Fantasy football tips for gameweek 36

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May 14, 2021
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    Alistair Bruce-Ball

    There are two simple questions for you going into gameweek 36.

    One – how many players have you got available to play? There is no Premier League fixture for Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United or Arsenal and a lot of fantasy managers piled in on United assets in particular last week trying to cash in on their unusual triple gameweek.

    Two – how many points hits are you prepared to take to get a full team out if you don't have a wildcard or a free hit left to play?

    The answer to that often depends on where you are in your mini leagues.

    If you're defending a lead you can afford to be a little more cautious and avoid the points hits but if you're chasing a rival then you might have to be more aggressive and take a risk or two.

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    The first thing I've got to do this week is change a goalkeeper and if you're an Edouard Mendy and Fraser Forster owner then you'll know what I'm talking about. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has previously said that he is going to rotate his keepers through to the end of the season, so it looks like Alex McCarthy will start the home game against Fulham on Saturday.

    One option is to sign McCarthy and have both Saints' keepers but I have decided to go for Leeds' Illan Meslier and bringing him in for Mendy will add £0.5m to my budget. Meslier is the second highest-scoring goalkeeper this season and Leeds have really tightened up defensively.

    Their remaining fixtures look favourable – away at Burnley and Southampton before facing West Brom in front of the fans at Elland Road on the final day – and Marcelo Bielsa has not allowed his players to take their foot off the pedal at all which is why I would also consider the likes of Stuart Dallas or a fit-again Raphinha if you haven't already got them.

    Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier takes a kickIllan Meslier has started 34 of Leeds' 35 Premier League games this season

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    So Meslier coming in for Mendy leaves me with four players who won't play this week in Forster, Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes and Kelechi Iheanacho.

    I'm tempted to take that four-point hit to sell one of them to boost my starting XI and also give me one player on the bench as back-up.

    As crazy as it sounds I might be ready to re-enrol for a bit of Pep roulette and sell Fernandes for Phil Foden or Riyad Mahrez.

    With the form those two have been in recently you feel they could just cut loose away at Newcastle and Brighton and score big in the next couple of gameweeks if Manchester City are in the mood – but you obviously have to accept they might only play one of those two games.

    You would also miss out on Fernandes at home to Fulham in gameweek 37 but there's no guarantee that he would start away at Wolves in gameweek 38 with the Europa League final just three days later.

    Gabriel Jesus and Raheem SterlingGabriel Jesus or Raheem Sterling could be good options for this gameweek

    There are probably more sensible City choices to go for like Raheem Sterling or Gabriel Jesus who have both been regular starters in the Premier League while finding themselves left out of the Champions League games.

    Jesus is a little too costly for me if I choose to move Iheanacho on instead of Fernandes but we're actually spoilt for choice in his price bracket – namely Patrick Bamford, Michail Antonio and Chris Wood.

    Bamford got back in the goals against Tottenham and I like the look of Leeds for the run-in as mentioned above.

    West Ham still have plenty to play for and you'd think Antonio will get his share of chances against Brighton, West Brom and Southampton, but Statman Dave tells us in this week's Fantasy 606 podcast that the numbers point to just one man – Chris Wood.

    He wasn't keen on the idea of selling Iheanacho in the first place though, preferring to sit him on the bench this week and then backing him to score against Chelsea and Tottenham in Leicester's last two fixtures.

    If you do have a bit more money in the budget then Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Danny Ings are definitely worth looking at as well as both have appetising fixtures.

    And I'm sure I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs when I tell you that you really need to have two or three Liverpool players in your squad for the last three gameweeks. They finish the season against West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace and know they need to win all three of those games to give themselves the best possible chance of Champions League football next season.

    Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside Statman Dave and former Premier League winner Chris Sutton. The latest episode is available on BBC Sounds.

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    May 14, 2021
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