Hello! Congratulations, you’ve seen off another International break. The Premier League returns this week, and with it comes the continuous headache that is FPL selection. Oh how I’ve missed you. If you missed my update last week, I gave you some ideas to think about ahead of the final sprint which we are now entering. To stay with the status quo of these posts, I am at pains to point out that my score of 62 comfortably beat the average of 47, but now I’m in the loftier heights, that wasn’t enough to secure a green arrow. I have slipped to 146k. If you don’t want to listen to me, I understand. I’ll continue anyway.
Maybe I’m just a pedant, but I don’t like this week of fixtures. There are too many problems. From the usual big hitters, Man Utd host WBA but are without Zlatan, and I just don’t know who I’d hang my hat on. Harry Kane-less Spurs travel to Burnley, with the Clarets quite useful at home and Spurs noticeably less fluid without him, so whilst I’d like Dele Alli I’m not sure that’s the way to go. Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside Derby, and yes it’s a perhaps not the derby it once was, but Everton are on good form and in Liverpool’s last home game they struggled to see off Burnley. Arsenal and Man City clash in this weekend’s “glamour” fixture, which takes them both out of my thinking. Which leaves champions elect Chelsea, who host Crystal Palace. It’s the only clear cut fixture for the top 7, but will Eden Hazard recover in time? He missed Belgium’s game last week, so who knows. Diego Costa should be ok though, and that’s my decision made.
If you want to look further afield for inspiration, maybe you can be tempted by Gylfi Sigurdsson’s Swansea at home to Middlesbrough or a resurgent Leicester at home to Stoke? I’m sure Jamie Vardy might well have a party if Shawcross is still treading water.
Watford haven’t been a great side this season but they’ve played in fits and starts to get themselves mid-table. They have back to back home games against Sunderland and WBA, so maybe Troy Deeney will boost your fortunes for a few weeks. Prodl is extremely reasonably priced at the back or you could back Capoue to rediscover his early season form.
Southampton also have back to back home game, facing Bournemouth this week and then Crystal Palace. Manolo Gabbiadini is ruled out of Saturday though, and with no Charlie Austin yet, the goalscoring burden falls to Shane Long (£6.1m). England’s latest International Nathan Redmond is also a bargain at £5.8m, though he’s maybe not as prolific as the more pricey Tadic (£7.0m).
If I reach right down to the bottom of the bargain bin, you’ll find Hull City. They too have back to back home games, against West Ham and the mother of all 6 pointers against Middlesbrough. After the initial manager bounce, I’m losing hope for Hull, but if you are tipping them to stay up I guess these two games are as good an indicator as any.
I don’t want to repeat myself from last week too much, but do bear in mind you have 10 weeks to use any remaining chips and you can’t use two in the same week. The double gameweeks are coming, so keep an eye out for that.
For this week though, it’s been Internationals so pay extra attention to the team news for players coming back with knocks or jet lag. There’s also midweek games, but you can’t really do much about that right now.
I’m nailing my colours to the Diego Costa mast, due to Chelsea’s favourable home fixture with Crystal Palace. Palace are yet to concede since Sakho got in the team, but surely that will end here, with or without Hazard? Incidentally if Hazard is declared fit then he’s obviously an option, but I write this on a Thursday and I’m not psychic (that much is very apparent). Dele Alli’s hot streak and the fact he is on penalties means he is a decent option if you fancy Spurs away to Burnley, or you can give Son another chance from midfield as he looks set to play up front again – poor old Vincent Janssen has a chest infection. I tip Siggy every week it seems, Swansea may well beat a Steve Agnew led Middlesbrough, but I’m going to offer you Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) as my outside bet for captaincy. He’s in great form and they have two winnable home games coming up, so take a chance, grab a WKD and sit back and wait to be disappointed.
That’s it from me, I will however be back on Monday with a preview of the midweek action. Try to contain your excitement. Good luck, and may all your arrows be green!