So, this was the first week of the new world! Or at least the FPL world… The Christmas fixtures, with the associated injuries and rotations, were thankfully a thing of the past. Then the Wildcard came along like a knight in shining armour to save our seasons, until of course the latest flavour of the month players fizzle out and we wish we had another one to use! To some however the Wildcard is just an unnecessary distraction that has just served to inflate the prices of all the “template” team players. Maybe that’s just me… It was also the week all the big clubs flexed their muscles with all the top clubs posting wins and clean sheets (except Liverpool of course). We’ve still got one very fantasy relevant game tonight with Arsenal winning 3-0 at Villa, but I’m not going to jinx that by holding off the Dream Team for it!
Adrian (4.3m) – West Ham’s defence has looked great at times this season, but during the last month or so it’s been a tough battle for them to even be able to field one never mind get a clean sheet from it. They took the trip over to Cardiff not only posting a well needed win but a well overdue clean sheet. They have Newcastle and Chelsea in coming games which makes me think this was a one off and may not happen again in a while. Buyer beware. Adrian had a great game with 10 points from a heap of saves and a couple of BPs.
Cole (6.0m) – I’ve been banging on about Ashley Cole for a few weeks now, I hope someone has listened because you’d be 12 points better off this week if you did (not to mention he’s averaged over 9 points a game during the past 4). Chelsea’s defence is looking great at the minute, especially with David Luiz playing in midfield. Regular followers of FPL Addicts will know that I despise Luiz (purely from a footballing sense, outside of football he looks like he enjoys a party which is alright with me). Whenever he plays in the back four for Chelsea they look leakier than a smugglers boat and they should be avoided. Thankfully Jose has finally seen sense and installed Cahill in defence full time (for now) which is good news for us. What isn’t particularly good news is that Chelsea have Man Utd at home and Man City away in the next few weeks, but they have shown in the past that they can do well in these big games. Some good results in these games may well see them installed favourites to take out the big prize soon… Cole picked up the clean sheet points as well as an assist and full BPs. While Ivanovic is out injured Cole’s spot in the team will be locked so is well worth the investment despite the tough run of games.
Baines (7.4m) – Everton put in a defensively professional performance on the weekend closing out Norwich, but not without some scares. Martinez made the surprising decision to play Jagielka and Stones in the heart of defence. I say surprising because most of us thought Distin was closer to full fitness than Jags, and that Alcaraz may have had the edge over Stones. If the Jags/Stones partnership does stay together for any period of time then Stones at 4.2m is sensational value. A late switch to a 3-4-3 type formation did open up the game a little more than one would have preferred if you were relying on a clean sheet, but Everton did enough to keep the Canaries at bay. I’m not sure how many of us would have kept faith in Baines but for those that have him, he scored you 12 points from the clean sheet, an assist and full BPs. Probably not great value at 7.4m if I’m honest.
Kolarov (5.3m) – He’s played 2 full games in a row now for a total of 21 points, but the fear of rotation has most of us a little scared of taking the plunge. This week he scored 12 points from Man City’s clean sheet, plus an assist and full BPs. I can’t legitimately put him up as a potential option to you all due to the potential lack of continuity in game time but he could be a gutsy POD.
Chriches (5.1m) – Spurs are going to be a tough team to gauge for the second half of the season. Their new gaffer has definitely installed a more attacking mindset into this group but whether he decides to reign it back a little at some stage is going to be interesting. They’ve managed to keep 2 cleanies during this time but they have both been at home, one against Stoke and this one against Palace. They’re teams you expect to be able to stop. Vlad scored 9 points from the clean sheet and full BPs. Their run of games have some potential clean sheets amongst them, but probably not.
Johnson (6.4m) – There was a time 3 or 4 years ago that Adam Johnson was THE next big thing. He was at Man City just as Man City was becoming the Man City we know now and he had a fantastic opportunity to get onboard the train from the beginning. For whatever reason he didn’t go on with it and now finds himself firmly in the middle of a relegation scrap with Sunderland. That’s a monumental fall from grace… He is very, very capable of performances like this on a regular basis but there are several issues. Firstly, it was against Fulham. Secondly, he needs to actually be assured a regular start! Thirdly, one game does not make an FPL star… Fourthly… Ok there’s no fourthly but if there was, it would be here. Johnson scored a massive 22 points from a hat trick, an assist and full BPs. Don’t spend 6.4m on Adam Johnson after one game. And no, he doesn’t get the Jonjo this week, he’s too expensive!
Ki (4.8m) – Here’s your Jonjo Shelvey award winner! Ki was another who feasted on the Fulham buffet to the tune of 12 points scoring a goal, an assist and a couple BPs along the way. If he does this again however his Jonjo Award eligibility goes out the window and he might even become an option as a M5?
Noble (5.2m) – A very close runner up for the Jonjo. Noble posted 11 points from a goal and full BPs. He’s not going to rush in doing this again any time soon, so neither should you when considering to buy him or not.
Barry (5.3m) – Cracking goal from Gary Barry against Norwich helped him up to 10 points along with a couple BPs. He’s another that probably won’t do this regularly enough to warrant consideration. He is looking to get into more attacking areas than previously however, whether that’s at the instruction of the gaffer or a growing confidence in the team around him is hard to judge. Not relevant at the moment.
Lallana (7.4m) – If Lallana could sort out his lack of consistency he could be one of the best midfielders in the EPL. His highs are still a little too infrequent for my liking but I guess you get what you pay for. Is still the best option for a midpriced midfielder in my opinion. 10 points from a goal and a couple of BPs.
Suarez (13.4m) – Standard. Some people throw around the phrase “flat track bully” like it’s a bad thing, at least you know what you’re going to get. Suarez beat up Stoke last night scoring another couple of goals, and getting full BPs on his way to 13 points, or 26 points due to perma-captaincy (?).
Outside of the top 11, there were some very relevant performances than need to be acknowledged. Gerrard and Sturridge both successfully came back from injury with 9 pointers. Welbeck kept his solid recent form up with another goal and 9 points. Eriksen and Hazard also kept up their recent form with a 9 and 8 respectively. There’s some to seriously consider.
The question I need to ask for those who did… Was it worth it handing in your Wildcard so quickly? Has anyone done the math on what their pre-WC team would have scored this Gameweek? As someone who did not use their Wildcard I’m really happy with the decision and happy that I have some freedom come the end of the current transfer window to potentially jump on any “Ozil” type transfers, if are occur.