🚨 GW20: the stuff you need to know 🎁

Everything you need to get a green arrow in Gameweek 20.

🚨 The stuff you should know 🚨

⏰ Gameweek 20’s deadline is Saturday 30th December, 11:00 GMT.

🔄 It’s the final gameweek to use your first Wildcard.

🤕 Mitoma out until February.

🤦‍♂️ Pep on Haaland “Hopefully in January he can come back”.

👍 De Bruyne back in training.

🌍 AFCON and the Asian Cup start after Gameweek 20.

Read on for more Cystic Greg.

Alright?

The phase between Christmas and New Year - no man’s land, as we like to call it - is disorientating.

Days of the week are suddenly a mystery, marked only by their proximity from Christmas or to New Year. Throw in the abundance of FPL deadlines and it can all be a bit much.

That’s why we’re here.

If you’re reading this on the 29th, let us be the first to tell you: it’s a Friday. Four days after Christmas and two days away from New Year’s Eve. There’s still some remnants of Turkey left (but they’re the slightly purpley-coloured bits that nobody else wants) and you’ve only one got one new pair of pants left before you’re going to have to dip into the skid-marked rags that are the Christmas ‘22 collection.

It’s also the day before Gameweek 20. Let’s talk about that.

A Concerling update on Haaland.

Pep’s full quote on Erling Haaland is as follows:

“Still he’s not with the team. He feels better but he hasn’t made one training session with us. Hopefully in January he can come back with us.”

Man City play on 30th December, so Pep appears to be implying that the Norse God will not be available for their Gameweek 20 fixture against Sheffield United.

This is quite significant news because:

  • most of those who kept Haaland were banking on him being available for this particular fixture.

  • those who got rid of Haaland will now be able to use their second Wildcards or the money freed up from selling Salah/Son to get him back for his return, if they want to.

Of course nothing is a certainty, particularly where Guardiola is concerned. Still, he doesn’t usually outright lie.

Either Haaland is indeed out for Gameweek 20 or Pep is as disorientated about the current date as everyone else.

Our advice: if you’ve still got Haaland, keeping him for another week is sensible. Gameweek 21 isn’t until 13th January, which gives him plenty of time to recover.

AFCON and the Asian Cup.

Some players will be departing for AFCON and the Asian Cup after Gameweek 20.

The most-owned players are Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min, Hwang Hee-chan (an update on him later) and Mohamed Kudus.

This excellent graphic shared by @fplpoland shows us how likely they are to progress through the tournament and when they might return.

So in real terms, there’s a pretty good chance according to this that all four are back by Gameweek 24, thus only missing three games.

We’ll talk about what to do with the key absentees in our next newsletter.

Are Newcastle crap now?

Once upon a time, it seemed like a good idea to triple-up on Newcastle. They had a great run of fixtures, some of the best stats in the league and the city itself is famous for its “trebles” (a triple-measure spirit and mixer).

It was like fate had dictated it.

But fate has a way of changing course. Suddenly, two of the three most-transferred out players are two, healthy Newcastle players (Anthony Gordon and Kieran Trippier).

Here’s the expected goals allowed (xGA) over the last six gameweeks. If you’re unfamiliar this metric, know that the higher the number, the leakier the defence.

This is also a low-key tip of the hat to Bournemouth.

The astute amongst you will notice something: there’s a team above Luton.

Newcastle’s xG (expected goals) over this period is actually the highest too, which paints a picture of a Liverpool-under-Rodgers-esque free-scoring, free-conceding outfit. The sort of frantic football you play at school, where there are 17 forwards, a couple of reluctant defenders and a rush goalkeeper.

The problem is that most of us who have three Newcastle players probably own a defender and Martin Dubravka. 

One fundamental tenet of being excellent at FPL is your ability to accurately judge when to deviate from your previously held convictions. Yes, triple-Newcastle was once a sound logical decision, but the circumstances that made it so have changed. Primarily, Newcastle are riddled with key injuries now.

Any £4m goalkeeper who regularly plays is probably worth keeping: it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a better alternative at the same price point (he says as Areola keeps yet another clean sheet).

But the likes of Kieran Trippier should justifiably be under threat. Newcastle have Liverpool, Man City and Aston Villa next.

Questions for Cystic Greg.

Cystic Greg is currently enjoying his Christmas holiday in Benidorm, but he was still happy to take a moment away from the hotel buffet of beige and brown foods to answer this week’s burning questions. What a bloke.

___

Q: Gordon is the most-sold player this week. Should I sell him too?

A: I don’t love this. Newcastle’s xG is the highest of any team over the last six gameweeks, and Gordon, despite his several injury complaints, has started every single one of them.

His fixtures look concerning, but here’s Gordon’s FPL points against the traditional big six so far this season:

Man City - 0 points but was subbed early
Liverpool - 10 points
Arsenal - 7 points
Chelsea - 13 points
Man United - 10 points
Spurs - 2 points

Gordon doesn’t appear to be too phased by the top teams.

Q: Solanke is on fire. Have I missed the boat?

A: This is a version of the sunk-cost fallacy. Your concern is that you’ve already committed to not bringing in Dominic Solanke, and bringing him in now would undermine that commitment. Resist falling for this fallacy.

Solanke has returned against the likes of Liverpool, Man United and Newcastle this season, so even with his upcoming run of tricky fixtures (Spurs, Liverpool, West Ham), he’s very capable of scoring goals.

Q: Should I play my second Wildcard as soon as I can?

A: Anything could happen in the post-Christmas break between Gameweek 20-21, including injuries, player transfers and Blank/Double Gameweek announcements. We should never be too devout to a chip strategy.

With that said, whilst the first Wildcard is normally used to rectify any misjudgements made before the season gets underway, the second Wildcard is typically a lot more nuanced. It can be used to support a wider chip strategy - for example, many top managers use their second Wildcard to prepare for a big Double Gameweek.

Other managers prefer to use it as early as possible in an attempt to extend the length of its benefit.

Your team is your team. I cannot see it without sniffing one of your possessions (and maybe licking it a bit). Use your judgment and remember: we all die in the end anyway.

Gameweek 20’s Best Captain.

Erling Haaland being out has really put a spanner in our captaincy smugness.

His out-of-office auto-reply over Christmas reads “For emergencies, please captain one of Son Heung-min or Mohamed Salah.

Son has Bournemouth at home.

Salah has Newcastle at home.

But there’s another highly owned option too: Ollie Watkins at home to Burnley.

10 gameweeks ago, Son would’ve probably been the favourite. But remember that xGA graphic we shared earlier? Newcastle are statistically the leakiest side at the moment. Bournemouth are the second-most robust.

Watkins won’t be a particularly popular choice, owing to the fact that he’s only scored one goal in his last five outings. Burnley’s defensive record isn’t great, but it’s respectable enough to feasibly frustrate Villa.

Salah wins it for us. He’ll be the most popular. We backed Salah last gameweek and Watkins the week before, so we’re pretty good at this captaincy thing over Christmas.

The key stats.

Here are the key stats. Someone last week asked what “last 4” means in the X marks the spot section - fair question.

For clarity it means “the last 4 games”.

The Professor’s team.

It’s getting boring now. The Professor enjoyed yet another green arrow, taking his overall rank to 717,811th, with new signing Gusto and old-timer Garnacho providing the bulk of his gain.

As far as his transfer plans go, here’s what he said: “I am desperate to roll so I can deal with Salah and Son next gameweek, but I’m scared.”

When isn’t he scared?

To view his team, you’ll need to sign up to LazyFPL Premium.

Nah just kidding, but you should consider signing up anyway. You’ll get access to our WhatsApp groups and extra emails from the Professor every gameweek that share the secret sauce of consistent FPL success.

It’s £4pm or £36 a year. Cheaper than a pint a month, but lasts much longer.

Here’s his team courtesy of the Hub’s MyTeam.

Whether you use it to visualise what your team might look like in a few gameweeks, an easy way to view fixture difficulty, a team rating tool or as an assistant manager that can actually suggest transfers, Fantasy Football Hub’s MyTeam is a game-changer.

Fancy trying it? Fantasy Football Hub are running a 30-day free trial, with 30% off after that. It’s a beast. Try it here.

Other stuff we found interesting.

  • Players now have to get 10 yellows for a suspension 🟨

  • The once-highesst-owned defender Pervis Estupinan is back from injury and scored on his return.

  • Hwang Hee-chan has a back spasm and is “hopeful” for Everton but “touch and go”.

Right, I’m being incredibly anti-social, a fact that isn’t going unnoticed by the in-laws.

Fed up of the “see you next year!” quips yet? Well tough, here’s another one:

See you next year folks.

Stay lazy,

The LazyFPL Team.

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