Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 22: tips from our Top 500 manager as Liverpool take on Chelsea

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Our high-flying fantasy manager gives you captain advice and all you need to succeed in FPL Gameweek 22, as blank and double gameweeks loom.

Welcome back to our regular Fantasy Premier League advice column, penned by our very own Top 500 fantasy manager. Ahead of the forthcoming midweek games that make up Gameweek 22, we’ve got a lot of forward planning to with blank and double gameweeks on the horizon – so let’s get right to it.

Before we hand you over to a rather smug Matthew Gregory and let him gloat about his global ranking, a quick reminder that your post-FA Cup transfer deadline is Tuesday 30 January at 18:00 BST. Make sure you follow his advice before the window closes…

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Big blanks and difficult doubles

Right – let’s start with some big news for Liverpool fans. No, not the thing about Jürgen Klopp leaving, but the fact that reaching the final of the EFL Cup means that they have a blank gameweek coming up. Which is almost as big of a deal.

Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Luton Town will also blank in Gameweek 26, which leaves us with a bit of a headache when it comes to forward planning. We’re only five gameweeks away from a situation in which we can’t afford to have more than three players from those teams, and even that we’d all be vulnerable to a player being unexpectedly benched.

The good news is that Manchester City could come to the rescue. Kevin de Bruyne and company have a double gameweek in GW25, with fixtures against Chelsea and Brentford, both at home. Brentford double too, although Liverpool and City is not a great pair of games to buy into.

What all this boils down to is that players have two choices – either carry on with their teams as normal and play their free hit when gameweek 26 rolls around in late February, or use their transfer to navigate down to three players maximum from the four teams who miss out. Given how many good assets are in those teams, that won’t be easy, but we’re here with some ideas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Let’s start with the idea of using your free hit. That’s the easy way out, but for most teams not a great one. There should be (at least) two big double gameweeks later in the season, and you usually want to use a free hit for one and a wildcard for the other, typically one week before the double gameweek itself so you can use your bench boost for maximum points. Using a chip earlier in the season could bring short-term gains, but in the long term it might hurt more than it helps.

Any managers who have already felt forced to use their wildcard to fix their teams in January should not consider using that free hit for gameweek 26. They need it too much later in the piece. But for anyone else, just be aware that free hitting in 26 means that you’ll have to use a lot of transfers to maximise on the doubles later on. Unless you have a very large number of players from Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Luton, using those transfers now is probably easier. For what it’s worth – you almost certainly shouldn’t wildcard for week 26. That chip is too valuable for that.

For those who need to trim down their squad with transfers over the next five weeks, we’d definitely be moving key assets towards City. One easy transfer is for anyone who held on to the newly-injured Mohamed Salah (which includes me, unfortunately) to move him to De Bruyne, while we’d also want to make sure we had Erling Haaland back in the fold by then, and probably sooner.

Ivan Toney looks like a very reasonable option now too with a double on the horizon and a comeback goal under his belt, but he’s unlikely to come in for a blanking player in many teams, the occasional Darwin Núñez owner notwithstanding, but I also like Jérémy Doku as a potential cheap midfielder who could rack some points up in that juicy double gameweek.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In terms of players who you should get out, Chelsea have an obvious break point in GW25, when they play City and then blank afterwards. They play Wolves and Crystal Palace before that, but anyone with players like Levi Colwill can ditch them after that. We’d hold Cole Palmer unless you bought him late and wouldn’t lose too much money selling him and buying him back afterwards. Having a couple of blanks on the bench is fine.

For Liverpool, now is a decent time to sell. They play Chelsea at home (tough-ish) and Arsenal away (very tough) in the next two weeks, and while Burnley at home afterwards looks tempting, we’d be happy to consider shifting assets now, even the in-form Diogo Jota. If you’re low on Chelsea players, however, you can hold comfortably enough. I wouldn’t be in a rush to buy back into Trent Alexander-Arnold when he returns from injury, anyway.

The same advice applies to anyone tempted to buy James Maddison now the Spurs playmaker is back in full training. He’ll likely do well, but that blank looms fairly large. That said, their fixtures are pretty kind either side of the blank, and we would sell Spurs assets at the last minute only – and happily hold one, or maybe two, alongside Palmer during that blank week.

A separate note we’d make is to avoid leaping back onto Mohammed Kudus now that Ghana have been unceremoniously dumped out of the Africa Cup of Nations in the group stage. He’ll be back and he’s a fine asset, but after playing Bournemouth this week, West Ham face Manchester United away and Arsenal at home. After that, Kudus is a good replacement option for players like Richarlison.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It may seem like all of these moves are a long way away, but this is where careful forward planning can really reap rewards. Too many players will jump on a short-term transfer and find that they’re low on City players come GW25 and overstuffed with blanking players a week later. Start the process of nudging your team in the right direction now.

Captain picks and price changes

It should be noted that I’m writing this in advance of the FA Cup fourth round, so I’m going to skip the usual injury notices on the basis that they may well be outdated by the time you read this – and that also makes predicting price changes a real headache.

One strange note is that since Pep Guardiola suggested that Haaland was unlikely to feature against Spurs on Friday evening, his price is now on the cusp of a second drop – which is remarkable given that he was close to rising again a couple of days ago. Players are selling, wrongly in my opinion, in droves.

Two things that I fully expect to happen are that Salah’s price falls again and Haaland’s rises quickly once he returns, which still seems fairly likely to happen this coming gameweek. De Bruyne will probably follow as Salah owners move onto him instead. Other noteworthy potential price jumps are Joe Gomez, Alex Moreno and Alphonse Areola, so buy sooner rather than later if they’re on your radar. Meanwhile, Alexander-Arnold, Evan Ferguson, Harry Maguire and Cody Gakpo are among potential fallers, although Gakpo seems to have been on the brink of a drop all season without going anywhere fast.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For the captaincy this week, I’d recommend Haaland if you know he’s going to play, but Guardiola may well keep that close to his chest or restrict his minutes as he works back to full fitness – that being the case, De Bruyne may be a better option. None of the other usual suspects are half as tempting as a City player at home to Burnley, but Spurs face Brentford at home so Richarlison might be an interesting one-off option. Bukayo Saka is the other relatively safe bet, although his form hasn’t been stellar of late.

3 Added Minutes FC

Finally, I’ll take my chance to gloat a bit after another big gameweek – a meaty 75 points – pushed my example team all the way up to 463rd in the world. I probably owe Gabriel a pint after his huge shift for Arsenal.

The bad news for me is that I had gambled on holding Salah, thinking that Egypt might not go all the way at AFCON and that the price hit taken from selling and re-buying would be too steep. Sadly, now that we know he’s crocked for at least a few more weeks, it’s clear that I need to shift him over to De Bruyne, probably until after the blank gameweek – and that means I missed out on his haul in GW21. Such is life.

How our resident Top 500 FPL manager is faringHow our resident Top 500 FPL manager is faring
How our resident Top 500 FPL manager is faring

I also want to bring Haaland back in for Alexander Isak if he’s going to play, but with one free transfer I may be forced into a -4 to make sure I have a captain I’m happy with and don’t miss out on their potential hauls against Vincent Kompany’s embattled side. Happily, everything else is going pretty swimmingly, apart from a handful of points left rotting on the bench - which contained Ezri Konsa, Jarrad Branthawaite and Martin Dúbravka, along with Salah.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hopefully this week’s column has given you a bit of food for thought and helped you to handle your forward planning – best of luck for this week, and may all of your City players actually get their 90 minutes.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.