Gameweek 10: #FPL Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
Regular readers of this column may be aware that @FantasyYIRMA has been nominated for two awards at this week’s @BlogAwardsIE event in Dublin, and that yours truly is representing this blog at the event (and I will NOT be dressed as Cat woman, contrary to many scurrilous rumours circulating on social media). (ED: BOO!!!) In fact, it’s likely that by the time you read these words, this ‘unique’ blog will either be celebrating or drowning its sorrows (and to be fair it’ll be hard to tell the difference).
Rest assured dear readers that if we are celebrating on Thursday night I shall be claiming all the credit, while defeat will be laid squarely at the feet of @FantasyYIRMA for what will then be proven to be his quite dubious recruitment process.
Irrespective of the result however it feels like an apt moment to thank you, dear readers, for reading this blog. The wisdom, knowledge and outright guesses of many outrageously talented FPL writers have adorned these pages long before I, and hopefully they have helped you on your FPL odysseys. Stick with us though, for there are many more FPL adventures yet to be explored!
Defender: Shane Duffy, Brighton and Hove Albion
The Republic of Ireland stalwart is coming off the back of two clean sheets in a row, and faces a talented yet not exactly prolific Wolves side this weekend at The Amex Stadium. Brighton are the definitive ‘difficult to beat’ team, particularly at home, and will target the Wolves match as a real opportunity to push on with their recent good form. Throw into the mix Duffy’s prowess from set pieces which have yielded two goals and two assists this season and you have yourself a reasonable clean sheet opportunity with a cheeky attacking threat too. A price tag of £4.5m and an ownership of under 5% makes Shane the most attractive Duffy since Patrick stepped out of the shower in Southfork.
Midfielder: Mesut Ozil, Arsenal
One of the overriding impressions I had of the Arsenal squad in the dying days of Arsene Wenger’s reign was that they were too ‘nice’. They didn’t seem to have any edge about them, no hardman sh*thouse in midfield who would let you know he was about (Xhaka’s hilarious attempts at tackling and his Ronald McDonald-esque infatuation with yellow and red cards doesn’t count). They also seemed to lack players who had a point to prove, and god knows they had a few players in the squad who had people pointing and whispering about them.
However, the arrival of Unai Emery and an interesting summer of finger-pointing, photographs and debate on national identity surrounding Mesut Ozil certainly seems to have fired up the German midfield maestro this season, and his performances look like those of a man with a point to prove.
The greatest (and perhaps only) criticism of Ozil was that he seemed too relaxed and lacking motivation. If the fire in his belly has been stoked, then the rest of the Premier League had better watch out. There’s no doubting his ability, and with one of the most potent forward lines in Europe ahead of him, there’s really no limit to what Ozil can achieve this season. Three double-digit FPL hauls in his last four appearances featuring three goals and an assist should grab your attention. He’s owned by under 5% of players and is a mid-priced midfield option.
I’m half expecting a Harvey Norman advert to be screaming about the ‘Ozil Bargains’ this October. Get him while he’s hot!
Forward: Josh King, Bournemouth
Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt notice that I tipped Callum Wilson in this slot last week and he promptly led his side to a 0-0 stalemate against Southampton. However, I do still believe in the Bournemouth forward line, particularly when they face the worst defence in the Premier League this season (and on course to be the worst defence in the history of the Premier League statistically).
This is a Bournemouth forward line that went to Watford and plundered four goals. This week they travel to Craven Cottage, and a striker with under 5% ownership has got my attention like I’d been slapped in the face by that orange Tango man. There’s no way Fulham are going to suddenly learn to shut-up shop (if they knew how to do that, they’d have done it by now) and in fact I reckon they’ll see the Bournemouth defence as their best chance of getting a result, so I’d expect them to be even more attacking than usual.
This could mean a field day for King and Wilson at the Cottage, so take your choice of which striker you want, but if you’re looking for a differential, all hail the King.
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Captain: Sadio Mane, Liverpool
Liverpool are at home to Cardiff City.
Yeah, we’re all triple-owning Liverpool players this week, right? You’ve got to have a defender in there for the probable clean sheet, and then you’re looking at this game to be when that forward line finally sparks into life. You don’t want to be the FPL player who missed that boat, do you?
Therefore, you’re looking at either Salah or Mane as your captain this week. Salah’s price bracket means that only those who have actively planned to have him (or stuck with him since GW1) have the option of captaining him, so if you’re one of those without that luxury then Sadio Mane is your man. He’s got four goals to his name already this season, and while he hasn’t registered anything in his last four appearances, three of those were against Spurs, City and Chelsea, so this should be taken into account. Three of his goals came at home to West Ham and Brighton, which seem to be very similar (in fact almost certainly harder) games than this weekend’s clash with the Bluebirds.
He’s now back training following his hand injury so for me it’s thumbs up to Sadio, he’s a cast-iron certainty to lead your team this week.
Outsider: Andre Schurrle, Fulham
Four goals already for the German playing in a very advanced midfield role for a side whose best form of defence at the moment is attack. As previously outlined above, Fulham face Bournemouth at home who themselves are not exactly rock-solid at the back. Slavisa Jokanovic is rumoured to have two games left to save his job, and he doesn’t look like the kind of guy who will meekly make his exit following a drab capitulation. If he’s going down, he’s going down swinging, and that means Fulham are going for it this weekend.
If you’re thinking “Schurrle? You can’t be serious?” I am serious, and don’t call me Schurrle.
Draft: Francisco ‘Kiko’ Femenia Far, Watford
Injury problems in defence for Watford have seen Kiko Femenia given his chance in the last couple of fixtures, and while the less said about GW8 the better, his clean sheet performance away to Wolves may cement his place in the defence for the next few weeks at least. Watford face Huddersfield, Southampton and Newcastle over the next three weeks, which is like finding yourself in a gun-fight against someone with a water-pistol. You might just get a kick out of Kiko.
Written by Niall Hawthorne.
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