The return from the international break was a quiet one for Fantasy Premier League managers as an average score of 46 in GW30 meant it was neither a poor nor a very happening week.

Among the usual suspects, only Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard performed while there were a host of surprise packages among the top scorers.

West Brom’s Matheus Pereira top scored with 21 points as he led the Baggies’ charge in a shock 5-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Manchester City’s fit-again full-back Benjamin Mendy collected 15 points. Aston Villa’s Trezeguet, Leeds United’s Harrison Reed, Southampton’s Nathan Redmond all collected more than 12 points.

Gameweek 31 is quite similar fixture-wise with Manchester United and Tottenham being the only two teams among the big six facing one another.

Manchester City’s home game against Leeds United, Liverpool’s fixture against Aston Villa and West Brom’s home game against Southampton will be of key interest for FPL managers given the goal potential they carry.

Fixture Difficulty

Before looking at the fixture difficulty ratings for GW31 and beyond, it’s important to note that GW33 is going to be a mini blank matchday while in GW32, Tottenham will be playing an extra fixture. Also in GW32, Crystal Palace are not going to be involved.

Here are the teams who will not be playing in GW33: Fulham, Manchester City, Southampton, Tottenham.

Jose Mourinho’s side are going to double in GW32 and blank in 33 so it’s important for FPL managers not to go too heavy on Spurs assets. A maximum of two players would be sufficient in GW32.

As for the general trend, Liverpool and Wolves have the easiest games in the coming weeks along with Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City while Leeds, Crystal Palace and Everton have tough games.

Fixture Difficulty Ratings

Team *Combined Difficulty rating for GW 31-33 GW31 opponent (Apr 09) GW32 opponent GW33 opponent
Arsenal 8 (2, 2, 4) SHU(A) FUL(H) EVE(H)
Aston Villa 9 (3, 4, 2) LIV(A) MCI(H) WBA(H)
Brighton 10 (4, 4, 2) EVE(H) CHE(A) SHU(A)
Burnley 9 (2, 4, 3) NEW(H) MUN(A) WOL(A)
Chelsea 10 (3, 3, 4) CRY(A) BHA(H) WHU(A)
Crystal Palace 12 (4, NA, 4) CHE(H) NA LEI(A)
Everton 10 (3, 3, 4) BHA(A) TOT(H) ARS(A)
Fulham 9 (2, 4, NA) WOL(H) ARS(A) NA
Leeds 13 (5, 4, 4) MCI(A) LIV(H) MUN(H)
Leicester 8 (4, 2, 2) WHU(A) WBA(H) CRY(H)
Liverpool 7 (2, 3, 2) AVL(H) LEE(A) NEW(H)
Man City 9 (3, 3, NA) LEE(H) AVL(A) NA
Man Utd 9 (4, 2, 3) TOT(A) BUR(H) LEE(A)
Newcastle 9 (2, 4, 3) BUR(A) WHU(H) LIV(A)
Sheffield Utd 9 (3, 3, 3) ARS(H) WOL(A) BHA(H)
Southampton 9 (2, 4, NA) WBA(A) TOT(A) NA
Spurs 9 (4, 3, 2, NA) MUN(H) EVE(A), SOU(H) NA
West Brom 9 (2, 4, 3) SOU(H) LEI(A) AVL(A)
West Ham 10 (4, 2, 4) LEI(H) NEW(A) CHE(H)
Wolves 6 (2, 2, 2) FUL(A) SHU(H) BUR(H)
as per FPL website

The big ins and outs

Diogo Jota is the man in demand after his impressive brace from the bench against Arsenal last week. He is followed by the in-form Lingard who simply can’t stop returning at the moment. Kelechi Iheanacho continues to attract owners despite a blank last week. After his goalscoring exploits last week, Mohamed Salah is back in demand too. Harry Kane completes the top five.

Most transferred (in) players ahead of GW31

Position Player Club
MID Lingard WHU
FWD Iheanacho LEI
as of Friday morning

Leeds United’s tough run means Bamphinha (Bamford and Raphinha) are on the way out of most FPL teams. Gareth Bale, who seems to have fallen out of favour at Spurs again, tops this list along with Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan, who has been rested for City’s last two league games.

With an injury doubt over West Ham’s Antonio, FPL managers are losing patience with him.

Most transferred (out) players ahead of GW31

Position Player Club
MID Gündogan MCI
FWD Bamford LEE
MID Raphinha LEE
FWD Antonio WHU
as of Friday morning

Top picks for Gameweek 31

Whether you bring them in through transfers or (luckily enough) have them in your squad already, these are the five hottest selections for GW 31:

Diogo Jota (Liverpool): The Reds midfielder has the best goals-per-minute ratio in the Premier League this season and he showed why during a splendid substitute appearance against Arsenal last week. He seems to be the key to the Reds’ scoring woes and would be hoping to end Liverpool’s Anfield hoodoo against Aston Villa. At a price of £6.9m, he is a must-have, especially given Liverpool’s fixtures.

Chris Wood (Burnley): The Clarets forward has scored in each of his last three games and faces an out-of-sorts Newcastle United side. He is sixth in the league for xG (Expected Goals) for the last three weeks and would fancy their chances against Newcastle United who have just two cleans sheets on the road all season.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City): Sterling got an assist in a cameo appearance at Leicester last week but the key reason why he is the City asset to pick is the likelihood of him starting. The Englishman hasn’t started City’s last two matches and hence is very likely to play against Leeds who have the worst xGA (Expected Goals Allowed) in the league away from home. He also has great differential potential given his low ownership.

Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): The left wing-back has produced great attacking numbers since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge and is always a goal threat when he plays. The Blues showed in midweek that their 2-5 reverse against West Brom was just a blip and against goal-shy Crystal Palace, Alonso could have a good chance of keeping a clean sheet. The Blues have the best xGA in the league over the last five games despite last weekend’s result. The Spaniard should start given Ben Chilwell was preferred in midweek.

Jesse Lingard (West Ham): The Hammers midfielder simply can’t be ignored in this kind of form even if he has a tough game against Leicester. Since joining West Ham, he has blanked only once in eight matches and has produced double-digit hauls in the last two weeks. The Foxes can be defensively vulnerable at times and Lingard in the kind of form that he is can readily exploit that.

Top differential picks for GW31:

Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City): The City forward has scored in each of his last two Premier League games and is a likely starter against Leeds United having sat out of the midweek Champions League game. The Brazilian is seventh in the league for xG over the last three weeks and with little over 3% ownership can be a real difference-maker when he faces Leeds.

Nathaniel Phillips (Liverpool): The Reds’ youngster has cemented his place in the Liverpool rearguard and has a great run of fixtures ahead of him. Having kept two clean sheets in the last two matches, Phillips is a steal at £4m. Owned by less than 2% of FPL managers, he is a great differential option for the run-in.

Matheus Periera (West Brom): The Baggies midfielder will be in a great mood after being the star of the show at Stamford Bridge last week and would hope to continue his form when he faces a leaky Southampton side at the Hawthorns. The Saints have conceded nine goals in their last three games. Owned by 2.1% of FPL managers, Pereira is certainly an option to be considered.

Captaincy Conundrum

A Manchester City player would have been the best bet for captaincy this week had you known exactly which ones would start. Given how Pep Guardiola rotates his players, it would be better to avoid handing the armband to any City player as the player may not be involved at all or play just a few minutes as a substitute.

Salah and Jota are good candidates but given how poor the Reds have been at Anfield in recent times, there’s a risk element involved there as well although not as much as it’s with City. The in-form Jota could be a real differential pick for the armband and one that could really boost your rank if it works out.

Elsewhere, Bruno Fernandes and Kane remain good options with Chelsea’s Alonso being one of those outrageous choices that may actually work out.

I’d still go for Liverpool finally ending their Anfield curse and handing Jota the captain’s armband. Salah is a great choice too but Jota is just that tad explosive at the moment.

FPL Deadline for GW31: 11:00 pm IST, Friday, April 09, 2021.