We are an affiliate
Newsatw.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Don’t get caught out by Tuesday’s 18:00 GMT deadline before the round of midweek Premier League matches in gameweek 22, but long-term planning is crucial in any decisions we now make on transfers.
We already know Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Luton don’t have a fixture in gameweek 26 due to Liverpool playing Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final.
It’s yet to be confirmed but that may well mean Liverpool v Luton moves into gameweek 25, giving both clubs a double gameweek along with Manchester City and Brentford.
And the draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup makes it highly likely that there are going to be lots of clubs who blank in gameweek 29 when the quarter-finals come around – at the moment there are only two guaranteed Premier League fixtures which are Burnley v Brentford and Fulham v Tottenham.
One of Arsenal v Chelsea or West Ham v Aston Villa will also go ahead depending on the outcome of the Aston Villa v Chelsea replay in the FA Cup fourth round.
So taking Liverpool as an example, you can see why we’d want three of their players in our squads for a potential double gameweek of Brentford (a) and Luton (h), but then there’s no fixture for them in gameweek 26, they face Manchester City at Anfield in gameweek 28 followed by another potential blank in gameweek 29 if they beat Watford or Southampton in the FA Cup.
The Free Hit chip could be useful to you if you’ve still got it, either to attack double gameweek 25 or cover yourself for the absences in gameweek 26 or 29, but I think I would rather save it for a double gameweek later in the season.
We may also want to use our Triple Captain chip in gameweek 25, particularly if Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah are back to full fitness by then.
My advice would be to play around with potential transfers and see what sort of line-ups you can get from gameweek 22 through to gameweek 29 before you push the button on any moves this week.
It depends what Pep Guardiola tells us about Haaland’s fitness this week, but unless he guarantees he’s going to start at home against Burnley I feel it’s too risky to give him the captain’s armband.
I’d say the same about Kevin de Bruyne, despite his 12-point haul as a substitute against Newcastle in gameweek 21, so if you want to go for a safer bet as a Manchester City captain then I would suggest Phil Foden or Julian Alvarez.
I don’t own either of those players so I’m tempted to bank a transfer and make Richarlison my skipper this week for Tottenham’s home game against Brentford.
Fixtures to target
Manchester City’s home game against Burnley is the obvious game to target, given the ominous form City have been showing since their return from the Fifa Club World Cup.
Jeremy Doku could be a daring differential selection if you don’t want to follow the crowd, and he always has the potential to go big as he proved with his 22 points against Bournemouth back in gameweek 11.
A City defender isn’t the worst shout for the long-term either. Kyle Walker would be the safest pick given he’s started every league game this season. Next I would say go for Nathan Ake, who offers that extra bit of goal-scoring potential as he proved by getting his third goal of the season in the FA Cup win at Tottenham.
At the time of writing, Ivan Toney’s ownership is still below 5% with Brentford away to Tottenham this week, who’ve only kept one clean sheet in their past 12 league games. He has the added bonus of a double gameweek 25 and we also know he definitely has a fixture in gameweek 29 when Brentford go to Burnley, so I don’t think he’ll be a differential for long.
I’ve already mentioned Doku, and I see Michael Olise has been declared fit for Crystal Palace’s home game against Sheffield United – if he can get back up to speed quickly then I really like him as a midfield differential too.
Gamble of the week
As I mentioned above, the big risk/reward play this week centres around what Guardiola has to tell us about the fitness of Haaland and the chances of De Bruyne starting in the home game against Burnley. Neither is likely to get the full 90 minutes, which puts me off, but if you’re prepared to back their undoubted ability then making them your captain could pay off handsomely.