Gameweek 16: #FPL Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
Another preview? But…I just finished writing the GW15 preview twenty minutes ago, and the GW14 preview half an hour before that! We’ve gone from the tedium of the international breaks to the helter-skelter of three FPL Game weeks in a week!
You know what? I love it. Time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the guru from the spoofer, the YIRMA from the Yer Da. Bring it on!
Defender: Trent Alexander Arnold, Liverpool
For every man’s misfortune springs another man’s opportunity, and the unfortunate leg fracture suffered by Joe Gomez at Turf Moor clears the way for an uninterrupted stint in the Premier League’s best defence for young TAA.
While Trent has made plenty of appearances thus far, Jurgen has been willing to rest him on occasion, but the injury to Gomez leaves the German with a choice between Alexander-Arnold and Nathaniel Clyne, which is akin to a choice between a three Michelin star restaurant and your local chippy.
I normally seek the defender most likely to keep a clean sheet every week but seeing as nobody could be arsed to do so last week, it’s now time to keep an eye on those capable of throwing assists and goals into the mix. TAA has superb set piece delivery in his arsenal, with a goal and two assists to his name already. He’s also in a cut-throat competition with Andy Robertson for most goals/assists for the season, and that can only spur him on to greater things.
A trip to The Vitality Stadium this Saturday lunchtime could bring anything, but most likely a start, and from that anything goes…
Midfield: Christian Eriksen, Tottenham Hotspur
An attendance of an eyebrow-raising 33,000 fans at Wembley Stadium midweek raised plenty of questions around the wisdom of Spurs investing in a huge new home stadium which is so overdue and overbudget that Kevin Macleod has been served with a restraining order against the actual building itself. Apparently, Wembley Stadium is a bit awks to get to, and let’s face it, as soon as it’s a bit awkward to go and support your team, most of us would sack it off, right? Hmmm…
Anyway, those that did bother their arse to turn up saw Christian Eriksen provide his fourth assist in his last three appearances, as he finally recaptures form after his slow start to the season caused by his exertions in Russia and his worry over deportation after Brexit.
With a very favourable run of fixtures ahead of him (Manchester United at Wembley is their ‘toughest’ fixture between now and Feb 23rd. Stop giggling), now is the time to seriously consider Eriksen as your locked and loaded midfield cannon.
Next on that favourable fixture list is a trip to face Leicester City, which should hold few fears for Spurs as they seek to eradicate the memory of their recent North London mauling. Time for Eriksen to bring home the (Danish) bacon.
Forward: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
In the modern age of instant communication, things work very differently compared to the days of yore. A single deranged tweet from an orange buffoon in the White House can cause the stock market to swing up or down in value by billions of dollars. Similarly, a rant or four by a Sky Sports pundit during a wild Merseyside derby can influence the thought process of thousands of FPL players.
Roberto Firmino didn’t have his best night against Everton, but in FPL terms he’s racked up two goals and an assist in his last three appearances and has the exact same form rating as a certain Mo Salah, who many are still placing all their trust in as their Captain, let alone just in their team.
Having been rested from the start against Burnley, he scored with his first touch off the bench, and is surely ready to start against Bournemouth this weekend alongside at least one of his usual three amigo mates. Another goal and he won’t be the first Bobby to step out of the shower and make everyone wonder whether it was all just a dream.
Captain: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal
Ten goals. Three assists. Huddersfield at home. Arsenal have forgotten how to lose.
I don’t always have to drone on in my inimitably unfunny way.
Outsider: Lucas Perez, West Ham United
This selection is not the ‘knee-jerk’ reaction that it looks like, honest. It’s really in response to the incredibly kind fixture list facing West Ham over the next number of weeks, where many of us had Arnautovic locked in and ready to reap the rewards. Alas the FPL gods have a wicked sense of humour, which I particularly enjoyed when Arnie hobbled off injured after a 30-minute cameo featuring a yellow card to earn a whopping zero points, followed by Perez springing off the bench to notch twice.
The potential threat to this plan is the return to fitness of Andy Carroll, but that won’t last longer than a week, so Perez with an ownership of just 0.3% is the quintessential outsider punt.
Draft: Florin Andone, Brighton and Hove Albion
As I tried to type his name, my computer auto-corrected it to ‘And One’, which made me think of Jim Bowen and Bullseye.
If you can get Andone and don’t follow my advice, someone will be only too glad to point out to you what you could have won. It’s going to be loads of FPL points, but it could just be that speedboat they kept offering to people from the midlands.
Written by Niall Hawthorne.