Fantasy football tips: Time to sell Kevin de Bruyne?

Alistair Bruce-Ball

The first issue to deal with in gameweek 33 is that there are no fixtures for Manchester City, Tottenham, Southampton or Fulham.

I'm sure a lot of you will have plans in place to make sure you've got a strong starting XI ready to go, but I think the thorny question is whether to hold on to our City and Tottenham assets and just sit them on the bench this week, or to move them on.

It's further complicated by the fact Kevin de Bruyne and Harry Kane have both picked up injuries and we can't be absolutely certain when they're going to return to action.

Interestingly, Kane and Son Heung-min are two of the players who most managers are selling in the game this week, but I'm doing the opposite and holding on to them, depending of course on any further news on the Kane injury.

Tottenham's fixtures look good for the rest of the season and after the Carabao Cup final, they will be focusing all their energies on trying to finish in the top four.

Conversely, I think it might be time to sell your Manchester City players. I'm taking Ruben Dias out of my squad and any John Stones owners will be doing the same as he's suspended for their next two Premier League fixtures after his red card against Aston Villa.

Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne has earned 128 points this season - putting him sixth among Manchester City players

If you think you can win at Pep roulette and successfully predict Guardiola's line-ups for their next two league games, against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, given that they also have two games against PSG in the Champions League, then good luck to you.

We discussed this on the Fantasy 606 podcast this week and Chris Sutton says he's happy to take the gamble and bring Gabriel Jesus in for gameweek 34 as he's started six of the last seven games in the league. It's also worth noting that Bernardo Silva has started five of those games and notched up 17 points in the last two gameweeks.

But it's certainly a riskier selection if you're tempted by the potential big points hauls that the likes of Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan can bring - particularly if Gundogan is pushed further forward again in the absence of De Bruyne. If you're chasing an opponent in one of your mini-leagues then maybe it's worth rolling the dice but I'm going to look elsewhere.

The next big decision for me is almost an all-or-nothing one - is it time to sell Bruno Fernandes or do I captain him for Manchester United's fixture away to Leeds?

He's the joint-top points scorer in the game but has only managed one goal and one assist in his last seven matches for a sum total of 28 points.

On the other hand you know that a fixture against Leeds could offer him the space to thrive and he racked up 17 points in the 6-2 win against them at Old Trafford in December.

If you're wrestling with the same decision then it will depend on who you're thinking of bringing in to replace him. If that's Mohamed Salah then I would be tempted to do it given Liverpool's favourable run-in and the fact that, like Tottenham, their season is now solely about getting into the top four.

Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota would obviously be other Liverpool options, with Jota at just £7m giving you money to spend elsewhere on your squad, but I would still back Salah.

'Pep roulette or Tuchel tombola?'

Mason Greenwood is another possibility at a very similar price to Jota and his finishing has looked razor-sharp again with four goals in his last three games, or you could dip into the Chelsea midfield with the likes of Mason Mount (£7.2m), Hakim Ziyech (£7.9m), Kai Havertz (£8.2m) and Christian Pulisic (£8.3m).

Kai Havertz
At the time of writing just 3.2% of teams contained Chelsea forward Kai Havertz - could he be your difference-maker?

The problem there is you're swapping Pep roulette for the Tuchel tombola, plus Chelsea have two tricky fixtures away to West Ham and Manchester City in the next three gameweeks.

One other thing to bear in mind when making your transfers this week is potential double and blank gameweeks around the corner in gameweeks 35 and 36. They've not been confirmed in the fixture list yet but we certainly know that Aston Villa, Everton, Crystal Palace and Southampton will all have a game to catch up on, so it might be worth bringing one or two of their players in for that double-up.

Don't get caught out by the 18:30 BST deadline on Friday night before Arsenal versus Everton, and let's chuck Gabriel Martinelli in as a possible short-term punt this week to finish.

He is classed as a midfielder and costs just £4.9m with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both out injured for that game.

Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside Statman Dave and former Premier League winner Chris Sutton. The latest episode is available now on BBC Sounds.

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