Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 13
Welcome to Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 13. After the boredom the international break brings, here we are at the start of what is going to be a busy time for Premier League teams – and therefore FPL players alike – as the fixtures are crammed together in the run up to Christmas and New Year. First, of course, are the Champions League games that will see Spurs, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Man United all playing – along with Arsenal and Everton in the Europa League – and so it may be wise to hold off on your purchase until you know the player you want is still fit. And not fainting or being in car crashes. Yes, I’m looking at you, Sergio.
Anyway, it turns out Asmir Begovic is heavily into his FPL, believe it or not. It must be a very strange feeling as you look at the points of you and your teammates’ play – though I’m sure he was pleased to have been awarded the bonus points in his last two fixtures. The reason I’m mentioning this guy is that he’s also dispensed some good FPL advice on a podcast I feel I must share with you – try to have a squad of 15 playing personnel as rotation starts to creep in amongst teams in the busy period. That way, there’s a few points ready to come in should you find the big players unexpectedly having a rest.
Alas, this article is, however, about my advice and so the other bit of ‘wisdom’ I will impart before we get down to business is to watch out how many yellow cards your prospective players have when you make your transfers. Until 31 December, five yellow cards accrued since the start of the season will mean a one-game ban and there are a number of players starting to walk the tightrope, with players like Jack Cork and Steve Cook – the Bournemouth defender, not our very own Cookie – on four yellows and, crucially, popular players like Morata and Kane on three. Otamendi and Zabaleta have already served their time for just this reason.
With six clean sheets to his name, my first pick is Man City’s Ederson, who is just £5.5m. I say just £5.5m because that does technically make him the cheapest way into Man City’s defence who, save for a flying Mane foot, will also be a guaranteed starter.
The match against West Brom saw him make just one save as he may as well have put together a picnic and raised a glass of his finest Champagne to each Citizens goal, as the Manchester team ran riot at the Hawthorns. Owned by just 4.9% of FPL managers, he also presents a great differential and, as for the fixtures, well, he’ll be away at a team who were thumped 4-0 by Bournemouth and who has only scored eight goals in 12 matches. That’s the third worst, with only Swansea and Crystal Palace finding the back of the net less. After this weekend, it’s Southampton and West Ham coming to the Etihad to try and score past the man former Brazil international Julio Cesar described as a “complete goalkeeper” when speaking to ESPN FC. Praise indeed.
Next up in line is David De Gea, who leads the way when it comes to clean sheets. The Spaniard has now enjoyed eight matches where he has not had to hear the opposition’s fans celebrate and, even then, the matches against Chelsea and Newcastle saw him pick up four and three points respectively thanks to all the saves he made in those matches. It comes as hardly a surprise then that Real Madrid are, again / still apparently keen on signing him and, from an FPL perspective, you see he is also top of the charts when it comes to points accrued with a fantastic 68 – an average of 5.6 points per game. Oddly, the matches away at Huddersfield and Stoke were the only times the shot stopper picked up less than three points.
This week, Brighton come to Old Trafford and the Seagulls are sitting pretty at ninth with 13 goals to their name. A stern United defence and goalkeeper on such great form may just be too much for the Seagulls and so I wouldn’t be surprised to see De Gea add another clean sheet to his collection. After that, trips to Vicarage Road and then The Emirates beckon – the latter of which may be more challenging for the £5.8m player.
My final goalkeeper recommendation is the aforementioned Asmir Begovic, a player I haven’t considered including in my FPL team since his time at Stoke. Who can forget that goal kick after just 13 seconds against Southampton which then caught the wind and wrongfooted opposing goalkeeper Artur Boruc to find the back of the net?!
Now at Bournemouth, the Bosnian shot stopper is beginning to enjoy the kind of form he had at the Potters before he warmed the bench at Chelsea, with two of his clean sheets coming from the most recent matches against Newcastle and Huddersfield. Good fixtures are in store now, beginning with a trip to Swansea this weekend, who have that very poor number in the ‘goals for’ column of the table and may be without Tammy Abraham after his injury against Burnley. Next up is a trip to Turf Moor, followed by a visit from Southampton. At £4.5m and owned by just 4% of FPL managers, he’s cheap and a great differential – and has great FPL advice too!
Following on from my Begovic recommendation, it will come as no surprise that Charlie Daniels makes the list. He may have dropped from £5.0m to his current pricetag of £4.9m, but don’t let that put you off the player as, like his colleagues in the Cherries’ defence, he’s turned on the style and recorded 14 points in just two games.
The player, who has memories of driving Harry Kane and Andros Townsend to training when they were at Leyton Orient many moons ago, has recorded a goal and assist already this season, presenting good potential going forward. In him, you have a left back worthy of inclusion in your team, especially as it could be argued the next real challenge for the south coast team will be when they travel to Old Trafford on 13 December. Four decent games stand between Daniels and that challenge, however.
Next up is a Spurs defender who, unlike Danny Trippier and Ben Davies, is guaranteed a start, having played 1080 out of a possible 1080 minutes. Jan Vertonghen may have been part of the team that went down 2-0 to Arsenal last weekend, however his hard work behind the scenes in keeping a strong defence has otherwise paid off, with six clean sheets and four points to his name. An assist in the game against Liverpool has also earned him a place in the top 25 defenders when it comes to attacking threat.
With a price tag of £6.0m, the Belgian is proof that you get what you pay for when it comes to the Spurs defence at least. Looking ahead to a good run of games beginning with West Brom coming to Wembley this game-week, he could be a great addition to your team if you don’t mind splashing out a bit.
If, however, you don’t want to break the bank on a defender from a top team and have exhausted your options with the likes of Burnley and Bournemouth who are enjoying good defensive form at the moment, take a look at either Phil Jones or Chris Smalling from Man United. Costing £5.5m and £5.3m respectively, this duo have been picked depending on the fitness of the master of gurning after he picked up the calf injury playing for England in the pointless friendly against Germany. That’s damage that was sustained following six injections to get him onto the Wembley pitch in the first place, apparently. Not that I’m bitter, having him in my team or anything. Oh no.
A few newspapers here in the UK seem to reckon Jones will be fit in time for the weekend (though Mourinho contradicted this in his midweek presser). If, however, it does turn out he misses the visit of Brighton, then Smalling is certainly not a bad pick, having already registered a goal, three clean sheets and two bonus points in only 555 minutes of play after he returned in the game at Southampton back in GW6. As mentioned in my appraisal of David de Gea, United have a great fixture this weekend and so I would not be surprised to see some great points hauls among the Red Devils’ back line.
Kyle Walker was a favourite with FPL managers before the season kicked off – mainly due to his fantastic campaign at Spurs, no doubt. Suffice to say he rewarded those who put faith in him in GW1 as he kept a clean sheet away at Brighton, before then immediately taking that joy away when he got sent off in the home match against Everton – the only game Man City haven’t won in the league so far. Since then, the player has gone on to register another six clean sheets and four assists. Comparing those stats to Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, that’s one less assist but one more clean sheet and with a price tag of £0.2m less at £6.6m.
Not that Dave, as his Stamford Bridge team mates refer to him, is a bad option of course; however he faces Liverpool away who have been doing rather well in front of goal lately, thanks to a certain Mr Salah. Walker, on the other hand, travels to Huddersfield, a game their neighbours did slip on – though I can’t see lightning striking twice here. After that, both defenders in this makeshift comparison have favourable fixtures with Chelsea welcoming Swansea and Newcastle and Man City facing Southampton and Moyes’ West Ham at the Etihad.
My final pick in this department is one of those elusive £4.0m bargain basement defenders who appears to be getting some game time. Adrian Mariappa of Watford played the full 90 minutes and gained a clean sheet in their 2-0 win over West Ham, mainly thanks to Heurelho Gomes’ heroics, meaning he had played more than 60 minutes in six games from GWs 5-12. If you’re looking for a cheap replacement for the likes of Mbemba – and may just well get a couple of points if he comes off your substitutes’ bench – then have a gander at this guy.
Registering a goal and assist, having missed seven games through injury, is certainly making a statement and now FPL managers are frantically looking at ways of getting this guy into their teams. I am, of course, talking about Paul Pogba who is, by a country mile, the most transferred-in player this game-week – a whopping 237,000 people have put their faith in the Frenchman at the time of writing, in fact. Even after only playing 429 minutes, he’s got four assists and three goals to his name and, looking ahead to the rest of the season, you wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top 10 for either.
So, on the subject of the future, Brighton have the unenviable task of keeping Pogba, Lukaku and, possibly, Ibrahimovic out this weekend. After that, Man United travel to Watford and then Arsenal which could be a bit trickier. At £8.0m, he could be quite the bargain as the Red Devils try to heap pressure on their noisy neighbours.
Talking of Man United’s noisy neighbours, next up is a player who, unlike a couple others, has managed to play over the crucial 60 minutes in all league appearances so far this season. Kevin de Bruyne – or KDB for short – has now got six assists and three goals under his belt, with highlights including the 3-1 win over Arsenal and the victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which saw him pick up 10 and 11 points respectively. Along the way, the Man City player has picked up eight bonus points, well deserved considering the impact he has on the Citizens’ matches, surviving all of Pep’s now infamous rotation plans. Well, infamous as far as FPL managers are concerned, anyway, says someone who has had both Aguero and Jesus when they have either not started or played a paltry amount of minutes.
If, however, you are put off by KDB’s £10.1m price, want to save the pennies to afford players like Pogba and still want a Man City player, then Leroy Sane is your man. Sure his price may have risen since his masterclass of two assists and a goal at home against Crystal Palace, however £9.0m for a midfielder with the second highest amount of points so far this season is certainly not bad. Especially when you think that is more than any forward from any team.
It appears some of the FPL classics are starting to show their faces when it comes to form now. There’s the aforementioned Walker and also Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez for a start. The player I’m going to suggest, however, made a cameo appearance in my last Tips article and is now firmly in this one. Eden Hazard has exploded onto the scene, having destroyed the West Brom defence with two goals and an assist in what proved to be Tony Pulis’ final game for the West Midlands club, leading to a whopping 18 points. Previous to that, he picked up three points in the match against Man United, was the lone goalscorer in the 1-0 win over Bournemouth that earned him 11 points and registered an assist in only the second time he played 90 minutes as the Blues overcame Watford 4-2.
As mentioned in my appraisal of Azpilicueta, Chelsea face a tough fixture this gameweek as they face a Liverpool side that has managed to stabilise its defence, having been an absolute shambles before gameweek 10. That’s in the league, at least – the 3-3 result at Seville may have actually shown not much has changed! After that, however, Hazard can look forward to playing Swansea and Newcastle at home, who have conceded 15 and 14 goals respectively in 12 games. In the case of the Welsh team, a trip to Stamford Bridge often ends up with a good few goals conceded – Chelsea have put 12 past them in the last five meetings at the London ground, in fact. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Belgian at the centre of any goals to add to that record and, with an ownership of just 5.4%, he’s also a great differential.
Mo Salah rewarded those who decided to put their captain’s armband on him for a second consecutive week, as he put two past Southampton in a match that Liverpool should have won by more. That followed finding the back of the net twice in the demolition of West Ham and, looking back a bit further, an assist against Huddersfield and goal against Spurs. Suffice to say, it’s no surprise the Egyptian’s value is now up to £9.6m and has been transferred in by over 100,000 FPL managers at the time of writing.
This week, it’s a tougher fixture as former employers Chelsea come to town. That said, the lads from London do have the second highest amount of conceded goals out of the top five, with Liverpool leading the way in that department, funnily enough. After that, it’s away days at Stoke – who are tied with Everton and Crystal Palace on the leakiest defence stakes – and then Brighton.
Just over a year ago when Spurs travelled to West Brom, Dele Alli scored the equaliser late in the match which helped him along the way to a total of 18 over the season. Fast forward to this weekend and he plays the Baggies again, albeit at Wembley and in a campaign that hasn’t really got going for the lad from Milton Keynes, with just three goals and two assists. To give perspective, Kyle Walker, Dele’s former colleague who he greets with a middle finger these days, has managed two more assists so far this season.
So, why am I suggesting him? Well, West Brom are not in a good shape at the moment and, factoring in how the fixture ended last season at the old White Hart Lane with Spurs ripping them apart to come away 4-0 victors, I still wouldn’t be surprised to see Alli get among big points. Think back to previous times he has absolutely exploded into life, seemingly out of nowhere. This game could be just that.
Wilfried Zaha is my final midfielder pick, a player who Crystal Palace fans can’t help but quote Princess Leia and say “You’re my only hope”. The £6.8m player returned from injury in gameweek seven and, since then, has scored three in just 526 minutes of play. Looking at other players in that price range, there is also the obvious Richarlison – who will now set you back £6.5m – who is enjoying some outstanding form. However, take note of the fact Wilf’s next three games of Stoke at home and Brighton and West Brom away could get you higher points returns as he aims to help the club get out of its rather desperate situation. If, however, you do want to go for the Brazilian Watford player, just bear in mind he’s away at Newcastle but then faces Man United and Spurs at home who won’t be easy pickings for him like Bournemouth, West Brom and West Ham were when they played the Hornets.
As I’ve mentioned in previous tips articles, history often repeats itself when it comes to football and therefore FPL. Sure, for Harry Kane, he couldn’t find the back of the net against the Gunners, having done so in six out of the six games previously, however you just can’t look past the fact the last time he played at home against Baggies in January this year, he was a hat trick hero in the 4-0 demolition. That result also ended a run where Spurs had not beaten West Brom at home since the start of the 2012-13 season.
As mentioned in the write-up about Harry’s handshake mate Alli, West Brom are really not in a good place at the moment and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a comfortable win by the North London team as they look to return to winning ways. From the player’s perspective, I’m sure Kane will want to find the back of the net soon enough as he lies in second place on the goalscorer table with eight, one behind Salah and equal with Lukaku, Aguero, Jesus and Morata.
Talking of Alvaro Morata, he’s the second-most transferred in forward this game-week, having scored for the second consecutive gameweek and earned himself the title of being Chelsea’s highest goalscorer in the league this season by a country mile. It’s fair to say he has stepped up to the challenge since he signed and has been carrying a lot of the team on his back, despite rumours last month of the Spaniard already wanting to leave the West London club.
After the thrashing of West Brom, Alvaro went off to the Winter Wonderland Christmas theme park in London’s Hyde Park with teammate Davide Zappacosta and their wives. You too could feel like you are walking in a winter wonderland on the run up to this Christmas with Morata in your FPL team, with the potential him and Hazard have in store. After Liverpool this weekend, Chelsea have great goalscoring opportunities as they face Swansea, Newcastle, West Ham, Huddersfield, Southampton and Everton.
With his wife in the jungle appearing on ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’, will that be a distraction or freedom for Jamie Vardy? Well, only time will tell on that one, however one thing is for sure, he’s still worth taking a look at, especially as he was unlucky against Man City when Vincent Kompany should have been sent off for a very dodgy tackle on him as he was through on goal. Sure, John Stones was nearby, but that proves nothing when you think it’s John Stones.
Anyway, I digress. Vardy’s current record is six goals in 12 games, helping him along to a 54-point tally as we go into gameweek 13. This weekend, the £8.5m forward is away at West Ham in Moyes’ first home game which may just be another headache for the Scottish manager, as what he has taken on really starts to sink in. After that, it’s a challenging match for Leicester when Spurs come to town – which, lest we forget, saw the Foxes hammered 6-1 the last time the fixture was played. Vardy does then face Burnley in the start of a run of four games that could carry good points potential, however.
Last, but by no means least, is Callum Wilson. By scoring his hat trick in the 4-0 win over Huddersfield – the first time he’s played 90 minutes this season since returning from injury – the Cherries’ forward is already half way to the total amount of goals scored all of the last campaign. Next up for the £6.0m player is Swansea away, followed by Burnley and Southampton coming to town. Two of those three teams have far from rock solid defences and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Callum pick up where he left off and find the back of the net once again in the hope he doesn’t get injured so badly again.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 13
This article was written by The Swirly.
The League Codes for FF247 for the 2017/18 season are as follows:
Gameweek Tracker GW13-19