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Fantasy Blanks, Chips and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette

GAMWEEK 26 #FPL PREVIEW

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.

GAMWEEK 26 #FPL PREVIEW

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Manchester City vs Arsenal – Lineups – Sane and Ozil on Bench

FPL GW25 Preview by @niallhawthorne

Chelsea getting spanked by four goals for the first time in the Premier League since a Labour leader was popular with the public.

Manchester City playing like another league title is that chore you just can’t be arsed with.

Liverpool playing like Indiana Jones grabbing the holy grail, tripping over his own whip and dropping it.

Spurs wildly veering from ‘Spursy McSpursFace’ to ‘Grinding Out Huge Results With A Decimated Squad’.

United winning eight in a row and then producing the kind of result and performance that would make Jose look for the nearest 46A bus to chuck some players under.

How any of us are supposed to make sense of it all is beyond me, but as ever I’m going to give it a try for GW25…

 

Defender: Kurt Zouma, Everton

It’s the first Double GW of the season, so you can’t be surprised, right? But this isn’t just a case of jumping on the first defender I see with two games this week, he’s the most in form defender in the game right now, with 24 points from his last 3 games including 2 clean sheets, a goal and an assist.

Admittedly the second of his matches this week is against Manchester City, but that’s no longer a guarantee of annihilation. Granted it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Ev did what the Ev do best and roll over to facilitate ‘anyone but Liverpool’, but maybe, just maybe they don’t have the collective mindset of an eight-year-old and will turn up on Wednesday night.

There’s also the small fact that it’s a double home match game week for Zouma, with Wolves coming to town on Saturday. He’s £5.0m and under 1% ownership. Food for thought.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane, Liverpool

Last week I tipped James Ward-Prowse in this slot.

You’re welcome.

This week I’m backing Sadio Mane to do the business against West Ham on Monday Night Football. He was the only player who looked any way arsed and/or not sh*tting himself against Leicester City on Wednesday night, and he racked up 16 points against the same opponent on the opening day of the season thanks to two goals and three bonus points.

West Ham have their strengths, but an 11-man behind the ball, stifle the opposition of any space and grind out a 1-0 win may not be one of them (cue a vintage catenaccio display…), so I suspect the Senegalese man may get space to operate in this week.

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

A double GW against Arsenal and Everton defences…

Do you want me to draw you a fricking map?

Captain: Leroy Sane, Manchester City

32 points in his last 4 GW’s (including his blank on Tuesday night). He’s the form midfielder in the game right now (level with James Ward-Prowse, naturally…), and he’s got two fixtures this week.

Put the armband on him, pray to whatever deity you believe in or think is the least unbelievable yarn, and hope that Pep plays him twice.

Outsider: Peter Crouch, Burnley

Oh, come on, who doesn’t love

Crouchy?

He’s a legend! He looks like a praying mantis, yet pulls Abbey Clancy. He became a cult hero to Liverpool fans who know a class striker when they see one, yet they still loved Crouchy, probably because it took him what felt like two and a half years to score his first goal for them. He also played in a Champions League final!

Oh, and he’s playing one of his old teams this weekend, so he’s bound to score. Although by that logic, and based on the number of teams Crouchy has played for, he could end up the top scorer ahead of Salah.

Draft: Lazar Markovic, Fulham

I’m only including him on this list because I have two points to make:

1. My nickname for him is Countess (Irish historian geeks should giggle at that one, and if you don’t get it, google it…)

2. Fulham’s recruitment policy this transfer window has been HILARIOUS. Babel? Markovic? Schurrle? An eclectic mix of has-beens and never-weres. It’s the footballing equivalent of McBusted.

FPL GW25 Preview by @niallhawthorne

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