I decided to delay this weeks article for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, since the last round of EPL action there have been both FA Cup and Champions League fixtures played. Also there have been sardome developments with regs to the double gameweeks (and blank gameweeks) to come over the next month. So here are the names to consider ahead of GW27…
Before we begin, here’s the number 1 rule this week. DO NOT TAKE A HIT TO GET RID OF A PLAYER WITH A BLANK. They will make it up later in the season, so if you can cover them you have to do so. It’s almost worth taking a 0, the player coming in would still have to gain attacking returns to make it worthwhile. If you have a few free transfers up your sleeve, then it might be worth playing around with your team.
On The Rise
Fonte – Amazingly Fonte is the second most transferred in player this week. Southampton’s defence continues to impress, and it looks like the majority have opted for Fonte’s set piece threat and bonus point favourability. I’m happy with Forster, but he doesn’t tend to make many saves. Fonte is a great option if he fits into your backline.
Huth – Huth continues to be drafted in, and whilst I agree with backing in a Leicester defender, I believe Fuchs is your man. He takes set pieces and whips in tantalising crosses from left back. Get on, their fixtures are kind and Ranieri will be making sure their defence is rock solid. What you will find is now that teams show Leicester more respect, they will push less men forward and happily take a point. In other words, hopefully plenty of clean sheets for the Foxes!
Azpilicueta – If you believe that Chelsea have turned it around, Azpili is your man in defence. He remains underpriced at just 5.8 and now has 2 goals and 3 assists (plus 10 bonus points) this season. There’s no denying that Chelsea are looking much better, and with some relatively kind fixtures on the horizon investment would be wise.
Payet – THANKGOD. For a number of reasons. I traded Payet out with my wildcard, but had a last minute change of heart. Or I grew a brain. Either way, he had been looking dangerous and thankfully he delivered in style with a goal, an assist and 3 bonus points. Payet will continue to score well and is key to everything West Ham create. How’s this for a stat, Payet has polled bonus in every game he has scored in. You’re missing out if you don’t own him!
Willian – I’d suggest that most people are jumping on board Willian just to get some Chelsea coverage, because his form has been great all season. My problem is that he won’t be a consistent scorer, just look at his previous 5 games (Average for 3 ppg). In fact he has only just scored over 4 points per game over the whole season, and I doubt he’ll increase those numbers. Avoid him, great player but not made for FPL.
Eriksen – I can’t avoid Eriksen’s form any longer, Spurs are on fire right now and Eriksen is a major key to their success… Not sure how many people got the DJ Khaled reference but regardless, let’s study a man who has averaged over 9 ppg over the past 5 gameweeks! Having had a relatively quiet year, Eriksen has burst to life over the past month with 3 goals and 3 assists. What’s more impressive to me is the underlying stats.
Payet is a great comparison considering they’re both in the same price bracket. Eriksen has made 3.3 key passes per 90 minutes, Payet 3.5. Eriksen 3.7 chances created, Payet 3.8. These figures are way above Eriksen’s averages in previous seasons. Of course Payet has been more clinical in front of goal, but Eriksen has had more shots per game. If you take Tottenham’s form into consideration, Eriksen looms as a brilliant option moving forward. All the indicators point towards him having a fruitful end to the season. He has finally convinced me, get on.
Ozil – One man who I got off and instantly regretted so is Ozil. He hasn’t been in the blistering form we saw in 2015, but that’s mainly due to Arsenal struggling at the moment. Arsenal midfield coverage is a must in my opinion, and Ozil is well above Sanchez at the moment. Lock and load for the rest of the season.
Vardy – Not much else to say here other than ‘all aboard’!!! Leicester are on fire and so is Vardy, he’s well and truly over his foot injury that’s for sure. Leicester’s fixtures shine brightly, and I expect Vardy to do the same. I’m all over him. I guess he is this season’s top scoring forward after all…
Stoke Defence – This ship has well and truly sailed, all aboard the Saints bandwagon! Yes, that includes you too Butland. I wonder who will be next to go on a clean sheet bonanza…
Smalling – Now that we have some premiums back, we have to budget our defences accordingly. I happily got rid of Smalling last week, and I suggest you all do the same. United’s defence is hardly invincible anymore, and 6.7 is way overs for what Smalling is worth. Get on the form defences!
Barkley – Barkley is the most transferred out midfielder ahead of his blank this week, and with Everton now staring at a second blank gameweek in GW30 it’s understandable. Here’s my stance. If you can cover him adequately, hold! You know he’s capable of a massive haul and with 2 DGW’s on the horizon he should be the perfect route into the Toffees attack. Such is FPL 2015/16 he is owned by almost 40% of the comp, but I don’t have him and I often wish I did! Unless you have a free transfer spare
Firmino – Now this is an intriguing discussion. A week ago I had Firmino down as a brilliant option ahead of Liverpool’s inevitable double gameweeks. There’s now a slight (major) problem. Liverpool now have a blank gameweek in GW30, but more on this later. More importantly, I didn’t figure Sturridge and Coutinho’s return to the team into that equation. In last weeks 6-0 humbling of Villa, Firmino could only manage a single assist. I’m definitely questioning whether it’s worth holding him, and at the moment the answer is no. Of course if Sturridge gets injured (Likely) and Firmino gets his false 9 role back then he’s right back up at the top of the watchlist.
Sanchez – Wow, Alexis is in some truly shocking form. I backed him in as captain against Leicester after his hat-trick against them early in the season, and he honestly could have repeated that feat based on the chances he received. Unfortunately Sanchez looked like he was drunk, he played bloody awful. I didn’t see the Gunners FA Cup game on Sunday, but apparently he was even worse. He tried hard against Barcelona, but it’s just not happening for Alexis at the moment. 11.0 is way too much to pay for a bloke out of form, Ozil has to be your Arsenal option. Safe to say my 20 goal prediction was wrong, but that injury was cruel when he was flying during November.
Lukaku – With blokes like Kane, Aguero and Vardy on fire it must be extremely hard to hold Lukaku at the moment. I’m here to be the calming influence you need. Not. If you have a free transfer available and Vardy or Kane is within reach, I’d pull the trigger. Even if you lose some value, 2 blanks is tough to hold through. I’ll be rotating between strikers to finish the season, we’ll all get him back soon enough. Just don’t do anything crazy to get him out… I’m not sure how to define crazy though.
Ighalo – It looks as though the magic touch is finally wearing off. It’s been fun Odion, but there’s too much quality elsewhere to carry a forward with 1 goal in his last 7 appearances. Hold this week against Bournemouth, then trade no matter what.
Rooney – It looks as though Rooney is set to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. It’s all a bit hazy at the moment, so wait for Van Gaal’s press conference later in the week. Don’t worry, if he’s out you’re not going to be short on options…
Player of the Week
Coutinho – It had to be someone from that 6-0 thrashing of Villa, and Coutinho stood out for a number of different reasons. Firstly he was fantastic, finally adding some assist work to his game by creating 3 goals for his teammates. The problem we now face is which players from Liverpool are worth it, if any? It had looked to be Firmino, but Coutinho took the limelight from him. Let’s be honest, we can’t rely on Sturridge can we… At the moment I’m happy to sit back and study how they mould a fully fit starting XI ahead of their upcoming DGW’s (Plural)!
Double Gameweek news:
There has been an update with the fixtures, and unfortunately it’s not one we wanted to hear. It will be blanks galore in GW30 (pending re-scheduled fixtures), with 8 teams currently set to be out of action. These include:
- Man United
- West Ham
- Liverpool (Again)
- Everton (Again)
- Crystal Palace
Of course we can’t really make judgements of who to get in and who to get out until we know when teams will be making up their games, so for now just watch this space. I’ve also been getting some questions about when to use your wildcard. Again, watch this space. Once we know all the make up fixtures we can start planning ahead!!! Do your best to hold it up your sleeve for now…
That does it from me this week, look out for another Q&A presser later in the week to answer your burning questions! Until then, adios.