There are no Premier League fixtures this weekend because of the FA Cup 4th round – but fear not! The league returns on Tuesday and Wednesday next week with a full round of fixtures including a clash at Wembley between Tottenham and Manchester United which could have major implications for the Champions League places. Given the potential for injuries and cards in the weekend cup games you’ll need to double check your fantasy squad’s availability before finalising your team, but with that one caveat in mind, here are five top picks for your FPL selection next week, courtesy of our friends at Armchair Fancast – the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!
- Cesar Azpilicueta (CHE, £7.0): Chelsea’s defensive impenetrability continued last weekend, with their 4-0 rout of Brighton marking their sixth clean sheet in seven league games. With a home game against Bournemouth up next, any of their starting defenders are therefore a solid choice – but we’ve gone with Azpilicueta, who was exceptional in the reverse fixture between these two teams in October and picked up 2 bonus points in the process. Bournemouth haven’t scored a single away goal against any of the league’s “Big 6” so far this season, and that record will likely continue on Wednesday.
- James Tomkins (CRY, £4.4): We know, we know, Palace were horrendous defensively against Arsenal last week, but hear us out: before that game they had only conceded once in three matches, including the memorable goalless draw with Man City. Roy Hodgson will have been drilling his defence relentlessly since last week’s embarrassment, and their opponents on Tuesday are a West Ham side who will almost certainly be without both Lanzini and Arnautovic, who are injured. Having netted against Arsenal over Christmas, Tomkins’ attacking threat edges him ahead of the rest in the Eagles back line, and as an added bonus he’s ridiculously cheap at £4.4.
- Riyadh Mahrez (LEI, £8.7): Leicester visit an Everton side on Wednesday that has failed to win its last three home games, while the Foxes themselves have two wins and a draw so far in 2018. A major reason for that surge in form is Mahrez, who has averaged over 8 points in those three games. The Algerian already has 10 assists this season, one of which came against Everton when the two teams last met in the autumn. He also has 8 league goals, and is showing the kind of attacking menace that helped guide his team to the league title in 2016.
- Alexis Sanchez (MUN, £11.7): This just feels like it’s written in the stars: Arsenal’s best player of the past four years has his league debut for his new team against Spurs. Granted, the Chilean superstar has had a quiet season so far at Arsenal, but expect him to be rejuvenated and with a point to prove under the Wembley arch on Wednesday evening. Obviously this pick is a risk because it’s entirely possible that he won’t immediately find a way to integrate smoothly into his new surroundings, but if things click quickly then there could be big trouble for Pochettino’s men.
- Jordan Ayew (SWA, £5.1): Swansea might still be bottom of the league but they are on a high after that win over Liverpool on Monday, and next they have another chance to produce an upset in front of their home fans when Arsenal visit. Ayew has been scoring once every two games since Christmas, comfortably putting him in the top ten strikers in the league’s form chart, and he’s produced the best points return of any attacker this season under £7.0, yet only 7% of players have him in their squads.
Author: Dave Bradshaw