Monday, 29 February 2016

Fantasy Premier League 2015-16: Gameweek 28

This is the 100th post on this blog, also published on SportsCafe.
Sincere thanks to all my readers over the last 4 years!

That was a fun weekend, wasn't it? The biggest story was undoubtedly 18 year-old Marcus Rashford putting Arsenal to the sword with 2 goals and an assist to seal an incredible victory for Man Utd. Leicester and Tottenham continued their title march with hard-fought home wins to pile the pressure on Pellegrini and Wenger. Fraser Forster was finally beaten by Hiddink's Chelsea, thanks in no small part to his own errors. There was also the small matter of the league cup final in which City beat Liverpool on penalties, serving as a nice prelude to this gameweek's fixture between the two.

Barely any time left until Gameweek 28 though, so on we move. Do note that Gameweek 30 could be blank for as many as half the teams, so keep an eye out for excessive blanks in the lineup and plan transfers accordingly.

Gameweek 28 fixtures

Aston Villa vs Everton
Bournemouth vs Southampton
Leicester vs West Brom
Norwich vs Chelsea
Sunderland vs Palace
Arsenal vs Swansea
Stoke vs Newcastle
West Ham vs Tottenham
Liverpool vs Man City
Man Utd vs Watford

Player Picks

Forwards

Aguero (13.4) - After what seems like forever, the Argentine bombshell is back in FPL, and will have a continuous run of games from now till the end of the season. His potential for explosive returns means that he is always in the reckoning regardless of his price.

Vardy (7.7) - The points just keep rolling in for the league's top scorer, this time with an assist against Norwich. Expect more of the same at the King Power against the Baggies.

Costa (10.7) - Diego Costa has also kept ticking along, and will fancy his chances with games against defensively shoddy Norwich and Stoke to come. The attractiveness of his purchase is diminished only by a blank Gameweek 30 enforced by Chelsea's progression in the FA Cup.

Midfielders

Alli (6.1) - With the league's top two teams guaranteed a match every gameweek thanks to elimination from the cup, Tottenham's wonderkid is among the best choices for your midfield in the long term.

Arnautovic (6.3) - The Austrian firecracker underlined Stoke's rediscovered attacking thrust with a brace against bottom team Villa, and is primed to keep his run going at home against their fellow strugglers Newcastle.

Ozil (9.9) - After a quiet start to 2016, Mesut Ozil is well and truly back amongst the premium options with 29 points over the last 3 gameweeks. That said, beware of the potential blank Gameweek 30 should Arsenal beat Hull in the cup replay.

Defenders

van Dijk (5.5) - Southampton's run of clean sheets might have ended, but the Dutchman remains a strong pick given a fixture list that sees the Saints take on Bornemouth and Sunderland over the next 7 days.

Fuchs (4.9) - The Foxes full back did not disappoint as he delivered a clean sheet and a full quota of bonus points against Norwich. He's the most expensive route into a strong Leicester defence, but is worth the money due to his attacking threat as a set piece taker.

Daniels (4.7) - Another regular name in this column delivered the goods last weekend with an 8 point haul that takes his recent tally to 22 points in 4 gameweeks, which is a good haul for a defender in his price bracket. A good choice to take you through to Gameweek 31.

Keepers

Schmeichel (4.6) - Leicester's stopper has been a reliable pick with 5 clean sheets so far in 2016, and hasn't been beaten in the last 6 home games. He also faces a schedule that promises plenty of clean sheet potential.

Boruc (4.5) - The evergreen Polish keeper came away with a clean sheet from Vicarage Road as predicted, and remains a strong pick for the upcoming weeks.

The Blogger's Team

The Blogger's Team for Gameweek 28 in Fantasy Premier League

Friday, 26 February 2016

Fantasy Premier League 2015-16: Gameweek 27

Been a while.

We've had thrills and spills in knockout competitions over the last two weeks. Hull managed to take their cup tie against Arsenal to a replay, which kickstarted 180 minutes of home play without a goal for the Gunners. It was a humbling round of games in Europe's top tier for the Premiership, with Man City emerging as the only English side to have won a game in the Champions League, which came as a relief for them after they practically threw their 5th round cup tie against Chelsea. English teams salvaged some pride in the Europa League as winless first legs were all converted into home victories coupled with progression to the last 16 for Tottenham, Liverpool and Man Utd.

For some teams, the break from league football will be longer still. This is a diet version of the usual FPL gameweek as Man City and Liverpool duke it out at Wembley and their scheduled GW27 opponents Everton and Newcastle cool their heels.

Gameweek 27 fixtures

West Ham vs Sunderland
Leicester vs Norwich
Southampton vs Chelsea
Stoke vs Aston Villa
Watford vs Bournemouth
West Brom vs Crystal Palace
Man Utd vs Arsenal
Tottenham vs Swansea

Player Picks

Forwards

Vardy (7.6) - Having scored 4 goals in his last 4 games, he has put his mid-season drought well and truly behind him. The league top scorer's form will be pivotal for Leicester to put the disappointment against Arsenal behind them as they embark on a tempting run of fixtures for the run-in.

Kane (10.1) - Barely a game has gone by since mid-Jan where Harry Kane has not scored. Tottenham got by without him midweek, but will be glad to have him back as he gears up (or masks up, rather) to face a Swansea side who have failed to keep a clean sheet in February.

Diego Costa (10.6) - Costa came up with the goods in GW26 as Chelsea put Newcastle to the sword, and he also netted in the cup as Chelsea tore apart City's third string. Southampton's incredible run of clean sheets has never been under greater threat.

Midfielders

Payet (8.2) - The Frenchman signalled his return to FPL form with an explosive 13 point haul against Norwich, and had a great game at Ewood Park last weekend. It would take a brave punter to bet against him blanking against Sunderland.

Mahrez (7.2) - Mahrez is still the FPL top scorer, has been averaging over 7 points per game over the last month, and faces Norwich and West Brom next. At home.

Shaqiri (6.4) - Stoke will be hoping that their rediscovered attacking thrust carries into consecutive home games against Villa and Newcastle. The Messi of the Alps notched his 4th league assist of the season at Dean Court, and should be in line for more of the same this coming week.

Defenders

Fuchs (4.8) - In keeping with the Foxes theme, the Austrian full back is relatively cheap and has a knack of finding a Leicester head from set plays. Get in.

Wimmer (4.6) - Kevin Wimmer remains a savvy budget pick as he will take Vertonghen's place at the heart of the league's stingiest defence for another month.

Azpilicueta (5.8) - The Spanish full back is the cheapest starter in a Chelsea defence that is yet to concede away from home in the league under Hiddink.

Keepers

Boruc (4.5) - There is clean sheet potential for the veteran goalkeeper with games against Watford, Newcastle and Swansea over the next month.

Butland (5.2) - The Englishman has been at the receiving end lately, but will be hoping that two upcoming games against dire opposition see a return to familiar territory

The Blogger's Team


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Fantasy Premier League 2015-16: Gameweek 26


Early in gameweek 25, Riyad Mahrez delighted neutrals and FPL managers alike when he put Manchester City to the sword as the league leaders issued a statement of intent. It got worse for Pellegrini's men as another FPL favourite, Dele Alli, came off the bench to set up the only goal of the game to take Tottenham to second place. City's drop from second to fourth was complete when Ozil and co managed a win and a shutout at Dean Court.

Do note that Gameweek 27 will be a blank week for the league cup finalists (Liverpool and Manchester City) and their GW27 opponents (Everton and Newcastle). Hopefully this post will help you snare players who can fill in for the likes of Aguero and Barkley when the time comes.

Gameweek 26 fixtures

Sunderland v Man Utd
Bournemouth v Stoke
Crystal Palace v Watford
Everton v West Brom
Norwich v West Ham
Swansea v Southampton
Chelsea v Newcastle
Arsenal v Leicester
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Man City v Tottenham

Player Picks

Forwards

Costa (10.6) - Going at nearly 7 points per game since Hiddink took charge, the Spain striker is among the top options up front with form and fixture difficulty both on his side.

Rooney (10.0) - Following a barren first half of the season, Rooney has notched 5 goals and 3 assists in the last 6 gameweeks. You could do worse than pick up a player on fire facing the league's worst defence.

Afobe (6.1) - Afobe has proved to be good business for Bournemouth with 3 goals in 5 games since his arrival. Select by under 1% of FPL players, he could prove to be a shrewd differential pick at home against a struggling Stoke side.

Midfielders


Payet (8.2) - The Frenchman had an explosive return from injury, but has gone cold ever since. Faith in him remains strong at 22% ownership, and it is faith that should be rewarded as he faces a defensively dire Norwich side.

Mahrez (7.1) - The Algerian firecracker is a fixture-proof choice this season. He is capable of delivering the goods at the Emirates, and the fixtures beyond are a dream.

Firmino (8.2) -This is more of a 'hold' than 'buy'. Fresh investment in Firmino would be ill-advised as Liverpool do not play in Gameweek 27, but a game against Aston Villa after being rested midweek should see him as an outside favourite for the captaincy.

Sigurdsson (7.0) - Investment in Gylfi remains thin on the ground at 4% ownership despite him taking his recent tally to 5 goals in 6 games. Probably not the best pick against Southampton's iron defence, but he's bang on form.

Defenders

Daniels (4.6) - The Cherries left back is cheap, gets forward, takes penalties and has a promising schedule up to Gameweek 30. Get in.

Dann (5.8) - The centre half found the net in Wales last weekend, and the upcoming fixtures (Watford home, West Brom and Sunderland away) look good for adding clean sheet points to his goal threat.
Ivanovic (6.6) - He spends all his time in the opposition half and has a favourable run of games ahead starting with Newcastle at home.

Keepers

de Gea (5.6) - He's a premium keeper in premium form, and the upcoming fixtures hold plenty of promise for clean sheets.

Forster (4.9) - Southampton have kept clean sheets in all 5 games since Forster's return from injury. It doesn't do well to ignore that sort of form.

The Blogger's Team


Friday, 5 February 2016

Fantasy Premier League 2015-16: Gameweek 25

Plenty of points for the usual suspects in the last matchday as Aguero, Kane, Cresswell and Barkley delivered the goods. Vardy and Mahrez also combined to raid Liverpool and Costa managed to pick a fight, lending Gameweek 24 a sense of de ja vu.

There's no time to dwell on happenings, however, as the weekend will shortly be upon us. Moving on.

Gameweek 25 fixtures

Man City v Leicester
Aston Villa v Norwich
Liverpool v Sunderland
Newcastle v West Brom
Spurs v Watford
Stoke v Everton
Swansea v Crystal Palace
Southampton v West Ham
Bournemouth v Arsenal
Chelsea v Man Utd

Player Picks

Forwards


Kane (10.0) - Watford have conceded in their last 3 away games and will not be relishing the prospect of facing the red hot Kane, who is a strong captaincy option once again.

Bojan (5.0) - Stoke's fixtures take a considerable turn for the better starting with a home game against a defensively suspect Everton. Bojan could be a tidy enabler for those looking to buy Aguero, while delivering some points himself.

Vardy (7.3) - Jamie Vardy has managed largely modest hauls since Gameweek 17, but he's worth considering again after netting in the last two games as he has delivered regardless of the opposition when at his best.

Midfielders


Firmino (8.1) - He may not have delivered against Leicester but he's well worth buying (people already are, as evidenced by his price rise) as he gears up to face Sunderland and Aston Villa, two of this season's most dire teams.

Wijnaldum (7.1) - A return to St. James' Park for the Dutchman should put him back on the radar, and he can hardly hope for a better chance to impress than against a West Brom side who haven't managed a clean sheet away from home since October.

Sigurdsson (7.0) - The Iceland midfielder has scored in 4 of the last 5 games, but remains surprisingly under the radar with an ownership just over 3%. Worth considering for a spot in your midfield with two home games to come.

Arnautovic (6.5) - The aforementioned schedule could work in favour of Marko Arnautovic, someone whose strong home form is worth considering as Stoke play host thrice in the next four.

Defenders

Wimmer (4.6) - He has started the last two games for Tottenham on the back of Vertonghen's injury, and could prove a bargain should you opt to line him up as he hosts a Watford side that have blanked in 3 of their last 4 games.

van Dijk (5.4) - The Dutchman has been averaging 7 points per match in the last four gameweeks as Southampton managed shutouts in all of them, including trips to the Emirates and Old Trafford. West Ham at home is a far easier prospect.

Zouma (5.4) - Kurt Zouma underlined his importance to the Chelsea defence as he helped Guus Hiddink maintain his perfect away defensive record, and he'll have a role to play should the Blues decide it's about time they solidified at home.

Keepers

Butland (5.3) - Having been at the wrong end of a storm at Old Trafford, Butland should embark on the road to recovery with three home games and a trip to Bournemouth in the horizon.


Courtois (5.2) - The Belgian came away from Vicarage Road with 7 points and is the cheapest route into a Chelsea defence that faces Man Utd and Newcastle at home in the next two games.



The Blogger's Team

The Blogger's Team for Gameweek 25 in Fantasy Premier League

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Fantasy Premier League 2015-16: Gameweek 24

Gameweek 23 seems like such a long time ago, doesn't it?

With both English cup competitions providing some entertaining respite from English football's bread and butter, this midweek sees the return of the Premier League.

On we move.

Gameweek 24 fixtures

Arsenal v Southampton
Leicester v Liverpool
Norwich v Spurs
Sunderland v Man City
West Ham v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth
Man Utd v Stoke
West Brom v Swansea
Everton v Newcastle
Watford v Chelsea

Player Picks

Forwards

Diego Costa (10.6) - The controversial Chelsea hitman is well and truly firing for Guus Hiddink, with a goal at the Emirates underlining his fixture-proof nature when he's on song. Well worth having with Chelsea set to face Watford, Newcastle and Norwich in the next 5

Kane (10.0) - Spurs don't exactly have an untidy fixture list, but Kane will be relishing this week's opposition in particular and will be a popular captain choice travelling to a Norwich side who have shipped 10 goals in their last 3 games

Aguero (13.5) - Aguero has seen his score and ownership soar on the back of some explosive performances in recent weeks after racking up a mammoth 39 points in 4 gameweeks. However, one has to be wary of: (a) the price, and (b) Man City's blank Gameweek 27

Midfielders

Payet (8.2) - His return has seen an upturn in West Ham's attacking potency, and while the Frenchman has blanked for two gameweeks, a home game against Villa is the perfect platform for him to go on his next run.

Firmino (8.0) - The Brazilian, who has been starting games up front for Liverpool, underlined his attacking potential with a brace and assist at Carrow Road which took his 3-game average to 11 points per game. Get in if you haven't already

Mahrez (7.1) - Mahrez will be high on people's 'to-drop' lists given Leicester's upcoming schedule, but he's worth sticking with for the visit of Liverpool, who haven't kept an away clean sheet since Gameweek 9.

Dele Alli (5.8) - This season's revelation came up with the goods against Palace, and how. The teenager will never be this cheap again.

Defenders

Cresswell (5.6) - The Hammers full back has gone a bit cold recently, but a home game against Villa should be the perfect launchpad for a revival ahead of a schedule that also sees West Ham face Norwich and Sunderland in the next 4.

Dawson (5.1) - West Brom are generally resilient at home and as expected, the Baggies full back did not fail to deliver. Expect more of the same this time.

Zouma (5.4) - The French youngster appears to have displaced Gary Cahill as Terry's partner at the back. Hiddink is yet to concede an away goal as manager, and the fixtures ahead of this week hold potential for shutouts too

Targett (3.8) - Koeman has shifted to a 3-5-2 to effect an upturn in fortune for the Saints. The budget-priced Targett has been occupying a wing back position in this system, making him a great out-of-position bargain.

Keepers

Hennessey (4.2) - Plenty of clean sheet potential for the cheap Palace stopper as they host Bournemouth and Watford in the next three, with games against West Brom and Sunderland also in the horizon.

Courtois (5.2) - If you're rich but can't find place for a Chelsea defender in your team, you could do worse than snap up the Belgian keeper who has the benefits of the aforementioned schedule.

The Blogger's Team

The Blogger's Team for Gameweek 24 in 2015-16 Fantasy Premier League