The midweek Premier League games have barely finished but already attention turns to a fresh round of fixtures this weekend. The schedule is punishing for players and managers alike and rotation is bound to be a factor. Dave Black takes a look at the Fantasy Premier League picture ahead of gameweek 16.
If weeks 14 and 15 promised a hefty return, I am less optimistic ahead of week 16. The way the fixtures have fallen means that a lot of the FPL favourites are away from home this week. Whilst that isn’t necessarily the be all and end all, the situation isn’t helped by a Manchester derby and the ongoing injury doubts over Tammy Abraham and Mo Salah.
Whilst Salah can quite easily be replaced by Sadio Mane in FPL terms, Abraham’s situation is far more unclear. The striker missed GW14 through injury but made a swift return for GW15, only to depart with an injury. Further news is awaited. Tottenham have a home fixture with Burnley which brings their attacking contingent into contention whilst Leicester were efficient rather than electric against Watford. Is the schedule taking it’s toll?
We’re back to just the five selections this week, starting with an in form midfielder at Tottenham.
1) Dele Alli (Tottenham, Midfield, £8.6m)
In a week with relatively few certainties, I’ve decided Tottenham’s forward players are the best route to attacking returns. Even they are in a phase of transition, Jose Mourinho’s winning streak being halted at three by Manchester United on Wednesday. Tottenham have looked much more of a goal threat and that has been typified by Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son. Whilst the South Korean has one goal and three assists to his name, Alli has netted three time under Mourinho including a wonderful finish at Old Trafford. A home game with Burnley presents a further opportunity for goals.Embed from Getty Images
Of course, Burnley have a habit of making life difficult for teams but Man City showed on Tuesday how fallible they can be. Alli comes in £1.2m cheaper than Son whereas if you’re looking a forward, Harry Kane will cost £10.9m. A goal glut is never far away for the England captain at this time of year but the form is not with him at the moment.
2) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal, Forward, £10.9m)
The Arsenal soap opera will continue on Monday night with a trip to West Ham. It’s fair to say neither side are in great form but in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang there will at least be a great goalscorer on the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
The Arsenal captain has 10 league goals already this season including two on his last away day at Norwich. West Ham have looked more solid since bringing David Martin in for Roberto but even if the result could go either way, you’d always fancy Arsenal to score.
3) Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, Midfield, £7.5m)
Chelsea will travel to Everton on Saturday lunch time which is usually a tricky fixture. That may yet prove to be the case but with the Toffees in disarray and caretaker Duncan Ferguson in charge, I’m expecting Chelsea to take advantage. Tammy Abraham has been exceptional for Chelsea this season but is a doubt going into this one – if he is declared fit on Friday then get him in!Embed from Getty Images
However, if Abraham misses out my pick is Christian Pulisic. Midfielder goals are worth one more point and although he may be a rotation risk, he will be hoping to follow in Sadio Mane’s footsteps and terrorise the right side of Everton’s defence.
4) Gabriel Jesus (Man City, Forward, £9.6m)
The Manchester derby is another tricky fixture to negotiate this weekend. Marcus Rashford is on fire at the moment but his side will come into this fixture as underdogs against a Man City side that looked like their old selves again on Tuesday. Part of that was two goal hero Gabriel Jesus, who looks set to continue in the absence of Sergio Aguero.Embed from Getty Images
If you’re prepared to gamble then Rashford has the better long term fixtures but for this weekend, I’m putting Jesus forward. Clean sheets have been at a premium for Man Utd and you can’t see them keeping one at the Etihad.
5) Sadio Mane (Liverpool, Midfield, £12.2m)
Whilst Mo Salah continues to have his minutes managed, Sadio Mane has taken over as the FPL points machine. It’s actually surprising that he only came away with one goal and two assists from Wednesday’s Merseyside derby but he was a constant threat throughout and will be looking to do the same against beleaguered Bournemouth on Saturday.Embed from Getty Images
With 109 points, Mane is second only to Vardy in this season’s total points. Whilst there is a possible risk he will get a rest at some point, I don’t think that will be in a game such as this which is a potential banana skin, even if Bournemouth have been poor of late.
The OffsideRulePod League
We have a new leader! The league has barely finished updating but well done to Bhavana Malkani who enjoyed a great week thanks to captain Vardy, Mane and Danny Ings amongst others.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next week with a preview of GW17. For now though, remember the deadline is Saturday December 7th at 11.30am. Good luck!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798