Monsieur, with these Double Gameweeks you’re really spoiling us.
The fourth successive Double Gameweek is upon us. But, like chocolates handed out at a foreign ambassador’s party, this one’s a little naff – just one extra fixture means it only narrowly qualifies as a Double. We’re getting used to being spoiled.
Although it’s not as if the so-called biggest Double Gameweek in history was much to write home about.
Following last weekend’s matches, Manchester City were the only team out of the 16 who played to score more than once.
But thankfully Manchester City are one of the two teams playing twice this Gameweek, so could there yet be a (Bernardo) Silva-lining?
If there is, it’s expected to come from Man City’s talismanic Beligan rather than their diminutive Portuguese. And many will be hoping Ilkay Gündogan (£6.2m) and their defenders get in on the act too.
You have until today’s 11:00 GMT deadline to make any last-minute changes to your Double Gameweek 27 team – are you contemplating a switch away from double Man City defence? Are you among those considering selling Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m)?
This week, Manchester United fan Andy was thinking of doing both. Currently ranked in the top 1,000 Andy feels that Man United’s tricky upcoming fixtures mean he is unlikely to captain Fernandes – the Red Devils feature in the ‘weak’ category in our latest ‘Fixture Frisk’.
His proposed double transfer involves selling John Stones (£5.2m) to free up one of his three Man City spots, and then switching Fernandes to Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m).
I just think if [De Bruyne and Gundogan] both start the same game, De Bruyne is always the better captain for me and he’s a differential. And while people are put off captaining De Bruyne I see that as a calculated way to get up the ranks.
– Andy, Scoutcast
How much higher does Andy want to go?
But he makes a valid point, and since De Bruyne returned from injury, only Pedro Neto (£5.7m) has recorded more goal attempts (11) than the Belgian (9).
However, Gündogan is Jan’s top choice in his Captain Sensible article, just ahead of De Bruyne. Having made just an eight-minute cameo in midweek, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder is expected to start both matches in the Double Gameweek.
Investigating the impact (if any) on Gündogan when De Bruyne plays, former betting-shop employee, Neale, wrote::
What some punters forget, thinking that Gundogan was only operating in an advanced role while De Bruyne was sidelined, is that his rebirth as a number eight happened while the Belgian was in the side – often when De Bruyne was playing in a number 10 role or as a false nine.
There’s even a school of thought that we should be captaining a Man City defender. Speaking on the Scoutcast, Joe explained why:
These [two upcoming matches] scream to me really good defensive games – that Manchester derby, that looks like 0-0, Manchester United just seem to be set up for playing 0-0s against the ‘Big Six’. And then [City are] playing Southampton who can’t score – I mean Vestergaard is their top goal threat over the last four matches.
So it makes me think that it’s a defender, which is why I sort of joked, half joked, on the Captaincy Video today that I would captain Ederson – but which Man City player is going to play twice? Who’s going to get two clean sheets? Who’s like 95 per cent certain of getting at least 12 points?
If he was to sell Stones, the player Andy would buy to replace him is Antonio Rudiger (£4.6m).
Chelsea are in excellent form at the back. As Neale revealed in his Scout Notes, the Blues didn’t concede a single big chance across the whole of Double Gameweek 26 and reduced Liverpool to just one effort on target on Thursday.
Pro Pundit Lateriser offered further encouragement for would-be Rudiger owners:
Antonio Rudiger has played all the league games under Thomas Tuchel and offers excellent value. Chelsea have emerged as one of the best defences in the league and Rudiger has a substantial set-piece threat.
And Chelsea are at the beginning of a good fixture run – their next five games are Everton, Leeds United, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Having freed up a spare Man City slot, an argument could be made for selling Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) instead of Bruno Fernandes. Jurgen Klopp’s side have only scored 11 goals in their last 13 matches – and only one goal in six fixtures at Anfield.
But beware – the underlying stats remain promising for Salah:
Liverpool have the second-highest xG underperformance in the last four matches. They are second in the league for xG (7.07) in that period and have scored only four goals. In this timeframe, Salah has accumulated the highest number of big chances in the league.
Andy, too, voiced his support of the Egyptian in his latest piece:
Looking at players’ last six matches, he ranks second for expected goal involvement behind the hero that is Michail Antonio.
Last week, former FPL winner Simon March explained that stats are probiotics for gut feelings, this week Pro Pundit Seb likened skillful use of stats to walking your dog. Borrowing a scenario from Neil deGrasse Tyson, he explained:
You are walking your dog, it zig-zags side-to-side on the lead, but overall moves forwards in the direction you are walking it. While the zigs and zags are hard to predict, the general direction of movement is not. “Lucky” managers may catch some of the zigs and zags, “skilful” managers know it is the overall picture we need.
One manager who caught a definite zag last week was Sky expert Luke, who triple captained Gareth Bale (£9.3m).
Not just because I believe he has finally arrived as a form-player but also because Spurs face an obliging Crystal Palace defence up next, then take on Arsenal in a north London derby and because they play in Blank Gameweek 29.
Although she is reluctant to sell Salah just yet:
As someone who is heavily invested in Spurs, making the move from Salah to Bale feels risky especially as we haven’t yet seen a consistency of starts in the league just yet.
North London rivals Arsenal provide further premium-priced options in midfield. The Gunners feature in the ‘strong’ category of upcoming fixtures and, like Spurs, have a match in Blank Gameweek 29.
Jamie observed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) is spending much more time in the box and getting into goal-scoring positions. A shift up front has seen him bag five goals in his last six matches.
Also making an impact in recent games is a revitalised Jesse Lingard (£6.0m).
Lingard has quickly established himself as West Ham’s top goal threat, and has the potential to chip in with an assist or two … As well as being West Ham’s top goal threat from midfield, few in FPL can keep up with his current form.
While Lingard will be ineligible to face his parent club Man United in Gameweek 28, West Ham are another of the eight teams who play in Blank Gameweek 29, enhancing his appeal.
Lingard’s team-mate Craig Dawson (£4.5m) is one of Tom’s three Differentials, his heading ability could be a useful weapon against Leeds:
Dawson’s appeal is further boosted by his aerial threat which has already seen him score three goals in all competitions this term. It could prove to be the difference maker against Leeds too, as the Whites have conceded the most goals in the Premier League from set-pieces this season, while West Ham have scored the most, with 13.
Although Leeds could be boosted by the return of Kalvin Phillips (£4.9m), as reported in our Team News round-up.
Elsewhere, Sheffield United are still suffering from defensive absentees: Phil Jagielka (£3.9m) is suspended while Jayden Bogle (£4.3m) and Chris Basham (£4.6m) are also ruled out.
Good news for opponents Southampton, who have been somewhat overlooked despite being the other team with two fixtures this Gameweek.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
RedLightning rounded-up the Community mini-leagues and competitions in a Hot Topic yesterday.
The February manager of the month in the Fantasy Football Scout Community Members mini-league was Alvin Chiang, who wins a £50 Amazon voucher.
Alvin totalled 491 points between Gameweeks 22 to 26 with scores of 93, 69, 108 (Wildcard), 99 and 122 (Triple Captain Richarlison). Please email Geoff to claim your prize.
The Head-to-Head fixtures for Gameweek 27 can be found below.
The scores and tables should now be updating on the Head-to-Head Leagues main page every night, so you can keep track of the action as the Gameweek unfolds.
May your arrows be green!
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