Gareth Bale is officially back.
Along with team-mate Harry Kane, he’s been by far the most popular signing for FPL managers ahead of gameweek 28 after he followed his 19-point display against Burnley with another 14 points in the 4-1 win over Crystal Palace.
I’m still not swapping him for Kane or Son Heung-Min though. Those two remain the better long-term bets and tend to play 90 minutes every week whereas Bale is getting taken off around the 70-minute mark.
But here’s a thought – why not chuck all your eggs in Jose Mourinho’s basket and go for the Tottenham triple-up?
Bale’s four goals against Burnley and Crystal Palace were all supplied by the deadly duo, two from Son and two from Kane, and you’d hope Mourinho will continue with this attacking verve even in a big game like the north London derby on Sunday.
Add to that the fact that Tottenham are one of only eight teams to have a fixture in gameweek 29 and it makes even more sense to roll the dice, particularly if you’re a Mo Salah owner right now.
Ditch Salah and think about your wildcard
Salah has now blanked in his last four outings and has failed to provide attacking returns in 11 of his last 14 games.
I know he’s still top-scorer in the Premier League, I know he scored against RB Leipzig on Wednesday and I know we’re talking about an FPL giant but I still think it could be time to give him a break and fantasy managers seem to agree, selling him in roughly equal numbers this week to those bringing in Bale and Kane.
Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne and Son are the obvious replacements if you don’t already own them but Riyad Mahrez is another name you might want to consider given his sparkling form, recent run of starts and tempting price of just £8.1m.
We should also have one eye on gameweek 29 as we prepare for gameweek 28 this week, unless of course you’ve still got your Free Hit chip and are planning to use it to navigate your way through.
If not, then you want to be looking at signing players who’ll be involved in these four fixtures in 29 – Fulham v Leeds, Brighton v Newcastle, West Ham v Arsenal and Aston Villa v Tottenham.
Don’t worry about having a full starting eleven for that week and don’t take big points hits on transfers to try and set that up.
Seven or eight players should be fine if you can get there, scores are likely to be low and if you can pick the right captain then you could come through it fairly unscathed.
Equally, if you’ve still got your second wildcard then don’t waste it on gameweek 29 thinking you’ll make big ground up on rival managers.
Your players are likely to cancel each other’s scores out by being up against each other and you’ll be stuck with a load of them you won’t want for the rest of the season anyway.
Far better to muddle your way through gameweek 29 and then play the wildcard to set yourself up for a big push on the run-in.
So with that in mind, Brighton or Newcastle defenders could be the way to go this week – Lewis Dunk is on my radar at £4.9m, offering that obvious goal-scoring threat from set-pieces as well as a quickly taken free-kick if he’s allowed to get away with it! Goalkeepers Robert Sanchez and Martin Dubravka are also a way into those two defences.
Get rid of your Hammers and bring in PEA
West Ham assets have done brilliantly for us this season, they’re at Old Trafford this week and then host Arsenal in gameweek 29, and although those look like tough fixtures I wouldn’t advise against signing the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Craig Dawson, Tomas Soucek or Michail Antonio.
Even if you can’t bank on clean sheets from the defenders in these games they look so dangerous from free-kicks and corners at the other end that they’re worth having for that alone.
And finally onto Statman Dave’s big shout on last week’s Fantasy 606 podcast – it’s time to go and get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (although he’s not letting me do that as we’re in direct competition and he claims he’s bagsied him!).
He’s scored four goals in his last three starts and Arsenal’s fixtures from gameweek 31 onwards look very favourable.
Their focus on trying to win the Europa League would be an obvious concern in terms of squad rotation but again if you’re considering a Salah replacement this week then Aubameyang could be your man.