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13 Mar 2019 by Tim Blackwell

FPL Blank Gameweek 31 – The Fixtures

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After weeks of articles, discussions and sleepless nights preparing, the hardest stretch of the FPL season is finally upon us. Whether you’re feeling smug over how primed your team is, panicked over the sea of players with no match-ups currently in your squad, or indifferent to it all, below is a breakdown of the upcoming fixtures and which FPL players have the form and match-ups to guide you through these treacherous times.

GW31 FIXTURES [Deadline: Saturday, 2.00pm]

Saturday 16th March

Bournemouth vs Newcastle (15:00)

Burnley vs Leicester (15:00)

West Ham vs Huddersfield (15:00)

Sunday 17th March

Fulham vs Liverpool (14:15)

Everton vs Chelsea (16:30)

MANE ON A MISSION

With upcoming fixtures against Fulham (a), Spurs (H) and Southampton (a), selecting the right Liverpool assets will be vital in securing that coveted green arrow. Following his brace against Burnley in GW30, Sadio Mane (£9.9m) represents Liverpool’s form player, averaging over seven points a match in his last eight fixtures. While Mohamed Salah’s (£13.4m) form has dipped as of late, his underlying stats have still been good. Given an ownership percentage of 45.3%, not owning the Egyptian could prove costly. With FPL managers looking to own multiple Liverpool players this gameweek, why worry yourself with having to pick between the two? Instead, both players can find a home in FPL squads.

Playing his way back into fantasy consideration, the Reds' third member of their attacking trio, Roberto Firmino (£9.2m), also scored twice in GW30. With goals pretty much guaranteed against a woeful Fulham defence and Mane and Salah heavily owned by FPL managers already, the Brazilian could offer serious differential potential.

Liverpool conceded for the first time in five matches against Burnley but that shouldn’t dissuade FPL owners from pumping for their defenders. Pretty much guaranteed 90 minutes, any one of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.6m), Andrew Robertson (£6.9m) or Virgil van Dijk (£6.6m) should offer excellent value for money. Robertson in particular currently has more FPL points (169) than top-scoring forward Sergio Aguero (£11.9m).

BOURNEMOUTH'S BEZZIES

A 2-0 win away to Huddersfield in GW30 acted as a refresher for the best double act in FPL this season: Callum Wilson (£6.4m) and Ryan Fraser (£6.2m). The pair are on another level when they play together.

With Gareth Southgate watching on from the stands, Wilson provided a performance worthy of an international call-up and put himself firmly in the shop window for potential suitors when the summer transfer window rolls around. Fraser, meanwhile, made history by becoming the first Scottish player to register ten assists in a single ​Premier League season. In doing so, he entered illustrious company.

The Cherries are set to face Newcastle (H), Leicester (a), Burnley (H), Brighton (a), Fulham (H), Southampton (a), Spurs (H) and Crystal Palace (a) between now and the end of the season. Guaranteed to have a match in BGW31 and BGW33, there are few better pairs available to FPL managers, particularly ones who have already made use of their wildcards.

THE GARDEN OF EDEN

GW30 saw Eden Hazard (£10.9m) once again to the rescue, as his 92nd-minute strike secured a point for Chelsea against Wolves. The goal means Hazard becomes the third Chelsea player in history to score 50+ Premier League goals at home. The enigmatic Belgian appears to be entering somewhat of a hot streak with three goals and 34 points in the last five gameweeks.

Hazard will be hoping to translate his home form to the road as three of Chelsea’s next four fixtures are set to be away from Stamford Bridge. The Blues face Everton (a), Cardiff (a), West Ham (H) and Liverpool (a) in their next four. However, there is still the strong possibility that their home match against Brighton will be rearranged for GW32, giving Chelsea a double gameweek of Cardiff (a) and Brighton (H).

With a potential double-up in GW32, along with confirmed fixtures for BGW31 and BGW33, stockpiling Chelsea assets is wise, particularly for those FPL managers who have already used their Free Hit. Along with Hazard, Gonzalo Higuaín (£9.6m) seems the most nailed on to play 90 minutes each week as Willian (£7.1m) and Pedro (£6.3m) are set to rotate around the Europa League fixtures. At the back, Marcos Alonso (£6.4m) looks to have lost his starting spot to Emerson Palmieri (£5.2m), while both David Luiz (£5.9m) and Antonio Rüdiger (£5.9m) have been rested in recent gameweeks. That leaves us with César Azpilicueta (£6.3m) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.4m) as Chelsea’s top defensive options.

VIVACIOUS VARDY

Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) continued his purple patch under new boss Brendan Rodgers with two goals and an assist in Leicester’s victory over Fulham. The brace means Vardy now has five goals in his last five appearances and with upcoming fixtures against Burnley (a), Bournemouth (H) and Huddersfield (a), there will be ample opportunity for the Englishman to continue his hot streak.

Another that impressed in the match against Fulham was Harvey Barnes (£5.5m), whose excellent work down the right led to the second of Vardy’s goals. His boss was effervescent in his praise of Barnes, saying “he has big potential. In a short period of time, it is about working out his best position in the team. The beauty with him is he looks like he is going to score in every game he plays.”

James Maddison (£6.7m) continued to chip in with points following an assist, his second in three matches, while new signing Youri Tielemans (£6.0m) offers real differential value, being owned by just 0.8% of FPL managers.

BEST OF THE REST

EVERTON

Next five gameweeks: Chelsea (H), West Ham (a), Arsenal (H), Fulham (a), Man Utd (H)

Potential transfer targets – Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m), Richarlison (£6.5m), Lucas Digne (£5.2m), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.3m)

NEWCASTLE

Next five gameweeks: Bournemouth (a), Arsenal (a), Crystal Palace (H), Leicester (a), Southampton (H)

Potential transfer targets – Solomon Rondon (£5.9m), Ayoze Perez (£6.1m), Matt Ritchie (£5.8m), Miguel Almiron (£6.0m)

BURNLEY

Next five gameweeks: Leicester (H), Wolves (H), Bournemouth (a), Cardiff (H), Chelsea (a)

Potential transfer targets – Ashley Barnes (£5.7m), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m), James Tarkowski (£4.7m), Tom Heaton (£4.8m)

WEST HAM

Next five gameweeks: Huddersfield (H), Everton (H), Chelsea (a), Man Utd (a), Leicester (H)

Potential transfer targets – Lukasz Fabianski (£4.8m), Felipe Anderson (£7.2m), Declan Rice (£4.6m), Marko Arnautovic (£6.8m)

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