19/04/2024

Callum Wilson bagged a season-high 19 points in Newcastle's 4-0 win over Aston Villa. (Image: Official FPL/Twitter)

With only two weeks remaining until the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, fantasy managers’ selections will be vital to increase ranks before the break.

Doubt and availability surrounding several big assets are keeping managers on edge, all the way until the deadline.

Transfers are to be used wisely. Thus, holding onto as much squad value as possible, when unlimited transfers become available.

Injury updates:

Manchester United winger Antony is currently being assessed over a knock. He didn’t feature in the squad that faced Real Sociedad in the Europa League.

Antony holds an ownership rate of 8.3 per cent, even though over 175,000 managers have shown him the door ahead of GW15.

“He is injured, and I hope not too bad,” Erik ten Haag mentioned during the week.

Bukayo Saka took a knock to the ankle when starting for Arsenal against Nottingham Forest. Saka was withdrawn after 26 minutes, after trying to continue.

Saka featured in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over FC Zurich in the Europa League, coming off the bench. Due to his reduced minutes, he may be available to start against Chelsea.

England international Ben Chilwell suffered a hamstring injury during Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

“I think you’d have to say there are worries about him being ok for the World Cup,” Graham Potter said post-match.

The Champions League was witness to another Premier League casualty, when Heung-min Son suffered a head injury. Luckily he was cleared of concussion, however, he is expected to spend some time on the sidelines.

But, the biggest name of all Erling Haaland is still yet to be a confirmed returner to Manchester City’s Premier League side.

He was rested for City’s final Champions League group stage tie, giving hope to fans that he could return in GW15.

“We consider himself, his opinion, the doctor’s opinion, 90 minutes or less minutes, we’ll see,” Pep Guardiola said in the pre-match press conference for Manchester City v Fulham.

Unavailable assets:

Despite the growing number of injured assets, two big names, in particular, will be out of action in GW15, due to suspension.

The first is Ivan Toney. The Brentford striker unfortunately accumulated five yellow cards, hence a one-game suspension.

Nearly 900,000 managers have transferred Toney out of their squads, leaving his ownership rate still above 20 per cent.

The other big name to miss GW15 is Bruno Fernandes. A substantially quieter season in comparison to the past, Fernandes only has 2.2 per cent ownership, despite scoring 42 points this season.

Over 30,000 managers have left him in the dust, opting for a new midfielder for the next two gameweeks.

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Who’s hot?

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson recently recorded his best FPL score of the season. In Newcastle’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa, Wilson had four goal involvements (two goals, two assists).

In the remaining two gameweeks heading into the World Cup, Wilson is heavily favoured compared to other strikers at his price point. His ownership rose from around three per cent to over 10 per cent.

With the likes of Alexander Isak out of selection contention, Wilson is nailed on as Newcastle’s frontman. Fixtures against Southampton and Chelsea could provide more points.

Keep in mind, Wilson has recently been flagged with illness, which could force him to miss the fixture against Southampton. Nearly 1,000,000 managers had transferred Wilson in before the news broke.

Kevin De Bruyne is one of the most consistent FPL scorers in the game. The absence of Erling Haaland hasn’t helped, yet the Belgian continues to shine.

Since GW6, De Bruyne has only blanked once, in Manchester City’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool. Despite that game, since GW6, De Bruyne has had eight goal involvements, including two goals of his own.

Manchester City has arguably the easiest run into the World Cup, with two home fixtures against Fulham and Brentford. Fulham has struggled defensively as of late, while Brentford is still yet to record an away win.

The return of Luke Shaw to Manchester United’s defence has been welcomed. Since his return to the starting 11 in GW10, Shaw has only blanked once.

In the four games he has returned points, he has kept three clean sheets and provided an assist. On top of this, he is recording well on bonus points, claiming two.

Manchester United, like Manchester City, have a decent run into the World Cup. Though it has two away fixtures, it will face Aston Villa and Fulham – more potential for clean sheets.

Diogo Dalot is another viable Manchester United option. However, going into GW15, he has four yellow cards. One more before GW19 and he will be suspended.

Captaincy selection

If Erling Haaland starts against Fulham, he will be the prime candidate to take the armband. However, managers will have to risk it, as there is a chance he may not start.

Therefore, the need for a good vice-captain is also important.

Sticking with Manchester City assets, Kevin De Bruyne would be the next best. Joao Cancelo has had three double-digit hauls at home this season, while Phil Foden is also in cracking form, however, is a rotation risk.

Newcastle is another team in form. Particularly two assets are stand-outs, due to their increasing ownership and consistency.

Both Miguel Almiron and Kieran Trippier could be good captaincy options for different reasons.

Almiron has scored seven goals this season, six since GW9. While Trippier has only blanked three times throughout the whole season.

A differential selection could be in the form of Marcus Rashford. The Englishman scored in GW14 against West Ham, following a tough run of fixtures for the Red Devils.

Rashford is slowly becoming a target for managers, alongside the likes of Leandro Trossard, Wilfried Zaha and Almiron.

Manchester United face Aston Villa – who have a new head coach, therefore could have holes here, there and everywhere.

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