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Top three picks for Gameweek 31

David Munday is back with his top three picks for the upcoming gameweek. This week he takes a look at his top three picks for Gameweek 31.

They say a key to a healthy diet is snacking right. Nobody can resist the urge for a cheeky bite for too long. The important thing is to make sure your intake in those moments is something that won’t mess up the whole regime.

The same is true of Fantasy Premier League teams. Sometimes you’ve got the opportunity to have a very cheeky, short term snack. As long as you make sure it’s low risk and not something you’ll turn into a habit, you should be safe. So, who might my budget snack on for Gameweek 31?

If you’re Free Hitting in Gameweek 32 and Wildcarding in Gameweek 33 like I am, then the time has never been better for a cheeky, short-term snack. Whenever I’m doing that with my food in real life, I look no further than a handful of juicy cherry tomatoes. 

Dominic Solanke (£5.5m)

It seems apt that FPL has served up a cherry of its own for Gameweek 31 in the form of Dominic Solanke (£5.5m). And, just like his tomato equivalent, this is a cheap, short-term option that could potentially explode.

That could be a good moment to move away from the analogy before things get too weird. Thankfully, there’s a plethora of stats to backup this little punt. Yes, let’s focus on them instead.

Firstly, Solanke currently sits atop Joe’s famous Goals Imminent table. The Bournemouth forward has only one goal in his previous four matches. But, of players with either that total or fewer over the same period, nobody has unleashed more shots, or shots in the box than him.

Included in his total of 17 for each, are six he fired at Leicester last time out. Marcus Rashford is the only Premier League player to register more shots in Gameweek 30. Solanke is about as due-a-goal as they come. He faces a Spurs defence this weekend with one clean sheet in their past six league outings.

The clincher? Over their past four matches, only Brentford have conceded more chances through the middle than Spurs. While only two sides have given up more shots on target than them over the same period.

Joachim Andersen (£4.5m)

You’ll be pleased to know this is where the food analogies come to an end. But that’s only because I don’t condone people eating Eagles! You’re honestly lucky I’ve not got an Everton player this week. Or indeed that there’s no team nicknamed The Juicy 10oz Rump Steaks.

You will have to cope with my waxing lyrical about Crystal Palace players for the second week in a row though, sorry. Thankfully, Eberechi Eze (£5.4m) delivered after I tipped him last week but it’s Roy Hodgson’s defence I’m interested in this time around.

Palace are a defence that offer returns both in the short and long term right now. When you sort the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker by defence between now and the end of the campaign, only Liverpool have better fixtures than the Eagles. It’s a Southampton side in Gameweek 31 who, over the past four matches, have the Premier League’s third-worst expected goals (xG) figure, while only Chelsea and Manchester City boast better expected goals conceded (xGC) numbers than Palace over the same period.

As for Andersen himself, he’s nailed on at the heart of Hodgons’s back-line and has the most shots of any defensive colleague in their past four matches. Incredibly, only three Palace players have created more chances than him too. So he’s sat there offering potential for clean sheets, goals and assists. Hard to resist.

Harry Kane (£11.7m)

Harry Kane (£11.7m) was used as a cash cow to get back to Erling Haaland (£12.2m) last time out but I’m very happy to be writing this article currently in possession of both of them. The England captain has been a steady investment this season, delivering points in 23 of his 30 league appearances. Crucially, he’s only 17 points behind Haaland in the Forwards chart.

While I’ve bigged up Solanke already, I can’t be as positive about Bournemouth’s defence. The Cherries have conceded 13 goals in their last seven league matches and, over their past four, they’re in the bottom four for shots conceded in the box. They’re also in the division’s bottom five for conceding headed attempts over the same period.

During that time, Kane is joint-second among forwards for attempts on goal using his noggin. And let’s not forget in those past four matches, only Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) can better the Spurs man for expected goal involvement (xGI) among all Premier League players.

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