Leicester assets pulled my differential XI to a respectable total this week, with captain Jamie Vardy’s two goals and an assist leading the way.
Vardy, who unexpectedly missed out on the MOTM award, was joined in the XI by Youri Tielemans. Fresh from two consecutive assists, the Belgian midfielder improved his attacking returns with a goal and a tier-one shots bonus.
There were disappointing returns from the likes of Declan Rice, David Brooks and Romelu Lukaku, but bonus points from City wildcard Oleksandr Zinchenko and a clean sheet for Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake helped counteract the lower scores.
Outside this week’s team, it was pleasing to see pre-overhaul guide pick James Ward-Prowse continue his fine run of form for Southampton. Eight points this week, on the back of another eight and 13 in the two previous weeks. A tough fixture up next for Saints, though.
How the XI performed
Key: G = goal, A = assist, CS = clean sheet, MOTM = man of the match, T1T/T2T = tier-one/two tackles, T2P = tier-one/two passing, TI/2S = tier-one/two shots, TI/2SA = tier-one/two saves (c) = captain YC = yellow card, RC = red card, OG = own goal
Ederson – 2
David Luiz – 5 – T2P
Nathan Ake – 7 – CS
Declan Rice – 1
David Brooks – 2
Wilfried Zaha – 2
Youri Tielemans – 10 – G, T1S
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 4 – T1P
Jamie Vardy (C) – 30 – G, G, A
Romelu Lukaku (C) – 4
Gonzalo Higuain – 2
Comparison to my actual team
With no changes to my main team this week, my crop scored similarly to the differential XI. A total of 67 points left me 172nd on the leaderboard, having climbed to the 130s after Vardy’s haul on Saturday.
I have eight players playing in GW32, so am likely to hold fire on any transfers for now. I’m into the last-32 of the Knockout Cup with my second team, which has nine players in action.
Making the most of a fixture-light Gameweek
There’s just five games over two days this week. Depending on your transfer situation – and how you’ve planned your team – this could be an opportunity to gain a few points.
Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks (£6.3m/5.33%) remains the go-to bargain midfielder, with the youngster now back from his injury layoff. In his last two games back he hasn’t been among the points – but one of those games was against Manchester City.
What’s key for Brooks is a favourable fixture run, with only one of the top-six awaiting the Cherries before the end of the season. Plenty of opportunity to recapture the pre-injury form which saw him collect six goals and four assists.
Bournemouth face Newcastle at home on Saturday, and I’m favouring a triple-up in my differential team with Nathan Ake (£8.1m/3.4%), who has been in and out of the XI all season. Up front, I’ll be captaining Callum Wilson (£9.7m/5.6%) who returned from time on the sidelines last week.
Wilson netted, grabbed an assist and took home the match ball on his way to 15 points against Huddersfield, showing signs of the electric form which made him a solid pick earlier in the season.
Away from Liverpool
Liverpool captains will be by far and away the most popular choice on Sunday, with the league hopefuls facing relegation-bound Fulham.
With little to choose from at Anfield meeting my differential criteria barring Roberto Firmino (£12.2m/8.4%), I’ll also be looking to Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson (£9.1m/7.3%). He faces a tough home tie against Chelsea but as Everton’s top points scorer he’s scored 11 times this season, assisting three. Importantly, he’s now up to four MOTM awards, too, one more than Richarlison, who is owned by more than double the amount who back the Icelandic midfielder.
Barnes of blue?
As he came good for me with a goal last week, I’m sticking with Youri Tielemans (£7.8m/0.1%) as my Leicester midfield differential. This is despite a strong case from Harvey Barnes, who picked up a second MOTM in three games last time out.
Barnes is certainly one to watch, although the potentially challenging visit to Burnley this weekend may see more people opting for the Clarets’ own Barnes (Ashley) as their preferred differential.
Differential XI (less than 10% ownership, not team’s most popular player)
Lukasz Fabianski (£6.5m/2.4%)
Nathan Ake (£8.1m/3.4%)
Declan Rice (£6.6m/4%)
David Luiz (£8.8m/8.26%)
Gylfi Sigurdsson (£9.1m/7.3%)
David Brooks (£6.3m/5.33%)
Youri Tielemans (£7.8m/0.1%)
Johan Berg Gudmundsson (£8.6m/0.5%)
Callum Wilson (£9.7m/5.6%) (C)
Jamie Vardy (11.5%/2.4%)
Roberto Firmino (£12.2m/8.4%) (C)
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