Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 30 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Nowadays I’m mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
My colleagues have covered my last two columns due to a vacation followed by a bug, and during that time my FPL team has become sick too! A couple of woeful gameweeks leaves AM FC down in 350k in the overall standings and way off the pace in most of my private leagues. The only positive is I still hold three chips (Wildcard, Bench Boost & Free Hit) which I'll need to leverage to the maximum if there's any hope of a push in to the top 100k before the end of the season. On to Gameweek 30 ...
Saturday 14 March 2020
Watford v Leicester
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Brighton v Arsenal
Man City v Burnley
Newcastle v Sheffield Utd
Norwich v Southampton
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Sunday 15 March 2020
West Ham v Wolves
Spurs v Man Utd
Monday 16 March 2020
Everton v Liverpool
Gameweek 30 brings us another regulation 11:30am GMT Saturday FPL deadline as Watford host Leicester in the early kick off, and at the time of writing all 10 fixtures are due to go ahead. This could change quickly given the current global situation but we only know what we know right now. As always our main focus will be on players from the teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals or potential clean sheet points on the cards. Manchester City look to be the pick of the bunch with a home game against Burnley, with Chelsea visiting Aston Villa and Wolves at West Ham also worth a look. I fancy Manchester United at Tottenham, Arsenal at Brighton and Liverpool at Everton, while the remaining games look too close to call on paper but we'll look to pick out a differential. With that in mind, here are the guys to keep in your thoughts ahead of the deadline ...
Ross Barkley (MF - Chelsea @ Aston Villa) - Is there a more frustrating player in the Premier League than Ross Barkley? The attacking midfielder has almost every attribute you could hope for in top flight footballer but his decision making in key moments lets him down again and again. Thankfully there are signs this element of his game is improving under Frank Lampard's guidance and injuries to other members of the Chelsea squad should ensure Barkley gets a run of games up to the end of the season. Four assists and a goal in his last six starts is decent enough and could be enhanced further at struggling Aston Villa in Saturday's late kick-off.
Patrick Van Aanholt (DF - Crystal Palace @ Bournemouth) - We picked out Patrick Van Aanholt as the top defensive pick back in Gameweek 27 and he rewarded us handsomely with a goal, a clean sheet and three bonus points. Since then the wing-back's performances have continued on an upward trend and he's currently sitting on top of the FPL defensive form chart after helping Palace to three vital wins and three clean sheets on the spin. The Eagles are now pretty much safe from danger and the squad will travel to Bournemouth full of confidence, which bodes well for another strong showing from PVA and his teammates.
Gabriel Jesus (FW - Manchester City v Burnley) - Manchester City are due to play Real Madrid in the Champions League next Tuesday and so with the title race done and dusted you'd expect Pep Guardiola to avoid taking any risks against Burnley on Saturday afternoon. That would mean Sergio Agüero's game time is managed carefully with Gabriel Jesus the man likely to lead the line against Shaun Dyche's men in this scenario. Jesus has only started 13 Premier League games for City this season but has registered an impressive 10 goals and five assists and has just 2.5% ownership in FPL. This makes him a potentially potent differential if you're chasing a private league rival who will be playing it safe.
Anthony Martial (MF - Manchester United @ Tottenham) - Bruno Fernandes is the obvious choice for this fixture but Anthony Martial is lower priced, has lower ownership and is in fine goalscoring form himself thanks mainly to the additional chances being provided by his recently acquainted Portuguese team mate. Manchester United are having their best spell of the season at the best possible time and visit a Spurs side decimated by injuries, low on confidence, conceding too many goals and generally playing really badly. Taking all of this in to consideration you could do a lot worse than adding Martial to your FPL side for Gameweek 30.
Vice-Captain: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (FW - Arsenal @ Brighton) - FPL managers around the world were dealt some rotten luck when the Gameweek 29 double was cancelled at that last moment due to health concerns. Many of you probably took hits to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in order to hand him the armband for the DGW but this move could now pay dividends in Gameweek 30. Arsenal are playing some good football under Mikel Arteta and travel to Brighton looking for another three points in their unlikely quest to sneak in to the final Champions League spot. Aubameyang is always the star man and can get himself on the scoresheet again versus the inconsistent Seagulls.
Captain: Mohamed Salah (MF - Liverpool @ Everton) - A surprise exit to Atletico Madrid means Liverpool's sole focus now is wrapping up the Premier League title and until that is secured Jurgen Klopp will field a full strength side each gameweek. A Merseyside derby victory over Everton would put them within touching distance and you'd expect a reaction from the players after the huge disappointment of the result in midweek - despite the team putting in a superb performance for 100 minutes. Mohamed Salah just shades the captaincy over Sadio Mané due to his assignment of penalty duty (assuming James Milner doesn't start.) Don't let us down Mo!
That's it for Gameweek 30's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend.