By now we should all be just about recovered from our Christmas food coma, hopefully the festive fixtures helped the food go down easier. If maybe the fpl gods let you down, the epl ones certainly didn’t, the Christmas fixtures were full of surprises, entertainment and a few special goals. I’ll give a quick run down of how each team went in there two games, with a focus on their key assets as per usual.
Arsenal; No one saw that 4-0 loss coming, torn apart way too easily, but then bounced back and comfortably dismantled Bournemouth. For now I think we can just put that one result down as a huge brain far and move on. On the fpl front the Bournemouth game just about made up for the loss, with popular picks Ozil, Bellerin and Giroud all getting amongst the points. Those with Ramsey and Walcott should not be too discouraged as Walcott should have both scored and set up Ramsey for a tap in against the Cherries. Newcastle game could still be a thrashing.
Aston Villa; Despite a decent home win, Aston Villa are still pretty much a no go zone in general. I don’t see them avoiding the drop this season.
Bournemouth; As most probably expected, two lackluster performances for a thin squad made even thinner by injuries. Despite more returns for their defence in their gameweek 18 clash I certainly don’t have any faith in their defence. Given the demands of Christmas in the epl I think we can forgive their attack, meaning Stanislas and King are still good m5 options now they are fit again.
Chelsea; An entertaining and encouraging display against Watford was followed up by a pretty poor one against United. This furthers the appeal of the wait and hold approach on Chelsea assets.
Crystal Palace; Crystal Palace seem to be having a case of the Manchester United at the moment. Injuries to Bolassie and Wickham have really hurt their go forward, however fpl points certainly can be found at the back. Dann is a pricey option with a strong set piece threat, meanwhile GK Hennessy seems locked on and represents great value at 4.1
Everton; One team who does know how to score is Everton, after Lukaku let many of us down against Newcastle, both him and the other 20 guys on the pitch rewarded us all with arguably the match of the season. Personally his 4 points as captain was well and truly forgotten when I kept faith and got two goals and maximum bonus, which was particularly impressive given the quality on the pitch that day. Despite the fixtures becoming much more difficult now, he well and truly has established himself as a premium striker in the league. It might however be time to move on from the Everton double up.
Manchester United; Van Gaal is an accomplished coach with a system that takes time. I’m pretty patient in the realm of football fans but he’s got to go. Winless in 7 games is just unacceptable, not to mention the waste of money on players like Di Maria and Depay. Add to that the hopeless inability to score goals, and until something drastic changes, like a new Manager, I’ll have to continue playing fpl without a Man united asset.
Newcastle; Very similar situation to Aston Villa, although they might avoid the drop, their players certainly won’t be in my team anytime soon.
Norwich; Pretty much a copy and paste of Newcastle. However, I do actually have Rudd in my team from a while back, when I needed the extra 0.1 mil he gave me at 3.9, so with good fixtures to come he might stick around. Norwich have tightened up a little and provided, but Rudd’s clean sheet was nothing more than a gift from Santa, I would not suggest investment.
Tottenham; A pretty quality side making a real fist of things this season. Plenty of fpl options too from their defence, to Ali as a budget mid, and to Kane as a premium option up front. Looking at ownership figures and teams, it appears to there is a battle going on between Kane, Ighalo and Giroud as the third striker for our teams. Ighalo might still be better value but I think Kane might rack up more points between now and the end of the season. With good fixtures on the horizon, sides with two or more Tottenham assets will fare pretty well over over the coming weeks.
Southampton; An impressive 4-0 win was followed by a pretty disappointing loss, which rightly curbed most most of the fpl interest that may have come out of their boxing day triumph. Too inconsistent for mine.
Swansea; Another one of those teams that is pretty much irrelevant right now. If however they can keep up this little clean sheet run they have started, Ashley Williams might be worth a shout given his habit of picking up bonus points.
West Ham; Only real positives for West Ham right now is that the likes of Payet and Lanzini are expected back as early as next week, anyone tempted by Payet?
West Brom; West Brom’s first clean sheet in seven provided encouragement for a few managers like myself, who have picked up Dawson as a 4th or 5th defender, given money isn’t really an issue right now. Park that bus Tony!
Watford; I couldn’t have been more wrong about Watford, not sure how they’re doing it, I suppose Deeney and Ighalo are just more deadly than I thought. Doesn’t seem like there is a boat to be missed with Ighalo, just get on whenever you’re ready, if you want Aguero soon, Ighalo is probably a must have. If I got anything right it was that we should wait for after the festive period to get on board their defensive assets.
Stoke; I’m not great on my history but this has got to be one of the better Stoke teams in recent years. You wouldn’t have known who the team with 11 Premier League titles was when Man United rocked up to the Britannia. Everton didn’t seem to phase them either, as Arnautovic continued to run the show. Although these two performances were outstanding, the upcoming fixtures after West Brom make me cautious of investment. Also good to see Shaqiri turn it on in the Premier League, what a finish that was! Butland still seems a great source of points too.
Leicester City; I think everyone is surprised to see two consecutive blanks from Mahrez and Vardy, let alone Leicester as a whole. A fair few people have already reacted with the sale of Vardy, which is a little bizarre given they have Bournemouth up next at home. If we see blanks again against Bournemouth, many of us might have to reconsider what has been the spine of our team for months now.
Man City; Surprisingly little rotation occurred over the two games, with most of the big guns seeing a good amount of minutes. Despite this De Bruyne was the only real stand out with his huge 16 point haul. Whilst Aguero makes his way back to full fitness, De Bruyne, despite his inconsistency remains a vital source of coverage for a team that can rack up some big scores at home. Their defence is pretty shaky, however Kolarov keeps popping up with the odd clean sheet or goal, making it hard to part ways just yet.
Liverpool; Two decent 1-0 wins for Liverpool and two Bentekke goals. In another season many might be tempted by this, but right now there are too many other quality strikers with secure game time. These wins do however heighten the appeal of Moreno, who is also heavily involved going forward. These back to back wins should also enstill confidence in Klopps side, which mean greater fpl returns could be on the horizon for the likes of Henderson and Coutinho.
Sunderland; After looking more solid at the back in the first few weeks under Allardyce, Sunderland’s tough run of fixtures has really hurt them. Only relevant to the extent that you want to see Sun (H) underneath the name of your fpl players.
Darren Rudolph Award; Karl Darlow. Poor kid never really looked comfortable between the sticks in his debut for Newcastle.
Ryan Bennett Award; Gabriel. Kid hasn’t started in about a month and then turns out 14 points, don’t back on that happening again anytime soon.
Jonjo Shelvy Award; Shaqiri. I know this guy is class, but when your first goal scoring game in 4 months in the Premier League is both a double and an out of this world finish, you are bound to be given this award
Sir Jamie Vardy Award; Shane Long. This award was created for performances like this. Against all the odds, guides his team to 4-0 thrashing of of the league leaders, totally out of nowhere.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the festive period and how you’re travelling. Personally my planning paid off and I moved up 40k spots to 60k. With blanks and dgw’s on the horizon, I really think that now is the the time that a lot of us more studious and serious managers can start to move up through the rankings. To add some stats to this theory, the current top 10k have used an average of 2.2 chips including wildcard. Source fpl discovery. Also with with the second wildcard now available at any time there is serious potential to plan a real assault on a double gameweek by either wildcarding a week or two before the dgw or making t transfers leading into it and then activating a wildcard to fix up a stacked team.
Fpl is getting very exciting.