The Fantasy Football transfer window for game week 18 is now closed. Join me in our virtual Fantasy Football world while we watch the games and hope our points rack up. Sit back, relax, enjoy the football and hang-out here with your fellow Fantasy Football managers and chat in real time as the action unfolds. Perhaps everyone else is experiencing the same “Aggghhhh” player difficulties you are, or the same “Yeahhhh” moment as your captain puts the ball into the back of the net? Talking Points is simply a chat area for us Fantasy Football First managers. Tell us about your highs and lows, and get into the match day atmosphere. Get involved.
To help you with your early transfer, these are the expected talking points for this weekend.
Arsenal completed a dramatic comeback against Bournemouth as they rescued a point in injury time having fallen 3-0 behind. The Gunners currently sit fifth in the League, eight points behind League leaders Chelsea. They´ll be looking to make up some ground in the next five games which include the likes of Swansea (A), Burnley (H), Watford (H), Chelsea (A) and Hull (H).
The Arsenal defence has been very disappointing so far with only six clean sheets, but both Koscielny and Bellerin have chipped in with attacking returns. The Frenchman has scored two goals and eleven bonus points while the Spaniard provided three assists and gathered ten bonus points. The return of Mustafi should improve the defence and if the attacking returns keep flowing then getting any Arsenal defender will be a good idea.
In attack, the main man of the season so far has been Alexis Sanchez. Since joining the club, the Chilean has had a hand in 88 goals for Arsenal in all competitions (56 goals, 32 assists) – 26 more than any other Gunner. Sanchez has now matched his Premier League goal tally from last season (13 in 20 games this season, compared with 13 in 30 games last season) and we expect him to add to this tally in the upcoming games.
Olivier Giroud has come out of the dark, he has been involved in eight goals in his last four Premier League starts (six goals, two assists). If he can keep his spot then he´s a good option at a significantly cheaper cost than the likes of Costa, Ibrahimovic and Agüero.
Southampton had an extremely disappointing holiday season as they lost their three league games, conceding 9 goals as well as drawing late against Championship side Norwich in the FA Cup 3rd Round. However, the Saints have every chance of marching on and setting the record straight in the upcoming games against Burnley (A), Leicester (H), Swansea (A), West Ham (H) and Sunderland (A).
The Saints traditionally have a good defence, so far this season, they’ve kept seven clean sheets in the Premier League. Claude Puel has been rotating his full backs on a regular basis and with club legend Jose Fonte handing in a transfer request, this leaves van Dijk as the go to defender. The Dutchman himself is a transfer target for Chelsea and Man City in the summer, after some impressive defensive performances. As well as the clean sheets, he has scored one goal and racked up 14 bonus points and we expect him to get some hauls in the upcoming games.
In the midfield and up front the pickings are very slim following the injury to Austin. The Saints are desperately in need of a new striker to put away the chances created by the likes of Tadic, Redmond and Boufal. Redmond has been impressive with his work on the ball but he´s lacking any kind of end product while Boufal was selected for AFCON and picked up an injury which will keep him out for around 3-4 weeks. Tadic looks to be the best option right now as he´s on set-pieces and he is involved in almost every attack, but we recommend to wait for any news of signings before jumping in, the likes of Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli and Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool have been heavily linked to moves to the South Coast.
Bournemouth ended the evening with a 3-3 draw against Arsenal despite being 3-0 up, but they failed to see the game out and could’ve made it 4-0 before Arsenal’s comeback. The upcoming opposition is considerably weaker as the Cherries face Hull City (A), Watford (H), Palace (H), Everton (A) and Man City (H).
The Bournemouth defence has been a great source of points since they won promotion to the Premier League and this season is no difference. They kept six clean sheets so far this season but it´s especially their attacking prowess that stands out. Nobody epitomizes this better than left-back Charlie Daniels who climbed up to third in the defender scoring charts. Since the start of last season, Charlie Daniels has provided seven assists in the Premier League, a joint-high for a defender alongside Kyle Walker and Hector Bellerin. This season, he has made three assists and scored three goals which makes him an excellent asset at just 5.2 million.
Up front there has been some rotation due to injuries and lack of form, but the players that stand out are Junior Stanislas (six goals, six assists) and Josh King (nine goals, three assists). Both been involved in 12 Premier League goals each for Bournemouth, more than any other player. Stanislas could be a very effective differential assuming he stays fit and nails down a starting spot.
Newly appointed Swansea boss Paul Clement watched his side grab a dramatic win against Crystal Palace but he will now have his work cut out as the Swans start a testing schedule that includes Arsenal (H), Liverpool (A), Southampton (H), Man City (A) and Leicester (H).
Swansea have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League games and have conceded three or more goals in eight of these matches. Amat seems to have lost his place again so even at his very reasonable price, there´s no reason to hold on to him. In attack Sigurdsson has been performing as consistent as ever. Since August 2014, only one Premier League midfielder (Sadio Mane – 43) has had a hand in more goals than Gylfi Sigurdsson (42 – 23 goals and 19 assists). Sell him now and consider getting him back at a discounted price after this difficult patch of games.
Marco Silva replaced Mike Phelan as Hull boss and immediately eliminated fellow Premier League strugglers Swansea from the FA Cup. Repeating this performance in the league will be extremely tough, after the Bournemouth game at the KCOM, Hull face four of the current top six in Chelsea (A), Man Utd (A), Liverpool (H) and Arsenal (A).
Hull had gone 21 matches without a clean sheet in all competitions before shutting out the Swans- their worst run since January 1991 (22 games). Eldin Jakupovic earned a starting spot in goal for the Tigers and impressed with a trio of fine saves. Priced at just 3.9 he re-emerges as an excellent bench fodder if he can keep the starting spot.
In attack everything revolves around Robert Snodgrass as the Scot has been involved in 50% of Hull’s Premier League goals this season (six goals, two assists). He can pop up anytime with a set piece or a bit of brilliance but the upcoming schedule would be testing for any player so don´t invest right now.
Other Talking Points
- The loss against Spurs was only the fourth occasion this season where Diego Costa had failed to produce a goal or an assist. He has had a hand in 19 Premier League goals (14 goals, five assists) this season and remains the best scoring striker in the game.
- Nathan Ake was recalled from his loan spell at Bournemouth, and could become an absolute gem if he nails down a starting spot on the Chelsea defence. Monitor his situation over the coming month.
- Mane has had a hand in five goals in his past seven Premier League appearances (three goals, two assists) but is now off to AFCON. While waiting for the return of Coutinho, Lallana is the standout Liverpool asset after ending 2016 having been involved in 21 goals in the Premier League (11 goals, 10 assists); no midfielder in the competition has had a hand in more.
- Spurs are on the up after winning five straight games in the Premier League. Kane scored three and assisted one over that period but the players in real form are Dele Alli (7 goals) and Christian Eriksen (2 goals and 5 assists). Both are excellent value for money and good picks going forward.
- Agüero got back to scoring ways in the game against Burnley. Monitor his and City´s performances in the upcoming games but don´t consider other players as long as Pep keeps rotating (he has made the most changes to the starting 11 this season).
- Manchester United are now 13 games unbeaten in all competitions – longest run since March 2013 (18 games). Ibrahimovic has already scored more goals in all competitions than Manchester United’s top scorer last season (Martial, 17) and looks undroppable at the moment. Pogba is also finding his feet and has been directly involved in five goals in his last four Premier League appearances (two goals, three assists). Get one of both.
- Romelu Lukaku has been involved in 15 Premier League goals this season (11 goals, four assists) – at least 10 more than any other Everton player. The fixtures take a turn for the better after the City game so keep an eye on the Big Belgian.
- Matt Phillips has been involved in 13 goals in his 19 Premier League games this season (four goals, nine assists) and is an absolute bargain on this form.
- Andre Gray has scored four goals in two matches after a run of 10 games without a goal. At 6.2 million he is a good budget option but the Clarets face a testing run of games.
- Watford have now lost five away Premier League games in a row, conceding 14 goals and scoring just twice.
- Big Sam wasn’t able to have an immediate effect on Crystal Palace fortunes and will now be without Zaha for at least three weeks. Crystal Palace have kept only one clean sheet in their last 25 Premier League games so stay away until their form picks up.
- Defoe scored two excellent penalties and remains the best striker in the game apart from the premium options.