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Jerome’s Review – Gameweek 23

Reading Time: 16 minutes

 

 

 

If you had the right players, then this was the week for you, however, if you did not then this was most definitely not your week. Hopefully you held your DGW players!

A much improved FPL gameweek that also saw the derailment of the Man City unbeaten train, and it wasn’t the only record to be altered… Let’s get stuck in!

Chelsea vs Leicester; 0-0

The one that got away… For Leicester. Chelsea were convincingly outplayed in their backyard for the first time in recent memory. In fact, Leicester’s 12 shots at goal in the opening 45 minutes was the highest tally by a visiting team at Stamford Bridge for 15 years. Not only that, but Leicester enjoyed 67% possession in the first-half as well. Yet the headlines in England still read “Kasper Schemichel and 10-man Leicester stand firm to deny Chelsea win” ~The Guardian, but who really reads The Guardian anyway. It should have read “Chelsea escape with a point against 10-man Leicester”.

Vardy and Mahrez ran rings around a hapless Chelsea side that had a fully fit squad to choose from (Ross Barkley was the only slight doubt going into this game, but was he really getting a spot anyway?). The Premiership pair – plus Okazaki – couldn’t benefit from their good work and had zero shots on target from their nine combined. This can only mean good things for Leicester as it says they are doing well offensively. Leicester ill travel to a defensively miserable Watford in the upcoming gameweek, Mahrez captain anyone?

If you had simply looked at the stats post-game, no one would blame you for thinking that it was Chelsea who were the unfortunate ones as Schmeichel was forced to make, a season-best, seven saves. However – as ironic as it is (considering I was quoting stats in just the third sentence) – the stats meant nothing. Four of Chelsea’s seven shots on target came within the last 15 minutes, and 8 of their 17 total shots came in that same period. Chelsea were lucky to leave the game with a point.

Chelsea’s next opponents seem like an easier task, on paper, but I fear it may not be so. Although Brighton did manage to concede five at home to Tottenham, their defensive form at home this season has been impressive. Brighton have kept the same number of home clean sheets as Man City, a tally that is only bettered by the other members of the top six (who are a level above the rest, when it comes down to things), Huddersfield and a (almost) defensively impeccable, Burnley. Despite this, it’s not smart to underestimate a Chelsea side that have just nine less points than they did at this stage last season. They aren’t doing as badly as the media is making it seem.

Morata and Hazard combined for the same amount of shots as Alexsandar Dragovic in Leicester’s defence – one – their lowest combined tally this season. The pair have also scored just three goals between them from their last seven matches. You just feel the that the tides will turn for the misfiring combo; their spg averages over their last seven games are above their season averages (3.7 compared to 3 for Morata and 2.7 compared to 2 for Hazard). When the tides do turn and the shots that had once gone on the wrong side of the post, go on the right side of the post, then it would be smart to own at least one of them, as they can both be season-changing FPL assets at the top of their games.

 

 

Crystal Palace vs Burnley; 1-0

This season just keeps on getting better and better as a Palace fan, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it, not even the start of it. Roy Hodgson has made this Crystal Palace side completely unrecognisable compared to what it was under Frank De Boer. Every single player has improved under Hodgson

The game started out bleakly and only two shots were taken in the opening 20 minutes. Yet again, it was Bakary Sako to the rescue. For just the second time this season Sako started the game and he was most definitely the most dangerous player on the pitch. Sako’s speed, strength and skills on the ball made him more than a handful for the Burnley defence. And a couple of minutes before his goal he should have been awarded a penalty when James Tarkowski brought him down in the box, collecting the man before the ball, but for some reason play was waved on.

As mentioned in last gameweek’s article, Sako’s position in the team is locked in for at least the next couple of weeks, and depending on the success of his position as a striker in a 4-4-2 formation, it could extend beyond Townsend’s return. 4.9m is a great price for a short-term investment. The Malian international had six shots against Burnley and has averaged one shot every 14.3 minutes of game time over his last six appearances (including this one). Had Son not returned any fruits this week, he would have made way for Sako in my team, who almost matched him for points this week.

As good as this game was for Crystal Palace, it was just as bad for Burnley. Just one clean sheet in their last five games and just three goals in their last six makes for bad reading, but we have to remember how difficult their last five fixtures have been, in terms of opponents. Their horror run is almost over and they should soon return to the clean sheet-happy Burnley side we all know and love, just not this gameweek, or in GW26, but after that.

 

Huddersfield vs West Ham; 1-4

David Moyes is the man. He’s taken West Ham from second to last place to within one point of the top 10. He is turning West Ham into a very tricky side to front-up against, as many of their opponents have found out in recent times, including Huddersfield. After West Ham scored the second goal, the hosts were in search of the final whistle, the visitors dominated from the first whistle as well.

The pairing of Arnautovic and Lanzini is proving very effective and they both took advantage of a dejected Huddersfield. With Carroll out injured (there’s that inconsistency I was talking about in last gameweeks review), Arnautovic returned to the lone striker position. The winger-turned striker showed a level of generosity we haven’t seen from the Austrian in a while, by making more key passes than shots for the first time this season.

Carroll’s return is imminent as the setback was only minor, and he may even return to the fold next week for West Ham’s home game against Bournemouth. As I said last week, Arnautovic’s form is too good to trade him, even if he does drop back a little bit to make way for Carroll. Marko is still playing very far forward and will either drop back level with Lanzini to create the two-man supporting cast in a 3-4-2-1, or Moyes could go all out and field him up front with Carroll. Either way, hold Arnautovic, and Lanzini for that matter.

Since GW11, Lanzini has averaged 5.25ppg and hasn’t gone more than two starts without a return since then. With the Hammers’ fixtures and the form of both Carroll and Arnautovic, Lanzini’s returns should continue. The trio of Carroll, Arnautovic and Lanzini is really quite intimidating and should bear many fruits in future gameweeks.

Huddersfield’s fixtures on the other hand, don’t get any easier. They are set to travel to Stoke on a cold and wet winters night in GW24, and then they’ll jump on a bus/plane (I don’t know how it works in England) to Anfield before returning home to welcome Manchester United to their hometown for a game in GW26.

After they had just two shots on target against West Ham this gameweek, I wouldn’t be too inspired if I was in the Town camp at the moment. However, post the United game their fixtures do clear up and they’ll face just one member of the top six from GW27-34. Lossl might be a good goalkeeper option then, but we’ll reassess when we get there.

 

Newcastle vs Swansea; 1-1

Quite an evenly contested game this was, but a rather boring one at that. Neither sign could claim the ascendency this game and both teams were without a striker that could deliver the killing blow for them. 1-1 was probably a fair result and a very important one it was for Swansea.

Carlos Carvahal has made the big jump from the Championship to the Premier League and many had written him off before he even took charge of a game. His Swansea side has collected four points from their last three games which has given them a chance to maintain their Premier League status.

The Swans will have to count their blessings however, as eighth Leicester are the lowest ranked side that the Welsh side will face over the next four gameweeks. At least it’s an opportunity for the side to warm up to the new manager before forming an assault on the relegation battle later on in the season with easier fixtures.

Newcastle will not be enjoying too many joyful days in the next four gameweeks either. A rampant Crystal Palace side that is currently sixth in the form table (based on the last six games) plus three members of the top seven are their opponents for their next four PL fixtures. Speaks for itself really. Avoid.

I think I’ve already spent too much of our precious time on these two teams, avoid them both for the time being.

 

Watford vs Southampton; 2-2

After last gameweeks episode of ‘Who did it better?’ saw a pair of screamers match-up against each other, I now present to you: episode two: Diego Maradona versus Abdoulaye Doucoure (skip to 6:00 in the video) – ‘Who did it better?: The Hand of God’.

This really was a game of two halves – Southampton dominated the first, scoring their two goals via a James Ward-Prowse brace, while the second half saw the home team make their case for the three points as they also scored two. In the end, both teams settled for a well-deserved point.

For the second consecutive game, Southampton took the lead in the first-half before a static second-half saw them lose their winning position, at least this time they came away from the ground with points in hand. Another difference between this weeks and last week’s performance was how much they dominated ‘their half’. They had just two more shots in the first-half this week compared to last week’s game against Crystal Palace, but last week their performance was sub-par and they were lucky to have even scored. This week, they were in full control of the game throughout the first 45 minutes and thoroughly deserved to be 2-0 up. Unfortunately, a second-half abdication meant they disappointingly threw away a 2-0 lead.

I’ll be taking this performance with a grain of salt. It was a needle in the haystack of bad performances, and the positive part of the performance only lasted for a half. Their fixtures aren’t too inspiring in the meantime either way.

The other ‘half’ of the story was Watford’s post-half-time comeback. Down and out in the first-half, the Hornets came out from the tunnels ‘all guns blazing’. The hosts’ good work paid off when Andre Gray headed home, from four yards out, after Darryl Janmaat saw his long-range shot saved.

The equaliser came courtesy of an Abdoulaye Doucoure hand in the last minute of play, before stoppage time. This month’s adaptation of an Abdoulaye Doucoure screamer was a moment of utter desperation that has left the Frenchman in all the right headlines, for all the wrong reasons. It also involved the guiltiest celebration you will ever see – if you’re going to break the ‘law’, at least cover your tracks.

An 11-shot differential in the second half meant that Watford truly deserved their point, but it also highlighted theirs – and Southampton’s – inconspicuous and inconsistent form of late, buyer beware.

 

West Brom vs Brighton; 2-0

It took goals from two defenders for West Brom to collect their first home win since August. Maybe this could be the much-needed boost for Alan Pardew’s men that could help propel them up the table and out of the relegation zone.

It was a solid all-round performance from West Brom – from defence to midfield to Rondon up front – all lines contributed their share to the win and made life tough for a struggling Brighton team.

Although the Premier League points may have dried up for Brighton, it is still the ‘wet’ season in the clean sheets department. Chelsea at home will be tough work in GW25, but after that Brighton have a run of four games in which they’ll be a chance for a clean sheet in all four. Hold your defensive assets.

As for their offensive assets – they have been in struggle town in recent times, but one man that has managed to hold his offensive form is Glenn Murray. Murray has scored in five of the last six games that he has started and Brighton have scored. Essentially, if Murray starts and Brighton score, there is a large possibility that the goal will be Murrays. He could have had an assist this game but Knockaert lost his composure and failed to score in a keeper-less goal.

Another interesting statistic – this time for West Brom – is that the Baggies have kept a clean sheet in 5 of the 13 games (or 38.4%) that Craig Dawson has started in the Premier League. Do you know how many clean sheets West Brom have kept in the 10 games that Dawson hasn’t started? Two (or 20%). That’s almost double the volume of clean sheets. That is some coincidence, or it just highlights how vital Dawson is to the structure of the West Brom defence.

With a difficult month of fixtures coming up, I wouldn’t advise investment, but after that it is worth considering a former FPL favourite defence.

 

 

Tottenham vs Everton; 4-0

For the fifth time in the last six games, Tottenham lined up with their own fab four of Son, Alli, Eriksen and Kane, and for the fourth time in those six games, it paid off ever so well for another three points.

This wasn’t the first time that Mauricio Pochettino’s crew had put the Toffees to the sword either –10 goals in their last 3 fixtures against Everton, for three wins against three different managers. It was also the third time in the same three fixtures against Everton that Harry Kane has been one goal away from taking home the match ball. Everton are becoming a bit of a ‘bunny’ team for Kane and Tottenham.

Allardyce went into this game with a fairly ambitious line-up, and it was clear it was going to be a field day for Tottenham as soon as the teams were released. Mason Holgate at centre-back… Seriously? I would have never taken Big Sam for a fool. It was also clear that Big Sam wanted his Everton side to take the next step forward, with his brand new £27 million signing leading the lines in front of England’s greatest ever striker and a pair that combined for more than £70 million – Bolasie and Siggurdsson. Admittedly, I don’t think this was the game to do it, as they got smashed for four by a relentless Tottenham.

After producing a grand total of 33 points last DGW, Tottenham’s fab four made amends for their wrong doings. 31 points between them this game alone makes for a deadly FPL line-up, unfortunately you can’t have all four, but two would be a reasonable amount, and only AFTER their hat-trick of fixtures against members of the top six.

I currently own both Son and Kane (and it feels damn good), but I’m strongly considering trading out at least Son prior to Spurs’ game against United. Son’s form this season has been far and beyond what anyone expected and he has certainly earnt his chance to be trusted by us FPL coaches in the most difficult of fixtures. Holding does have merit. But a direct swap for the in-form Pogba is tempting, prior (or post) their game against United is tempting, but that’s next week’s problem.

However, if it is Eriksen or Alli that you own, it could be wise to move them on prior to the United game. Alli has just three goals and one assist in 16 games against United, Arsenal and Liverpool, while Eriksen has fared much worse with just one goal and four assists in his 28 games against the trio. It is worth noting however, that the pair do enjoy a game against Southampton – home or away. Four goals and four assists from nine games is a solid return against one opponent. But, Alli’s record is far and above his Danish counterpart with an incredible five goals and four assists from just four fixtures against the Saints, that’s captain material.  Harry Kane’s five goals and one assist is also a decent return from six games against Southampton in the Premier League (he has faced them four times outside the PL). Anyway, that’s just something to dwell over for your captaincy decision this gameweek.

 

Bournemouth vs Arsenal; 2-1

Lol.

Another embarrassing away result for Arsenal has left them five points adrift of the top five and their Champions League dreams almost in tatters. The Gunners have won just once in their last five away matches; their opponents list for those five matches reads: Southampton (D), West Ham (D), Crystal Palace (W), West Brom (D) and now Bournemouth (L). This could be courtesy of what some are saying is “the worst XI that Arsenal have fielded in Arsene Wenger’s 21-year reign”, and I agree. Take nothing away from Bournemouth though, they went behind on their own home turf and fought back from a 0-1 deficit to a 2-1 victory, impressive stuff.

After Sanchez was left out of the matchday squad and under no apparent injury cloud, it seems he has played his last game for Arsenal, with just the destination of his club to be decided. This meant that Danny Welbeck started in his place, alongside Alex Iwobi (filling in for the injured Ozil), who were – both – behind Alexandre Lacazette. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, I just don’t know what to write about Arsenal – they’re in a deep, dark hole right now and it’s going to take a lot more than Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi to get them out of it. Lucky for them they have just 7 games against teams in the top 10 in their last 15 Premier League games, but I can’t see any of their offensive assets being of value for the time being.

Their defence (mainly Bellerin) is still worth consideration, but it’s always difficult to suggest investment when teams are in as much of a rut as Arsenal are at the moment.

Bournemouth are now unbeaten in their last four games and their next five fixtures give them a chance to continue their good form, offensively anyway. Callum Wilson is still your best route into the Bournemouth attack. Defensively they have been sub-par this season, and I can’t see it changing too much.

 

Liverpool vs Manchester City; 4-3

It’s over, it’s finally over.

Going into the game having just sold Coutinho for £144 million and without the most expensive defender in history – Virgil van Dijk – many (including myself) wrote Liverpool off, how wrong we were. The cards were stacked against them and they swatted away at that stack and made it Man City’s problem. The Reds played a relentless team pressing game, not allowing their opponents the time to play their game – that’s what has probably been the problem this season, teams have tried to adapt to Man City’s game rather than implementing their own plan.

Of course, it’s much harder if you’re Huddersfield who make transfers in Vietnamese ‘dong’ to Manchester City’s gold bricks (filled with oil, of course). But still, Liverpool played their natural game – pressed their opponents till death – and it worked, much unlike their performance last time out *cough* 5-0 *cough* (before you start getting too cocky!).

*Season four Suits spoiler*
As always though, when Liverpool try and do something good it almost always ends in tears and tatters, no matter what. For ‘Suits’ fans, think of Liverpool as Louis in season four when the S.E.C came knocking. For the whole season Louis was screwing things up – as usual (0-5 vs City). Then, Louis makes that deal with Forstman to earn a huge win (Liverpool go 4-1 up GW4), but as usual, not everything is over until it’s over with Louis and he makes a dirty deal to seal it all and he puts the firm in danger (4-3, still Liverpool). Lastly, at the final minute, Louis comes in with a plan and saves the day, saving the firm from being torn down (the final whistle, Liverpool win).

This was an amazing game and it truly wasn’t over until the last minute – Man City were pushing till the very end, but they couldn’t save their unbeaten run. Now, their form line in the Premier League reads ‘DWL’, starting with that draw at Palace. In the scheme of things, that’s a crisis at Man City. However, do not fear, two home games with Newcastle and West Brom gives them perfect match to reignite their season. Hold, two players is not too many either.

Same goes for Liverpool, two is not too many. They’ve scored three or more goals in four of their last six Premier League fixtures, I’m even considering Firmino (as much as I despise him), because trips to Swansea and Huddersfield shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for Liverpool.

Another man I am seriously considering is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. I mentioned last week that it was most likely a battle between he and Lallana for that midfield spot, so generously vacated by Coutinho. I also mentioned that if it is in fact the Ox who claims the spot, then he would become an option at just 5.6m, and it seems he has been entrusted with it.

Klopp loves players like the Ox – players that won’t stop running and will give their all, no matter the score or opposition, so I believe it is now his to lose. Ox’s history hasn’t been great, but at a new club where he won’t be playing right-wing one week and then wing-back the next, and instead he’s been given a spot to lose, I believe he will thrive. Three goals and three assists from eight starts is a testament to that already, his – equal – second best return throughout his career in the PL.

 

Manchester United vs Stoke; 3-0

A regulation 3-0 victory for United who have now collected 28 of a possible 30 points in their last 10 home fixtures with Stoke, that’s as one-sided as it gets in Premier League football. It was a domination by United, that had very few Stoke-coloured blips on the radar, which was nothing short of what we expected from this fixture.

Something we didn’t expect was a Jesse Lingard blank. Most players usually struggle away from home, you know – home sickness and you miss your dog sorta thing, but not Jesse, he hates playing at home, maybe he doesn’t have a dog. Five out of the six games that Lingard has returned have been on his travels, while just one gameweek – his two goals against Burnley – has seen our 6.4m midfielder produce attacking returns on home soil. Lucky for us, three of United’s next four games are away from home. It’s definitely a ‘predicament’ that I haven’t seen too many times before (if any), maybe someone should buy Jesse a dog.

One man who didn’t was blank was Paul Pogba, who – for the second consecutive game – collected a brace of assists. It took a while for the Frenchman to get back into the swing of things, but he is now well and truly ‘back’. There’s no varying stat that can explain his return to form. He is simply, back.

At 8.0m, he is in a price range that is not barren of many options, and it is in fact the opposite, we have too many options. In the end, it comes down to fixtures and personal choice. Unfortunately, we don’t have vast section of history to go off with Pogba – especially against the top six teams, whom he has played just one game against – but one thing we do know is that he kills the ‘smaller’ teams. Another unfortunate factor is that he faces three top six sides in his next seven fixtures, add to that an away trip to Burnley and we have to start assessing the fact of whether or not it’s worth it.

I think it is. Pogba’s stats for key passes and shots are so uncoincidentally consistent with there being just three games (of 13) where he has not registered four or more combined shots and key passes. One was against Arsenal – where he still made two assists –, another in the 0-0 draw with Southampton, and the one that preceded both of those fixtures, was in United’s 4-2 win away at Watford. He could be a way out of a very tricky, aforementioned and inevitable Heung Min Son debacle, I’m still undecided.

As for Stoke, their nightmarish run of fixtures are finally over and their fixtures list finally opens up. Stoke have been playing horrible of late and are in transition mode because of the arrival of a new manager, Paul Lambert, who – it’s safe to say – doesn’t have an amazing track record having led both Norwich and Aston Villa to relegation. However, this season has proven that you can’t write people off too early… *cough* Moyes *cough*

 

Thanks again for tuning in, and I hope you had a good gameweek. 83 for me courtesy of four double-figure hauls from the midfield saw me rise to just over 500k (still needs A LOT of work).

How did you manage this week? Did it end in a green arrow? Let us know!

Also, let us know of any queries or predicaments of your own or maybe what breed of dog we can get Jesse Lingard so he can love home again and deliver some much wanted FPL points from home.

Jerome’s Review – Gameweek 21/22

Reading Time: 24 minutes

Sorry for the delay in between the end of the gameweek and the publishing of the review. I’ve been super busy since the start of the last gameweek and didn’t have time to produce anything worthy of publishing until now.

Hopefully you get to this before the start of GW23, if not, I’ll try my best to get the next one out earlier!

To mark the end of the ‘Festive fixtures’, the Premier League decided to throw up a minor curve ball for PL teams and FPL managers alike. They decided it would be a good idea to commence (D)GW22 just 48 hours after the completion of GW22. As confusing as it was for FPL managers (especially with a DGW to take care of), it led to very entertaining viewing and it meant that football fans could start the new year right – by watching some football!

Enough jibber jabber, let’s get to it!

GAMEWEEK 22

 

Bournemouth vs Everton; 1-2

This result marks the first loss of Sam Allardyce’s second campaign at Everton, a loss inflicted upon them by the shortest player in the league, Ryan Fraser. The 163cm ‘man’ (just kidding, at FPLAddicts, we love all people, of all heights) added two goals to his Bournemouth Premier League tally, his fifth and sixth of his Bournemouth career, also his fourth and fifth goals in December, out of six in total for Bournemouth. Not FPL relevant because of his history but you can always come back next year and buy him before December starts.

Hopefully this is just a blip on Everton’s clean sheet radar and we can look forward to more clean sheets in the coming weeks.

As for Bournemouth, at either end it is difficult to recommend any players that are worthy of investment because of their high volume forward rotation and their knack of conceding those one or two goals a game means it’s too risky to invest back there.

 

Chelsea vs Stoke; 5-0

Another Chelsea haul where Morata nor Hazard were involved, in fact Hazard didn’t even make it onto the pitch.

For those that captained Morata (me), or even just owned him, a 5-0 haul would have surely brought hope to your world, until you checked for the goal scorers and realised the Spaniard blanked. Seriously, how can you play as a striker and not even register one goal involvement from five goals? That’s 10 potential goal involvements that Morata was not a part of (albeit there were only two assists to go with the five goals).

With Lukaku consistently being a spud, Lacazette struggling for a big score amongst his consistent returns and the non-stop rotation of Aguero and Jesus, there aren’t many expensive, long-term, forward options available if you already own Harry Kane (and you should). The mid-pricers are highly inconsistent and the cheap options aren’t much better consistently – it’s a matter of luck with who you pick in the cheap forward bracket.

With a lack of many options in the forward line, one might even consider dumping Morata for someone like Quaner or Peter Crouch and invest elsewhere, or just hold and hope he can return to his early season form, hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

Both Hazard and Morata (if you’re holding them) should start next gameweek against Arsenal, a team they faced four times in 2017, and a fixture Arsenal have had the upper-hand in over the past five meetings with three wins and a draw. Hazard’s gone for me this week – one of the Spurs midfielders is almost a must this week – but I’m forced into keeping Morata because of a lack of options.

After two impressive performances in the last two games against fellow relegation-battlers West Brom and Huddersfield, Stoke capitulated against a free-flowing Chelsea outfit, even without the Blues’ star-man, Eden Hazard. Solid upcoming fixtures mean that Stoke do have a chance to rebuild mid-season, but their options remain non-options at the moment unless you’re looking for bench warmers such as Crouch or Sobhi.

 

Huddersfield vs Burnley; 0-0

Your average day at the office for Burnley – another clean sheet. Nothing arose from this game that created much interest or changed any thoughts regarding either team.

I still believe Nick Pope is your best option in the Burnley defence, while there are other, better alternatives to the Huddersfield defence.

 

Liverpool vs Leicester; 2-1

With Liverpool’s brand new £75 million signing, Virgil van Dijk, sitting and watching from the stands, the defence – namely Joel Matip – decided to show him why their owners valued him so highly, or in other words, why Liverpool over-paid for him by as much as they did.

Nevertheless, Salah was on-hand to nullify Matip’s mistake, and some. Salah scored the equaliser and the winner and could have had one or two more before either of those two. The fact is, Salah has been on absolute fire this season and despite the injury that he picked up this game, he should probably stay in your side, as his value has risen by too much for him to be traded so easily. A large majority of us will be set to lose around 0.5m if we trade out the Egyptian, and after GW22, he could miss just one more gameweek after that, and to me, that is worth holding him to save 0.5m.

Jamie Vardy scored the opener for Leicester, his second in three gameweeks, which was assisted by Riyad Mahrez, who’s consistency this season has been stellar. Mahrez is still a great option and Vardy could prove to be a similarly-priced alternative to Firmino.

 

Newcastle vs Brighton; 0-0

Matt Ryan was, by far and away, the man of the match for this clash – on multiple occasions his out-stretched palms saved Brighton, and he is a big reason why the Seagulls’ defence are as good as they are. While Karl Darlow wasn’t called into action too muc, in the absence of Rob Elliot, when he was called upon, the Newcastle Keeper did his job well, but should make way for Elliot whenever he does return.

The double-D centre-back pairing of Dunk and Duffy had several chances between them to break the dead lock, but neither could muster a header on target that was penetrating enough to open the scoring. The two central defenders, along with their vast aerial threat, remain alternatives to Matt Ryan, if you are interested in the Brighton defence.

While Newcastle had an array of opportunities from many different sources and positions, they were unable to get past Ryan in goal. This array of sources is one reason why the Newcastle’s attacking (both midfield and forward) options remain, mostly, non-options. The Toon have many decent attackers, but no real stand out option in terms of FPL. Dwight Gayle is a constant threat and is the pick of an average bunch from the options at St. James Park, and with the current lack of cheap forward options he isn’t the worst. His opponent, and form Crystal Palace team-mate, Glenn Murray, is a constant threat and at 5.8m he is my pick of that cheap forward bunch at the moment.

 

Watford vs Swansea; 1-2

For the second time this season, Watford managed to turn a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 loss within the last 5 minutes of play. In Carlos Carvahal’s first game in charge, the Swans rallied behind their new manager and showed a willingness to attack – when behind – in those last 10 or so minutes that we haven’t really seen from Swansea this season.

Carvahal is fresh off of being sacked by Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship after he could only lead them to 15th placed this season, but this was after two consecutive top 6 finishes from Carvahal’s Wednesday side.

Carvahal loves the ‘beautiful’ side of football and throughout all the club he has managed, he has been consistent with his passing style and attacking philosophy, often playing a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.

Renato Sanchez made his return to the starting team for the first time since GW13, in a much-improved performance – a potential bench fodder at 4.5m.

Unfortunately, for Swansea, their fixtures are absolutely terrible – fixtures from hell. They won’t be expected to earn many points from their next patch of fixtures, but it will give Carvahal a chance to work on their structure. We will reassess after this run of fixtures.

Richarlison collected his second ‘FPL assist’ in a row this gameweek, collecting points for Carillo scoring off his saved shot. Unless it’s a choice between DGW-men Arnautovic or Lanzini or even Lingard, I would hold.

 

Manchester United vs Southampton; 0-0

In a game largely dominated by the home side – as expected – it was a difficult result for United fans to accept. Not only did they drop points to a team outside the top six for the third game in a row, but their star forward, Romelu Lukaku, was stretchered off just 30 minutes in – the first minutes the Belgian has missed all season. Despite his substitution, Lukaku could be a chance to play in GW23, not that many active teams would have United’s 9 due to his returns in recent times, but it is news nonetheless.

A clean sheet for both teams, but United’s was the only one we truly cared about. Southampton’s loss of Virgil van Dijk and their lack of form and enticing assets makes it, also, difficult to recommend their players.

Although I did say United dominated this game, they didn’t have many shots, or any meaningful ones anyway. Nemanja Matic took the most shots this game, with four, and when that happens, it’s not hard to see why the game ended 0-0.

 

Crystal Palace vs Manchester City; 0-0

I mean it’s very hard to be disappointed with a win against this Manchester City side, but Palace should have inflicted defeat, for the first time this season, on Pep Guardiola’s side. A late penalty, an absolutely shocking miss from an unmarked Townsend and two bread-and-butter headers, missed, by Christian Benteke; those were the best opportunities that Crystal Palace had to bury City, but they choked.

Looking back at this game though, it was a fair result, the draw, and while City may not content with yet another two dropped points, Palace will be chuffed to secure a point to a team that cleaned them up for five in the reverse fixture this season.

Sergio Aguero had his fair share of opportunities this game, but couldn’t convert any of them as there was always a Palace defender on-hand to block the shot, or Wayne Hennessey in goal ready to tame the shot. De Bruyne had no such luck himself, and while on the stats sheet it says he had four shots, he couldn’t really get involved and get into the game. The midfield trio of Milivojevic, Cabaye and Riedewald were able to nullify the City midfield and stifle any potentially dangerous City attacks, a midfield trio worth almost four times less (£32.5) than their midfield counterparts – De Bruyne, Fernandinho and Gundogan (£125.4).

Wilfried Zaha was once again a great problem for the Sky Blues defence – his personal battle with Kyle Walker was one of the highlights of a match that was full of them.

Along with the highlights, there were also a couple of lowlights. Jesus, Scott Dann, De Bruyne and Puncheon all left the field with injury and couldn’t return, with the latter three being stretchered off. The last two, De Bruyne and Puncheon, were involved in a terrible incident where the Englishman’s late challenge brought down his Belgian opponent forcing both of the players to be stretchered off. While Puncheon’s challenge was probably deserving of a red because of the damage it could have caused De Bruyne, he, Puncheon, was actually worse off in the challenge.

Scott Dann and Puncheon are out for the rest of the season, while De Bruyne has already returned to action against Watford and Jesus will be out for around 4-6 weeks. Jesus’ injury means that Aguero’s spot in the side is safe for at least that period, my rule with Aguero is: if he is fit and guaranteed a start he is in my team. Aguero’s FPL record is nothing short of unbelievable, he has consistently put up returns of the highest standard for the majority of his tenure at City.

It still amuses – and disgruntles me – how much media attention the injuries of Citty’s two star players received, and in-turn, how little Puncheon and Dann were cared for. Maybe the amount of well-wishing a player receives depends on how big the club they play for is? As if, they are worth more money, then the more they are cared for, right?

The big club mentality was on show yet again when Zaha was ridiculed and deigned for his penalty-winning antics. Of course, Raheem Sterling won a penalty in similar fashion – with even less contact – earlier in the season against Arsenal, but I mean who cares right, he plays for a ‘big’ club.

Anyway, this game review took a largely non-FPL turn. Basically, Zaha is still blitzing opponent defences and had Milivojevic not fluffed his lines and missed that penalty, he would have had another ‘FPL-assist’. On that penalty… I still can’t believe it, the guy is the most confident penalty taker I’ve seen in a Palace shirt, but that was a terrible penalty compared to all his others. Because of his penalty duties, Milivojevic is a decent option at 4.6m.

 

West Brom vs Arsenal; 1-1

A rather dubious penalty decision in the 88th minute meant that the points were shared this game. Calum Chambers’ handball was, arguably, unfairly deemed a foul and as it was committed in the box, West Brom were rewarded a penalty. James Rodriguez stepped up to convert the spot-kick, cancelling James McClean’s own goal off an Alexis Sanchez free-kick. McClean only has himself to blame for the goal, for some reason players like to turn their bodies when the free-kick is being taken, McClean turned his body which allowed the ball to breach the wall, and it then deflected off McClean into his own net.

In a game where Arsenal dominated possession, but could only fall even in shots on goal, it was Mike Dean who proved the difference in the end. For once, Arsenal don’t really have themselves to blame this time – in contrast to many other matches – and the result is almost a fair representation of the ‘evenness’ of this fixture. Arsenal, in their all red kit (which looked really weird by the way), couldn’t muster many menacing attacks on the West Brom defence, which could be due to their heavy schedule and the fact that the majority of the XI stayed the exact same throughout that period.

With all that in mind, I think it’s best that we take this game with a grain of salt and realise that on any other day it could have been an Arsenal clean sheet (thanks Mike Dean) and a larger scale victory.

The same goes for West Brom.

 

GAMEWEEK 23

 

Brighton vs Bournemouth; 2-2

A very entertaining opener to the gameweek – 41 shots between the two teams resulting in four goals made for decent viewing for football fans looking to escape a dire Saturday family night.

On a wet and dreary Brighton night, it was the battle of the pacey wingers – Jordon Ibe (seven shots and five key passes) and Izquierdo (five and two) were huge in attack for their respective sides. Both of the wingers had help doing their jobs though, Izquierdo had Gross (one shot and five key passes) while Ibe had Wilson (five and two), and in a game that was raining shots on goal, neither pair could topple the other and the game ended in a stalemate.

Wilson’s goal was quite fortunate. After a FIFA-esque couple of seconds, where the ball was ping-ponging around in the box, the ball ricocheted off of Wilson’s side, on the edge of the six-yard box, wrong-footing Matt Ryan in goal. I did say a few weeks ago that it was best to avoid the Bournemouth forwards due to the high volume of rotation between the four forwards. Since then, Defoe has gone with a mid-term ankle injury that should last for another 8-10 weeks based off reports. Josh King has also befallen to injury, this one is of the hamstring variety, and he will be “a few weeks away”. Defoe’s injury is the most significant, as when fit, the 35-year old is most likely to feature in the game, one way or another.

With all this in mind, Wilson should be locked in the team for the best part of the next two months, his goal scoring record isn’t too bad, with a goal every 182 minutes, but it’s hard to kick-start any meaningful goal-scoring runs with two cruciate ligament tears in his last two seasons. With many of us looking for an outlet for Calvert-Lewin, Wilson’s price of 5.7m makes for an easy alternative.

Another alternative is Glenn Murray who also found his way onto the score sheet this game, scoring in a goal that was guarded by three defenders and zero goal keepers, after Begovic had come out to meet Izquierdo who had squared the ball for Murray. I really like Murray as an FPL option (even after he backstabbed Palace mid-week in the FA Cup), and if he can consolidate his spot in the starting XI, then I’m all on board. I spoke about Murray in relative depth in the GW15 Review. Brighton’s fixtures are good as well, I’m looking to jump on board!

 

 

 

Burnley vs Liverpool; 1-2

As soon as Salah, Coutinho and Firmino were unnamed in the starting XI (at least Firmino made it onto the bence), it was going to be tough for Liverpool to muster any points away from home, against a Sean Dyche-coached team.

Mané scored his first goal in what seems like forever while the two centre-backs – the unlikeliest of sources – combined for the winner, how timely their participations were with Virgil van Dijk looming large.

With Coutinho’s departure to Spain confirmed in this past week, this means that Mané’s stocks most certainly rise. Other players who could benefit are the Ox and Adam Lallana. Coutinho’s departure means there is an opening in midfield for either of those two players. Both Ox and Lallana started the previous game as the regular starters, Firmino and Salah, were absent. Liverpool’s game against City in GW23 will give us a better indication of who will be entrusted with the starting position. But at the same time Klopp could continue to mess with us and just rotate between the two for the remainder of the season, but it remains to be seen. Ox at 5.6m, with two goals and two assists from seven starts, could be an interesting proposition, but it’s a ‘wait and see’ prospect at the moment.

Firmino should return for Liverpool’s upcoming game against City, but Salah’s return is in doubt. The rampaging winger will be cutting it close with a return this week and a decision won’t be made until the last minute and Klopp isn’t exactly gifting us any news regarding the situation. I’m holding either way, disregarding his role in the upcoming fixture – whether it be starting at the first whistle, from the bench or not at all – because he is simply too valuable to be traded out so easily.

For Burnley, with the majority of their team now in tact once again, and with the absence of Liverpool’s star trio, one could have expected a clean sheet at home this game, but it was not to be. The Clarets horror run of fixtures is almost over, they still have to face the two Manchester sides over the coming weeks, but at least these fixtures can be avoided through rotation. Hold.

 

Leicester vs Huddersfield; 3-0

After a tough tussle in the first-half, Leicester broke the deadlock in the second and then stormed away with the victory without looking back. Mahrez was the orchestrator and the catalyst for the Foxes’ second-half display and has a goal and an assist to show for it, this to go with maximum BP. Albrighton chimed in with a stoppage time sweetener.

After the Liverpool rotation debacle, Claude Puel decided he would make our lives even harder when he rested Jamie Vardy who has a minor groin niggle (he should be fine to return for GW23). In his absence – and Demarai Gray’s – Slimani and Okazaki were awarded starts, with the former taking it in his stride. Slimani was immense in attack for Leicester and played a brilliant ‘hold-up’ game while also being a major threat in attack. This won’t really change much for the time being however, but it’s good to know that he is there when Leicester call on him.

Leicester’s fixtures are still fairly dodgy, three tough away fixtures against some stingy defences and rampant attacks (maybe not so much Everton in the attack department) means the outlook is tough for both the offensive and defensive lines of Leicester. In saying this, their two home fixtures in this period – Watford and Swansea – have enough upside to counter the downside, of the aforementioned away fixtures, that Mahrez and Vardy remain viable options. Demarai Gray at 5.3m also remains a valid rotation/cheap midfielder because of his role in-behind Vardy.

 

Stoke vs Newcastle; 0-1

With chants of “Hughes Out” being sung all around the stadium, it wasn’t hard to gather that Stoke had lost this one, however, Hughes did his part but his players couldn’t finish their chances.

If you pick out any Stoke result, win or draw, since Butland claimed the number one position between the sticks from the start of the 2015/16 season, many of those results could be attributed to Stoke’s young, super-star goal keeper. The Potters had a taste of their own medicine in this game. Karl Darlow was exceptional in goal, making several point-blank saves and some more from longer range, on his way to his second consecutive clean sheet. Not to be outdone, Butland still accumulated his usual extra point from three saves, with five in total, but it wasn’t enough.

An entertaining game with not many FPL relevant players. It’s difficult to pick any of Newcastle’s attackers due to Benitez’s love of rotation while Stoke’s misfiring attack continues to tease us with plenty of enticingly-priced options combined with an unwavering level of inconsistency (yes, you read that right). The good news is that Stoke’s fixtures are quite appealing, so we may see an upturn in goal scoring form. On the other side, Newcastle’s fixtures are very unappealing for the rest of the season, I would be ridding yourself of all of your Newcastle assets, unless you plan on using them in a rotation which is still unadvised considering their rather dubious defensive form throughout the season.

 

Everton vs Manchester United; 0-2

United may have gotten there in the end, but it was tough work. The first half was all back and forth – United would take a long-range pot shot and then Everton would go down the other end and have a shot blocked, it was rinse and repeat. The second-half was all United as Everton barely had a sight at goal.

For the first time this season, United lined up at the first whistle without their star Belgian striker, Lukaku, and in his place Martial started up front in a 4-3-3 formation that made its first appearance this season. Lukaku has been cleared fit to play, so United will – presumably – revert back to their natural 4-2-3-1 formation with Lukaku up top.

Lingard sealed the deal for United in the 81st minute, after Martial had opened the scoring through smartly taken and well-placed right-footed curler into the top corner. Lingard’s incredible strike meant he continued his barnstorming run of form. Buyer beware, the ‘most transferred in player, blanking’ curse is circling – he is the most transferred in player by a long way, will that affect his pre-game preparation? Probably not, but seriously, you can’t go wrong with Jesse at 6.3m. Trips to Burnley and Tottenham, following United’s home fixture against Stoke in GW23, could prove difficult, on paper. Lingard scored two against Burnley just a few gameweeks ago and that was after scoring two against Arsenal, just a few gameweeks prior to that match at Burnley. When someone is in this kind of goal scoring form, the fixture doesn’t matter, but how long will it last?

This was the first of three fixtures against members of the ‘big six’ in a five gameweek period for Everton and we can’t expect too many returns from any of their assets for the remainder of this period. With Allardyce at the helm, we can’t write Everton off defensively. Offensively Everton will be hard pressed to find many goals as they have struggled against stronger opponents in recent times – just one goal against Liverpool, Chelsea and United, combined. What I’m saying is, it’s best advised to avoid any of Everton offensive assets, as you’ll most likely be going on blind faith, this includes the Toffees’ new signing, Cenk Tosun.

I have my reservations regarding Tosun, he has a impressive record for your average striker in the Super Lig – 0.43 goals a game – but it goes without saying that the Super Lig’s standard is much lower than the Premier League’s. His record in the Champions League is much better, four goals and two assists from six games is an impressive record against some of Europe’s best, but then again, Stoke have five Champions League winners in their squad. I’ll still be monitoring Tosun’s progress as he is priced in a bracket that is rather barren of consistent options. Only time will tell if Tosun can do something that many before him, have failed to do, successfully adapt to the PL from the Super Lig.

 

Southampton vs Crystal Palace; 1-2

Crystal Palace ended their festive period with a good, solid win away from home just two days after almost toppling the 2017/18 Champions just two days prior.

A visibly tired and lagging Crystal Palace didn’t pose much of a threat throughout the first-half, and it was just a matter of staying on their feet after a very hectic Christmas period. Their opponents, Southampton, took advantage of this by going ahead in the 16th minute through Shane Long’s first goal in 38 games, across all competitions… And I thought Benteke needed some shooting lessons!

Southampton had 70% of their shots in the first half and 2/3 of their shots on target in the same period, against a fatigued Palace side, this simply wasn’t enough.

The teams came out after the break and it seemed Southampton had been infected by Palace’s fatigued-state, and both teams started out the second-half with no vigour whatsoever, step-up Bakary Sako. Sako’s introduction in the 63rd minute turned the game on its head and ignited a Crystal Palace resurgence. Palace switched to a 4-4-2 to account for Sako, whose reincarnation under Roy Hodgson has seen him turn into a striker, as opposed to a winger.

Throughout Sako’s last 94 minutes on the pitch, spread across 6 appearances, Palace have outscored their opponents 7-1, talk about an impact sub. With Townsend’s injury in the FA Cup this week, Sako is basically guaranteed a spot in the starting XI, after Townsend’s return (“a few weeks away” according to Hodgson) his position is uncertain – will he stay in the XI or return to the bench? Either way, if you’re looking for a cheap midfielder who is playing as a striker over the next few weeks, then Sako is a good option at 4.9m!

 

 

Swansea vs Tottenham; 0-2

The first of the DGW teams, Tottenham, were matched up against cellar dwellers Swansea who came into the game on the back of their second win in their previous 13 games.

On the other hand, Tottenham came into the game on the back of two wins and eight goals from their previous two fixtures, and many were expecting an absolute goal-fest for the Lilywhites and for us FPL managers (most importantly). Before the game started, both groups, FPL managers and – less importantly – Tottenham, were dealt a blow with the golden boot leader, Harry Kane, forced to start the game on the bench due to ‘illness’.

After many had entrusted the Englishman with the armband and some went the full distance, putting their full faith in his ability, by playing their triple captain chip on the striker, the ‘many’ would have been more than disappointed with the outcome. Harry Kane blanked, and he wasn’t the only one, Son followed suite and returned empty-handed from the Liberty Stadium.

Harry Kane’s replacement, Fernando Llorente, made his first start for the London club since crossing the English border, following a transfer from Tottenham’s Welsh opponents, Swansea. Llorente made his mark on the game fairly early, with the opening goal in the 11th minute of the game. I’m still not sure how the goal counted, Llorente was a full stride offside when Eriksen sent in his free-kick, had the goal been disallowed it could have changed the story of the game.

There wasn’t much else that went on in the first-half, Tottenham held back, almost preserving their energy, while Swansea struggled for possession and a way through a sturdy Spurs defence.

The second-half was much different, both teams came out ready to rumble. It was fairly even for the opening 15 minutes of the second-half, but the scales could have been tilted in Swansea’s favour. Bobby Madley had the opportunity to Sanchez off through a second yellow card, after the defender’s reckless challenge in an attempt to win the ball that had just been stolen off him.

Swansea pushed on and created a string of chances to end the match.

Ayew was played through, by Renato Sanches (who has looked much better since his return to the team), and left a trail of Tottenham players in his wake. Hugo Lloris and Eric Dier both found themselves lying on the floor, watching Ayew run past, but the Ghanian interntational then found himself ambushed by Tottenham players just outside the six-yard box, in front of a gaping goal only defended by defenders, with the ball going out for a corner. The ensuing corner-kick resulted in the post saving Tottenham after the ball had rebounded off a Spurs’ defender’s back.

As usual in football – and most sports – if you don’t take your chances, then you are bound to be punished, and punished Swansea were. Tottenham went down the other end just minutes later and scored the sealer. With a bit more Swansea luck, Tottenham could have been clean sheet-less and goalless by the time Alli’s goal came around.

 

 

West Ham vs West Brom; 2-1

The second of our DGW teams took part in this fixture, against a team ranked one position higher than the other DGW team’s opponent, that makes the paltry returns from our DGW players look even worse.

West Brom went ahead mid-way through the first-half after a persistent James McClean had his shot nastily deflected, into the top corner. This was McClean’s first goal for 16 months, that goal was against West Ham. The ‘record’ speaks for itself, McClean is not an option.

Minutes before McClean’s goal, Solomon Rondon had the chance to put West Brom ahead himself. With Adrian miles off his line Rondon decided to try and chip the keeper from a few yards outside the box, but he couldn’t keep his shot down and it landed on the top of the net.

West Ham had the bulk of the better opportunities from then on. Lanzini and Carroll had four each while popular DGW option, Arnautovic, had just two – his lowest game tally when starting under David Moyes. This was most likely because he was relegated to playing as part of a two-member supporting cast behind Andy Carroll, in a 3-4-2-1 formation. If this is to continue, it does decrease his appeal, but I’m holding for the time being.

West Ham’s good run of fixtures isn’t stopping, the defensively weak Watford are the highest ranked team in the Hammer’s next five fixtures, making them tempting enough for me to hold both Masauaku and Arnautovic. Someone else I’m having a look at is Andy Carroll.

Carroll has had his issues – persistent injuries, reported drug use and even on-field stupidity (he was fined two weeks salary for his red card earlier this season), but the man-bun flaunting striker has undeniable talent and is a constant goal scoring threat. Carroll has been an FPL tease his whole career – just when we think his woes are behind him, he’ll go and get injured once more and return to the FPL abyss.

In his three seasons prior to this one, Carroll went at a very respectable 5.12 pp90min (it was hard to gauge his ppg because he made such a vast number of substitute appearances). Over this same period of time, he averaged a goal every 179.8 minutes, Michael Owen, Ian Wright and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all went at over 150 minutes per goal. Of course, Carroll’s numbers are skewed because of the fact he made so many substitute appearances. You can take that from two angles; one: he simply took advantage of a fatigued opponent when he was substituted on, or two: he was good enough to make use of such limited time on the pitch.

Carrol has been fairly deprived of goals – and service – this season, when he has played; ‘when’ being the big issue. Carroll’s aforementioned inconsistencies in his playing time limit his FPL output. If he can stay fit, I see him to be worthy of a shout at a low-risk 5.8m and in a miniscule 0.9% of teams he is a definite POD.

 

Manchester City vs Watford; 2-1

Basically, Watford hadn’t even got a touch of the ball before Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for City and that’s pretty much how it went for the rest of the 90 minutes.

John Stones made his return from injury, making his first appearance for 10 gameweeks. At 5.4m he is a cheap alternative to Otamendi, and he is cheaper for a reason. You won’t be getting many BP’s from Stones and I don’t think you can expect too many goals either (he’s scored one in his four seasons prior to this one). What you can expect is six-point hauls basically every second week, which is a solid return at 5.4m.

Kevin De Bruyne also made his ‘return’ from injury this game. After being stretchered off against Palace as a result of the ‘one of the most reckless tackles you’ll see’, many expected the Belgian to be out for a rather long amount of time, but he returned just two days later for two assists (one was an FPL assist). Still a great option at 10.2m, as are Sterling and Aguero – who is guaranteed starts following the injury to Gabriel Jesus against Palace, who was ironically not stretchered off.

A blip on the radar for Watford, you can’t really take much for a team travelling to the Etihad at the moment.

 

Arsenal vs Chelsea; 2-2

What a game. It was back and forth all game and each side needed their own little piece of luck to get through it. Arsenal seemed to earn their luck while Chelsea were gifted it through the referee.

An enthralling first-half somehow ended 0-0, and as good as it was it didn’t have any goals, but the second period had four of them. Wilshere rattled home the first after an Alvaro Morata deflection landed the ball in the Englishman’s path, but that’s football.

The second came courtesy of a very contentious penalty decision, in fact, I haven’t seen anyone (bar Chelsea fans or Hazard owners) that has said it was a penalty. With both players going for the ball that had bobbled up in the air, it was Hazard who went down in the box, exaggerating the contact by 100-fold and, consequently, winning over the referee. If we think back to just two days prior to this incident, where one Wilfried Zaha won a penalty that actually had merit, I remember ‘pundits’ – and fans alike – were calling for his head, how much are we paying for Hazards? The Belgian went to the spot and coolly slotted home, levelling the scores.

The penalty decision only made for a more interesting game, players from both teams used the atmosphere and the match day events to propel themselves through the game, and Chelsea took the most advantage of this. Marcos Alonso scored for the third time in five gameweeks as he continues to make me a fool for heeding caution after his goal against Southampton in GW18. It’s becoming ridiculous, his position on the field, he is listed as a wing-back but is employed as a striker when Chelsea are in possession, I just know as soon as I bring him in his bandwagon will stall, but his price is rising quickly, very quickly.

Bellerin wasn’t about to let Alonso have all the full-back fun, and in the 91st minute he came through to smash home the equaliser – a first time half-volley off an Alonso clearance, sending the crowd into raptures. Bellerin has a surprisingly high ownership for a defender, sitting at 12.1% currently, and with Arsenal’s run he is still worth your money.

One name I haven’t mentioned yet is Alvaro Morata, mainly because I don’t really want to see the sight of him. I’ve already traded him out of my squad for this gameweek, but he honestly could have had a hat-trick this game. Morata had three big chances and yep, you guessed it, he squandered all three of them. I mean, with Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures, it’s hard to say that he won’t score, but right now he is definitely not worth his money, he made way for Aguero for me.

 

Tottenham vs West Ham; 1-1

Let’s play a game of ‘Who did it better?’. The contenders, Pedro Obiang and Heung Min Son. Contender number one: Pedro Obiang. Contender number two: Heung Min Son. You decide.

But seriously, those two goals turned this from one of the worst games of the season, to one of the best (maybe I wasn’t being so serious, it definitely was not one of the best, but you get my point). I think Obiang’s strike is unmatchable, and unless I’m forgetting something, it’s probably leading the goal of the season award for the PL (cue a Giroud miracle goal against Palace).

Apart from those two unbelievable strikes, this game didn’t produce much else – the FPL returns were minimal and we didn’t get to laugh at Tottenham for losing to West Ham because Son scored a wonder goal.

Kane blanked, Alli blanked, so did Eriksen, and players from both defences ended up with two points each, unless you were fortunate enough to own a defender that scored one, or even better, zero.

After – and pretty much for the whole game before it as well – Obiang’s goal, West Ham sat back and defended, putting nine men behind the ball and hoping for the best. With no Arnautovic or Carroll and only the pacey and evasive Hernandez to lead the lines, it meant that Moyes only went into this fixture with one game plan anyway, and it almost worked.

For Tottenham – and mostly us FPL managers – this was a very disappointing outing. Thankfully, it gets much easier for West Ham, as it does for Tottenham, but just for two games before they encounter a hat-trick of mouth-watering fixtures against United (H), Liverpool (A) and Arsenal (H). What you do with your Spurs players when it comes to those three matches is up to you, but I would advise against owning too many and I only plan to keep Harry Kane. Kane has six in six against Arsenal and four goals and two assists from his six matches against Liverpool, but just one in seven against United (only considering games played in the PL). That’s a decent enough record to say that I should hold our beloved 12.9m forward.

 

After a couple of high-scoring gameweeks, GW22 & 23 brought us right back down to Earth – the averages were more than 20 points lower than the two previous gameweeks and the DGW22 that promised so much, delivered so little.

Here’s to a better gameweek in GW23!

May the FPL Gods show you mercy in your post-festive FPL season.

Jerome’s Review – Gameweek 20

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Image result for tottenham celebration vs burnley

Another huge weekend with plenty of our midfielders firing, but one forward topped the scoring yet again this weekend and many who scored over 100 have that man to thank.

There were a few close and also high-scoring games this Boxing Day, but still nothing like that infamous ‘day after Christmas’ in 1963. Let’s get to it! Read More

Jerome’s Review – Gameweek 19

Reading Time: 11 minutes

That was huge! I scored a meagre 95 for GW19 and only managed a rank of 99, 954 for the week (yes, that was a blatant gloat, I’m not even trying to hide it). After weeks of suggestion to go for a ‘big five’ midfield, our expensive strikers decided it was time to have their say on the matter. Hope you kept Harry Kane! 😊

With the next gameweek upon in us already, it’s straight back into the action tonight! We should – hopefully – be back to normal for GW21! Read More

Jerome’s Review – Gameweek 16

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Did you keep Kane? I hope you did! Harry was the backbone of many green arrows last week, including mine and in a week where not many of the big guns fired, his return to form was much welcomed.

With this hectic Decmber period now upon us, the quick turn around of gameweeks is here with the next round of fixtures beginning in just over 24 hours! So, lets get straight into it. Read More

Gameweek 15 Review

Reading Time: 17 minutes

It’s great to have Jerome back with the reviews! If anyone is still around, that’s loyalty! We run this site out of our love for FPL and it’s all voluntary, so of course when life comes knocking things can get difficult. Personally I haven’t had the drive or passion for FPL lately. Whether that’s because Optus ruined my PL experience or my team just sucks, either way I’m not going to force articles out for the sake of it. Having said that I’m still actively following my team and I’m sure a time will come when I get back to penning some thoughts! For now, enjoy Jerome’s review turned preview… Read More

GW11 Review

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Thanks to Rob Kirby for taking on the GW11 Review in the absence of Jerome.

Good luck with your exams Jerome, looking forward to another monster review after the international break!

Enjoy Rob’s review, a tidy weekend read. I certainly laughed on a few occasions – Liam –
Read More