Gameweek 17 preview

December 18, 2014

20 Dec 12:45 Man City v Crystal Palace
20 Dec 15:00 Aston Villa v Man Utd
20 Dec 15:00 Hull v Swansea
20 Dec 15:00 QPR v West Brom
20 Dec 15:00 Southampton v Everton
20 Dec 15:00 Spurs v Burnley
20 Dec 15:00 West Ham v Leicester
21 Dec 13:30 Newcastle v Sunderland
21 Dec 16:00 Liverpool v Arsenal
22 Dec 20:00 Stoke v Chelsea


Following his man of the match and player of the week performance last week, Tom Heaton is the leading keeper in the game. Every year there are keepers that defy the logic of fantasy league and rise to the top of their positional standings, and this season is no different. Heaton is second to Rob Green in the amount of saves made. Every three saves gains the keepers an extra bonus point, so it stands to reason that those facing the most shots are going to be scoring as highly as those more dependably keeping clean sheets.

Some teams have had to call on their third choice keepers. Damian Martinez collected 14 points with two clean sheets in the three and a half games he played for Arsenal in the last month. Jak Alnwick at Newcastle is fairing less well. Both Tim Krul and Rob Elliot are out until the New Year meaning it could be a difficult winter ahead for those with Newcastle defenders in their side. After surviving 30 minutes against Chelsea conceding only one goal to hold on to a surprise victory, Alnwick has conceded eight in the two games he’s played in since.

Sub keepers are a nice fall back for those that don’t want to break the bank on that position with almost all of them coming in at between 4 and 5 million. The odd surprise clean sheet is an extra bonus to the points you might be collecting elsewhere in the outfield due to saving money between the sticks. Alnwick, however, does look way out of his depth, and the jury is out on Ben Hamer at Leicester. Although he has kept as many clean sheets in two matches as Kasper Schmeichel managed in the other 14 games of their season.

Petr Cech could be in goal again for Chelsea this weekend. There’s still a red box next to Thibaut Courtois’ name – although his return date is listed as being the 22nd December. Cech has a 100% record of league clean sheets. That’s one and a third games played – none conceded. £5.5 million might represent good value for one of the league’s best keepers, but it’d be an almighty risk to draft him in for the upcoming game.

Costel Pantiliomon seems to have taken the number one jersey from Vito Mannone at Sunderland. Last week he moved ahead of Mannone in the keeper standings and has kept three clean sheets in the seven matches he’s played. Along with Rob Green, Pantilimon is the cheapest current “first choice” available. Both are recording around 3.7 saves per game. Pantilimon appears to be much better value however as Green has as many clean sheets in all games as the Sunderland keeper has in just seven.

And of the big names, only in the last few weeks have the improved defensive displays of the Manchester teams seen their keepers start to rise to the top of those standings. David De Gea has bagged eight saves and therefore two extra bonus points in two recent matches, as well as three clean sheets in his last six. Joe Hart has three clean sheets in four. His save count isn’t as high, but that’s due to the defenders doing their job rather than Hart not doing his. £5.6 million for De Gea appears better value at the moment than the £6.1 you’d have to fork out if you wanted Joe Hart in your team.

Five first choicers have seen their values decrease from their starting price. All have been, in past seasons, fairly reliable clean sheet keepers and save makers, but this season has seen high ownership at the start dwindle drastically as the season’s rolled on. Asmir Begovic has two clean sheets – the last one being in September. Begovic kept nine last season and 12 the season before. Julian Speroni also managed 12 last season, but so far has only managed three. Wojciech Szczcesny and Tim Howard were last seasons leading points scorers between the posts, but both have had £0.2 million chopped from their starting price. Both have only kept three clean sheets. They’ll have to go some to reach the 16 and 15 respectively that they managed during last season. The other keeper to plummet in value is perhaps unsurprisingly Simon Mignolet. Who now faces a spell on the sidelines with Brad Jones taking on goalkeeping duties at Liverpool. In actual fact, Mignolet’s figures aren’t that much different from last seasons as it stands. Had he kept his place and kept one more clean sheet before gameweek 20, he’d be on track to equal the 10 he kept during last season. Remember, Liverpool’s crack at the league title last season wasn’t built around a impenetrable defence – it was goals going in at the other end that made that happen.

So anyone for a keeper swap ahead of the weekend?



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