Football

Premier League: Top FPL picks for Gameweek 31

Just over 48 hours after gameweek 30 came to a close, FPL returns with instalment number 31 of the season as the fantasy action rolls on thick and fast.

The forthcoming round of fixtures promises to be high on drama and full of entertainment with the fixture list giving an impression of what appears to be a goal fest in store. The action begins tonight with the match between two European football-chasing teams in Manchester United and Everton being the pick of the four matches in the offing for Tuesday. Wednesday will have even more to offer as the race for the title and battle to avoid the drop heats up with Chelsea hosting Manchester City, Tottenham aiming to keep the heat on the leaders as they play away at Swansea, a relegation six-pointer at the KCOM to be contested between Hull City and Middlesbrough, and a hotly-anticipated fiery London derby between Arsenal and West Ham United.
 

As usual, we have made our 4 picks ahead of the transfer deadline. Take a look:

 

TOM HEATON

With 121 points, Tom Heaton is leading the way for goalkeepers in FPL. The Burnley shot-stopper has made 116 saves at an average of 4.3 saves per game and also tops the list of goalkeepers with most bonus points earned with 21. Boasting such impressive statistics, there's no wonder as to why the 30-year-old's base price has risen by £0.6m over the course of the season – yet another high amongst goalkeepers.

 

 

Burnley takes on Stoke City tonight at their fortress Turf Moor where the Clarets have shipped just 14 of their 44 league goals. Stoke City are struggling for goals both home and away. The Potters have scored just 6 times in last 9 league outings and are without an away goal for 416 minutes now, last scoring away at Sunderland on January 14. 5 of the 7 clean sheets kept by last season's Championship winners this term have been at home. The £5.1m-priced goalie looks certain for a good return this gameweek.

 

DANNY SIMPSON

Danny Simpson was the unlikely standout in Leicester's recent 2-0 win over Stoke City, providing the assists for both goals. And his season-high 15-point haul was enough to catch our attention ahead of gameweek 31. The Manchester United academy product is selected by a measly 1.3% teams and provides a value-for-money option at £4.8m from a team that has returned to its old self in recent weeks.

 

 

Leicester host rock-bottom Sunderland tonight and the visitors have hit a goalscoring snag at the worst possible time. The Wearsiders' goalless run in the league has now stretched to 495 mins, with the last goal coming exactly two months ago when Sunderland ran riot against Crystal Palace 4-0. And to make matters even worse, David Moyes has confirmed Jermain Defoe hasn't trained ahead of the crunch tie for the visitors owing to a knee problem and could sit out. 5 of the 6 shutouts attained by the Foxes this season have come at home. It shouldn't come as a surprise if the defender once again rewards his owners with a handsome return. 

 

KAMIL GROSICKI

If you are out on the hunt for a differential with an eye for goals or assists or even both, then look no further beyond than Kamil Grosicki. Hull City's super-sub last weekend has quietly gone about his business since joining the club on the winter transfer deadline day. In his 480 minutes on the pitch, Grosicki has already racked up 4 FPL assists – 3 of those coming at the KCOM alone.

 

 

Hull play host to Middlesbrough in a relegation six-pointer tomorrow night. With the season approaching its business end and the two sides separated by just 4 points, Boro's caretaker manager Steve Agnew knows it's now-or-never and could be pushing his side to come out of their defensive shell to take on a more aggressive approach. After coming off the bench in the win over West Ham, the Pole looks set for a start in the midweek fixture with an eye for the final ball, the £5.5m-priced could be a gamble yet a masterful addition to your squad. Hull have scored in each of the five home games since Marco Silva took over the reigns (10 in all) and expect the trend to continue with Grosicki playing a key role.

 

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

 

After serving out his three-match suspension, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back once again in the fold to offer more variety in the forward department. And his return has been received quite well, with more than 50,000 managers snapping up the £11.4m striker to make him the fourth-most transferred in player ahead of gameweek 31. Up next for Manchester United is an injury-ravaged Everton coming into the game on the back of a derby defeat.

 

 

As much great Everton's home record has been, equally abysmal have they been on their travels. The Toffees have won just 4 of their 15 away games this season – none of which has come against a top 6 side. A staggering 23 of the 33 league goals conceded by the Goodison Park outfit have come on the road. On another hand, the hosts will be relishing the return of their star striker who has been involved in half of their 42 league goals (15G, 6A) – including the goal in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign. With Zlatan in the house tonight, expect the Swede to go gung-ho to satisfy his inexhaustible thirst of scoring goals.

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