Anthony O'Shea

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Stag's Take - Gameweek 21

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 21

 

 

As gameweeks go, Gameweek 20 was very high-scoring. For myself, handing the captaincy to hat-trick hero Harry Kane played a large role in me making my way to a stellar 76 points. That tally wasn’t even good enough to break the top 1,000,000 for the round though nor did it secure me green arrows! Aguero and Hazard’s blanks were particularly damaging for my prospects whereas the popular Morata and Sterling made me grind my teeth a little, the latter in particular. Both of my players performed frustratingly well without returns, with Aguero twice hitting the post and drawing a brilliant save out of Elliot. Meanwhile, Sterling has graduated to as close to “must-own” status as there can be in the long-term though another 90 minutes against the Toon only lower the odds on him becoming a victim of rotation in the upcoming gameweek.

 

 

Pep’s New Year’s Revolution

 

"Any manager can decide what he wants - I prefer to try to play but I respect a lot what opponents do and we have to try to discover how to attack against them.

Always you have to expect this kind of situation - and it is not always easy to maintain that level."   

 

My translation of Pep’s post-match thoughts after the Newcastle win highlights that more and more, Pep is setting out to beat the team in front of him rather than trying to stick to his first principles. Of course that does not mean Pep will abandon the beautiful possession football that has yielded 19 wins and a draw in the PL this term. What it may instead suggest is that Pep will attack the weaknesses of the opposition’s set up more rather than relying on his system and the talent of his players. Perhaps Pep realised this himself in the first 10 minutes of the Newcastle game and thus decided that having defenders was an overrated concept against Rafa’s deep ultra-defensive side. If I’m correct that realisation precipitated the decision to swap Kompany for Jesus so early on when the centre-back was forced off.

 

 

This Tweet illustrates the result of Guardiola’s changes in the most recent game. As per usual, the wing-backs drifted inside to create overloads in possession but the lack of opposition allowed KdB and Ilkay to be more aggressive in their movement. De Bruyne actually registered more shots than any other game in the PL this season because of that, contributing 6 of City’s 22 efforts on Elliot’s goal. As always with the Belgian, he was magisterial in possession too with four key passes including the decisive precise ball to set up Sterling’s 17th goal in all competitions in 2017/18 so far. Basically, we should expect even more aggressive formations and positioning when sides decide to try and park the bus against City.

 

 

A Dangerous Combination


Chelsea’s Spanish contingent provided all of their goal contributions in Gameweek 20 but one pair in particular is starting to look a bit weirdly familiar. Cesar Azpilicueta provided the assist for an Alvaro Morata goal for the sixth time in the PL so far this season, making them the most potent combo in Europe’s Top 5 leagues right now. In fact, they are already just one more Dave cross and Morata header from equalling the best assist-scorer pair in the Premier League in the past nine seasons (h/t @BassTunedToRed . It’s pretty amazing really.

 

Behind and sometimes beside Morata was Eden Hazard, again registering decent underlying stats (4 shots, 3 key passes) and seeing one effort cleared off the line by the pesky Lewis Dunk but ultimately failing his owners. In the long-run, I think myself and many others will have to pull the plug on Hazard to fit the plethora of cheaper players who are returning more consistently – or just to fit in Alexis who scored twice against Palace and has been steadily increasing the frequency of his appearances on the scoresheet.

 

 

Premium Defences

 

This is a topic I’ve spoken about in recent weeks but it’s worth touching on briefly again. We now have a situation where 42.2% of FPL squads contain at least one of Azpi, Alonso, or Andreas Christensen. That figure rises to 76.8% of the top 1000 and some nutters even own all three! Nicolas Otamendi is also present in 64.3% of the Top 1k sides and that figure is only rising. What I’m getting at here is a recommendation (or an endorsement for those of you fortunate enough) that you cover yourself from the gains of opponents who hold defenders from these teams. Otherwise you’ll punished like I was in Gameweek 20!

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 

Alexis Sanchez (West Brom A)

 

With Jack Wilshere back in the Arsenal side and Alexis looking dangerous, it seems like the Chilean is back at the FPL elite players’ table. Maybe he’s just looking for a move away but it would be lunacy not to capitalise on an upturn in form from him. He’s up against West Brom who are having serious trouble scoring goals and haven’t won a game in 18 attempts now. That should force Pardrew into being a bit more offensive than he would like against a Top Six side which should open up more opportunities for Arsenal’s front men.

With Kane blanking for the gameweek, this is a great opportunity to captain someone different.

 

 

Eden Hazard (Stoke City H)


Even a broken clock is right twice a day and so I’ll recommend Hazard again as an armband option. He’s now gone five PL games without a goal contribution even though he has clearly been Chelsea’s best player in that time and registered both a dozen shots and key passes. The blanks can’t keep coming and it’s difficult to have doubts in Haz when he faces a side who have conceded 41 goals in the PL already this term and kept just two clean sheets!

 

 

Richarlison (Swansea H)

 

Last week I spoke about selling the Brazilian but for myself at least that move is one ice for at least one more week as I plan ahead for the DGW. My differential captaincy pick was Arnautovic for Gameweek 20 so hopefully I can be that successful again! Look, whilst the goals have dried up of late for the 20 year old, the chances really haven’t. Anyone who watches the Hornets will tell you how often he pops up in good positions and just how many good chances he misses but I have faith he can turn the tide this weekend against the struggling Swans.

 

 

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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