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Player Picks week 21 : Snow and Flu warnings

If the spread of winter colds and coughs wasn't enough to worry us, we now have the arrival of Thunder snow

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League
Will either of these two have a better management week than you?
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

I wrote this previously when our media had forecast the arrival of thunder snow. The result? about an inch or two in some areas and panic galore.

Still footballing flu does seem a real concern and I wonder if one or two of this list are secretly battling to be for for the weekend. Better late than never, week 21 selections.

Vito Mannone

Picking a Sunderland goalkeeper is a bold move but the Black Cats are a move durable team in front of their own fans. It’s also forecast to be a blooming cold weekend and Stoke style are no longer suited to playing their best in inclement weather conditions.

Fantrax thoughts

At 1m he will take the eyes of a Mr KM I’m sure but I’m also tempted. Vito has always been a good shot stopper and I think Sunderland may get something from this game.

FPL thoughts

The readymade replacement for Pickford he is an even better option in FPL.

Fraser Forster

The Saints are in the middle of fixture congestion but I think the FA cup will be the completion they sacrifice. With the cup reply to follow the Saints can get back to winning points in the league. Forster faces a Burnley side who are tough on their own soil, but the home side are not full of attacking intent.

Fantrax thoughts

At 3.42m he is very tempting. I think the clean sheet chance may actually be higher than Vito.

Tom Heaton

Burnley are solid at home and Heaton is a solid keeper.

FPL thoughts

The keeper we really wanted this season and typically I never did. Facing a side finding goal scoring difficult he is the go to option again this week.

Maya Yoshida

Fantrax thoughts

At just over 2m and now seemingly certain to start, he is a great filler option.

John O’shea

Fantrax thoughts

At 2.98m those of you who think Sunderland can prosper could be very bold and double up!

Aaron Cresswell

West Ham have had a very up and down season. Old favourite Cresswell should now be considered a left back once more with the Hammers going back to a back 4.

Fantrax thoughts

I don’t think I have ever seen him as cheap in Fantrax/Yahoo at 2.54m. He hasn’t been providing the points this season but with a home game and that price I may find him hard to resist.

Toby Alderweireld

I’m one of those people who thinks the Spurs back 6 are the league’s best. WBA won’t offer a great attacking danger and will concede a few set pieces where Tony can offer some attacking possibilities.

Fantrax thoughts

Tony hasn’t been as cheap as 7.19m in some time and his ability to add big goals to his defence returns makes him a value pick this week.

Danny Rose

FPL thoughts

Rose is a big part of providing width and a supply of crosses in the current Spurs system. Likely being classified as a midfield player in Fantrax but no so in FPL making him a great out of position (well a little bit) choice.

Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey like his team hasn’t been convincing recently but Rambo has always been a good fantasy player. Swansea will surely be tougher to play this weekend but this looks a game where both teams.

Fantrax thoughts

At just over 2m few will not select him despite his form and away fixture.

FPL thoughts

A little more of a decision with his price point. I assume he gets a run of games over the next couple weeks so he is a good differential to the more obvious Arsenal selections.

Junior Stanislas

Junior is a little under the radar of many players despite being an improving and more influential player this year. Hull City may also have new manager but have major injury problems.

Fantrax thoughts

13 points in both of his last 2 games at over 10m he is now at a cost that will put some off. Still, it looks a very good if not perfect fixture with his pace, direct running and desire to shoot against a Hull City defence with very few if any defenders fit.

FPL thoughts

A real option for a 5th middie at 5.6m. Eddie Howe has his team playing great football at home and they can have their moments on the road.

Yohan Cabaye

Sometime it seems obvious that certain players will prosper under certain managers. No matter what anyone says Big Sam is a very good EPL manager and using a basic of playing players to their strengths is something we see from him. Look for Cabaye to be an all action player in the weeks to come, get forward and shoot a little more and perhaps take penalties from Benteke. West Ham have no Payet and Antonio has footballers flu. The Hammers also come into this on the back of a hammering by City and unhappy fans. When this happens you often see the less fancied opposition pick the team under pressure off.

Fantrax thoughts

11m makes him one that you find yourself leaving out for now to make room for others but with a view to pick up for the next home game. I think he will score steady in any game and he does faces West Ham United side back in a bad place mentally. I think he at least return his cost.

FPL thoughts

5.6m makes him also an option for your 5th middie.

Yaya Toure

Yaya seems to be in Peps good books and a certain starter now. No longer the drive force running from deep he was at his peak but now clearly Pen taker. He also strikes a mean direct free kick.

Fantrax thoughts

Very cheap, perhaps gaining sharpness from getting a consistent run of games Yaya is one to keep an eye on minimum. At 4.30m almost too hard to resist even at Everton.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan/Paul Pogba

Manchester United are on a 9 match winning run and these two have been ever growing influences. Utd/pool played out a 0-0 at Anfield but that was because Jose set his team up a certain way. However unattractive it made sense for that game at that stage where pool were fantastic and utd were not. Recently we have seen Jose work towards the fans desire for the side playing the so called united way with attacking flowing football. This in turn should help Liverpool and provide a more attractive second match of the season. Liverpool are brilliant on the counter so I do expect a more solid Utd side shape wise than the last few weeks. Committing so many forward would play into pools hands with due to the time Klopp has had with his team the reds 11 are further along than utds in its development right now.

Fantrax thoughts

Micki becomes the 3rd player you will find hard not to pick at a crazy price – 5.53m. James Milner was given an extremely hard time by Borini last week so you would think Micki could do the same. Pogba is now 13m and unless you hold him on discount I would avoid this week. Should you hold at around 7m I would run with him based on his form.

FPL thoughts

Both are too expensive right now.

Dele Alli/Christian Eriksen

Alli is the explosive pick but he can’t keep this run going much longer, Eriksen has been reliable and maybe the man to pick the lock to break down the WBA defence.

Fantrax thoughts

Alli at 14.30m catches the eye when Eriksen is 19.74m. WBA are so well organised it’s hard to love either at their prices and yet both tempt. Alli scored 19 points in both of the last two games but considering he scored a brace in both they are disappointing scores. With 6 goals and 10 shots on target in his last 7 games, he is Spurs most in form attacker.

FPL thoughts

Hold if you have either, buy if you have a free transfer and a strong desire to do so, avoid if taking a hit.


The main man for Swansea and holding the survival hopes firmly in his hands. A tough game for the club but for Siggy he faces an Arsenal side looking to have a soft underbelly. Losing Coquelin and Santi to injury, Elney to Cup of Nations they may line up with Ramsey and Xhaka. Neither protect the back line well and are offensive players. I always think the gunners central defence really need that protection. Siggy then may be unmarked at times and he can punish Arsenal if this becomes the reality.

Fantrax thoughts

7 of 9 he scored double digits in total. It’s 4 of last 5 ding the same with just 1 assist and no goals, there are few players who suit the scoring system better. At retail way too expensive but if you are one of those holding at 15m I would consider playing him.

FPL thoughts

In this fantasy format he has disappointed a little. I picked him up for much better fixtures than Arsenal but still think he is a hold and play this week if you own him but not a pick up if you don’ t due to upcoming fixtures.

Abdoulaye Doucouré

Keep a close eye on team news but Doucoure is a further option for one week only. He has played 90 minutes in the last 2 games. In 75 games at Renne he scored 12 in 75 so has a goal in him.

Fantrax thoughts

At 1m and a home fixture it’s a free role pick.

Adnan Januzaj

A troubled attitude he has been better in home games.

Fantrax thoughts

Scored well against Burnley going double digits. Again a great price in this format 3.68m

Alexis Sanchez

The Gunners star player had a tantrum after dropped points at Bournemouth. His contract talks are said to not be going well from the clubs view but none of this seems to stop him ever giving 100%. Its Swansea defending so it’s hard to see Alexis not doing well.

Fantrax thoughts

6 double digits scores in 8 has seen him rise to 22m. At retail I would avoid, even if you are holding at 19m I’m tempted to avoid and yet he is one of those players who normally scores well and can go huge in other weeks. I have him at just under 20 but want him for next week’s game. I haven’t decided what to do just yet.

FPL thoughts

Not currently the out of position player he was pre the holidays. While he is still playing well, he is easy to deal with playing on the left. I’m not sure it makes any difference to the Swansea defence who don’t look to have the defenders to stop him.

Olivier Giroud

Flavour of the month for Wenger, he surely starts again.

Fantrax thoughts

He isn’t a normally great scorer of points in Fantrax, weeks 19 and 20 he scored 9 and 12 pts despite scoring in both. If you bought on the BD at 5.30m he is going to be very hard top drop.

FPL thoughts

It’s tempting to bring him in but like Theo Walcott he could be back to the bench or injury at any moment. If you already have him, then play him and consider the captains armband. If you don’t have him I think I would avoid.

Fabio Borini

James Milner has had a very good season at left back for Liverpool, so for Borini to give him so many problems and force him to be subbed tells us the little Sunderland forward is in form. He seems to be a player better when the pressure is on and this may be a must win game.

Fantrax thoughts

Here we go again a great price for a player with a good fixture. 2.63m and a home game he has fired in 7 shots in 3 games. Not overly impressive but those three games were Burnley/Man Utd away and Liverpool at home which is showing something. A great one week gamble on a player who will play if fit.

Harry Kane

Kane hasn’t been in consistent form but just two games ago he provide a brace and an assist.

Fantrax thoughts

He hasn’t been this cheap too often in the last 12 months and facing a side who will encourage shots from outside the area. He isn’t the must pick we have got familiar with but he is always able to go huge.

FPL thoughts

Play if you hold and consider the armband.


He will start in a tough game. Everton have been tough in home games against the big clubs and Kun will be asked to work deep during the game.

Fantrax thoughts

He may not be this cheap in a couple of weeks and there is no fixture Kun cannot do well in. In a game of opinions there may be better options on paper but as always it is dangerous betting against him.

FPL thoughts

I sit in the camp that for the next two games and with Pep in charge he isn’t a must have. There are better value combinations for me but it won’t take much for me to change my mind.

Anthony Martial/Zlatan

Fantrax thoughts

Zlatan is a big game player but his illness and his price mean I would look elsewhere this week. He doesn’t always suit the Fantrax scoring system unless his team dominate and this looks an even affair to me. Martial however may just be a sneaky piece of value. He was man of the match against Boro and scored 25 points. He also scored on debut against Liverpool last year and his power/pace and skill look like something that can exploit the high line pool play. I expect him to start but it isn’t 100%. At a very tempting 6.23m I really like him this week. Whether I pick him will depend on team news and my willingness to take a risk guessing Jose’s team and whether I go with other Utd players.

FPL thoughts

Hold Zlatan and play him but don’t buy him for this week, there are better choices. Avoid Martial in this format as while he will likely start in week 21 he may not in week 22.