The first thing to make sure everyone is aware of this week is that six teams aren’t playing so there is no point choosing players from Arsenal, Aston Villa, Hull, Liverpool, QPR and Sunderland. I doubt that many of you hold players from Villa, QPR or Sunderland but for those of you with players from the other three teams here’s my advice.
Arsenal – No game this week followed by a game against Chelsea? When other teams have a double game week in week 34? Drop ‘em like they’re hot.
Hull – Whilst there’s not much for you to like about Hull, they do play twice in week 34 however it’s against Crystal Palace and Liverpool. Two chances to take negative points?
Liverpool – The only team I think it’s worth keeping hold of (assuming you can afford to move players to your bench). They play West Brom and Hull in week 34 so you’d be looking to buy them next week anyway. I have Sterling and Coutinho in my team but I don’t see how I can hold them both at a combined cost of 23.27 – I’ll probably just keep Sterling.
In a week when there’s 30% less games you’d expect a bit of a drought on goalkeeper choices but the system bring a torrent - three make the cut when they’re assessed for chances of success and value for money:
Hart – If you held Hart last week then a/ you’re feeling disappointed and b/ you probably don’t understand how to choose your goalkeeper depending on their fixture. This week Hart faces West Ham and costs just 5.29m after he dropped a whopping 4.71m last week. He’s not the most consistent but West Ham have scored just three away goals in their last five matches. They’ve also lost at City every season back to 2007/2008.
Speroni – I remember a few months ago suggesting Speroni and many managers scoffing (before he returned twice his price). This week he makes the cut and although I very much doubt he’ll keep a clean sheet I don’t see any other result but a Palace win. He hasn’t scored loads week in, week out, but he should cover his paltry 5.93m cost.
Howard – Oh my god, I don’t think I can do it. The bookmakers make Howard nearly a 50% chance to keep a clean sheet and he costs just 4.21 so he seems a bargain. At home to Burnley who failed to score in their last two he could be worth a chance but….he’s….not. I’m over-ruling the system. Howard has conceded 37 goals in just 26 games and Burnley are in a relegation fight so avoid, there’s better options.
The lack of games makes for a much smaller range of great picks this week but I find the fact that it gives West Brom just a 12% chance of success reassuring. If I had to choose any team this week to back, they would be the ones. Unfortunately some great players, such as Bolasie, have gone up on price by nearly £5m, although I’m not convinced that £14.74 is a bad price.
The predictor also fancies Everton and City so I would focus on players like Jedinak, Bolasie, Murray, Pienaar, Lukaku, Baines and Aguero.
A rather depleted looking spreadsheet this time unfortunately, at least you guys get an idea of what I start with every week! To my mind the interesting match shows Chelsea as favourites against United which, considering the Costa injury and United’s form, is debatable. Newcastle vs Spurs looks to have 1-1 written all over it although I’m starting to hope for a resurgent Kane. Anyone backing less than 2.5 goals in the Leicester vs Swansea match look set for success and finally, Crsytal Palace look to have a better than even chance with 54% of the results going to 0-0,1-0,2-0,3-0 and 4-0.
That’s it for this week – I’ll leave you with a question. It is very rare for a team to have a higher average away goals than at home but two teams have managed it this season – Chelsea are the first team but which other team makes home teams defenders quake in their boots?