Written by Mr. Niall Hawthorne We have reached the end of the road. The cul-de-sac of Fantasy Premier League greets us once more, and upon your arrival you will either be lauded as a hero or mocked as a failure. As ever there are winners and losers, but as with life it’s the taking part […]
Second last weekend of the league season. By next weekend, all the arguments will be settled. Liverpool will be champions after beating Southampton 10-0 and Wolves 7-0 after City lose to West Ham, Arsenal and Spurs will both have Arsenal-ed and Spurs-ed it up but one will accidentally get top four. United will end up in the Europa Conference League by mistake. Leeds United will escape the drop with a 95th minute goal to relegate Burnley, and the football gods will smile down on us all as they plot the storylines for next season.
GW37 Defender: Nathaniel Clyne
Picking a ‘sure’ defensive asset right now is like picking an honest Tory politician out of the current cabinet. You might get lucky, but you sure as hell weren’t going on facts.
Most teams have sod all to play for, so concentration won’t be optimal. Some teams have everything to play for, so desperation leads to mistakes.
I’m plumping for Crystal Palace this week, and namely Nathaniel ‘Patsy’ Clyne, who has quietly amassed 5 clean sheets in the last 8 GW’s and thrown in an assist as well. This week he faces Villa and Everton away from home, so a clean sheet against Villa and an outrageous 30-yard THUNDERBASTARD from the ex-LFC stalward to send Everton down is almost guaranteed.
GW37 Midfielder: Leandro Trossard, Brighton
After meandering serenely through this season doing the sum total of sod all, Leandro Trossard has suddenly sprung into life racking up an incredible 4 goals and 3 assists in his last 5 starts. He must have a contract renewal on the line, or else his agent has whispered something about Jurgen Klopp liking him into his ear.
In any case, he’s too good to ignore this week, particularly as Brighton travel to Elland Road to face the hapless Leeds United this Saturday. Wait, all the games are on Sunday? I thought that was GW38? Wait, it is? What?
Aww man, I prefer the old days.
GW37 Forward: Richarlison, Everton
Two home games to secure survival.
Brentford and Palace.
Everton need a hero. They’ve only got one option if they find one, right?
GW37 Captain: Heung-Min Son, Spurs
In his last 8 starts, he has 10 goals and 3 assists. 93 points, averaging…umm…just under 12 points a game.
He faces Burnley this week. Burnley conceded 3 to Villa last time out.
GW37 Outsider: Tony Springett, Norwich City
Go on, I dare you.
Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 30 Something
Written by Niall Hawthorne Four GW’s left. It’s now or never. I’ve seen more chip strategy analysis than I have Russian-invasion analysis, which gave me an idea. If those in FPL towers offered a free round of chips to every FPL player (TC, Wildcard, FH and BB) in return for detailed analysis on how Putin […]
I’m sacrificing a snooze on my couch on a lazy Good Friday afternoon, as the Lord himself intended, to write this preview for you, so you’d better appreciate it.
I’m also reeling from the news that Sean ‘Gravel Gargler’ Dyche has been given the big heave-ho by Burnley. I thought he owned the club, he’s so synonymous with them.
GW33 Defender: Fabian Schar, Newcastle United
Two fixtures this week, at home to Leicester and Crystal Palace.
Leicester are coming into their game off the back of an historic European success, reaching the semi-finals of the *checks notes* UEFA Europa Lucky Losers Tombola, so could well be giddy and not quite at it.
Crystal Palace will be coming into their game off the back of an FA Cup Semi-Final against a Chelsea side still reeling from chucking away history at The Bernabeu, potentially not being ‘on it’ and Palace then sucker-punching them and suit-shopping ahead of Cup Final day.
In short, Newcastle could well catch two teams cold. Scharhas two goals, two assists and five clean sheets this season and at his price point and ownership level, is my standout defensive pick this week.
GW33 Midfielder: James Maddison, Leicester City
Having said all the above about Leicester City, you should consider James Maddison this week as he has two fixtures against Newcastle and Everton, both of whom aren’t really very good.
While they could be distracted by their European heroics, they could also be inspired by them. Maddison has been in decent form in recent weeks, scored in the European triumph in midweek and will be looking to add to his 8 goals and 8 assists this season.
GW33 Forward: Ivan Toney, Brentford
He may only have a single game this week, but the man is on fire. In recent weeks he has plundered 17 points against Norwich and 12 points against Burnley.
This week he faces Watford, who are very much on the same level as the two clubs just mentioned. A double-digit haul looks more likely then not in my eyes.
GW33 Captain: Harry Kane, Spurs
In his last 9 GW’s, Harry has one blank, 7 goals and 8 assists as well as 12 bonus points.
Last weeks Captain pick brought home 10 points thanks to his second hat-trick of assists in three games. That flick header into the path of Son? Filth.
This week Spurs once more play Brighton, who they beat in GW29 at the Amex. This game is at White Hart Lane and Spurs are flying. He may only play once, but he’s likely to score more than those playing twice.
GW33 Outsider: Vitalii Mykolenko, Everton
I haven’t had a 0.0% return in AGES, so here we go once more.
The Toffees full back has started the last three games, kept the mighty Manchester United scoreless last time out while picking up three bonus points, and this week faces Leicester City at Goodison in a must-win game.
Note: Full props to the legend that is Niall Hawthorne who wholeheartedly provided this preview prior to the gameweek kicking off… Zero props to me for not posting it in time
Puddles of Cuddles
We’ve rounded the final bend, and we’re into the sprint finish to the line. Chips are locked and loaded ahead of DGW’s and mini-leagues are tantalisingly poised.
Ah yes, it’s April ladies and gents.
GW32 Defender: Matt Doherty, Spurs
A wolf in Spurs clothing has found his Wolves form now that Antonio Conte has worked out how to actually use him properly.
All aboard, I say.
2 goals, 4 assists, 3 clean sheets and 8 bonus points in his last 6 GW’s – don’t overthink this.
GW32 Midfielder: Maxwel Cornet, Burnley
Hear me out.
I know his midweek heroics should be taken in the context that it’s only Everton, and you’re right, of course. But when Cornet gets hot, he get’s very hot. He’s had back to backdouble-digit hauls already this season, and this weekend he can back up his 12 point haul against Everton with a game against bottom of the table Norwich City, in the game that is the very definition of a relegation six-pointer.
Burnley can see and smell the brown stuff coming from Everton that isn’t toffee, and who would you really fancy to come out on top in a tussle – Dyche or Lampard?
GW32 Forward: Cucho Hernandez, Watford
Watford v Leeds this weekend looks like a potential humdinger of a game.
Leeds have given themselves some room for manoeuvre (that word is impossible to spell first time without help y’know) but can’t consider themselves safe yet.
Watford have it all to do, but are showing signs of life under Roy Hodgson, and in Cucho they have a dynamic, scrappy striker who just won’t take the hint. I was impressed by him when watching him against Liverpool last week. He’s in form too with 3 goals and an assist in his last 4 games.
Leeds haven’t kept a clean sheet since 1996 either, so that’s always a positive.
GW32 Captain: Harry Kane, Spurs
In his last 8 GW’s, Harry has one blank, 7 goals and 5 assists as well as 12 bonus points.
This week he’s facing an Aston Villa side that are as consistently inconsistent as a Conservative minister. They’ve lost their last three games after winning the three before. Are they just inconsistent or do they realise they have sod all to play for?
Spurs have plenty to play for in their battle for fourth against Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham. You know what to do.
GW32 Outsider: Jonathan Castro Otto, Wolves
They call him Jonny. I call him Otto.
If he hauls for the fifth week in a row, we’ll all get blotto.
Poetry at it’s finest right there. Anyway, with two clean sheets and two goals in his last four matches, after appearing for the first time this season in GW26, Jonny is making a bold late claim for PFA Player of the Year. Has he timed it too late? Maybe, but he’s facing a Newcastle United side with Arabian sandals on and already mentally on the beach. Just 0.4% ownership too.
I type this with a stinker of a settling hangover after a big work event last night, so let’s just crack on, quietly….
GW31 Defender: Reece James, Chelsea
Yeah, so Reece James is fit, apparently. Or not. I dunno. It hurts to blink. Chalobah is in good form in the last few weeks too, but will he start? Will James? Can I lie down now?
Chelsea are home to Brentford, so yeah, one of their defenders. Cool? Sound.
GW31 Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure, Everton
It took me three goes to spell his bloody name, and now my brain is rattling in my head. He plays twice, I think. Can anyone confirm if two still comes after one? I’m not sure anymore. Anyway, Claret and Hammers for Doucoure, which sounds shakingly familiar to last night for me.
GW31 Forward: Teemu Pukki, Norwich
I’m going to level with you, the form guide has Pukki in the top 5 form forwards in the game right now. That could still be my addled mind playing with me, or it could be true. I dunno. But he has lovely green games coming as far as the eye can see, and has scored/assisted in three on the spin, so why not? Pukki party!
Nope. Never having a party again. Ever.
GW31 Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
Salah. At home. To Watford.
This doesn’t take a great deal of thought, which is handy because I don’t have a great deal of thoughts.
GW31 Outsider: Connor Roberts, Burnley
Sean Dyche has had two weeks to plan for these two games, with (presumably) not many players away on international duty. He’ll have them primed, prepped and ready to lock City and Everton down.
Yes I know I’m talking bollox, but it’s the best I can do right now.
Your move…I’m moving to a bed.
I normally comment on world affairs and make a smart comment, but it’s still too serious, too depressing so let’s move on.
GW30 Defender: Romain Saiss, Wolves
Wolves have built their success this season on being hard to beat, and indeed, hard to score against. Only the current top three in the league have conceded less goals this season, and Wolves are a full six goals ahead of the fifth place team in that metric, Arsenal.
With this in mind, a home game against a struggling Leeds United, off the back of a couple of clean sheets, draws my attention.
You could plump for Sa, Coady or Kilman, but Saiss has an eye for a goal in his locker, so he’s my choice this week.
GW30 Midfielder: Harvey Barnes, Leicester City
Harvey Barnes has struggled for consistent fitness this season, but he has started four of the last five games, and in that time he’s racked up two assists and a goal.
Looking at the Premier League table, Leicester City have sod all to play for. Adrift of any hope of a European place, and comfortably away from the relegation zone, it will be interesting to see what Brendan Rodgers can get out of his troops between now and the end of the season. If they play with freedom and lack of worry, they could be destructive. If they give up, they’ll be useless.
GW30 Forward: Ivan Toney, Brentford
Like a reverse Ivan Drago, Ivan Toney decided to pick Brentford up off the canvas in the past couple of games, and batter them to survival with an astonishing five goals in two games against relegation rivals Norwich and Burnley in two genuine six-pointers.
That has left them 8 points clear of the relegation zone as things stand, with 30 points, so another six points should see them safe, which would be a superb achievement all things considered.
Toney now has 11 goals in his maiden premier league season and against a renowned leaky defence such as Leicester City’s, he’ll fancy his chances of continuing his hot streak.
GW30 Captain: Harry Kane, Spurs
Six goals in his last five games. Throw in an assist and eight bonus points in the same games, and when the pickings are this slim, there’s no need to overthink this.
West Ham visit White Hart Lane and in 17 games against West Ham in the Premier League, Harry Kane has 11 goals and 2 assists. He likes to hammer the Hammers.
GW30 Outsider: Rodrigo Moreno, Leeds United
Word has it that Ted Lasso, sorry, Jesse Marsch has put an arm around the shoulder of Rodrigo, whispered sweet Americanism’s in his ear, and is getting the best out of the striker.
In fact, I heard that he said ‘Do it for Gabriella’. If you know, you know.
I normally comment on world affairs and make a smart comment, but it’s too serious, too depressing so let’s move on.
GW29 Defender: Andy Robertson, Liverpool
He’s in better form than Trent Alexander-Arnold, he’s owned by almost 40% fewer players, and he hasn’t played and blanked since GW17, remarkably.
Away fixtures down south to Brighton and Arsenal are on the horizon, after which he can have a lovely rest while Tsimikasplays the FA Cup game against Forest.
Yep, that’s definitely the plan.
GW29 Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
Pep revealed after the Manchester derby that he had told KDB that he needed to focus on scoring as well as assisting goals.
Kevin promptly went out and scored two and assisted one.
One wonders whether Pep regrets not instructing Kevin to score a bit earlier in the season? We’ll never know.
GW29 Forward: Harry Kane, Spurs
Five goals. One assist. Three double-digit hauls.
That’s how Harry has fared in his last four games.
Less than 20% own him y’know. He faces United and Brighton this week.
This is not complicated, people.
GW29 Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
He hit more wood in midweek than a lumberjack.
Somebody is going to feel the wrath of Salah, and I bet it’s Brighton and Arsenal. If Salah is playing twice, you Captain him, no questions asked.
GW29 Outsider: Martin Odegaard, Arsenal
Five goals and three assists, married to a growing influence on this young Arsenal side means that a DGW for Odegaard may be too good to ignore.
Written by Mr. Niall Hawthorne
Not sure who reads this column anymore??
GW28 Defender: Tino Livramenton, Southampton
Ah Tino, how we have missed thee.
The darling of FPL in GW’s 1 – 11 has now resurfaced on the back of a stunning 20 point haul in his last two games. Marry that with the fact that Southampton are purring right now, and they have two matches in GW28 against mediocre opposition, and he may well be too good to ignore.
GW28 Midfielder: Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea
Three goal-scoring returns in a row for the man who RomeloLukaku owes, big time.
This week he faces Burnley and Norwich. He’s red-hot, confidence must be sky-high, and he’s owned by under 1.5% of players?
Madness I tell you. Utter madness.
GW28 Forward: Harry Kane, Spurs
Many will plump for Che Adams here, and they’re not wrong. He’s got two games, is the in-form forward in the game, and could do well.
However Harry Kane seems to have found his mojo once more, as the end of a season looms, and a juicy transfer window is about to open in a few months.
This week he faces Everton at White Hart Lane. Everton are bobbins on the road, truly awful. 12 goals conceded in their last 6 away games in the premier league leads me to believe that if Spurs turn up (and admittedly that is a bit of an ‘if’), then Kane could plunder his third double-digit haul in his last four starts.
GW28 Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool
What, again? I hear you cry…
Last week I had to choose differently and Bruno Fernandes blanked harder than Terry Wogan on a BBC game-show in the 1980’s that gave you a chequebook and pen as a prize.
This week he’s off the back of a 28 point haul in DGW26, a shiny new winners medal in his back pocket, and a rest in midweek.
The Hammer can blow bubbles all they want. Salah will blow West Ham away.
GW28 Outsider: Ryan Fraser, Newcastle United
Two clean sheets, two assists, a goal and 25 points in his last four games.
Not bad for a defender with just 0.7% ownership playing for a team that seems to have found its feet under their new manager.
Two games this week too, against Brighton and Southampton.
GW27 Defender: Ben Mee, Burnley
A DGW for Burnley once more, who are riding high after swatting aside Brighton last weekend and showing signs that they just might get themselves out of the relegation zone. Which would be a travesty, obviously.
However, in FPL we don’t care about things like that. We care about the fact that they are playing Crystal Palace and Leicester City this week, and it’s the Foxes fixture that has me salivating.
We all know how bad Leicester City have been at defending set pieces this season, so the prospect of the Burnley Bruisers facing that defence…well, I’m backing Ben Mee to score at least once.
GW27 Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse, Southampton
Southampton are a funny side, aren’t they?
They produced Matt Le Tissier who was a world-beating baller who never left the South Coast, and never really fulfilled his potential at a higher level.
Now they’ve produced James Ward-Prowse from their academy, who while not quite at the Matt Le Tissier level of skill (or conspiracy looniness) is a set-piece Don, almost certainly capable of playing at a higher level (indeed I’d argue he’s got David Beckham levels of quality surrounded by lesser players), and you wonder will he ever move on?
Anyway, I digress. Norwich City at home this Friday night, and after 6 goals, 4 assists and breaking through the 100 pointbarrier last week, he’s too good to ignore this week.
GW27 Forward: Harry Kane, Spurs
I love Harry Kane.
Always have, always will.
He’s a stand-up guy. A true gent. A scholar. The most handsome, intelligent man that has ever existed. Better than Pele, Messi and Maradona combined.
If he really has found his mojo and wasn’t just showing his potential future employer what they could have won, then this weekend he plays Leeds, who are conceding goals at an alarming rate.
GW27 Captain: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
Back-to-back goals for the first time this season, both returning double-digit hauls, it appears that the old Bruno is finally returning.
A home game against Watford delivers huge promise for a third haul in a row. Now if Ralf could just jettison CR7 and let Bruno really do what he does best, everyone would be better off.
GW27 Outsider: Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City
Less than 5% ownership, a fixture against an absolutely terrible Everton side, and an inevitable bounce-back from a City side that will be desperately looking over their shoulders at Liverpool marching towards them.
He’s had his minutes managed since the AFCON, but I reckon he’s a lock to start here.