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FPL: Lessons learnt from GW31

Liverpool strolled past Watford 5-0 as Mohamed Salah single-handedly ensured a bumper haul for most FPL managers despite Gameweek 31’s reduced schedule.

Despite Salah’s FPL heroics, a few other players put in strong supporting roles to make the blank Gameweek 31 a titanic one for many FPL managers. In this piece, we look at some lessons learnt from Gameweek 31 and how they could help us over the international break to plan for Gameweek 32.

1. Bournemouth bite back over luckless West Brom.

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Salah has been a man for all seasons, but Bournemouth’s Junior Stanislas is at least enjoying a winter revival. The English midfielder made it back-to-back goals in the league with a sublime late free-kick, giving the Cherries a 2-1 come-back victory against West Brom at the weekend.

Stanislas recorded four shots on the day bagged the maximum bonus for his third double-figure haul this season. In his last seven Gameweek starts, he has produced four goals and an assist. His decisive effort was a welcome return for more than 99,000 managers who signed him ahead of Gameweek 31.

Callum Wilson proved to be the most popular Bournemouth buy with more than 194,000 managers making him the second most bought player of the Gameweek. However, all his 10.3% ownership got to see was a blank for the sixth consecutive match.

It looked even bleaker for more than 437,000 managers owning Charlie Daniels to find him on the bench at the start, only to replace Simon Francis after 15 minutes as the skipper went off with a hamstring problem. After coming on, Daniels supplied the pass for Jordon Ibe’s long-range effort that levelled matters for the Cherries. In his 75-minute appearance, he fired three shots but was denied a clean-sheet thanks to Jay Rodriguez’s opener from a Salomon Rondon knock-down.

Eddie Howe’s men have no double Gameweeks, which would possibly spark sales in their assets. The next two fixtures involving Watford away and Crystal Palace at home might persuade some managers to hold on to the in-form Stanislas. But things turn rocky as the Cherries travel to Liverpool and host Man United in Gameweeks 34 and 35 respectively.

2. Salah looks unstoppable for the season.

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The Egyptian was captained by 1.9 million, 93 of the top 100 managers and 88.8% of the top 10,000. A further 20,137 used their Triple Captain chip on him. All that backing paid off as Salah delivered his first hat-trick for Liverpool, with four goals in total, an assist and maximum bonus points, bringing in a season’s best tally of 29 points, highest by any player.

He has now scored or assisted in 13 of his 15 home starts this season (17 goals and six assists), netted in his last six home games (11 goals) and produced 14 double-figure hauls this season. For all the above reasons, even without a double Gameweek, Salah surely needs to be retained in our squads for the remainder of the season.

Liverpool’s fixtures are certainly strong enough to support more Salah hauls, but the situation is not the same for the Reds’ other attackers. Sadio Mane produced two assists for Salah, making it a fourth successive Gameweek of returns from him. Meanwhile, Firmino was denied a first-half strike but got his goal with an audacious flick from Salah’s cross after the break. The Brazilian now has three goals and two assists from the last five starts.

Elsewhere, those managers who did not solely invest in the Liverpool attacking trio were rewarded with a clean sheet from the likes of Virgil van Dijk and the excellent Andrew Robertson, who managed to make a superb cross for Salah’s second goal.

Substitute Danny Ings got the final goal on a record-breaking FPL day where many managers ended up with over 100 points from just the four matches in action.

Some awaited double Gameweek news has come out after a long wait and it is very important for us managers to plan our squads carefully considering all necessary aspects. I hope this piece helped you out in some of your plans and I wish you all the very best for Gameweek 32.

Written by Nekzad Bajan. (nekzaDd)

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