Gameweek 32 proved to be a decent run-through before the double gameweeks, with eight games in action on Saturday and the remaining two on Sunday. A goal for a popular Man United asset proved vital for many while Jamie Vardy’s fine form continued.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang emerged from a lacklustre first-half Arsenal performance to plunder a brace of goals and reward his brace of recent investors. In this piece, we will be looking at some lessons learnt from the previous week and how they could affect our plans and transfers in the upcoming Gameweeks.
1. Lukaku’s astounding form continues.
Romelu Lukaku scored an early goal in Man United’s 2-0 win over Swansea City which helped ease the doubts of those brave managers switching captaincy trains from Mohamed Salah to the striker. The Belgian was the top transfer target of Gameweek 32, brought by over 444,000 managers and was second only to the Liverpool phenomenon for the armband, with 13.4% of all FPL managers hoping for a haul.
They got that, with a pair of bonus points, which took Lukaku to eight points on the day – one more than the Egyptian. His fine form of four goals and two assists from the last six Gameweeks bodes well with West Brom at home and a trip to Bournemouth to come in double Gameweek 34. The small matter of the Manchester derby at the Etihad is still to come before that, but key United players will at least turn up for their rivals’ potential coronation in good nick.
Alexis Sanchez got a goal and an assist along with maximum bonus points, which took him to 14 points. However, a mere 2.8% of all Fantasy managers enjoyed that big haul.
Chris Smalling was brought in by 76,000 managers, the most of any defender and he started for the ninth successive Gameweek. Victor Lindelof was his partner at centre-half as Eric Bailly dropped to the bench, which was a blow for his 20,000 managers who brought him in for Gameweek 32. The ever-reliable De Gea produced for his 44.2% ownership as United notched their 16th clean sheet of the season.
City away next is unlikely to deliver anything more than save points, however, with interest in United players on hold until the double Gameweek 34.
2. A sublime Man City edge closer to the title.Embed from Getty Images
City’s inexorable march to the Premier League title took in a superb first-half showing against Everton on Saturday. Guardiola’s side went in at half-time 3-0 to the good, with Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane all scoring. David Silva set up two, while Kevin De Bruyne the third, as City walked through the Toffees comfortably.
Sergio Aguero, as expected, was a no-show and the only real surprise was Aymeric Laporte being used as a left-back, although he was forced off due to a foot issue later on with the match already won.
Sane’s opener was his third goal, to go with three assists from his last seven Gameweeks, while Sterling now has two goals and four assists from his last six. De Bruyne, who is at the top of the side’s midfield tree, got his 17th assist of the campaign, his first return in four Gameweeks.
David Silva’s managers enjoyed a maximum bonus-point performance with 11 points at the weekend. The Spaniard has now produced 44 points over the last four Gameweeks and has a points per match average of 7.7 on the road.
Gabriel Jesus who returned from a six-match lay-off, now has a goal and an assist from his last two starts and will have a major impact on Aguero’s pitch-time once the Argentinean is fully fit.
Aside from City’s two legs of the Champions League tie, they will entertain Man United for a fixture in which victory will secure them the league title. If they prevail against Liverpool, Guardiola might rest key assets for the Champions League semi-final, which would lessen the appeal for their stars in the potential double Gameweek 37.
But if Liverpool go through, the lack of FA Cup action could mean that their strongest side stays on the pitch for the remainder of their glorious domestic campaign.
3. Aubameyang scores a brace as Gunners run over Stoke.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal won 3-0 over Stoke City on Sunday, a flattering scoreline after a woeful show in the first-half. Aubameyang had struggled to feature in that opening spell but sprung to life in the second-half.
The Gabon international was denied by a Jack Butland save from a one-on-one, but converted a first-half penalty before firing home from a cleared Mesut Ozil corner. He rewarded his owners with a 13-point return, along with maximum bonus points, his biggest haul since his arrival in the Premier League.
It could have been better, with the striker allowing Alexandre Lacazette to convert Arsenal’s second penalty for their third goal. Over 362,000 managers swooped for Aubameyang ahead of Gameweek 32, identifying the encounter with Stoke along with the Emirates Stadium clash with Southampton to follow.
Cup-tied for Thursday’s Europa League tie with CSKA Moscow, the striker will once again get an opportunity to maintain his run of four goals in three Gameweeks when he faces the ailing Southampton defence on Sunday.
Talking of the Gunners’ defence, a second successive clean sheet helped Shkodran Mustafi earn two bonus points to produce an eight-point return, after his 12 against Watford last Gameweek. However, it was Nacho Monreal who was the most popular Gunners defender last Sunday. He claimed over 72,000 managers to return his first clean sheet since Gameweek 18, however, being limited to just six starts over that run.
While Aubameyang will be protected from rotation in Gameweek 33, Wenger’s line-up will remain difficult to predict. The team for Thursday’s tie, along with the minutes played and outcome, will all be key to anticipating changed to next Sunday’s clash with the Saints.
Mkhitaryan should arguably be well placed for the start. The 99,000 managers who brought him in for Gameweek will be hoping that this proves to be the case. Although, some may look to avoid that risk by shipping him ahead of next weekend’s deadline.
A general piece of advice for this Gameweek would be to wait until all mid-week European games are over, in order to assess the teamsheets and minutes, and then make transfers. Adding to that, I would suggest holding the transfer for this week because it would be vital in the first double Gameweek of the season, in my opinion. That is all from my end this week. I wish you the best of luck for Gameweek 33.
Written by Nekzad Bajan. Twitter: (@nekzaDd)