Only 8 matches will be played in Game-Week 36 due to the FA Cup Final which gives FPL managers the last major opportunity to use their free-hit chip. Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester United will not be playing in this game week which means highly owned players such as Bruno Fernandes, Kelechi Iheanacho, Luke Shaw and Edouard Mendy among others will have a blank fixture.
Given that I have eight players from those sides in my FPL team, I have opted to play my Free Hit chip this week and will take you through my choices down below. Here is the current draft for my Game-Week 36 Free Hit Team:
GK: Jordan Pickford (EVE) – £4.8m
Everton have kept a clean sheet in each of their last two matches against tough opposition in West Ham and Aston Villa and have one of the easiest fixtures of the weekend against Sheffield United at home.
DEF: Lucas Digne (EVE) – £6.2m
Considering Everton’s easy fixture, I have also gone with Lucas Digne alongside Jordan Pickford. Digne also provides significant attacking upside to go along with the clean-sheet potential in this game week.
DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV) – £7.6m
Trent Alexander-Arnold had 2 assists against Manchester United and created 6 chances in the game and is a must-have in defence in my eyes this week for their fixture against West Brom.
DEF: John Stones (MCI) – £5.1m
Manchester City have kept 18 clean sheets in the league this season and have the best defensive record in the league. John Stones should return to the City line-up following his 3-match suspension and could also be a goal threat from set-pieces against Newcastle.
MID: Sadio Mane (WBA) – £11.7m
The major differential in my free-hit team for this week is the 5% owned Sadio Mane. Mane has the recorded the highest number of big chances among all players in the last 6 matches and is poised to start against West Brom after his rest against Manchester United.
MID: Mohammed Salah (LIV) – £12.7m
Mohammed Salah has the second highest big chance involvement among all players in the last 6 matches and has 5 goals and assists since game week 30.
MID: Riyad Mahrez (MCI) – £8.0m
Riyad Mahrez has managed 13 shots, 2 big chances and 5 chances created in his last four PL starts and is also on penalties in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne.
MID: Phil Foden (MCI) – £6.0m
At only £6 million, Foden offers ridiculous value considering his form in recent weeks. Foden has taken 11 shots and created 10 chances in his last four Premier League starts and is expected to feature against Newcastle after a rest against Chelsea in game-week 35.
FWD: Harry Kane (TOT) – £11.8m
Harry Kane has not scored in either of his last two games which has allowed the likes of Salah and Fernandes to catch up to him in the golden boot race. Nevertheless, Tottenham have an easy fixture on paper against Wolves at home which could see the Englishman return to the scoresheet.
FWD: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE) – £7.5m
Dominic Calvert-Lewin faces off against Sheffield United this weekend, a team that has conceded 27 big chances in the league since Chris Wilder left and are conceding 2.41 Expected Goals per match in that spell.
FWD: Patrick Bamford (WBA) – £6.4m
Patrick Bamford returned to the scoresheet against Tottenham last weekend and could be back amongst the goals this weekend against a Burnley side that have uncharacteristically conceded the 7th most goals in the division (47).
Harry Kane and Mohammed Salah are both tied on 21 goals apiece in the race for the golden boot and have favourable fixtures against bottom-half opposition this week. The Egyptian international just edges it for me considering that Liverpool have more to play for as they chase Champions League football while Tottenham and Kane have less jeopardy on the line which could affect their performance.
[Header Image Credit: Premier League]