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Fantasy Football: Gameweek Preview 14 & 15

Written by Niall Hawthorne

Hoo Boy is it getting busy!

Just your twenty premier league matches between Tuesday and next Monday for us to wrangle with. Therefore, I’m taking the prudent/lazy/efficient approach and I’m giving you my tips for both GW’s in one fell swoop, so you have plenty of time to absorb these incredible pearls of wisdom and act/ignore accordingly.

Onto GW14 & GW15! 

GW14 Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

Eleven games played in the league this season.

Seven clean sheets. 

Seven assists. 

One goal. 

Fifteen returns in eleven games, and while a ‘derby’ can always be fraught with the possibility of madness breaking out, Everton are not very good going forward this season. They have a grand total of three goals in their last six league games, four of those were complete blanks and they haven’t scored since GW10. 

So, I’m reckoning on a clean sheet and with an attacking return in 73% of games played (yes, you read that right), how could you NOT choose him this week? 

GW15 Defender: Tino Livramento, Southampton

FPL players are a fickle bunch, they really are. 

All I saw last weekend was a torrent of moaning and whining as a cheap, regularly playing defensive enabler, who everyone left on their bench as he was away to Liverpool, was subbed in to replace Spurs/Burnley/A N Other assets, with zero points to his name. 

The man should have been hung, drawn and quartered based on the opinions of those on my timeline. To those of you, I say this: 

Hush child. 

This is still a great asset to have and next weekend he faces Brighton at home in the ‘El Coastico’, apparently. Brighton are no great shakes going forward, and this will be a fixture that Hassenhutl will identify as a must-win. 

GW14 Midfielder: Heung-Min Son, Spurs

Freshly frozen like the best supermarket veg, after a pointless spin to Turf Moor, Spurs face Brentford after having a lovely rest.

While Brentford kept a clean sheet against Everton, that’s not really something to write home about as previously mentioned, and they did concede ten goals in their previous four games since losing Raya. 

Son has been on a slight barren run, admittedly. However, Spurs are going to click under Conte at some point, and with Brentford, Norwich and Brighton in their next three, this is the time to trust Son. 

GW15 Midfielder: Maxwel Cornet, Burnley

Another player heading into a busy week after a bit of a rest, and with a game against Newcastle United at the weekend, he’s too good to ignore.

Tipped by this very column many weeks ago (with an instant return), he now has become a serious option at just £6.1m and under 3% ownership. Four goals in his last four starts, only blanking against Chelsea, is very decent form. 

Newcastle, as discussed regularly on these pages, are terrible defensively. What’s a guy/girl to do? 

GW14 Forward: Callum Wilson, Newcastle United

This is it. It must be it. 

Wilson came into my team in GW12, played a full part in a six-goal thriller, and didn’t get as much as an assist, bizarrely. He then blanked in GW13, expectedly, away to Arsenal. 

But now. Now it’s time. Norwich at home. Midweek. Under lights. Full St. James’ Park roaring them on. Relegation six-pointer. 

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. 

As Tom Hanks would say himself: WILSON! 

GW15 Forward: Harry Kane, Spurs

And if Callum Wilson doesn’t do it, Harry Kane will.

As per my points above about Son, apply them to Kane for this weekend, at home to Norwich. 

There’s nothing more to say. 

GW14 & 15 Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Yet another return for The Egyptian King in GW13, and I’m not even going to quote the stats anymore, they’re still ridiculous.

Funnily enough though, Salah has plundered far more points away from home this season that at Anfield, with 74 of his 131 points thus far coming on the road. He now faces two trips, to Goodison Park and Molineux. 

To say that Liverpool will be ‘up for’ the Everton game is an understatement. This is the ground that shattered their team, hopes and dreams last season. They’re going to be gunning for Everton. 

Wolves away is trickier, but, well, it’s Salah. 

GW14 Outsider: James Maddison, Leicester City

Well, well, well. Look who decided to show up a third of the way through the season? A cracking 16-point haul for Maddison at the weekend has thrust him into my thoughts for the first time this season. 

£6.6m and 4.3% ownership, with games coming against Southampton (9-0 remember…), Villa and Newcastle coming up. Interesting…

Your move…

GW15 Outsider: Jadon Sancho, Manchester United

Well, well, well. Look who decided to show up a third of the way through the season? (Can you see a theme developing here?)

A goal in the Champions League, and a goal at Stamford Bridge, and suddenly Sancho is firmly on the radar. Then a quick glimpse at the FPL fixtures for United and it’s….wait, what?….that can’t be right, can it? 

United don’t face a ‘Top 4’ opponent until MARCH 5TH. Seriously, there’s more green on their fixture list than in ‘The Grinch’. 

If Sancho discovers his Bundesliga form….

Your move…

Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorn

It’s finally happened.

After three years of a frankly bewildering myopia from Manchester United fans, Manchester United ex-players and Manchester United Executives, the substitute teacher has been shown the door. 

His exit interview was a cringe-fest for most of us, but a heart-wrenching trauma if you’re of a Red Devil disposition. His whole tenure reminded me of The Simpsons episode where Mr. Bergstrom became Lisa’s favourite ever teacher while substituting for Miss Hoover. I’m almost surprised Ole didn’t look right down the lens of the camera to address every Manchester United fan and say…

‘You are Manchester United’

Onto GW13! 

Look, we all know that this season you must have 3 or 4 of TAA, James, Chilwell and Cancelo, so if you don’t have at least three of those, you’re doing it wrong. 

Defender: Tyrone Mings, Aston Villa

However, my job is to look for other options, and Aston Villa are now interesting to me after the appointment of Steven Gerrard. 

Gerrard’s management style at Rangers was one of solidity, keeping it tight at the back. It’s no surprise considering the manager he got most joy under was one Rafa Benitez, who led two Liverpool teams to a Champions League final by keeping things tight. 

Villa began the Gerrard-era with a clean sheet and a victory against Potter-ball, so that’s a good sign. This week they face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, as two of the greatest midfielders of their era go head-to-head. I’m talking Gerrard v Vieira, not Milivojevic v Nakamba, to be clear. 

Mings was benched for Smith’s last game in charge, but has come back into the team, kept a clean sheet and scored, making it a goal and two assists so far this season. At less than 7% ownership and under £5m, he’s worth keeping an eye on.  

Midfielder: Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal

Even while being battered by four at Anfield, Smith Rowe showed glimpses of what he’s about on Saturday evening, so he’s worth trusting once more this weekend as he faces Newcastle United at The Emirates. 

Prior to GW12 he had three goals and an assist from GW9 – GW11, and Newcastle United under Eddie Howe may score their way out of trouble, but they sure as hell aren’t going to keep many clean sheets. 

Forward: Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Jimenez began the season understandably slowly as he worked his way back to match fitness following his broken head last season. 

However, form is temporary and class is permanent, and since GW5 Jimenez has three goals and three assists in seven GW’s. In short, the Jimenez of old looks to be back and he’s only getting warmed up. 

With that in mind, a trip to Norwich City looks promising. While the Canaries started the Smith era in style last weekend, their defence is still ropey (27 conceded in 12 games). 

This wolf is on the prowl and canaries are but an hors d’ouevre. 

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Last week I told you that Mane might be a nice differential, and he duly outscored Salah by four points, giving those of you that listened an 8-point swing on your rivals. 

Having said all that, Salah scored again, so that’s just the 11 goals, 8 assists and 16 bonus points in 12 GW’s so far. Heh. It’s almost farcical typing that y’know.

This weekend Liverpool face Southampton at Anfield, and I’ve got a feeling….

Y’know the way Southampton under Hassenhuttl have, well, shipped 9 goals TWICE? 

Y’know the way Liverpool have a meaningless CL game against Porto where they can rest players? 

Y’know that Triple Captain chip most of us have burning a hole in our pockets? 

Mmmmm…..

Outsider: Marc Guehi, Crystal Palace

Admittedly my Palace defensive tip didn’t work out last week, but they do appear to be getting more solid in general, and as pointed out above about Aston Villa, are facing a side more concentrated on stopping them than scoring against them. 

£4.5m and 0.5% ownership and an ever-present in the side? 

Your move…

Fantasy Football – Gameweek Preview – Palace, West Ham and Liverpool

Fantasy Football Preview – Gameweek 11

Written by @niallhawthorne

This week we’ve seen the majority of world leaders descend on Glasgow to have a chat about, well, saving the planet.

David Attenborough scolded them all like children, and in fairness, he’s allowed. 

Boris and Biden decided to have a snooze while climate experts were trying to inform them of just how far up shit creek we are without a paddle (Answer: Pretty far up, and it wasn’t a sh*t creek before the Tories allowed their mates to pump raw sewage into it)

Greta Thunberg stood outside and called them all bad names. 

COP26? Should be COPONTOYOURSELVES26. 

Onto GW11! 

Defender: James Chilwell / Ben Reece, Chelsea

I’ll be honest, you should have either/or/both in your team this weekend as Chelsea host Burnley at Stamford Bridge. 

Seven clean sheets for Chelsea and only three goals conceded all season. Both were rested in midweek so should be certain to start. 

How to choose between them? Well James is owned by a few % less and is slightly cheaper. So, him, probably. 

Midfielder: Emile Smith-Rowe, Arsenal

Regular readers will recall that I tipped ESR as an outsider tip a few weeks ago, stating that he was in the last-chance saloon in my squad. He then blanked, but I spared him and kept him. 

Of course, I benched him for the next week when he hauled, put him in for two more weeks, when he blanked, benched him again when he hauled, and I have finally decided to start him every week. 

ESR is now showing consistency and this week Arsenal welcome Watford, who conversely are showing incredible inconsistency so far under Ranieri. Concede five, then score five, then lose 1-0 at home. Who knows what will show up at The Emirates? 

I’m backing Smith-Rowe to continue his current form which has seen him score three and assist two in his last five starts.  

Forward: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

After a shocking run of form that has seen Vardy pick up just two points in GW’s 9 & 10, Leicester City now travel to play struggling Leeds United, who just about squeaked past Norwich City. 

For those worried about a potential European hangover after the Foxes play in the Europa League this week, know this: In three FPL fixtures following a Europa League game, Vardy has scored 8 points, 8 points and…err…1 point, but he was injured at half-time in that one. 

Leeds have one clean sheet all season, and even conceded to Norwich. I rest my case. 

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Yeah, he’s just ridiculous, isn’t he?

Ten games. Six double-digit hauls. Ten goals. Seven assists. Sixteen bonus points. Outrageous. 

Granted, he’s off the back of a DISASTER last weekend with just an assist, but we must keep the faith. 

It’s away to West Ham this week. He’s had fun at the London Stadium in recent seasons. In four away games at West Ham for Liverpool, Salah has five goals and an assist. In eight games in total against West Ham for Liverpool, Salah has nine goals and two assists.

In summary: Salah always hammers the Hammers. 

Outsider: Leandro Trossard, Brighton & Hove Albion

How about an out of position midfielder playing up front in an improving, attractive, attacking side, owned by less than 2% and costing just £6.4m. 

Oh, and he has two goals, an assist and five BPS this season. 

Ladies and Gents, I present to you Leandro Trossard. 

Your move…

Fantasy Football Gameweek 10: Just one Cornet goal!. Give it to me!

Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 9 – Chelsea, Palace, Wolves and Mo Salah

Fantasy Football Preview – Gameweek 8: Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham

Fantasy Football Gameweek 7: Chelsea, Leeds and Watford?

So, we face our winter of discontent. 

It’s not like we haven’t been warned. They do say that all the Hollywood movies and TV shows are secretly designed to prepare us for the future. We know what to expect when the aliens come from Independence Day. We know what to expect from cataclysmic climate change from The Day After Tomorrow. And we know what to expect from a hard, brutal winter from Game of Thrones. Winter is indeed coming. 

Food shortages. Power outages. Fuel costs rocketing. Soda streams banned. Covid lockdown after covid lockdown on the horizon. It’s all ahead of us during the bleak, dark months ahead. 

Thanks be to goodness we have this fun, amazing game to make us all happy right? Right? 

Onto GW6!

Written by Mr. Niall http://twitter.com/niallhawthorneHawthorne

Defender: Gabriel, Arsenal

Tipping an Arsenal defender, the man has clearly gone simply mad. 

Well, yes, I have, but over some other issues. For FPL I’m clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. 

Arsenal are off the back of two clean sheets (admittedly against Burnley and Norwich) but they are facing a Spurs side featuring Sulky McSulkerson up front (also known as Harold Kane) and have looked as threatening up front as a baby lamb in spring over the past two weeks. Roy Keane was not impressed, and nobody could really say he was wrong. 

If Gabriel keeps a clean sheet here, dreams really do come true. 

Arteta can make it three wins on the spin in a North London derby, and in doing so he’ll effectively secure his position until after Christmas at least. I reckon we’re going back to simpler times here. 

1-0 to the Arsenal.

Midfielder: Allan, Everton

Remember when you had to be a really, really, REALLY good player to just have one name? Pele. Maradona. Zico. 

Now every no-mark has one, and while I’m including Allan in this list, I’m also tipping him to be a peach of an outsider bet for your midfield this week. 

Everton host a truly woeful Norwich City side who are on a run of 124,862 consecutive Premier League defeats under Daniel Farke (or something close to that number). They’ve lost every game this season in the league, were just battered by Liverpool B/C in midweek and are there for the taking. 

They’ll play three at the back again, try and sit deep and contain, so Everton need the right tool for the job. 

Allan’s key.

Forward: Michail Antonio, West Ham United

If you knee-jerked and sold him after his red card in GW4, then you’re either slapping yourself in the face repeatedly, or doing all kinds of transfer nonsense to get him back in for this week. 

If you were calm and patient while benching him for GW5 then yours is the world and everything in it. 

Antonio returns nice and refreshed against a Leeds side leaking goals at an alarming rate in the Premier League. In four appearances it’s four goals and four assists for Michail and you’ll be a brave man to back against him improving those figures.

Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United

Aston Villa visit Old Trafford this Saturday lunchtime having conceded three goals in each of their two away games this season. 

While it’s no disgrace to concede three at Stamford Bridge, conceding three at Vicarage Road is well dubious.

Ronaldo is no doubt seething about last weekend where he was hauled down at least twice in the box only to have both the referee and another referee staring straight at a TV screen turn down his appeals. Presumably just for a laugh. There’s no other logical explanation. 

If I know Manchester United, and I think I do, Ronaldo is going to be awarded at least two penalties in this game and I reckon he nets a hat-trick too. 

It’ll be a torrid time for Aston Villa’s defence but surely, it’s a d:ream to play Ronaldo. After this, Mings can only get better….

Outsider: Jordan Brian Henderson, Liverpool

If you cast your mind back a couple of seasons, before pandemics were a thing and Liverpool were chasing a league title (which they missed out on by a point), Jordan Henderson was moved to a more advanced ‘8’ role by Jurgen Klopp, and it worked. 

Well, here we go again. Henderson is playing far more advanced, getting in the box, creating, and shooting with regularity. He’s just £5.0m and owned by less than 1%. You could do worse.

Your move…

As I type the fallout from the Boris Johnson cabinet reshuffle is dominating the UK news media, but should we be surprised that Boris has decided to do this now? 

Far be it for me to call the Prime Minister a populist, but even he must have seen the buzz and clamour about wildcards in FPL over the last couple of weeks and thought that he too fancied a bit of that. 

So out goes Dominic Raab, and in comes Liz Truss. Farewell Gavin Williamson and welcome on board Nadhim Zahawi. So long Robert Jenrick, and hello to Michael Gove.

Life is really but a game, isn’t it? 

Onto GW5! 

Defender: Max Kilman, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Last week I tipped a Wolves defender and Romain Saiss did not let me down, delivering a first clean sheet of the season as Wolves walloped Watford. 

This week I like their prospects of another clean sheet against a Brentford side who have only scored three goals this season, and two of them were against Arsenal, so y’know….

Therefore, I’ve decided to pick a player that sounds like he would be what Americans would have called James Bond, had they thought of him first – Max Kilman. 

Now I’d like to make it clear that to the best of my knowledge Max has never harmed a fly, but he can do your team a power of good with a clean sheet this weekend. Owned by less than 0.5% and costing just £4.5m, can you afford NOT to go with him? 

Midfielder: Demarai Gray, Everton 

Great managers don’t just create good teams, they unleash the potential of good players to become great players. 

Rafa Benitez is once again doing Rafa Benitez things, with Everton sitting joint top of the Premier League after picking up three wins and a draw in their opening four fixtures. 

Rafa’s capture of the eternally-promising-but-never-delivering Demarai Gray raised a couple of eyebrows this summer, but in fairness it’s proven to be a masterstroke thus far. A goal in three consecutive games means that Gray is finally starting to deliver on the undoubted potential he has always possessed, but never quite realised. 

An away fixture beckons to an Aston Villa side who have conceded seven in four games with just one clean sheet against Newcastle United. For £5.7m he’s looking like a real bargain pick. 

Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal

During pre-season when Harry Kane was taking an extended holiday, all the FPL talk was of avoiding ‘premium’ forwards and instead load your team with high-value midfielders. 

Then Ronaldo and Lukaku arrived and that plan was ripped up faster than a Brexit trade deal. Suddenly we all needed an expensive striker or two. 

However, there’s a man who in the not too distant past plundered 22 goals in consecutive seasons, smashing the 200-point barrier, and today he costs less than ten million FPL pounds. He’s owned by just 2.2% of players, and he got his goal tally moving last weekend with the only goal of the game and all three bonus points. 

This weekend he faces a Burnley side who seem to have become everybody’s second-most-hated team. They’ve shipped eight goals in four games, and if (admittedly it’s a big if) Arsenal can turn things around, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may well prove to be a bargain. 

Captain: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

Way back in GW1 I may have casually mentioned that Trent may become a viable captaincy choice this season, but even I hadn’t thought it would come this early. 

However, with three clean sheets, two assists and eight bonus points in just four games, the time is now. Two 12-point hauls already and a home fixture against a more adventurous Crystal Palace side coming to Anfield (who he has scored against in the past). 

It’s bold. It’s brave. It’s not for the faint of heart. 

Outsider: Andrew Omobamidele, Norwich City

If you’re like me, you normally brave the International breaks, get your head down and wait for the fun to return. However, this time I learned something while watching the Republic of Ireland play, and that is the emergence of Andrew Omobamidele. He was sensational against Portugal and Serbia, and even caught the eye of his club manager at Norwich as Daniel sat up on his couch, said ‘Farke’ and put him in his first XI last weekend. 

Just £3.9m you know. He’s an FPL squad enablers dream. 

Your move…

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