FPL squads for GW14 must be set by 7pm on Friday, with the following gameweek starting on Tuesday evening. Champions League minutes ahead of this hectic schedule are examined, as all three of Manchester City’s wing options earn midweek starts. The Citizens and Man United can rest easier in European terms, while Liverpool and Tottenham face decisive final group games. Eden Hazard has returned to training after picking up an ankle injury against Spurs, as Mauricio Pochettino’s men embark on a great run of games from GW15.
Friday 30th November
Cardiff vs Wolves (20:00)
Saturday 1st December
Crystal Palace vs Burnley (15:00)
Huddersfield vs Brighton (15:00)
Leicester vs Watford (15:00)
Man City vs Bournemouth (15:00)
Newcastle vs West Ham (15:00)
Southampton vs Man Utd (17:30)
Sunday 2nd December
Chelsea vs Fulham (12:00)
Arsenal vs Spurs (14:05)
Liverpool vs Everton (16:15)
All four of Sergio Aguero (£11.5m), Raheem Sterling (£11.3m), Leroy Sane (£9.3m) and Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) started Tuesday’s match against Lyon, a team selection which has scuppered any notion of trying to figure out which two wide men might start on Saturday. Sterling was used centrally against the French side, with his midfield cohorts taking up the wing positions.
Sane was replaced by Delph on 71 minutes, not long after Aymeric Laporte (£6.1m) headed in to make it 1-1. Aguero bagged City’s second leveller in the 83rd minute, nodding a Mahrez corner home to ensure a point and City’s progress to the last 16. The striker was an injury-time substitute, with Sterling and Mahrez completing the full game. The Citizens are pretty much guaranteed first place in Group F due to goal difference, which should allow Guardiola to rest some key players for the final group game between GW16 and GW17.
David Silva (£8.7m) could possibly represent the safest route for those wanting to invest in a second City attacking asset. Kevin De Bruyne (£9.7m) is expected back soon but has not returned to training yet.
Not in training with the squad as yet.— Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 (@HLNinEngeland) November 28, 2018
Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) missed out again through injury, while Ilkay Gundogan (£5.4m) and Gabriel Jesus (£10.1m) did not travel after both featuring against West Ham.
Guardiola says Bernardo Silva could/should return against Bournemouth, Jesus got a muscle problem in training yesterday, apparently not serious, and Gundogan "had a problem with his foot, the bone" and they wanted to avoid more problems with it— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) November 26, 2018
If the Brazilian striker happens to be ruled out for Bournemouth’s visit, it would at least ease rotation fears over Aguero – though Guardiola could also use Sterling as a ‘false nine’. The league leaders have league ties against Watford (a), Chelsea (a), Everton (H), Crystal Palace (H) and Leicester (a) after taking on the Cherries.
Folllowing five straight starts, John Stones (£5.3m) was moved to the bench in GW13 as Nicolas Otamendi (£6.1m) partnered Laporte. The English centre-half returned to play alongside the Frenchman in the 2-2 draw at Lyon. As discussed last week, Laporte’s ball-playing abilities from the left side of central defence probably make him the safest choice in that City backline. Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) is another option for Guardiola.
Kyle Walker (£6.5m) has started the last four league ties in a row but was rested in GW9 as Stones was used at right-back. Danilo (£5.1m) has yet to play a league minute this season but is available. Fabian Delph (£5.3m) replaced the injured Benjamin Mendy (£6.4m) last weekend, while Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.8m midfielder) played at left-back midweek.
Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Sadio Mane (£9.9m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.2m) all started on Wednesday night as PSG beat Liverpool 2-1. Firmino was used as the central striker at the Parc des Princes, though Klopp’s comments this week suggest Salah is likelier to occupy that role on a regular basis this season.
On Firmino as a No 10, the Liverpool boss said: “He will never come to me because people are saying something is missing and ask: ‘Boss, can I play in my old position again?’ He is doing the job. That makes him so unbelievably valuable for us. I’m really happy with him. We need to find a system where we can bring our quality on the pitch and against Watford it worked out.”
Xherdan Shaqiri (£7.0m) was used from the bench in Paris as Jurgen Klopp reverted to 4-3-3, with Daniel Sturridge (£5.8m) replacing Firmino after 71 minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.2m) was an unused substitute as Joe Gomez (£5.1m) played at right-back, with Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) partnering Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m).
There are several qualification permutations but Liverpool must beat Napoli at home in their last Group C fixture. That game is sandwiched by league ties against Bournemouth (a) and Man Utd (H). The Reds face Burnley (a) on Wednesday after this weekend’s Merseyside derby, with a trip to Wolves and a visit from Newcastle also on the horizon.
After the defeat in Paris, Klopp said: “We have to be 100 per cent spot on [against Everton], but that was clear before this game so it’s not about showing a reaction, it’s about carrying on, go, go, go in the league, get as many points as you can get, win your home games, win your away games in the best way. That’s how it is.”
Premium Reds assets look safe for minutes this weekend but nothing is guaranteed with such a hectic upcoming schedule. Salah has started every gameweek so far, while Mane missed just one through injury. Andy Robertson (£6.5m) was rested in GW10 as Alberto Moreno (£4.2m) earned a rare start and Van Dijk has completed 90 minutes in all but one league fixture.
With four goals and two assists in the last five gameweeks, Salah is a contender for the GW14 captaincy as the Toffees plan a stick-up at Anfield. The 0-0 draw against Man City in GW8 is the Egyptian’s only home blank so far this season.
Eden Hazard (£11.1m) will not play any part in Chelsea’s Europa League tie at home to PAOK Salonika tonight. Maurizio Sarri reckons the Belgian, who returned to training on Wednesday, should be ready to feature against Fulham on Sunday. The Blues boss said: “Hazard of course it is not a serious injury. He will not be able to play tomorrow but I think he will be able to recover for the Premier League match [vs Fulham].”
Eden Hazard is out there with the rest of the Chelsea squad #CFC— Oliver Harbord (@ojharbord) November 28, 2018
Sarri added: “I am worried because 25 days ago he had a back injury, now the ankle. I think he has lost a lot of training, so it's normal he isn't in top physical condition. He needs to have one week of training and a couple of matches before going to the best level. This week is useful for him to have training, and then we will see. I think he cannot play ten matches in 30 days, so sometimes he has to rest.”
After the 3-1 defeat to Spurs in GW12, Hazard said on his ankle injury: “My injury I think is not something bad. I think I just twisted my ankle, but it's like every game, it's the same. I am used to it and I will be back soon.”
Chelsea face Wolves (a), Man City (H), Brighton (a), Leicester (H) and Watford (a) in their next five PL outings after the Cottagers’ visit. The Belgium star has registered just one assist, from a free kick, in his last four gameweek appearances. Despite a lacklustre showing at Wembley, Hazard should have been awarded a penalty after Juan Foyth (£5.0m) felled the attacker in the area.
The midfielder’s poor run has coincided with Alvaro Morata (£8.7m) taking the place of Olivier Giroud (£7.7m) at the head of Chelsea’s attack. The France striker came on to grab the Blues’ consolation against Spurs. Hazard owners will be hoping to see the Spaniard start against PAOK, which would make Giroud likelier to begin at the weekend. The Belgian has yet to score when Morata is on the pitch.
I ask Giroud if he feels he's getting more momentum after three goals in four games. He says preparation was tough post-World Cup but he's getting better. Adds that he accepted Sarri's decision to put Morata back in but is trying to provide competition whenever he's involved #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) November 28, 2018
Owners now have the tough task of deciding whether to hold Hazard for such a favourable home fixture or use him as a makeweight for a City midfielder. Captaining, or even vice-captaining, the Chelsea attacker against Claudio Ranieri’s team now comes with a degree of risk. It is certainly a plus that he is back in training, though minutes are far from guaranteed.
The Belgium star had previously looked like he could be rotation proof considering Chelsea’s participation in the Europa League, but Sarri’s comments are not reassuring in that sense. With his value falling rapidly and plenty of premium options in the shop window, Hazard looks to be on borrowed time for most owners.
Anthony Martial (£7.6m) played the full game on Tuesday night as a late Marouane Fellaini (£4.9m) goal saved Manchester United’s blushes at home to Young Boys. The Red Devils locked up second place in Group H with that 1-0 victory. Like Guardiola, Jose Mourinho will have the option of using his squad for the club’s last Champions League tie of 2018.
The United manager’s comments on Martial ahead of GW13, when the midfielder was flagged, may be a slight worry for owners. Mourinho said: “I like to call that a pre injury because problems in the muscles around it, they are a dangerous situation and he was in a pre-injury situation, he worked really hard, he’s ready for tomorrow, he plays for tomorrow. Is he ready to play three in a row in the same week? I don’t know, but the most important match is the next.”
United take on Southampton (a), Arsenal (H), Fulham (H), Liverpool (a), Cardiff (a) and Huddersfield (H) to GW19. A lacklustre showing in a 0-0 draw at home to Crystal Palace last weekend was not encouraging for owners of attacking assets in red. Martial, one of GW13’s top transfer targets, managed just two efforts on goal. Both were in the box, with one a big chance as the Frenchman headed straight at Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) from very close range.
Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) and Paul Pogba (£7.9m) were both used from the substitute’s bench on Tuesday, with Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) not part of the squad. Phil Jones (£5.1m) replaced Victor Lindelof (£4.8m) in central defence; the Swede is set to be sidelined for “three weeks, something like that”. The scoreless draw against Palace was just United’s second clean sheet of the season, with even the well-priced Luke Shaw (£5.0m) unlikely to attract many suitors for the time being.
Following a devilish run of fixtures that ended against Manchester United in GW13, Crystal Palace may finally come back on to the fantasy radar. Roy Hodgson’s men play Burnley (H), Brighton (a), West Ham (a), Leicester (H), Man City (a) and Cardiff (H) in their next six league ties.
Managers who held on to former budget darling Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.2m) should be content, with the right-back putting in another good performance as the Eagles kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford. That was just Palace’s fourth shut-out of the season; AWB bagged three bonus points in three of those four outings and barely missed out on extras in GW13.
Wilfried Zaha (£6.7m) missed the GW12 visit of Spurs through injury but returned to play all 90 minutes against United. The striker has not scored since GW5 but a home clash against the Clarets could be the perfect fixture for Zaha to get back on the scoresheet and into the mid-priced forward debate.
In-form Newcastle take on West Ham (H), Everton (a), Wolves (H), Huddersfield (a) and Fulham (H) before the fixtures take a turn for the worse in GW19.
Salomon Rondon (£5.7m) followed a GW12 brace with a GW13 blank against Burnley. The Venezuelan managed just one blocked shot against the Clarets, a far cry from his eight efforts which resulted in that double at home to Bournemouth. Rondon made way for Joselu (£4.9m) after 71 minutes and potential investors would be wise to further scout the striker before taking the plunge.
DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) played at right wing-back as the Magpies won 2-1 at Turf Moor. Benitez’s use of 3-4-2-1 (5-4-1 when out of possession) is an interesting development – if the tactical tweak is rolled out on a regular basis, the American defender would be an even more tempting budget option considering Newcastle’s fixtures.
Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m) has been passed fit after limping off late on at the London Stadium last weekend as West Ham were hammered 4-0 by Man City. Manuel Pellegrini said at his press conference today: "Marko Arnautovic worked the whole week without any problems. He has one day more to recover for the game, but he's OK. Marko is fit to play."
The Irons play Newcastle (a), Cardiff (H), Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (a), Watford (H) and Southampton (a), with the fixtures looking ripe for returns – in attack at least – well into 2019. Felipe Anderson (£6.8m) has scored three of his four goals since GW11, with the Brazilian named in every Pellegrini league XI so far.
Grady Diangana (£4.5m) has started each of the last four but is yet to complete 90 minutes. If the West Ham manager reverts to his usual 4-1-4-1, the youngster will battle with Robert Snodgrass (£5.3m) and Michail Antonio (£6.8m) for a right-wing berth. Snodgrass has played centrally in recent games but Mark Noble (£4.9m) and Jack Wilshere (£4.8m) add to Pellegrini’s midfield options.
Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m), Issa Diop (£4.3m), Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m) and Pablo Zabaleta (4.3m) are all budget options to be considered with the Hammers’ fixture list. The goalkeeper may provide the best value in West Ham’s defensive ranks, having returned five points in the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield in GW12 via six saves and a bonus point. Pellegrini’s men last kept a clean sheet in Gameweek 6.
Tuesday 4th December [6.45pm deadline]
Bournemouth vs Huddersfield (19:45)
Brighton vs Crystal Palace (19:45)
West Ham vs Cardiff (19:45)
Watford vs Man City (20:00)
Wednesday 5th December
Burnley vs Liverpool (19:45)
Everton vs Newcastle (19:45)
Fulham vs Leicester (19:45)
Wolves vs Chelsea (19:45)
Man Utd vs Arsenal (20:00)
Spurs vs Southampton (20:00)
Tottenham experience a very favourable fixture swing from Gameweek 15. Mauricio Pochettino’s side avoid any of other traditional top-six sides until GW22’s trip to Old Trafford. Spurs take on Southampton (H), Leicester (a), Burnley (H), Everton (a), Bournemouth (H), Wolves (H) and Cardiff (a) from Gameweek 15.
The club’s premium assets already passed one audition in GW13 as Poch’s attacking quartet tore Chelsea apart. With 13 and 11 points respectively, Dele Alli (£8.9m) and Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) were the star FPL performers. Heung-min Son (£8.3m) bagged eight points and Harry Kane (£12.3m) scored six. It was the first time this season all four have started a league fixture.
Kane, Alli, Son and Eriksen start together for the first time in the league this season. Did so 20 times last season #thfc— Jonny Blain (@jonoblain) November 24, 2018
"Need to see Son, Eriksen and Alli back altogether playing before I want to bring any in"— Andy (@LetsTalk_FPL) November 24, 2018
17 mins in and I'm sold for GW15.
Son, who remained in London over the international break, came in for praise from Mauricio Pochettino after the derby win. The Argentine said: “You can see on the pitch that Son's performance was fantastic and you can see he deserved it, because the summer for him was very difficult. In the last international break he was here, training hard. It is one of the reasons today that he showed he is fresh. His physical condition is much better and I think it is going to help him for the rest of the season.”
Eriksen and Son were replaced by Erik Lamela (£6.4m) and Lucas Moura (£7.1m) last night as Spurs beat Inter Milan 1-0 at Wembley, with the Dane coming on to score the winner. The South Korean was also introduced to good effect in the second half and while fewer European minutes are always a plus for FPL assets, Tottenham’s win will rightly heighten rotation fears.
#thfc Spurs alive in the Champions League after a 1-0 which really underlined their strength in attack. Lamela & Lucas didn’t do enough but Son & Eriksen changed the game from the bench. Sissoko unrecognisable.— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) November 28, 2018
The London outfit now face a mammoth clash away to Barcelona on the final UCL matchday; a win will send Mauricio Pochettino’s men through to the knockout stages. The Spurs boss said last night: “To arrive at Barcelona and compete in our best we need to have fresh legs, fresh minds, no injuries. To arrive in that way in Barcelona we need to manage and we need to rotate the squad. If not, the demands of the Premier League are so tough. We're playing in the Champions League and the cup against Arsenal at the Emirates. Playing games every three days is so tough – so tough for us and for our players it's so, so difficult. They're not going to have one day off until January.”
#thfc Pochettino says Spurs fully believe they can beat Barcelona and progress in the Champions League, but has warned he must continue to rest key players to ensure they arrive at the Nou Camp with a fighting chance. https://t.co/B1a9TmBhTV— Ben Pearce (@BenPearceSpurs) November 29, 2018
Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) made his return from injury to play the full 90 against the Italian side, as Foyth’s budget charms lose their glow. Davinson Sanchez (£5.8m) is not expected back until the end of December. Danny Rose (£5.8m) made the bench, while Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) is still sidelined with a groin injury. A fresh update on the right-back is expected tomorrow.
Kane, who is set to be one of GW15’s most-selected captains, is also a GW14 armband contender. The striker faces a club he loves scoring against; Kane has netted seven times in seven league appearances against the Gunners. The fact that the North London derby is at the Emirates may also suit the England striker, who has netted five of his seven league goals this season on his travels.
Investors will hope Kane can improve on his goalscoring exploits at Wembley, as the Spurs man looks set to battle it out with Aguero for a place in many squads. The £12.3m man has posted single-digit attacking returns in each of the last three gameweeks, while no player has had more shots on target since GW10.
Having played virtually every available league minute so far this season, Kane is the one heavy hitter you would be surprised to see benched in the coming gameweeks. However, Poch did add in Wednesday’s post-match presser: “If you have time, I think you need to see our fixtures. When we started against Chelsea we were going to play 12 games in 40 days -- that means we will play every three days. To do that there's no player – maybe the keeper – who can play in the 12 games. The most important thing is to try to avoid risk, mix the team with different players and rotate so all players feel important.” While Fernando Llorente (£5.6m) is bound to pick up minutes at some stage, Kane is about as close as FPL bosses can get to a rotation-proof premium asset.