FPL Gameweek 36 – Fixture Analysis: Triple captains, triple-ups and the season run-in schedule

Liverpool’s home tie against Huddersfield has many remaining triple captain chips set for deployment in GW36, while triple-ups on the Reds and Manchester City look sensible as the title race goes down to the wire.

GW36 FIXTURES

Friday 26th April

Liverpool vs Huddersfield (20:00)

Saturday 27th April

Spurs vs West Ham (12:30)

Crystal Palace vs Everton (15:00)

Fulham vs Cardiff (15:00)

Southampton vs Bournemouth (15:00)

Watford vs Wolves (15:00)

Brighton vs Newcastle (17:30)

Sunday 28th April

Leicester vs Arsenal (12:00)

Burnley vs Man City (14:05)

Man Utd vs Chelsea (16:30)

LIVERPOOL

Schedule

APRIL – 9: Porto (H) [UCL] Result: 2-0

14: Chelsea (H) Result: 2-0

17: Porto (a) [UCL] Result: 1-4

21: Cardiff (a) Result: 0-2

26: Huddersfield (H)

1: Barcelona (a) [UCL]

MAY – 4: Newcastle (a)

7: Barcelona (H) [UCL]

12: Wolves (H)

Potential transfer targets: Alisson (£5.9m), Andy Robertson (£6.8m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.6m) Virgil van Dijk (£6.6m) Jordan Henderson (£5.3m), Sadio Mane (£10.0m) Mohamed Salah (£13.2m) Roberto Firmino (£9.3m)

Synopsis: An assist for James Milner’s (£5.6m) penalty last Sunday saw Salah make it four consecutive gameweeks with an attacking return. The Liverpool star has scored twice and provided three assists over the past six gameweeks, following a run of three blanks. However, his last double-figure score was back in Gameweek 23 – which was also the last outing in which he earned bonus points. Livepool’s GW36 opponents Huddersfield have conceded 16 times in their last five fixtures. That includes letting in four goals on three separate occasions. The last time Jan Siewert’s men conceded less than two goals in a game was their 1-0 loss to Brighton in GW29.

With Liverpool having five days between Friday night’s kick-off against Huddersfield and their Champions League semi-final first leg in Barcelona, rotation in the Reds’ ranks could be more of an issue for GW37. Salah has been an ever-present for Jurgen Klopp, with the Egyptian not featuring in the German’s starting XI just once this season. While Salah is one of several players that could come off early on Friday if Liverpool are cruising, that is unlikely to deter many owners. FPL’s top scorer is set to be heavily backed with the regular armband and triple captaincy in Gameweek 36.

Salah’s jaunt to New York for the Time 100 Gala on Tuesday night was a slight concern. However, Jurgen Klopp allayed the fears of owners at his press conference on Thursday. The Reds chief said: “He's back. Travelling these days is no problem. Yes he missed a session but today he will be back.” On his line-up to face the Terriers, Klopp added: “This will be the last game I overthink anything. The things people think about, the game, is already enough. I will not push that preparation with a fresh line-up. We have enough time to recover for the next game. Barcelona has nothing to do with Friday night.” Salah is set to remain behind Milner in the penalty-taking pecking order, however. Klopp explained: “Millie is like a machine in these moments. He's just experienced enough. He's been in that situation very often. He has the right technique.”

Mane made four key passes against Cardiff, creating big chances for both Firmino and Henderson. He also fired off three goal attempts (two inside the box) but failed to hit the target with any of his shots. Last weekend’s three-point score made it three blanks in four for Mane. Prior to that, the midfielder had returned attacking points in seven out of nine gameweeks – a run which included three double-figure hauls. The Senegal forward has outscored Salah by 42 to 32 over the last six gameweeks. That includes six bonus points for triple-captain candidate Mane, who is also more affordable for those looking to invest in the Liverpool midfield this week.

Huddersfield’s defensive deficiencies are clear and while Liverpool’s final two opponents will be no pushovers, neither Newcastle nor Wolves are watertight. The Magpies have conceded six times in their last five outings, while Wolves have shipped seven goals over the same period. Both sides kept a single clean sheet in that stretch. Firmino, yet another armband contender in the Reds' ranks, has blanked in two consecutive outings but scored three times and provided two assists in the previous four gameweeks.

A triple-up on Liverpool appears a wise move with the title race potentially running until Gameweek 38. With many squads featuring one Reds defender and one attacker, managers must decide where to double up for the final three gameweeks. Alexander-Arnold is the go-to option for anyone seeking to stretch their budget but the right-back could potentially lose some minutes to Joe Gomez (£4.8m). The same is true of Joel Matip (£4.9m) – Gomez was a first-choice centre-half before his injury – while Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) is also set to be in contention to partner the ever-present Van Dijk. The Dutchman sits fourth for penalty-area touches in the Liverpool ranks, behind only Klopp’s attacking trident.

The un-rotatable VVD has had 23 shots inside the box – more than twice the amount of any defensive colleague – over the campaign. Robertson is also a cert at left-back, though there is the very slight chance Gomez could operate on that side of defence.

MAN CITY

Schedule

APRIL – 9: Spurs (a) [UCL] Result: 1-0

14: Crystal Palace (a) Result: 1-3

17: Spurs (H) [UCL] Result: 4-3

20: Spurs (H) Result: 1-0 24: Man Utd (a) Result: 0-2 [DGW35]

28: Burnley (a)

MAY – 4: Leicester (H)

12: Brighton (a)

18: Watford [FA Cup final]

Potential transfer targets: Ederson (£5.6m), Aymeric Laporte (£6.1m), Bernardo Silva (£7.6m), Leroy Sane (£9.3m), Raheem Sterling (£11.6m), Sergio Aguero (£11.8m)

Synopsis: Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) missed the Manchester derby after picking up a muscle injury against Spurs last weekend. On Tuesday, Guardiola said of the midfielder: “We will see if (KDB) can play one or two more games and next season take care of him. We are going to speak with him, with the doctors and physios to make sure he is safe and fit. That’s what we are trying to do from now on.”

Fernandinho (£5.3m) was replaced early in the second half against Man Utd. Asked if the midfielder could have played on, Guardiola explained last night: “Maybe but he had a problem at half-time in both legs. When he went down we made the change. I thought of putting Leroy Sane in - left foot on the left and right foot on the right. He helped us a lot.” Fernandinho himself said: “[I will have a] scan [on my knee] and we will see. I will talk to the doctor and he will make the best decision for everybody.”

Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m) completed the 2-0 derby win but picked up a knock during the game. Guardiola added: “Gundo had a big kick in the first half. We'll see tomorrow.” With a potential mini-crisis in midfield, Sane could be the beneficiary after impressing at Old Trafford. The winger has two goals and an assist in City’s last four games, despite only starting two of those. While the German still represents a slightly risky pick, Bernardo Silva – who made the scoresheet yesterday too – looks a safe option for the run-in. He also has two goals and an assist in his last past four league appearances, with two double-figure hauls over that period. The Portuguese star blanked against Spurs last weekend but put in an impressive showing nonetheless.

Sterling has completed each of the Sky Blues’ last six games in all competitions, while Aguero’s minutes have been somewhat managed after he picked up a slight injury back in DGW32. Both players can be expected to start all three of the club’s final league games this season and are the obvious transfer targets in the City ranks.

City’s GW36 opponents Burnley have conceded nine goals in the last six gameweeks, with Liverpool netting four of those back in GW30. Over ten fixtures against top-six opposition, Sean Dyche’s men have conceded 27 times. 17 of those goals were let in across six away games, with the Clarets conceding ten times in four visits from ‘bigger’ sides to Turf Moor.

The Citizens put five past Burnley – who have now reached the magic 40-point mark – at the Etihad back in Gameweek 9. Leicester and Brighton have just one clean sheet each in their past six outings, with City’s attackers unlikely to fear either defence. For FPL managers seeking to max out on Citizens assets but without the budget to fit in both Sterling and Aguero, one of Bernardo, Sane or even David Silva (£8.5m) could fill that triple-up. For those investing in Guardiola’s defence, Ederson and Laporte are the go-to men.

SPURS

Schedule

APRIL – 9: Man City (H) [UCL] Result: 1-0

13: Huddersfield (H) Result: 4-0

17: Man City (a) [UCL] Result: 4-3

20: Man City (a) Result: 1-0 23: Brighton (H) Result: 1-0 [DGW35]

27: West Ham (H)

30: Ajax (H) [UCL]

MAY – 4: Bournemouth (a)

8: Ajax (a) [UCL]

12: Everton (H)

Potential transfer targets: Hugo Lloris (£5.4m), Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m), Lucas Moura (£6.8m), Christian Eriksen (£9.3m), Heung-min Son (£8.8m), Fernando Llorente (£5.1m)

Synopsis: Son remains the top Spurs target despite failing to register attacking returns in DGW35. Suspended for the first leg of Spurs’ Champions League semi-final against Ajax next Tuesday, his GW36 pitch time at least is not in doubt. The midfielder missed a big chance against Man City last weekend, while he struggled to impact proceedings against a dogged Brighton on Tuesday night as Spurs struggled at a 1-0 win thanks to a late Eriksen strike.

The South Korean registered four shots (two inside the box) against the Seagulls, though failed to hit the target with any attempt. Tottenham did not create a single big chance during that game as Brighton camped in at Spurs’ new stadium. Prior to his double-blank in DGW35, Son had scored four goals in three games across all competitions while registering an assist in a three-minute GW34 cameo. Eriksen was Spurs’ saviour at home to Brighton but is definitely at the top of the ‘needs a rest’ list if Mauricio Pochettino decides to rotate with Spurs’ clashes against Ajax in mind.

This weekend’s home fixture against West Ham may be a different story for Son and co. In the last six gameweeks, the Hammers have conceded 13 times. Huddersfield put three past West Ham in BGW31, while Manuel Pellegrini’s men conceded twice in each of the other five fixtures. Over that period, the Irons allowed their opponents 21 big chances. West Ham last kept a clean sheet at home to Newcastle in GW29.

Bournemouth have only managed to shut out Huddersfield (a) and Brighton (a) since GW24, while Everton could provide Spurs with a tough test on the final day of the campaign in north London. The Toffees boast clean sheets against Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd since BGW31. However, all of those were recorded at Goodison Park.

BEST OF THE REST

While Liverpool and Man City assets must be the priority for FPL bosses, there are several other players jostling for attention ahead of Friday’s 7pm deadline. With De Bruyne owners needing replacements and possibly funds, Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic (£6.4m) is an in-form option. The Eagles’ resident set-piece specialist converted three penalties between GW30 and GW33. Milivojevic then netted from a free-kick in GW34 and his dead-ball delivery was headed home by Christian Benteke (£6.3m) in GW35. With fixtures against Everton (H), Cardiff (a) and Bournemouth (H), the midfielder could be worth a punt for the run-in. For those seeking a budget forward, Wilfried Zaha (£6.8m) has three assists and a goal since GW30. Zaha has only scored one of his nine goals this season at Selhurst Park, however.

Wolves attacker Diogo Jota (£6.2m) is another KDB-plus-cash transfer option. The Portuguese attacker struck Wanderers’ third in a 3-1 win at home to Arsenal on Wednesday night. Of Jota’s eight league goals this season – the first of which he scored in GW15 – seven have come at Molineux. Wolves do have two away trips in their last three games [Watford (a), Fulham (H), Liverpool (a)] but the final day visit to Anfield is the only unfavourable fixture.

Raul Jimenez (£6.9m) made it three blanks in a row with a barren DGW35. The Mexican did not manage to find the target with any of his seven efforts over ties against Brighton and Arsenal. FPL bosses may be slow to invest in the season favourite, though the visit of Fulham should be more than enough to convince owners to hold. Matt Doherty (£5.3m) and Jonny (£4.3m) provided a timely reminder of their attacking talents against the Gunners yesterday, with a goal for the Irishman and two assists for the Spaniard. Cardiff (H) and Brighton (H) are the only fixtures Wolves have garnered clean sheets from since Gameweek 24.

Southampton [Bournemouth (H), West Ham (a), Huddersfield (H)] have two home games in three to round out the campaign. Nathan Redmond (£5.4m) is the pick of the Saints attackers. The winger did blank in both DGW35 games but provided three key passes in the 3-1 defeat to Newcastle, while hitting the post in the 1-1 draw with Watford. Redmond bagged a brace in GW34 at home to Wolves, while he has been close to ever-present under Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Saints have several budget options across the positions for FPL bosses needing to free up funds.

Home clashes with Wolves and West Ham, which sandwich a trip to Chelsea, promote the prospects of Watford attacker Gerard Deulofeu (£5.6m). The winger returned from a minor injury to bag a brace against Huddersfield last weekend, while he did not register further returns at home to Southampton on Tuesday. With Troy Deeney (£5.8m) serving the final game of a three-match ban in GW36, Deulofeu is a guaranteed starter this weekend and should retain his place as the Hornets chase a Europa League qualification spot.

Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) has over 40,000 new owners this week ahead of games against Palace (a), Burnley (H) and Spurs (a). The Iceland man’s 14-point haul against Man Utd last weekend put him on many a shopping list, while the Toffees’ GW36 and GW37 fixtures should allow them to continue a rich vein of form.

For the mavericks out there, Fulham have a couple of attacking options in Ryan Babel (£5.5m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.3m). The Serbian striker has a goal from the penalty spot and an assist in the last two gameweeks, having been on a scoreless run since GW25. Mitrovic has fired off 20 shots inside the box since Gameweek 29, when Scott Parker took the reins at Craven Cottage. Babel has three goals and an assist in the past five gameweeks and is owned by less than 1% of players. The Cottagers’ final three fixtures are against Cardiff (H), Wolves (a) and Newcastle (H).

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) has scored nine times in the last ten gameweeks. Eight of those goals have come since Claude Puel’s exit from the Foxes ahead of GW28. Since then, Vardy also has two assists to his name along with a huge 13 bonus points. The striker has scored an average of 8.25 points per match from GW28. He has returned attacking point four times (three goals, one assist) in seven games against top-six opposition this season. Vardy might be a stretch to transfer in with clashes against Man City (a) and Chelsea (H) in GW37 and GW38, though owners can look forward to the prospect of the Englishman facing an Arsenal side this weekend that conceded six times in DGW35.