Gameweek 37+ Captain and Player Picks
Holly Shand from Fantasy Football Community returns with captaincy corner and her three player picks in three positions for Gameweek 37+.
Gameweek 36+ was brutal for those going with the popular captain picks of Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne. At least those who backed KDB had a vice captain to fall back on. In context of the entire gameweek, those who went risky with Christian Pulisic or Olivier Giroud now look like they made a wise decision. Even Raheem Sterling, who was heavily backed in the top 10k, failed to deliver. This week will be played relatively blind for the captaincy: Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are all in FA Cup action over the weekend, so we won’t know whether their assets come through those game unscathed if we reward them with the armband. It also means that we are unlikely to get team news from Liverpool, among others, before the deadline. It’s a particularly tight turnaround time for Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Southampton.
The shield pick is likely to be the most captained player of the week, allowing you to play safe and keep pace with the pack. The sword pick will be a less popular selection: if they perform it can shoot you up the overall rankings, but the risk from failure is higher.
Shield Pick: Kevin De Bruyne vs Watford
As mentioned previously, Kevin De Bruyne was somewhat of a surprise omission from the Manchester City lineup against Bournemouth, but the fact that he failed to emerge even as a substitute was perhaps a blessing in disguise. Pep Guardiola is obviously prioritising the FA Cup, but you would expect De Bruyne to start in the final two gameweeks given that he’s had a whole week off now. He has three goals and three assists from seven fixtures since the restart, although those returns have dropped off over the last few games. However, he has been somewhat unlucky, having created 12 chances in his last two starts. He still has Thierry Henry’s Premier League assist records in his sights, and is just two away from levelling: this will be on his mind coming into the final two fixtures. Many fantasy managers will fondly remember the reverse fixture, a game in which Manchester City won 8-0, with De Bruyne bagging one goal and two assists on that day. He’s also now on penalties too. Will you play it safe with the Shield Pick?
Sword Pick: Bruno Fernandes vs West Ham
Bruno Fernandes has started to look tired: he’s still adjusting to life in the Premier League and the schedule has been brutal since the restart. You can’t fault his output though, with seven goals and seven assists at the time of writing, and just one blank since the restart. He’s sharing spot kick duty with Marcus Rashford and it could be his turn once this fixture comes around. Up next, it’s a West Ham side who now look safe from the threat of relegation. They managed a rare clean sheet against Norwich, with perhaps the lack of threat from the opponents being pivotal here. Until that point, West Ham had failed to keep a clean sheet in 14 consecutive Premier League games. While Manchester United are involved in FA Cup Semi-finals at the weekend, it’s their league position which will be their top priority over the next few weeks, as they strive to regain their place in the Champions League. They still have a little bit of work to do to secure this. Are you going to take a risk in selecting the Sword Pick?
I share my top three players for each Gameweek, selecting one defender, one midfielder and one striker. These are players that I’m tipping for the FPL Dream Team and they could also make intriguing differential captain decisions for you to consider too.
DEF: Matt Doherty vs Crystal Palace
Matt Doherty featured only as a substitute in the midweek draw against Burnley, so I’d expect him to slot in again here at the weekend. He’s notched just one offensive return since the restart, taking him to four goals and seven assists for the season, but Wolves have looked improved in the final third over their last two games. It’s just one clean sheet in four for Wolves, but they’ve been unlucky to lose two shut outs in injury time. Crystal Palace have failed to score in their last three away matches. Can he achieve the holy grail of attacking return, clean sheet and bonus points once more?
MID: Sadio Mane vs Chelsea
Liverpool have certainly been faltering since the restart, but Sadio Mane has scored some important goals for them in this period, with two returns in his last four games. He’s looked particularly creative in his last two starts, with ten shots on goal and nine chances created, despite Liverpool scoring two goals in this period. They’ve been somewhat unlucky, and I’d anticipate that this goalscoring rut won’t last forever. They should be fresher than their opponents Chelsea, who have an FA Cup semi final to play at the weekend, before this game.
FOR: Danny Ings vs Bournemouth
Finally, Danny Ings creeps into our thinking this week, as the obligatory opponent of a weak Bournemouth defence. The Cherries battle to avoid relegation looks a little too hopeful now, but we can expect an exciting matchup in this South Coast derby game. Danny Ings will have plenty of motivation, as he attempts to hunt down Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot. At the time of writing, he sits four goals behind but it’s all to play for, with the bookies rating his chances at around 14-1. He has three goals from his last four games, having had eight shots in that period and is likely to take the next penalty.
Until next time…
Find even more Fantasy Premier League Tips over on Holly’s website: Fantasy Football Community