It’s difficult to focus on Gameweek 29 of Fantasy Premier League when the mighty Larne FC are setting themselves up for an Irish Cup quarter-final against Coleraine tonight.
There’s zero chance of Paul Pogba or Sergio Aguero scoring at Inver Park, however, so reluctantly we’ll stick to the Premier League.
Again, there are blanks (GW31 and 33) and double gameweeks (32 and 35) coming up, so keep them in mind when you’re thinking of incoming transfers. As an example, Arsenal face Tottenham in 29, Chelsea in 30 and a blank in 31, so it’s probably not the best time to bring in a Gooner.
On with the frisking of fixtures. This week, we’ve set a limit of 5% ownership to try to flush out some differential options for your team…
Fabian Schar, Newcastle (DF, £4.7m)
Owned by: 2.4%
He scored an absolute peach of a goal last week as Newcastle beat Burnley to record back-to-back wins and push the Magpies up into 13th place, six points clear of the relegation scrap.
And the upcoming fixtures look promising for Mike Ashley’s Shop Window Boys too, with West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth coming up imminently.
Confidence is high on Tyneside right now; a combination of new boy Miguel Almiron and a reinvigorated Solomon Rondon have brought a spark to this corner of the north-east as we plough through the final third of the season.
Three league goals from a defender at this stage of the season is not to be sniffed at. At £4.7m, Schar won’t break the bank and offers a decent budget option at the back.
Gonzalo Higuaín, Chelsea (FW, £9.5m)
Owned by: 3%
There are an awful lot of nervy transfer trigger fingers out there. Even with the shortened gap between gameweeks 28 and 29, we’ve already seen some big names being transferred out in big numbers.
Son Heung-min has been dropped by almost 200,000 teams over the past 10 days, while Arsenal’s schedule and uncertainty over the line-up has meant that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been dropped by almost 90,000 in the past few days alone. As for Manchester City, we’re not sure if Pep even knows who will start. With Gabriel Jesus reportedly back in training, there’s the typical fear factor of being burned by the dreaded Pep Roulette: 80,000 have dropped Sergio Aguero this week.
It’s fair to say that Gonzalo Higuain hasn’t yet set the league alight since his January move to Chelsea, and ‘rusty’ is probably an accurate assessment. While he did score two goals in Chelsea’s 5-0 romp over Huddersfield, the Argentine only scored two goals in Chelsea’s 5-0 romp against Huddersfield.
In their last match against Tottenham, there were flashes of what the former Napoli hitman can bring to this league – Higuain hit a post and showed some improved link-up play. Thankfully for Chelsea, he wasn’t required to make the match safe following Kieran Trippier’s ridiculous own goal.
Chelsea were actually good in the League Cup final and, despite Kepa Arrizabalaga acting like a petulant four-year-old being told that his Pepa Pig DVD has been played on repeat so much it’s burned out. Taking all three points against Spurs has suddenly meant the top-four race now looks even more interesting.
But if Maurizio Sarri is to remain at Chelsea and build on the last performance, he could do with Higuain finding the back of the net more frequently. Chelsea face Fulham, Wolves, Everton and Cardiff in their next four games and should be aiming to take maximum points.
With Fulham sacking their second manager of the season and Big Sam being overlooked in favour of Scott Parker, there’s a great chance for Chelsea – and Higuain – to do some damage at Craven Cottage.
James Maddison, Leicester (MF, £6.6m)
Owned by: 4.8%
Another managerial change this week came at Leicester, where Claude Puel was replaced by terrace chant legend Kolo Toure, who in turn has brought Brendan Rodgers along to help him out.
James Maddison has already impressed in spells this season, and under Rogers could truly flourish. A more attack-minded setup should benefit the likes of Jamie Vardy, and in former Norwich man Maddison, Leicester’s new manager has someone at the club he can build a midfield around.
Again, upcoming fixtures play a big role. The Foxes have arguably the kindest run of fixtures in the league, and crucially no blank in GW31, making them an attractive option if you’re looking to games ahead. Their upcoming run includes Watford (a), Fulham (h), Burnley (a), Bournemouth (h) and Huddersfield (a).
Rodgers will want to make a statement upon his Premier League return, and you’d expect his team to react well under new guidance.
Gameweek 29 kicks off on Saturday and the deadline is 11:30am. Don’t forget…