The Fantasy Football transfer window for game week 17 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 missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as Everton came from behind to secure their first victory since October. The upcoming game at Man City will test them but after that it’s smooth sailing with games against West Brom (H), Palace (H), Bournemouth (A) and Swansea (A). This run actually extends even beyond the next five games, all the way until February, so investing in Arsenal now or after the City game is recommendable.
Having an Arsenal defender is always a good bet but this season clean sheets have been few and far between with only four, the last one coming in gameweek 9. The injury to Mustafi disrupts the solid partnership he and Koscielny had. On the other hand it allows a cheap route in the Gunners defence, as substitute Gabriel will only set you back 4.8 million. If you want to splash out the cash then Bellerin is your man, constantly proving to be a threat down Arsenal’s right flank.
In midfield Walcott has been performing well all season and offers good value for money, but the go to guy, without a doubt is Alexis Sanchez. He has had a hand in 27 goals in his past 27 Premier League appearances for Arsenal (19 goals, eight assists). Wenger’s decision to play out the Chilean as a lone striker has clearly worked out and he looks a key part for Arsenal’s title chase.
Swansea City were unable to build on their victory against Sunderland as they were undone by a stunning Rondon hat trick. They’ll be looking to bounce back against Middlesbrough (A), West Ham (H), Bournemouth (H), Palace (A) and Arsenal (A).
At 4.1 million Amat remains the cheapest active defender in the game and the upcoming schedule might just add a clean sheet or two to his tally. Keep him in for now but only play him occasionally as part of a rotation.
If Swansea stay up, it will be hugely thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson. He has been directly involved in eight goals in his last nine league games for Swansea. He has the form and the fixtures so if there’s ever a time to pick him up, that time is now.
Fernando Llorente gives the Swans a much needed focal point up front, and as long as he keeps getting the service and support, he will keep on scoring. At just 6.1 million he’s excellent value for money so if you can’t manage to fit in Sigurdsson, consider Llorente instead.
Manchester United have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since August and Mourinho’s side are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions (W6 D3). They’ll be confident of extending this run in matches against West Brom (A), Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (H), West Ham (A) and Liverpool (H).
In the United defence Phil Jones stands out for his price and with Eric Bailly going to AFCON next month and having various injury problems as well as Rojo’s controversial tackles, he has a good chance of staying in the team.
Paul Pogba produced an inspiring performance and scored United’s opening goal before setting up Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the winner. With the wealth of options in his price bracket, we wouldn’t immediately get the Frenchman but do consider the Big Swede. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored five times in his past five Premier League games, after failing to score in his previous six in the competition. He has gone below the radar with the likes of Costa and Kane performing well, and could prove a very effective differential in the upcoming games.
It is now one win in 10 Premier League games for Palace, who are three points above the relegation zone, and it is not about to get any easier for Pardew’s side. A very testing schedule against Chelsea (H), Watford (A), Arsenal (A), Swansea (H) and West Ham (A) awaits them in the next weeks.
Palace have kept just one clean sheet in their past 21 Premier League games, so stay away from the defence until they show signs of tightening up.
In midfield Zaha has been magnificent this season, scoring or assisting in seven goals in his past eight Premier League appearances. He seems to have been working on his end product and even though his crossing still lets him down from time to time, he’s a handful and any defence will find it difficult to keep him contained. At just 5.6 million he’s a great value for money and worth consideration. James McArthur has also been doing well as he scored five Premier League goals this season for Crystal Palace, more than in his previous two seasons at the club combined (four). He’s even cheaper than Zaha and could be considered if you’re short on cash. Up front Christian Benteke now has five goals in last six games and is a great option in the mid-price bracket.
West Brom had a poor first half against Swansea but they turned it around in the second half and won comfortably. The Baggies move up to seventh in the League and will face a hard test defending that position in games against Man Utd (H), Arsenal (A), Southampton (A), Hull City (H) and Spurs (A).
A Tony Pulis side is always a good source of FPL defenders and this year is no different. Any starter will get you points over the year however Chris Brunt stands out as he’s listed as a defender but playing in midfield. He assisted twice in the game against Swansea and has 42 Premier League assists for West Brom, 19 more than any other player for the club.
In midfield Matt Phillips keeps performing well. He has had a hand in seven goals in his last six Premier League games for West Brom (three goals, four assists) and at only 5.5 million allows you to spend big elsewhere.
Chris Brunt and Matt Phillips played a major part in West Brom’s victory over the Swans, but Rondon’s hattrick of headers means it is the Venezuelan who takes the headlines. The striker had six shots in the match, four of which were on target. Rondon has scored 16 goals in the Premier League since the start of last season – 11 more than any other Baggies player. (James Morrison is on five).
Other Talking Points
- The Chelsea defence keeps racking up the points and with clean sheets hard to come by this season, they look to be the only defence worthy of long-term investment. Alonso remains the best pick because his position on the field, while Luiz is on some of the set-pieces.
- Promising signs for Chelsea as Willian more than made up for the absence of Eden Hazard. He was very involved against Sunderland and provided the assist for Fabregas’ goal. Pedro owners should be slightly worried as we might see some rotation over the busy Christmas period.
- The Bournemouth defence remains a good source of cheaper defenders, after another shutout at the Vitality Stadium. Any starter is a good option, but Steve Cook excelled against Leicester making two interventions to deny clear openings and a total of 11 clearances.
- Leicester City have conceded in each of their past 10 Premier League away games – their worst run since April 2002 (also 10). The Foxes have not won a Premier League away trip since April (10 games without a win), their longest run since October 2003 (a run of 16 away games without victory). Stay away until they pick up some form.
- Christian Eriksen has been involved in six goals in his past four Premier League games, scoring five and assisting one. Since his Premier League debut in September 2013, Eriksen has been involved in 55 goals in the competition (28 goals, 27 assists), with Eden Hazard the only midfielder with more (60 – while Mesut Ozil also has 55). Get him and consider captaining this weekend at home against Burnley.
- Southampton have won just one of their past eight away games in the Premier League (D3 L4). Against Stoke they had 15 shots on goal but only four on target. Consider the Saints defence, Van Dijk or Fone, but stay away from the attackers.
- Since De Bruyne’s Premier League debut in September 2015, only Mesut Ozil (20) has assisted more goals than his 17. He’s the only reliable City option until Aguero returns from suspension.
- Andy Carroll took part in 17 aerial duels and won more than 60% of them, and he also had six efforts on goal. Despite not scoring, he might be worth the gamble over the next weeks if he can keep up this kind of performance.
- Lallana was Liverpool’s creative spark and his two goals rounded off a superb individual display. With Coutinho injured, Firmino off the boil and Mane soon off to AFCON, Lallana might become the preferred Liverpool midfielder. Also consider Divock Origi who has now scored in five consecutive matches.