Anthony O'Shea

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Stag's Take - Gameweek 14

Monday, November 27, 2017


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 14

 

 

We have a quick turnaround to Gameweek 14 after a thoroughly underwhelming Gameweek 13 in FPL terms. Sure, Salah scored for Liverpool to bring his season tally to ten already, but that encounter with Chelsea which has promised so much ended 1-1. Man City and Arsenal were both being put under the cosh in different circumstances in their respective games but they dug out their victories – the same can be said of Manchester United. Spurs… did a bit of a Spurs.

 

I haven’t been an avid Tottenham watcher this season but from the bits I have seen, what they often lack is a direct player who can win them penalties and draw defenders away from Kane – think Sterling and Mané, even Rashford/Martial. One would assume that that is the role assigned to Dele Alli but he doesn’t seem to get it right when faced with a blanket defence like West Brom’s on Saturday. Tottenham’s inability to earn easy three points against compact defences may be the underdoing of their title tilt this term but it may also indicate that we’re better off captaining Kane in games where teams are confident enough to attack themselves and thus open space for those who assist Kane – Man City, Liverpool, Bournemouth and Huddersfield are decent examples of sides. It’s no coincidence that he scored a brace against two of that four in my opinion. All that said, Kane is a world class finisher capable of fashioning a chance from nothing and should never be discounted against any side.

 

My housemate read me out an interesting comment over the weekend, which I presume came from Reddit but I was unable to find myself. The comment basically compared Everton’s asphyxiation this season to Leicester’s title win. In the early part of the season you look at the team and laugh at their situation, knowing that the logical conclusion of their performances was not possible. However, when Christmas comes and the chance lingers, you start to believe that the impossible could become possible until eventually it proves true. The threat of relegation to Everton Football Club is very real regardless of how much they spent in the summer – FiveThirtyEight gives them a 21% chance of making Wayne Rooney a Championship player. The Toffees need a striker (but who’s available?), they need pace on the flanks, and yet they need to introduce those players to the first team without discommoding the majority of the current squad – ie a bunch of central attacking midfielders. Before they can do that though, they need to find a manager. It is now over a month since Koeman got the boot and in that time things have only worsened under Unsworth. If reports prove true and Big Sam or Martin O’Neill are appointed, expect a defensive improvement – sure, but I don’t see how goals will come until the January transfer window begins. Everton have 9 PL games between now and January 1st – their slide towards relegation may be completed by then. There’s a reason why commentators make such a big deal over which sides are in the relegation zone at Christmas time. I foresee David Moyes’ West Ham having good fortune in Gameweek 14 – Chicharito or Ayew should be in your considerations. Looking further ahead, the Merseyside Derby takes place at Anfield on December 10th

 

As a final note before the captaincy discussion, it’s worth noting that the overall trend amongst the FPL Community is towards designing your team around a 3-5-2 formation. The painful rotation of Jesus and Aguero at City is forcing people to sell them in favour of potentially doubling up on City midfielders instead. Thus, Morata, Lukaku, and Kane are left as the three viable elite forwards to lead your team. Furthermore, Lukaku could be the most transferred out player this Gameweek after his blank against Brighton as the Belgian has just one goal in his last six Premier League appearances now. I personally move to a 3-5-2 ahead of Gameweek 13 and got in Huddersfield’s Colin Quaner to fill my third striker slot however Southampton’s Charlie Austin put in a good performance getting a brace against the hapless Everton at St. Mary’s – maybe those goals were an audition for a place in your side? The midfield options are plentiful with Salah and City coverage being a must and the rest from there up to yourself. I currently have Gross, Richarlison (who I believe is fixture proof), Hazard, Sané, and of course, Salah.

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 

 

Eden Hazard (Swansea H)

 

Hazard is playing as far forward as Alvaro Morata at this point, feeding off the Spaniard’s knockdowns and build-up play to get chances of his own whilst also acting as a playmaker himself. He is a stand-out option and I covered him in detail in last week’s column. In that piece, I basically outlined how much more likely Haz has been to get attacking returns whilst playing with Morata and that fact bore true last weekend as he assisted Willian’s completely intentional chip over Mignolet, notching up three bonus points for himself in the process. He’s central to all the good things Chelsea do, and Swansea are in a death-spiral at present.

 

 

Mo Salah (Stoke A)

 

He’s good, but can he do it on a (what is forecasted to be) (not) wet (not) windy very cold night in Stoke? Find out on Wednesday when the league’s top scorer visits Mark Hughes and his group of Champions League winning substitutes. Look, all this talk about Salah being the highest scoring winger in Europe is complete garbage. He runs into the box from the side a bit, given, but that is not the definition of a true winger. Salah is a striker, deal with it and treat him such in FPL. Thus, an in-form striker playing against one of the PL’s poorest defences, a side who have conceded on eleven occasions at home (Everton and Palace worse on 12) has to be in your consideration. I think his case is strengthened by the fact that Liverpool have some starters rested and coming back into the side for this tie like Firmino too, for what his creativity is worth. To answer my opening question in this paragraph - ya, he probably can.

 

 

Alexis Sanchez (Huddersfield H)

 

Arsenal are one of only two sides who can boast a perfect record at home this season along with Manchester United. If it wasn’t for their bewilderingly inconsistent away form they’d be challenging for the title. Fortunately for FPL managers Huddersfield are travelling to the Emirates so we’re more likely to be treated to goals that the teeth-pulling witnessed in Burnley in Gameweek 13. I watched a decent portion of that game and Alexis stood out for his attacking intent and creativity again, before he stole the headlines with that late late penalty to seal the win. The Chilean looks to have put his transfer heartache aside to play for the team again and his FPL tally will begin to reflect that before long. It’s just so annoying that he is prohibitively expensive as he would be a fantastic punt otherwise as a differential captain contender.

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag (me) | Ben | Galin | Nik |

 

Stag has been providing #FPL Tips since July 2015 and has been a contributor for Rotoworld.com since August 2016. He is a self-proclaimed wannabe fantasy football genius, a student, and die-hard tea enthusiast.








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