The Fantasy Football transfer window for game week 30 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
Boro are winless in their last 11 Premier League games and currently sit in the relegation zone, five points from safety with 10 games remaining. The new manager can look forward to a good run of games that involves Swansea (A), Hull City (A), Burnley (H), Arsenal (H), Sunderland (H) and Bournemouth (A).
Goals have been hard to come by for Boro, despite the £7m signing of Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede in January, they have scored just three goals in their last 10 league games. In addition to scoring the fewest goals in the league this season, they have also attempted the fewest shots on target with just 65. But they do have the joint fifth best defence in the league, better than Arsenal and Liverpool, with only 30 goals conceded. They have also conceded 31 fewer goals than Swansea, who are safe in 17th place.
Given the strength of the defence, Gibson and Valdes are good options for the upcoming run of games and double game weeks, while Fabio offers a cheaper, riskier option.
Manchester United moved up to fifth in the Premier League as Middlesbrough’s first game since the departure of manager Aitor Karanka ended in defeat. United have every chance to climb further up the table as they face West Brom (H), Everton (H), Sunderland (A), Chelsea (H), Man City (A) and Burnley (A).
The United defence has been decent all season and has collected ten clean sheets. Considering Mourinho’s tinkering with the backline, De Gea and Valencia are the best options as they are both nailed on. The Ecuadorian takes the edge as he has the attacking potential and boasts one goal and two assists in his last four games. In midfield, the options are scarce as no one can nail down a starting spot and go on a run. Up front the only option is Ibrahimović who returns from suspension next week.
Tottenham overcame the absence of leading scorer Harry Kane to secure a hard-fought win over Southampton as they remain second in the table. The upcoming games look great, as Spurs face Burnley (A), Swansea (A), Watford (H), Bournemouth (H) and Palace (A).
The Tottenham backline has been a popular source of FPL points and this kind run of games looks perfect for some clean sheets and attacking returns from marauding right-back Kyle Walker. On the other side, Davies offers a cheap alternative while Danny Rose is still out injured.
Since he made his Premier League debut in September 2013, Christian Eriksen has scored more goals from outside the box (13) than any other player in the competition. The Dane looks ready to step up in the absence of Harry Kane, as is Dele Alli. The England international has scored in three successive league appearances at White Hart Lane for the first time in his career and is now on penalty duties. If Spurs continue their great form, then doubling up on both midfielders looks enticing.
Bournemouth climbed up to eleventh place in the table after back to back wins against West Ham and Swansea. The Cherries look safe of relegation as they go on a difficult run against Southampton (A), Liverpool (A), Chelsea (H), Spurs (A) and Middlesbrough.
A porous defence and rotation in midfield and attack means the only option for the Cherries in Joshua King. The Norwegian international has been directly involved in eight goals in his past six Premier League games (7 goals, 1 assist) and is cheap enough to be the fourth midfielder in your FPL team. Penalty duties might be up in the air but he’s capable of scoring anywhere.
Manchester City and Liverpool had to settle for a point apiece as they battled out a thrilling draw at the Etihad Stadium. The Citizens now face a season-defining run that includes Arsenal (A), Chelsea (A), Hull (H), Southampton (A) and Manchester United (H).
City have gone seven consecutive games without defeat in the Premier League (W4 D3 L0), their longest streak in the competition under Guardiola. During this time, they kept four clean sheets but as the fixtures get tougher, we advise to look elsewhere for defensive options.
In midfield, the heavy hitters Silva and De Bruyne do not look like value for money, even though only Gylfi Sigurdsson (11) has made more assists than De Bruyne (10) in the Premier League this season. Sane and Sterling are better options and worth keeping in the team, but picking them up now isn’t a good idea. The same can be said of Sergio Aguero in attack. He has been ticking away with 2 goals in his last 3 Premier League appearances and is worth holding while Kane and Ibrahimović are unavailable.
Arsenal suffered a fourth defeat in five league games as Craig Dawson’s double helped West Brom inflict a major blow to the Gunners’ hopes of a top-four finish. The Baggies handsomely sit eight in the league as they start a tricky run of games against Manchester United (A), Watford (A), Southampton (H) and Liverpool (H) before a blank in game week 34.
The FPL value of West Brom has been mainly in defence despite a lack of clean sheets. The likes of Gareth McAuley (6 goals, 1 assist) and Chris Brunt (3 goals, 3 assists) have been returning plenty of attacking points and are worth holding onto for that reason alone. Craig Dawson is in with a shout as he has scored three goals in his last four Premier League appearances, as many as in his previous 55. Don’t invest in midfield or attack as there are much better options elsewhere.
Other Talking Points
- Gylfi Sigurdsson registered his first blank in eight games but was nonetheless involved in Swansea’s best attacking moments, delivering a free-kick that King glanced just wide of his own goal, and curling a 25-yard shot that Artur Boruc tipped aside. The Icelander remains a good option as Swansea looks to escape relegation.
- For those considering a Swans defender, look for attacking returns as Swansea have tended to pick up wins this season by outscoring their opponents – a 5-4 victory over Crystal Palace in November the prime example. Swansea have kept just one clean sheet in their past 14 games and have shipped a league-high 63 goals this season.
- Riyad Mahrez has scored as many league goals in three games under Craig Shakespeare, as he had in his final 22 under Claudio Ranieri. Marc Albrighton also benefited from the managerial change as he has had a hand in three goals in his past four appearances for Leicester in all competitions, as many as in his previous 27.
- Manuel Lanzini has now registered his best-ever goal haul in a Premier League season (seven). With Antonio out for a couple of weeks and Snodgrass still finding his feet, the Argentinian is the go-to option for the Hammers.
- Sunderland failed to score in a Premier League game for the 13th time this season – no side has failed to find the net more often. Jermain Defoe did pick up some confidence in the international break with England though as he scored a goal on his return to the team.
- Willian’s clever free-kick was the highlight of the afternoon for a player who was at the centre of many of Chelsea’s best creative moments. Eight of Willian’s past 19 goals for Chelsea have been from direct free-kicks, and the Brazilian’s goal was his sixth in the Premier League this season – his best tally in a single campaign in the competition. Monitor if he can take Pedro’s place.
- Romelu Lukaku ended a week in which he turned down a lucrative new contract offer with two goals as Everton beat 10-man Hull City to move level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal. He is only the fourth player to score 80+ Premier League goals before the age of 24 and is hard to ignore on current form.
- Wilfried Zaha was the biggest attacking threat on either side. He won 79% of his duels – the highest of any starting player – and won six fouls, including the one that led to Palace’s winner. The Ivorian international could prove vital in Palace bid for survival.
- Alexis Sanchez has been involved in 27 PL goals this season (18 goals, nine assists) – more than any other player in the competition. Overall, Sanchez has now been involved in 100 goals for the Gunners in all competitions, scoring 64 and assisting 36.
- Liverpool have won more points in 10 games against the top six this season (20) than they have in 10 games against the bottom six (19). Unfortunately for Klopp, there are no more games against the current top six so his squad must improve against the bottom and mid-table teams.
- Milner has scored seven penalties in the league this season – only Steven Gerrard (10 in 2013-14) has scored more for Liverpool in a Premier League campaign. Milner now holds the record for the most Premier League games scored in without losing (47 games: W37 D10 L0).
- James Ward-Prowse has scored three goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season; the same tally as he had scored in 107 Premier League appearances before 2016-17.