04/03/2024

Bruno Fernandes showed why he could be an FPL threat, while on international duty. (Image: Official FPL/Twitter)

The World Cup break is finally over, and after six weeks of Premier League-less football, the return of FPL has arrived.

Argentina took out its third World Cup, defeating France on penalties in the Final, after what was described as one of the best Finals and World Cups in recent history.

During the six-week break, players went down injured, while some may have been introduced onto some Premier League teams’ radars.

Here is all you need to know going in GW17.

Unavailability Updates

First and foremost, we shouldn’t expect to see any World Cup semi-finalists until the new year. While the Argentinians are celebrating the rest would still be resting up.

Although we could see some who featured less, they are flagged for a reason.

Popular players we shouldn’t expect to play in GW17 include Emiliano Martínez (GK), Lisandro Martínez (DEF), Cristian Romero (DEF), Raphaël Varane (DEF), Hakim Ziyech (MID), Mateo Kovačić (MID), Alexis Mac Allister (MID), and Julián Álvarez (FWD).

Many players suffered injuries while playing at the World Cup, during training or playing friendlies for their respective clubs.

Those who we should expect no action from include Rúben Dias (DEF), Diogo Dalot (DEF), Luis Díaz (MID), Roberto Firmino (FWD) and Gabriel Jesus (FWD).

Some players are flagged, yet have a small chance of playing. James Maddison, who was selected for England – didn’t play a game but has a knee issue.

Among other flagged players are Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK), Trent Alexander-Arnold (DEF), Rodrigo Moreno (MID) and Aleksandar Mitrović (FWD). They may feature, but don’t say you weren’t warned if they don’t.

Dean Henderson will be unavailable for Nottingham Forest when it faces Manchester United. While on loan from the Red Devils, Henderson can’t play against his parent club.

Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United via mutual consent during the World Cup, and currently still doesn’t have a club. He has been rumoured to one Premier League club – Chelsea – but as it stands, he isn’t in FPL.

Last but not least, Crystal Palace’s Marc Guéhi is suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards. He will return for GW18, when Palace faces Bournemouth.

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Who’s Hot?

This is quite difficult to judge, since players that were hot prior to the World Cup, may not have played consistently for over a month.

Hence, this section will be dedicated to those who had prolific World Cups and could carry their form to club level.

Since there are unlimited transfers during the World Cup break, anyone is on the table, with no issues regarding fees.

Premier League representation wasn’t the greatest, with arguably only two players standing above the rest.

Portugal’s Bruno Fernandes was exceptional for his national side until it was knocked out by Morocco. Fernandes was the engine that ran Portugal and despite picking up many statistical rewards, he was a stand-out.

With Ronaldo on the bench towards the end of the tournament, he definitely shone in the attacking-midfield role, but couldn’t do it alone.

England’s Premier League star was Bukayo Saka, who led the Three Lions with the equal-most goals alongside Marcus Rashford – who could also qualify for this list if it wasn’t for inconsistencies.

Harry Kane was ok, but underperformed from his level of quality, especially after winning the Golden Boot in 2018.

He and Saka were probably two of the most used outfield players in the squad and their importance was shown.

Despite not making it out of the group, Serbia’s Mitrović was great. The striker nailed three goals in three games before his run was cut short. He is flagged for GW17, yet if he makes an appearance, could continue to be harmful to fantasy opponents.

Captaincy Selection

The player that everyone has been waiting to see since GW16, Erling Haaland, is raring to go after six weeks without action.

No one has forgotten his record-breaking start to the season, as his stocks continue to rise week after week. Against Leeds, Haaland will be looking to cash in on its leaky defence, and get back into form.

Just like Haaland, another player that missed out on the World Cup and provides a good alternative is Mohammed Salah.

Although he hasn’t been at his best, he is still hard to go past. He, like Haaland, has rested over the last six weeks and will be raring to go.

During the Carabao Cup fixture, against Manchester City, Salah scored, proving he hasn’t gone anywhere.

Decent differential picks include João Cancelo (DEF), Kevin De Bruyne (MID), Marcus Rashford (MID), Bukayo Saka (MID) or Harry Kane (FWD).

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