Fantasy Premier League: The challenge of fielding a side with four teams out of action

Fantasy Premier League: The challenge of fielding a side with four teams out of action
There are four teams not playing this Gameweek
There are four teams not playing this Gameweek
How did you do in the double-header? Erling Haaland on the triple captaincy seemingly panned out, although we probably expected more than 10 points. The lineups fielded by both Manchester City and Liverpool were also slightly different to what we all expected.

Nathan Ake (5.1) was almost a certainty to play in both games but against Brentford he sat on the bench. Kevin De Bruyne (10.8) was also expected to lead Manchester City in both matches but he was unused in the second fixture for fear of injury.

Diogo Jota (8.3) was expected to have certain minutes in Liverpool's matches, however, the Portuguese forward suffered an injury in the first half of the first game. Not to mention Darwin Nunez (7.6) and Mohamed Salah (13.0), who were both out of the matchday squad in the second game.

Why do we all put ourselves through this year after year?

A struggle without two matches

Of course, we enter the new round with fresh smiles on our faces and new aspirations. But before you get too excited, make sure you don't have two goalkeepers from Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Luton and that you don't have more than three outfield players from those teams in your squad.

This is the scenario I have been preparing you for over the last two weeks!

If you break at least one of those two rules, you have a bit of a problem before this round. That is because you won't be playing a full squad in this game unless you make do with a transfer.

Sunday's League Cup final at Wembley will pit Liverpool and Chelsea against each other, and because of this, these teams will not play their matches against Luton and Tottenham in the Premier League.

Premier League fixtures this weekend (Liverpool's win was part of the prior Gameweek)

Only 16 Premier League teams will be up for battle this round and if we don't want to take away our chances of a better result, we should use players from those teams when putting together our line-ups. 

Who to captain?

Fortunately, one of the 'excluded' teams is not Manchester City. It is within the team of the defending champions that we look most often for our captains and this time we will do the same with some confidence. The only problem is that the list of these candidates will probably end with one name.

We are, of course, talking about Haaland (14.4), who against Brentford returned to scoring goals in the Premier League and is still dangerous.

Theoretically, there is a risk that the Norwegian will be rested in this round, knowing that he has been playing a lot recently and City have a very busy schedule. However, there are no rumours to confirm such concerns, so there is unlikely to be anything to worry about.

Of Guardiola's players, the other natural choice is Phil Foden (8.1), who has been scoring very well lately, but also logic would suggest that he may end up on the subs bench sooner rather than later for some rest. Don't take any chances with De Bruyne instead. The Belgian is still suffering from a slight injury and who knows if he will miss a game again, as he did against Brentford.

However, if anyone doesn't have Haaland or isn't going to pick anyone from Manchester City as captain, they need to look at slightly less 'spectacular' candidates. 

So you could try two names - Ollie Watkins (8.7) will play against Nottingham at Villa Park and is owned by a number of players in the game. The other option is Rasmus Hojlund (7.2), with Manchester United taking on Fulham. The Dane is scoring like crazy and hardly anyone has him in their Fantasy Premier League lineup, although he picked up an injury and is a doubt this week.

Who to buy?

Rasmus Hojlund - The Dane has been in terrific form recently and lands in my recommended players section for the second time in a row. He has scored a goal in four straight appearances, but last weekend he went one step further and scored as many as two goals. He has caught the typical striker's streak and doesn't want to break it. 

Pascal Gross (6.5) - The German is obviously a very niche option, but he offers great value in the game. His Brighton side will play against Burnley, and any team playing against one of the weakest rivals in the league in a round like this is at a premium. Furthermore, Gross is one of the few Seagulls players to have a secured spot in the line-up, Roberto De Zerbi hardly ever changes him and the German makes a lot of solid passages of play. 

Pedro Neto (5.7) - Wolves' offensive player has been in this section in the past, and is now back for reasons similar to those of the Brighton player. Wolves play at home against Sheffield United at the weekend and nothing happens in Gary O'Neil's team's offensive game without Neto's knowledge.

He has returned three times in the last four rounds and, although they were small scores, we are hoping for a good performance from him against one of the worst teams in the Premier League. Unlike Gross, Neto has a pretty good calendar and may well get into our lineup for longer.

Radim Horak (one of the best Czechs playing in the Fantasy Premier League)

Hee-Chan Hwang (5.5) - Of Wolves' offensive three, I pick Hwang, who in the absence of Matheus Cunha (5.7) should start the match in the number nine position, plus he should take penalty kicks. Personally, I prefer him to Neto, whose stats are comparable, but the Korean has more potential in assists.

Leon Bailey (5.6) - The eyes of those who want to use their chips on another occasion should in turn be on Aston Villa. They are one of six teams that will definitely be playing in the 29th round, the shape of which we won't know until after the next round of the FA Cup.

Bailey's slight disadvantage is his playing time, team rotation and susceptibility to injury. However, whenever he appears in the first team, he has excellent numbers. Douglas Luiz (5.5) is at a similar price level but scores his points mainly from penalty kicks. After all, Aston Villa face Nottingham Forest at home and should prove their class.

Dominic Solanke (6.9) - it's not often that I feature a striker here who is playing in the next round against Manchester City. I will, however, make an exception for Solanke. After all, he will be playing at Turf Moor against Burnley in the next round and still has a double-header with games against Sheffield and Luton. Then Solanke will be a hot commodity in FPL.


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