The first in our series of fan segments with regular reader MCWizards running an eye over the fantasy prospects at Crystal Palace.
The Eagles are a difficult side to read at the best of times. The heavy schedule of fixtures on the horizon makes this announcement particularly pleasing. Please welcome an expert on Alan Pardew’s side ‘MCWizards’ as a contributor to FPLAddicts.
We are on the lookout for ‘team experts’ amongst our readers who watch the Premier League, love Fantasy Premier League and are willing to pen some answers to questions about their favorite team.
Is Wilfried Zaha (5.6) a ‘breakout contender’ or on a lucky run?
MCWizards: Wilfried Zaha has been in sublime form this season, especially the last couple of months. He provides a real spark down the wings and absolutely terrorises defences with his pace. Zaha has certainly matured since last season, he is bringing more people into the game and his passing has gone up a notch since last season.
He currently has 8 assists to go with 3 his goals after going on a run of five consecutive assists to bolster his confidence in front of goal. Zaha is still only owned by 7.5% of the competition great value along with Matt Phillips (5.4). Although even he can not quite match Wilfried Zaha’s form.
FPLAddicts: He is in sensational form after many years of tempting us as an FPL asset this looks like the season for the 24 year old to break out. Tough Fixtures. Strongly Consider.
Will Christian Benteke (7.7) justify his price tag over the season?
MCWizards: At the start of the season I stated that Christian Benteke (7.7) would be a 15+ goal forward. He is certainly on his way there with eight already. He’s gotten a bit fortunate with a couple of penalties and some gifts in recent weeks making up for his poor luck earlier in the season.
Benteke is a target man that we have been missing for some time now. He is a big, imposing figure who can hold the ball up and bring others into the game. Despite missing the first two games this season, Benteke has won the most aerial duels in the FPL. He is the type of player we have been missing in attack for the past few seasons and has helped us to have the most goals scored by any club outside the top 4 this season, having a hand in a solid 33% of goals, the second most at Palace.
As the season progresses, Benteke will get better and better and I think he can even push that 20 goal mark with the way we have been playing in front of goal, I think the 32 million pounds will be worth it.
FPLAddicts: Benteke been a polarizing player this season the 6th highest scoring forward in the game. He sits in an awkward spot for value in FPL with Rondon (6.5) coming in 1.2 cheaper with only six less points for the season. That said he is the main outlet for an side intent on attacking the opposition. Consider.
If you own Benteke should you trade him with a poor run of fixtures ahead?
MCWizards: With Manchester United (H), Chelsea (H), Watford (A) and Arsenal (A) in the next four fixtures it does not read well for Palace. Eric Bailly returned last weekend for United with Chelsea in scintillating form whilst Arsenal are humming along quietly. It wouldn’t be wrong to look at trading out Benteke (7.7).
Although it wont be so easy for those three sides to stop Palace and Benteke scoring. Palace have scored 10 goals in their last three games, with four of them off Benteke’s boot, The Eagles are in some fine attacking scoring form (albeit against Swansea and Hull).
I will be keeping Benteke as I have got other issues to resolve in FPL. It is a decision made easier by tough fixtures for those other options around his price. I would recommend upgrading to Diego Costa (10.9) or Harry Kane (11.2) but if tight on cash recommend keeping the big man.
FPLAddicts: This is the kind of decision which one looks back on later in the season with a glint in the eye or despair. I suggest a hold with the midweek adventure against United to be an interesting affair. Hold.
What is going on with the Palace defense this season?
MCWizards: Its no secret Palace’s defence has been woeful, conceding the 4th most amount of goals this season. The main problem they have had in defence is defending set pieces. They currently have the most goals conceded from set pieces in the whole league.The players looked confused and lost during these set pieces and they fail to mark their opponents adequately. This isn’t a result of tactical error but the blame has to be fully placed on the players during these set pieces.
Pape Souraé (4.2) has also been a huge loss at left back, he was a very big part of any defensive success Palace have had since Pardew had been appointed. His replacement; Martin Kelly (4.4) has no idea how to play as a full back, not entirely his fault as he is a centre back. Joel Ward (4.9) has been sub-par this season at times, possibly due to a lack of competition for his spot as a full back. All these factors combined with the fact that Pardew balances the team towards attacking has led to the scramble that is Palace’s defence this season.
Players are simply being beaten too easily, against a better team on the weekend instead of Hull, they could’ve conceded maybe 5 goals because of some shocking defending. Hopefully in the ‘January Transfer Window’, Pardew can make a deal for at least one full back. That said with little attention on defending in open play I advice not selecting Palace defenders this season.
FPLAddicts: The team is getting hurt at set pieces. I believe the new grabbling rules and a mixture of bad luck has lead to this situation. Crystal Palace are amongst the very best from attacking at corners and free kicks. Avoid even Scott Dann (5.3).
Thoughts on Wayne Hennessey?
MCWizards: Palace had a huge win when they secured the services of Steve Mandanda (4.4). He started off quite well, making some fine saves and controlling his box. Mandanda was often let down by his teammates before succumbing to a long-term injury (out for six more weeks).
Wayne Hennessey (4.3) has performed OK in the last month, there hasn’t been much he could’ve done about some of the goals he has conceded, especially at Swansea. He looks to be back in some form but without some help from his team mates he won’t be a strong fantasy option.
FPLAddicts: His the #1 keeper for Wales but his particularly error prone in a poor defence. Avoid.
Please leave a comment about our new fan format and remember that GW16 starts in less then 24 hours, have your team prepared for midweek action.