For the third week on the spin, the Differentials XI bettered the game average quite comfortably, though this did become a bit of a default side, as three outfield players – Lucas, Rudiger and Ramsey – failed to see the pitch in any form!
At the back that meant Lascelles and Dubravka combined for 13 points in their home clean sheet for Newcastle. I also called the Kompany return and clean sheet, as well as seven for Tarkowski. Only Davey Sanchez let me down from a clean sweep at the back.
In midfield and up top I had one stand out each, with Mahrez grabbing 11 and Aubameyang chipping in with 18 as captain. The rest were a little bit of a let down.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware this is a weird week coming up. Due to the FA Cup, there are just four PL fixtures this week, which might be a problem for some. The meticulous planners amongst you will have seen this coming and prepared your transfers weeks in advance – if you’re anything like @FPL_Guru_, you’ll have had your pen and notepad out for a while now.
Now, obviously I change this whole side every week with the players I think are the best looking sub-10% ones for the games, and this week is no different. Unfortunately it means I have contradictions in defence and attack, but hopefully one or two of these can make this reduced offering of fixtures a salvageable one.
So I’ve gone with Pickford (9.5%) in goal this week, away to struggling Stoke. That’s not to say Everton are far superior – and if Stoke are to stay up they’ve got to win their home games – I’m just not convinced they’re good enough. On the bench I’ve gone for Karnezis (0.2%), but not because I think he’ll keep a clean sheet. Basically, I was running out of players for other positions and thought he might get a save point – I don’t particularly recommend him that highly.
On the pitch I’ve gone for Robertson (6.7%) of Liverpool as captain. In his last two home games he’s picked up six points in each, so I fancy that again please. Van Aanholt (3.1%) away to Huddersfield looks quite nice too, and I like the attacking returns he’s contributed in his last two matches. Finally in the XI I’ve gone for Daniels (8.7%) at home to West Brom, who are looking pretty doomed right now. On the bench I’ve opted for Zanka (8.0%) in that Terriers game against Palace, and Bauer (0.9%) in that Stoke fixture hosting Everton.
Zaha (6.0%) returns to a four man midfield after his impressive cameo at Chelsea last week. Palace are such a better team with him in it, and he’ll be very keen to help get the Eagles away from danger as soon as he can. Also away from home I’ve gone for Walcott (5.8%), who was unlucky to not score last week when an effort he almost reached ended up as an own goal. In home games, I’ve gone for Pritchard (0.3%) and Stanislas (2.7%), who scored against Spurs on home soil last Sunday. He could’ve had two in the first five minutes actually, and more sharp play could well blow West Brom away. On the bench, I’ve gone for Oxlade-Chamberlain (3.1%) at home to Watford.
Three up front this week and I’ll be honest, I had King in this team for a while until he became an injury doubt. I’ve instead opted to reinstate Wilson (10.0%) from the Bournemouth front line, but he is well overdue a goal and I’d dropped him because I wasn’t 100% sure he’d start. I’ve also gone for Benteke (4.0%), who was hooked at the break against Chelsea last week – I’m just hoping Roy decides he’s worthy of a place back in the side. Finally, Tosun (2.9%) completes the lineup after two goals in two games. The January signing is finally looking like the striker Everton thought they were buying, and he’ll be keen to continue his streak.
It’s going to be tough, but good luck getting those green arrows once more this weekend.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)