With the rare and normal Gameweek 32 over, we’re back to the carnage and chaos caused by COVID-19 and the FA Cup with a week filled with Premier League football. More importantly, it’s a double gameweek and that gives managers even more headaches given that three teams don’t play.
Once again, it’s James Maddison on a list. The Leicester City midfielder has been brought in by, at the time of writing, 318981 managers and something tells me that count will keep going up. The 25-year-old has found a lovely purple patch with four goal contributions in his last five league games. Go all competitions and that turns into five in six games with Maddison playing the full 90 against PSG Eindhoven and even getting a big goal.
However, that right there is the bigger concern because the 25-year-old played the full 90 during the Foxes’ mid-week adventures. It does mean that Brendan Rodgers might err on the side of caution and opt to not start the midfielder. But he is, as mentioned above, in a sensational run of form with 14 attacking returns in as many starts, which is something that not even Mohamed Salah can match.
Plus while the Foxes are through into the semi-finals of their European competition, they will have three double gameweeks in the near future which means bringing in the £7m midfielder won’t hurt you all that much. But just in case, having a guaranteed starter on the bench won’t hurt either.
A Newcastle United defender
Now don’t lose your head but it’s the sensible choice to have at least one Magpie in your team. Somehow, their two games this weekend are the pick of the lot as they face Leicester City and Crystal Palace, which alone should tell you how bad it is this DGW. But over and above that, Eddie Howe’s side will play both their games at home and they’ve been rock solid there.
So far, they’ve conceded just the four goals in six home games plus of the seven sides playing two games over Gameweek 33, the Magpies are the best in terms of form and fixtures. And finally, the real kicker, is that despite facing Palace and the Foxes, Howe’s squad will be the fitter team. The Eagles play Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final two days before the game while Leicester City, are coming into this on the back of a tiring mid-week game.
Then – yes there is more – there is the fact that Fabian Schar has somehow turned into a machine at the other end, as no other defender beats him for goal-attempts over the last seven gameweeks. He’s priced at a lovely £4.4m and has already been brought in by 185077 managers, at the time of writing which means that Matt Targett (£4.7m) is a slightly more expensive but better differential.
Sure, they’ve turned up with nothing but poor performances and lacklustre displays in their last five league games, winning just once but guess what? That’s right, Manchester United also have a DGW in Gameweek 33 but they face Norwich City……and Liverpool. A concern for many in Manchester but it could, kinda sorta, work for many managers. But then there’s Bruno Fernandes.
He’s had just eight attacking returns in 15 matches since Ralf Rangnick took over but there seems to be something about a DGW that lights up his eyes. The Portuguese midfielder scored 23 points in DGW 23 and then 12 in DGW 25 with three goals and two assists in four games. Not enough to keep him for the long-term, at least until United sort out their issues, but enough to tempt a few into buying him.
And by a few, I mean 59226 managers, at the time of writing, and while that puts him below a few Arsenal, Newcastle United and Southampton players, he is above Kevin De Bruyne. But it does make him only an ok option for those willing to take the risk or for those on a free-hit although given Norwich City’s struggles this season, Fernandes could take advantage.
There was a lot of hope pinned onto Ivan Toney’s shoulders and he, unsurprisingly, flopped at the start of the season as Brentford slowly found their feet. But since a certain Christian Eriksen’s arrival, the Bees have completely turned their fortunes around and showed the world that one, Eriksen has most definitely still got it and that two, that every team needs an attacking midfielder.
Now while Bryan Mbuemo has definitely been happier since Eriksen walked in, Toney has started to thrive now as well. The forward has scored six times in his last five games and while that does include a hattrick, he also provided two assists in the same time period. The run of fixtures? Chelsea, West Ham United, Leicester City, Burnley and Norwich City with the Bees losing only to the Foxes.
However, they are not a part of DGW 33 and face relegation threatened Watford although this isn’t the same Hornets from the start of the season. Roy Hodgson has definitely tightened things up at the back but even then, Toney has been brought in by 152529 managers, at the time of writing.
And the punt
Anyone from Arsenal
Once favourites for the final spot in the top four, now Arsenal sit a rather dismal three points behind Tottenham with their hopes of playing Champions League football fading. Add that to the fact that they’ve lost Kieran Tierney for the remainder of the season alongside Thomas Partey, two key players, and it is cause for concern. Plus while they are a part of DGW 33, they face Southampton and Chelsea, not exactly the toughest sides but a tough run in given their form.
The Gunners have won only one in their last four and yet, somehow, their assets are all amongst the most bought players ahead of the DGW. They’ve got four within the top 30 most transferred in players which is joint most alongside Leicester City and Newcastle United. That is not shocking given that both Ben White (£4.6m) and Gabriel (£5.4m) are amongst the cheaper defensive options while Bukayo Saka (£6.8m) and Martin Odegaard (£5.5m) are amongst the cheaper midfielders.
Yet, Saka hasn’t scored or assisted a goal in two games, Odegaard has produced just one attacking return in five and Alexandre Lacazette has scored just one goal in his last 11 appearances. It doesn’t make for great reading but for those willing to take the leap and go absolutely nuts, the moves are there to be made.