Afternoon, welcome to another article where I confuse both you and me by assessing the fantasy football options ahead of another weekend of Premier League action. The dust has barely settled on the midweek round of FPL and my score of 51 barely beat the average of 47. It meant a small drop to 183,926th, a very average week not being particularly punished. The main talking point was of course Chelsea’s total blank at home to Bournemouth, a blow to hopes at both ends of the pitch. Of course my transfer of Christensen for Vertonghen not only meant a net loss of 6 points, but the Dane came off injured and won’t play this weekend. A double whammy. More on me later though, let’s see what we’re dealing with.
The most eye-catching of the fixtures comes on Sunday at 4.30pm, where Liverpool host Tottenham. It’s a huge top 4 battle but it also sees a lot of high ownership players go up against each other. Obviously Salah for Liverpool but also Firmino – both netted against Huddersfield on Tuesday. Spurs of course will be looking to Harry Kane, as will his 45% ownership. You wouldn’t expect a clean sheet for Spurs, not many do at Anfield though Man Utd showed it can be done by just killing the game. That’s not really Spurs’ style though and I expect a fairly open game. In summary, keep your attacking assets from these guys and just hope they let rip at each other. I will be.
The Man City train pulls into the Burnley station to start the weekend and the news that Gabriel Jesus could be out for another month will serve to please Aguero owners. Burnley’s own train has hit the buffers a bit but they’re still a solid outfit and it’ll be a tough game, but as ever Man City will win. They always do. Forget the few occasions they haven’t as that doesn’t fit my narrative. With Sane also out that hopefully secures Sterling’s position from rotation for the foreseeable future too, but you never know when Pep is going to utilise his Bernardo Silva card. Hopefully no time soon. A lot of FPL players have Burnley defenders and their run after this isn’t terrible, so maybe just bench them this week. Or play them, you never know they might get on the end of a set piece or something.
Man Utd host Huddersfield at 3pm and this is a really enticing game for anybody who has Man Utd players. Sanchez is still very pricey but Huddersfield have been awful recently and I would be amazed if this wasn’t a home win, so if not Sanchez then Pogba could be a decent bet. Lingard had been the budget pick but his place in the team seems certain to come under threat, especially after the midweek defeat, so keep an eye on that one. Arsenal welcome Everton at 5.30pm, where no doubt we’ll be asked if Theo Walcott can sting his old club. Well, probably. He is a footballer who plays in an attacking position which against Arsenal is like a lottery win. Arsenal have of course re-shaped their attack, adding Aubameyang who joins the FPL game at £10.5m as a forward. I’m not sure if he’ll be deployed with or instead of Lacazette so it’s probably worth seeing how Arsenal line-up this weekend before making any rash decisions. You would expect Arsenal to win though, especially if Everton perform as poorly as they did at Tottenham a few weeks ago.
Owners of Chelsea players will have to wait until Monday to see their lads in action, as the Blues are off to Watford. The Hornets showed some rare resilience in their 0-0 draw at Stoke, so maybe Javi Gracia has brought a new defensive stability to Vicarage Road. Or maybe they were just playing Stoke. Chelsea of course were stunned at home to Bournemouth and will need to bounce back here, which they probably will, but keep an eye on the team news for this one. Morata or Giroud being fit to start will help no end, as Hazard can’t do it on his own every week.
Bournemouth come onto the radar after that impressive win and they look well placed to follow that up at home to Stoke. Paul Lambert has steadied Stoke but Bournemouth’s attack is very good when they are on their game, with Callum Wilson a particular snip at £5.8m. The budget striker we’ve been craving? Junior Stanislas was also impressive from midfield, though as £5.9m he is not particularly cheap for his position. Brighton are another team to keep an eye on, a good point away at Southampton can now be built on with a home game against West Ham, which is followed up by a trip to Stoke and a home game with Swansea in a pivotal few weeks for the Seagulls. Glenn Murray seems to have the striker shirt at the moment, and priced at £5.7m he is a reasonable option until new arrival Locadia (£6m) is available. Pascal Gross remains a fine midfield option, priced at £5.8m
Now that January is out of the way, if you still have your wildcard it is maybe time to think about how to use it. I would hold off for this weekend just to see how things settle down in terms of who fits in where, but obviously the sooner the better if you want to have the best side possible for the remainder of the season. There’s also a huge chance that week 31 will feature only a handful of games due to the FA Cup, with only 2 games guaranteed for that week as it stands. We’ll cover that in more detail next week after the FA Cup replays will make the picture more clear. The deadline this week is 11.30am on Saturday
Man Utd have the nicest looknig fixture of the weekend, with Sanchez or Lukaku the obvious captain picks if you have them. Lukaku’s form has been patchy for a while now and Sanchez is finding his feet in a new team, but either way, you’d expect them to do well here. Aguero is always an option, but away to Burnley in the early kick off violates my “never captain in the early kick off” policy. It’s a policy that often stings me though, so don’t take too much notice. Callum Wilson is a good pick as an outsider, he’s in form and Bournemouth will fancy getting a result against Stoke.
As mentioned I made a bad choice getting rid of of Vertonghen a week too early, but such is life. I need to find a replacement for Christensen, but my team has so many holes it might be a lean week
De Gea, Christensen*, Dummett, Ogbonna, Salah, Sterling, Atsu, Lingard, Aguero, Kane, Vardy. Subs: Mee, Wimmer, T Carroll, Elliot.
Atsu’s place in the team looks under threat due to Kenedy looking pretty decent but also he himself playing terribly on Wednesday. Christensen seems unlikely to be fit for Monday and I don’t know how long Lingard will keep out Mata as he did on Wednesday. Much to ponder, and not much time to ponder it. I’m thinking of captaining Vardy, though Swansea have been decent recently and Mahrez is having an attack of the sulkies which may stunt his usefulness.
That’s all my ramblings for one week. I’m off to think about how to be better but whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck and may all your arrows be green. Toodles!