Fantasy football: Fernandes for Salah a no-brainer

Alistair Bruce-Ball

There are three clubs to really focus on before the next two gameweeks – Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Manchester United have a double gameweek 22, as do Leeds United, while Arsenal and Manchester City both double in gameweek 23 so ideally you’ll want three players from each of their squads.

Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes is going to be the most popular United triple-up, although Fernandes might be slightly tricky to get to without selling one of your other premium players.

If that player is Mo Salah then I think that’s an easy decision for you this week – Fernandes in for Salah is a no-brainer.

If that player is Kevin de Bruyne then you could easily swap him for Fernandes this week to take advantage of the United double before switching straight back to the Belgian for City’s double in 23.

The only problem with that is you’re burning up two transfers and Fernandes then faces Leeds and Leicester in the following two gameweeks so if he’s done the business for you in gameweek 22 you might be loathe to sell him.

So maybe you want both of them? How about selling Harry Kane, making some money by going for Eddie Nketiah or Wilfred Gnonto, who has a double game week for Leeds in 22, and then upgrading to which ever one of De Bruyne or Fernandes you need?

Equally you might decide you don’t need Fernandes this week, particularly if you’re not planning to give him the captain’s armband.

Bruno Fernandes
Is it time to double captain Bruno Fernandes?

That will also be one less issue to deal with in gameweek 25 when Manchester United have a blank due to their involvement in the Carabao Cup final. Newcastle, Brighton and Brentford are the other three teams who blank that week so don’t forget to factor that into your planning.

There’s also a bit of discussion in the FPL community whether we should use our triple-captain chip on Marcus Rashford for his home games against Crystal Palace and Leeds or wait a week and give it to Erling Haaland for his double against Aston Villa and Arsenal.

As good as Haaland is I think I would lean towards going with Rashford who’s in the form of his life and looks to have the friendlier fixtures given that he doesn’t have to face the league leaders who boast the second meanest defense in the division.

Bruno Fernandes might also be worth some consideration as a differential triple captain choice particularly if he’s going to take any potential penalties for United.

Onto Arsenal whose players are going to be invaluable to you as we already know they don’t blank in gameweeks 25 or 28.

I have Ben White, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah in my squad but I now prefer the idea of ​​owning three attackers, namely Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard along with Nketiah. I wouldn’t take a four-point hit to switch from one Arsenal asset to another but if you don’t have any other issues to deal with in your squad then I wouldn’t be adverse to that sideways move with a free transfer.

As for Manchester City I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this doesn’t already own Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne is your next best bet if you can afford him but there is no obvious answer for our third City choice.

Personally I would hop on the Riyad Mahrez form train, he’s getting regular starts and when he does that we know that points will follow but you also have to be prepared for that to derail at any point.

Jack Grealish looks like he’s Pep Guardiola’s preferred choice on the left at the moment but his skills don’t always translate into big FPL hauls.

The problem is the defense hasn’t been churning out the regular clean sheets having only managed two in the last eight Premier League games. If you’re confident that will change then John Stones would be my first choice if he’s fit but both Nathan Ake and Rico Lewis are going to get more game time now that Joao Cancelo has left for Bayern Munich and Lewis represents incredible value at just £ 3.9m.

You could just play it safe by going for Ederson but he’s expensive and you know he won’t be racking up many saves or bonus points.

Looking slightly longer term Aston Villa and Chelsea will also be good clubs to invest in as they will definitely both have fixtures in gameweeks 25 and 28 so it will be interesting to see if Graham Potter comes up with a consistent Chelsea line-up with all his new toys.

Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode previewing gameweek 20 is available on the BBC Sounds App.

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