Double gameweeks. Managers prioritising Europe. There’s a lot to consider for fantasy football managers in gameweek 29.
No-one likes bringing in a player who is then left on the bench, especially not at this stage of the season where you are running out of time to close the gap and win the league.
Who should you be picking and who should you be leaving out? BBC Sport has taken a look at some of the options.
|This gameweek’s Premier League fixtures (all times GMT)|
|Saturday, 7 March: Liverpool v Bournemouth (12:30), Arsenal v West Ham, Crystal Palace v Watford, Sheffield United v Norwich City, Southampton v Newcastle, Wolves v Brighton (all 15:00), Burnley v Tottenham (17:30)|
|Sunday, 8 March: Chelsea v Everton (14:00), Manchester United v Manchester City (16:30)|
|Monday, 9 March: Leicester City v Aston Villa (20:00)|
|Wednesday, 11 March: Manchester City v Arsenal (19:30)|
Who do I go for in the Manchester derby?
It is a double gameweek for Manchester City but before you rush to add the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero to your team, there are a few things to consider.
First, the games are against Manchester United and then Arsenal. Pep Guardiola’s side then play Burnley before missing a gameweek because of their participation in the FA Cup quarter-finals (unless the game against Chelsea gets rearranged for that week), so if you are looking to bring in a player for the next few weeks a City player may not be the best option.
De Bruyne is a doubt for the Manchester derby with a back injury that he sustained in the Blues’ Carabao Cup final success last weekend. With the Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid on the horizon, Guardiola will be wary of bringing back his star midfielder too quickly.
If the double gameweek is too much to resist then Aguero may be your man. He’s scored 22 goals in the league against City’s next three opponents and the striker is now just one goal behind Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the quest for a second golden boot.
One thing to be wary of though, Guardiola played without a striker during the Carabao Cup semi-final at Old Trafford so do not be surprised if the Spaniard pulls another surprise on Sunday.
Manchester United face Tottenham in the league after the derby, before also missing a gameweek due to Sheffield United being in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
One person that everyone will be looking to add is Bruno Fernandes. He’s got two goals and two assists in the league and another strike in Europe since his January move from Sporting Lisbon. The midfielder may become one of those players that you just have to add to your team to come up with others.
Bring in the Wolves?
Despite having five games in the next 16 days Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo rarely makes any significant changes to his side.
Even though they face Olympiakos in the Europa League last-16 in the next two weeks, their next four Premier League games are against relegation-threatened Brighton (H), West Ham (A), Bournemouth (H) and Aston Villa (A).
While those four sides are fighting for their lives at the bottom, Wolves are only three points off a Champions League spot meaning Nuno’s side still have plenty to fight for.
Who should you be looking to bring in? Well, if you want a striker Diogo Jota is in red hot form after scoring six goals in his last four games in all competitions. Raul Jimenez is always worth considering too, his 13 Premier League goals this season have been worth 16 points to Wolves – no other player’s strikes have been as valuable to their teams this season.
If you’re looking to strengthen at the other end of the pitch then Matt Doherty may be your man. In the past four gameweeks the right-back has one goal, two assists and three clean sheets. He also scored and set up two goals against Espanyol in Europe.
He’s also had league-high shots and shots on target by defenders in that time.
Time to avoid Spurs?
After Wednesday’s FA Cup defeat on penalties against Norwich, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said he needed to speak to the club about whether to prioritise Saturday’s game against Burnley or their Champions League last-16 second leg against RB Leipzig.
The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss strongly hinted that he would prefer to prioritise the Champions League, saying: “for the boys to have a chance to fight Tuesday for a Champions League position they just can’t play on Saturday.” Which means a number of his first-choice players may not feature at Turf Moor.
He said the forward players in particular may not play but behind “they have got options”, so the likes of Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn may all not feature.
He also said Harry Winks was “completely dead”, so he is likely to miss out too.
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The north London side have only kept two clean sheets in 14 games in 2020 too so it may be best to avoid their defensive players like Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, where Mourinho likes to shuffle from game-to-game anyway.
Who else to consider…
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored in all five of his Premier League appearances against Bournemouth, netting seven goals in total. He’s also scored 87% of his league goals at home this season (13/15).
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one goal away from his 50th Premier League strike. Arsenal have scored at least three goals in 12 of their last 16 Premier League games.
- Troy Deeney has been directly involved in eight goals in his last 11 Premier League games (6 goals, 2 assists), though the Watford captain hasn’t scored in consecutive league matches since March 2018.
- Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson has kept nine clean sheets in his 26 Premier League games this season. If he keeps Norwich at bay in this match, he’ll be the 11th keeper to reach double figures under the age of 23, and the fourth English keeper to do so after Joe Hart, Scott Carson and Jack Butland.
- Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso has been directly involved in six goals (four goals and two assists) in just 769 minutes of Premier League action this season, averaging a goal involvement every 128 minutes; only Michy Batshuayi (113 minutes) and Tammy Abraham (122) have been involved in a Chelsea goal more frequently.
- Everton’s Richarlison has been directly involved in three goals in five Premier League games against Chelsea (2 goals, 1 assist), finding the net in his last two against them.
- Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho has been directly involved in eight goals in his last five appearances against Aston Villa in all competitions, scoring six goals and assisting two.
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