With three-quarters of the season gone and the finishing line in sight, now is the time that Fantasy Football managers really earn their corn when it comes to making the crucial late-season substitutions that can make or break a season.
We’ve all had months and months to draw our conclusions and as fatigue, big Cup games and other factors come into play, now is the time to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of big-hitting players, with these four highly recommended as men you need to ruthlessly transfer out.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – 11.9 million
Having the Argentina star in your side comes with a health warning at the best of times. In this case, his own health. Aguero is a notoriously injury-prone player and not a single season goes by when he doesn’t suffer from one form of muscular trouble or another, the two questions being: how often does it happen? And how long is he going to be out for?
It happened again on Sunday at Old Trafford, a thigh injury this time, and we’ll have to wait and see if he’s declared fit for Burnley at the weekend.
But this time, injuries aren’t the only concern. With all of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez available to Pep Guardiola, Pep can afford to pick and choose which games he thinks he needs Aguero on the pitch for, and which he doesn’t. And he may well decide that the former Atletico Madrid’s energy should be conserved for matches in other competitions.
After drawing first blood against Real Madrid, Man City are almost certain to progress in the Champions League and this could well be their best chance yet of actually winning the whole thing.
With the Champions League ban very much in place at the time of writing, it may be the last chance in a while where they’re actually in the competition, let alone being in with a shout of winning it. A fit Aguero will be crucial to that and there may even be a few times in the Premier League where he’s rested with a big FA Cup tie in mind, instead. So Aguero game-time may be pretty limited over the next few weeks. Not what you want out of an 11.9 million-pound player.
For good measure, he’s also currently off penalty duties, with Kevin de Bruyne given the job for the time being.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – 9.6 million
It’s only a matter of time before Liverpool wrap up the Premier League title, meaning the single most important game of the season for them so far will be that second leg against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.
They’re slight outsiders to progress against an extremely resilient side after losing the first leg 1-0. If the Reds do crash out against Diego Simeone’s men, it might be worth keeping your powder dry and keeping the likeable Brazilian in your team because with Jurgen Klopp’s men out of the FA Cup, the league would be the sole competition they’d still be in.
Or is it worth keeping him? With the title wrapped up, Klopp may decide that presents a good opportunity to give some games to Divock Origi -who the jury is still out about- or new man Takumi Minamino. The Japanese forward hasn’t had much of a chance to show us what he can do and Klopp may feel now is the time to experiment and start preparing for next season already.
But maybe all that is missing the point: Firmino has now gone four games without so much as a goal or an assist, so is hardly in particularly good form anyway.
Richarlison (Everton) – 8.3 million
Now into his third season as a Premier League Fantasy Football player, Richarlison is fast becoming one of the most reliable mid-priced midfielders in the game. His first season at Watford yielded 125 points for his owners, last year he ended on 153 and this season he’s already on 133 and sure to break his own record for a single campaign.
All well and good but the Brazilian international is currently in the middle of a nightmare run of fixtures. Matches against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are already behind him but it’s Liverpool, Leicester and Tottenham next and in Week 31 he doesn’t play at all, with Everton not in action as a result of their opponents for that weekend (Norwich) still being involved in the FA Cup.
There’s not much wrong with bringing him into your team after Gameweek 33 with some tasty fixtures coming up after that including Southampton, Villa, Bournemouth and that re-arranged game with the Canaries.
But even then, it’s worth thinking twice about transferring him in. Only Richarlison himself will know the reason for it but he has a habit of starting the season in style, before sort of letting it peter out towards the back end of it. Just as an example, last season he scored just one goal across his last six appearances of the 2018/19 campaign.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) 11.7 million
A lot of what was said about Aguero and the chances of him being rotated to be kept fresh for big matches in other competitions, applies to Raheem Sterling as well.
But if the additional concern with Aguero is injuries, then with Sterling it’s a problem of quite a different nature. In Fantasy terms at least, he’s in shocking form. His last five starts resulted in precisely zero points in terms of attacking returns and he’s just looking out-of-sorts in general.
Maybe it has something to do with the upcoming Euro 2020. Brilliant for club over the past five or six years, Sterling has never really made his mark for country the way he did for both Liverpool and Manchester City.
He’d love to win the Champions League of course but you’d have to wonder if he’s going to bust a gut in a Premier League match when City can no longer win the title when such a big tournament as the Euros are in the horizon. He’d love to be England’s main man this summer and would love to be a European champion even more, so he may just be saving his best performances for that.
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