Fantasy Premier League managers are facing an unprecedented dilemma ahead of Gameweek 17, stick or twist with Erling Haaland?
Haaland is owned by 80.1% of all players and rightly so, with the Norwegian following last season’s record-breaking Premier League campaign with a league-leading 14 goals so far this season. The Manchester City goal-getter is a certainty for most sides and often an easy captain choice, but faces missing the next two gameweeks.
A foot injury looks likely keep Haaland out for this weekend’s home clash with Crystal Palace, before Manchester City jet off to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia. So, what to do with Erling Haaland?
Fantasy Premier League: What to do with Erling Haaland?
FPL Deadline: Friday, December 15, 18:30pm BST.
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The argument to keep
Haaland is the most expensive asset in the game, so selling the striker and reinvesting funds elsewhere could make it problematic to bring him back into your side. Pep Guardiola hasn’t officially ruled his leading scorer out of the Palace game, but the expectation is that Haaland will miss out.
If your squad has the depth to combat the absence of Haaland for the next two games, it might just be best to hold. City return from their Club World Cup venture with an away clash at Everton on Boxing Day (GW19) before appealing home clashes with Sheffield United (GW20) and Burnley (GW22) in their upcoming schedule.
⚠️ 380,000+ transfers out and counting for Erling Haaland… 😬
All eyes on Pep’s Friday presser 👀 pic.twitter.com/gQwj9qZjx9
— Fantasy Football Scout (@FFScout) December 13, 2023
You don’t want to be without Haaland for those games.
The argument to sell
Having £14m worth of FPL cash sat on your bench could be a real waste of resources, particularly if you’re among the managers without Mohamed Salah (£13.2m) and/or Son Heung-min (£9.6m) in your squad.
Each have outscored Haaland in terms of FPL points this season and should be the go-to options if you’re looking to reinvest the windfall of the striker’s sale.
Be warned, however, with both Salah and Son classified as midfielders in FPL, you will need two free transfers, a chip, or be willing to take a hit to bring them in as replacements.
Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa
Ollie Watkins (£8.5m) is the obvious replacement for Haaland at centre-forward. The Aston Villa man is the second-highest scoring forward in the game, having amassed 99 points in FPL so far this season. Watkins ranks equal-second for bonus points (11) among forwards, and has eight goals and nine assists in FPL in 2023/24.
A certain starter for a club side bang in form, there are few better options. Villa travel to face Brentord this weekend, before hosting Sheffield United in GW18.
Dominic Solanke – Bournemouth
Dominic Solanke (£6.6m) is the most transferred in forward ahead of GW17, after scoring his eighth Premier League goal of the campaign in Bournemouth’s 3-0 win at Manchester United last time out.
Solanke’s eight goals already makes this his most prolific Premier League campaign, while the 26-year-old has one assist and seven FPL bonus points for the campaign. Still owned by less than 11% of FPL managers, he could prove a fine differential ahead of this weekend’s home clash with Luton. Bournemouth have won five of their last seven Premier League games and appear to have found their feet under Andoni Iraola.
Dominic Solanke has scored 8 goals in the Premier League this season. Erling Haaland is the only ST with more (14).
On fire. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/QI4K5g2wY2
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 9, 2023
Alexander Isak – Newcastle
Eliminated from the Champions League in midweek, it’s now full focus on the Premier League for Newcastle. Eddie Howe’s injury-hit squad have wobbled of late, but an appealing run of fixtures can help the Magpies rediscover their form.
Newcastle host Fulham in GW18 (admittedly a harder fixture than anticipated a fortnight ago) and have won seven of their eight games at St James’ Park this season. Newcastle are also unbeaten in their last five league games with the Cottagers, and have not lost a home game to the west Londoners since both were in the Championship in 2017.
Newcastle follow their date with Fulham with clashes against Luton (A) and Nottingham Forest (H). Those fixtures offer real potential for Alexander Isak, who has seven goals in 10 league starts this season.