Anthony O'Shea

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Stag's Take - Gameweek 38

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 38

 

The end of the 38 gameweek has arrived.

 

It’s fair to say that Double Gameweek 37 of 2017/18 will be hastily forgotten by managers of standard template managers. Last season Harry Kane scored five goals, Alexis’ trio earnt him 27 points, and Gabriel Jesus bagged 19 points – this year was nothing like that. The only player whose tally came anywhere near those players’ this term was that of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

 

The Gabonese international netted three goals and an assist across two DGW37 fixtures, scoring 23 points in total. His appearance off the bench in Gameweek 35 at home to West Ham spurred on a fire sale and Arsenal’s insipid performance at Old Trafford in GW36 followed by their failure in their do-or-die Europa League semi-final at Atleti only compounded that. So woeful had the Gunners been, I went so far as to suggest avoiding their players entirely for the DGW. A seventh away loss of 2018 at Leicester backed up that theory, but the drubbing of Burnley at the Emirates more than made up for it from an FPL point of view. Congrats to those who gambled on Aubamerang, he’s certainly going to be one of the most popular players in the game when Gameweek 1 rolls around again in August.

 

 

Some differentials amongst the masses on the beach

 

West Brom and Stoke have now been relegated, and Southampton celebrated their narrow defeat of Swansea on Tuesday as if they believe their three point cushion and 9 point goal difference is insurmountable for the Swans. They’re probably correct. The European places have been cemented too after Huddersfield held Chelsea on Wednesday. So who will win out when there’s nothing material to play for?

 

Manchester City would be the first team one would look to. The Premier League points record is within reach for the Citizens if they win against Southampton. City’s slow but effective 3-1 win over safe Brighton and dominant draw over Huddersfield is a good indication of where they’re at now – they’ll score, they’ll win with a cushion, but Jesus may not be reliable. Leroy Sané, scorer of 17 points in DGW37, seems like a good option for the final gameweek. When players’ minds are off the pace, and a season’s toil takes its toll, the young pacey German stands out. He’s more individualistic than most of his City teammates and thus aided by his speed he can create his own chances and he can make space to create chances for others – see his hat-trick of assists against Brighton as evidence. His extra yard of pace and sharp instincts contributed in every case.

 

Across the rest of the Top Six I’m a bit stumped. A good dice-roll transfer would be Danny Ings, who will surely line out for Liverpool at home to Brighton at Anfield. A largely rotated Reds squad should be able to secure the necessary point to ensure that Champions League qualification isn’t on the line in Kiev. That said, it’s hard to know if Chelsea will even apply pressure on them to make at least a draw necessary. Having been eking out wins for weeks, The Blues choked at home to Huddersfield. A positive result away to Newcastle at St. James’ Park is no longer a foregone conclusion. Rafa’s success with The Magpies this season has come from tactically targeting certain games to secure points. Whilst those heady days came when PL survival was on the line, I think it’s fair to expect the Spaniard would love to get one over his old employers at his new home.

 

Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs all seem to have lost all urgency, but the latter’s defensive assets should remain dependable in the face of indifferent opposition. Jan Vertonghen is Spurs’ most nailed-on defender, whilst for United that remains to be Chris Smalling.

 

With Wayne Rooney’s Premier League career coming to a close on Sunday if reports are accurate, the Evertonian could be an interesting differential for Gameweek 38. In-form Wilfriend Zaha, who faces the condemned Baggies, is also in vogue. The final day tends to be high scoring and packed with goals, with the form book often completely irrelevant. It’s the reason why in seasons gone by, punts on (then) Man City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and (then) Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud have paid off for me. If you’re behind in your mini-leagues, I recommend you follow a hunch and leave nothing to regret over the long month before the World Cup begins in Russia.

 

 

Stag’s Thanks

 

Before I move to the captaincy section of this week’s column, I would like to thank everyone for your continued readership and support over the last season. The column continues to go from strength to strength, with more and more eyes being reached each gameweek. I hope my tips and commentary throughout the season has been useful for you in your FPL planning. On Thursday evening, I will be in London for the Football Blogging Awards, where I am nominated in the Young Football Blogger of the Year category – to all of you who supported me to reach this far, thank you so much.

 

I will publish an end of season FPL review when the dust settles on Gameweek 38 and when I have time on my hands to do so. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I have spent the last few months studying in Spain, but my time here is about to draw to a close. A return to the Emerald Isle awaits! See you soon for that report, and perhaps for the World Cup beyond. If not, see you again in July when pre-season begins.

 

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Huddersfield A)

 

Only Mo Salah has scored more goals since Auba made his PL debut at the start of February. The Egyptian’s dozen is three more than Auba has managed, whilst when goal contributions in general are compared, Salah’s lead is reduced to two. Salah has 15 goals and assists since February third, Auba has 13 – in 12 games! Like I alluded to with Leroy Sané earlier, when teams are on the beach, a yard of pace can make all the difference, and that certainly applies to Auba too. His alertness in the box and instant acceleration makes off-peak defenders easy pickings and his recent form is unrivalled by anyone else in the division.

 

 

Harry Kane (Leicester H)

 

Kane sits three goals adrift of Mo Salah entering the final day of the season, which makes his chances of adding a third PL Golden Boot to his mantelpiece this year unlikely. However, the victory over Arsenal on Wednesday aside, no side looked as on the beach as his opponents, Leicester. His shot statistics remain uncharacteristically low, and his finishing awry, however he has still scored four goals in his last six PL outings. Kane is likely to be one of the most popular captaincy choices this weekend, along with his season long duelling partner Mo Salah.

 

 

Mohamed Salah (Brighton H)

 

This year’s Player of The Season has stolen the show all season, and is now just eight points short of breaking the 300 point barrier for the season in FPL. An incredible return for a player, who has managed to make his £30 million transfers fee look like a complete bargain – each goal has cost Liverpool less than one million pounds. Add to his 31 goals a further 11 assists and you’ve got a player who has written himself into the annals of Fantasy Premier League forever. Liverpool’s league form has dipped considerably as their Champions League campaign edged towards its conclusion. The players have looked fatigued and contact-shy for fear of getting an injury which would rule them out of the CL final and the World Cup. That said, opportunities should open to Salah if he’s on the pitch. Common belief is that he will start and go off with time to spare, but this season has taught up that the Egyptian needs just a few minutes to make a significant contribution.

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | 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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