Former FPL Champion and PlayON pro Tom Fenley breaks down three key fixtures from Gameweek 36 of the Barclay’s Premier League and tips the players he expects to shine this weekend.
Swansea v Liverpool 12:00
Francesco Guidolin must find a way to increase his player’s focus after back-to-back losses where they conceded seven goals while failing to score. Both defeats arrived on the road, however, and three consecutive 1-0 wins at the Liberty, the last against an in-form Chelsea, suggests we’ll see a better effort from the Welsh side this week.
Gylfi Sigurdsson continues to be the stand-out player, netting the winner in two of those recent home matches. The Icelander has scored 9 goals and picked up 2 assists since the start of 2016.
The early kick-off will not work in Liverpool’s favour after they played at Villareal on Thursday night, so a fourth successive clean sheet at home for the Swans is not unthinkable and Ashley William and co should also mop up plenty of clearance and interception points.
Due to their Europa League commitments, expect to see more rotation in the Liverpool ranks as Jurgen Klopp looks ahead to the second leg at Anfield. The Reds have been prolific away from home of late, scoring seventeen goals in six on the road and will be eager to get a result after losing for the first time in eight in all competitions.
After missing out entirely on Thursday night, Daniel Sturridge looks certain to lead the line in Wales and will be raring to show his manager made a mistake in dropping him. The rest of the team is less predictable, youngsters Sheyi Ojo and Jordan Ibe could be cheap if you’re willing to take a risk on the wingers, while James Milner’s 3 goals and 8 assists in twelve league appearances this year makes him a tempting prospect for inclusion.
Ashley Williams Defender Fpl 4.9, PlayON 7.8
Gylfi Sigurdsson Midfielder Fpl 7.2, PlayON 10.9
James Milner Midfielder Fpl 6.6, PlayON 9.6
Daniel Sturridge Forward Fpl 10.1, PlayON 12.6
Manchester United v Leicester City 14:05
Louis Van Gaal is unlikely to be fazed by the excitement surrounding Leicester’s potential title coronation at Old Trafford. The veteran manager will be concentrating on his team’s chances of finishing in the top four. Currently they trail both Arsenal and Manchester City by five points with game in hand over both.
United’s home form has been impressive, with six straight wins built on a solid defence that only conceded to Arsenal during that run. David De Gea and Chris Smalling have been the key components of that back-line and should be kept busy against the league leaders. Wayne Rooney’s withdrawal into midfield lessens his appeal with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford offering cheaper routes into the attack.
An extraordinary season for the Foxes could unbelievably culminate in winning the title at Old Trafford, a feat that appears more than plausible given their recent away form. Three successive wins to nil bodes well, and they’ve lost only twice on the road this campaign. They are however visiting the side with the most clean sheets (12) and least goals conceded (7) at home.
Jamie Vardy’s extended ban should provide Leonardo Ulloa a chance to add to three goals he’s netted over his last two outings. The Argentine is a slight doubt but is expected to start alongside Shinji Okazaki up front. In midfield N’golo Kante’s and Danny Drinkwater’s all rounder abilities suit the PlayON scoring matrix, both scored over 1500 points against Swansea last time out.
David De Gea Goalkeeper Fpl 5.9, PlayON 8
Anthony Martial Forward Fpl 7.6, PlayON 9.4
N’golo Kante Midfielder Fpl 5, PlayON 7.8
Leonardo Ulloa Forward Fpl 5.3, PlayON 8.3
Southampton v Manchester City
The Saints have recovered from a difficult festive period to record nine wins and just three losses in fifteen matches. While a European place is now improbable, Ronald Koeman’s side have shown they are capable of dispatching any team in the league at St Mary’s, with the 4-0 win over Arsenal earlier this term a particular highlight.
Shane Long’s man of the match performance at Villa Park delivered a second goal and brought his tally of assists to four in four appearances. Graziano Pelle was surprisingly rested against Aston Villa last time out, but remains in great form after scoring four goals and serving up three assists over his previous five outings.
Manchester City’s goalless draw at the Etihad against Real Madrid on Tuesday indicates how much their defence has improved of late having also only conceded three goals in eight league matches. It’s worth looking at Aleksander Kolarov, who has been rotating with Gael Clichy in the left-back berth. The Serbian has started the last four league ties, scoring a goal and providing two assists.
Sergio Aguero may be an expensive option but having scored in five consecutive league matches, including a hat-trick at Chelsea, the Argentine always had to be considered for selection. Kelichi Iheanacho could be a viable budget alternative, after the young striker netted twice against Stoke. He’s excelled in limited opportunities this term, scoring or assisting on average every 56 minutes in the league and cup. The Nigerian should get a run out here with David Silva and Yaya Toure side-lined and a trip to the Bernebeu coming up mid-week.
Dusan Tadic Midfielder Fpl 6.5, PlayON 10
Shane Long Forward Fpl 5.8, PlayON 8.9
Aleksander Kolarov Midfielder Fpl 5.9, PlayON 8.3
Kelichi Iheanacho Forward Fpl 4.8, PlayON 7