Fantasy Premier League: Wildcard a necessity with absentees and injuries?


Fantasy Premier League: Wildcard a necessity with absentees and injuries?

Are you using Wildcard in this round?
Are you using Wildcard in this round?Flashscore
We are entering a really complicated time in the Fantasy Premier League season. December was a busy one with a flurry of gameweeks, and January will be complicated by the absence of many matches. Will you need to play your wildcard?

This time we won't start with the captain's selection, because to get to the captain's selection, you first have to get all the facts in order. There really is a lot going on, and a lot of things that will make life difficult for FPL managers. 

A gameweek that lasts two weeks

Ahead of us is the first gameweek of the season that stretches over two weeks. This is because the players have so many matches to play in December that they simply need a rest in January. 10 teams will therefore compete this weekend and another 10 the following weekend. This gives each team extra days of rest and allows fans to enjoy watching the best league in the world without interruption.

The way this affects FPL is that the opening match of the round will take place tonight, and we will have to confirm our squads before it starts. The last game of the round will be played 11 days later and we will no longer be able to change anything, the line-ups will be set. A lot can happen in that amount of time, of course, and we have to try to prepare for that.

Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup

A pivotal moment in this period, however, is the continental tournaments in the middle of the European season. For this reason, a number of players, led by Mohamed Salah (13.2) and Heung-Min Son (9.8), will be off to the camps of their national teams. Because of this, they will be unavailable to their clubs for several weeks and will not provide us with points.

Of course, the logical scenario is to sell such players, especially if we are talking about the leaders of our squads. For this reason, the number of players that have sold Salah has already exceeded two million, and in the case of the Korean, it is also approaching this number. Here we have a very important decision to make because there are not many obvious replacements for the pair, meaning managers will be making different choices. 


Not only are several players leaving for Africa and Asia and FPL players losing valuable transfers to get rid of them from their squads, but of course this has coincided with a small spike of injuries in the Premier League, which are also hitting our squads.

In the last few days alone, it has emerged that Trent Alexander-Arnold (8.5) and Jarrod Bowen (8.1) have been struggling with injuries. The Liverpool player has regained his best form in recent weeks and has been massively owned by FPL players despite his high price tag. Now many managers are faced with the difficult decision of selling the Englishman, who was after all a certainty for the squad.

The situation is similar with Bowen, whose injury is rather mysterious - it is unclear whether he will miss one or perhaps three league rounds. It's another problem for many players, after all he has been West Ham's leader in recent times.


All of the above means that there is a huge amount of movement in the transfer market. With many struggling to complete a playing 11, lots of players will probably opt to use the Wildcard. Think about this option, but use it wisely. 

Remember that there is only one Wildcard left until the end of the season, which could get you into a lot of trouble if you get rid of it too early. On the other hand - if you have a lot of problems, they should be solved be playing the chip.

The most bought player this week is Cole Palmer (5.7), who for many players will probably be a replacement for Salah or Son. However, the front-runners also include Alexander-Arnold or Bowen, who have only just suffered injuries, and Kevin De Bruyne (10.3), who has played 22 minutes in the league this season and recently returned to action in the FA Cup. Also high is the returning left-back Pervis Estupinian (5.0).

Instead, among the most sold players are representatives of their African and Asian countries. The number of transfers being made, however, shows that there will be a lot of Wildcards and minus points in the line-ups. This option is also worth thinking about. Losing four or eight points will hurt in one round, of course, but could prove to be the best solution in the long run. 

And don't forget Erling Haaland (13.9)...

Who to captain?

Obviously, the Norwegian can't be considered a leading candidate for the armband, as he hasn't played football for several weeks. However, it is possible that he will be back in action this weekend in the match against Newcastle. You have to listen carefully to Pep Guardiola's press conference today and, of course, consider last season's goalscoring king in any transfer moves.

Saka is one solution, but let's agree, the Englishman has not been at his sparkling best this season. Moreover, the Gunners are on a run of three defeats in a row. Of course, Saka can quite easily achieve a double-digit haul against Crystal Palace, but it is unlikely in the current situation.

Other logical choices are Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins (8,9). At a time when the leaders of the top teams in the Premier League are unavailable these are their most worthy replacements at the moment. Chelsea play at home against Fulham, while Aston Villa play away against Everton. Obviously both are not a guarantee of points, but they look like the best solution to the situation.

Who to buy?

Kevin De Bruyne (10.3) - buying the Belgian is obviously risky, as he is only just coming back from several months of injury, but it is nevertheless a decent option. A week ago, the Manchester City midfielder got half an hour in a cup match. It is unclear when he will return to the starting line-up, but no one needs to be reminded of the Belgian's skills and abilities.

Pervis Estupinan (5.0) - Brighton's left-back has already returned from injury and is impressing with his spectacu;ar goals. In the meeting with Tottenham he showed off his goalscoring ability from outside the penalty area, and in the FA Cup against Stoke he repeated this feat with a strike from distance. Given that he is, after all, a defender, he is a treasure for any FPL player. If you get the chance, buy Estupinan, as Brighton's calender in the next few weeks is also very encouraging.

Joao Pedro (5.4) - up until a certain point in the season we had several strikers in the Seagulls' team who were rotated and none of them had a secure place in the squad. Now the Brazilian is emerging as the leader of this formation, leaving Evan Ferguson (5.9) and Danny Welbeck (5.7) behind. He recently scored a double against Tottenham, while he also scored in the FA Cup. His price and Brighton's schedule are the best arguments for turning towards him.

Radim Horák (one of the best Czechs playing in FPL)

Richarlison (6.9) - following the departure of Salah and Son for their national team matches, FPL players have to decide who will replace them. Following Bowen's injury, one of the main candidates for this spot is Richarlison. The Brazilian has scored as many goals as the West Ham midfielder in his last five games.

Tottenham have recently acquired Timo Werner (6.5), who may take some minutes away from Richarlison, but I don't expect that any time soon. At the same time, it's worth remembering that James Maddison (7.8) is slowly returning to training and I'm counting on him to help Richarlison catch even more points.

Ivan Toney (7,9) - the virtually forgotten leader of the Brentford attack. Ivan Toney is back in action after serving a suspension for a match betting violation and will be available for the match against Nottingham Forest. The question remains as to what condition he is in at the moment, but I believe that given the team's recent results, he will be back in the starting line-up.

That he is still a great striker was confirmed in the behind-closed-doors match against Southampton reserves when he scored a hat-trick. Of course, there are a lot of question marks hanging over his name, but he's a great difference maker in the attacking line, so if you like that style of play, he's someone to look out for.


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