This is going to be a difficult one!
With only a handful of teams playing and many managers exploring all their options via the Free Hit chip – most players have been explored. Over the last few weeks on our twitter we put forward the ideas of 4 differentials ahead of BGW31 – They were;
- Aaron Mooy
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin
- Demarai Gray
- David Brooks
With all these options sitting below 5.5m they could still make for excellent bench fodder for your Free Hit teams or cheap differentials if you are looking at facilitating bigger transfer moves.
This article will focus on 2 away teams this week, who may be sliding under the radar as we load up on Home players or Liverpool players.
Key Pick: Hazard
Risk but high reward: Higuain
Differential: Pedro or Willian
While Hazard, Higuain and Azpilicueta take the headlines – flying under the radar are the 2 Chelsea wingers vying for a spot on the pitch. I would love to feel reassured enough to pick Willian (7.1m / 4% TSB) who has been fantastic in the Europa League this year but has featured less impressively in the league, albeit as Chelsea have been in and out of poor form themselves. Crucially Willian’s appeal is his set piece delivery. In the short time he featured at the weekend he took over set piece duty from Hazard who, for his value and ability, had taken a succession of poor free kicks and corners, most hitting the first man. Willian has more ability that Pedro but Willian played over 70 minutes in the Europa League on Thursday night (replaced by Pedro), so is more likely to be rotated out for the Spaniard on Sunday.
Everton themselves have some interesting defensive stats. Although they secured a 0-0 draw with Chelsea before Christmas and infamously kept Liverpool at bay 2 weeks ago for another 0-0 draw, the underlying stats show that the Toffee’s have a soft center. In the last 6 Gameweeks they have conceded 15 big chances (4th worst in the league) and 20 chances in the center zone (5th worst in the league). This shows that teams have had success moving the ball into the central areas to take chances, and Higuain (9.6m / 5.4% TSB), if fit, fits this category. The Argentine has had a mixed start at Chelsea but again there are some underlying stats which indicate that he could be a good move for managers, and these go beyond Everton’s defensive lapses. Higuain has had 26 goal chances in the last 6 gameweeks, this is the highest in the league (more than Aguero and Salah on 23, and Harvey Barnes…. Interesting… on 24). Higuain should’ve added to his singular goal against Fulham, blazing over the bar when 1 on 1 with the keeper and has struck up a good relationship specifically with Azpilicueta who has picked out the long ball over the top with Higuain’s movement a few times. Zouma and Keane should be quick enough to cover Higuain who isn’t known for his speed of foot, but here’s hoping his speed of thought out-thinks the Everton center backs.
Key Pick: Jamie Vardy or James Maddison
Risk but High Reward: Harry Maguire
Differentials: Barnes, Chilwell and Tielemans
Can anyone see a Leicester clean sheet coming? Well they have, for most of the season had some of the best underlying statistics when It comes to defence, but keep finding new and inventive ways to bring about their own downfall. What we learned from Rodgers’ first game in charge against Watford, is that when it comes to facing up against 2 strikers in a more conventional 4-4-2, the Northern Irishman likes to set up with 3 central defenders and wingbacks providing the width. Burnley are another of a very select number of clubs who can and do play, consistently, with 2 strikers (Wood and Barnes). This would indicate we are likely to see 5 at the back and the wing backs will become attacking assets. With Pereira trolling the community hard recently its not difficult to predict that he could do something but with Chilwell (5.0m / 3% TSB) bombing up and down the wing and providing crosses, also on some set pieces – which Burnley have been notably shaky on lately, he could be an interesting pick for managers.
Harry Maguire’s attacking prowess also cant be misstated and with Leicester potentially playing 3 at the back it gives license for World Cup hero to step out of defence and forward up the pitch as he does in England’s variant of the same formation. Maddison (6.7m / 6.6% TSB) has been providing a lot of chances for teammates, creating 11 more than any other player in the league over the last 6 gameweeks. Tielemans has been taking plenty of shots, specifically from outside the area, but if Leicester drop into an expected 3-4-3 the young Belgian could sit back a bit deeper than he did in the home game against Fulham. Harvey Barnes (5.5m / 0.5% TSB) is of note as he has taken the second highest amount of goal attempts in the last 6 gameweeks, with 24 (only 2 behind Higuain). The youngster has also provided 9 crosses and 9 chances for teammates but has under-delivered on his xG of 2.05 in the last 6 gameweeks, so is due to correct this soon potentially.
Until Next Time…
Make Good Choices!
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