The final game week of 2016 is going to be a guessing game and a challenge to get 11 starters on the field. Your FPL bench will be tested and those of you holding players on heavy discounts may have to take a couple of zero’s in Fantrax.
The pressures of the league may help us with some guidance. The top 6 of Chelsea, Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Tottenham and United have pulled away a little. Only Chelsea have any real breathing space and they also have the best rest period between games. The rest may be forced to play their premier players in the bid to take advantage of others slipping up. Liverpool and City simply must be full strength for their showdown.
David De Gea
United blew a clean sheet late on Boxing day and you can never feel confident but once again DDG has the best shout of a win/clean bonus.
Did the business with his clean sheet against Boro but can add a few more save points against Sunderland.
Kieran Trippier/Eric Dier
Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen both will miss this one through suspension. They may have missed the Chelsea game but fortunately committed one to many fouls in the Southampton game hmmmmmm.
For a Fantrax fantasy player however this is great news. Firstly, Dier will play as central defender meaning he could pick up clean sheet points from midfield in the Fantrax system. Dier also has a goal in him. Perhaps more to your taste will be old Yahoo Fantasy Football favourite Trippier. I think a clean sheet is a bonus rather than something to expect but the Spurs defence will be busy.
Antonio Valencia/Phil Jones
The best united defender for fantasy purposes will once again play higher up the pitch. If you can find the money you can expect a number of corners won and he is due an assist or more.
Jones has secured a starting spot and is the cheap way into the Red Devils back line.
Vincent Van Dyke
Sometimes you cannot argue with statistics. VVD has returned double digits scores in 6 of his last 7 Fantrax games. He also hosts a WBA attack that isn’t much on the road. Had he been a midfield player with that run of scores you would be finding it tough to drop him. Scoring that goal and his price and that will put many of you off but VVD is a great alternative pick.
Swansea are in a panic. Bob Bradley had a terrible start to his management of the Swans but to sack him after 85 days is ridiculous. With some terrible fixtures upcoming the next two may be viewed as must win and the club have taken a gamble removing Bradley to help achieve at least 4 points in them.
Regardless of the mess at board room level its left to the temporary management and more so the players to step up. The home crowd are loud and supportive with their hopes rest on the shoulders of Siggy and co. His Fantrax form has been excellent despite the sides results but he is much better value in FPL. I expect at least an assist or goal and at least 15 points in Fantrax.
Just maybe Mahrez missed the best chance of his career with securing a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs by not taking that chance (assuming the chance was there of course) in the summer. His form this season hasn’t been half of that we saw in the 21015/16 season and a big money big summer 2017 move hangs in the balance. Should he return to last years Mahrez he surely moves on.
Teams will double mark him and look to sit deeper on his side of the pitch but the Algerian need to put in much more drive into his performances. Ranieri reacted by dropped the player of the season on Boxing Day and in his press conference said he now expects to see him respond. This one can go either way and It will tell us if he can become one of the best players in europe. Top players take the lesson as just that, those who are not just see it as a reason things are not going their way.
I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and as I am I have to tip him to drag his Foxes team forward.
Dusan Tadic/James Ward Prowse
The opposition tactics and red card to Redmond will see Tadic return to the starting lineup. WBA will as usual sit deep in numbers allowing the opposition possession. It will take creative players to break them down and Tadic is very much one of those. Also with Charlie Austin out he probably holds pen duties.
The cheaper choice is JWP. He has started and played the full 90 minutes in 5 of the last 6 and supplies some fantastic crosses into the box. At under 6m in Fantrax is a one that interests me.
Sparkled once again against Bournemouth and while I can see him getting a rest before the Tottenham game, the league leaders do get a 3 day rest prior to that game. Conte should be able to play his best 11 from the start. Since the sides in 2nd and 3rd are playing each other Chelsea could get a lovely cushion before heading into a difficult set of January fixtures.
With The Chelsea game approaching he could get a rest but with all of Spurs rivals winning around them I think they have to play as strong a team as possible. In the last 6 games has has provided 34 shots on goal which is quite amazing. You would think the opposition would have figured out he is behind most of the Spurs attacking play but still he finds himself in plenty of space.
He has had some poor fantasy scores in the weeks since his week 15 goal but it is Sunderland in game week 19. Hendricks should enjoy a chance of two in this one and is my filler tip for week 19.
He may not play the full game with united to arrive in 2 days but I think Bilic will look keep momentum after a difficult start to the season. So overdue a goal he faces a side that have conceded at least 2 in 7 of their last 8 games,
Firmino/Sadio Mane/Adam Lallana
Liverpool have scored 2 or more in their last 5 home games and are unbeaten in 16 at Anfield. The reds can be in no better confidence coming into this battle of contenders.
Just because I have held him a number of weeks in a row with no KDB goal I guess he scores the week I am looking to drop him.
City may have won 3 in a row but if you aw the last two in particular they were far from convincing. With Peps refusal to play anything other than a high defensive line Liverpool can rip apart a defensive with zero confidence. I can even see this being a convincing and eyebrow raising amount of home goals if Liverpool score first.
Mane has been the unsung hero of the season for me. His attitude was rightly questioned at Southampton but the workrate he employs at Liverpool shows development in the player. Klopp often looks to him to start the high press and he has become surprisingly effective at it. Further Mane tends to score against the big boys of the league. His price makes him hard to fit in my Fantrax plans but I think he will be the star of the Reds attack against City.
Lallana meanwhile has become a key creative player in the reds midfield. He was taken off early against Stoke so starts this one if you hold him on a discount.
With United chasing the leading pack I don’t think Jose makes too many changes to key men. Early in his career the frenchman should have plenty of energy to go around and is a great price in Fantrax. In FPL he is starting to become of interest but not enough of a goal threat for his price.
Meanwhile after his amazing scorpion goal on boxing day (let’s ignore the offside) Micki is once again fit. He simply has been brilliant in his last few games but the question is will he start. I’m unsure but will guess he plays an hour then gets taken off for the Hammers game if United are ahead.
A nice rest in game week 18 means Costa will be back against Stoke. If you have the money and transfers left he offers you a 99.9% guaranteed start and likely goal or assist reward, very few players can say that in week 19. Stoke’s defending was very poor against Liverpool and Costa will fancy exploiting that weakness.
Strikers are all about confidence. Thanks to a little help from Valdes, Gray got his 1st goal since August on Boxing Day. A great one week option.
As I said I don’t think Jose messes with key men but I do see Zlatan coming off around the 70min mark if the home side can get 2 up. The trip to West Ham in 2 days means Jose will like to reduce his minutes but there is no player in better form. Only Lionel Messi has scored more goals in 2016.
One of the choices Bradley made that cost him his job was the strange startling 11 rotation picks. Llorente was in fine form and not starting him was a weird move from Bob. You would assume Llorente starts against Bournemouth as he has 5 goals in his last 3 home games.
Bournemouth have conceded at least 3 in 5 of their last 6 games. Llorente can be a little like Benteke and Lukaku where his Fantrax points come only from goals and he fouls too much. Still he is a wonderful value pick if you think the Swansea players can lift themselves.
He is back and you are worried already about fitting him into your FPL squad aren't you!
While City and Pep may still be looking to part ways with Kun in the summer we now know they go not have a forward who can reliably fill the role for the rest of 2016/17.
Surely he starts in a massive game for City and while most of you will simply watch and learn about his return, those of you in the chasing pack could consider taking him in a game early. Liverpool's defending is better than City’s but with no keeper convincing it isn't by much. Matip missing is also a major blow.
City have scored 2 or more in 8 of their last 9 away games and will score again in this one. A Kun brace would surprise nob in a game that could easily supply over 5 goals.
Alexis Sanchez/Olivier Giroud
As Theo Walcott/The Ox didn’t train with the squad I assume they are out of this game week. Wenger then likely starts with the pair. Sanchez had a big Fantrax day in game week 18 with 17 points without a goal. In FPL he returned a disappointing 3pt return. Giroud meanwhile scored just 11 Fantrax points despite a goal and 3 SOT in total.
I’m not sure If I trust Wenger to Start Giroud again but he warrants a start. The frenchman has shown himself very effective off the bench late in games and whilst he did win the game against WBA it was very late. One for the Gamblers out there.