Gameweek 4: Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
The Great British Bake Off is back, The X-Factor starts this weekend and the celebrities in the new season of Strictly Come Dancing have all been revealed. The children are going back to school and the sun has set on Summer 2018.
For this is where the FPL hard work begins. You can almost smell the crowded festive fixture list and your Wildcard overheating on the backburner. You can hear the incandescent rage from other FPL alumni as they discover that the player who shone in GW’s 1 & 2 is suddenly replaced by that summer signing who was in the shadows adjusting to his new surroundings. Their carefully honed strategy based entirely on the ‘patterns’ of the first two GW’s are rendered meaningless and foolhardy.
Remember kids – Two is not a pattern, or a trend. It’s too short to be either. Your ‘strategy’ is actually a knee-jerk reaction.
Now, let’s get down to business, shall we?
Defender: Seamus Coleman, Everton
We are in the midst of a FPL revolution right now, and if you haven’t noticed it you’re already falling behind. Where once we cherished and worshiped those FPL defenders who racked up clean sheet after clean sheet, now we realise that clean sheets are but a paltry bonus should they happen to come our way.
There is an array of modern FPL defenders who spend most of their time further up the pitch than most midfielders, and their points scoring records reflect that:
Three of the top five scoring players in all of FPL this season are ‘defenders’, and if you don’t have five attacking wing-backs / full-backs in your squad, you’re doomed.
One of the old-school original attacking full-backs is Seamus Coleman, who has fought his way back to fitness from a horrific leg-break and has shown signs of his old effervescent self, particularly away at Bournemouth last week. With a home game against a toothless Huddersfield Town team this weekend, Seamus could well stumble upon a clean sheet, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pop up with an assist or goal either.
Midfielder: Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal (to be read in a Welsh accent)
With Mesut Ozil suffering from ‘Sulkingitis’ and Aaron Ramsey fresh off the back of his first full 90 minutes of the season, the 1.1% owned Welshman looks to be a real prospect this weekend as he returns to the land of his fathers to take on Cardiff City. While Arsenal have ‘issues’ in keeping teams out, one look at their squad tells you that attack may well be their best form of defence, and with Ramsey pushed on supporting Aubameyang, Lacazette or Mkhitaryan I can see Aaron kicking more points than Neil Jenkins at the Arms Park this weekend (that’s an egg-chasing reference if you’re baffled).
Forward: Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace
With two goals in three appearances so far, you must think that this Eagle is about to really take off, and it seems that almost a third of you agree, with an ownership over 32%. With the cost of owning Salah and Aguero/Kane, getting your mid-price striker choice right is vital. A home game to Southampton who have conceded four in their last two games could see Zaha get his talons stuck into the South Coast club and really ruffle their feathers. Hopefully we’ll see his shots nestle in the back of the Saints net this weekend. I’m all out of ornithology references so I’ll stop now.
Captain: Benjamin Mendy, Manchester City
If you have just recoiled in horror at the thought of Captaining a defender, then you clearly haven’t read my piece on tipping Seamus Coleman, and you’ve skipped ahead to get a quick Captain’s tip.
I spend over 15 full minutes a week slaving over this preview, the least you can do is read the results of my half-arsed efforts.
Anyway, back to Benjamin Mendy who has a home game against a Newcastle side who went ‘full-Rafa’ last week and looked to thrive on 10% possession, at home, against Chelsea. Has a side ever had a possession stat less than 10% in a full 90 minutes of Premier League action? We may see it this weekend, which makes the likelihood of a clean sheet for Mendy a veritable banker, and if/when City break down the Toon Army rear guard, he’s very likely to be involved.
Note: Terms and Conditions apply. This preview column is regulated by FantasyYIRMA and subject to the usual Pep Roulette rules.
Outsider: Helder Costa, Wolverhampton Wanderers
I liked the cut of his jib last week as he tormented Manchester City and forced Vincent Kompany into a ‘Gary Neville away at West Brom’ type of performance.
West Ham are the type of club who players and fans look forward to playing against right now, and this Wolves team should feel the same. Helder doesn’t Costa lot and has an ownership under 1%. All aboard!
Draft: Theo Walcott, Everton
With Richarlison out for the next few games then the attacking focus will fall on Theo James Walcott, playing up front in a free-scoring Everton team, and with home games against Huddersfield, West Ham and Fulham on the horizon. Draft? Blow me over, it’s a virtual hurricane mate.
Written by Niall Hawthorne.