#FPL Gameweek 12 Preview
You can also listen to Craig, Tom and Ash on their Fantasy Football Podcast – The Gaffer Tapes
DEFENDER: Virgil Van Dijk, Southampton
It seems to be injury time of year. FPL favourites Bellerin, Darmian, Shaw, and even big Phil Jagielka have all fallen by the wayside (Bellerin still rated doubtful) and so it is times like these you need to turn to a Mr. Reliable. Every George Michael needs an Andrew Ridgeley and my own personal dependable defender this season has been Virgil Van Dijk. Firstly, let’s comment me for mentioning the word ‘Dijk’ and George Michael in the same sentence without making a joke about sexuality. Secondly, let me give you some actually fascinating insight. Chris Smalling is this season’s top performing defender with 56 points, costing 6.5m but a massive 23% picked. Virgil currently has 36 points, at a cheaper 5.6m and is 2.7% selected. Here’s the big reveal! Van Dijk has only been in the Premier League for a total of 7 games, to Smalling’s 11 this season meaning that VVD actually has the best games to points ratio in the entire league at 5.1 to Chris’ 5.0. You’re welcome.
MIDFIELDER: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
If you’re fed up of your mates reliance on Mahrez, like myself, you will have found the midfield category a minefield outwith Payet, Mahrez and to a lesser extent Ayew in the earlier weeks. If you’re looking for a riskier tip then Matt Ritchie is only 1.5% picked and has a home tie against sorry Newcastle. He is certainly capable of goals. Also, the other week I tipped Dele Alli as an outrageous value option, under 5m and under 1% picked for an England international. He duly delivered against Villa at the weekend. However, I’m tempted by Raheem Sterling to take on some of the goalscoring burden against Villa. New manager or not, it’s a tough task for them and I think either Sterling or Toure will run riot.
FORWARD: Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
Right now, I think everyone has a combination of Lukaku, Vardy, Pelle, Giroud and maybe Kane in their front 3. It’s a frightening prospect to look elsewhere given how prolific some of them are being. As I mentioned last week, Arsenal have a fantastic run of games after the North London derby and even then I don’t think they’ll struggle. With Walcott out injured and Giroud as persistent as ‘Rudy Rudiger’ in proving people wrong I think he is well worth having in your side. He was scoring goals when he only got 15 minutes on the pitch and a deft overhead volley against Bayern won’t have dented his confidence. Plus…..you know……he looks so bloody lovely.
CAPTAIN: Graziano Pelle, Southampton
My captaincy choice this week is kind of two fold. Obviously co-management doesn’t work, as proved by Gerard Houllier and Roy Evans so it’s up to you to pick one. Graziano Pelle, as previously mentioned is looking great, in every sense, and is playing Sunderland, who are excellent at playing the role of that school that played three kids from the year below, a keeper with no gloves and a ref that stopped the game afte 60 minutes to spare feelings. If you’re feeling daring and want to spring a surprise then Christian Benteke looks like he is gagging to start under Jurgen Klopp. He has made two cameos in two weeks and got two goals. Palace at home represents a real opportunity to play him from the start. There’s no chance of him playing 90 but 60 minutes of Benteke is better than 180 of Origi and with no fit recognised strikers, he could add to his tally.
OUTSIDER: Mamadou Sakho, Liverpool
Earlier in the season I hailed Chris Smalling as the new media darling of English football and poster for for defenders. Let’s not beat around the bush. I was right. LVG can’t remember his first name but he seems to have done something to Big Chris’ game. Over at Liverpool, Klopp is having a similar effect on a much maligned centre half. Mamadou Sakho all of a sudden looks mercurial carrying the ball out for Liverpool and has been a bad finish away from a couple of assists of late. Liverpool aren’t leaking many goals and Sakho is clearly Jurgen’s number one pick at the back. He hasn’t got many points so far but he comes in at 4.8m and I think he could start to rack them up as Liverpool continue to grow.
Craig Hazell is a television professional, writer and Heart of Midlothian fan who makes up one third of the popular FPL podcast The Gaffer Tapes. As a student, Craig won the BBC Sports Broadcaster and Comedy Broadcaster of the year, before going onto to be a regular on the London open mic comedy circuit. He now writes about anything from TV & Movies, to food and of course football, providing he can shoehorn a 90s pop culture reference into just about anything.