Top three picks for Gameweek 36
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 36.
Just when you thought you could steal a march on your opponent, Solly March stole one on you. And if you sent up a prayer for your cheap fifth midfielder, then Andrea Pereira made sure it went unanswered.
If you’re in the same boat as me for Gameweek 36 then there are spaces going in the budget end of your midfield setup This is where I’ve chosen to focus my latest article.
This does come with a warning though: prepare to be outraged by how left-field my latest picks are.
N’Golo Kante (£4.8m)
Wait, what? He’s that dude who your dad used to pick in FPL simply because Alan Shearer said he was “superb” on Match of the Day once, right? Yeah, it’s that guy. The guy who’s made a career out of doing all of the things that go completely unrewarded in FPL. He tracks back, wins tackles and wins neutral fans over with that charming smile and a rubbish car.
Well, my friend, the times are a-changing. Now that Frank Lampard has his first win as Chelsea manager, it could be time to take a bit of a risk on one of their players. Especially with some slightly tempting fixtures between now and the end of the season.
Nottingham Forest are the next side to come to Stamford Bridge. They’ll arrive in London with the Premier League’s worst defence over the past four matches. This is a period where Nottingham Forest are bottom of the league for big chances conceded and expected goals conceded (xGC). Meanwhile, there’s a Double Gameweek 37 on the horizon for Chelsea. They play both Manchester sides who never keep as many keep as clean sheets as they should, as well as Newcastle at home on the last day, a team that arguably falls into the same category.
While it’s difficult to predict who’s going to score Chelsea’s inevitable goals, Kanté looks in a uniquely privileged position as the most-likely assister all of a sudden. Gone are the days of him trundling around the deeper parts of midfield making a name for himself on the Match of the Day highlights. Now he can make an imprint on FPL too.
That’s because he has recently burst to the top of the creativity charts at Chelsea. Despite having no involvement in corners, no colleague has matched him for his nine key passes in his last four matches. This has seen him earn his way back in the team after injury. Crucially, four of those have been big chances. This is actually the second-best tally in the whole of the Premier League in that time. Only Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne fashioning more than him.
That’s an incredible place to be in for him. At just £4.8m, he could be your new fifth midfielder for the run-in. It might even be time to say YOLO and get N’Golo.
Dwight McNeil (£5.1m)
Ever watched a guy you sold in Gameweek 27 kick you in the teeth with a 21-point haul in Gameweek 35? Thought so. Well, you know how I feel then. There I was touting Dwight McNeil as a differential pick back in March (there’s that word again) only for him to fully explode when I’m all in on … *checks notes* … Brighton.
Well, let’s use that explosion to our advantage when seeking that end-of-season differential midfielder. It’s a detonation that we probably should have seen coming really. Especially considering he’d actually bagged two goals in the four matches prior to Gameweek 35. He was putting up 5.5 points per match before the big double-figure haul.
And the exciting thing is McNeil has been posting numbers that suggest sustainability for his current performances. Over the last four matches, he ranks behind only Erling Haaland for shots on target. He is also only behind Alex Iwobi among Everton players for key passes.
Now, McNeil might be somebody you hold off on when you look at the fixtures, considering it’s Man City at home next. But later meetings with Wolves (away) and Bournemouth (home) could be a great opportunity to profit from the 0.2 per-cent-owned asset.
Alexis Mac Allister (£5.5m)
Yeah, yeah, I know, this one’s a bit obvious. Well, that’s why I stuck him at the bottom of this article. It’s worth pointing out that Alexis Mac Allister has made me look a little bit of a mug in recent weeks too.
I recently said in an FPL YouTube video that his time might be up because injuries forcing him into a deeper role. Since then he has scored in back-to-back Premier League games. This is the first time he has done this since Gameweek 27. Thanks, buddy.
It turns out that his journey further away from goal has not done a great deal to rob him of his thirst for it. In the last four matches, Mac Allister remains top of the Brighton charts for shots. He is second for shots in the box and top for shots on target.
Throw into the mix that he’s on penalties and he has the edge over Kaoru Mitoma. This is despite having 23 fewer touches in the box than him. The Japanese sensation does look good too but when we take penalties out of the equation Mac Allister wins. By examining the two players’ xG Non Penalty per match over the last four, their scores are actually exactly the same (0.40). Put them back in and there’s only one winner.
Mac Allister is also ahead of Mitoma on assist potential. In the same period, he’s created 10 chances to his colleague’s six. This makes for a superior expected goals involvement (xGI) score of 3.27 to 1.83.
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