Anthony O'Shea

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Stag's Take - Gameweek 26

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 26

 

Gameweek 25 – one for the differentials. Sure Man City’s big guns fired, as did Liverpool’s, but everyone has them! Instead, fortune favoured the brave who transferred in the likes of Theo Walcott, Bournemouth players and even Spurs defenders whose early-midseason leaks while Toby was injured saw their ownership plummet amongst active teams. It was also a great week for mini subset of FPL managers – the Clucas family.

 

Clucas may have had to apologise for offence caused for his goal celebrations, but maybe he should spare a thought for Henrikh Mkhitaryan too. Just two minutes into his Arsenal debut, he had to watch both Nacho Monreal and Shkodran Mustafi combine to give an awkward backpass to Petr Cech, who under pressure miskicked his clearance to gift Swansea the lead. Clucas himself thrust a sword into the Gunners’ hearts with an emphatic finish to complete his brace with minutes remaining. Mkhi must have been wondering what was happening to his new club but fantasy managers must certainly be wondering what’s happened to his opponents.

 

Indeed under Carlos Carvajal, Swansea have lost just once in eight games, taking two Top Six scalps in the process. Standout amongst their players has been Jordan Ayew, who has three goals in his last five PL outings – great returns for a bargain basement option at 5.2. He works incredibly hard and was richly rewarded for his pressing when he capitalised on Cech’s miscue to score. At the other end of the Swans’ team is centre-back Alfie Mawson, who assisted once on the night and had a few chances to score too. If Carvajal can develop a more dependable defensive unit at the Liberty Stadium, the Englishman is likely to pick up bonus points ahead of his teammates. However, Van der Hoorn is the cheapest route into the Welsh club’s defence at just 4.4. Swansea had a good set of fixtures coming up too which means it’s not crazy to consider these players from one of the bottom-half’s most in-form teams. Fans and FPL managers alike will be hopeful that the deadline day re-signing of Andre Ayew can deliver the creative spark and finishing touch that has been lacking so far this term – they’ll need it to keep this run going and keep their PL status.

 

Movers of Deadline Day

 

Spare a thought too for Olivier Giroud. A surprise inclusion in the Arsenal squad on Tuesday, he ended up clambering onto the pitch to be part of one last defeat in red, before tasting the same medicine from the stands in the blue of Chelsea one night later. At 8.2 and with Alvaro Morata’s scoring having dropped off a cliff, the Frenchman’s arrival could signal the return of headed goals to Stamford Bridge at great value for FPL managers. Watch this space.

 

Another deadline day development was Manchester City’s approach for Riyad Mahrez which ultimately proved unsuccessful. However in failing to reach the gazillion pound asking price of the Foxes, Guardiola and Co. may have inadvertently derailed Leicester’s massive progress under Claude Puel. With the Algerian star failing to turn up to training, missing a game, and handing in a transfer request, it’s safe to say he should be shooting out of your FPL team or your plans, as should his attacking teammates in my opinion. Vardy alone is good enough to hold his own without Mahrez drawing men and causing panic for opposition defenders and even then he is quite expensive to hold with so much risk suddenly attached.

 

As for the other arrivals at big clubs late in the window, I can’t tell you much more than you already know about Aubameyang (10.5) – he’s a prolific striker who has proven himself capable of scoring four goals in five games across a number of seasons in one of Europe’s top leagues. Ably supported by Mkhitaryan, Ozil (newly contracted), Ramsey, and presumably his strike-partner Lacazette, he should do well. To get him, most of you are looking at trading Aguero or Kane – that’s the problem. Will he outscore them? He might well do – but how much do you back Wenger’s Arsenal when the fear of a stinker like the Swansea performance festers in the back of your mind? Personally I’m holding off, but nobody would judge somebody who’s really trying to make up ground hopping on the Auba Express.

 

Across London, Moura (8.0) is a solid acquisition on paper for Spurs. Let’s see how Poch fits him into the squad before leaping to concrete conclusions, but if I was to offer an opinion on the transfer from an FPL point of view, it would be this: Moura is an out and out winger, something Spurs actually lack even though they line out in a 4-2-3-1. Eriksen and Son man the flanks at present, and with Eriksen unlikely to ever be dropped, our South Korean sensation may find himself a victim of rotation at some point. However, the Brazilian is not an immediate threat as he must first build up an understanding of his new teammates and work towards match fitness as he has played just 79 minutes all season for PSG.

 

 

A Quick Congratulations

 

In the three round battle for the ages that is #KaneExit versus #KaneRemain, the Kexiteers came out on top in round one as Harry failed to hit his century of PL goals in United’s collapse at Wembley. It seemed almost inevitable that he would find a way through with United’s midfield anonymous and the defence self-destructing, but it wasn’t to be. Our attention turns to Anfield next, where I expect Spurs’ leader to deliver strong and stable leadership in front of the trembling Karius’ net.

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 

 

Alexis Sanchez (Huddersfield H)

 

There’s no way to sugar-coat it, Alexis failed to have any effect on the Spurs match on Wednesday at all. He didn’t get a shot on goal and he didn’t create a chance for a teammate to take a shot at goal - the first time that the Chilean has done neither all season. To boot, he had just two touches in the Spurs box and didn’t complete a single dribble. Not good at all.

 

Why did that happen? At kick-off, Alexis was deployed on the left-flank, pushing the usual occupant of that position, Anthony Martial, over to the right. It didn’t work at all, as the misfiring Pogba and Matic failed to feed him. Mourinho could see the same thing and moved Sanchez into the middle in the second half. United were slightly better then and Sanchez’s presence on the pitch was more apparent too. I expect we’ll be seeing him there more often from now on.

 

So wait, is my hunch about Alexis’ position really enough to merit giving him the armband? No of course not. I would also recommend you keep in mind how inventive and dangerous Alexis is on the ball. Think of how he relishes punishing weaker defences. The Terriers have conceded 7 goals in their last four away games and 21 in their last eight on the road. Against top six sides they fail to push out to look to win, even when they go behind, slowly leaking goals. That’s pretty much been the theme since the defeat to Spurs back in GW7 aside from the win over United. In the six outings against top six sides, they’ve had an aggregate score of 4-17. United should be fine and get their revenge.

 

 

Mohammed Salah (Spurs H)

 

I can’t remember who said it the other day on Twitter, but when Salah scored Liverpool’s third on Tuesday, their only comment was “water is wet”. That pretty much sums up the Egyptian’s remarkable consistency this season, which is now bolstered by him returning to spot-kick duties. Even against Spurs, Salah is a safe option. If anything, we’ve learnt that the Reds are typically more reliable against rival top four challengers than they ever are against weaker bottom half sides with top defences. If you want 16 points, just pick Salah, nobody is less likely to disappoint you in 2017/18.

 

 

Callum Wilson (Stoke H)

 

Under Paul Lambert, Stoke are actually hugely improved and much tighter at the back so this is by no means a slight on the Potters. Instead it is a homage to Wilson, Eddie Howe, and Bournemouth as a club. They’ve been terrifically unlucky with injuries to strikers this year and since they’ve had Wilson back to full fitness, they’ve started to turn their season around. They’re now undefeated since Christmas and climbing up the PL table towards repeating their top half finish of last term.

 

As stated, Wilson’s form has been crucial to their success, with five attacking returns in his last five league games. In a week for a differential captaincy option, Wilson is a great budget option accessible to all and he has a triplet of enticing fixtures on the horizon to add to the deal!

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag (me) | Ben | Galin | Nik |

 

Stag has been providing #FPL Tips since July 2015 and has been a contributor for Rotoworld.com since August 2016. He is a self-proclaimed wannabe fantasy football genius, a student, and die-hard tea enthusiast.

 








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