With a 58-point average, Gameweek 23 was a very productive one for those who had kept the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Son Heung-Min and Manuel Lanzini from the double gameweek of Week 22.
Gameweek 24 represents a different challenge as owners look at several injury concerns and some winter transfers which could potentially prove profitable.
Antonio Valencia: An useful alternative to Marcos Alonso
After a few weeks out with injury, everyone’s favourite Ecuadorian is back to doing what he does best; make rampaging runs and score goals as he opened the scoring in Manchester United’s 3-0 over Stoke City.
For his goal and clean sheet, Valencia was awarded 15 points. It is telling that despite his injury, he is still the season’s fourth-highest scoring defender after Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and Nicolas Otamendi.
Jose Mourinho won’t be the only one to welcome him back as FPL owners will look to exploit a potentially easy trip to Turf Moor as United face Burnley, who haven’t won in seven games. Before being ruled out for the last four games, Valencia’s returns in his last five games read 7, 6, 1, 8, 1, 8.
John Stones and City’s defensive problems
Pep Guardiola loves his ball-playing centre-half to bits. According to the Manchester City manager, Stones deserves a place in his line-up because he has big b***s.
News for you, Pep: it ain’t going so well for the FPL community who own a City defender or two. Stones’ return has coincided with defensive calamity and no clean sheets in the last four, including four conceded at Liverpool.
Stones has been personally culpable of three errors leading to goals in his last three games and that has affected Otamendi and Kyle Walker owners as well. Against Liverpool, the City defence, Ederson included, looked shaky and almost everyone played a hand in gifting the opposition a goal.
They welcome Newcastle, who shouldn’t pose a stern challenge, but nonetheless, those choosing to err on the side of precaution are advised to wait for the ‘Calamity Stones’ phase to pass before investing in a City defender.
Son, Albrighton, Pogba, Arnautovic: The midfield differentials
This column has advocated signing Marko Arnautovic since Gameweek 19 and owners have been rewarded handsomely in that time as the Austrian was the highest point scorer last week with 16.
Racking up 52 points in his last five appearances on account of five goals and three assists mean that the Austrian is in the form of his life and only behind Harry Kane and Mo Salah in the FPL form charts.
The South Korean Son crossed 100 points for the season last week, a remarkable achievement considering that he is not a guaranteed starter for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Teammate Dele Alli has two goals and five assists in his last five matches, meaning that the 20-year-old is returning back to his best form.
Paul Pogba is the engine that makes United tick and it comes as no surprise to see him rack up assist after assist, while Marc Albrighton represents a cheaper option to Riyad Mahrez, both Leicester wingers enjoying a fine run of form.
Captaincy picks: Aguero’s your man
Sergio Aguero has an incredible record against Newcastle and he scored five goals in one match against them in 2015-16. The Argentine will be desperate to bounce back from the disappointing show that he put up in his side’s 4-3 loss to Liverpool and can be tipped to fire against the Magpies.
While Raheem Sterling presents a credible alternative against the same opponents, two familiar faces, Kane and Salah are expected to have many takers, given the nature of their opponents.
Kane and Tottenham come up against a struggling Southampton side, where Son could also be potential captain material. Liverpool face bottom-placed Swansea, whose struggles have been well-documented. Salah could blaze a couple here, as could Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino.
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Updated Date: Jan 20, 2018 11:28:38 IST