Gameweek 28 was anything but straightforward to predict as the average points for the Fantasy Premier League manager went down to 49 points. Ederson emerged as the highest points gatherer for managers; indeed the Manchester City man became the first goalkeeper to top the charts in a week this season with 15 points.
As Manchester City rolled Arsenal over at the Emirates, Emre Can, Romelu Lukaku and Dwight Gayle earned their owners good points elsewhere in the Premier League.
Leroy, the super differential
The German machine marked his Premier League comeback from injury in style, notching up a goal and an assist against Arsenal in their own backyard. Sane climbed back into the top ten scoring midfielders for this season, becoming only the third man behind Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez to notch eight goals and eight assists to his name.
It must be noted that Sane has the least number of minutes to his name in the top 10, 1,632, with only Eden Hazard’s 1,680 coming close to the action that the winger has seen.
With Raheem Sterling partially fit and having missed the Arsenal game, it feels like a safer bet to shift to his teammate, Sane, who would also be cheaper at 8.4. Given Guardiola’s tendency to rotate keeping the Champions League in mind, and the German having missed a significant chunk of game time aside, Sane is criminally under-rated. Only Hazard has a lower ownership than the ex-Schalke man (8.1%).
Kevin De Bruyne rightfully remains City’s beating heart but Sane, and not Sterling, is Pep’s Golden Boy.
Stoke’s saviour Shaqiri
If Sane barged into the top 10, another man remains at the door, poised to displace Dele Alli, who frankly has been underwhelming this season. FPL owners have a love-hate relationship with Xherdan Shaqiri, but his role in a woeful Stoke City side cannot be dismissed.
Shaqiri only registered a single assist during gameweeks 16-25 but the Swiss midfielder has come roaring back into form, netting a goal in each of Stoke’s last three games and three of the Potters’ last four goals.
Stoke’s difficult run-in makes it a tough choice for managers, but this is a side battling relegation and is unbeaten in their last five games, coinciding with Shaqiri’s good form. His return of seven goals and six assists is his best ever in the Premier League, but he will have to surpass that if Stoke are to overcome the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
Weekly picks: Riyad Mahrez, Ben Davies, Daryl Janmaat
Mahrez’s 90 minutes against Stoke was the first time he completed a game since handing in a transfer request but the Algerian looked sharp for Leicester City, who look to welcome Bournemouth to the King Power. Still potentially looking for a move away in the summer, Mahrez will look to cash in on his opportunities that he is still worth a big-money deal.
He hasn’t quite hit the highs of 2015-16 but eight goals and 10 assists isn’t too shabby a return for a team which sits eighth. After going five starts without a clean sheet, Ben Davies has been part of a Tottenham defence, keeping seven clean sheets in his last nine. Davies also has six assists to his name and with Harry Kane in front of him, the Welshman will fancy a goal contribution or two.
While Huddersfield at home should not pose that big of a threat, another man who will also look to shut the opposition out is Dutchman Daryl Janmaat. Watford face West Bromwich Albion at Vicarage Road and the right-back’s goal against Chelsea was followed by a clean sheet against Everton as Javi Garcia brings in his organisational skills to the Hornet’s defence.
Lukaku for the armband?
It has rarely been the case this season, but Salah, Kane and Sergio Aguero may have a challenge for the armband this week and it comes in the shape of Romelu Lukaku. Up away to Crystal Palace, who have let in the second highest number of shots and are only behind West Brom in the league, the Belgian may not have to look too far for his goal after his strike against Chelsea.
Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, all good captaincy picks, host Newcastle at Anfield as Rafael Benitez will hope Jamaal Lascelles and Co can keep their heads above water against the fearsome trio. The Egyptian, as usual, is the obvious choice for the armband, incredibly having bagged his 13th double-digit score for the season against West Ham United.
For those not keeping score, Salah is on course to break the 300-point barrier and already has 227 in 28 gameweeks. Huddersfield at home sounds like a Harry Kane fixture and you would be brave to bet against a quick two or three goals for the Englishman at the lane.
Manchester City face Chelsea at the Etihad in the weekend’s marquee clash but the Sky Blue juggernaut just keeps rolling on as the leaders have accrued a possible 75 out of 84 points. With qualification for the Champions League quarters all but sealed up, Aguero, Sane, De Bruyne and David Silva might be in no mood to let up just yet.
Updated Date: Mar 03, 2018 10:04 AM