The players I’m targeting with my Free Hit chip in Double Gameweek 28

Pro Pundits 29

Having escaped Gameweek 27 relatively unscathed, with a -4 taken and a healthy score of 61 points, I have been trying to work out the opportune time to use my chips, as I’m in the fortunate position of having two Free Hits, a Bench Boost and a Wildcard to use before the end of the season.

Thanks to the news that Chelsea have landed an attractive-looking Double Gameweek 28, against Burnley and Norwich, I’ve decided that there’s enough of an “upside” here to pull the trigger.

So, here we are. I’ve pressed the button and made 14 changes to my side. What can possibly go wrong…? I’m pretty much set on 10 of my starting XI, but the final spot is likely to go right to the wire.

Below, I’ll outline the players I’ve selected and why I’ve chosen them, with so many options to consider this week.

Goalkeeper and Defense

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The guard was an easy choice, with Jose Sá (£5.3m) the stand-out option for me this week. Edouard Mendy (£6.1m) was also a consideration, and those looking for security of starts can do no better than the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winner. Similarly, if I wanted to triple up on Chelsea at the back, I’d also turn to Mendy, but there is a child that I have my eye on (more on him later) along with the two Blues defenders I’ve selected at the back.

The reason for wanting to get as much coverage of Chelsea’s backline is pretty simple. Thomas Tuchel’s side play arguably the league’s two most blunt attacks in their Double Gameweek. Over their last six matches, Burnley and Norwich have (by some distance) the lowest non-penalty expected goals (xG) totals of all teams in the league. Furthermore, if we look at Chelsea’s last six matches in the Premier League (which granted is a bit disjointed due to their other cup commitments), they are performing the third-best in the league, behind Arsenal and Liverpool, and having had a tough fixture run during this period to boot. Clearly, Norwich and Burnley will have their work cut out to get any joy against the Blues.

Rece James (£6.2m) is the most exciting pick, although there is a risk he won’t play both matches of the double. I’m willing to take the chance, however, and his cameos in recent cup matches are encouraging. There is also a sizeable turnaround between the two matches (five days), so if he does line up against Burnley, I would be confident of another start versus Norwich, too.

Above: Attacking data over each team’s last six matches, with Double Gameweek 28 teams highlighted

Above: Defensive data over each team’s last six matches, with Double Gameweek 28 teams highlighted

I’ve also decided to go for two Wolves players, even though the above tables show that they have been on the decline a bit in recent Gameweeks. This likely means more save points for the aforementioned Sa, however, who is making a stop every 24.5 minutes: only Ilian Meslier (£4.8m) and Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) beat that of all first-choice goalkeepers.

My selection in the Wolves backline is Romain Saiss (£5.0m). His two goals is the best from the Wolves defense, equal with Conor Coady (£4.8m), and while Rayan Ait Nouri (£4.4m) looks good value as well, I’m banking on the security of starts I get from Saiss, as well as better attacking statistics than Coady (for example, a goal attempt every 140 minutes versus one every 291 minutes).

There are certainly other options here if you don’t want to put all your eggs in the Wolves and Chelsea basket. Southampton have a couple of good options in Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) (if passed fit) and Tino Livramento (£4.4m), and Lucas Digne (£5.1m) could also punish me as I remove him from my team on the Free Hit. Newcastle are also showing improved defensive resolve as of late, and a left-field punt on someone like Dan Burn (£4.4m) playing against his former club might not be a completely ridiculous move for anyone looking for a differential. Taking out the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.5m) Joao Cancelo (£7.1m) does fill me with fear, but at least they have tricky opponents on paper in West Ham and Manchester United respectively.


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