The Dirtsheet: Gameweek 31

Posted: March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is it! The big one! The gameweek that has been in the minds of most FPL managers for the last fortnight. It’s the gameweek that has the potential to make or break the seasons of most FPL team.

This week, the Dirtsheet attempts to pinpoint who I feel are the best options for the Double – a tough task considering the sheer amount of potential picks. Although there are a few players with just the one game who could do very well (I’m looking at you Mr. Hazard), I’m picking eleven players with a double fixture.

I have also mentioned a couple of cheaper alternatives in each position for those of you looking to maximize your returns on a budget.

Here’s the Dirtsheet for Gameweek 31!


The Eleven – (3-4-3)

Tim Krul (NEW)
Opponent – Crystal Palace (H)/Everton (H)
I’m not sure that any goalkeeper will keep two clean sheets over the double gameweek, so I am selecting Tim Krul as he has perhaps the best chance of doing so given the fact he has two home gameweeks against teams who tend to struggle for goals at times. Vito Mannone is also a good choice and he does have 2 further double gameweeks before the end of the season.

Seamus Coleman (EVE)
Opponent Swansea City (H)/Newcastle United (A)
Coleman’s attacking returns seem to arrive in spurts so I am backing him to return poinst at both ends of the fields. There is strong spculation that Manchester United will move for the Irishman who has been an absolute revelation this year – 6 goals is an incredible return for any defender. Newcastle will find it especially difficult to keep out Coleman so the aforementioned Tim Krul will need to be on high alert for the Irishman’s raids down their left wing. If you have Leighton Baines, you should also be very happy going into this week – his penalty and free kick-taking skills could also bear fruit. Sylvain Distin is a cheaper option – he may not have the same attacking potential, but his clean sheet potential is the same for over a million less.

Martin Skrtel (LIV)
Opponent – Cardiff City (A)/ Sunderland (H)
With 2 goals, 2 clean sheets and 5 bonus points in his last 5 games, Martin Skrtel is in prime position to plunder FPL returns as he faces up to two teams not reknowned for scoring many goals. Cardiff will look to defend first and foremost and I cannot see them troubling the Liverpool backline. Sunderland at home has less potential for a clean sheet but is still a solid bet. A 15+ point score from the Slovak would not surprise me in the slightest. For those of you on a budget, consider Jon Flanagan for a mere 4.3 million.

Pablo Zabaleta (MCI)
Opponent – Fulham City (H)/Manchester United (A)
I would love to give Kolarov a place in the Dirtsheet this week, but I need to pick players who I am confident will get two full games and therefore I am opting for Pablo Zabaleta for the double gameweek. He has started every league game in 2014, and with just the Premier League to focus on now, I think the Brazilian is the best choice out of all City defenders.

Steven Gerrard (LIV)
Opponent – Cardiff City (A)/ Sunderland (H)
It’s not often that a player gets the opportunity to score a hattrick of penalties, and only for the intervention of Manchester United’s left-hand post, the Liverpool captain would have achieved that incredible feat. Gerrard has once again shown his incredible consistency – that’s 10 goals and 10 assists so far this season and I am strongly backing him for attacking returns over the double gameweek. Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson are your budget options to consider.

Kevin Nolan (WHU)
Opponent – Manchester United (H)/Hull City (H)
Kevin Nolan has shown explosive form at home in recent weeks – he has 2 double-figure scores in his last 3 home games to go with his 16-point haul at Villa Park in gameweek 25. While he rarely finishes games these days, his link up play with Andy Carroll will be tough to defend against and he has the potential to score in both games. Manchester United, in particular, could find it difficult to deal with Carroll’s presence and Nolan will be on hand to profit from any defensive errors. If you don’t fancy West Ham to score and need an even cheaper option, why not consider Hull’s Jake Livermore?

Yaya Toure (MCI)
Opponent – Fulham City (H)/Manchester United (A)
With news trickling through that Sergio Aguero may miss the double gameweek entirely, I’m backing Toure to return over the double gameweek. City will look to get back to scoring ways against a Fulham team that could easily concede a bucketload of goals at the Etihad. The return of Fernandinho and the absence of Aguero means that City will look to Toure for more attacking treat, and he will be on penalties. A trip to Old Trafford is a tougher task, but Toure has the ability to win a crucial game all by himself. Given the fact that United condeded three penalties in their last league game, Toure could easily have an average game but still walk away with double-figure returns. Samir Nasri is a cheaper option and should start both games.

David Silva (MCI)
Opponent – Fulham City (H)/Manchester United (A)
A goal and an assist in the win over Hull City brings Silva back into consideration against Fulham and United. Like Toure, his attacking instincts will be required to compensate for the loss of Sergio Aguero. I’m not expecting huge returns but he should be heavily involved in City’s goals over the next 180 minutes. Keep in mind that he will also have 2 more double gameweeks to come.

Luis Suarez (LIV)
Opponent – Cardiff City (A)/ Sunderland (H)
It would take a very brave man to enter the double gameweek without the talismatic Uruguayan. Simply put, he is essential for this week and is almost certainly the most logical choice of captain. Two double figures returns in the last 2 gameweeks shows that his termporary drop in FPL returns are now a distant memory.

Wayne Rooney (MUN)
Opponent – West Ham United (A)/Manchester City (H)
With doubts surrounding the fitness of Robin Van Persie, I have to opt for Wayne Rooney who will probably play as the main striker in the Dutchman’s absense. While his double fixtures are not the greatest and City will provide a stern test, I do think Rooney will relish the chance to be the most atacking United player, especially against their Manchester rivals. If you are unsure that Rooney will run riot, then look to Daniel Sturridge. I have already selected 3 Liverpool players but Sturridge could be as productive than Rooney over the next 2 games. Your cheaper options for the gameweek are Nikita Jelavic, Edin Dzeko, Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll.

Romelu Lukaku (EVE)
Opponent – Swansea City (H)/Newcastle United (A)
Even as I am typing this, I am unsure that Lukaku has the potential to return the sort of points you would expect from a double gameweek striker with such fanourable fixtures. On paper, there is at least two goals on the cards for the on-loan Chelsea man. However, his real life form is patchy – this could translate to a miserable double-blank or it could mean goals and assists galore. For now, I am content to have him for around 8 million but he will not be taking the armband. That honor have been given to a familiar face…

The Captain – Luis Suarez (LIV)
Over two games, I cannot think of anyone that has the potential to score as highly as the Liverpool man apart from his teammate Daniel Sturridge. Liverpool are strongly challenging for their first ever Premier League title and there is no chance that the Uruguayan will be rested. Liverpool are scoring for fun and they have perhaps the strongest fixtures in the double gameweek.

The Clean Sheets
I’m looking to Everton, Liverpool, Norwich, Newcastle, Manchester City and Aston Villa to return clean sheets.

The Unusual Suspects
Defender: Guy Demel (WHU)
Midfielder: Tom Huddlestone (HUL)
Striker: Andy Carroll (WHU)
Captain: Daniel Sturridge (LIV)

And that’s a wrap! It’s quick, it’s informative and it’s helpful. It’s the Dirtsheet, and it’s here every Friday! Please share this on Twitter and Facebook! Every follower counts!


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