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Gameweek 32 is here and it’s top of the table against bottom of the table in two of Sunday and Monday’s matches, which should mean plenty of fantasy points up for grabs. But who should you pick and who should you avoid? Here are our must haves and must nots for Sunday and Monday’s Premier League fixtures…
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READ MORE: Gameweek 31’s Dreamteam
Jordan Pickford – he’s a curveball option to start us off but hear us out. Sunderland need to get some points on the board if they want to give themselves a chance of staying up. They are surely going to need to win at least 6 of their remaining fixtures to have any chance and they’ll need to fancy their chances at home against a Manchester United side struggling for goals. Having said that, even if they don’t keep a clean sheet, Pickford has managed 29 saves in his last 5 games so may be a viable option. A safer option perhaps is Antonio Valencia. Rested midweek, he should be back fresh and ready to go against Sunderland who have failed to score any goals in their last 6 games. In his last 5 games, he has kept 3 clean sheets, bagged 2 assists and scored a goal so he is definitely a good option. Our final defensive pick is Shkodran Mustafi. Arsenal have of course been struggling for form but the Gunners are playing a Crystal Palace side who had their winning streak ended by Southampton on Wednesday. A match against the-not-so-soaring Eagles should provide a good opportunity to continue their winning run after dismantling of West Ham on Wednesday. Mustafi has also has a goal, an assist and a clean sheet from his last 2 games so is well worth a punt.
What a turnaround it has been for the reigning Premier League champions. Under their new manager, Leicester have 5 wins from 5 in the league and are a team very much in form. A man in the middle of the park benefitting from this form is Marc Albrighton, who has averaged an assist a game over those 5 fixtures. Another man having a turnaround in form is Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil. Since returning to the starting XI 2 games ago has managed a couple of assists and a goal. He has been hit or miss this term but we’re backing him to produce the goods against Palace this week.
Finally, up top. Despite there not being many teams in action on Sunday and Monday, we expect there to be a lack of clean sheets and therefore some goalscoring returns from these lads. We start with another Leicester hero, Jamie Vardy, who has an impeccable record since the sacking of Claudio Ranieri – 5 goals and 2 assists. Everton may be struggling as they look to patch things up after Seamus Coleman’s injury so Vardy may extend his goalscoring run. Another option is Alexis Sanchez. He always looks a threat, especially as he gets shuffled between the wing and up top during games. He has managed 3 goals and an assist from the last 5 games so is well worth considering. Our final choice, and probably the most obvious one here, is Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He is back from his Tyrone Mings elbow ban and marked his return against Everton with a goal. A struggling Sunderland side will do well to keep him out this week.
Despite suggesting Jordan Pickford as a differential must-have, we can’t say the same for the rest of the Sunderland defence. Lamine Kone and co. are part of that next-to-no-goals, no clean sheet side that have played over the last 6 games. Against a United team trying to avoid extending their record of the most draws in the league this season, they may run into some trouble. Palace are another side who may struggle this gameweek as their 4 win and 3 clean sheet run came to an end on the south coast last time out. Palace are also struggling with some significant absentees at the back and therefore players like Joel Ward and Mamadou Sakho are ones to avoid.
Manchester United haven’t conceded more than 1 goal in a match since their thrashing by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in October! For this reason, even if Sunderland are to make a breakthrough against them, we imagine it’ll be very minimal. Therefore Sebastian Larsson, who has only managed an attacking return (an assist) on just the 1 occasion this season will find it difficult to break the United defence down. Another player we can see struggling this week is Ross Barkley. He hasn’t had a prolific season and he’s has failed to net in 7 games now. Leicester have 2 clean sheets on the bounce and are the team in form so we would suggest avoiding Barkley this week. Our final midfield must not is Jason Puncheon. Despite Palace’s recent good run of form, he has no goals and only a handful of assists all season, and we don’t expect this to change against an Arsenal side desperate for points to remain in the hunt for the Champions League.
I feel bad picking on this guy as he has always been a prolific and successful player but Jermain Defoe is one to avoid this week. Defoe is experiencing a barren run with no goals or assists in 6 games and given the United record mentioned earlier, we expect him to get very little or nothing come Sunday afternoon. Our final must not pick may surprise some but comes in the form of young Englishman Marcus Rashford. Yes, he has had very little game time at times but he has failed to score in the league since way back in gameweek 6, a record he won’t want to go on for too much longer. He has been enjoying some more regular game time lately but has still been unable to be as effective as he would’ve liked.
With special thanks to the guys across at FPL Updates: http://fplupdates.com/