While Arsenal parked Chelsea’s bus – Mirallas hides behind it!

The Monday Night game. That Monday Night game. Bonus points for Baird, Stones (2) and Jagielka (3). Oh, and this:

I’d be willing to wager 18.3% of fantasy premier league players reacted similarly. It isn’t just that Mirallas missed the spot kick, but that he took it at all. As noted just shy of everywhere, Leighton Baines excels and was on the pitch at the time.

Baines owners earned a minor respite as the defender did see six points on the strength of a clean sheet – Everton’s first after eleven on the spin conceding. While the match itself was perhaps the worst of the season, it epitomized a weekend which saw any number of prime FPL players fail to deliver despite the opportunity presenting itself quite clearly.

At the Etihad, Manchester City dominated possession – with 64.8% of possession, completing 531 passes to Arsenal’s 273, making 201 final third passes to the Gunners’ 108 and taking 12 shots to the visitor’s nine. Of course, the final score was 0-2 and a returning Sergio Aguero managed just three shots, with one on target. Ahead of the matchup, Kun saw 187043 net transfers and his price jumped £o.2m to £12.5. Now selected in 15.6% of all FPL sides, Aguero delivered a single point as he was booked on 86′, adding further insult to injury.

It was a similar story for FPL managers who’ve invested in the Red half of Manchester. With United’s Robin van Persie scheduled to miss out with an ankle knock, it looked to be a return to the starting XI for Falcao and a return to the tip of the spear for Wayne Rooney. Both men did indeed line-up in Louis van Gaal’s side to start. Joined by Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Daley Blind and Angel di Maria, the Dutch manager had a reasonable facsimile of his best XI. Fantasy managers eyes rolled back in their head at the thought of that side attacking a QPR defence which had allowed 21 goals at home entering play Saturday. And it was a 58′ goal for substitute Maroune Fellaini and a stoppage time goal for James Wilson which saw the Red Devils through. Rooney (2), Falcao (2), di Maria (3) and Mata (0) combined for seven FPL points.

All this does make GW22 sound like a dire affair. It was, of course, a weekend of highs and lows, with the highest highs registered by perennial top-scorers Diego Costa and Dwight Gayle. Both men went for 16pts on the strength of a brace, an assist and three bonus points. While Costa’s raised his tally to 17 goals and 119 FPL points to date, Gayle’s brace were his fourth and fifth of the term. His 16 points were easily the best return of his season. The Eagles’ striker has gone for 12 (GW8), 8 (GW21) and 16 (GW22) while managing to score a scant 18 points across the rest of his season. In fact, 10 times this season Gayle has gone for 1pt. 26 places ahead of Gayle in the forward’s total points table, Diego Costa further distanced himself from the chasing pack as his club did the same.

Chelsea now boasts a five point lead in the League, the top goal scorer (Costa, 17), top assist creator (Fabregas, 15), the top two defenders in total FPL score (Ivanovic, 112; Terry, 108) and the second and third highest scoring midfielders (Hazard, 131; Fabregas 120) behind only Alexis Sanchez (140pts). This is a side which has benefited from consistent lineups, minimal squad rotation due to injury, fixture congestion or international commitment and who head into a Carling Cup semi-final clash with Liverpool with a single notable injury – César Azpilicueta. Chelsea head into the 31 January clash with Manchester City knowing that a win will open an eight-point lead at the top of the table ahead of a four-match span which see’s Jose Mouinho’s squad play: Aston Villa (a), Everton (H), Burnley (H) and Leicester (a).

The easy schedule means that whatever edge can be gained by adding members of the Chelsea team must be taken with a grain of salt. This is the most heavily owned Premier League club in fantasy. Costa (59.8%) is the most highly owned player while Fabregas (42%) and Hazard (33.3%) are 2nd and 4th amoung midfielders while Ivanovic (23.8%) and Terry (17.7%) are 3rd and 6th amoung defenders. There are two players which may still qualify as a differential: Oscar and Filipe Luis. The young Brazilian midfielder is a mercurial talent and can be frustrating to own in FPL. His £8.3m pricetag is quite low given his returns. Only 5.6% of FPL managers own him today and he had seen five consecutive weeks of negative net transfers.

Oscar is likely the more attractive of this duo to own, but the older Brazilian could be a short-term add if Azpilicueta fails to regain his pace in the side based solely on his £5.3m price. That is very low given the potential returns; Chelsea must be considered the best odds to return multiple clean sheets during the four-match run noted above. If you have only one spot for a Chelsea player, make it Oscar, but if you’re using your wildcard in the coming days with an eye to low-cost defensive acquisitions you could do worse than using Luis as your third of fourth defender.

For more insight into differential plays, please read FPL Substitutions to Make for GW23. Looking for a new FPL experience? Togga: Fantasy Premier League Draft is still starting new leagues daily. Join for free, play for free, create private leagues and compete with a 100% unique side during the run-in to the League title. Use this link to earn £ for FantasyYIRMA! It’s free for you – funds for us – fun for all. That’s quality alliteration.

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Posted on January 21, 2015, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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