FPL Gameweek 38 – Fixture analysis: Son replacements, Robertson injury & Sunday deadline

Replacements for the suspended Heung-min Son are the hot topic in the FPL community for Gameweek 38. We assess several options, while probably the best advice for managers this week is to wait as long as possible before making your final moves.

GW38 FIXTURES

Sunday 12th May

Brighton vs Man City (15:00)

Burnley vs Arsenal (15:00)

Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth (15:00)

Fulham vs Newcastle (15:00)

Leicester vs Chelsea (15:00)

Liverpool vs Wolves (15:00)

Man Utd vs Cardiff (15:00)

Southampton vs Huddersfield (15:00)

Spurs vs Everton (15:00)

Watford vs West Ham (15:00)

Bar an unlikely reversal, Heung-min Son (£8.7m) will be suspended for GW38 and the first two gameweeks of the 2019-20 season. For those with a free Manchester City spot, Bernardo Silva (£7.8m) had more attempts on goal (5) than any of his team-mates in GW37. If you’re lucky enough to have a lot of cash to spare, Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) remains an excellent option despite only returning an assist in the past four gameweeks.

City’s GW38 opponents Brighton have conceded ten goals in their past six fixtures, with Bournemouth scoring five of those at the Amex stadium in DGW34. Over that period, Chris Hughton’s men have allowed their opponents 105 shots – an average of 17.5 goal attempts conceded per game. The Seagulls did block 35 of those efforts, while 60 were taken from inside the box. Brighton gave up ten big chances in that run of matches. Hughton’s team have also conceded more penalties (10) than any other club this season.

The point on Sterling also applies to Liverpool midfielders Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) and Sadio Mane (£10.2m), for Son owners with money in the bank and a spot for a Reds asset. Salah was unable to feature for Jurgen Klopp’s side as they claimed a historic 4-0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday, though he is expected to be fit for Sunday. Before that victory, which saw the Anfield side reach the Champions League final for the second year running, Klopp said on Salah and Roberto Firmino (£9.3m): “Both are not available for [the Barcelona game]. It’s a concussion [for Salah], so that means he would not even be allowed to play. That’s it, that’s all. He feels OK, but it is not good enough from a medical point of view, that’s all. He is desperate and everything, but we cannot do it. That’s it. Will he be okay for the weekend? Yes.”

If Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) is ruled fit for Liverpool’s clash against Wolves, the England man would be a decent differential option for those downgrading Son. Henderson has three assists and a goal since GW33, when he began playing in a more advanced central midfield role. The budget midfielder took a knock to his knee on Tuesday but completed the tie. The fitness of Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) is a more pressing concern for FPL managers, with the left-back substituted at half-time due to a calf injury. Klopp should be able to provide a fresh update on the defender’s fitness on Friday. If the Scotsman is ruled out, Aymeric Laporte (£6.3m) - who could earn some armbands in GW38 - or Robertson's team-mates Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.7m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.7m) are ready-made replacements.

Wolves have let in six goals in their last six league outings, with Southampton accounting for three of those. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men conceded 62 shots over those fixtures, with half of those (31) allowed inside the penalty area. His team also gave up 13 big chances over that period, with the Saints racking up six of those in a 3-1 home win against Wolves in GW34.

If you’re maxed out on the two title-chasing teams and have to downgrade Son, there are plenty of options from £8.7m all the way down to the budget bracket. Paul Pogba (£8.5m) would have been the standout replacement before Gameweek 37, though Manchester United’s torrid performance in a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield was very uninspiring. The Frenchman did hit the crossbar twice in that clash but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men generally looked devoid of ideas going forward. The Red Devils welcome relegated Cardiff to Old Trafford on Sunday, with penalty-taker Pogba currently the most transferred in player this week.

Ryan Fraser (£6.3m) is another top transfer target ahead of Bournemouth’s trip to face Crystal Palace. The Eagles are 19th in the ‘home table’ this season, while sitting 5th in the away standings. However, Roy Hodgson’s men have actually been more solid in defence at Selhurst Park, conceding 20 times on home soil while conceding 30 goals on the road.

Fraser has scored once and notched four assists in the last four gameweeks, having been on a run of three blanks prior to GW34. It was his corner that Nathan Ake (£5.1m) converted to give Bournemouth a 1-0 win at home to nine-man Spurs last weekend. Eddie Howe admitted post-match that the Cherries struggled despite playing against nine men for the second half. He said: “I've only managed one game against nine men before in my management career, against Brighton when I was at Burnley. That was tough and today was too. It totally changed the game. We naturally weren't having a lot of the ball against such a good Tottenham team in the first half. They were creating chances and we were looking dangerous on the counter-attack. Suddenly, we were dominating the ball and Tottenham were playing on the counter-attack. I don't think we did particularly well with the advantage we had. We didn't use the ball intelligently enough. It was difficult and looked like we were running out of time to win the game, but thankfully we popped up with a great goal.”

Fraser and Callum Wilson (£6.3m) will be hoping for better counter-attacking opportunities against a Palace backline made up of second-choice centre-halves Scott Dann (£4.4m) and Martin Kelly (£3.9m). The latter put the ball in his own net during the Eagles’ 3-2 win away to Cardiff in GW37. Fraser will likely be facing off against Palace right-back Aaron-Wan Bissaka (£4.6m), who has made the most tackles per game (3.8) of any defender this season.

For those wanting to stick with Spurs, Lucas Moura (£6.8m) showcased his explosive potential on Wednesday night with an unbelievable hat-trick which sent his team to the Champions League final. But with fourth place essentially secure, Mauricio Pochettino could be tempted into wrapping some stars in cotton wool despite the Madrid showdown with Liverpool not taking place until June 1.

Potential Moura investors would be wise to wait for Pochettino’s presser on Friday before taking the plunge. Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) is one Spurs player that is highly unlikely to feature this weekend after picking up an ankle problem in the 3-2 victory at Ajax.

Spurs welcome an Everton outfit that have been mean in defence recently, keeping clean sheets in eight of their last ten games. Richarlison (£6.4m) is only behind Salah and Diogo Jota (£6.3m) for shots in the box (11) over the last four gameweeks, though is an injury doubt at present. Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) was unlucky to see the Brazilian’s strike against Burnley put down as an own goal, cancelling out the Iceland man’s assist. A former Spurs player, Siggy has six double-figure hauls this season and could benefit from facing a tired Tottenham team.

Having been rotated to the bench in GW37, Nathan Redmond (£5.4m) came on at half-time away to West Ham. The midfielder managed four shots inside the box on his introduction, with three of those blocked and one saved. After the 3-0 defeat to the Hammers, Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “The last few weeks were very intense for us as a team. We have more game at home now where we want to play differently from how we did against West Ham. We want to show our fans that we can finish with a good win for them. The target is to end in the best way possible, getting the energy back and mentally being ready to finish the season with a good win. It would be a good ending to this season if we can do that against Huddersfield.”

On Redmond’s introduction, the Saints boss added: “In the second half we tried everything, and in the first 20 minutes of that we made a lot of chances. The change to bring Redmond in gave us new power up front. If we had scored there, we could have turned the table but in the end, there was not enough power in our game and against the ball to take something from West Ham. The energy the guys put on the pitch was okay, we worked hard while we were 1-0 down but after two, it was a long way to go and the guys knew they did not have the energy left to turn the table again from that position.”

Considering Hasenhuttl’s comments, Redmond’s GW37 impact and his status as a virtual ever-present under the new boss, a Gameweek 38 start appears likely. The manager’s press conference on Friday may give further line-up clues for the visit of Huddersfield. The Terriers’ 1-1 draw at home to Man Utd last weekend was just the second time they have conceded less than two goals in a game since GW29. Jan Siewert’s men have conceded 24 goals in eight matches from Gameweek 30. Over the past five gameweeks, Huddersfield have allowed 95 shots (60 inside the box), giving up 18 big chances in the process.

Southampton’s Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Season Redmond has two goals and two assists in his last six starts, generally operating in a central attacking role – though he would be forced wider if both Danny Ings (£5.4m) and Shane Long (£5.7m) start on Sunday. The 5.4%-owned midfielder’s willingness and ability to get shots off in the box may prove profitable against a leaky Huddersfield outfit.

Ryan Babel (£5.6m) has five attacking returns in the last seven gameweeks ahead of Newcastle’s visit to Craven Cottage and is another option among myriad midfield choices, while Eden Hazard (£11.0m) joins Salah, Sterling and Mane in the luxury ‘Son-plus-cash’ bracket. The attacker’s away returns have been poor, however, while Chelsea face a Europa League semi-final second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt tonight before travelling to play Leicester on Sunday.

With numerous transfer options available, decisions this week will come down to the structure of each individual squad, availability of FTs, willingness to take points hits and whether managers are more focused on overall rank or winning mini-leagues. Probably the best advice ahead of Gameweek 38 is to wait as long as possible before confirming transfers – TSZ will be covering all of Friday’s pressers, while further team news could break before Sunday’s 2pm deadline.