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 sit fourth in the league after a convincing win over Swansea which will surely give Arsene Wenger renewed hope of mounting a serious title challenge. Apart from the game against the league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in GW24, the fixtures remain soft as they include Burnley (H), Watford (H), Hull City (H) and Southampton (A).
The Swans were unable to string together any meaningful attack and the Gunners defence had no trouble keeping another clean sheet, their third in the last four games. Bellerin could return from his injury this weekend which means Gabriel will move back to the bench in favour of the Spaniard. The young fullback remains the best attacking option in defence, together with Koscielny who is slightly cheaper.
As he has often been this season, Chilean forward Sanchez was the beating heart of nearly every Arsenal attack. An industrious runner and intelligent passer, he scored a deserved goal late on. Sanchez has been involved in more goals (21) than any other Premier League player this season (14 goals, seven assists) and is a mainstay in our FPL teams this season.
Up front Giroud started the game against Swansea with 12 goals from his past 17 shots on target, and the France striker was clinical with his first effort on this occasion, seizing on Mesut Ozil’s blocked header and firing the ball into the roof of the net from six yards. Giroud has scored in each of his past nine starts, netting 11 goals in total, and is an excellent option if he can shrug off the ankle injury he picked up during the game.
Everton produced a brilliant performance to stun Manchester City, and cemented their seventh place in the table. Ronald Koeman will be confident his team can hold the title of “best of the rest” as they face Palace (A), Stoke (A), Bournemouth (H), Middlesbrough (A) and Sunderland (H) in the next five games.
The Toffees’ goal never looked under serious threat as they comfortably contained the likes of Aguero and De Bruyne. The resulting clean sheet was their second in a row, third in the last four games, and the upcoming games bode well for more of the same. Wingbacks Baines and Coleman offer an additional attacking threat while centre back Holgate stands out for his price. If he can nail down a starting spot we could have a real gem on our hands.
In midfield, another youngster took all the headlines as Tom Davies was involved in three goals, including a delightful finish for the third. He ran further than any player on the pitch and proved durable in midfield for the home side on what was just his second league start. Just like Holgate he can become a bargain option in midfield if he keeps getting the minutes. Other notable performances came from Mirallas (1 goal, 1 assist), Barkley (2 assists) and of course the inevitable Romelu Lukaku (1 goal). Big Rom has been involved in eight goals in his last nine home Premier League games (five goals, three assists) and is making a strong case to be included in our FPL teams.
West Brom had an off day as they were unable to cope with a rampant Tottenham side and were thumped 4-0. The upcoming schedule offers some relief as the Baggies face Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (A), Stoke (H), West Ham (A) and Bournemouth (H).
The Baggies defence hasn’t been the best this season but the likes of Brunt and McAuley still offer value because of their attacking potential. Brunt was played as left-back in the absence of Allan Nyom, but will likely move upfield again when the Cameroonian is cleared to play.
In midfield both Phillips and Chadli were pinned back by the Tottenham fullbacks and were unable to create much. We expect this to be different against lesser opposition though so including any of the two for the upcoming games should return the points. Rondon is an option too although he’s very streaky and the value offered in midfield and defence looks better now.
Paul Clement suffered a demoralising defeat in his first Premier League game in charge of the Swans and the threat of relegation is as startling a reality as ever. Swansea find themselves back at the bottom of the table and with a tough run of fixtures to come which includes Liverpool (A), Southampton (H), Man City (A), Leicester (H) and Chelsea (A).
One of Clement’s priorities is to improve the Swans’ defence – the most porous in the top flight – and the way his players shackled Arsenal early on with their high pressing was encouraging. But after falling behind, the home side simply collapsed. They were slack in their marking and slow to react to the Gunners’ movement, summed up by the space in which Sanchez found himself in the Swansea box when he scored the fourth. The offense didn’t do much better as they were unable to create any meaningful chances. Apart from a penalty claim, Swansea didn’t come near the Arsenal goal and never looked like scoring.
Stay away from the Swans until the fixtures ease up and they show some signs of improvement.
New boss Marco Silva guided Hull City to victory in his first Premier League match as the Tigers moved off the foot of the table with an impressive performance against Bournemouth. The next four fixtures are brutally hard though as Hull face Chelsea (A), Man Utd (A), Liverpool (H), Arsenal (A) and Burnley (H).
Hull started abysmally as Maguire gave away a penalty, gifting Bournemouth an easy chance to take the lead. The Hull defence has been weak all season, keeping only a single clean sheet in the Premier League, and apart from the recently reinstated Jakupovic there is no reason to include any of their defensive assets in your team.
In midfield Robert Snodgrass returned points again as he assisted Hernandez for one of his two goals. The Scotsman has now been directly involved in 10 of Hull’s 20 Premier League goals this season (seven goals, three assists). Hernandez himself made a real difference to the Tigers attack as his opening goal was the turning point to produce an ultimately impressive performance. His second goal was far and away the best moment of the match in terms of technique and composure.
The schedule looks so tough that we can’t see many returns for Hull and advice to stay away until the Burnley game in GW26.
Other Talking Points
- Pedro has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than the whole of last season (10 – five goals, five assists). He could be an alternative for the pricier Hazard.
- Marcos Alonso dominated his battle with Marc Albrighton and managed to grab 21 points in the process, scoring twice, keeping a clean sheet and getting all three bonus points. He is now the top scoring defender in the league, despite missing the first five games.
- Whatever the truth behind Costa’s absence is, the Blues showed again that they can win without the Spain striker, who has scored 14 goals and provided five assists for them this season. If he returns this weekend, then you can pick him up at his lowest price since GW10.
- Antonio has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other West Ham player this season – 11 (8 goals, 3 assists). With Payet eyeing a transfer away, Antonio is our main target in the Hammers squad.
- Arnautovic scored his first Premier League goals in 12 games, since netting against Crystal Palace in September. He was a constant threat throughout the game, but the main Stoke target right now must be Peter Crouch. The veteran forward scored for the third consecutive game and with both Diouf and Bony away at AFCON he looks assured of game time.
- Junior Stanislas has been involved in 14 Premier League goals for Bournemouth (seven goals, seven assists), a joint high along with team-mate Charlie Daniels. The defender solely must rely on his attacking returns however as Bournemouth have conceded exactly three goals in seven of their last nine top-flight games.
- Tom Heaton had little to do but remained alert to make two of the most important saves in the match. He remains the go-to keeper in the game sitting just one point behind Courtois but costing a million less.
- The past 10 Premier League goals scored by Tottenham players have been netted by Harry Kane or Dele Alli (five each). A Spurs investment looks essential right now and doubling or even tripling up with a defender is viable.
- Only Kevin de Bruyne (nine) has provided more assists than Christian Eriksen in the Premier League this season. Eriksen’s impact can tend to be slightly overlooked, given the focus on England internationals Kane and Alli, but the Dane has now created 59 chances this season – 29 more than his next most prolific team-mate.
- Only Dwight Yorke and Ruud van Nistelrooy (15) scored more goals for Manchester United in their first 20 Premier League games than Ibrahimovic’s 14. The Swede is the only option in the Manchester United attack as Pogba had a disappointing game.