#FPL Preview – Gameweek 28. Written by Niall “Big Balls The Man” Hawthorne
I got an email from @FantasyYIRMA towers on Sunday evening telling me that @FantasyGaffer was selected to do the Preview for GW28. Yet for some reason I just felt like ignoring the instructions of ‘management’ (don’t snigger) and continue on regardless. You should now fully expect me to do the FPL tipping equivalent of diving right over a simple penalty to save, then claim that I misunderstood the email.
Defender: Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton Wanderers
You know Matt Doherty has made the big time when he’s featured in an interview on Football Focus and the interviewer admits that the British press have only worked out how to properly pronounce his surname thanks to his stellar success on the pitch. If he was having a mediocre season, they’d still be butchering his name as they did with poor Kevin Moran (NO emphasis on the ‘a’), Paul McGrath (NO emphasis on the ‘th’) Padraig Harrington (I’m not even going to try, you just have to be Irish to know) and Roy Keane (over here there are 6 syllables in his surname when pronounced correctly).
This Tuesday night he and the rest of his Wolf Pack travel to Huddersfield to face a team with one goal in their last six games, and firmly playing for their way out of the squad for next season, or for their place in the Championship squad. Ergo, a clean sheet is probable. Three goals and six assists (2 assists in his last three appearances) add to the rationale behind getting him in your team for this midweek set of fixtures.
Midfielder: Mo Salah, Liverpool
GW24 – James Ward Prowse tipped, and scored
GW25 – Sadio Mane tipped, and scored
GW26 – Paul Pogba tipped, scored twice
GW27 – Sadio Mane – D’OH!
A couple of logical reasons behind this selection – Liverpool play better when the games start coming thick and fast, as they now will do. Salah has one goal in his last five starts, and that’s ‘unusual’, so I’d expect it to change. Oh, and he scored FOUR in the same fixture last season, and also notched away to Watford in GW13. He likes battering hornets.
Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal
Four goals in his last five starts. Five goals in his last seven starts. He’s suspended for a couple of more Europa League games, making him extremely unlikely to be rested in the Premier League. He’s also facing a Bournemouth side who have conceded a whopping EIGHTEEN goals in their last SIX away league fixtures, resulting in 8 consecutive defeats.
Sometimes the obvious choice is also the right one.
Captain: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Speaking of which…
Two hat-tricks in his last two home games. Gabriel Jesus nursing a hamstring injury, and following hot on the heels of the Wembley injuries to Fernandinho and Laporte, Pep will be loathed to rush Jesus back.
He’s facing a West Ham side with just four clean sheets all season, and a side they shellacked 4-0 in London earlier in the season (although Kun played 80 minutes and didn’t score or assist in that game).
Anyway, speaking as someone who missed the Aguero gravy-train in the last few weeks, I’m not risking it again, and you shouldn’t either.
Outsider: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City
When you’ve watched football for as long as I have, over the different eras (says I sucking on a Werther’s Original in my rocking chair), you learn that footballers psychology is different than almost any other walk of life. There’s a prime example at Wembley yesterday as Kepa quite clearly defied his manager and refused to be subbed – how that plays out in the next fixture and beyond is going to be fascinating, but I’m 99.9999% sure that it’s the manager who’ll carry the can for that, and not the player, in the long run.
It’s been clear for quite a long time that Jamie Vardy and Claude Puel didn’t see eye to eye, and this clearly affected Vardy’s form. But now that the French Johnny Giles has been guillotined, I’ve a hunch that the old, snarling, gobby Jamie Vardy may well reappear, starting with a home game against Brighton. The caretaker ‘dream team’ of Stowell and Sadler (does this remind anyone else of the Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets?) are almost assured to go back to basics, which will be to play to the strengths of their talismanic marksman.
Oh, and he’s under 5% ownership, so that makes him an outsider. So there.
Draft: Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United
Written by Niall Hawthorne.