Double Gameweek 30+ is going to be a landmark Gameweek for all of us fantasy football managers. It will mark the return of Premier League action after a hiatus of over three months. The last premier league game played was Leicester vs Aston Villa on Monday 9th March 2020, and the first games back will be played on the 17th of June. That is exactly 100 days without Premier League football, the longest break we have ever experienced. Totally unprecedented times and one to tell the grandkids about.
The Official Premier League fixtures have been released with the dates, times, and broadcasters and it will follow the same schedule as before. Of course, though the structure of the fixtures will be altered in terms of the Double Gameweeks and blanks, therefore we will have to look at new chip strategies and playing style in this nine-game ‘mini-season’. With FPL relaunching with unlimited transfers and also the ability to use your FH chip in Double Gameweek 30+ it makes for some interesting strategies. Also with only one Double Gameweek planned for the remainder of the season, and no blanks it seems we will need to attack straight from the off with at least one chip. Let’s get into it!
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Which teams have a Double Gameweek?
Firstly, the four teams with a double fixture in Double Gameweek 30+ are Manchester City, Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United. Their fixture dates are:
Wednesday 17th June
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Manchester City vs Arsenal
Saturday 20th June
Brighton vs Arsenal
Sunday 21st June
Newcastle vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Monday 22nd June
Manchester City vs Burnley
Straight away we can see that Arsenal have the quickest turnaround, only three days whereas Manchester City have a nice five-day break. I can’t imagine Arteta will be too happy about that. Looking at the situation simply it would seem that Pep Guardiola’s players seem the best bet for not getting rotated which is quite ironic. However, it really is anyone’s guess just now in regards to ‘nailed’ players etc. We simply don’t know what kind of effect the lockdown has had on certain players and we have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. The only thing we can do is use the same logic as we normally would when deciding our moves and try not to overthink it. We have all the information we need to optimise our decisions – fixtures dates, Gameweeks, and the new rules/regulations such as the five-sub rule, neutral grounds, and the fact there will be no fans. We will talk more about this below.
View our full fixture ticker here.
Home and Away factor
As we all know the remaining fixtures will be played with no fans and some games being played at neutral grounds. This will no doubt have an effect and I think home and away influence will become irrelevant for the remainder of the season. It will be best to view the remaining games as cup finals, tournament games, or something similar. The fans, especially at home grounds can play a huge part, and even just the familiarity of your home pitch can give teams and players that slight advantage. Therefore we will have to look at the latter part of this season differently than we ever have. If we look just at Double Gameweek 30+ it seems Manchester City and Aston Villa will be the main teams at a disadvantage here as they are playing games at home. Arsenal and Sheffield United, on the other hand, are playing away so they will now have an advantage.
As I mentioned before this Double Gameweek and the rest of the season will have to be approached differently when it comes to looking at home and away influence. I was trying to work out which teams this would benefit and deter but really it could go either way. The pressure of no fans can be a burden off the shoulder for some players and will allow them to play more freely, but on the other hand, some players love the noise and support the fans bring. Personally I think players such as Sterling and Grealish and any others who usually get a hard time from the fans will flourish so I will be eying them up for the double and beyond for sure.
The best players for Double Gameweek 30+
Let’s look at the main players we should be targeting from each team for Double Gameweek 30+.
When it comes to Pep’s City it doesn’t really matter who they are playing in terms of goals. They will and can score against any team. Their opponents Arsenal and Burnley have conceded 36 and 40 goals respectively and kept 7 and 11 clean sheets. I expect Kevin de Bruyne (£10.6m) will be the first name in everyone’s team and with good reason. With eight goals and 18 assists to his name already he is currently the second-highest scoring player in the game, behind only Mohammed Salah (£12.7m). The Belgian midfielder has also played more minutes (2148) than any outfield player in that City team, only slightly behind Ederson (£6.0) (2171), so in terms of chances of starting both games you would have to put him as favourite from the outfield players.
Speaking of Ederson if you want a player more nailed than KdB then it’s the eccentric goalkeeper. However, he sits 15th top scorer for goal keepers, and with Leno (£5.0m) and Henderson (£5.3m) who both also have a double and are both cheaper its probably best to avoid the City goalkeeper. Plus he takes up a valuable City slot and you are much better to go for three outfield players in my opinion.
Sergio Aguero (£11.8) is probably the most explosive player in FPL history. With that explosiveness, though comes a price – uncertainty, and risk. With 16 goals and four assists so far in only 1394 minutes (15 starts) he clearly still has that predatory goal scoring instinct. With Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) as competition and Pep being a roulette machine as it is you have to pick your moments with Aguero nowadays. He is no longer a mainstay, season-long pick as he was in years gone by, especially at his price tag. In a Double Gameweek, he is such a tantalising prospect though, and he has a history of big scores in previous Double Gameweeks. If you want a high risk, high reward player then Sergio is your guy. Personally I don’t think I can pass up the opportunity to pick him, especially under the circumstances with having unlimited transfers.
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Last but not least Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) is another one we should consider for the double. Despite having two stellar previous seasons Sterling has not quite been up to par this year. With 11 goals and two assists already and a starting price of £12m there were much better value options this season. Last season he scored 17 goals and 15 assists, and the season before 18 goals and 17 assists. With nine games remaining I don’t think he will get anywhere near those totals. However he is the second most nailed attacker and with a long break, and him being a naturally fit player there is every chance he plays both games and comes back firing. As I mentioned earlier too I really think playing behind closed doors will benefit the England international.
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On paper, it looks as if the Blades have the easiest fixtures. They face Aston Villa who sit second from bottom and with the most goals conceded (56) in the league. They then face Newcastle who are hovering above the relegation zone in 13th and are the team who have scored the least goals in the league so far (25). However, with Sheffield United not too much better themselves in the scoring department (30) it’s the defence where they thrive and what’s got them sitting in 7th place just two points behind a European spot and five points off Champions League qualification. They really are having a fantastic season and will be motivated to finish as high as possible. They have the second-best defensive record in the league, having only conceded 25 goals, only behind Liverpool who have conceded 21 goals. They have also kept the second most clean sheets in the league (10).
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Every season we have a £4.0m hero and this year that hero was John Lundstram (£4.8m). The Liverpudlian was wrongly classed as a defender by FPL and is currently the fourth-highest scoring defender, with nine clean sheets, four goals and four assists. Although in his last game versus Norwich in which he started and scored 12 points, with a clean sheet, assist and maximum bonus points he had recently become a rotation risk.
In the four games previous he was benched and came on a sub in all these games, and well and truly derailed the Lundstram bandwagon. We have to assume he is still a rotation risk but if he starts both games he has potential, as he has the highest points per game (4.7) of any Sheffield United player. The safer picks are any of the back four and the goalkeeper. Baldock (£5.1m), E.Stevens (£5.2m), Egan (£4.6m), O’Connell (£4.7m) and Henderson (£5.3m) are all great options and I think for this Double Gameweek (and even beyond) you need to have at least one of these guys. Baldock and E.Stevens are a bit more expensive but justify that with their attacking threat. The former has four goals and two assists and the latter two goals and two assists. If you are tight on budget then Egan seems the marginally better pick than O’Connell as he is £0.1 cheaper and has slightly better attacking stats.
The Gunners seem to be in a bit of a transitional state at the moment. With the appointment of Mikel Arteta as Head Coach back in December 2019 results were a bit up and down but in their last seven competitive games, they have kept six clean sheets and won five, drawn one and lost one. They face the current champions in their first game followed by a favourable fixture versus Brighton. After the double, their next two games are against Southampton and Norwich so their players can be good for the medium term as well as Double Gameweek 30+
Their main man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) will be highly owned in the Double Gameweek and beyond. With 17 goals and three assists to his name this season, he is well on course in matching or even bettering his previous season total of 22 goals in which he shared the spoils of top goalscorer with Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane. In his final 10 games, he will come up against Brighton, Southampton, Norwich, Aston Villa and Watford who are all in the bottom six. You couldn’t handpick a better list of games for the final run-in. Honestly speaking I don’t see anyone else I fancy attacking wise for Arsenal.
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Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) is nowhere near nailed having only played 36 minutes in his last three Premier League games. Although he is a top player for some reason or another he has had a really off-key season so I don’t think he’s an option for the double. Nicolas Pepe (£9.2m) has shown glimpses of what he is capable of but again he seems prone to rotation and at that price tag there are so many better and safer options for Double Gameweek 30+. Four goals and six assists in 20 starts just isn’t good enough for £9.2m. I think he will come good next season though and is just adjusting to life in the Premier League.
I think the next best option for an Arsenal attacker is actually Bukayo Saka (£4.7m). At that price tag, he is a perfect enabler and a good option if you are playing your Bench Boost. He has started the last seven premier league games, picking up three assists. For that price, it’s not bad at all. Bern Leno (£5.0m) is not the worst pick in the world either. At £5.0m he comes in at a decent price and with the aforementioned fixtures should pick up a few clean sheets. He also sits second for most saved made by a goalkeeper (104) so clean sheets aren’t his only avenue of points. Although probably not the best option for Double Gameweek 30+, beyond that he seems a good bet.
Villa currently sit second from bottom, three points from safety. As mentioned above they have conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season so they will really need to shore up their defence. Their main talisman Jack Grealish (£6.4m) has had a really good season scoring seven goals and seven assists. With him being on penalties too he is by far the best option from that in that team. Although they have a really hard run of fixtures coming up (shu, che, new, wol, liv, mun) he still is a decent option at that price in my opinion.
John McGinn (£5.4m) was enjoying a decent start to his debut Premier League campaign until his unfortunate ankle injury in gameweek 18. At his price, he could be a surprise option. His lack of match fitness will need to be taken into consideration of course but if you fancy a punt he could be your man.
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I really don’t think there is much point in talking about the Villa defence or even considering any of their defenders. As mentioned above and can be seen in the fixture ticker they have a tough run. The last player I will mention though is their January signing Mbwana Samatta (£5.8). He was signed from Genk and has a decent goal scoring history – netting 117 goals in 229 appearances. The Tanzanian striker scored in his debut and is the only worthy striker they have really. With Wesley and Kodija currently injured, he is as nailed as can be. He could serve as a good enabler if you are going down the Bench Boost route in Double Gameweek 30+.
What chip strategy should I use in Double Gameweek 30+?
This will be the million-dollar question fantasy managers will be asking themselves right up until the deadline. With FPL giving us unlimited transfers AND the ability to use the Free Hit chip from the restart it gives us many avenues to go down. Which chip to use for Double Gameweek 30+ is really dependant on your team and what chips you have left in play.
Bench Boost – in my opinion, the best chip to play in Double Gameweek 30+ is the Bench Boost. Firstly this will be the only Double Gameweek left this season (unless we get more postponements). Also due to the fact we are getting unlimited transfers, it further puts this chip in prime position as using the Free Hit pretty much means you are wasting a free wildcard. Using your unlimited transfers you can set yourself up nicely for the double and also for the rest of the season. If you still have your original wildcard then you are in an even stronger position as you can go all out for Double Gameweek 30+ and then wildcard straight or soon after and set yourself up for the remaining games. If you don’t have the original wildcard though best to keep the remaining games in mind.
Free Hit Chip – Using the FH chip for Double Gameweek 30+ would have been an extremely viable strategy if we didn’t have unlimited transfers. In fact, it’s the chip I would have used if that was the case. You could have Free Hit and maximised the double players then wildcarded straight after or if you were happy with your team just carry on. Some may be in the very rare position of being extremely happy with their team. Some savvy managers were making transfers through the break so will have a decent team for the remainder. However I really can’t justify using this chip and think its best saved for another gameweek – perhaps for the final gameweek, when typically we see some high score lines and we know the fate of most teams.
Triple Captain – if you still hold the triple captain chip then there is a strong case of using to use it in Double Gameweek 30+ especially if you have already used your Bench Boost. Personally I would only use the triple captain for the double if I didn’t have my Bench Boost. Otherwise, I would use it in one of the remaining single gameweeks. There are plenty of good fixtures about and after a few games you will have an idea of what players are on form.
New five substitutions rule
As part of ‘Project Restart’ the Premier League has now confirmed teams will be allowed to make five subs per match instead of three. These will have to be used in three ‘slots’ though so it’s not abused for time wasting. This could have major implications for fantasy football. Speculating, it could mean that there will less ‘no shows’ so players who are benched are more likely to come on the pitch and get a one pointer. Therefore the need for a strong bench is decreased and we can pump more money into our starting 11. Looking at the Bundesliga for example teams are averaging around 4.22 subs per game. It’s hard to say with conviction how much of an effect this will have but it’s definitely worth taking into account.
There is so much to cover for the restart so I have tried to include the most important aspects. If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment or contact me on twitter – @fplsalah1
I would also recommend having a listen to our latest podcast. FPL legends such Adam Hopcroft, Andrew Ferguson and Andy Green discuss the latest hot FPL topics and answer community questions.
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