Fantasy Football – Gameweek 22 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
This is the 250th consecutive Gameweek Preview for FantasyYIRMA going all the way back till 2012. Many thanks to all of the regular writers of the preview namely @Mark_Jones86, @CraigHazell and current writer @NiallHawthorne.
Now on to Niall’s Party Political Broadcast…. sorry… FPL Preview…
Thanks and Happy New Year for 2019!
As 2018 disappears into the distance behind us we focus on 2019 looming large ahead of us, and wonder what the New Year may bring. As this is a forward-thinking column, I thought I’d try my hand at predictions for 2019 outside of the FPL bubble. (ED: Here we go)
On March 29th, Theresa May will stand in front of the House of Commons to deliver a landmark speech. The House will have witnessed scenes of utter chaos for the past 8 weeks and will now resemble a hillbilly diner in the deep South after the locals spent the night on moonshine. She’ll concede that Brexit is cancelled and then rip off her face to reveal that she was in fact Vladimir Putin all along. He/She will be dragged to the Tower of London mumbling about getting away with it without pesky kids. (ED: Brexit – Check)
On May 12th Donald Trump will visit the Mexican border, still moaning about the lack of a wall, with the US Government now in shutdown for 5 months. In a final bid to get what he wants, he dons goalkeeper gloves and barks orders at his supporters to form a wall in front of him. 10,535,862 people form a defensive wall along the border. Nancy Pelosi still sticks a free kick into the top corner. (ED: Trump – Check)
Finally, on November 23rd, Manchester City will beat Manchester United 32-0 in what was billed by Sky Sports as a ‘Title Decider’. Aguero gets 12, Ronaldo gets 11, Mbappe gets 6 and Phil Foden makes a 90 second cameo off the bench to prove he really is the next English footballing messiah. The Premier League award the trophy to Pep Guardiola immediately after the match and cancel the remainder of the league season, because really, what’s the bloody point?
(ED: OK Folks – I think it’s back to football)
Now onto GW22 predictions!
Defender: Neil Etheridge, Cardiff City
Lower that eyebrow soldier!
Three clean sheets in his last six games, which have delivered 37 points, including 8 bonus points. A home game to Huddersfield next on the horizon, whose scoring form over the last 8 GW’s has been positively binary – 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1.
He also has a handy knack of saving penalties (three this season!), and if you’re one of those who are tempted or have activated your wildcard, he could really help free up some valuable money for the rest of your squad.
Midfielder: Leroy Sane, Manchester City
Manchester City face the first team to take points off them this season when they welcome Wolves to the Etihad Stadium as they try and hunt down leaders Liverpool at the top of the table. When the Wanderers held City at Molineux, Leroy was summoned off the bench for just 13 minutes of action, and my theory is that Pep doesn’t make the same mistake very often, so I expect him to try and expose the back three / wingback system of Wolves by playing Sane / Sterling high and wide to get in behind and peg back the Wolves wingbacks.
Sane is in form after scoring the winner against Liverpool and setting up two goals in his 60’ run out in the Carabao Cup semi-final when City sent Albion for a Burton. Oof.
Forward: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City
That Claude Puel is a bit of a daredevil, isn’t he?
He’s not content with being the one manager who most just assume is going to get fired if a few results go against him. Oh no, he likes to bloody the noses of the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City to make himself seem nice and secure in his employment and then he likes to lose to Cardiff City and Newport County, just to give his life spice and danger.
Most of us use the future fixture colour chart as a guide when making transfer decisions. Green is go, and red is stop! But with this Leicester City team that needs to be turned on its head, particularly when it comes to Jamie Vardy. Nobody has a better record against the ‘big’ teams than Vardy, so with games against Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs on the horizon, now may well be the time to bet on this crafty fox.
He’s got a nice warm up against Southampton this weekend too. Of course, that could also go all Pete Tong, but if you need a differential who could bang big, Jamie’s your man.
Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson.
Well, Liverpool have a bloody lip for the first time in the league this season, and the question is now, what’s their plan? How will they react?
It’s not like this was their first defeat of the season. They’ve been thumped by Chelsea, PSG, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade already this season, and bounced back each time, so this time shouldn’t be any different.
With three centre backs crocked for the trip to the Amex Stadium this Saturday, Fabinho is expected to drop back to partner Van Dijk in defence. This means a space has opened up in midfield, and my guess is Herr Klopp will fill it with a power cube called Shaqiri, to cover any possible defensive weakness with an offensive barrage.
That’s why I’m captaining Mo Salah.
(ED: 3 Minute Tribute Song to Mo Salah below)
Outsider: Chris Wood, Burnley
After 19 consecutive appearances for Burnley this season, Chris Wood had 1 goal. No assists. No bonus points.
In his last two appearances he’s notched twice, and has 3 bonus points.
It’s not uncommon for a team that was previously struggling to turn things around and surge up the table. The key for FPL players is to gamble on who it is and when to jump on board. It might well be Burnley this season, and Chris Wood scored 10 goals last season, so he’s no chump at this level.
With an ownership of 0.4%, this could be an outsider worth backing.
Draft: Jason Puncheon, Huddersfield
Puncheon was struggling get game time at Palace, but his FPL record this season was astounding! In just 11 minutes of action this he racked up 5 points! That’s 0.45 points per minute!
If he starts for Huddersfield this weekend and plays the full game, he’s statistically likely to get 40 points!
Don’t you just love statistics?
Written by Niall Hawthorne.