FPL managers were finally afforded some thinking time as European football took centre stage this midweek. With weeks 14, 15 and 16 coming in quick succession, the Premier League schedule gave us five days to prepare for GW17. Dave Black is here to talk you through some choices.
The 2019/20 FPL season has been trickier than any I can remember. There’s a core of consistent point scorers but you can’t have them all, so it has become a game of rotating at the right time. In many ways, this reflects the actual Premier League.
It was Sadio Mane’s turn this week to feel the lovely warm comfort of the substitute’s bench. He watched on whilst FPL stalwarts Salah, Vardy, Aubameyang and Rashford filled their boots. Manchester City’s expensive stars are becoming less of a fixture in teams – a clash with Arsenal this week is probably the pick of the games.
There are enticing looking games for Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and surprise packages Leicester, whilst rejuvenated Tottenham are off to Wolves – a fixture tricky enough to ensure there are no picks from either team this week.
Here are my five standouts for this week.
1) Jamie Vardy (Leicester City, Forward, £10.1m)
It’s almost too obvious this week but Jamie Vardy is a must have in FPL terms. He’s scored in 8 consecutive Premier League matches including a double at Aston Villa last week. This week he faces a Norwich defence with only two clean sheets to their name – although one crumb of comfort for the Canaries is that both came away from home.Embed from Getty Images
I imagine Vardy will feature near the top of most captaincy polls and although there is the nagging doubt that his run has to end some time, there’s no reason to think it will be this weekend.
2) Tammy Abraham (Chelsea, Forward, £7.9m)
Abraham is a ridiculously good price for a starting striker in a top four team. His credentials are further boosted by a home clash with Bournemouth, who are carrying a few injuries to say the least. It seems likely the Cherries will be without Nathan Ake and Steve Cook and that surely only enhances Abraham’s scoring possibilities this weekend.Embed from Getty Images
Any worries over an injury seem to have been allayed by two starts in 4 days, including the Champions League game where he netted against Lille. Longer term, a trip to Spurs next week is less enticing but Southampton at home the week after means it’s not a total one off punt. Another captaincy contender.
3) Marcus Rashford (Man Utd, Forward, £8.9m)
Marcus Rashford is already up to 10 Premier League goals for the season and is arguably in the form of his life at the moment. He was simply sensational in the Manchester derby and getting him now might be a good idea. Manchester United are about to embark on a run where they will face Everton, Watford, Newcastle and Burnley.Embed from Getty Images
The main concern for Rashford fans is that he is very adept at playing on the counter attack but what if those four teams sit deep? I think he is worth the risk, form is everything and if all else fails he seems to have penalty duty. It’ll be a test against a Duncan Ferguson-fuelled Everton but his steady fixtures appeal to me, especially as Liverpool don’t have a game next week.
4) Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Midfield, £12.2m)
Salah has been overtaken by Sadio Mane in the price war but Salah is given the nod by me this week. Liverpool welcome Watford to Anfield and the Hornets have proven to be a favourite opponent of Salah’s during his time in the Premier League. Of course both he and Mane will be licking their lips at this fixture which pits top of the table against bottom but it’s Salah who comes into this with two goals in two games.Embed from Getty Images
Mane is actually 21 points better off for the season with Salah not hitting the form of 2018 just yet but with his ankle injury now cleared up, this could be the time for the comeback. The only negative here is that Liverpool fly out for the World Club Cup after this game and will miss GW18, meaning any Liverpool assets will need to be transferred or you’ll have an expensive hole burning in your bench next week.
5) Danny Ings (Southampton, Forward, £6.3m)
Ings is another striker in terrific form having netted in his five previous Premier League games. He has also walked away with precious bonus points in all five of those games and has amassed 18 for the season – his industrious style of play sees him score highly on the in game system.Embed from Getty Images
This week Ings and his Southampton team mates welcome beleaguered West Ham to Saint Mary’s. This has the look of a bit of a crossroads match, the winners can start looking up the table whilst the losers can prepare for a relegation dogfight. Ings is certainly the type who can ruffle a West Ham defence that has one clean sheet in 10 games and he’s a paltry £6.3m to boot.
Here Comes The Son held on to the top spot after taking the brave decision to play their free hit chip. Fittingly, Son contributed 12 points whilst captain Dele Alli added 18. Salah and Vardy added 13 each to round off a strong score. Most of the top 10 scored similarly though so it is still very tight.
The FPL Cup starts this week – if you have qualified, you’ll see in the bottom right who you are facing this week. Remember any points deductions will come off your score so don’t just change your team to suit this week! The cup is a straight knockout so best of luck to you all.
That’s all for another week. Remember the deadline is 11.30am on Saturday 14th December so don’t forget! Good luck and I’ll be back next week to cover off the festive period.
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798