This past weekend saw some significant outcomes in both the title race and relegation fight. All of Leicester City, Leeds United, Southampton, Everton, and Nottingham Forest suffered defeats, which hurt their hopes of making it out of the Premier League. With a draw against Liverpool, Arsenal dropped points for the first time in seven games at the opposite end of the standings.
How does it affect your Fantasy Premier League squad, though? The key lessons from Gameweek 30 are listed below.
Although Manchester United easily defeated Everton, the main story from this game was the injury to Marcus Rashford (£7.3m). The forward was withdrawn in the 80th minute of Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Everton at Old Trafford and immediately headed to the dressing room for treatment. He is among one of the most owned players in the league. Although the length of his absence has not been specified, if it turns out to be a groin injury as anticipated, he may be sidelined for at least a few weeks. If that’s the case, we’ll need to consider alternatives and considerations as to we should hold him or not.
The latest update on his injury doesn’t give us any timeline for his return:
“Subsequent assessment of the injury suggested that Marcus will be unavailable for a few games, but is expected to be back for the season run-in.
“A few games. That’s the statement. So I can’t give more details of it because we don’t know, we have to see how it develops, the injury.” – Erik ten Hag on Marcus Rashford
“Of course, it’s a setback and he’s disappointed, but he’s not totally broke because he knows he will return quickly and so he’s optimistic. He’s started straight on his recovery and his rehab, so that helps to get back soon.” – Erik ten Hag
Now this leaves the managers in a very tricky situation. Manchester United face NFO(A) in GW31, blank in GW32, TOT(A) in GW33 and play AVL(H) and BHA(A) both in GW34.
For managers without a Freehit, it’s pretty straightforward to replace Rashford as he blanks in GW32. Ones with Wildcard left and aiming to use it in GW 33, replacing Rashford will be ideal.
But for managers with a freehit left and those aiming to use it in GW32, selling Rashford can be tricky. DGW 34 is a juicy fixture for Manchester United and Rashford is their main talisman. If he is fit by then managers will only have to use their bench in GW31 and GW33 which is manageable. But if he doesn’t get fit by then, holding him can prove costly. A major point to note here for such managers is that if they don’t use their free transfer this week, and freehit in GW32, they will burn one transfer. So, it is imperative for them to use one transfer.
Top replacement options:
Before we get into replacements, I feel it’s important to note that a few midfielders are must-haves in any FPL team.
Atleast two of the three Brighton midfielders (Solly March (£5.2m), Kaoru Mitoma (£5.6m), or Alexis Mac Allister (£5.5m)), even though they have a blank GW32. Point to note for the Brighton mids is that they still have 2 more fixtures as compared to any other team for the rest of the season.
Mohammad Salah (£12.8m) is absolutely necessary going ahead with him playing more attacking and Liverpool having easiest run of fixtures for the rest of the season. So, if your team doesn’t have these players already, then one of them should be a priority transfer for Rashford.
If yes, then below are the best replacement options:
He has two goals and two assists in the previous two games and a total of five goals and eight assists during the season. He has now started City’s past 11 games, and he is now producing his finest performance since joining the team. We are aware that Pep Guardiola likes to switch up his lineup and that his players are frequently subject to arbitrary benchings, but we also know that he selects players who are doing well and who are in his good graces, which is where Grealish now stands. Since Gameweek 17, he has scored the most goals (four) of all City’s midfielders and also has the second-best xGI (anticipated goal involvements; 7.36) behind only Kevin De Bruyne (£12.1m). Grealish is the preferred City midfielder because to his goals, assists, and regular playing time. Grealish looks to be a definite starting, with Guardiola sticking to players in strong form.
Gabriel Martinelli (£6.7m)
Over the previous six gameweeks, Martinelli has been among the league’s top performers. He leads the comparison for FPL points per game (8.7), goals (0.9), shots on target (SoT) (1.3), and “big chances” (1.0). Despite Jesus’ return to the starting XI, his minutes (87.1) have been steady as well, and it is impossible to imagine Trossard ever replacing him. Despite a favourable matchup against Southampton in blank gameweek 32, Arsenal is listed in the bottom five for fixture difficulty over the following six gameweeks, as seen in the graphic below from our fixture planner tool. As a result, for anybody intending to Free Hit next gameweek, he may not be the greatest choice.
Michael Olise (£5.4m)
Under Hodgson, Olise is blossoming and registered three assists in their match against Leeds. Although he has the lowest shooting volume (1.6) in the comparison, Mahrez (2.7) is his closest competitor in terms of attempted assists (2.0), and none of the other contenders have more assists per game (0.4) than he has. Palace is ranked fourth for Fixture Difficulty during the next six gameweeks, as the picture below from our Fixture Planner illustrates, with appealing matchups against Southampton, Everton, Wolves, West Ham, and Bournemouth over that time. He is a fantastic facilitator to free up money for improvements elsewhere because he is substantially less expensive (5.4) than the other players in the comparison.
– Bruno Fernandes (£9.6m) has been a well-liked option. However, he has started the previous two games as a defensive midfielder, which is bad for his chances in FPL. In his previous five games, he failed to record a single offensive run. If you own the Portuguese playmaker, I wouldn’t worry since Fernandes should switch back to an offensive position now that Casemiro (£4.9m) has completed his ban and Christian Eriksen (£6.2m) is well again. When Eriksen came in against Everton, we did see Fernandes assume a more advanced position. If you own Fernandes, be patient with him because Manchester United has Nottingham Forest coming up before a double in Gameweek 34.
– The person to aim for is still Mohamed Salah (£12.8m). Liverpool’s 2-2 tie with Arsenal was the most exciting game of the weekend. The narrative of the home team’s season is how strong they were offensively yet how weak they were defensively. Despite Mohamed Salah’s missed penalty, I would still be looking to add him for the upcoming weeks. He was quite unlucky not to receive more points. He took 10 shots, produced one significant opportunity, and racked up an xG of 2.2, which is a game-high for him. For both him and his owners, the sheer volume of chances he is experiencing is energising. With games against Leeds (A) and Nottingham Forest (H), then a double in Gameweek 34 vs Tottenham (H) and Fulham (H), he is worth purchasing. He scored 13 goals and provided eight assists despite having his worst season to date for Liverpool. With 166 points, he is the fourth-highest scoring midfielder in the game, only nine points behind Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m), who is at the top of the midfielder points table. No matter how bad Liverpool has been, the Egyptian always manages to rack up points.
– Erling Haaland ($12.2 million) scored twice in his first game back from injury after just 68 minutes of action. Since City blanked in Gameweek 28 and were without him (due to injury) against Liverpool in Gameweek 29, many FPL managers would have sold the Norwegian. It goes without saying that now is the ideal opportunity to get him back in if you are one of the managers who doesn’t own him, especially with a home match against struggling Leicester coming up. He also the best captaincy option.