Manchester United, Huddersfield and the Fantasy Christmas Grinch

Gameweek 14: #FPL Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne


Ho! Ho! Holy crap, it’s still November and I’m fed up to the back teeth with all this ‘Christmas’ malarkey already. If it’s not nine generations of Elton John singing the same song, it’s an articulated lorry full of teeth-rotting, diabetes causing fizzy pop driving way too fast in tricky winter driving conditions through a small town.

The final straw was Sky Sports advertising games this weekend as ‘Festive Football’. Squeeze me? Baking powder? ‘Festive Football’ starts on Boxing Day, and ends on Boxing Day. That’s why games are played on Boxing day for the love of f*ck. When all the family are together for Christmas, and you’ve eaten your own body weight in After Eights, you get up the next day to watch a football match that the FA kindly decided to put on for you and yours. Games on November 30th are as much ‘Festive Football’ as games on January 19th. Both dates are equidistant from December 25th, and I don’t care how good the Sky Sports marketing team are, they can’t convince me that Cardiff v Wolves this Friday night is ‘Festive’. Hell, I’m doubtful they can convince me it’s actually ‘Football’.

Anyway, rant over, and onto the Preview for GW14…WHICH STARTS ON FRIDAY NIGHT THIS WEEK!!!

Bah Humbug YIRMA


Defender: Christopher Schindler, Huddersfield Town

No, I haven’t hit the eggnog early, no matter how many times the M&S lady purrs at me to do so. The Terriers seem to have turned a corner in recent weeks with two wins and seven points from their last three games. They’ve also kept two clean sheets in that run, and this week they face a Brighton team that are abject away from the Amex. Five defeats on the road for Brighton already this season including losses to Cardiff City and Everton, which is frankly pathetic.

Christopher Schindler has 21 points in his last three GW’s including an assist and four bonus points. That’s why this week Schindler makes my list.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley, Chelsea

A wee bit of a tactical punt this week but hear me out.

It appears that after a grand total of 13 matches, ‘Sarri-ball’ has been found out. The Premier League were caught two seasons ago by a Chelsea tactical stroke when they switched to three at the back and ran away with the title, but once bitten twice shy as they say, so the Blues’ PL opponents weren’t going to let that happen again. If you swarm Jorginho and pray to Allah, Buddha, God and SpongeBob that Morata starts up front against you, you nullify ‘Sari-ball’.

Therefore Mr. Sarri has a dilemma on his hands, which I think he’ll resolve by dropping Morata like a sack of spuds and re-jigging his midfield to incorporate one Ross Reginald Barkley behind the dreamy Olivier Giroud and alongside the enigmatic Eden Hazard and Will.I.An in a 4-2-3-1 formation that will allow Kante to do what Kante does best, and protect Jorginho from those nasty opponents tackling him.

They face Fulham at home and while the Tinkerman would love to get one over his old club, last week showed that the Cottagers defensive woes can’t be resolved quickly, so expect ‘Sarri-ball’ to make them feel ‘terri-ble’.

I’ll get my coat.


Forward: Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United

I’m afraid I’ll have to be the one to point out that standards have dropped in FantasyYIRMA towers, considering Lukaku last netted in GW5 and we’ve had eight, count them EIGHT, whopping GW’s without ‘Lukaku-Watch’.

This has been a waste of huge tragi-comedic potential by someone who shall remain nameless (but you all know who Ryan is anyway).

I only highlight this failure of content generation as it is going to be GW14 when Romelu Lukaku starts scoring again. He’s helped by the fact that he’s facing a Southampton side that are as inspirational and energetic as The Governess Anne Hegarty in a heptathlon, led as they are by Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes, a nickname so inappropriate that it should be outlawed immediately.

This is the Saturday 5.30pm kick-off between two of the most insipid teams the Premier League has perhaps ever offered up to us, and I include Swindon Town of 93/94 vintage in that category. However, FPL points don’t care about such things, so pick Lukaku and spend your Saturday night doing something just as entertaining as watching the match. I recommend re-watching all twelve drawn matches in the recent World Chess Championships. In slow motion. While heavily sedated.


Captain: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City


The obvious choice is Sergio Aguero who is playing at home where he’s bagged 7 goals and 6 assists in 7 games, but life is short (unless you’re watching Southampton v Manchester United in which case you’ll feel that time has actually stopped), so I’m plumping for Raheem Sterling.

Now some of you might snark that this isn’t really a ‘risky’ shout, and that he’s the top scoring player in FPL, and that it’s actually a pretty sodding obvious choice. To which I’ll reply, ‘SO WHY ARE LESS THAN 15% OF FPL PLAYERS PICKING HIM THEN, EH?’.



Outsider: Salomon Rondon, Newcastle United

This week I’m going for a striker that has scored two goals in his last home game, and is facing a West Ham team that wouldn’t know a clean sheet if they were stood in a toga party in Ancient Rome.

Rafa Benitez is working his magic once more and guiding Newcastle United to the safety of mid-table and I reckon Rondon will fire Rafa’s black and white army to another three points this weekend.


Draft: Stuart Armstrong, Southampton

Because nobody else will have him.

No, seriously, just check.


Not even his own family.


Written by Niall Hawthorne.

Drop Niall a follow on twitter. Good thing about Twitter – you can always unfollow again later!


Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof


Posted on 30 Nov 2018, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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