Next weekend will be the last gameweek before panic sets in. With 4 GW’s on the horizon over the next 2 weeks, you need to keep an eye on possible rotation and long term trade plans. It should also be noted you only have until GW20 to use your first wildcard! Then it’s back on the agenda for the rest of us. Let’s take a look at the big performers and failures of GW16…
On the Rise
Butland – Incredibly Stoke just keep getting it done at the back. For the majority of the game against West Ham they were second best, however it was that man Butland who rescued them a point. He is consistently hurting everyone who doesn’t own him (Including me), however I’m holding strong. Pulis and Myhill have let me down recently, but West Brom’s fixtures are taking a turn for the better. There’s also no way Stoke can keep this clean sheet ratio going, it’s ridiculous! Either way we nailed the cheap keepers tactic! While Stoke continue to produce consistent shutouts, Wollscheid is a great budget defensive option.
Nyom – Watford’s defence has been rock solid all season, and those of you who have played moneyball will know that Nyom is constantly clocking up crosses. He powers up and down Watford’s right hand side and his assist last weekend was no fluke. Great budget option.
Baines – Finally! Baines has forever been a premium defender, however he has never been priced as low as 6.1 before. Just look at his history to understand why. He has managed 22 goals and 43 assists in the past 6 season… He’s a defender!
Baines used to be on penalties, which absolutely astounds me. He has the best penalty scoring record in the PL, currently standing at 15 out of 16 (I did happen to own him for his first miss). After that miss, Kevin bloody Mirallas stepped up to the spot. Lukaku could also be an option, but really Baines should be Everton’s number 1 spot kick taker.
Regardless, he’s on almost all of Everton’s corners and he’s a direct and indirect free kick specialist. Baines will score and will assist. Whether he will keep clean sheets is another matter, however he has to be considered! Hopefully Everton can produce enough clean sheets to make Baines the competitions top defender once again.
Ramsey – Not a bad shout last week eh? Ramsey loves his desired box-to-box midfield role and backed up last weeks 13 point haul with another goal and 3 bonus points. He’s a prolific scorer when in this vein of form and could be a great piece of business over the festive period. With Cazorla out long term Ramsey should make this position his own for the next few months, I’m getting on board!
Arnautovic – No he didn’t score again, but I loved Arnautovic’s role. Silly me, I didn’t realize he was playing up front! He did manage to hit the post with a fantastic free kick and looks to be a shrewd investment at 6.1. Definitely consider.
Henderson – Henderson was often discussed as an option during pre-season, however an injury setback delayed his campaign. He’s back now and announced himself with a goal and assist upon return. Considering that he got an assist in the game he was injured, he could be a decent option at the discounted price of 6.5. He won’t compete with Mahrez, but those requiring a budget midfielder have another alternative to consider.
Lukaku/Vardy/Ighalo – Every week without fail, these guys keep getting it done. Sturridge and Aguero can’t get themselves fit and Costa looks a shadow of his former self. Lukaku, Vardy and Ighalo are not only scoring every week, they’re constantly looking a threat.
Lukaku is a must have in my opinion, Everton look deadly on the counter and Lukaku is in unstoppable form. If his finishing was on last weekend he could’ve easily had a hat-trick. He’s ready to go to the next level. Vardy is also a lock. He has scored attacking returns in 14 consecutive fixtures (Another PL record) and Leicester are the real deal.
This leaves most of us 1 striker spot remaining. If you want to chase Aguero, I feel as though it needs to be in place of Ighalo. Leicester and Everton are capable of scoring against every team in the competition. Watford are playing some great stuff but I’m concerned about their upcoming festive fixtures, Ighalo won’t get nearly as much joy on the counter attack.
If however you were not interested in Aguero, I’d take Ighalo ahead of Kane. Spurs aren’t great on the counter attack and Kane isn’t looking as dangerous as the former options. Not to mention you’ll save yourself a bucket load of cash!
My forward picks:
Chelsea – What an incredible fall from grace. The reigning league champions now find themselves in a legitimate relegation battle. I truly believed that they would turn it around, but that seems like false hope right now. Forget investing in their defence, and trust me when I say Hazard isn’t coming back anytime soon! What a terrible gamble I made there…
Mourinho is trying to get himself sacked judging by his press conference, slamming his squad and claiming he took them to a level they could not maintain. I guess we’ll know the outcome of this rift sooner rather than later. Avoid all Chelsea players for now.
Tony Pulis – You’re letting me down Tony! Investing in West Brom’s defence helped me storm up the rankings early, but missing the Stoke boat during West Brom’s tougher fixtures has hurt. I’m going to back them in to turn it around, it’s Pulis after all.
De Bruyne – If you’ve been reading this article all season you’ll know that KDB’s form line has been closely correlated to Aguero’s time on the pitch. When Aguero has started with KDB (6 games) he has averaged 8.8 ppg. When Aguero has been missing (6 games), KDB has averaged 3.2 ppg. Fairly conclusive numbers! He was only rested on the weekend and I’m happy to hold him. Others aren’t it seems…
Sterling – I know he’s young and has plenty of talent, but wow 50 million is looking like a massive gamble gone wrong right now. He simply isn’t impacting games often enough, and it resulted in him getting dragged at half time at home to Swansea. Considering the service available to Sterling he should be doing a lot more!
Firmino – Talking of gambles gone wrong, 30 million for Firmino? So far he has rocked up for one game against Man City and been pathetic for the rest. Trust me, you’re listening to a guy who took him fourth round in a draft! He looks lazy and out of touch. Having dominated the Bundesliga last season Firmino’s capable of turning it around, but don’t invest until he puts at least 3 solid performances together (And plays 90 minutes)!
Kane – Many captained Kane expecting a romp against Newcastle but it wasn’t to be! The difference between Spurs and teams such as Everton and Leicester is the speed at which they attack. Lukaku and Vardy are constantly getting chances on the counter; Kane doesn’t get many of those opportunities! He will be inconsistent and I feel there’s better options out there, especially consider he’s owned by so many! I’m speaking from a non-owner’s perspective here. If you own him, certainly don’t take a hit to get him out. I’d only trade if it’s a straight swap to Lukaku/Vardy or you can make use of the extra money in getting Ighalo. He is still going to score and you just know it will be the week you trade him!
Player of the Week
Mahrez – Two weeks in a row if you don’t mind! I’m running out of superlatives to describe this bloke, he is out of this world! Forget being a bargain in FPL, he’s world class. I can almost guarantee he won’t move until next summer, but when he does it will be to a top 5 club in Europe. Vardy’s story is great and Leicester is an awesome team, but Mahrez is the key to everything. He is scoring at 8.8 ppg including 8 massive double figure hauls. If it was Suarez we would be proclaiming him as a permanent captain, why aren’t we considering that with Mahrez? Genuine superstar.
That’s it for this week, I hope you’re preparing your benches for the annual Christmas rotation… It can get ugly! Good luck for next week, let’s make it a high scoring one.