Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m) could miss Gameweek 31 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) due to the hamstring injury he sustained against Arsenal prior to the international break.
Jurgen Klopp should give us a more exact prognosis on the full-backs fitness in his pre-match press conference later this week, although reports on Tuesday suggest he faces a race against time to be fit for Liverpool’s Gameweek 32 clash with Manchester City.
Not far off 30% of the site readers in our sidebar vote said they are planning to sell Alexander-Arnold ahead of Gameweek 31, but should we be losing him, and if so, who are the best replacements?
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Firstly, owners of Trent Alexander-Arnold Should probably sit tight for now and await further updates on his fitness.
If he were to somehow come into the reckoning for Saturday’s early kick-off, however unlikely, it would seem unwise to sell, given that he had produced either a goal, assist or clean sheet in the 21 of his 26 Premier League appearances this term.
Even if he were to sit out Gameweek 31, FPL managers may be content to hold, given that the majority have value tied up in him: Alexander-Arnold started the season at just £7.5m but has since risen by £0.9m, taking him up to £8.4m.
Notably, if you do want to bring him back after selling, it will also use up two valuable transfers.
However, Liverpool could potentially play up to nine times in April (see below), and given that Man City are up next in Gameweek 32, bringing in a replacement may work in some set-ups.
- Saturday 2 April: Gameweek 31 – Watford (h)
- Tuesday 5 April: Champions League quarter-finals – Benfica (a)
- Sunday 10 April: Gameweek 32 – Manchester City (a)
- Wednesday 13 April: Champions League quarter-finals – Benfica (h)
- Saturday 16/Sunday 17 April: FA Cup semi-finals – Manchester City (n)
- Tuesday 19 April: Gameweek 33 – Manchester United (h)
- Sunday 24 April: Gameweek 34 – Everton (h)
- Tuesday 26/Wednesday 27 April: Champions League semi-finals
- Saturday 30 April: Gameweek 35 – Newcastle United (a)
- Tuesday 3/Wednesday 4 May: Champions League semi-finals
- Saturday 7 May: Gameweek 36 – Tottenham Hotspur (h)
- Saturday 14 May: FA Cup final
- Sunday 15 May: Gameweek 37 – Southampton (a)
- Sunday 22 May: Gameweek 38 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (h)
- Saturday 28 May: Champions League final
£8.4m is also a lot for a defender as we approach the business end of the season, and with the pool of potential replacements vast ahead of Saturday’s 11:00 GMT deadline, here we’ll explore some of the best alternative options.
BEST ALEXANDER-ARNOLD REPLACEMENTS
Andrew Robertson (£7.3m) is the stand-out defender at Liverpool if Alexander-Arnold is out. The Scot has at least five more Fantasy returns than any other player over his last 14 starts, with 116 points coming his way in that time (that’s an average of 8.3 per match). Meanwhile, his assist at the Emirates took his tally to 11 for the season, level with Alexander-Arnold.
As detailed above, the Reds have some huge games coming up, including their trip to the Etihad in Gameweek 32. Jurgen Klopp’s side also face Man City in the FA Cup later in April, rivals Manchester United and Everton in the league and have their two -legged tie with Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals. As a result, we should probably expect a degree of rotation, although with the title still up for grabs, that should hopefully be kept to a minimum.
There’s not much more we can say to you about Joao Cancelo (£6.9m), who averages more points per match (6.0) than any other player or forward in FPL bar Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) Son Heung-min (£10.9m). With nine attacking returns and 15 clean sheets to his name in 27 Premier League appearances, the Portuguese should hit the 200-point mark by the time the 2021/22 season draws to a close, providing too much rotation doesn’t hit during the run -in. He’s also, remarkably for a defender, 13th among outfield players for goal attempts – only one of which has been converted, admittedly – in the current campaign.
As for Man City, Pep Guardiola’s side have a kind run-in, facing just one top-six opponent in their remaining nine matches, when they host Liverpool in Gameweek 32. They also have a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers to be rearranged, which will hand them a Double Gameweek later in the season.
Rece James (£6.2m) hasn’t been involved for Chelsea since sustaining a muscle injury in Gameweek 28. He has since withdrawn from England duty, although he has been spotted in training with the Blues this week.
James is a game-changer for Chelsea at right wing-back. In the Premier League this term, he has averaged 0.79 attacking returns per 90 minutes, a figure that only Mason Mount (£7.5m) can beat in Thomas Tuchel’s squad. His ability to rack up big hauls is also notable: he has returned 18+ points on three separate occasions this term. There was his two-goal display at Newcastle United, his rampaging performance at the Emirates when he again struck, and more recently, his outing against Burnley, which ended with James having scored the opener and teed up a goal for Kai Havertz (£7.9m).
Although he may occasionally be rotated (Chelsea’s Gameweek 32 visit to Southampton looks particularly precarious with Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid either side), the Blues’ remaining schedule suggest James is probably worth the risk, especially as they have two previously postponed fixtures that still need to be rearranged.
Kieran Tierney (£5.1m) has become a vital part of Mikel Arteta’s rebuild at the Emirates, donning the skipper’s armband in the second half of the league win over Aston Villa in Gameweek 30. The Scot has produced one goal, three assists, 11 clean sheets and 11 bonus points in 22 Premier League appearances this term, averaging 4.8 points per match, a team-leading total among defenders.
The Gunners are in good form and have won six of their last seven to surge into the Premier League top four, putting them in pole position to claim the final Champions League place for next season. Some very decent fixtures book-end a tricky run from Gameweek 34-35 (a north London derby also has to feature in the schedule somewhere), so there are plenty of points opportunities for one of only two sides in the top six who don’ t have the distractions of cup competitions at home or abroad.
For those wishing to save some pennies, budget defender Connor Roberts (£4.4m) has now started each of Burnley’s last 10 Premier League matches, becoming first-choice right-back for Sean Dyche. In that time, he has produced one assist, four clean sheets and three bonus points, averaging a respectable 3.7 points per match. His attacking instincts and long throws raise his potential, whilst it’s also worth noting that his more expensive team-mate, James Tarkowski (£4.9m), is just two yellow cards away from a two-game ban.
The Clarets, meanwhile, have a nice blend of quantity and quality of fixture ahead: they have more matches (five) and Double Gameweeks (two) than any other team in the next three rounds. These include meetings with rock-bottom Norwich City, an Everton side with the league’s worst away record and a potentially ‘on the beach’ Southampton outfit who have lost their last four matches in all competitions. Defensively, only one team (Brighton) below eighth in the table have conceded fewer goals than their 38, while their total of seven clean sheets ranks a pretty decent joint-ninth overall.
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