Premier League fantasy football tips: What should managers do with Erling Haaland?
We’re hoping that Pep Guardiola is going to give us some definitive news on Erling Haaland in his pre-match news conference on Friday but I wouldn’t count on it.
If there’s some doubt about him playing in the game against Crystal Palace then I think I’m going to sell him with a view to getting him back before gameweek 19 or 20. Remember Haaland doesn’t have a fixture in gameweek 18 with Manchester City away at the Club World Cup.
Now some FPL managers will see this as a waste of valuable transfers but I’m going to chase the potential upside by bringing Dominic Solanke into my team for Bournemouth’s games against Luton and Nottingham Forest, and I will also use the profit to get Son Heung-min into my team who did my rank a lot of damage with his 17 points against Newcastle in gameweek 17.
It’s an equally viable strategy just to put Haaland on your bench for the next couple of weeks if you feel your squad is strong enough to cope with his absence.
And of course if Guardiola tells us that Haaland is going to start against Palace on Saturday then it’s business as usual and ignore all the above.
As you make your transfers this week just be aware of which players are one yellow card away from a suspension – among the popular picks you’ll find Abdoulaye Doucoure, Hwang Hee-Chan, Destiny Udogie, Cole Palmer, Raheem Sterling, John McGinn and Jamaal Lascelles.
If Haaland doesn’t play or you just don’t want to take the risk on him then Mohamed Salah is a great candidate for the captaincy at home against a Manchester United defence that could be weakened by the absence of Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire.
There’s plenty of other choices for the non-Salah owners though – Son away to Nottingham Forest, Bukayo Saka or one of his fellow Arsenal attackers at home to Brighton, Solanke at home to Luton and possibly Julian Alvarez or Phil Foden for Manchester City’s game against Crystal Palace depending on the Haaland news.
Fixtures to target
Statman Dave came up with the interesting suggestion of Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson in this week’s Fantasy 606 podcast to target a run of fixtures that starts with a home game against Sheffield United this weekend.
Our co-host Chris Sutton pointed out though that this already looks like a different Blades’ team under Chris Wilder and one which kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win against Brentford in gameweek 16.
I’m quite happy with Cole Palmer as my one Chelsea player for this game but I wouldn’t be against anyone bringing one of their defenders in and I would still lean towards Levi Colwill as my first choice even though he didn’t start the last game against Everton.
We also discussed the idea of doubling up on the Tottenham attack and Richarlison has suddenly come back into the reckoning after his 15-pointer in their 4-1 win over Newcastle.
They’re away to Nottingham Forest on Friday evening and follow that with games against Everton, Brighton and Bournemouth before the end of the year.
It doesn’t really matter who they play because you know they’ll be on the front foot and bringing someone like Richarlison, Brennan Johnson or Dejan Kulusevski into your midfield might just break up the template five of Son, Salah, Saka, Palmer and Anthony Gordon to help you try and gain an edge on the rest of the field.
We also wait to hear from Eddie Howe on the extent of Gordon’s hamstring injury that saw him come off just after the hour against AC Milan on Wednesday.
We’ve probably missed the boat on Marcos Senesi’s goalscoring exploits for Bournemouth, one in each of the wins at Crystal Palace and Manchester United, but there were two clean sheets in there as well and you’d back them to keep some more given the form they’re in under Andoni Iraola. Senesi is only owned by 2.3% of managers in the game.
Raul Jimenez’s ownership is at a similar level so he could be a nice option if you want to go against the more popular Dominic Solanke move. He scored three of the goals in Fulham’s 5-0 wins against Nottingham Forest and West Ham and a tired Newcastle team are next in their sights at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Gabriel Jesus still ranks as a differential at 4% ownership going into Arsenal’s home game against Brighton in gameweek 17 and Leon Bailey’s another one you might want to consider given his contribution to Aston Villa’s stunning wins against Manchester City and Arsenal.
Gamble of the week
Getting Richarlison into your midfield to try and break from the template would be my shout for gamble of the week or maybe a Darwin Nunez captaincy against Manchester United as the Uruguayan looks to end his run of six Premier League games without a goal.
Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. You can find the podcast by searching for ‘Fantasy 606’ on the BBC Sounds app, then just click subscribe.
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