I’m not going to lie, I had forgotten what it was like experiencing red arrows with the Updates XI, but that’s exactly what we have to deal with in gameweek 19. First drop in FPL places since week 7 and only the 2nd set of red arrows since week 3. Ordinarily 62 points is sure fire greens across the board but this week was a little different. Over the previous 5/6 weeks the fantasy premier league ‘template team’ has started to deliver in a big way. We have had a large chunk of this but without Barkley, Ighalo and Spurs defensive coverage we fell just short. We are always ones for positivity and this was in fact the 7th straight week we have posted a 60+ score so let’s have a look at how our week 17 line up did and how we look going into gameweek 18.
So in goal we had Jack Butland. In the same way we had forgotten about red arrows we had forgotten what it was like to see Butland deliver such a poor return. 1 point was a shame but to be fair only 4 goalkeepers kept clean sheets this week so let’s cut the number 1 fantasy keeper some slack.
Considering the lack of cleanies it would then imply that we didn’t return too many points from our defensive trio, and that would be correct. A combined 5 points from the 3 was a disappointment. In last week’s review we had said the chances of returns were slim but 5 is frustrating so we have taken the decision to spend this week’s transfer on the defence.
In midfield we gave a debut to new transfer in Giorgio Wijnaldum. As much as we fancied his match up against a piss poor awful Aston Villa, it wasn’t until I turned on Sky Sports that I realised the severity of the weather conditions. It was wetter than a Dan Bilzerian after party and was a huge reason for the game being a dud from a technical stand point. The fact that Coloccini and Jordan Ayew scored tells you everything you need to know about the game. This followed Riyad Mahrez’s star performance again. His 2 goal, 15 point return against Everton made it 147 points for the season and 49 in the last 3 games. It’s starting to get silly now. He is now just 1 goal and 3 assists off of Eden Hazard’s attacking returns from his Player of the Year performance last season. Let that resonate for a moment. Our last 2 midfielders faced off on MNF. I won’t lie, when De Bruyne dragged his chance wide at 0-0 I thought it was going to be one of those games for us. What I had forgotten was Mesut Ozil creates goals. There are four things in the world you can be sure of: Paying taxes, death, Bieber dropping bangers and Ozil creating goals. His 2 assists in their biggest league game of the season returned a healthy 11 points and takes his season assists total to 15 and an attacking return in 11 straight games.
Up top was our impressive front 3. Vardy and Lukaku faced off against each other in what turned out to be the game of the weekend. Our captain Lukaku scored and Vardy picked up 2 assists to combine for a healthy 20 points. We also had ‘Arry Kane. Following his 3 blanks in a row he saw a net transfer out of 88k! Yes 88k! The one guaranteed Spurs starter with Southampton, Norwich and Watford upcoming dropped from 9.8m to 9.7m. I didn’t get it then and I still don’t. Well, he scored and was unlucky to miss out on bonus.
So with one free transfer available this week we went knee jerk on our back line. Owning Cedric has been a ball ache for weeks now and given Southampton’s terrible decline in form lately it’s time to freshen up.
Cedric (OUT) – Dier (IN)
I’ll be the first to admit that this move should have happened weeks ago but finally spending your free transfers on defence always feels a little like staying in on a Saturday night after you’ve spent the rest of the month doing your best impression of Charlie Sheen. It’s so boring but sometimes the sensible thing to do following a shit load of reckless yet exciting transfers. With that said let’s have a little look at our team for Boxing Day.
This week you could make a case for both of our keepers. Butland, current front runner for ‘FPL XI Managers’ Player of the year’ is home to United or Hennessey away to Bournemouth. This is a decision based on current stats and form and the fact Bournemouth have more goals in their last 4 games than United have had shots on target, we are running with Jacky boy.
At the back we welcome new boy Eric Dier. An out of position defender playing in a top 5/6 team is a no brainer so he gets the start at home to Norwich. Next to him is Kurt Zouma and Aleksandar Kolarov. Both have very favourable home matches but both very slight rotation worries over the busy festive period. I will safely say that these 3 will return more than last weeks 5 total defensive points.
Our midfield looks the same as last week. Gerard Deulofeu stays on the bench as first sub. I’m a huge fan of the Everton man but following Mirallas’ goal and the fact he has completed 90 minutes just 3 times this season I don’t think he justifies selection over the others. Although with that said, 2 games in 3 days means I fully expect team line ups to change as much as Taylor Swift changes her relationship status, so he could easily find his way into the team. Next we have Mahrez away to Liverpool. I literally have no clue what Liverpool will turn up but given the Leicester playmakers’ form I would start him against the 1970 Brazil line up right now. Wijnaldum starts at home to Everton. He let us down a tad last week but facing an Everton defence that has just 4 cleanies in 17 means we will happily give him another shot. Ozil is up against a Southampton team devoid of any confidence and like Mahrez, if you have him you start him. De Bruyne completes the quartet. He should have scored at the Emirates and is now on a 3 game blank but with Sunderland at home this week I am confident the run ends at 3.
Up top it’s the usual 3. Vardy faces Liverpool who are now minus Skrtel and Lovren. There’s more chance of Thierry Henry analysing a game without mentioning himself than there is Liverpool keeping a clean sheet this week. Lukaku is away to Newcastle. As much as I don’t think he will quite match Vardy’s 11 game run I do think that he will continue his run here. Lastly it’s captain Kane. Norwich haven’t kept a clean sheet at home all season. My reasoning ends there.
So with 2 games in 3 days all the best and try and avoid Christmas eve drunken transfers. There’s nothing worse than seeing you’ve brought in Cameron Jerome for Jamie Vardy when you’re opening your 3rd Lynx Africa deodorant set.
Happy Christmas all!!
Written by FPL Guru