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Premier League 2020/21: FPL Gameweek 31 Fantasy Forecast


Ahead of each Gameweek in the Premier League, The Hype Train's team, Robert Austin, Sam Austin and Phil Jones, duel for FPL and league supremacy in predicting Premier League scores, as well as going head to head in picking a Scout Picks squad for each round of games. With the 2020/21 Premier League season starting tomorrow, we provide our Gameweek Forecast predictions, speculating how we think the latest round of games will be played out. Welcome to the Forecast. All aboard.

Premier League 2020/21: Gameweek 31 Fixtures

Premier League 2020/21: FPL Gameweek 31 Forecast

Enjoy our FPL Forecast article, with each of our team forecasting how we think the Premier League will shape up this upcoming Gameweek. If you agree or want to challenge us on our point of view, get in touch with us on our main Twitter account, @RealHypeTrain.

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 31

Fulham 1-2 Wolves

Man City 3-0 Leeds

Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa

Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea

Burnley 2-0 Newcastle

West Ham 1-1 Leicester

Spurs 2-2 Man United

Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal

West Brom 0-0 Southampton

Brighton 2-1 Everton


FPL Forecasting: Gameweek 31


Top FPL player targets ahead of the upcoming Gameweek:

GK: Sam Johnstone (WBA, GK, £4.5mil, 2.5% ownership)

DEF: César Azpilicueta (CHE, DEF, £5.9mil, 8.3% ownership)

MID: Diogo Jota (LIV, MID, £6.9mil, 11.9% ownership)

FWD: Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI, FWD, £5.8mil, 4.9% ownership)


Who are the teams to look out for and avoid?:

Burnley (Watch): Despite losing to Southampton last week and letting a two goal lead slip, I think this is a cut and dry fixture against Newcastle. I can see goals, and a clean sheet.


Everton (Avoid): Just a gut feeling. Only because Everton are back to being a completely unreliable team. Brighton have been playing better lately and this isn’t the time to be taking risks on Everton players.


Chelsea (Watch): After beating 2-0 in the Champions League to all but put them in the semi-finals, and they travel away to goal-shy Crystal Palace. If Chelsea can keep all even players on the pitch this should be an easily winnable fixture.


Spurs vs. Man United (???): This is the only game that I have doubts over, but I can see goals in it. If I had a gut call, I would go for Man United as they are able to win games.


Gameweek 31 – FPL Differential Picks:

FUL/WOL: Adama Traoré (WOL, MID, £6.0mil, 4.8% ownership)

MCI/LEE: Riyad Mahrez (MCI, MID, £8.2mil, 7.6% ownership)

LIV/AVL: Nat Phillips (LIV, DEF, £4.0mil, 1.7% ownership)

CRY/CHE: Reece James (CHE, DEF, £5.0mil, 6.4% ownership)

BUR/NEW: Chris Wood (BUR, FWD, £6.2mil, 1.4% ownership)

WHU/LEI: Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI, FWD, £5.8mil, 4.9% ownership)

TOT/MUN: Mason Greenwood (MUN, MID, £7.0mil, 1.9% ownership)

SHU/ARS: Alexandre Lacazette (ARS, FWD, £8.2mil, 6.4% ownership)

WBA/SOU: Matheus Pereira (WBA, MID, £5.3mil, 2.0% ownership)

BHA/EVE: Danny Welbeck (BHA, FWD, £5.5mil, 0.5% ownership)


Differential Captain: Chris Wood (Burnley)

The New Zealand striker has been steadily picking up form in the last few weeks, as the Burnley man has three goals in his last three games and picked up an assist against Southampton in the last Gameweek too. The even better news is that the Clarets host an abysmal Newcastle side, and that must be worth its weight in fantasy gold. There is the form and the fixture, making Wood an outstanding differential for GW31.


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 31

Formation: 3-4-3


Starting 11


GK: Nick Pope (BUR)


DEF: Cezar Azpilicueta (CHE)

DEF: Ruben Dias (MCI)

DEF: Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV)


MID: Mohamad Salah (LIV)

MID: Ilkay Gundogan (MCI)

MID: Bruno Fernandes (MUN)

MID: Diogo Jota (LIV) - (VC)


FOR: Harry Kane (TOT)

FOR: Chris Wood (BUR) - (C)

FOR: Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI)


Substitutes


GK: Edouard Mendy (CHE)

MID: Christian Pulisic (CHE)

DEF: Ben Mee (BUR)

DEF: John Stones (MCI)

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 31

Fulham 1-1 Wolves

Man City 3-1 Leeds

Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa

Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea

Burnley 1-0 Newcastle

West Ham 2-3 Leicester

Spurs 1-1 Man United

Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal

West Brom 1-2 Southampton

Brighton 0-0 Everton


FPL Forecasting: Gameweek 31


Is it the right time to play your second Wildcard?:

If you’ve played your second Wildcard chip of the season, this won’t be of interest to you, largely, though my own musings online have found that a lot of people in the ‘community’ are opting to shuffle the deck with their wildcard. There’s a strong few reasons why Gameweek 31 has been outed as that time too.


FA Cup Semi-Finals are around the corner:

Gameweek 32 will be staged alongside the semi-finals of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition, with midweek games in play for an elongated week for FPL players.


FA Cup semi-final matches:

Saturday 17th April 2021 (17:30pm): Chelsea vs. Man City

Sunday 18th April 2021 (18:30pm): Leicester vs. Southampton


FPL Implications:

Spurs have a Double Gameweek coming up in the immediate Gameweek 32, with Jose Mourinho’s side travelling to Everton before hosting Southampton. They are the only side to play twice in this period, which means Heung-Min Son (£9.4m) and Harry Kane (£11.7m) will be the likely go-to options.


There are also a few teams that have a good swing of fixtures. Wolves and Leicester in particular have enticing fixtures ahead. Neither have European football to contend with so as long as their players stay fit they might be locked picks in any Wildcard squad.


Upcoming Fixtures (Wolves):

GW31: Fulham (A)

GW32: Sheffield United (H)

GW33: Burnley (H)

GW34: West Brom (A)

GW35: Brighton (H)


Upcoming Fixtures (Leicester):

GW31: West Ham (A)

GW32: West Brom (H)

GW33: Crystal Palace (H)

GW34: Southampton (A)

GW35: Newcastle (H)


If, like most current FPL players, you have a host of Aston Villa and Leeds players in your team (like me), this might be an enticing route to replace a lot of mid-card options, with the likes of Salah, Son, Fernandes and Kane, already staples in the game. Furthermore, with rotation season in full swing due to the latter stages of European competition, it will help weed out Man City players that won’t see many minutes.


The case for holding on to your Wildcard:

We’re in the middle of rotation season and there are very few standout fixtures this Gameweek, which means maintaining course with what you have isn’t a bad move. There are much more sunnier days ahead too with Gameweek 34 likely an expanded week.


Champions League rotation and general form and fixtures though are not promising right now, so any decision you ultimately make for the short time whilst in this window has a good chance of stinging you. Only takes Pep, Klopp and Tuchel to ring in the changes, which two of them have already done – for example, Ilkay Gundogan hasn’t played in back-to-back league matches for City – leaving teams with little else to cling to on this proverbial rock wall. It’s also likely that Laporte is a lock at central defence this week, meaning it is the axe for Dias or Stones, whilst I’ve given up all hope of Cancelo playing more than twice a month at best.


Top FPL player targets ahead of the upcoming Gameweek:

I’ll only be looking at picks who might be worth the grade for the upcoming Gameweek 31 as my policy is ‘one week at a time’ this season. Forward planning went down the toilet the same time Lockdown’s arrived last March.


Tonight’s Friday evening fixture sees two clubs who on paper will have a tight-knit game. Fulham won’t want to ship stupid early goals, whilst Wolves don’t score first-half efforts. I have a gut feeling that this might be a tense draw with a couple of goals in it – Pedro Neto (£5.7m) is the bright spark of Nuno’s attack at Wolves and has good attacking returns for a young player this season, with 5 goals and 8 assists to his name in FPL, and an assist last time out against West Ham. No on from Fulham really gets me off my seat, though Alexsander Mitrovic (£5.5m) scored in the defeat at Villa and could be a good differential if he retains his place.


Newcastle’s trip to Burnley should be a good opportunity for the Magpies to gain ground in their battle against relegation, but it’s Burnley I’m looking at, with the Clarets boasting a couple of Forward’s finding the net right now – something Newcastle don’t do on a frequent basis. Matej Vydra (£4.8m) has 2 goals and 1 assist in four matches and is a cheap route into your squad, whilst Chris Wood (£6.2m) has scored in his last 3 Premier League outings and is in red hot form.


If you’re one of the 40.6% of players that own Emi Martinez and don’t fancy his odds of a clean sheet in Villa’s next couple of league games – away vs. Liverpool (GW31) and home vs. Man City (GW32), there are four leading contenders. Rui Patricio (£5.3m) or Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) on wildcard selections, or going with trusted Champions League players in Ederson (£6.1m) or Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) at City and Chelsea respectively. Nick Pope (£5.5m) is certainly a good pick, but it is a quick fix ahead of a trip to Man United during Gameweek 32.


Lastly, the West Ham and Leicester game pits two sides battling for a birth in the Champions League next season and this match is virtually a free pass to pick up on some Player of the Month worthy players. Jesse Lingard (£6.3m) is a bargain given that he has managed 68 points in just 8 appearance for West Ham this season, an average of 8.5 points-per-match since joining on loan from Man United. There’s then the current POTM in the Premier League, Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.8m) who is the perfect Patrick Bamford replacement this week, with the Nigerian attacker surely set in stone right now having nabbed 6 goals in 4 matches before Gameweek 30’s 2-0 home loss to City. Either pick is good value in what is likely to be an open game.


I’ve left Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City out of my considerations due to the additional risk of players chopping and changing due to a rapid turnaround for next week’s big European encounters.


Who are the teams to look out for and avoid during Gameweek 31?:


Liverpool (Watch):

Jack Grealish being ruled out through injury is a big plus for Liverpool as the goals have begun to dry up at Villa. Jurgen Klopp’s team have the advantage of playing on Wednesday, meaning his best team will play – they don’t have another choice considering they were outclassed by Real Madrid in the Champions League and a comeback looks unlikely on current form (though we’ve all seen Liverpool recover from much, much worse). It might not be much of an explanation, but the politics in this match are aligning for Liverpool to avenge their horror 7-2 loss at Villa Park during Gameweek 4.


Burnley (Watch) / Newcastle (Avoid):

Spurs were woeful against Newcastle and deserved to lose, with Steve Bruce’s side failing to pick up maximum points against Jose Mourinho’s flaking team. One thing Burnley won’t do is give Newcastle the same luxuries that Spurs did, which will make this a default 1-0 win for the home team if they turn up with the right attitude. I’ve also lost faith in my beloved Newcastle scoring goals and doing much of anything, so I am probably sparing the pain of defeat before it even happens.


Chelsea (Watch):

If Thomas Tuchel’s side play worse than they did against West Brom that will be some surprise. Palace are packing up for the summer slowly, the only changing factors here might be rotation for the Blues ahead of a return flight to Seville next week to face Porto.


West Brom (Avoid):

I’m not sure lightning strikes twice for West Brom here after an impressive win at Stamford Bridge, though Southampton are known for leaking 9 goals in a single game once in a while.


West Ham & Leicester (Watch):

Both teams have equal acclaim to be on any watchlist this week. From a Fantasy Football perspective you have some in-form options, though I fancy Leicester to pick up a crucial win on the road.


Brighton & Everton (Avoid):

I was bored just looking at the fixture, so this one has 0-0 written all over it for me and doesn’t justify a second sentence to explain why.


Gameweek 31 - FPL Captaincy Picks:

Essential: Mohamed Salah (LIV)

Alternative: Kevin De Bruyne (MCI)

Differential: Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI)


When in doubt, go with the template formula of captaincy considerations. If KDB and Salah play they will be the obvious go-to’s, though Lingard or Kelechi might be worth a punt in the dark given their form – here’s hoping they don’t negate each other at the weekend.


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 31

Formation: 3-4-3


Starting 11


GK: Ederson (MCI)


DEF: Cesar Azpilicueta (CHE)

DEF: Ruben Dias (MCI)

DEF: Mason Holgate (EVE)


MID: Jesse Lingard (WHU)

MID: Mohamed Salah (LIV)

MID: Kevin De Bruyne (MCI)

MID: Pedro Neto (WOL)


FOR: Chris Wood (BUR)

FOR: Harry Kane (TOT)

FOR: Kelechi Iheanacho (LEI)


Substitutes


GK: Fraser Forster (SOU)

MID: James Ward-Prowse (SOU)

DEF: Romain Saiss (WOL)

DEF: Nat Phillips (LIV)

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles. We won both Goal of the Season Awards in the Berkshire and County FA regions, with Callum Parr-Jones winning the Berks & Bucks FA award, whilst Martin King won the PlaySport UK award.

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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