Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorne
If you’re like me and struggling with FPL in this madcap season, I observed something this week that made me realise that it’s perfectly acceptable to deviate from the ‘norm’ and see the game or even the world in a different way. (This does not apply to anti-vaxxers though, they’re just morons).
My son was on his school Zoom call and his teacher was running a scavenger hunt, where she would name something that the kids would need to find in their home and hold up in front of the camera. She said, ‘right shoe’ and all my son’s classmates took off their shoes to wave at teacher. My son calmly scribbled something on a piece of paper, his shoelaces remaining firmly tied. Puzzled, I stopped to see what he was doing, and then I saw it.
He wrote ‘shoe’ on his paper and held it up to the camera.
I’m still trying to work out if that means he’s going to grow up to be Albert Einstein or Danny Dyer, but either way it reminded me that we all don’t see things in the same way. Throw blueprints and templates out of the window, take a -4 or -8 if you feel like it, and leave £8m in the bank because you don’t want to spend it.
Defender: Oleksandr Zinchenko, Manchester City
As Manchester City start their cruise to another Premier League title, their defence has been sensational in recent weeks. Just two goals conceded in their last eleven games is sensational form and makes a City defender a must have.
As per my intro to this week’s column, I’m going to try and do things differently, and therefore I’m plucking for the 0.4% owned Zinchenko ahead of Dias, Cancelo and Stones. A home game to Sheffield United is a slam dunk easy home win with a clean sheet nailed on too. Sheffield United are rock bottom and absolute bobbins. No team leading the league would lose at home to them!
Midfielder: James Maddison, Leicester City
I tipped Raheem Sterling for the midweek games, and an eleven-point haul duly followed. You’re welcome.
This week Leicester City welcome Leeds United to the King Power Stadium, as they try and continue their title charge following a hard-fought point at Everton in midweek. Maddison has been in sensational form recently, and in the absence of Jamie Vardy in the short term, he’ll be looking to step up.
While Leeds have three clean sheets in recent weeks, they came against Burnley, West Brom and Brighton, so….y’know. The attacking threat posed by Leicester City should be a totally different ball game here, and Maddison will be leading the charge.
Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal
I do wish Arsenal would make up their mind as to what they are this season. Banter club or top four bankers? Is Arteta the man to lead them to the glory land, or a Fraudiola acolyte? Is their defence bobbins or rock solid?
While youngsters Saka and Smith-Rowe have been grabbing headlines, the oft-derided Alexandre Lacazette has been quietly notching eight goals already this season and is now leading the line in the absence of Aubameyang.
A home game against January Premier League Champions Manchester United awaits this weekend in a fixture that could answer some questions, but in all likelihood, will throw up many more.
Captain: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton
Seven games without a goal in the league for DCL, but he scored eleven in eleven before that, and he’s playing Newcastle United this weekend. Everton sit in seventh position right now but if they win their two games in hand on those above them, could be joint-third and a point behind Manchester United.
Normally even making a point like that would mean instant derision and giggling in my direction, but Everton are managed by Don Carlo Ancelotti, so they cannot be taken lightly.
DCL to bag a brace. You read it here first.
Outsider: Bobby Decordova-Reid, Fulham
Owned by just 1% of players, under £6m and away to Big Sam’s West Bromwich Albion who have a home defensive record as impressive as Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson’s handling of a global pandemic.