At first glance, our moves seem pretty obvious heading into Game Week 36.
Brighton and Newcastle are the two teams with two matches – Brighton at Arsenal and Newcastle at Leeds before they play each other next Thursday – so it’s all about lining up the combination of players from each club that you think will pay off the most points during this double game week. .
If you’re a Solly March owner, the easiest thing to do is replace him with either Kaoru Mitoma or Alexis Mac Allister, whoever you don’t already own, after March suffered a hamstring injury in the loss. 5-1 at home by Everton on Monday.
Mitoma and Mac Allister are slightly more expensive than March, so if you don’t have the budget to cover that, then you should consider doing another transfer to facilitate it, to go for a cheaper option, which doesn’t is not easy to find, or just bring someone from your bench to cover it.
Many of us will have good options among our substitutes this week – mine are Trent Alexander-Arnold who is out at Leicester, or Luke Shaw who has a home game against Wolves, who would normally start in any other matchweek but I’m still tempted to bring in Mac Allister as he has both fixtures and Brighton have another double matchweek in 37.
One of the reasons not to move would be to give me two free transfers for gameweek 37 when I know I want to do some maneuvering at Manchester City but the fact that Brighton players have five games left makes me hope that taking points on transfers next week will be worth it.
To try and find a cheaper replacement for March you can look to team-mate Facundo Buonanotte, who could well take advantage of his absence starting on the right side, but that’s no guarantee and it looks a bit like a kick to me.
Otherwise, you can turn to the Newcastle midfielder if you don’t already have three of their players in your squad and choose between Joe Willock or Jacob Murphy, both of whom provided attacking returns in big wins over Tottenham and Everton in match weeks 32 and 33. .
Murphy is the most explosive as a striker on the right side, but he’s routinely replaced by Miguel Almiron after an hour and there’s always a chance that Eddie Howe will decide to give Almiron a start at some point anyway. .
The other strategy to replace March would be to go for a Brighton striker instead, selling Ollie Watkins or Ivan Toney if you still own them, switching to Danny Welbeck, Evan Ferguson or Julio Enciso and then using the money to make your move to midfield.
Again, which Brighton striker will get the most minutes is the issue – Ferguson has just returned from injury to compete with Welbeck for the centre-forward role, while Enciso has shone in recent weeks but was the one of four players given Roberto de Zerbi’s half-time hook against Everton.
I don’t think it’s the best way to go as it also involves gaining points, but it has differential potential if you pursue in a mini-league and I’d go for Enciso as the most exciting selection.
Clearly the downside of having three players from Brighton and three from Newcastle is that they will take points when they meet in Gameweek 36.
I’m actually toying with the idea of starting Alexander-Arnold on Pervis Estupinan this week because it’s hard to see Brighton keeping a clean sheet at Arsenal or Newcastle.
There is of course no guarantee that Liverpool will keep a clean sheet at Leicester, but I saw the Foxes lose 5-3 at Fulham on Monday and the havoc wrought by Alexander-Arnold with his departure from midfield suggests the potential offensive returns. Estupinan could also provide attacking returns for Brighton and has two games to do so if he is not rested, so those are the factors that need to be weighed up.
This defensive performance from Leicester also made me think of a Mohamed Salah captain this week on one of the players in a matchweek double. The unwritten rule of the Premier League fantasy is to go for the player with the double but I don’t like any of the Brighton or Newcastle defenders I think there’s going to be a rotation at some point in the Brighton midfielder and then it really comes down to Alexander Isak or Callum Wilson.
I own Isak but I don’t think there will be too many goals for Newcastle at Leeds on Saturday, which potentially allows me to pin my hopes on just one gameweek special from Salah.
Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode featuring a preview of Game Week 36 is available on the BBC Sounds app.