Anthony O'Shea

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Stag's Take - Gameweek 20

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 20

 

 

From a spectator’s point of view, Gameweek 19 was a pretty good experience. We got to whet our appetites on Friday for Saturday’s marathon fixture list with a thriller at the Emirates. Liverpool threw away three points (yet again) as their defence and Mignolet capitulated to Arsenal. The Gunners on the other hand were torrid early on before they capitalised ruthlessly on the mistakes of the aforementioned ‘keeper and Joe Gomes to work their way back into the tie. If anything, the result, and the game itself, highlighted the frailties of both sides – Liverpool’s backline and Arsenal’s sudden propensity to underperform yet dig out a result in a comeback. However, from an FPL point of view, it highlighted the wealth of FPL options available in both sides. For the home side, Ozil and Alexis both found their way onto the scoresheet. The German in particular is a favourite of mine who consistently leads chance creation charts – it’s unfortunate that Lacazette is yet to truly hit form whilst Alexis doesn’t seem to capitalise on chances created by his number 10 (who wears number 11). Obviously on the other side you have the free-scoring Fab 4, whose average positions are amazingly compact and advanced as you can see here:

 

 

Everton kept their unbeaten record under Big San intact in the early kick-off on Saturday, keeping their fourth clean sheet in their last six against Chelsea. They’ve conceded just twice since Allardyce officially took the reins at Goodison five league games ago compared to averaging two goals per game conceded in their previous 14 outings. If you’re not already after picking up a Toffees defender, it’s highly advisable. Look no further than Jonjoe Kenny at 4.4m in the Official FPL game – a bargain basement entry price into one of the PL’s most reliable defences.

 

In the aftermath of Chelsea draw, Allardyce called for his side to show more creativity in attack – definitely necessary when you consider that they failed to register a shot on target in the 90 minutes. Thus unless you’re in the DC-L (Dominic Calvert-Lewin) fan-club, one shouldn’t be looking at Everton’s attackers just yet I reckon.

 

Eden Hazard owners will be relieved to know that Alvaro Morata is fit to return from suspension on Boxing Day (St. Stephen’s Day where I’m from) at home to Brighton. Hazard’s tendency to drop deep even when deployed as his side’s furthest forward player meant that Chelsea lacked penetration for the second week running without their Spanish frontman. Without Morata, Chelsea are over-reliant on balls from their wide men to create chances – but what good did their 30 crosses do when there was no striker present to head them against a well-drilled defence?

 

Brighton’s win over Watford was, for me anyway, the confirmation I needed to know that we need to start spreading pesticides to dislodge the Hornets from our FPL sides over the festive period. It was Marco Silva’s mens’ fourth loss on the trot and it’s never a good sign for your defence when a player like Tomer Hemed only had himself to blame for spurning chances so abundant that he should have had a hat-trick. Maybe it would have helped if Watford’s recent spate of indiscipline didn’t mean they were without Troy Deeney, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Marvin Zeegelaar but that said, neither one point in six games nor having players sent off weekly should excuse having just a single shot on target at the AMEX.

 

The main question that Watford’s downturn creates is how to replace Richarlison, the boy wonder who now has just one assist to his name in his last six games. Jesse Lingard immediately springs to mind as a good option. The Englishman is making himself hard to ignore for Gareth Southgate’s squad for Russia with four goals and two assists in his last six outings in the Premier League. Those haven’t been a fortuitous collection either, which can be simplistically illustrated by searching “Lingard” on Twitter whilst you try to keep your in-laws’ dessert down on Christmas Day if you’re celebrating the holiday. Just in case you aren’t bothered to check, I’ll explain: Lingard himself should have scored when he struck the post after rounding Schmeichel. One tweet was particularly virulent in pointing out that the player had already pivoted his run to go for the corner and carry out his celebration routine when the woodwork tolled. However, three of his teammates were similarly culpable of what Mourinho has termed “joke misses”, all which would have yielded assists for Lingard. If you have the budget and want a United player though, it’s hard to look past Lingard’s chief dance partner Paul Pogba.

 

If you’re looking for a Christmas bonus in the form of extra budget, Demarai Gray is a stand-out budget option in a resurgent Leicester side though Andrew Surman and Ruben Loftus-Cheek provide even cheaper alternatives who have outperformed him across the whole season. With Bournemouth only saved by Watford from inhabiting the base of the Premier League form table (last 5), I recommend skipping Surman.

 

There is a compelling argument too for Marko Arnautovic, who has only been sent off once this season (a Christmas miracle from the bit of West Ham I have seen) but who has also scored three times in his last four league outings. Even with the midfield which provides him listless with Lanzini suspended for his late entry for the Fallon d’Floor award of 2017, the Austrian still found a way to get on the scoresheet. Lanzini’s return on December 26 as well as Andy Carroll’s latest incursion away from the treatment room mean that he is probably the best attacking outlet in Moyes’ side who have a double gameweek on the way in GW22 – though caveat emptor, the Irons also blank in GW21.

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 

Mo Salah (Swansea H)

 

The Premier League’s joint top-scorer facing one of the league’s worst teams who currently have no manager? That seems like a pretty good basic formula to work off. With Klopp rotation obsessed so far in 2017/18, there is of course a risk to picking the Egyptian but it’s hard to justify choosing a high performing teammate like Coutinho ahead of him when minutes are no more guaranteed but all other options have lower points per game averages than Salah (even if Coutinho pushes him hard).

 

Eden Hazard (Brighton H)

 

Even after their GW19 win, Brighton are still in a bind as they head to Stamford Bridge with just four points in their last five games in which they have conceded 9 times. Chelsea on the other hand have been pretty solid aside from the loss at West Ham even since Gameweek 7 and 8 when they lost to Man City and then Palace.

Their upturn in form has been chiefly thanks to the deadly partnership of Morata and Hazard, a telepathic relationship which leaves me waxing lyrical consistently. With Morata rested now and Hazard still looking good, there should be plenty of scope for success for the Belgian. If this matters to you, in four seasons at Chelsea, Hazard has two goals and an assist in Boxing Day (or whatever you want to call December 26th) games.

 

 

Marko Arnautovic (Bournemouth A)

 

My third captain pick is pretty much the product of the whole article you’ve read here so there is little to add. “Arnie” seems to be reenergised since Moyes took charge at the London Stadium, scoring goals and generally looking sharp. As noted, the presence of Carroll and Lanzini will only aid and abet his chances to score at the Vitality Stadium against the Cherries, who have conceded 12 in their last 5 PL games en route to securing a measly two points.

 

 

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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