The Fantasy Football transfer window for game week 23 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
Chelsea tightened their grip on the Premier League title with a convincing victory at Stamford Bridge over Arsenal. The Blues have a nine-point lead over Tottenham and fixtures against Burnley (A), Swansea (H), West Ham (A), Watford (H) and Stoke (A) suggest that the title is theirs to lose.
Chelsea have won nine successive Premier League home games and the aggregate score in these matches is 27-4 in Chelsea’s favour. The defence has been key in this run and it’s not a matter of getting a Chelsea defender, it’s a matter of getting in as many as possible. Alonso is a no-brainer while Cahill and Azpilicueta are outstanding in their own right.
Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s lucky charm as the Blues have won all nine Premier League games in which the Belgian has scored this season. His goal against Arsenal was magnificent and his overall performance bodes well for the end of the season.
Diego Costa failed to score in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since 2 May 2016 (three in a row), but he still managed to get on the FPL scoresheet with two assists. The Spaniard is the most reliable player in the league with only 4 blanks in the 22 games he started.
Everton extended their unbeaten Premier League run to seven games with a thrilling victory over Bournemouth at Goodison Park. The Toffees have every chance of extending their run with games against Middlesbrough (A), Sunderland (H), Spurs (A), West Brom (H) and Hull City (H) in the next five.
The Everton defence had a difficult afternoon against Bournemouth as the visitors created a host of openings and managed to score three. Overall the Toffees defenders have been performing well lately with three clean sheets in their last five, and offensive contributions from Baines and Coleman. The Irishman has got an assist or a goal in four consecutive games and is an excellent investment going forward.
Barkley had another great game, capped off with a goal and an assist, but the man of the match award went to Big Rom. Lukaku was immense from start to finish, each of his goals demonstrating the mix of finesse, skill, brute strength and instinct that makes him such a handful for opposition defences. The assist for McCarthy’s goal was the cherry on the cake in a near faultless display. Get him now before his price spikes.
Saints fans may be getting nervous as they are now only seven points above the bottom three after losing to West Ham. Southampton are on a bad run of form after six defeats in their last seven league games, and must step it up against Sunderland (A), Watford (A), Man Utd (H) and Spurs (A) to avoid the relegation zone.
The Saints started well against West Ham, courtesy of a fantastic goal from Gabbiadini, but were unable to come back after falling behind due to defensive mistakes. After conceding just five goals in their first eight home Premier League games under Claude Puel, Saints have shipped nine in their last four. As their defence problems continue, it’s better to stay away from Southampton altogether. Monitor Gabbiadini but don’t get him immediately.
Stoke have lost four of their last five top-flight away games, with their only win in this run coming at Sunderland last month. The two upcoming home games against Palace and Middlesbrough look vital as the away games against Spurs and Man City don’t offer much hope of ending the Potters terrible form on the road.
Stoke have kept one clean sheet in the last five and managed to concede only one in each of the other four games in the same period. It’s worth holding onto Stoke defenders for the upcoming home games, if you can bench them for the away games. Attacking-wise the Potters’ finishing has been wayward all season despite Crouch’s recent patch, and the robot now suffers competition from Berahino. Stay away for now.
Other Talking Points
- Arsenal have lost four of their past nine Premier League games, the same number that they lost in their previous 35 matches in the competition. This poor run of form combined with a blank in gameweek 26, makes this a good exit point for your Gunner assets. Only Alexis Sanchez looks worth holding onto.
- Lamine Kone set Sunderland on their way with a well-taken goal and an equally impressive defensive display. Last year the Ivorian was instrumental in the Black Cats’ survival and he is an interesting FPL option if he can repeat that feat.
- Jermain Defoe is a gift that keeps on giving after he scored his 13th and 14th goal of the campaign. Excellent value for money and fixture-proof.
- Joshua King scored his 11th and 12th Premier League goals for Bournemouth; making him the Cherries’ highest scoring player in the competition. With Callum Wilson out for the season and Stanislas in and out of the team, King is the go-to option for the Cherries.
- Hull’s deadline-day signing Andrea Ranocchia rewarded his manager with a commanding display at the back as Hull recorded a first top-flight clean sheet at home this season. He also provided the assist for Oumar Niasse’s goal. Consider the Hull defence from gameweek 26 onwards when they enter an easier run of fixtures.
- Liverpool has now lost five of their past eight games in all competitions; as many as they had in the previous 32 games beforehand. Forget about the Reds until April.
- Andy Carroll has scored four goals in his last four Premier League appearances, the same total he had scored in his previous 14 before this run. Consider him if you’re looking for a cheap striker.
- Troy Deeney has scored in three consecutive Premier League appearances and is another cheaper striker option. His striking partner M’Baye Niang’s made a great Premier League debut with a goal and an assist, his first involvement in a goal in 13 league games – since scoring for AC Milan against Chievo in October. Monitor if he can keep up his form.
- James Morrison has netted three goals in his last five Premier League appearances, as many as he managed in his previous 29. The Scotsman has outperformed his fellow countryman Matt Phillips in the last few games but both remain good options.
- Premier League champions Leicester are just one point above the relegation zone after defeat at home by Manchester United left them still searching for a first league win in 2017. Don’t consider the Foxes.
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan was instrumental in a dominant win for Manchester United, scoring one goal and setting up another. United’s fixtures are good but beware of the blanks.
- Ibrahimovic has reached 15 Premier League goals for Man Utd in the fourth fastest number of games (23), following Van Nistelrooy (19) Yorke (20) and van Persie (21). The Big Swede remains one of the best premium options and is worth holding onto despite the blanks.
- Sigurdsson has scored eight Premier League goals this season – his second-best return in the competition (11 in 2015-16). The Icelandic playmaker is the fifth best scoring midfielder in the game and will be instrumental in Swansea’s quest for survival. One of the best options now.
- Gabriel Jesus has scored three goals in two games for Manchester City after joining them from Palmeiras. The 19-year-old has the extra pace that allows City to dictate play and already looks like he cemented his place in the team.