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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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Fantasy Football – Gameweek 21 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

If I don’t see another turkey for as long as I live, I’ll be a happy man. Which is awkward because my FPL team is full of them right now. As we finally get to the end of the hectic festive football period (which started on December 1st according to Sky Sports), the following tips all carry the same caveat:

I have no bloody idea which players are going to be fit / be picked in light of all the games they’ve played in the last 10 days.

Understood? Good, so on we go…


Defender: Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea

Keeping the rotation risk in mind, I’ve plumped for a footballer who hasn’t missed a single minute of league action for Chelsea this season. Or last season. Or the season before that. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was crossing in assists for Kerry Dixon back in the day (ask yer Da).

Nine clean sheets in 20 outings has been somewhat embellished by two assists, which is down on his usual level of attacking output (he has at least 5 assists in each of the last three seasons). Therefore, he’s due, and he seems to have a unique ability to set up goals for Alvaro Morata, which puts him in a very exclusive club indeed. No other sod can do it. With the injury to Olivier Giroud at Selhurst Park, there’s a chance that Morata may start against Southampton at the Bridge.

All hail Cesar!

Midfield: Felipe Anderson, West Ham

A wee bit of life advice for you now ladies and gents. Don’t gamble on football, particularly the Premier League. The results thrown up over the festive period have been impossible to see coming, and this weekend there are a couple of fixtures that Mystic Meg would refuse to try and predict. Everton host Leicester City where either team could smash the other, and West Ham host Brighton.

While the Hammers can below hot and cold (as evidenced by their insipid defeat to a previously woeful Burnley), they face a Brighton side who are consistently poor away from home and who travel with as much confidence as a commuter with Northern Rail.

Felipe Anderson has been the standout performer for West Ham this season with a solid 8 goals and 3 assists thus far. His recent form has been strong, and should he be selected I’d be confident he can clip the seagull’s wings to get his 2019 off to a flyer.

Forward: Harry Kane MBE, Tottenham Hotspur

Now I know the name of Harry Kane appearing here will make many of you groan with frustration and disenchantment, and I get it, I really do. In FPL seasons past, there were always ‘star strikers’ you could hang your hat on to do the business each and every week, but this season has been the toughest I can remember to find the right man to lead your forward line.

Aguero? In and out all the time….

Jesus? Christ….

Kane? He doesn’t really play up front anymore, does he…

Aubameyang? Yeah, but it’s Arsenal, innit…

This week I’m torn between Kane and Aubameyang. Harry travels to Cardiff with 4 goals in his last 3 games, and Spurs having scored 10 goals in their last 3 away games. Aubameyang hosts Fulham which looks like a no-brainer, but Fulham have 2 clean sheets in the last 3 and have conceded just once in that spell. Plus, Aubameyang had 13 touches at Anfield, 6 of which were kick-offs…

So, I’m plumping for Harry Kane this week, but I fully understand if you ignore everything I say and go for Aubameyang.

(P.S. I tipped Firmino against Arsenal. Your move, kid…)

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Remember last season when it didn’t matter who Salah was playing against, he always just delivered? Well his last five GW scores are…

GW16: 21 Points

GW17: 2 Points

GW18: 12 Points

GW19: 12 Points

GW20: 12 Points

Plus, have you seen Manchester City defend recently? They’re jumpier than a racoon on Red Bull at the back. Klopp and his men have a free hit this Thursday and I reckon they’re going to go for it.

Outsider: Tom Heaton, Burnley

The transformation of the Burnley defence from 17/18 vintage of being tight, solid and reliable to the 18/19 vintage of being slapstick, comedic and hilarious was as quick as it was unexpected. It just made no sense.

Then Tom Heaton started his first game of the season after recovering from injury and he keeps a clean sheet while making four saves. I don’t have the Hart to blame just one man for the mess that has been the Burnley defence this season, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the issue may have been.

Is an ownership of 0.1% enough of an outsider for you? Oh, and he plays Huddersfield and Fulham in his next two games.

Draft: Jurgen Locadia, Brighton & Hove Albion

Let’s be honest, your all just waiting for the January transfer window to open wide and lots of new fresh blood you’ve never heard of to fly in, so you can draft them immediately, but until then Locadia will have to do. Happy New Year.


Ed: We didn’t get to record a New Year Song this year so here is Niall’s from last year – it’s as good as it was last year so let’s roll it out again!

Happy New Year Everybody! 

Ryan @FantasyYIRMA



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.

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