Ahead of each round of Premier League games The Hype Train analyses the best wildcard player options for your Fantasy Premier League teams. Historically, weekly FPL Dream Team’s comprise of mostly differential players whose selection falls with a low selection percentage of overall players, to which there is no doubt that their influence cannot be ignored. With such an abundance of points coming from the FPL’s hidden gems The Hype Train selects one player from each Premier League match in the upcoming Gameweek to decide who could be the differential that sets your team apart. All aboard.
WILDCARDS: WHAT IS A DIFFERENTIAL PLAYER?
The rules for the 2015/16 season were easy enough to follow. The only rule was that a player had be to selected by less than 5% of the FPL's populace. With 2016/17's price changes, and player selection trends, we were been forced to revise our rules on what constitutes a differential. Now in the 2017/18 season, after testing the waters with selection, there are just not enough differentials with the classification in each position from years past, so we have introduced position specific rules regarding what is and isn't a wildcard/differential player in the FPL that we believe is representative to the game this season.
- Any shot stopper outside of the top 8 selected. A differential Goalkeeper is now considered outside of the top bracket due to the overwhelming ownership selection % of the top 8 GK's for any one Gameweek.
- A GK's ownership must not exceed 10%
- A Defender's ownership must fall below 8%, with the top 20 owned defenders all harbouring 8% ownership or more.
- The Outsider Rule: This new rule applies to defenders who are the last defensive option in a team who we provide an exception to as the 4th of 5th most owned defender from one team if they offer a different value. For Example, if Chelsea or Spurs have three defenders with 10% plus ownership, and their 4th defender choice has downwards of 10% ownership, we will include them as a differential, as they are outside of the common conversation when picking defenders, even from within their own squad. This rule will mostly be used when adding defenders from top half clubs, who lack proper differential status for their defensive options.
- Any Midfielder under 8% ownership is classified as a differential.
- Our percentage criteria of 8% is due to a greater wealth of premium midfielders. There is a monopoly of top midfielders for most Premier League clubs, leaving only a handful of Midfielders that provide differential options on a weekly basis.
- The top 10 most owned Forwards in the FPL at any given time can not be touched as a differential.
- Any Forward outside of the 10% ownership range, who is not in the top 10 owned forwards.
DIFFERENTIALS: GAMEWEEK PERFORMANCE (GW37)
Our scoring procedure is exactly the same as the FPL's, and each week a good barometer of success is whether or not our weekly selections outscore the average points for a Gameweek. Each week the results vary due to rotation, and unpredictable scorelines, which applies more so to differential players. We have an invested interest each and every week at finding the different players to make a difference, especially since it is easy to say Aguero or Kane will get on the score sheet.
See below for how our wildcard selections got on this past Gameweek.
Gameweek 37 Average Points: 67 points
Gameweek 37 Wildcard Points: 53 points
DIFFERENTIALS: 2017/18 SEASON PERFORMANCE
To help track our progress throughout the 2016/17 season, below you can check how our wildcard selections have done by week to week in the Fantasy Premier League
Best Wildcard Week: GW12 - 67pts, 7 player returns
Worst Wildcard Week: GW28 - 17pts, 1 player return
Average Points: 58 (1), 44 (2), 43 (3), 44 (4), 58 (5), 60 (6), 51 (7), 41 (8), 50 (9), 46 (10), 44 (11), 56 (12), 43 (13), 47 (14), 44 (15), 43 (16), 48 (17), 52 (18), 60 (19), 62 (20), 45 (21), 45 (22), 58 (23), 50 (24), 47 (25), 43 (26), 61 (27), 49 (28), 46 (29), 41 (30), 46 (31), 48 (32), 32 (33), 64 (34), 30 (35), 44 (36), 67 (37) = 1,810pts
Wildcard Points: 36 (1), 40 (2), 48 (3), 21 (4), 44 (5), 37 (6), 41 (7), 43 (8), 34 (9), 38 (10), 45 (11), 67 (12), 29 (13), 35 (14), 41 (15), 38 (16), 53 (17), 34 (18), 35 (19), 44 (20), 48 (21), 48 (22), 33 (23), 54 (24), 32 (25), 21 (26), 28 (27), 17 (28), 49 (29), 26 (30), 37 (31), 53 (32), 22 (33), 45 (34), 31 (35), 53 (36), 53 (37) = 1,434pts
Best Gamweek Wildcard Player(s)
GW1: Steve Mounie (Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield) - 12pts
GW2: Jack Butland (Stoke vs. Arsenal) - 11pts
GW3: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea vs. Everton) - 12pts
GW4: Stephen Ward (Burnley vs. Crystal Palace) - 8pts
GW5: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle vs. Stoke) - 8pts
GW6: Philippe Coutinho (Leicester vs. Liverpool) - 13pts
GW7: Philippe Coutinho (Newcastle vs. Liverpool) - 10pts
GW8: Raheem Sterling (Man City vs. Stoke) - 15pts
GW9: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton vs. West Brom) - 9pts
GW10: Eden Hazard (Bournemouth vs. Chelsea) - 11pts
GW11: Jan Vertonghen (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace) - 9pts
GW12: Eden Hazard (West Brom vs. Chelsea) - 18pts
GW13: Will Hughes (Newcastle vs. Watford) - 8pts
GW14: Sadio Mane (Stoke vs. Liverpool) - 13pts
GW15: Philippe Coutinho (Brighton vs. Liverpool) - 18pts
GW16: Riyad Mahrez (Newcastle vs. Leicester) - 9pts
Wilfried Bony (Swansea vs. West Brom) - 9pts
GW17: Nick Pope (Burnley vs. Stoke) - 11pts
GW18: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton vs. Swansea) - 9pts
GW19: Charlie Austin (Southampton vs. Huddersfield) - 8pts
GW20: Marko Arnautovic (Bournemouth vs. West Ham) - 15pts
GW21: Ederson (Crystal Palace vs. Man City) - 14pts
GW22: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester vs. Huddersfield) - 14pts
GW23: Marko Arnautovic (Huddersfield vs. West Ham) - 16pts
GW24: Eden Hazard (Brighton vs. Chelsea) - 16pts
GW25: Christian Benteke (West Ham vs. Crystal Palace) - 8pts
GW26: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle) - 5pts
Alexis Sanchez (Man United vs. Huddersfield) - 5pts
GW27: Alfie Mawson (Swansea vs. Burnley) - 7pts
GW28: Sadio Mane (Liverpool vs. West Ham) - 7pts
GW29: Troy Deeney (Watford vs. West Brom) - 9pts
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Brighton vs. Arsenal) - 9pts
GW30: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal vs. Watford) - 9pts
GW31: Cenk Tosun (Stoke vs. Everton) - 13pts
GW32: Alexis Sanchez (Man United vs. Swansea) - 14pts
GW33: Virgil van Dijk (Everton vs. Liverpool) - 6pts
GW34: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace vs. Brighton) - 14pts
GW35: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal vs. West Ham) - 13pts
GW36: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace vs. Leicester) - 14pts
GW37: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal vs. Burnley) - 10pts
FPL Wildcards 2017/18: Our Top Points Returns
1 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 18pts (GW12)
1 - Philippe Coutinho (LIV): 18pts (GW15)
3 - Marko Arnautovic (WHU): 16pts (GW23)
3 - Eden Hazard (CHE): 16pts (GW24)
5 - Raheem Sterling (MCI): 15pts (GW8)
5 - Marko Arnautovic (WHU): 15pts (GW20)
Gameweek Wildcard History
GW1: 36 points, 3 player returns
Holding (1), Alexander-Arnold (0), Mounie (12), Josh King (2), Sane (1), Klaassen (1), Yoshida (6), Batshuayi (1), Ritchie (1), Mkhitaryan (11)
GW2: 40 points, 4 player returns
Phil Jones (6), Josh King (2), Stephen Ward (2), Fuchs (6), Wijnaldum (3), Yoshida (5), Butland (11), Mounie (1), Ben Davies (2), Ederson (2)
GW3: 48 points, 5 returns
Danilo (5), Benteke (1), Lossl (6), Antonio (2), Richarlison (3), Blind (6), Morata (12), Nyom (8), Wijnaldum (3), Trippier (2)
GW4: 21 points, 1 return
Emre Can (1), Moses (2), Sigurdsson (2), Phil Jones (1), Alexis Sanchez (1), Yoshida (0), Knockaert (2), Stephen Ward (8), Abraham (2), Mounie (2)
GW5: 44 points, 6 returns
Gross (7), Forster (7), Mahrez (2), Emre Can (4), Lascelles (8), Mendy (6), Nyom (1), Trippier (6), Hazard (1), Rashford (2)
GW6: 37 points, 3 returns
Davinson Sanchez (1), Wood (2), Defoe (2), Mendy (0), Phil Jones (9), Cahill (1), Fabianski (1), Coutinho (13), Ritchie (2), Ramsey (6)
GW7: 41 points, 4 returns
Davinson Sanchez (6), Josh King (2), Rashford (9), Butland (2), Femenia (1), Naughton (2), Pedro (1), Alexis Sanchez (6), Niasse (2), Coutinho (10)
GW8: 43 points, 4 returns
Emre Can (3), Wood (7), Cahill (1), Sterling (15), Davinson Sanchez (6), Naughton (6), Alexis Sanchez (0), Sigurdsson (2), van Dijk (1), Schmeichel (2)
GW9: 34 points, 4 returns
Cresswell (0), Hazard (5), Rashford (7), Stones (6), Joselu (1), Butland (1), Abraham (2), van Dijk (9), Pickford (3), Joe Gomez (0)
GW10: 38 points, 4 returns
Trippier (0), Alexis Sanchez (2), Wilfried Zaha (7), Joe Gomez (6), Kiko Femenia (1), Ederson (1), Hazard (11), van Dijk (2), Mahrez (6), Ritchie (2)
GW11: 45 points, 5 returns
Mahrez (7), Lossl (8), Yedlin (2), Pope (8), F. Fernandez (1), Sturridge (0), Vertonghen (9), Ederson (2), Hazard (3), Andre Gray (5)
GW12: 67 points, 7 returns
Alexis Sanchez (7), Zaha (7), Hazard (18), Pope (8), Coutinho (13), Mahrez (2), Hadergjonaj (-1), Smalling (7), Gray (5), Murray (1)
GW13: 29 points, 2 returns
Mahrez (2), Zaha (2), Smalling (6), Will Hughes (8), Davinson Sanchez (2), Callum Wilson (2), Coutinho (2), Baines (1), Pope (2), Kompany (2)
GW14: 35 points, 3 returns
Murray (2), Davinson Sanchez (1), Zeegelaar (0), Rondon (2), Alexis Sanchez (8), Pope (2), Hazard (1), Sigurdsson (5), Kompany (1), Mane (13)
GW15: 41 points, 4 returns
Christensen (2), Coutinho (18), Niasse (0), Mahrez (6), Shaqiri (8), Davinson Sánchez (-2), Mamadou Sakho (8), Alexis Sanchez (1), Kompany (0)
GW16: 38 points, 4 returns
Christensen (2), Pope (6), Sakho (1), Murray (2), Trippier (2), Bony (9), Mahrez (9), Sanchez (5), Coutinho (1), Kompany (1)
GW17: 53 points, 6 returns
Pope (11), Mignolet (0), Ederson (7), Christensen (6), Martial (3), Mahrez (8), A. Sanchez (3), Son (8), Zaha (5), Gayle (2)
GW18: 34 points, 3 returns
Pope (6), Butland (2), Ederson (2), Christensen (8), Kabasele (0), Smalling (2), Mahrez (2), Sanchez (3), Mane (0), Sigurdsson (9)
GW19: 35 points, 3 returns
Mane (2), Pedro (3), Andre Gray (2), Ederson (6), Austin (8), Butland (4), Zaha (1), Cresswell (1), Son (3), Mahrez (5)
GW20: 44 points, 4 returns
Ederson (6), Christensen (0), D. Sanchez (1), Robertson (6), Arnautovic (15), Mata (2), Mahrez (8), Sigurdsson (3), Ozil (2), Depoitre (1)
GW21: 48 points, 6 returns
Ederson (14), Pope (6), Moses (1), Wagué (6), Lascelles (6), Sigurdsson (2), Mane (6), Lingard (2), Sanchez (5)
GW22: 48 points, 4 returns (from 11 matches)
Matt Ryan (3), Mane (8), Mahrez (14), Crouch (2), Rashford (1), Southampton (2), Davinson Sanchez (0), Arnautovic (5), Ederson (3), Christensen (1), Son (9)
GW23: 33 points, 2 returns
Gomes (1), Ryan (1), Christensen (1), Lascelles (2), Shaw (6), van Dijk (0), Mustafi (1), Tosun (2), Zaha (3), Arnautovic (16)
GW24: 54 points, 4 returns
Butland (9), Dragovic (6), Stones (2), Aurier (2), Hazard (16), Zaha (2), Martial (10), Lanzini (3), Mane (2), Tosun (2)
GW25: 32 points, 3 returns
Mkhitaryan (1), Benteke (8), Mane (6), Hazard (2), Dragovic (1), Jacob Murphy (1), Soares (2), Ederson (6), Alexis Sanchez (2), Shaqiri (3)
GW26: 21 points, 2 returns
Laporte (0), Wilson (2), Ryan (2), Dragovic (2), A. Sanchez (5), Sturridge (2), Walcott (2), Benteke (5), Mane (3), Rudiger (0)
GW27: 28 points, 2 returns
Butland (3), Mawson (7), Walcott (1), Deulofeu (2), Bernardo Silva (2), Ibe (1), Mane (3), Alexis Sanchez (2), Aubameyang (2), Giroud (5)
GW28: 17 points, 1 return
Federico Fernandez (0), Zanka (2), Trippier (0), Christensen (1), Mahrez (2), Stanislas (2), Gudmundsson (2), Mane (7), Niasse (1), Aubameyang (0)
GW29: 49 points, 5 returns
Schmeichel (1), Davinson Sánchez (6), Robertson (6), Arnautovic (1), Sane (3), Alexis Sanchez (5), Barnes (7), Guido Carrillo (2), Deeney (9), Aubameyang (9)
GW30: 26 points, 2 returns
van Dijk (1), Morgan (2), Moses (0), Davinson Sánchez (2), Izquierdo (2), Andre Ayew (2), Antonio (2), Bernardo Silva (1), Gayle (5), Aubameyang (9)
GW31: 37 points, 3 returns (from 4 matches)
Stanislas (10), Zaha, (3), Tosun (13), Robertson (11)
GW32: 53 points, 5 returns
Robertson (8), Cedric Soares (1), Alexis Sanchez (14), Kenedy (6), Stanislas (1), Ozil (7), Hazard (2), Glenn Murray (0), Barnes (6), Jesus (8)
GW33: 22 points, 2 returns
van Dijk (6), Chilwell (1), D. Sanchez (2), A. Ayew (2), Ramsey (0), Hazard (2), King (5), Murray (2), Barnes (2), Jesus (0)
GW34: 45 points, 4 returns (from 14 matches)
Hazard (7, 1), Barnes (1), Zaha (14), Pereyra (1), Mawson (2), Milner (1), Kompany (6), Mustafi (1), Alexis Sanchez (2, 0), Arnautovic (2), Davinson Sanchez (0), Chilwell (7)
GW35: 31 points, 3 returns (from 6 matches)
Ederson (6), van Dijk (1), Zaha (2), Lacazette (13), Barnes (7), Ayoze (2)
GW36: 53 points, 6 returns
Dubravka (2), van Dijk (5), Bednarek (1), Kompany (0), Trippier (12), Zaha (14), Walcott (6), Sanchez (5), Hazard (6), Barnes (2)
GW37: 53 points, 5 returns (from 16 matches)
Ederson (6, 2), Karnezis (2), Davinson Sánchez (2, 8), Mavropanos (6), Alexis Sanchez (0, 3), Zaha (5), Demarai Gray (1), Hazard (3, 1), Josh King (1), Austin (1), Jordan Ayew (2), Lacazette (10)
WILDCARDS: HALL OF FAME
To honour the exceptional diamonds in the rough, below is a a Hall of Fame highlighting the top performing differentials in our Weekly Wildcards series, now into its third season.
2015/16: Top 5 Wildcards
1 - Troy Deeney (WAT): 15 appearances, 77 points
2 - Christian Fuchs (LEI): 10 appearances, 48 points
3 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA): 6 appearances, 43 points
4 - Nicolas Otamendi (MCI): 9 appearances, 39 points
5 - Daniel Sturridge (LIV): 5 appearances, 38 points
2016/17: Top 5 Wildcards
1 - Marcos Alonso (CHE): 9 appearances, 70 points
2 - Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA): 8 appearances, 62 points
3 - Patrick van Aanholt (SUN & CRY): 6 appearances, 55 points
4 - Troy Deeney (WAT): 13 appearances, 47 points
5 - Gini Wijnaldum (LIV): 10 appearances, 45 points
FPL DREAM TEAM: 2017/18 ANALYSIS
Each week we assess the FPL's overall Dream Team, pinpointing who were classified as differentials or non-differentials, and which category of player is appearing more for each Gameweek.
2017/18 Gameweek Dream Team's
GW1: 131pts (8/11 differentials)
GW2: 136pts (7/11 differentials)
GW3: 121pts (8/11 differentials)
GW4: 146pts (7/11 differentials)
GW5: 133pts (6/11 differentials)
GW6: 137pts (6/11 differentials)
GW7: 138pts (6/11 differentials)
GW8: 119pts (9/11 differentials)
GW9: 130pts (8/11 differentials)
GW10: 122pts (8/11 differentials)
GW11: 127pts (9/11 differentials)
GW12: 145pts (7/11 differentials)
GW13: 120pts (9/11 differentials)
GW14: 148pts (9/11 differentials)
GW15: 131pts (8/11 differentials)
GW16: 125pts (9/11 differentials)
GW17: 129pts (9/11 differentials)
GW18: 141pts (7/11 differentials)
GW19: 135pts (7/11 differentials)
GW20: 152pts (6/11 differentials)
GW21: 128pts (8/11 differentials)
GW22: 122pts (7/11 differentials)
GW23: 151pts (8/11 differentials)
GW24: 144pts (10/11 differentials)
GW25: 137pts (9/11 differentials)
GW26: 128pts (8/11 differentials)
GW27: 146pts (7/11 differentials)
GW28: 125pts (8/11 differentials)
GW29: 115pts (9/11 differentials)
GW30: 150pts (9/11 differentials)
GW31: 127pts (9/11 differentials)
GW32: 133pts (8/11 differentials)
GW33: 125pts (6/11 differentials)
GW34: 142pts (10/11 differentials)
GW35: 112pts (8/11 differentials)
GW36: 131pts (9/11 differentials)
GW37: 166pts (7/11 differentials)
Totals: 4,792pts (293/407 differentials)
Gameweek 37: Dream Team
Wildcards: Adrian, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Ogbonna, Joao Mario, Fernandinho, Noble
Non Wildcards: Vertonghen, Alonso, Sane, Aubameyang
Points achieved by Wildcards: ?pts
Points achieved by Non-Wildcards: ?pts
GAMEWEEK WILDCARD DIFFERENTIALS
For each FPL Gameweek we select a wildcard player from each game.
We do not select a back-up player for the differentials we bank on – that’s the whole point, being a wildcard.
The selection percentage and player price is accurate with the posting of the article.
Our rundowns of player selections are representative of the Premier League’s TV fixture list.
Weekly Differentials (GW38)
So, here we are. The final gameweek of the 2017/18 is descending upon us and we are here with ten final differentials to round out the season. We’ve gone for some ‘out there’ picks to finish the season, we tried to be as spontaneous as possible, picking players owned by little to nobody in the FPL. For one last time, here are our top ten players that you might want to consider for the final day.
Sergio Romero (MUN)
The second Man United wrapped up second place in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho made comments after the draw with West Ham that would disappoint half of the FPL community. The Portuguese said that David De Gea would be rested for the final day, and that the Argentine Sergio Romero would be filling in between the sticks. De Gea will be rested for the FA Cup final next week, and with Romero owned by less than half a percent of fantasy players, we are taking the chance to finally have a Red Devils goalkeeper in our differential picks. Plus, Watford are not a team that performs well away from home, so it should be a no-brainer pick for the final day.
Mamadou Sakho (CRY), Virgil van Dijk (LIV), Benjamin Mendy (MCI), Connor Roberts (SWA)
Goals are always in huge supply on the final day, but we are thinking that they are being overlooked. There are some fixtures that there are guaranteed clean sheets, or, potential of clean sheets. Mamadou Sakho is the first defender. At The Hype Train we are huge supporters of the former Liverpool defender. The Reds could still have benefited with a player of his quality still playing, they were foolish to let him leave and not adequately replace the Frenchman. West Brom travel to Selhurst Park, and with relegation confirmed for the Baggies, the emphasis will be on Crystal Palace to round out the season with as high a position in the table as possible. Comparative to the beginning of the season, the Eagles have all their star players available, and when Sakho plays he is a monstrous player who organises the defence like none other. West Brom are normally involved in lots of goalless draws, so we hope for the differentials sake another one is on the way.
The other defenders we have opted for include our differential captain, Virgil van Dijk, who we cover in more detail further down the article. Connor Roberts of Swansea, a player who has come out of nowhere, is also on the list, owned by zero percent of players he makes the cut as a player who could snatch a return when Swansea host Stoke. Lastly, Benjamin Mendy returns to the fold following his injury, we are gambling that Pep selects him for the final day, and with rotation abound in the Man City camp you can never guess their defence on a week-to-week basis.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ARS), João Mário (WHU)
Just the two midfielders on the final day, and we start with Arsenal, who are losing their manager Arsene Wenger over the past two decades of service to the club. We are choosing the Armenian Mkhitaryan just out of blind luck, but mostly because he is better than Mesut Ozil who has fallen off the radar at Arsenal. We expect Arsenal to break their rotten luck on the road to send off Arsene Wenger into the sunset, and the most creative player to feed Aubameyang is the former Man United player.
Elsewhere on the final day, we are taking a punt on West Ham’s João Mário, just because. We haven’t selected Arnautovic because most of the guile in midfield comes from the smart Portuguese attacker, and with a goal under his belt in recent weeks João Mário will go into the final day with only confidence. Owned by less than a sliver of the FPL community he is one of the random picks for the final day. Arnautovic is the easy pick, but we have gone further into the differentials in hope of points returns.
Sam Vokes (BUR), Dwight Gayle (NEW), Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI)
Three forwards this week, and we start with Sam Vokes of Burnley. Barnes and Wood are huge doubts for the final day, which leaves Vokes to make another consecutive start for the Clarets. Sean Dyche’s team host Bournemouth, and our expectation for that game is goals. Bournemouth play open football, and Burnley is totally robust, meaning that two conflicting styles could be for an interesting game.
The second forward is Dwight Gayle, who represents Newcastle who host Chelsea. Historically, this fixture always sees the Blues hot under the collar. Newcastle have a favourable record against Chelsea who will be clutching straws to get a place in next years Champions League. Dwight Gayle scored at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, so he could help dent their hopes of elite European football next season.
Kelechi Iheanacho is the wildcard forward, capable of doing anything against Spurs. Usually the North London club let their foot off the gas at the end of the season, so it could be a goal fest at Wembley to end the season. The Nigerian striker has a goal in his last game versus Arsenal, so he could make it two for two against North London clubs to close the season. Also, why not pick him?
Key Differential: Virgil van Dijk (LIV)
Mohamad Salah, Harry Kane, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang? All solid captaincy options to round out the season. For the duration of the season the differential captains have consisted primarily of midfielders and forwards, but not once we have opted for a defender. Marcos Alonso was once the differential captain a long time ago, but since then the Spaniard has been a premium option after scoring goal after goal.
As it is the last day, and we want to select an ‘out there’ option to be captain, there is sound logic behind the madness of considering captaining the Dutchman. Liverpool are fighting for a place in the top four to finish their Premier League campaign, as well as prepare for their Champions League final in Kiev. The Reds won’t be coasting, or sitting back during the encounter with Brighton, it will be one final stand to ensure they play in Europe’s elite competition next season.
Manchester United will be rotating, Man City have already wrapped up the league, Arsenal have nothing to fight for, Chelsea visit a place they struggle to win at, and Spurs also have nothing left to fight for having already wrapped up a place in the top four. Liverpool though, they have it all to fight for. A lazy or slack performance won’t do, they are in the driving seat and need to be on their a-game. Virgil has made a sizeable difference to the Liverpool defence since his world record transfer from Southampton, and the form at Anfield is a testament to Klopp’s improvement of their recent fortunes. Virgil isn’t a crazy pick, there is a lot of common sense when you read into the stats for the Dutchman.
Virgil van Dijk Key Stats:
Virgil has three returns in his last five games, two of which occurred at Anfield against Stoke and Bournemouth.
Liverpool have three clean sheets in their last five games.
Virgil has played every minute since GW26 against Spurs. In twelve games Virgil has a fifty percent return rate, collecting six returns. Four of those returns took place on home soil.
Liverpool have kept sixteen clean sheets this season, joint third best, tied with Chelsea and Spurs. The only teams with better records both come from Manchester.
The previous encounter between the Reds and Seagulls finished: Brighton 1-5 Liverpool
Liverpool have not lost consecutive games in the Premier League, and from these five losses the Reds have bounced back quickly and have four wins and a draw in following fixtures.
Liverpool are undefeated at Anfield this season (W11, D7, L0).
However, Liverpool are winless in their last three Premier League fixtures, albeit these games took place around heavy rotation following Champions League semi-finals.
Brighton have also been in patchy form recently and have only won one game in their last eight (W1, D3, L4).
Brighton have only won twice away from home this season, with the last of these wins coming at Swansea during GW11. The Seagulls prefer home comforts.
Liverpool were in the same scenario last season searching for Champions League football, in 2016/17 they beat Middlesbrough 3-0 to secure a top four finish.
It’s the final day of the year, so why not go bold and back a legitimate option for your captaincy this week? Virgil ticks every box for a potential return, and with Liverpool motivated to finish the season with a place in the top four they have everything to play for. Mohamad Salah is too easy of a captaincy option, the boldest players in the FPL community should consider Virgil instead.
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