Typically, the international break means everyone has forgotten about the last game week. Yes, that Newcastle Liverpool game which ended Premier League action for a fortnight does feel a very long time ago.
But I want to talk about it, for the Differentials XI scored a lovely looking 79 points last time out. This was well above the average (51) thanks in no small part to my defence. I’d singled out Trippier as a ‘must have’ pickup and the now competitively capped Englishman didn’t disappoint with 14 points. His teammate Sanchez also scored another solid six, while the red north Londoners in my backline – Cech and Monreal – also kept clean sheets. Nacho also opened the scoring against Brighton, a nice attacking return I did not expect, leading to 15 points.
Hazard, Lanzini and Ramsey disappointed a tad in the midfield, though Mata stepped up with a first, timely double digit performance. If you remember, I said he was overdue.
Up top, Rashford chipped in with nine, 18 as my skipper, though King blanked once again. My bench had very little bar the Hart cleanie, so apologies if you selected any of those guys.
All change (bar a couple!) as usual then ahead of this week, which begins with Liverpool United on Saturday lunchtime.
As per usual, I like to stick with my home keepers, so Forster (8.6%) and Schmeichel (4.2%) are my selections this week. The Toon have just one goal away from St James’ Park so far this season, and nothing would surprise me if Southampton’s welcoming of them ended scoreless, meaning Forster gets the nod to start. For the Dane, he’s got a MNF tie with West Brom to contend with, and though they’re a hard side to call, Leicester can win to nil there, I’d imagine.
It appears Trippier’s (4.4%) ownership has gone up just 1.2% since the Huddersfield game, meaning I’m plumping for him again this weekend. I’d argue a Spurs cleanie is almost guaranteed, and I wouldn’t bet against him plonking one onto Kane’s bonce either and picking up another assist. My keeper/defender double up comes in the form of Van Dijk (1.3%) who I absolutely love. I know he’s not 100% fit or in form yet, but like I said above, Newcastle struggle for goals away from home, so this is a nice fixture for him now he’s back in the side. My other two starting defenders actually come from the same game – Olsson (0.3%) and Schindler (5.1%) – meaning you should immediately open your betting app and chuck a wedge on both teams to score! I just think for both Swansea and Huddersfield, this is a nice fixture, and there’s a potential here for a stalemate in my eyes. Keane (7.8%) is on my bench, with a kind looking game away to Brighton. Everton need a win very, very desperately.
And therefore, it’s time for Sigurdsson (3.2%) to step up. Yes, Everton playing him on the left does not help his cause, but there’s a £45m (ish) player in there somewhere, and Koeman needs to find him. Siggy should be on a high after Iceland reached the World Cup this week, and now is the time for him to score more than two points in a game for the first time this season. Elsewhere, I’m sticking with Hazard (3.7%) who looked wonderfully sharp for Belgium on Tuesday night, scoring twice. With a trip to hapless Palace on the cards, I’m slinging him the armband and expecting big things. I also like Fabregas (5.2%) here too, although not enough to start him, due to other options. Those are Sterling (6.4%), who’ll be relieved to return to his exciting club team after the tedium of the England set-up, and Richarlison (6.8%), who has 17 points from his last two games. Arsenal are yet to win or even score yet away from home, and the Brazilian will look to inflict further damage to that sorry record in Saturday’s late game.
I’ll admit, I’m not delighted with my striking options this week. Rashford, a bit of a staple of this team most weeks, isn’t in this week given he’s got Liverpool away, he’s the early kick-off and he picked up a slight niggle on England duty. So instead, I’m hoping Bony (0.6%) can grab his first goal back in Swansea colours in that aforementioned game with Huddersfield. Also, I think Wood (2.7%) is due a goal for Burnley, back on home soil against West Ham. On my bench, I’ve plumped for Gabbiadini (1.9%) in the game against Newcastle on the basis that surely someone for Southampton is going to step up as their main striker. Surely?
Good luck this weekend.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)