I now officially believe in Christmas miracles! I asked Santa for green arrows and green arrows is what we got. The first time the FPL Updates XI have seen them since gameweek 10 and I certainly hope it doesn’t take eight gameweek’s again to see more.
Ben Foster was just a matter of minutes away from an unexpected clean sheet against Arsenal before Olivier Giroud struck. He still managed to score us 5pts courtesy of 10 saves and his first bonus point since GW1.
In front of Foster we had the obvious 6pt return for Marcos Alonso. In the 12 games he has started this season he has only failed to score at least 6pts on one occasion. Having Chelsea defensive coverage looks absolutely imperative and Alonso always offers attacking potential too. John Stones started for Manchester City in a game they kept a clean sheet but given his early injury he once again failed to register any noteworthy points. In a complete contrast to Alonso he has only returned more than 2pts once this whole season. As hard as it is to ignore a centre half for a top four team costing 4.7m it might be time to reinvest the cash. Dejan Lovren unfortunately failed to make it three clean sheets in a row as Stoke scored before they ended up getting thumped.
Talking of Stoke’s thumping, Roberto Firmino FINALLY scored! We have been beyond patient with him and thankfully he got around to rewarding us for it. A goal and three bonus were enough to make him one of two midfielders to record double digits for us. The other being our captain Eden Hazard. He was at his torturous best against Bournemouth winning and scoring a penalty along with two bonus points, making it 20pts for us. Our other two could do no more than pick up the standard 2pts. Etienne Capoue came in for the inured Theo Walcott and Gylfi Sigurdsson made it three blanks on the bounce since his 13pt haul against Sunderland.
Up front we decided against captaining our new arrival Zlatan and thankfully it didn’t cost us too badly. His 15pts against Sunderland made it 38pts over his last three GW’s, which moves him up to fourth in FPL scoring this season. Our third transfer last week was Christian Benteke and thanks to his frankly pathetic penalty he returned us, and over 400,000 other gaffers, a painful -1pt. Last up was Divock Origi who set up a goal and scored 5pts. Six attacking returns in his last six games has been great for all of us who picked him up but with Daniel Sturridge now scoring and Phillipe Coutinho back mid January, his appeal may only be short term now.
So 67pts was enough for a move forward. It may have only been a jump from 1.5m to 1.4m but at least it stopped to rot. With news of Theo Walcott’s injury keeping him out for GW19, along with John Stones’ possible injury, we have gone for another triple transfer.
Stones (OUT) – Ake (IN)
Firmino (OUT) – King (IN)
Walcott (OUT) – Sanchez (IN)
On the surface this looks mad and I’d half agree. But looking at Arsenal’s upcoming run I’m just too damn scared to run without Alexis Sanchez. Nathan Ake could be a steal at 4.4m and Andy King is in because we had 4.8m left and I’ve always quite liked him as a player. John Stones we can live without, I’m just hoping the Firmino drop isn’t going to come back to haunt.
Ben Foster looked in great form last week so hopefully he can go one better this week and pick up his fourth shut out of the season. Southampton haven’t exactly been plundering the goals. In their last 10 games they have only scored eight goals, with three coming in the one game against Bournemouth.
Nathan Ake is back in the Bournemouth line up this week against Swansea and it’s his debut for the FPL Updates XI. We will conveniently ignore the fact Bournemouth have conceded three goals in five of their last six games and focus more on Ake’s form. He is really growing as a defender and three goals in his last six games shows he is certainly a threat from an attacking perspective. Dejan Lovren starts at home to a Manchester City team welcoming back Sergio Aguero. At this point I would probably take 2pts from him. Marcos Alonso makes up the back three at home to Stoke. In three of their last four games Stoke have seen full backs register an assist. Milner, Fuchs and Bellerin have had joy in wide areas whilst Martina picked up maximum bonus in the other game which finished 0-0. Alonso will be licking his lips.
Our midfield all play at home. One of those is obviously new addition Alexis Sanchez. With Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Swansea, Burnley and Watford his next five I just don’t think you can do without him. My advice, if you are one of the 63% of FPL gaffers without him do whatever it takes to get him. Whether it’s hits, chips or even offering Drip Doctors type ‘favours’ to the FPL support team, I fully back whatever you do to get him. Etienne Capoue gets a rare start. Home to Spurs isn’t an easy game but they have Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Walker out. This could be one of those games where they struggle to be as defensively resilient as usual. Gylfi Sigurdsson is in and we are hoping he can deliver. Consecutive blanks have hurt but with Bournemouth at home we will be hoping he can his 83pts. Last up is our GW19 captain Eden Hazard. After watching Stoke against Liverpool it has convinced me.
Our front line is unchanged. Starting with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at home to Middlesbrough. As mentioned he is on a run of three double figure returns in a row we could really do with him making it four. Christian Benteke starts again. His performance last week was the Christmas equivalent of receiving a pair of Next socks but we can afford him one bad game given he is approaching a nice run of games. Big Sam saying he’s likely off penalties could be a little detrimental to his value but we will see how he does. Our final player this week is Divock Origi. In good form but must certainly be feeling the pressure of Daniel Sturridge. Given the quick turnaround of games over this period it would be conceivable that he get’s benched soon. Manchester City might not be that game though.
So there we have it. Our team is ready to go. The points hit isn’t ideal but I feel a lot more confident now we have Sanchez joining Hazard and Ibrahimovic. Three genuine captain options each week but with Costa and Aguero back there is a lot to keep an eye on. Regardless of them being back I feel confident of a 50+ week again and a further move forward. Green arrows are a must and if we don’t get with this team any I might be off Twitter quicker than Samir Nasri!
With this being the final GW before we get our second Wildcard’s I would suggest holding onto them past the first few weeks. Don’t forget how crucial they can be around big DGWs later in the season.
Good luck and I hope you all have a great New Year’s eve!!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)