Fantasy Football – FPL Gameweek 24 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne
As the Premier League returns after what can only be described as a quite rude hiatus, FPL managers can finally get back into the groove as we approach the business end of the season. Just 15 GW’s are left, with the prospect of blank GW’s, double GW’s and chip strategy leaving this particular FPL player cross-eyed at all the possible permutations. There’s a reason that Stephen Hawking never cracked the top 10,000 y’know*. It’s just so bloody complicated.
Anyway, time to try and clarify the best options for GW24
Defender: Luke Shaw, Manchester United
As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to lead Manchester United on a spectacular winning run which now stretches to eight games, the calls for him to be given the job on a permanent basis are continuing to get louder and harder to ignore.
Far be it for me to get involved in the decision making of the Manchester United hierarchy, but the worst decisions in football have invariably been those of the ‘knee-jerk’ variety. To give OGS the gig permanently now would be akin to that time you sold Salah after GW 8 this season because he had 4 blanks in 5 weeks. Yeah, that still hurts now, right?
Anyway, long term issues are rarely our concern as the most astute FPL players shamelessly hop on the latest points-producing trend, and United look too good to ignore. While Rashford and Pogba have become must have assets in recent weeks, the defensive side of United looks to be improving also. David De Gea has stopped making a mockery of himself and is producing quality performances, and with two clean sheets in their last three league games, Luke Shaw once more looks cracking value at just £5.0m and 7.7% ownership.
Midfield: James Ward-Prowse, Southampton
When Ward-Prowse first burst onto the scene for the Saints, he was doing a passable impression of a young David Beckham. A dynamic, attacking midfield player with a wicked dead ball delivery instantly caught my eye. However the revolving door to the manager’s office at St. Mary’s has perhaps taken its toll on young James, who’s still only 24. He was clearly not fancied by Mark Hughes, who presumably was jealous of his looks and hair, which would see him walk into any boy band this century, with ease.
The more cosmopolitan Ralph Hassenhuttl seems to have placed his faith in Ward-Prowse in recent weeks, handing him four consecutive starts, which has yielded two goals. Favourable upcoming fixtures, a price tag of £5.0m and an ownership of under 1% finally make James as attractive in FPL as he is in real life. *Swoon*
Forward: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
A straight choice for me this week between Marcus Rashford (fresh from ending Fred’s career in a pre-match warm up on Friday night), and Bobby Firmino, fresh from sunning himself in the middle east on a warm weather training camp.
Leicester City’s recent defensive displays sway my hunch towards Firmino this week. Anyone who enjoyed the pulsating 4-3 victory for Wolves over Leicester in GW23 can’t have failed to notice how hopelessly inept the Leicester defending was. They also conceded two at home to Southampton. Now with all due respect to both Wolves and Saints, they don’t have the attacking prowess of the likes of Mane, Salah and Firmino, so Wednesday night could be interesting. I’m backing Bobby to produce another dazzler.
Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
Another straight choice here between Mo Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. PEA faces Cardiff City at The Emirates on the back of three blanks in his last four GW’s, but dear Lord that fixture looks tempting if you’re chasing points in your mini-leagues.
On the other hand Mo Salah looks like a no-brainer on the back of five double digit hauls in his last six GW’s! FIVE! He’ll definitely be on penalty duty this week too, and if you have him, you have to Captain him.
If you don’t, roll the dice on Aubameyang.
Outsider: Danilo, Manchester City
Usual caveat applies here – Pep Guardiola can be a bit of a b*stard to FPL players, and he really doesn’t seem to care, the git. However Danilo has gotten the nod in the last five GW’s, which has seen City suddenly rediscover the knack of keeping a clean sheet, and he’s popped up with a goal too. He faces a trip to St. James’s Park against a Newcastle United side that have thrown in more than their fair share of blanks going forward at home this season.
Danilo has an ownership of under 1% at time of writing. What more do you want? No, seriously, feedback is always welcome…
Draft: Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea
He can’t be any worse than Morata, right? That’s all the logic you need.
*I have no evidence that Hawking played FPL or whether he did indeed crack the Top 10,000. However he wasn’t Norwegian, so I suspect I’m right.
Written by Niall Hawthorne.