Fantasy Football

Welcome. Such is the scheduling, this column arrives on your interwebs less than 24 hours after the previous game week has eventually come to a close. The game has barely finished updating but my score of 50 narrowly beat the average of 49 which meant my ranking moved down to 187,347th. What a time to be alive. With so little time to prepare for week 29, that probably can’t hinder my performance.

The Dilemma

The main issue this week is who do you think will take a bigger beating – Huddersfield or Newcastle? Huddersfield have the dubious honour of going first, their Saturday 3pm kick off is a trip to Wembley to face Tottenham. Spurs gave Huddersfield a bit of a lesson earlier in the season and Harry Kane helped himself to a brace that day, but will he do it again? Spurs rarely hand out a thrashing at Wembley which remains a constant annoyance. Meanwhile this year’s must have accessory Mo Salah is in action at 5.30pm as Newcastle visit Anfield. Newcastle are proving difficult to beat this year but are still not winning many games, but you’d have to be a fool to back against Liverpool and their rampant attack here. There’s an argument for always captain Salah and it’s hard to see past another good day for the Egyptian here. Roberto Firmino is in tremendous form too, which we’ll discuss shortly, but there’s also a case to bring in a Liverpool defender such as Andy Robertson, who at just 4.7m is a cheap way into a defence that has actually been very good at Anfield despite the criticism.

Arsenal, who are very much in danger of not being considered for the dilemma portion of this column going forwards, are off to Brighton. Oh, Arsenal. What have you become? Obviously you’d expect them to win but would you really be surprised if they didn’t? I don’t know who is even their best FPL asset these days. Aaron Ramsey remains a good mid-priced midfield option but is he fit? Is he ever fit for more than 3 games? Even Monreal is injured for a few weeks now. Nevermind that, because straight after it’s Man City vs Chelsea. We’re back in the red zone for Pep’s rotation with Jesus available again and Aguero having played most games over the past 2 months, plus the status of Raheem Sterling remains to be seen. Personally I am sticking with both Aguero and Sterling for now – Sterling because everybody has him and he’ll be back soon enough, Aguero for a week or two more until Jesus is back up to speed. Chelsea are more or less back to a clean bill of health, with Morata looking back to full fitness, but this is not the week to load up on Chelsea players. A home game with Palace next week is more appetising but with a blank in the dreaded week 31, you might be better off waiting.

We have a Monday night football this week and that’s where you’ll find Man Utd. They’re off to Selhurst Park to play what is left of Roy Hodgson’s team. Jesse Lingard came off the bench last week to provide some belated cheer whilst Romelu Lukaku showed some of his early season form. It’s the defence where Man Utd have proven very consistent this season though and Palace’s attacking woes without Zaha (who is still a few weeks away from a return) have been well documented.

Bargain Bin

My clawing through the bargain bin this week focuses on trying to find a palyer for now but also week 31. It’s confirmed now that we’ll just have the four fixtures, with Spurs and Newcastle falling by the wayside. Liverpool of course have the strongest pair of fixtures, but finding a bargain amongst their ranks is not easy. The aforementioned Robertson is a cheap way into the defence and he seems unlikely to be usurped by Alberto Moreno anytime soon, but Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Armstrong are in a proper battle for the right back spot. Emre Can (4.9m) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5.6m) offer cheap entries into midfield but the Ox inparticular is a rotational hazard. Stoke on the other hand have a trip to fellow strugglers Southampton this week but a home game with Everton in week 31. New right back Moritz Bauer is priced at just £4.5m whilst in midfield Joe Allen is £5.1m – Shaqiri is £6.2m if you can still count that as a bargain.

Also Consider…

Hey look, it’s snowing! It’s all we’ve talked about for a week and let’s just hope it doesn’t claim any Premier League fixtures this weekend. Keep an eye on the news on Friday in case any games do go the distance and you’re forced into a hasty re-think.


I really summed this up in my earlier dilemma, but it’s Salah or Kane for me this week. I’m leaning towards Salah at present against my own Newcastle United but it’s probably a toss up between the two. If you want a differential pick, Jordan Ayew of Swansea against West Ham seems like a good avenue for points, or you could go with the form of Lukaku against a severely weakened Crystal Palace.

Looking at my team I have a major issue that most of my midfield isn’t first choice. Salah has no support, basically. Sterling might recover and I’m hoping Lingard’s goal against Chelsea is enough to earn him a recall, but Nathan Dyer was hooked after just half an hour last weekend. He did score in the FA Cup game in midweek though which might put him back in favour, though he is under pressure from Andre Ayew. Christian Atsu has lost his regular place in Newcastle’s team and I can’t see him ousting Kenedy anytime soon, so he is the obvious man for the chop this week. For who though?

De Gea, Mee, Van Dijk, Ogbonna, Salah, Sterling, Lingard, Dyer, Vardy, Aguero, Kane. Subs: Elliot, Atsu, Wimmer, Dummett

Ideally I can replace Atsu with somebody else and start them ahead of Dyer. Wimmer also needs replacing as presumably Paul Lambert hates his guts and won’t let him anywhere near his defence no matter how many they concede. I’m torn between the wonderful options of Ryan Fraser, Rajiv Van La Parra, Joe Allen or Chris Brunt. Send help.

That’s it from me this week, I’ve given myself a lot to think about. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green. Toodles!