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Arsenal vs Manchester United: Confirmed Lineups

Arsenal, Huddersfield and a Lucky Dip

#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

Real-Time Fantasy Football Rank Updates

If Marko Arnautović has a grudge against you… be afraid!!

If you didn’t have Liverpool’s Salah give up on Fantasy Football

Are Liverpool the Only Premier League Club Playing This Week??

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 30 Review

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Regular readers of this column will know that I am firmly of the belief that this game of FPL trolls us, in a myriad of ways, and with no sense of justice or fairness. (Ed: Correct, I am well aware) It’s almost certainly a complex Russian algorithm designed to drive over 5,000,000 of the global population to drink. Combine that with the Russian algorithms that got Trump elected, Brexit passed and Paddington 2 to be ignored for the Oscars, and it’s clear that the ‘Beast from the East’ is not a bloody snowstorm.

Kane picked up 1 point and 1 injury. Aguero injured in training. Salah was crushed under the Mourinho bus. Chelsea clean sheet disappeared in the last minute. Davies not in the squad…As I stood on the ledge of the highest building in Cork I realised that I now know how those traders on Wall Street feel when the market crashes. However I also realised that I have a Free Hit and Triple Captain chip to play, so I’m still here ready to fight on.

Incredibly it’s one of the best weeks of the season for the quantity of players that hit double figures – a whopping 16 players scored 10 points or more. However just 4 of those players had ownership of more than 10%. Damn you Moscow!

David Silva had been absent in recent months due to the premature birth of his child, which as absence notes go is a bloody decent excuse. Genuine thoughts to the family and hopefully things have worked out well in that situation, for David has returned to the Man City team with gusto, and his 16 point haul at The Britannia has brought his team to within 6 points of the title. He’s matched on that points total by Kenedy, the young Brazilian on loan from Chelsea. What’s that I hear you say? Young, talented and not getting a game for Chelsea? He’s the next De Bruyne! Salah! Lukaku! Well he did a decent impression of them this week with 2 goals and 3 bonus points.

I’m not saying that Arsenal have been in poor form, but Barnet (bottom of League 2 with 7 league wins) asked for a behind closed doors practice game to boost their players morale. People see that win over AC Milan as a sign that Arsenal still possess quality, and perhaps they do, but you should remember that AC Milan are playing Fabio Borini at right-back these days, so y’know…Anyway, a friend of mine is in a tight race in his FPL mini-league and took a punt this week when be brought in Peter Cech to face Watford. He was handsomely rewarded with a 15 point haul thanks to a clean sheet and a first ever penalty save at The Emirates. I asked my buddy how that left things in his mini-league and his response said it all: ‘Cech, mate’.


                                      HELLO…I PLAY FOR AC MILAN… YES… ME!!

Chris Wood of Burnley scored 2 goals, provided an assist and picked up 3 bonus points, all in the space of 29 second half minutes at The London Stadium. You might think that’s impressive, but you should realise that one of those goals was assisted by West Ham fans invading the pitch, and the other was straight from a corner kick taken from the centre circle. To say things got out of hand on Saturday afternoon is an understatement.

There were tense scenes as a large group of people gathered in front of Lady Brady looking for an improvement in their lives, something to give them hope for the future…but that’s all I can tell you about the next series of The Apprentice. She then went to watch West Ham play and you know the rest.

Finally the South Korean bid for World Domination (see last week’s column) continued as Son scored twice and racked up another 15 points. It’s rumoured that he’ll lead the ‘peace talks’ between Trump and Kim Jong-Un where he’ll immediately raise the average IQ by 147 points. There’s nothing that this boy can’t do.

Henrik Mkhitaryan scored 13 points as he continues to forge an impressive looking partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Now it just took me 4 minutes to type that sentence so if these two do become a goal-scoring/assist-giving double act of note, than I propose nicknames. I’m open to suggestions, and you should send all ideas to @FantasyYIRMA, but I’ll start with Mickey and the PEA.

He was joined on this points total by Serge Aurier who is the FPL equivalent of Russian Roulette. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll grab you points (26 in the last 3 games) but you just know he’s likely to deliver a red card at any minute. The perfect choice for those thrill-seekers out there.

Honourable mentions now for Mustafi, Baines, Rashford, Mahrez, Iheanacho, Shelvey (!), Alli, Willian and Iborra, but I don’t have the time and you don’t have the patience.

Onto our Villains Of The Week, and a strong group this time featuring four players in negative points territory. Young Jordan Ayew has caught the eye of 11.7% of FPL Players as he represents pretty good value for money…until this week when he was sent off after 10 minutes. -2 points for many of us who were also reeling from the Kane/Aguero/Salah/Davies debacle. Cheers Jordan, great timing!

Anthony Knockaert joined Ayew in the red card crucible at Goodison Park to grab himself -1 point and complete a pretty miserable day for the Seagulls. You know you’re having a bad day when you have two players in negative points territory and you’re only playing Everton! Joining his fellow ‘Gull’ is Gaetan Bong who grabbed an own goal to ‘earn’ his -1 point. He must have been dreading the Monday morning review from Chris Hughton. After all, the Seagulls had been flying so ‘high’. I’ll let you work that gag out yourself….

Finally we have Martin Kelly of Crystal Palace, singularly the unluckiest professional footballer playing today. I’m not even talking about his own goal at Stamford Bridge that condemned his side to another defeat and earned him -1 point. I’m talking about the fact that on two separate occasions he’s been at a club which has brought in Roy Hodgson as manager.


And nobody deserves that….




Written by Niall Hawthorne.

Drop him 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

You can read more from him also on twitter at @NiallHawthorne

His views are his own, because quite simply nobody else would have them!

There are NO Arsenal Defenders in this article!!

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