After a one-week hiatus, the focus is well and truly back on Premier League and obviously, FPL.
We have discussed wildcards, forwards and defenders at length but one area of the pitch that hasn’t been touched upon is the midfield.
This season, the FPL midfield picks have been less clear than as the season has gone by.
With usual suspects like Salah, Mane and Son missing, the focus has shifted to other players and value picks.
Pascal Gross started the season in blistering fashion, scoring 3 and assisting 2, but with a managerial change and fixture-less weekends, there are doubts about his point-scoring ability going forward.
Rodrigo too was on everyone’s radar during the start of the season, before an injury derailed it.
Salah and Son have failed to deliver any meaningful returns, much to the dismay of FPL managers around the world.
The extended, and unscheduled, break between gameweeks along with fixtures being moved around has meant that the Wildcard chip has been activated by many.
This gives a good opportunity to rejig the midfield based on form, price and new transfers.
Here are our thoughts on how you can shape your midfield.
Kevin de Bruyne (£12.2)
Right from the off, the first barrier to getting KDB on the team is the hefty price tag.
If you already own Haaland and Kane (or any other 10M+ asset), accommodating KDB should be a no-go as it significantly weakens the team.
Having KDB instead of Kane does have its benefits, the primary of which is the opportunity to accommodate two of the three mid-range strikers (Isak/Toney/Mitrovic).
The Belgian also provides for an easy transfer opportunity to get Salah or Son in, if and when they get back to their scoring ways.
He has also provided 4 assists and with very straightforward gameweeks coming ahead, he has the potential to score a lot more points.
The most transferred-in midfielder this GW faces Wolves next, a team he is very fond of, so to speak.
Gabriel Martinelli (£6.5)
Martinelli is already owned by 47.5% of the teams and with good reason.
The young Brazilian has scored 3, assisted 1 and has cemented his place in Arteta’s XI.
However, with tough fixtures coming up in the form of Brentford, Spurs, Liverpool and Leeds before a blank GW12, Martinelli is looking less attractive than before.
Andreas Pereira (£4.6)
The cheapest midfielder on the list, the Fulham midfielder has certainly attracted a lot of attention from wildcarders.
The low price, while impossible to ignore, is not the only attractive thing about Pereira.
The former Man Utd man has provided 2 assists in 6 games and has easy fixtures coming up.
With a maximum FDR of 3 for the next 7 games, Pereira and Fulham would be looking to pick up some valuable points.
However, the player’s minutes have reduced lately so managers should be wary and have some money in the bank in case he needs to be transferred out later.
The mid-range midfielders (£7M to £8M)
James Maddison, Wilfried Zaha and Jarrod Bowen can be all possible additions to your FPL teams.
Looking at the fixture list, Jarrod Bowen of West Ham is by far the most obvious choice of the three.
Maddison (v. Spurs) and Zaha (blank and then v. Chelsea) face tough tasks in the near future while Bowen faces Everton, Wolves, Fulham and Southampton in the next three games.
However, things get tricky when we study form.
Bowen has failed to score or assist in any of the six games, getting only 13 points in the process.
Maddison, whose team occupies the last spot in the league, has done better with 2 goals, 1 assist and 22 points.
Zaha has outscored the two with 4 goals and 31 points.
At this point, purely based on form, our recommendation would be to get Zaha but only after three gameweeks and until then, let one of the differentials occupy that space. More on the differential picks below.
Possible differentials (less than 10% ownership)
Leon Bailey (£4.7), Anthony Gordon (£5.5) and Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.4) are three players flying under the radar at the moment.
Leon Bailey is the cheapest but also the least convincing at the moment.
The player’s minutes have been scattered and have resulted in only 1 goal and 1 assist.
If Bailey can assert himself in Gerrard’s XI, Aston Villa’s fixtures make it really tempting to own this sub-5M midfielder.
Anthony Gordon, on the other hand, has started in all games for Everton this season, scoring 2 goals and is owned by only 4.2% of the teams.
Lampard’s team is starting to gel now and with West Ham and Southampton next, the player can certainly deliver in the next 2 gameweeks before being transferred out for a player with a better future outlook.
Newcastle’s Saint-Maximin has been injured for the past two matches, losing some valuable points and his hair in the process.
Currently only has a 50% chance of playing the next game. Managers should stay away from the nifty talisman for now and assess the situation after the international break.