Gameweek 21 preview

10 Jan 12:45 Sunderland v Liverpool
10 Jan 15:00 Burnley v QPR
10 Jan 15:00 Chelsea v Newcastle
10 Jan 15:00 Everton v Man City
10 Jan 15:00 Leicester v Aston Villa
10 Jan 15:00 Swansea v West Ham
10 Jan 15:00 West Brom v Hull
10 Jan 17:30 Crystal Palace v Spurs
11 Jan 13:30 Arsenal v Stoke
11 Jan 16:00 Man Utd v Southampton

 

Wildcards are live and there are no Africans. And a few Asians have disappeared too. Does this complicate matters? Not really. If anything it makes the use of the wildcard a little easier. Other than Yaya, Bony and Diafra Sakho, many of the absent players had very low ownership to begin with. Freeing up the £10.9 million that it would cost you to purchase the better Toure brother leaves the door open for any number of options. Only Sanchez, Van Persie, Aguero, Daniel Sturridge (still?) and Costa are valued higher.

Replacing Wilfried Bony and/or Diafra Sakho calls for a little more consideration. It may be worth looking at the likes of Santi Cazorla, Christian Eriksen or the returning Olivier Giroud as pound for pound replacements for Bony. There are plenty of cheaper options more in line with Sakho’s price tag. Harry Kane, Charlie Austin and Nacer Chadli all stand out. More off the radar are Ashley Barnes who has come to the fore as the strike partner of choice for Danny Ings – himself a tempting choice. Or maybe you could throw caution comepletely to the wind and take a punt on the player most likely to benefit from Bony’s absence – Bafetimbi Gomis. Gomis has been playing second fiddle to Bony all season, starting only four league games and scoring one goal. He managed to find the net twice last week, albeit against Tranmere in the cup. It’s his opportunity to stake a claim – particularly as Bony may not even be returning to the Liberty Stadium if his transfer to City goes through.

Away from worrying about wildcarding there are some potential banker options amongst this weekend’s fixtures. Chelsea have been beaten twice in the league this season – by Spurs, heavily, last time out, and by Newcastle, their opponents on Saturday. Newcastle will probably face a team eager to consign both defeats to the dustbin of history – whatever that means.

Will West Brom be Pulisified? Palace hadn’t kept a clean sheet before Pulis took over last season at the end of November. By the end of that season, they’d kept twelve in total – almost one every other game. The foundations are already there for a decent West Brom defence having so far kept six clean sheets – and all of their regulars come in at under £5 million. For those that set a budget for their defence, West Brom could be the team to turn to in the second half of the season.

And Villa play Leicester. It’s got a 0-0 written all over it.

 

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Gameweek 16 preview

13 Dec 15:00 Burnley v Southampton
13 Dec 15:00 Chelsea v Hull
13 Dec 15:00 Crystal Palace v Stoke
13 Dec 15:00 Leicester v Man City
13 Dec 15:00 Sunderland v West Ham
13 Dec 15:00 West Brom v Aston Villa
13 Dec 17:30 Arsenal v Newcastle
14 Dec 13:30 Man Utd v Liverpool
14 Dec 16:00 Swansea v Spurs
15 Dec 20:00 Everton v QPR

 

Only one place to start (and finish as it turns out) – and that’s who are the majority of us going to replace Sergio Aguero with? He’s due back from injury on the 10th January. That’s five gameweeks away – way too long to leave him resting on your bench.

Best place to start looking is in amongst his City team mates. City’s favourable run of fixtures in to the New Year starts with an away trip to Leicester – so goals pretty much guaranteed. Although the best options may lie in City’s midfield with David Silva back in contention, Samir Nasri in amongst the goals in their Champions League victory in midweek and Yaya Toure finally in a run of form. One of Edin Dzeko or Stevan Jovetic will start this weekend, but there’s little guarantee either will cement the attacking berth – and both have just returned from injury. Dzeko managed to complete most of the Roma tie before being replaced by Jovetic. Neither scored.

The choices away from the City team would all allow for a more expensive investment in the midfield. Only Diego Costa, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie look like worthwhile investments in a similar price range to Aguero. Much more in form are those lower mid price options that have dominated the striker standings since day one. West Ham have an abundance of options. Only Chelsea and City have outscored the Hammers, and for the first time in their 642 year history they have what is commonly referred to as a selection headache. Andy Carroll should get a start based on his high scoring performance of last week. Enner Valencia could miss out having been replaced by Diafra Sakho, who went on to score the last goal of their three against Swansea.

With seven in nine, Wilfried Bony would also free up a hefty four million for spends elsewhere. Swansea remain in the top half and have a manageable run of fixtures through Christmas. Also in the £8-9 million club is Graziano Pelle, who ended his barren run with a goal last week against Manchester United. Southampton’s run of fixtures from hell takes a welcome break this week with a trip to Burnley, so their may be a respite for those owning Saints players. They may get in among the points again. Having kept four consecutive clean sheets, it’s now four without a shut-out. Clyne, Bertrand and Forster may get the points they need to keep them top of their respective positional standings.

There are always options in the Chelsea team. Their defeat last week will probably be no more than a blip. They look the best option for a captain choice taking on Hull at Home. This inevitably means Eden Hazard will be in among the points, probably scoring one and assisting another by Costa.

Gameweek 15 results

1 Paris Spinks Germain David Spinks 41 802
2 Uriah Rennie 2nd XI Neil Greenwood 18 795
3 NaboombuDirtyYellows Andrew Swift 36 792
4 Neil Madrid Neil Strong 31 776
5 * Your Ad Here * Matthew Hopkins 23 771
6 Ciderheads Darren Pope 30 765
7 Hedgehog Corpse FC Nick Smith 36 753
8 RayCrawfordsCrackers Rob Hewer 39 751
9 Upper Bullens Andy Taylor 32 749
10 Shoelace Untied Caroline Strong 49 746
11 Pescara Rangers Stewart Pope 16 739
12 Gaalatcticos Colin Goulding 45 736
13 Sportingabiggerwig Alex Ritchie 35 723
14 Pretty Schitty City Alex Michaluk 29 721
15 Bermie Utd Glen Davies 24 702
16 Panza Grande XI Stuart Baker 25 702
17 Luxembourg United Simon Smallbone 22 684
18 Who R U DEAN CRIPPS 31 678
19 Biscuitmen Chris Morton 27 675
20 Van Damme United P Hawkins 36 675
21 The Mindless Morons John Seacroft 25 673
22 Rip Roaring Reds Sean Whyton 23 666
23 Real Jorvik FC Simon Brown 21 658
24 No Recognized Plan Paul Bentz 36 655
25 Get to the choppa Mark Bromham 31 655
26 Crazylegs XI David Caldicott 33 648
27 Accrington Rudyard Ian Williams 34 638
28 Release The Hounds Paul Mitchell 30 622
29 Jordie’s Giants Jordan Raper 34 510

 

One of the lowest scoring weeks in FPL history (probably), yet one of the most incident packed. And congratulations if you managed to end the weekend without any of your payers injured or suspended.

And the reasons for the low scores. Lots.

Saturday saw three goalless draws, and one other team keep a clean sheet. Clean sheets from some players are like an unexpected bonus most of the time. Most of time you try your best to avoid even having to pick those type of players. This week was one of those weeks. Anyone who had more than one player from a combination of Hull, West Brom, Liverpool, Sunderland, Spurs, Palace or QPR  – well done – it won’t happen again.

I don’t suppose anyone expected Chelsea to lose. We’ve all been drawn in by the possibility of them going through the season without losing a game, and to think that it’d happen against a Newcastle side that were without key players –  well that didn’t seem plausible. Yet it did. Bonus points if you picked any of the Newcastle ball boys. Thank god for Cesc Fabregas, who of the Cheslea regulars came away with an assist and some bonus points. Shame about the booking that rules him out of the next game.

Which leads us on to the sendings off.

Five in total. I may have come off worse out of all of you. It’s not often I straight up reference my own team. I try to  keep the reviews and previews as neutral as possible, but for this week only, I need to spleen vent. I’ve done well to get out with 31 points. Pescara and Uriah’s didn’t even get past the 20 point mark. Both had Calum Chambers who was sent off for Arsenal and ended the week on -2 points. Uriah’s also had to contend with the dismissal of Lukasz Fabianski – who also finished on -2 – and is our weekly donkey. There were three other red cards this week. Paul Konchesky got his marching orders in Leicester’s game against Villa, but no-one seems to have him in their team, so lets not dwell on that. The other two sendings off, as well as Chambers, were in my team. Steven Taylor was sat on the bench, but that doens’t make it any easier for working out what to do next week. Charlie Austin at least managed to get a goal and assist before getting his second yellow. Again, not a complete disaster you might think, but I’m faced with five players out next week. Chambers, Austin, Taylor, Fabregas – and Sergio bloody Aguero.

As is everybody else. Probably. As little as we expected Chelsea to lose at Newcastle, no-one saw the FPL’s player of the moment crumpling into a heap after 7 minutes against Everton on Saturday evening. Those without, or even those that went for an alternative captain choice will be feeling smug. Early reports suggest a month out, which will upset City’s recent upturn in form, and makes the race for the December manager of the month very interesting. Most managers will have to make a change in their forward line for next week. One good thing is that you’re trading in the most expensive player in the game – so the league is your oyster.

Maybe you could trade in for one of the two highest scorers of the week. Back from the dead to win player of the week is Andy Carroll. West Ham are up to fourth. This is the team you go to when you start dropping your Southamton players. Can Carroll stay fit though? He’s been back for five games, played three full 90 minutes, and scored 25 points. You’d have plenty of change if you bought him in place of Aguero. Not so much if you opted for Robin Van Persie. Back from the dead to score his second double figure score in the last three weeks, RVP will still set you back over £12 million. It probably doesn’t seem like it, but he has started every game but the very first one, and has managed six league goals so far. I suppose he just seems a lot more interested in the last few weeks.

Uriah’s dismal score of 18 has allowed PSG to take over at the top. PSG reached 41 points, losing Chambers, Fabregas and Aguero. They were one of only three teams to surpass 40 points. Gaalacticos lost Chambers, Austin, Fabregas and Aguero, but ended on 45 points and finished second. Leading this week’s totals are Shoelace with 49 points. Lucky-ish Shoelace only lost Fabregas and Aguero with Taylor on the bench.

 

Player of the week – Andy Carroll – 16 points. West Ham spoilt for attacking options.

Bargain of the week – Alan McGregor – 15 points. Includes a penalty save and all the bonus marks

Donkey of the week – Lukasz Fabianski – -2 points. Unfortunate – might yet be rescinded.

Goal of the week – Diafra Sakho. West Ham really spoilt for attacking options. 2m40s in.

 

Gameweek 11 preview

08 Nov 12:45 Liverpool v Chelsea
08 Nov 15:00 Burnley v Hull
08 Nov 15:00 Man Utd v Crystal Palace
08 Nov 15:00 Southampton v Leicester
08 Nov 15:00 West Ham v Aston Villa
08 Nov 17:30 QPR v Man City
09 Nov 13:30 Spurs v Stoke
09 Nov 13:30 Sunderland v Everton
09 Nov 13:30 West Brom v Newcastle
09 Nov 16:00 Swansea v Arsenal

 

Southampton entered a run of fixtures three weeks ago that promised so much, and the surprise team of the season so far haven’t disappointed. Their games against Sunderland, Stoke and Hull have yielded ten goals with none conceded, and there’s every chance that they could complete November as strongly as they ended October. Leicester and Villa, their next two fixtures, haven’t won a game in the same time frame. Villa have only scored once, and Leicester haven’t found the back of the net at all. Both going forward and at the back, based on their own form, and the form of the two teams they’re about to come up against, the Saints continue to offer the best chances of points returns and will be crucial to those teams chasing the manager of the month award.

It could all change though. Their December looks tough with City, Arsenal, Everton, United and Chelsea all left to play. A change in tactic might be necessary to get the best out of cheap and mid priced options, with one team in particular, already in good form, entering a phase of winnable fixtures.

West Ham’s stock has been on a steady rise since a narrow loss at United followed by three consecutive victories, which included the scalp of City. Their run of fixtures into December sees them entertain Villa, Newcastle, Swansea and Leicester, around winnable trips to West Brom and Sunderland. There maybe aren’t quite as many front to back options as there are in the Southampton team, but it’s no longer the case, as it has been in every other season for the Hammers, of having one of their players in your squad to make up the numbers. Their two main forwards are in among the goals and the bonuses. Diafra Sakho missed the trip to Stoke last week, but returns to partner Enner Valencia, who after a sluggish start, has registered goal, assist or bonus marks in five of his last seven appearances. Stewart Downing is bettered only by Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez in the midfielder standings. His form as earned him an England recall. Defensively, it’s more of a risk, but in Aaron Cresswell, they have a full back with assist potential. It’s two in the last three for him with a couple of bonuses thrown in.

The first five yellow card suspensions are beginning to take effect. Lee Cattermole, unsurprisingly, will miss this weekend after reaching five bookings in Sunderland’s last match. He wasn’t the first to be suspended however. Callum Chambers had reached that mark two gameweeks ago. The young Arsenal full back is free of any threat of a suspension for the time being and will hope to carry on where left off last week. One booking away from a suspension are, among others, Daryl Janmaat, Winston Reid, Jack Wilshere, Steven Naismith, and perhaps most notably, Cesc Fabregas.

Gameweek 8 results

1 Uriah Rennie 2nd XI Neil Greenwood 84 477
2 Sportingabiggerwig Alex Ritchie 60 434
3 NaboombuDirtyYellows Andrew Swift 52 432
4 * Your Ad Here * Matthew Hopkins 65 432
5 Upper Bullens Andy Taylor 61 420
6 Panza Grande XI Stuart Baker 56 418
7 Bermie Utd Glen Davies 45 410
8 Gaalatcticos Colin Goulding 47 409
9 RayCrawfordsCrackers Rob Hewer 72 408
10 Rip Roaring Reds Sean Whyton 70 405
11 Ciderheads Darren Pope 72 402
12 Hedgehog Corpse FC Nick Smith 65 397
13 Paris Spinks Germain David Spinks 63 395
14 Pretty Schitty City Alex Michaluk 58 390
15 Pescara Rangers Stewart Pope 85 388
16 Neil Madrid Neil Strong 75 383
17 Crazylegs XI David Caldicott 52 368
18 Shoelace Untied Caroline Strong 68 366
19 Biscuitmen Chris Morton 31 357
20 Get to the choppa Mark Bromham 47 349
21 The Mindless Morons John Seacroft 73 348
22 No Recognized Plan Paul Bentz 49 346
23 Luxembourg United Simon Smallbone 63 345
24 Release The Hounds Paul Mitchell 54 344
25 Van Damme United P Hawkins 36 341
26 Who R U DEAN CRIPPS 55 339
27 Real Jorvik FC Simon Brown 37 331
28 Accrington Rudyard Ian Williams 54 330
29 Jordie’s Giants Jordan Raper 15 276

 

Twice champs Pescara win their first manager of the week award for over a season with 85 points. Uriah’s finished on a point less than Pescara this week with 84 points and are in pole position in the race for the October award. It will be their second consecutive manager of the month. Here’s how it stands…

1 Uriah Rennie 2nd XI Neil Greenwood 84 143
2 Pescara Rangers Stewart Pope 85 135
3 Shoelace Untied Caroline Strong 68 132
4 Sportingabiggerwig Alex Ritchie 60 130
5 Ciderheads Darren Pope 72 129

 

Both teams, and many others benefitted from Southampton’s incredible 8-0 hammering of Sunderland. Most of the 60 plus scores can be attributed to a combo of Southampton players, with Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Nathaniel Clyne, Ryan Bertrand and Morgan Schneiderlin contributing healthy totals to the top two. In fact, only Shane Long of the Saints starting XI failed to score anything other than their basic appearance points.

It takes some performance to grab the player of the week award from a another scoring four goals in one game. Sergio Aguero’s single handed blitzing of Spurs wasn’t enough to earn him the accolade ahead of Tadic, who assisted four and scored one in the 8-0er.

Aguero’s performance was a reminder of how valuable a fantasy player he can be. That’s his sixth consecutive start and his fourth full 90 minutes. Is that enough to convince that those niggling injuries are behind him? And because of that, is it now worth considering swapping Diego Costa for him? Costa sat out this weekend and these continuing rumours about his long term fitness are a worry. If you were a manager and you had the choice of buying one of them, who would you opt for? Aguero every time isn’t it?

Liverpool continue to be a bit of an FPL enigma so far this season. Daniel Sturridge is much further away from a return than was reported before the weekend’s games, and they need him back quickly, because Mario Balotelli offers absolutely nothing. And he’s holding back the Liverpool players you want in your team. The fact they won the game with two own goals from QPR this weekend says it all. It’s unusual to win a game scoring three goals and for your top performing player to only pick up 7 points.

It’s been another weekend in which it’s become evidently clear you cannot rely on any defenders, no matter who they play for. There were nine defenders and one keeper on minus scores at the end of this week. Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, United and City just don’t keep clean sheets regularly enough. Last season’s best value keeper, Vito Mannone, was at fault for at least all eight of Southampton’s goals. I feel for anyone with any of the Sunderland defence, particularly Santiago Vergini, who scored a cracking own goal to set Southampton on their way. Richard Dunne has scored more Premier League own goals than any other player – a tally he added to at the weekend. And despite conceding more goals than anyone else other than QPR, Everton have three defenders sat in the top ten. How is this possible? Defenders – they just can’t be trusted.

 

Player of the week – Dusan Tadic – 23 points. £7.5 million before the weekend – could be up towards the £8 million mark by the next set of fictures.

Bargain of the week – Diafra Sakho – 12 points. Finally gets a place on the roll of honour. Four goals in four games.

Donkey of the week – Santiago Vergini – -4 points. The joint lowest ever weekly total. Well done son.

Goal of the week – Marouane Fellaini. Seriously.