Can Arsenal’s Aubameyang and Chelsea’s Giroud Hit the Ground Running?

Gameweek 26 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL

Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer

Written by @FantasyGaffer

You may have heard, there is now a podcast as Bang Average as this column; with John, Ryan and Mike talking all formats of #FPL. Go and subscribe, this will still be here when you get back.

The best part about this column is that as they are published exclusively on snapchat, they forever disappear into the ether and I can’t be held accountable for anything I’ve previously written. All ’round good egg Ryan has assured me that the FantasyYIRMA snapchat is a well-regarded publication of record in the fantasy community and that many luminaries such as @AshHints @FPLCheef and @TalkingTogga have resnapped my many insights to their many millions of snapsters. Thanks!

(Ed: I’d like to thank my immediate family and some guy called Dave for following FantasyYIRMA on Snapchat where an average of 15 viewers watch me taking the dog for a walk at the weekends – you can follow HERE)

Defender – Ryan Bertrand, Southampton

The Saints are rocky up top, constantly rotate their midfielder and have questioned their choices between the sticks. Not exactly a hotbed of fantasy value. Bertrand himself has run hot and cold, a far cry from the stable weekly performer he had been over the past two seasons. His 2g 5a 12CS season last year came on the back of 1g 4a 9CS in 2015/16. This year he’s without a goal but has added four assists to 4CS and 4BAPS. Bertrand has just one outing with more than 3pts since he posted 9pts in GW13. That came two weeks ago against Spurs. Saints run of fixtures presents a good chance for cleansheets and he will retain his 90′ every week.

Midfielder – Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

Everything I wrote about Henrikh Mkhitaryan last week is unfortunately lost to the sands of time and snapchat. But that advice still stands against Everton this week. However, excellent midfield match-ups about in the GW26 slate with Kevin De Bruyne due for another big match. Much like Mo Salah, KDB simply does not post blanks – his last consecutive matches without a goal or assist remain GW1-3! Since, he’s been unstoppable including an assist and a clean sheet in 79′ against Burnley. He notched a goal and an assist in the midweek tilt and is unlikely to be rested as Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez are both missing for this match. One’s still injured; one’s still a Fox.

Forward – Olivier Giroud, Chelsea

It’s honestly just weird enough to write that that it justifies this selection. After picking Alvaro Morata last week – he didn’t play, or maybe he did, who can remember – Chelsea were blanked by a rampant Bournemouth side. Watford haven’t won a match since a 2-1 Boxing Day win against Leicester and have kept just one a clean sheet since GW13. It doesn’t matter it was in midweek; it was against Stoke who have been blanked in four of their last five. Giroud might not be fit for 90′, but he’s never needed 90′ to make an impact. The truth is there are better options but for £8.2 you’ll be investing in a player who would rightly be priced £10.0 if he was guaranteed starters minutes.

(ED: Goodbye Olivier… I will miss you ya gorgeous *******)

Captain – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal

Look if you’re bringing in Auba fresh off his transfer from Dortmund, the only sensible thing to do is slap the armband on the man. The 28-year-old had 13g 3a in 1417′ for BvB, averaging better than a goal contribution per 90′. If this Arsenal side is Lacazette with Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan either side, and ahead on Ozil / Ramsey pairing then this team suddenly has a formidable attack. Wenger needs to stop messing about and play all his best players – if you’re letting Alexis, Walcott and Giroud go to bring in starters, that means the ‘starters’ you had need to be pushed to the bench immediately. Looking at you Alex Iwobi.

Outsider – Theo Walcott, Everton

The transfer window was one of the best in recent memory and I was half tempted to only tout recent transfers. Walcott could easily have slotted into the midfielder selection here and he clearly slots into a forward slot for Big Sam. £7.2m, 3.7% selected and have followed his assist against the Baggies with a brace against Leicester – this is the time to get him in. That this is a ‘revenge’ game doesn’t matter as much as the fact that Arsenal just conceded three to Swansea. This match is a 4-3 affair with plenty of attacking points on offer. By the by, Walcott averages a goal every other match for his career (that’s actually 1 goal per 180′ of match time) and there is no reason to think he can’t match that pace down the stretch this season.

Draft – Daniel Sturridge, West Brom

Studge, like Walcott, made the move this winter in a bid to win a place in England’s World Cup side. Both players are electric in attack, with Sturridge stymied by injuries while Walcott couldn’t get a match. To emulate Walcott and secure regular minutes for West Brom, Sturridge likely just needs to maintain health. The duo of Jay Rodriguez (4) and Salomon Rondon (3) have had ample time to produce and failed miserable. Part of the problem is that WBA’s shots per match (10.08) and shots on target per match (3.08) are both in the bottom third of the EPL. For his career, Sturridge has average 4.4 shots per 90′ and scored better than a goal every other match. Buy in now for the next eight matches and hope he can string two healthy months together. Then sell ahead of GW34.



John (aka FantasyGaffer) has been playing fantasy sports for more than a decade.

An avid supporter of Liverpool since the days of the Spice Boys, he has earnestly worn a white suit on multiple occasions. You’ll find his work on fantasy draft site PlayTogga.

Prior to joining Togga, he wrote for EPLIndex,, BackPageFootball and his own site, FantasyGaffer.


Posted on 2 Feb 2018, in gameweek preview and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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