Fantasy Football

Not even mystic Meg could have predicted the slim pickings Game Week we have just endured, where the average score was a measly 35. I picked up an even less handsome total of 31, so my ranking has dropped outside 340,000. Why would you listen to me? Let me try and change your mind as we preview Game Week 24.

The Dilemma
With Arsenal visiting Chelsea, it’s time for me to ship out Giroud. It’s a fixture that has traditionally been good news for the Blues and it’s hard to see that changing with Wenger still banned from the touchline. I’m very tempted by Harry Kane (11.2) but I’d have to take a hit to afford him. Diego Costa (10.4) is a more cost effective option, or you could take a punt on Gabriel Jesus (9.0) but good luck predicting the Pep rotation policy. However with Swansea visiting Man City, it seems like a good idea to have some coverage there.

The Big Guns
Away from Chelsea and Arsenal locking horns, there’s some points to be had for the other big hitters. Tottenham hosting Middlesbrough looks like a home banker, likewise Man City vs Swansea. With Spurs having 3 home games in the next 4, it could be a good time to invest in Eriksen or Alli (both 8.8), whilst Man City have the most pricey de Bruyne (10.5) or the more reasonably priced Sterling (7.7). Faltering Liverpool are at improving Hull, so I’d say if you have Liverpool players, keep hold of them but there’ll be better options for a purchase this week.

Bargain Bin
I’ve been singing the merits of Maya Yoshida at the heart of Southampton’s defence but with Van Dijk ruled out for the next few months, his appeal is lessened. It does however beg the question of whether he and Dale Stephens (or Ryan Bertrand, as has been mooted) can handle the physical presence of Andy Carroll (6.2). My money would be on no. Elsewhere, have Palace turned a corner? If so, new arrival Mamadou Sakho (4.7) or the recently returned Wilfried Zaha (5.5) could be the metaphorical pint of wine for Big Sam.

New Additions
A fairly quiet deadline day but it has resulted in an influx of new players to the FPL game. Robbie Brady (5.5) is a decent option when Burnley are at home due to his set piece prowess but Manolo Gabbiadini (6.5) is probably not worth a punt, given this team may have cup final syndrome not to mention a blank week incoming.

Also consider…
The FA Cup 5th round draw looks quite good for fans of David vs Goliath battles. But it has a knock on effect for FPL. The quarter finals are scheduled for week 28, with the likelihood of all 10 fixtures going ahead very minimal. Only 3 games are guaranteed to go ahead (Bournemouth/West Ham, Everton/West Brom and Hull/Swansea) with the other 7 in the balance depending on the Premier League side getting through. So unless you fancy Sutton to beat Arsenal, the Gunners will have another blank in Week 28 to go with their Week 26 blank, for example. It does mean Arsenal and indeed other teams will have a couple of double game weeks (possibly more if they reach the semi-finals too) later in the season, so do you save your wild card to maximise such weeks? I’m going for a lie down.

If I was spoiled for choice in midweek, this is the opposite of that. At the moment I’m hovering over Eriksen (home to Middlesbrough) as I don’t have Kane or any Man City players. Somebody we haven’t mentioned is Romelu Lukaku (9.6), who has an enticing fixture at home to Bournemouth. Everton have a reasonable next three games so it could be an option.

It’s shaping up to be another difficult week, I’m getting worse at predicting this game. I’m hovering over the wildcard for this week, but with those blank weeks on the horizon it seems like an extra burden to plan around that. Good luck, and may all your arrows be green.