Written by Niall Hawthorne.
Regular readers of this column will know that I have paid close attention to the Brexit negotiations over the years, with particular emphasis on the capability/mental capacity of the UK Government ministers involved. Thankfully for you all, Brexit is now done and dusted.
Except, it’s not. Right now, right now the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland are roaring and screaming about the ‘Irish Sea Border’ which only exists because they voted down a previous deal that Theresa May brought to the table that would have removed such a border, but which Boris Johnson negotiated to include, which he now denies exists, while simultaneously having his right-hand man Michael Gove trying to strongarm the EU into dropping said non-existent but very real border.
To try and simplify this for non-politico FPL followers (and apparently there are one or two), it’s like Spurs fans roaring and screaming about the fact that they signed Golfing Gareth Bale instead of Football Genius Gareth Bale despite all evidence showing Golfing Gareth Bale was all that existed in 2020, while Daniel Levy denies they ever brought Gareth Bale yet has Jose Mourinho ringing Zinedine Zidane to beg him to take Gareth Bale back.
Defender: Lewis Dunk, Brighton & Hove Albion
Four clean sheets on the trot for Dunk while his erstwhile centre-half partner from previous seasons Shane Duffy is having the kind of loan move at Celtic that some have described kindly as ‘career-ending’. Now we know who was the real strongman in that partnership.
Following their extremely impressive shutting down of the Champions in midweek, they now travel to Turf Moor to take on ‘look-a-likey’ mega fan Sean Dyche and his Clarets. Burnley have a forward injury crisis with Wood and Barnes both crocked, and have failed to score in their last two outings.
Brighton will never have a better chance to make it five clean sheets in a row in the Premier League. In fact, I’d argue they may never again in the history of time have a chance to make it five clean sheets in a row in the Premier League.
Midfielder: Eberechi Eze, Crystal Palace
The Eagles seem to have discovered somebody other than Wilf Zaha to rely on in an attacking sense, following a slow and steady and very Hodgson-esque introduction to Premier League life for Eberechi.
Eze first caught our attention in FPL with his thirteen-point haul at home to Leeds United in GW8 with a goal, assist and three bonus points. Since then he has nailed down a starting place and in recent weeks his output has steadily increased with eighteen points in his last two outings.
This weekend he faces Leeds United again at Elland Road, and the Leeds defence is just as generous as ever. A shortcut to Eze-street? Step this way….
Forward: Callum Wilson, Newcastle United
This is one of those picks that is 25% based on the player and 75% based on their opponent.
Southampton were, for the second time in two seasons, walloped 9-0 in midweek. Injuries, red cards and youth are all to blame, but those issues will still exist as the Saints make the long-haul journey the length of England to face Newcastle United. In fact, it’s worse due to two suspensions further decimating their already depleted squad.
Callum Wilson has spent all season making a FPL silk purse out of Steve Bruce’s pigs-ear of a tactical board, so he must be licking his lips at the prospect of a haul this weekend. That’s assuming Steve Bruce doesn’t decide that a nil-all draw would be a great result.
Captain: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
Just the third seventeen-point haul for Bruno Fernandes this season, who made his FPL owners sweat for much of the rout against Southampton on Tuesday night. However, a late flurry of a goal and two assists propelled him to three bonus points late in the day.
Fernandes seems to like facing Everton, having faced them twice at Goodison Park since his arrival last January. He has three goals and an assist to his credit in those fixtures. Unfortunately for him Jordan Pickford looks to be injured for this fixture, so he can’t rely on England’s Number One chucking one in for him, but I reckon Bruno has enough about him to haul once more.
Outsider: To Be Revealed….
This is it ladies and gentlemen. The big one. The big fish. The Hail Mary. The most outrageous FPL 0.0% outsider call of all time, to cap the returns from Podence and Smallbone last season and Oxlade-Chamberlain this season.
May I present to you…..Mr. Allan Tchaptchet!
He’s a French youth international, he’s a defender and he plays for Southampton. They have no defenders and I reckon he’s nailed on to start because he owns football boots.
They face Newcastle United, and as mentioned previously Steve Bruce may play for a goalless draw….