front-line of Kane, Jesus and Aubameyang so hope this helps you with your current dilemma. Best of luck to you.

Sánchez and Firmino out for Eriksen and Jesus?

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

Even if that’s not for a hit, I’d be reluctant to make that move this week.

Sánchez was dropped last week at Bournemouth, meaning he should be nailed to start against Arsenal and it’s his old team. United have a history of performing well against Arsenal too and I can’t see this weekend being any different, especially seeing as Arsenal are coming off the back of a tough Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

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Before Bournemouth, Sánchez had 1 goal and 4 assists in his previous 5 PL appearances, totalling 33pts, an average of 6.6pts a game, not to forget his very well-taken goal and all round performance against Spurs in the FA Cup.

Firmino also plays Stoke this week at Anfield, so if he starts in that one, he could see a decent return.

I’d wait for news from Anfield Express and if they do leak the line-up again and it states Firmino isn’t starting, then I’d go ahead and make that move, but if he’s starting, then I would leave that move and bank the transfer ready to pull the trigger on it for the Double Gameweek.

FFPundits (Drew): 

Hmmm, dumping Sánchez ahead of United’s Gameweek 36 clash with Arsenal? I’m not sure about that.

I would most certainly make this move next week, for Double Gameweek 37, but there’s something telling me Sánchez could be red-hot property this weekend against his old club, so I’d hold for one more week.

It’s also worth waiting to see if @AnfieldExpress leak the Liverpool team news ahead of the 11:30am FPL deadline this Saturday – if Bobby is dropped/rested for whatever reason, then you may be forced in to your proposed move.

Is it feasible to go without King Mo Salah, or simply FPL suicide? 

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

In a word? No. I wouldn’t quite go as dramatic as ‘FPL suicide’, but it’s not far off in my opinion.

I know what people are thinking, Salah doesn’t have a Double Gameweek, and in DGW37 has Chelsea away, but if we look at his performances against the ‘big’ teams, only Manchester United have been able to keep him quiet:

Arsenal – 11pts (H), 10pts (A)
Manchester United – 3pts (H), 2pts (A)
Spurs – 15pts (H), 7pts (A)
Manchester City – 11pts (H), 1pt (A)
Chelsea – 7pts (H), (A)?

So, there’s nothing to suggest that Salah can’t hit another decent return in DGW37 against a Chelsea side who have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League matches and he plays Stoke and Brighton at Anfield either side of the DGW37 fixture, 2 extremely favourable games that could see big returns should he play both.

FFPundits (Drew): 

Hiya snob, great question. Since Gameweek 26, the Egyptian Prince and King of FPL has delivered 4 double-digit point-hauls, with the largest being 29 against Watford in Gameweek 31.

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He has also failed to score only once in his last 10 Premier League outings, which was against Manchester United in in Gameweek 30. You see where I’m going with this?

Now, I don’t think selling him would be FPL suicide, as there are other FPL assets out there capable of scoring double-digit returns on any given day, such as Sterling, David Silva and even Aaron Ramsey when he gets a game – however, I would only sell Salah if A) I needed to free-up funds to purchase two worthwhile players for Double Gameweek 37 (Kane/Jesus/Sterling) or B) If @AnfieldExpress leak the Liverpool team-news early and confirm he’s being rested.

If you feel his form will dip or there’s a chance Klopp will rest him then follow your own gut-instinct on this. Otherwise, hold on to Salah as he’s the top-scoring player in FPL for a reason.

Son to Sterling for a hit? 

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

Whilst Son hasn’t been at his best recently, I expect him to start against Watford on Monday, as Pochettino has no reason to rotate now, and Son is part of his best 11 in the 4231 formation.

Of all the Spurs mids, he’s the most explosive of them, with 6 double-figure hauls to Eriksen’s 4 and Alli’s 3 in roughly 700 mins less game time than the pair of them.

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With Sané being benched last week, as I mentioned earlier, what’s to say Sterling doesn’t start on the bench this week? We can’t be sure exactly who, but what we do know, is that there IS going to be some form of rotation with the City players and with no real way of knowing who, is it really worth taking an explosive asset with a good fixture, who’s likely to start, out of your team for one you don’t know is guaranteed to start, with a slightly worse fixture, for a hit?

I’d personally say no, not this week at least. Perhaps next week for a free transfer, as Sterling should be nailed for the first of the DGW37 fixtures against Huddersfield, where it is said they will receive the Premier League trophy.

FFPundits (Drew): 

At £8.3m, Son is the cheapest way in to the Spurs midfield, that’s for sure. However, he has played 90 minutes in only 2 of his last 8 Premier League outings for Spurs and delivered only one assist in his last 4.

Whilst both City and Spurs have gorgeous Double Gameweek 37 fixtures, my money’s on Sterling to out-score the South Korean over two legs by a country mile so for a -4 hit, yes, I’d be making this transfer too.

Triple captain chip best employed GW36 or GW38 if you have BB planned for GW37? 

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

I’d definitely say GW38. Statistically speaking, the final day of the Premier League season historically throws up high goal-scoring affairs and crazy scorelines.

Over the last 10 seasons, 5 of them have served up more than 30 goals on the final day, with an average of 3.5 goals per game on those 5 occasions.

The final day also boasts some lovely fixtures for the big teams, with Manchester United hosting Watford at Old Trafford, Liverpool hosting Brighton at Anfield, Spurs hosting Leicester at Wembley and Chelsea (Newcastle), Manchester City (Southampton) and Arsenal (Huddersfield) all travelling to teams in the bottom half of the league.

FFPundits (Drew): 

If you own Salah and @AnfieldExpress confirm that he’s in Klopp’s starting 11 against Stoke City on Saturday, I’d be activating that TC right away!

If not, then I’d be looking at GW38 for sure, as the fixtures are favourable and the last day typically boasts plenty of goals.

If you don’t own Salah then please be sure to send @FPLConnect and @FFPundits a tweet with your team and we’ll be happy to discuss your question with you again.

Jordan Ayew and Saints defender or Charlie Austin and Swansea defender for DGW37?  

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FPL Connect (Simon): 

I’d definitely be looking at going with Jordan Ayew and a Saints defender over Charlie Austin and a Swansea defender here.

Jordan Ayew is Swansea’s main man up top and has proved that he can provide owners with fairly consistent returns and very good value for his price, whereas Austin has a terrible record with injuries and has started just once in his last 4 since coming back from injury.

If Austin was fit, firing and starting regularly, then it would have been him, but he isn’t right now and I simply can’t justify having him over a regularly starting, cheaper striker with decent form and fixtures.

FFPundits (Drew): 

Charlie Austin has played, 17, 11 and 18 minutes in his last 3 Premier League outings for Southamton. Yes, he scored against Arsenal in Gameweek 33 but, apart from that, there’s nothing there to make me want to own him and convince you otherwise.

Swansea have kept only 1 cleansheet in their last 8 games, so, like with Austin, there’s not much hope there either.

Jordan Ayew is Swansea’s only fit striker and did score against Everton in Gameweek 34 and with upcoming fixtures against Bournemouth (A), Southampton (H) and Stoke (H), I quite fancy Ayew myself at £5.3m as a differential striker.

If I had to make this decision, I’d opt for Ayew and Cedric and hope that Southampton can grab a cleansheet or attacking returns for Cedric against Bournemouth (H) and Everton (A).

Before you go!

Still unsure who to captain? Then check out our latest ‘Captain Metric’ article assessing all the main candidates here >>





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