Welcome back to fantasy football land, where there have been two game weeks since we last spoke and my situation has not improved. It’s not for lack of trying, firstly my score of 82 smashed the average of 60 in week 19 and that was followed up in week 20 with a score of 76, well ahead of the average of 62. So why has my ranking taking such a hit? I’ve now slipped to 158,495th and that is pretty disgusting. The reasons are fairly clear – the players who are highly owned, such as Kane, Salah and Sterling are scoring high every week, and it essentially becomes a battle of the lesser owned. This is where I am failing, as the pricey Hazard and De Gea have not returned well over these two weeks and the budget options such as Kabasele may as well not bother. More on my failings later. It’s another double-week preview for you as there are also games on New Years Day, which is ludicrous really. So, all aboard the Kane train? Well, no, actually…
I’ll continue with my “two week preview” format of lising the big teams and why I hate them.
Tottenham – A huge problem this week as Tottenham don’t play in Week 21 but play twice in Week 22. That leaves Kane burning a £13m hole in your week 21 team, which is an awful lot of budget to not have at your disposal. This is where FPL makes it difficult – you only get half of the price increase on a player, so for example I could sell Kane for £12.8m with a view to buying him back, but he’s currently priced at £12.9m. He’s also one of the most transferred in players for week 21 so far, meaning there’s a real risk his price will rise again. Now that’s a dilemma. Free hit? Maybe we should what everyone else is up to. Week 22 will see Tottenham play twice, so you must own him for that along with probably at least one other Spurs player. They will be away to bottom club Swansea, who have a new manager but will still presumably be rubbish, then at home to West Ham. That’s a good double week, but it doesn’t help you in week 21.
Man City – Pep’s men continue to be the best team ever, statistically or otherwise, and they are off to Crystal Palace where you’d expect more of the same. David Silva remains a doubt having flown back to his home country ahead of the Newcastle game on Wednesday but with an embarassment of riches available, his absence may not be felt too heavily if indeed he does not return. Week 22 sees a home game with Watford, another favourable fixture but with such a small gap between fixtures you can expect Pep to rest a few. Don’t ask me when or where or in what order, but I’d guess very few of his players will play the full 180 minutes.
Man Utd – Jose didn’t have a very happy Christmas, but his side have a great chance to get back to winning ways at home to beleaguered Southampton. The Saints looked totally hopeless in losing to Tottenham, so this might be a good time to bring in some Man Utd attacking players. Lukaku remains out of sorts, but Jesse Lingard has emerged as a really decent option at just £6.1m. He’s actually the highest scoring of all of Man Utd’s midfielders. Week 22 is a trip to Big Sam’s Everton, which is a tricky fixture but all we’ve seen from Everton under Sam is against the big sides, they will defend in huge numbers.
Liverpool – Klopp has secured the services of Virgin Van Dijk but he won’t be eligible until the new year. They host Leicester in week 21, and whilst we are all scarred by the rotation of a few weeks ago, Mo Salah was withdrawn 20 minutes early on Boxing Day so he should be a lock for this one. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have arguably caught the eye more in recent weeks, and I expect they’ll secure another big win against a Leicester side who will probably score but are not brilliant defensively. Week 22 is a trip to Burnley, which is far from an easy fixture but Tottenham showed the way to break them down so we shall see.
Chelsea – It’s annoying owning Chelsea players, it seems Hazard gets man of the match every week but doesn’t score or assist whilst Morata is in and out of matches (and the team). On the plus side, Morata should have had his rest and netted a hat trick away at Stoke earlier in the season, and you can add the absence of Ryan Shawcross and Kurt Zouma to the “reasons to be positive” column. However, week 22 sees a big clash between Arsenal and Chelsea. It was 0-0 in September, but will they cancel each other out again? It’s not a nice FPL fixture.
Arsenal – The last place Wenger would want to go for Christmas is West Brom, but that’s where Arsenal have to travel at 4.30pm on Sunday. It seems a bit stupid to make Arsenal travel to the Midlands that late on New Year’s Eve, when the other TV game is at 12pm, but what do I know? Anyway, hopefully Wenger chins Pardew and then it will be a happy new year, before they move on to face Chelsea in week 22. I’m not enthused by many Arsenal players from an FPL point of view, I’ve even had to sell Monreal.
Carlos Carvalhal is the new Swansea manager, but if you’re expecting a honeymoon period, Swansea’s upcoming fixtures do not make good reading. As mentioned earlier, West Ham do not play in week 21 but have two games in week 22, which might be useful as they are up against WBA first before their trip to Wembley. Elsewhere, Newcastle and Huddersfield have reasonable fixtures but both teams lack FPL firepower and with rotation bound to be a factor, I wouldn’t rush to make any sweeping changes.
If you’ve somehow not used your wildcard yet, you have until 2pm on Saturday to do so, or else it is gone FOREVER. You get another one in January, so it’s not a big deal. Otherwise though, keep an eye on the rotation but there is very little you can do about it. Week 21 deadline is 2pm on Saturday 30th December whilst the week 22 deadline is 11.30am on Monday 1st January. In other words, if you are going out for new year’s eve, make your transfers first!
For week 21, I’d probably look at Salah (or any of the Liverpool contingent) or Morata. Stoke seem likely to field Wimmer and Geoff Cameron as centre halves so that might offer Morata owners some extra encouragement that lightning will strike twice.
Week 22 is our first double game week of the season and that means captain Kane. It’s even a chance to use the triple captain chip, it’s a reasonable double fixture and there’s no guarantee of a repeat later in the season. One to think about.
I wasted 4 points on Boxing Day by bringing in Christensen for Monreal, only for the Dane to be struck down with illness. Monreal seems likely to be out for a few weeks though so I don’t regret it particularly as it’s a transfer I would have done eventually – as long as he has sufficiently recovered for Saturday’s match. Here’s my current line-up:
De Gea, Christensen, Mee, Kabasele, Kenny, Sterling, Salah, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard, Morata, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Elliot, McArthur, Cedric, Kane
I’d like to upgrade Calvert-Lewin but with just £0.1 in the bank, my options are very limited. Joselu? No. Time to log off. If I bank the transfer I can use two transfers to fill up with some Spurs and West Ham players ahead of their double week.
It’s crazy that we’ll see two game weeks start less than 48 hours apart but that’s what the powers that be have decided. Whatever you do, good luck and may all your arrows be green. All the best