EPL GAMEWEEK 29 PICKS AND TEAM REVEAL
Following Gameweek 28’s 9 game slate, the EPL Monster contest is back for Gameweek 29. This week, we have a slightly smaller slate of 7 games, but same tasty match ups to pick from once again!
This week’s Monster contest features two buy-ins, €2 and €20. The difference in the contests is of course the prize pool at stake. In the low entry, the prize pool sits at €7,000. A massive €30,000 is aup for grabs in the high entry, with €3,000 awarded to first place!
If this is your first time playing in an EPL Monster contest, allow me to break down some of the key details you need to know. This week’s contest features 9 fixtures, starting with the 3pm kick offs on Saturday and concluding with Monday night football, as Spurs take on Everton at 8pm.
The rules are simple to follow. You will be required to pick 11 players to fill out your squad whilst staying within a budget of 107.0m. For each team you enter, you must select a captain and a vice captain. Your captain will score 2x points. However, in the event that your captain does not play, your vice captain will then score 2x points.
You can select a maximum of 3 players from the same team. It is worth noting that if you select two or more defensive players from the same team (GK and DEF), and the team keeps a clean sheet, a stacking penalty will apply. For example, if you select Aaron Ramsdale from Arsenal and he keeps a clean sheet, no penalty will apply. If you also start Kieran Tierney, you will be deducted 1 point. If you stack Ramsdale, Tierney and Gabriel, you will be deducted 2 points.
No bench required in this contest, folks. Instead, you have the innovative safety net feature to fall back on! This means if you have a player who does not start, your player will be replaced at the beginning of the match. This is dependent on a player being available from the same team, at the same price or less. The closest price to your player value will be automatically selected.
This is a great tool to use, as it allows you to start a player with confidence. If your player doesn’t start, his replacement is already determined. Teams that rotate heavily like Manchester City are a prime example of how the safety net feature can benefit you in your selection process.
Standard scoring applies to this contest.
With the rules covered, let’s take a look at this weeks’ fixtures.
Everton vs Wolves (13/03 – 2pm KO)
Everton looked really poor this past Monday night against Spurs, and I mean – REALLY poor. Frank Lampard has his work cut out, here. This isn’t an ideal follow up game for them, as Wolves present a stern test for any team due to their defensive resolve. I’m quite surprised at the pricing of Everton’s players, because form is just not with them at all. If I was to consider any Everton assets, it would be within their defense. Wolves aren’t a high scoring team normally, and Everton have relatively attacking full backs. Seamus Coleman (7.7m) probably being the pick of the bunch. If I’m honest, I have no interest at all in Everton this week. I know they need to respond following the Spurs debacle, but… No. Not for me.
Wolves intrigue me, though. They kept a clean sheet midweek with a convincing 4-0 win against Watford. I know it’s only Watford, I hear you. But defensively, Wolves have been great all season. Rayan Aït Nouri (6.7m) may well start again in that left wing-back role, you have the potential for a clean sheet and an assist, maybe. He has 4 of them this season. Jose Sa (7.3m) is a nice price this week, and always has those save points to keep him ticking over.
I suspect Raul Jimenez (8.5m) will start up top once again after scoring midweek. I don’t mind his price at all. However, my preference is to pivot to Wolves’ midfield and play Daniel Podence (7.7m). In the past 5 gameweeks, he’s made more key passes (5) and taken more shots (9) than any other Wolves player. The benefit of this being a 2pm KO, is that you can check the line up to make sure he definitely starts. If not, I wouldn’t mind paying up and going for Jimenez.
Chelsea vs Newcastle (13/03 – 2pm KO)
This is a funny one. Who do I expect to come out on top? Chelsea, of course. That said, a lot of things are going on off the field at Chelsea currently. Despite no dip in their results and form, it doesn’t fill you with confidence as often these club politics can spill over onto the field. Newcastle are also in some great form, so it casts a little bit of doubt in my thinking this week.
Sadly, Reece James looks set to spend another (albeit shorter) stint on the sideline. That potentially opens the door for César Azpilicueta (11.1m) to take up the role at right wing-back. Kai Havertz (13.5m) has been relishing in his new role up top in recent games, bagging himself 3 goals and an assist in his last two starts. They’re probably my two favourite pieces in an otherwise injury depleted Chelsea side.
Newcastle assets really interest me this week, simply because of how cheap they are. I wouldn’t back Newcastle to keep a clean sheet here, but that doesn’t stop them attacking! They’ve been playing some good football of late, and Ryan Fraser (5.9m) has once again found his best form of seasons past. Chris Wood (5.6m) finally found the net against Southampton, and is always a handful on set pieces. If you fancy Newcastle to give this game a go, their players are priced in such a way that you can really pack out the remainder of your line up.
Southampton vs Watford (13/03 – 2pm KO)
The Saints are coming off two disappointing losses to Aston Villa and Newcastle, where they conceded 6 goals and only found the net once. Watford followed up a promising display against Arsenal with a putrid display, away at Wolves.
I’m expecting Southampton to get back to winning ways here, but their player pricing isn’t the kindest. A Southampton defender is probably your easiest and most cost effective route in, with their fullbacks Tino Livramento (8.9m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (8.7m) priced reasonably. If he’s starting, I think I’ll take Walker-Peters at the price, he seems the more attacking of the two of late. James Ward-Prowse (11.5m) is again priced as the highest Southampton asset, but I really don’t mind it. He is the beating heart of the team, everything goes through Ward-Prowse and he has the penalty and set piece duties to fall back on. How happy am I paying over 11m for a Southampton player though?
The pricing of the Watford players clearly points to Southampton being the favoured side here. Which, to be fair, they are. The Bookmaker agrees. I fancy the Saints to score, so I have no interest in owning a Watford defender. If i was to own anybody, it would likely be Emmanuel Dennis (7.9m). The goals have dried up a bit of late for Dennis, and for Watford. With that said, he has still registered more shots (9) than any other Watford player over the last 5 gameweeks. Josh King (7.2m) also seems a little out of favour.
West Ham vs Aston Villa (13/03 – 2pm KO)
This is a mouth watering clash. It could well finish with both teams scoring 2+ goals each. Villa are enjoying a turn in form, winning their last 3 games comfortably without conceding a single goal. West Ham have had some patchy form of late. Most recently losing at Liverpool (certainly no shame in that!).
You could well stack this game with 2 or 3 players from either side, taking up 5 or 6 spots in your line up. Especially because of the pricing. I’m not expecting a clean sheet here for West Ham, but I don’t think that matters much for Aaron Cresswell (7.5m). He is always involved with the Hammers’ set pieces, and with Jarrod Bowen expected to miss out, he may have more involvement on free kicks. Bowen’s absence also paves the way for Manuel Lanzini (9.6m) to see more involvement in the game. I think if you are expecting a West Ham win here, you would be silly not to partner one of West Ham’s midfielders with Michail Antonio (10.5m). Though, he is a little out of form.
I fancy Aston Villa to get a result here, I really do. Momentum is certainly with them, and West Ham have some key injuries and absentees. If you’re in agreement with me, you’ll love the pricing of Villa’s key assets! Matty Cash (6.4m) has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games, which is phenomenal return on investment for a fullback. I can’t help but think that the returns will also start to show for Lucas Digne (6.0m), especially being tasked with corners. He’s outpaced Cash in accurate passes and key passes over the last 5 games, just hasn’t seen a return from it yet. It will come, though. Philippe Coutinho (8.7m) felt cheap last week, and feels cheap once again given his attacking potential. The Brazilian maestro registered 2 goals and an assist in his last 2 games. He’s been playing in the “hole”, a role that he relishes. Danny Ings (8.9m) also feels like a bit of a bargain!
Leeds vs Norwich (13/03 – 2pm KO)
Practically a relegation 6-pointer! Both teams lost their last 5. Both teams are a shambles at the back. The worst two defensive sides in the league in fact.
Raphinha (11.8m) is the obvious Leeds selection. He’s always a goal threat, and always has the potential for an assist even when he doesn’t score. Leeds have only scored 29 goals this season in the Premier League, and he’s had a hand in 11 of them. If you do need to save a little on the budget here, Patrick Bamford (11.4m) is back! Again, this is a 2pm KO, so you’ll have the team news if you’re worried about his status.
Norwich players are considerably cheaper than the Leeds players. You expect that really, but neither team is really in great form to justify the difference. I said last week that Teemu Pukki (8.0m) was due a goal, and he has since scored twice. If I owned anyone from Norwich, he’d be the only one I’d hang my hat on. He’s been involved in over half of Norwich’s goals this season. Again though, Norwich just doesn’t really interest me. Their upside is limited, and I think I would rather take a chance on some of the cheaper players available from the likes of Newcastle, Wolves or even Leicester.
Arsenal vs Leicester (13/03 – 4.30pm KO)
Like the West Ham-Villa game, this could be goals galore also! Arsenal are in fine form, and look a totally different side of late compared with what we saw earlier this season. Leicester have been hit and miss, but have steadied the ship and won their last two games.
Arsenal players are priced high this week. But it does not deter me at all. They’re playing free flowing football and look capable of scoring in every attack. I mentioned Bukayo Saka (12.0m) last week, and he’s in my thoughts again this week. He has taken the joint most shots in the last 5 gameweeks, scoring twice in that time. I actually really like the pricing of Martin Odegaard (11.2m) here as well. His 5 key passes and 4 shots on goal in his last 5 games suggest there are more attacking returns to come from the Norwegian talisman. If for whatever reason he doesn’t play, Gabriel Martinelli (11.0m) is his safety net, another sound option.
I’m still not wholly convinced by Arsenal defensively. If you feel the same, then Leicester’s attacking options are very cheap this week. You’ll rarely find the likes of James Maddison (7.1m), Youri Tielemans (6.8m) or Harvey Barnes (6.5m) priced so cheaply. You can’t go wrong with any of them if you are edging towards playing a Leicester asset. When Jamie Vardy doesn’t line up for Leicester, it’s often hard to predict where the goals will come from. I think i’d be inclined to play Tielemans for that reason, as his involvement (shots, both accurate and key passes) is consistently high.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City (14/03 – 8pm KO)
There’s a bit of something extra to play for in this one, as Patrick Vieira I’m sure will be motivated to do the double over his former employers. Palace beat City in this fixture earlier this season. Needless to say, I can’t see history repeating itself this time.
There’s a hefty price to pay to acquire City’s attacking assets this week. For that reason, I feel that targeting a double of a defender and a midfielder could be the way to attack this. João Cancelo (12.0m) is clearly the most sought after City defender, but if funds are a little tight, John Stones (10.6m) will most likely start in place of the injured Ruben Dias. Bernardo Silva’s (13.6m) numbers jump off the page in the last 5 games in terms of shots and Key passes, and yet nothing really to show for it from a fantasy scoring perspective. Kevin De Bruyne (14.1m) is the much safer pick, with a better safety net in Phil Foden (13.8m). In the event De Bruyne is subject to Pep’s infamous squad rotation, i’d much rather have Foden coming in than anyone below his price.
As this contest allows multi entries (max 100), I will likely be entering different line ups. Here’s an example of one of my line ups I will be entering using some of the players mentioned.
The triple up on Aston Villa is a “risk” given they are playing West Ham, but I really fancy Villa to continue their form this weekend. Their players are too nicely priced to turn your nose up at. I had to have two City and two Arsenal players in as a minimum, and I’m really pleased to have got the players I wanted – Bruyne and Saka. The latter of the two gets the arm band also this week. He’s constantly involved in Arsenal’s attacks, and Leicester have been poor defensively all season.
I’d like to enter a similar line up, but with some Chelsea exposure. However, Newcastle could present a bit of a banana skin this week.
Best of luck for the Gameweek 29 EPL Monster contest, I hope to see you on that leaderboard!
Twitter – @nickofwigan
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Existing users can click the graphic below for direct access to the weekly monster or head on over to the GW29 lobby.
Best of luck for the Gameweek 29 EPL Monster contest!