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West Ham Fantasy Football Challenge: Gameweek 31

02 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
West Ham Fantasy Football Challenge: Gameweek 31
West Ham United Fans Challenge

Every week this season, two West Ham fans will compete at Fantasy Football to win money for their chosen charities

Will’s Team

GK: Kelleher

DEF: Van Dijk, Saliba, Van Hecke 

MID: Son, Bowen, Palmer, Salah (c), Saka

FW: Watkins, Solanke

 

I’m genuinely starting to feel bad for him now.

Not long after I met James Jones, he couldn’t wait to tell me that people used to pay him to manage their FPL teams for them.

I just hope any customers he has left kept their receipts for this season because it’s getting embarrassing now.  

A barnstorming 82-point haul put me in the top 0.5% of players worldwide for the week as I finished in the top 46,000 out of 10.5million players. 

James’ oh-so-predictable decision to captain Son against a resolute Luton backfired as did choosing Erling Haaland over Mo Salah as his big money super-signing. His 67 was probably his biggest gameweek total in about three months, bless him, but it still was not enough – leaving him on 1,654 overall, 46 points behind my 1,700. 

My rip-roaring total was thanks mainly to my bold decision to captain Cole Palmer whose brace during Chelsea’s shambolic performance against Burnley saw him finish as the gameweek’s joint-second highest scorer with 15.

Emi Martinez, Jarrod Bowen and Son Heung-min also bagged ten points each to add to seven from Salah and Dominic Solanke.  

Quick turnaround between gameweeks and with my team cruising along nicely, it’s just one transfer. Caoimhin Kelleher comes in for Matt Turner and goes straight into my starting XI with Liverpool hosting rock-bottom Sheffield United. 

Despite scoring just once in five games against the Blades, Salah gets the armband, and I will be stunned if I don’t get more points this week than last. 

Huge psychological blow for James last week. Hard to see where he can turn from here. You sense the fat lady has warmed up her vocal chords and is about to churn out a belter.

 

James’ Team

GK: Raya 

DEF: Burn, Pedro Porro, Gabriel 

MID: Palmer, Kudus, Saka (c), Son 

FW: Halland (v), Darwin, Solanke

I will admit, I chuckled when I saw that Will had captained Cole Palmer in GW30. But as is becoming something of a trend at the moment, he had the last laugh. Fair play. His 82 points blitzed my 67, which at the time I thought was a decent week. 

So now the gap is 46 points and with no clear route to getting Mohamed Salah back in my team without sacrificing Erling Haaland, I’m beginning to wonder whether the title race is over. If I’m going to catch him, it will likely be down to shrewd captain picks or Haaland remembering that he is the most prolific striker in world football. At the moment, neither look likely.

However, I seem to remember having a similar lead over Will in the early stages of the season and look how the tables have turned. There’s still time to perform miracles, but I’m running out of gameweeks. 

For GW31, my one transfer has two purposes. Firstly, to replace a player both Will and I own with a player Will doesn’t have. Secondly, to prepare for the upcoming double GW34. Without a clear route to Salah ownership, I’m seeking alternative Liverpool attackers and Darwin Nunez is the man I’m turning to. 

He comes in for Ollie Watkins, who has a slight hamstring injury and faces City away this week. There is a chance he doesn’t play but if he does, he’s not going to be 100%. He was hauled off at half-time over the weekend, so I wonder whether this is the perfect game for Unai Emery to give him some rest.  

Liverpool host Sheffield United, which is a fixture I can see Nunez hauling in. He has 10 goals and 10 assists this season and I’m backing him to add to that on Thursday night.

The only other change to my starting XI this week is David Raya coming in for Alphonse Areola, who is injured. Arsenal host Luton, so a double defence of Raya and Gabriel is attractive.

The captain choice is difficult this week. Heung-min Son loves player West Ham, with eight goals and six assists in 18 games against the Hammers, so he’s a solid option. But I don’t want to encourage him to play well, to be honest. I really, really hope he doesn’t do anything of note and West Ham win.

So I’ve opted for Bukayo Saka, who was very quiet against Man City at the weekend but will have a lot more attacking freedom against Luton in midweek. I have a feeling Will will do the same, but what can I do? 

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