Tom Freeman has finished inside the top 1k in five of the last 11 Fantasy Premier League seasons. He picks out three differentials for Fantasy Football Scout readers every Gameweek.
Gameweek 30 is almost upon us which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton, who we think have the potential to make an impact.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 2.6%
- Price: £5.7m
- GW30-34 fixtures: WBA | cry | BHA | whu | FUL
Spanish defender Marcos Alonso (£5.7m) has been given a new lease of life at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel.
The 30-year-old was banished from Frank Lampard’s squad after a disastrous 45 minutes at West Bromwich Albion back in September, but has since started five league matches under his new manager, and taken full advantage of the opportunity.
When it comes to playing in a back four, Alonso often struggles, but when used correctly as a wing-back he has real quality, something Tuchel has recognised.
Since Gameweek 21, when Alonso made a return to Chelsea’s starting XI in a 3-4-3 system, he has taken 13 shots. No defender can match that total during that period, despite limited minutes. He has also accumulated 25 penalty area touches (only Luke Shaw (£5.2m) has more) and created 10 chances for his team-mates.
At this stage, we should point out that a move for the defender this week does carry some risk, knowing that Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) is also pushing for a start. However, the fact Alonso was rested during the international break, while his English colleague played 180 minutes against San Marino and Poland, is encouraging.
Alonso has delivered a string of impressive displays of late, and could be a perfect one-week punt for FPL managers planning a Gameweek 31 Wildcard.
- FPL ownership: 4.7%
- Price: £4.8m
- GW30-34 fixtures: WHU | ful | SHU | BUR | wba
With two clean sheets and a goal in his last five appearances, plus an appealing set of forthcoming fixtures, Conor Coady (£4.8m) could be a solid under the radar pick for the run-in.
Last season, investing in one of Wolves’ backline was one of the easier decisions FPL managers had to make, given that their record of 13 clean sheets was bettered by only three teams.
And though they have struggled to replicate that defensive form this term, some of which can be attributed to the 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 experiment, their performances at the back have improved of late.
The England international’s goal threat is on the up too. Having not had a shot in the Premier League before this season, Coady scored his first top-flight goal against Man City in Gameweek 26, and came close to netting twice at Villa Park the following week, hitting the post with a header before forcing a superb save from Emiliano Martínez (£5.4m).
However, the real appeal lies in Wolves’ clean sheet potential, and with home games against West Ham United, Sheffield United and Burnley in the next five, plus away trips to Fulham and West Brom, further shut outs could be on the way.
Priced at just £4.8m, Coady offers the cheapest route into Wolves’ defence and is the most likely to start every match too. He could be a nice set-and-forget option given his schedule.
- FPL ownership: 0.4%
- Price: £5.5m
- GW30-34 fixtures: BUR | wba | tot | – | LEI
Despite a stop-start season at Southampton, largely due to niggling injuries and a positive COVID-19 test, Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) has been one of the club’s top performers in recent matches, with two assists in his last three Premier League outings.
The Scottish international was excellent against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, causing all sorts of problems for the Cherries defenders with his direct running. He ended the game with an assist but was unfortunate not to return more, as his pass found Che Adams (£5.8m) to score in the second half, only for VAR to rule it out, before his strike came back off the post for Nathan Redmond (£6.4m) to score Saints’ third.
Though Armstrong was used in a deeper midfield role at Everton in Gameweek 26, the Scot usually features in a more advanced position, where he can drift infield in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s 4-4-2 / 4-2-2-2 setup, allowing Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.7m) to provide the width on the right. That’s important with Burnley up next, given that only Fulham and Crystal Palace have conceded more chances down that side since the turn of the year.
Southampton may sit seven points above the drop zone, but with just one win in their last 12 Premier League matches, will be looking nervously over their shoulder. They now have a massive double-header against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion, and will need to get points on the board in these games, knowing that they have a tough run to follow.
At his best, Armstrong is a real asset to Southampton, and could be a nice budget pick for these crucial back-to-back games.
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