Friday, March 1, 2024

FPL: How to strike a balance between single and double gameweek players

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Double Gameweek 27 takes place this weekend with Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Southampton all playing twice.

Gameweek 28 then sees six teams blank before a bumper Double Gameweek 29, with 12 teams playing twice.

Understandably, many managers are looking to bring in players with double fixtures.

However, it is crucial we don’t ignore good single gameweek players — especially this weekend.

Finding a balance between assets with a double fixture and quality players with just one match will be crucial.

So, The Athletic takes a look at the single gameweek assets who could make a huge difference this weekend and those who could in Gameweek 29.

Arsenal’s enticing run

Mikel Arteta’s side don’t have a double in Gameweek 27 or 29, but they do have a very nice run of fixtures that sees them play Fulham (A), Crystal Palace (H) and Leeds United (H) over the next three gameweeks.

The only Arsenal players I would get rid of are Ben White (£4.7m) and Eddie Nketiah (£6.7m). White now seems to be a bit of a rotation risk, with Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.2m) starting ahead of him on a few occasions lately.

Meanwhile, Nketiah’s time looks close to being up following an injury and the return of Gabriel Jesus (£7.9m) is now imminent.

Bukayo Saka (£8.5m), Martin Odegaard (£7.0m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£6.5m) are all great options and can easily outscore double gameweek players from the likes of Brentford or Brighton this weekend.

Villa’s bargain options

Aston Villa, who have West Ham (A) in Gameweek 27 and Bournemouth (H) in Gameweek 28, are also a good side for long-term holds. They then have a double in Gameweek 29 against Chelsea and Leicester (both away).

Tyrone Mings (£4.3m) and Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) are very good value. Either or both of them could haul against relegation-threatened West Ham this weekend.

Unai Emery’s side have kept two clean sheets in a row (with Mings playing 90 minutes in both matches) and Watkins has five goals and one assist in his last six matches. Crucially, the Englishman is also Villa’s first-choice penalty taker.

Mings has been very reliable for Aston Villa (Photo: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Newcastle United’s assets are fantastic value and are going to be very useful for the foreseeable future. They play Wolves (H) in Gameweek 27 and then Nottingham Forest (A) in Blank Gameweek 28. They then have a double in Gameweek 29 against Manchester United (H) and West Ham (A).

Kieran Trippier (£6.0m), Nick Pope (£5.4m) and Sven Botman (£4.5m) are all fine options.

Eddie Howe’s side have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (17) and unsurprisingly have also registered the most clean sheets (12). It makes sense to load up on their defensive assets.

Kane still Spurs’ main man

Harry Kane (£11.7m) looks like the only viable Tottenham asset right now. He won’t have any double gameweeks until at least Gameweek 34, but he is worth having in your team.

The England captain has been one of the best players in the league this season and his tally of 18 goals is very impressive. Kane (top image) is the second-highest scoring forward in FPL this campaign.

His next three fixtures are Nottingham Forest (H), Southampton (A) and Everton (A). I wouldn’t be surprised if he outscores all double gameweek players over the course of the next three gameweeks.

Liverpool assets are definitely worth keeping, especially after their 7-0 victory over Manchester United last weekend.

Jurgen Klopp’s team play Bournemouth (A) next, with the team from the south coast having conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season (51).

Liverpool beat Bournemouth 9-0 in August and there is every chance their attackers could feast again this weekend.

The time to get rid of Liverpool options is Gameweek 28 when they have a blank. Though it should be noted they have a double in Gameweek 29 against Manchester City and Chelsea (both away).

Mohamed Salah (£12.8m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) and Darwin Nunez (£8.8m) are all great options this week in what should be a routine victory for the team from Merseyside.

Rotation risk for City

Manchester City play Crystal Palace (A) this weekend but, as always with a Pep Guardiola team, we don’t know who is definitely going to start apart from Ederson (£5.4m) and Erling Haaland (£12.2m).

To make selection matters even more complicated, City have their Champions League last-16 second leg against RB Leipzig on Tuesday. They then blank in Gameweek 28 before playing Liverpool (H) in Gameweek 29.

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding selection, it is not worth picking City players (other than Ederson and Haaland) for this gameweek. It would be wiser to instead go for players from Brighton and Brentford, who both have double gameweeks.

United’s chance to bounce back

Erik ten Hag’s team play Southampton (H) this weekend and they couldn’t have asked for a better fixture after their humiliating defeat to Liverpool last weekend. They then blank in Gameweek 28 before a double against Newcastle (A) and Brentford (H) in Gameweek 29.

Focusing on this weekend, Southampton have conceded 41 goals (only three teams have shipped more) this season and United are great going forward. Their attackers have the chance to fill their boots.

Marcus Rashford (£7.4m)Bruno Fernandes (£9.8m) and defender Luke Shaw (£5.2m) are all assets we should be keeping this week if you still own them.

Striking the right balance

The key is to not transfer out good single gameweek assets for the sake of getting a double gameweek player in.

It is about striking the right balance and also nailing your timing when it comes to transfers. For example,  Liverpool and Manchester United both blank in Gameweek 28, but taking their players out for this gameweek (27) is not advisable as both clubs have great fixtures.

Make sure to check out The Athletic Football Podcast, hosted by The FPL General, for all the latest tips and tricks. Catch that for free on all the usual listening providers and ad-free on The Athletic app.

(Top photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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