Lineups from 3PM
Manchester United: DeGea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Herrera, Martial, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Zlatan
Subs: Romero, Blind, Smalling, Rooney, Mata, Fellaini, Rashford
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Can, Winaldum, Lallana, Firmino, Origi
Subs: Karius, Gomez, Moreno, Stewart, Coutino, Sturridge, Ejaria
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Written by @CraigHazell – (that’s important!)
DEFENDER: Leighton Baines, EVERTON
He’s been a big talking point on this week’s GafferTapes and it’s not for his lego head haircut or his arctic monkeys looking nose but for being the most in form defender in the game. It’s Leighton Baines!
Leighton has come full circle in recent years. He was a normal haired FPL standout for three years, as he commanded the England left back slot. He struggled with the odd injury and grew his hair out, lost his England shirt but still clocked decent points. Then, he struggled to string together consistent performances, turned into a long greasy haired weirdo and was under 1% picked. Now, he’s back and even has his penalty duties back and that’s what we all want right? A left back who takes penalties.
God bless Denis Irwin. His last game against Southampton was the best of his FPL season so far and although Everton have City in the worst branded TV sports event of the year, as a set piece taker and a pretty unpredictable fixture he still makes sense as your new defender.
MIDFIELDER: Dele Alli, Tottenham
I’ll be honest, you don’t need a fantasy football blogger to tell you this one. Unless you’re the most hipster anti-conformist goth alternative player ever created, you’ll be looking for a way to include Dele Alli in your next team draft, before the wildcard if possible.
He has an astonishing 44 points in his last 3 weeks and due to his early season anonymity he is actually only 18% picked. A tough early kick off game against WBA beckons, but Spurs are feeling good after taking apart Chelsea last time out and you could have yourself 15 points by 2pm Saturday.
FORWARD: Olivier Giroud
Weirdly, the percentage of women on earth who wouldn’t sleep with Olivier Giroud is the same as his picked percentage currently, 5.6%. He has played 90 minutes 3 times on the bounce and has a goal in each, not to mention 2 assists against Bournemouth as he dragged Arsenal kicking and screaming back into the match.
His face never fit with Arsenal fans as much as it did in literally any human’s lap and in my opinion he has never really had the respect he deserves.
His goal return is excellent, his work ethic is beyond question and the fact he just isn’t who some Gunners want him to be has limited both his opportunity and probably confidence at times. Let’s not forget, he has played with almost constant speculation of finding a replacement for him who is ‘just better’.
But then what do Arsenal fans know? They stitch together half and half shirts and release raps.
CAPTAIN: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland
Everything logical tells me I should be captaining Alexis Sanchez. Swansea have been one of the two poorest teams in the league all year and Sanchez is the best midfielder in the game.
However, I am putting the armband on Jermain Defoe against Stoke at home. This isn’t an advice moment, I am just telling you exactly what I am doing. For a Sunderland player worth £7.8m to be the third top striker in the game is absolutely incredible given the Kane, Aguero, Costa, Ibra, Lukaku competition surrounding him.
Yet, he has been more consistent than almost all of them and of all those others, he is the most important to his team. Quite simply, Sunderland without Defoe would just be derland. As in, you’re taking their sun away from them. As in, it’s what they need to survive, like the sun is really important to us. Like, the sun in the sky.
Ok, I didn’t think through that wordplay but just captain Defoe. Or don’t. Whatever.
(Ed: Puts the Light in the Stadium of Light… but y’know.. whatever…)
OUTSIDER: Pedro, Chelsea
Bit of a risky one this but if you fancy Chelsea to get a result against Leicester then Pedro at 3.2% picked could be a shrewd bit of business. It’s so hard to tell if he is going to feature with 90 minutes one week and nothing the next but I feel like they might want his direct running against centre halves who, well who can’t really run much. I thought his Premier League career might be over before it started last year and would never have envisaged a scenario where Willian is getting less than 80 minutes per match but Pedro has sporadically been great this year and it’s just about guessing when he will perform. He’s a classic pre wildcard pick. You put him in, he does well/not well and you wildcard right away afterwards and banish him and never see him again like a cruel ex or a VHS player.