Chelsea, Man City, Man United – Make Mine A Double!

Blank, Blank, Liverpool, Blank, Snodgrass

Arsenal vs Manchester United: Confirmed Lineups

Arsenal, Huddersfield and a Lucky Dip

Gameweek 29 Preview : Written by @NiallHawthorne

Ten games to go. Ten GW’s left. The clock is ticking, and whatever situation you find yourself in, there’s still enough time to change it. Leading your mini-league and on the verge of glory? Time to kick on. 100 points behind your mini-league leader and in need of inspiration? Time to kick on. Bottom of your mini-league and the subject of abuse on an hourly basis? Time to kick on.

Whatever your situation, follow these tips and you’ll be assured to alter your starting position by Sunday evening.

Note: Following these tips can lead to your overall rank going down as well as up. These tips are not regulated by the Financial Authority of Ireland or England.

Hell, they’re barely regulated by @FantasyYIRMA

Defender: Shane Duffy, Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton have found themselves in a bit of a pickle of late. A side that had seemed to the casual observer to be tootling along in the lower reaches of mid-table, under no real threat, find themselves two points from the drop zone. The seagulls have ruffled feathers. However they do have a game in hand on those around them, and this weekend they have a home game against Huddersfield Town. So two games in hand on those around them then.

That may sound harsh on a Huddersfield Town side that just tamed Wolves in midweek, but I’m nothing if not harsh. Brighton will be targeting this game as a ‘do or die’ affair, and they’ll be led in defence by their talismanic defender Shane Duffy. Five goals, two assists and five clean sheets to his name already, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he increased two of those scoring brackets against the Terriers.

Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Eight goals and seven assists in his last 11 GW’s. You can’t ignore that form, particularly when Pogba faces struggling Southampton at Old Trafford this weekend. He was very close to my Captaincy choice this week to be honest with you, that’s how sure I am he’s going to perform.

Pogba has looked so assured and so talented in recent months. It’s a shame then that he’s got the maturity level of a 7 year old told to get off his Xbox. There’s no doubting his talent, but he’s a spoiled brat with an ego so big it’s got its own weather system.

I’m still picking him though.

Forward: Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers

I saw a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in midweek from Wolves fans distraught at the defeat to Huddersfield Town in midweek. For the love of all that his holy, every single one of those moaning should be on their knees thanking whatever deity they believe in that it wasn’t a classic relegation six-pointer they were involved in, which would be the norm for two recently promoted clubs in most seasons. Wolves have massively exceeded expectations this year, as has Raul Jimenez. I may be in a minority here but for some reason I just haven’t bought into his hype, despite his impressive figures. 10 goals and 7 assists in 28 GW’s is sensational. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve had a distrust of all things Mexican since ‘The Night Of 20 Tequila Shots’ in 1999. But they say everyone deserves a second chance, so I’m jumping onboard the Jimenez gravy train. And if the bouncers and owners of The Washington Inn in Cork City are reading this, I surely deserve a second chance by now? Please? That stain must have come out by now?

Captain: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

No change here, he’s facing a Bournemouth side that are leaking goals at an enormous rate. While the Cherries are a much tougher proposition at home, City can temporarily go top of the table for just over 24 hours with a point at Deans Court. I mean, they’re not going to choke now, are they!

Outsider: Chris Wood, Burnley

Despite their recent blip at St. James’ Park, Burnley have become Burnley again thanks to getting back to the very basics. Keep it tight, lump it long, and have two big lads make your life miserable if you’re defending against them. Wood has 6 goals in his last 9 appearances, and Sean Dyche will be growling at his charges to target home games against the likes of Crystal Palace, and to stretch the current 5 point gap to the drop zone.

Draft: Manuel Lanzini, West Ham United

He’s back. He’s good. Get him.

Gameweek Preview Written by @NiallHawthorne

#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.

Let’s begin…

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     

Why not?



Written by Niall Hawthorne.

Drop Niall a follow on twitter. Good thing about Twitter – you can always unfollow again later!


Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof

New Gaming Bean Bag Collection for your Man Cave

Real-Time Fantasy Football Rank Updates

Fantasy Blanks, Chips and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette


Written by @NiallHawthorne

If you’re like me then GW25 will go down as the week when your mini-league was won or lost. (Ed. I got 101… great week)

Mine was lost, and I’m grumpy, so let’s get on with it and all agree that Pep Guardiola is a bald, hipster FPL hating spoofer with less morals than Boris Johnson.

Defender: Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Every 20 years or so Ireland produces a full back that does a passable impression of peak Roberto Carlos. Bombs forward, scores loads of goals, provides plenty of assists and is a must have in any FPL team. For example, please refer to D. Irwin, I. Harte and now M. Doherty.

If I were Doherty I’d be eyeballing all those Portugeezers in the squad and telling them that free kicks and spotters are his from now on.

Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

GW24 – James Ward Prowse tipped, and scored

GW25 – Sadio Mane tipped, and scored

GW26 – Paul Pogba tipped, put your house on him.

The last thing Fulham want on the back of 12 goals conceded in their last 5 matches is the newly cocky, swaggering Manchester United strutting into town with Paul Pogba brimming with confidence. Alas, that’s what they face this weekend. 4 goals and 6 assists in his last 8 games sees the mercurial Frenchman prime to do some serious damage.

Can we call Pogba mercurial yet? Based on the dictionary definition his picture should be next to the word, so I say yes.

Forward: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang / Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

Yes, I’m cheating, but I don’t care.

(ED: since writing this post, Aubameyang has been marked as doubtful for the match with uncertainty regarding his availability.)

If you can afford Aubameyang, get him in. If you can’t, get Lacazette in. If you ignore both, then you’re either very brave, very stupid, or both.

Huddersfield have conceded 3 to Manchester United, 3 to Manchester City and 5 to Chelsea in recent weeks, so as another of the ‘Top 6’ roll into town, and their survival prospects are now looking as healthy as the British economy post Brexit, I’m backing Arsenal to gun down the Terriers in a veritable bloodbath of goals and assists.

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

In the same way that many overlooked Aguero for GW25 because ‘he hasn’t banged recently’ or ‘Pep Roulette mate, you’d be mad to rely on him’, the same words of folly should not be applied to Mo Salah this weekend.

Many commentators are proclaiming that Liverpool are wobbling and bottling it big time. Well if two draws on the spin in a season where they’ve lost a single game is ‘bottling it’, then I’m pretty sure a couple of blank GW’s from Salah is going to be seen in the same light by some. More fool them.

Salah got a hat-trick at Deans Court only a couple of months ago, and Bournemouth are one of the least likely teams to produce a classic rear-guard action. Their last four away games have seen them concede 5 to Spurs, 4 to United, 2 to Everton (!) and 2 to Cardiff (!!).

Captain him. If you still have your TC chip, use it. All in!

Outsider: Michy Batshuayi, Crystal Palace

8 minutes played, 4 points bagged.

Palace have been crying out for a reliable goal scorer since Christian Benteke finally realised that he’s a bit sh*t, and this man could well be it. While it’s great to see Conor Wickham finally return from injury, he and Jordan Ayew just haven’t been able to fill the void.

To me the marriage of Batshuayi with a mid-table team like Palace boasting creativity like Wilfried Zaha screams harmony. Be like Commissioner Gordon, and call on Batman in your hour of need.

Draft: Denis Suarez, Arsenal

So, Arsenal finally signed Suarez for a loan fee of £1, with an option to buy for £35,000,001.

Rumours that the powers that be at the Emirates really are smoking something odd and got the wrong Suarez from Barcelona have yet to be confirmed.

He’s not exactly prolific going forward, but he offers another option in the centre of the Arsenal midfield where Torreira has been overworked and Guendouzi has been offered a chance to impersonate Marouane Fellaini. Worth a punt.


Written by @NiallHawthorne

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