FA Cup 2018-19 Fifth round review

Crabble

“The FA Cup fifth round saw six Premier League clubs qualify for the quarter finals” (CC by 2.0) by Richard Fisher

Whilst FPL managers have had a well-deserved break since gameweek 26 ended on February 11th, a majority of Premier League clubs had the fifth round of the FA Cup to deal with. The stakes: a spot in the quarter finals of one of the football world’s most historic club tournaments. We’ll take a quick look at how the teams fared and what the Monday night quarter final draw has brought us. The 6th round draw may again throw up some betting opportunities for a lower ranked team to provide an upset against their heavily backed opponent who may also have priorities in the EPL or Champions League and if you’re looking to take advantage of these betting odds then consider the types of bet that you can use online.

We’ll also cover how the FA Cup could impact on FPL planning. The deadline for gameweek 27, which is a blank gameweek for many clubs (we’ll cover this in tomorrow’s article), is set at 18h45 (GMT+0) on Friday the 22nd of February.

FA Cup fifth round results: How did the Premier League clubs do?

QPR Watford 0 – 1
Brighton Derby 2 – 1
Newport Manchester City 1 – 4
Bristol City Wolves 0 – 1
Doncaster Crystal Palace 0 – 2
Chelsea Manchester United 0 – 2

FA Cup quarter final draw: what’s ahead for the remaining Premier League clubs?

Millwall Brighton March 16th
Swansea Manchester City March 16th
Watford Crystal Palace March 16th
Wolves Manchester United March 16th

Brighton

The Seagulls booked a relatively comfortable victory over Frank Lampard’s Derby County last Saturday.  Considering Brighton are having a blank in gameweek 27, manager Chris Hughton sent out a strong starting eleven, including regulars like Jurgen Locadia, Dale Stephens, and Shane Duffy. The home team, who have won just one of their last eleven Premier League matches, were far from impressive in the first half, but fortunately for them, Derby didn’t do much better. Probably the most interesting take-away from this game was the fact that Brighton’s Yves Bissouma again showed both great quality and promise of more. The Mali midfielder started off the attack that led to the first goal, while his shot against the inside of the post allowed Locadia to make it two in the rebound. For those FPL managers considering Brighton assets based on their favourable run of fixtures, such as Gross, Ryan or Murray, this game didn’t provide that much new information, but the victory could improve the confidence amongst the Seagulls.

Crystal Palace

Palace’s Roy Hodgson faced Doncaster Rovers with a pretty strong line-up, including regular starters like Townsend, Milivojevic and Van Aanholt. Doncaster put up a good fight, but this Palace are disciplined and know how to play a result-based game. By half-time, the Eagles were 0-2 up and this would end up being the final result as well. As a result, Palace have qualified for the quarter finals of the FA Cup for a second time in the last four seasons, which is a more than decent record. An away game against Watford is up next, and while this will certainly prove to be more of a challenge than their fifth round tie, a berth in the semi-finals is definitely within the options. If Hodgson’s comments are anything to go by, his men won’t lose focus in the Premier League despite their FA Cup success, so with a good run of fixtures coming up, popular FPL assets like Wan-Bissaka, Milivojevic and Zaha should remain secure starters.

Manchester City

Man City were the Premier League team with the, on paper, easiest encounter this week, as the men in sky blue visited League Two outfit Newport City. On a pitch that at times looked more like a swamp than a football field, the home team put up a brave fight, but eventually had to give in to Man City’s logical superiority. As a matter of fact, before this encounter, only four other teams managed to keep City from scoring in the first half. Despite the 82-place difference in league positions and the difference in starting eleven value (£320 million vs £50 thousand, guess who’s who), it took the Cityzens just under an hour to break the deadlock. At 0-2, (Phil Foden strike), Newport did the impossible and got back into the game, courtesy of a Padraig Amond lob. Another Phil Foden strike a minute later and an extra-time Mahrez goal ended up putting the game beyond doubt for Guardiola’s men. City have no fixture in gameweek 27, so FPL managers can postpone worrying about the impossibility of predicting a Pep Guardiola line-up.

Manchester United

Man United facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was the FA Cup’s fifth round stand-out fixture and the Red Devils made it theirs. As you would expect, both teams started with most of their regular starting line-ups intact, and, I guess as you would expect as well by now, United’s Paul Pogba ended up being the difference. The French midfielder has never been better, which his goal and assist against Chelsea illustrated. If you haven’t got him yet in FPL… Seriously, why not? United deserved the win and despite Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri claiming he’s not worried about his position at the club, he’ll be worried about his team’s lack of teeth, both up front and in the back. The Blues are now out of all domestic cup competitions, meaning they will not have any blank gameweeks this season, but they do have a leg and a half in the Europa League’s next round after a 1-2 away win at Malmö. Players like Eden Hazard, Gonzalo Higuain and Pedro could be sources of points in the coming Premier League games, though the combination of a good run of coming fixtures and a lack of consistent form could prove to be a real FPL trap.

Watford

That Watford is taking the FA Cup seriously was illustrated by their starting line-up against QPR last Friday. Regular Premier League starters like Troy Deeney, José Holebas and Etienne Capoué were present, and it was the latter of the three who scored the only goal of the game in the 45th minute. Tom Cleverley provided the assist for what would end up being the Hornets’ only on target, which is not a very impressive statistic, and neither is the fact that Watford goalie Heurelho Gomes was one of the best Hornets on the pitch. What is impressive though, is that at the end of the game, the score line was 0-1 to Watford. Javi Gracia’s men kept the clean sheet (their third in the FA Cup this season and their sixth in their last eight games in all competitions), they are placed 8th in the Premier League, and with a home game against Palace coming up in the FA Cup quarter final they have real chances of qualifying for the semis, and who knows… maybe all the way. Watford are blanking in gameweek 31 though, and in their next seven Premier League games they are facing Liverpool, Man City, and Man United away, as well as Arsenal at home. Not very appealing in FPL terms, but their quality and form nonetheless make them an outfit FPL managers should keep an eye on.

Wolves

The reason we didn’t want to name Watford things like “the season’s surprise package” or “probably one of this season’s best performers” is that, despite those terms being more than applicable to the Hornets as well, we still have to cover Wolves’ 0-1 victory over Bristol City in this article. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were promoted to the Premier League at the end of last season, but they’ve been playing like they’ve been playing there for years. Their current seventh place is proof of that. What makes it all  even more impressive is that Wolves have also made it to the FA Cup quarter finals by beating Bristol City away. The only changes to the starting line-up for Wolves were the spots for Ivan Cavaleiro (for the slightly injured Jota) and Romain Saiss (for Ruben Neves), which might indicate that they are aiming to go all the way in the FA Cup this season. A Cavaleiro strike just before the half hour mark was enough for a Wolves victory and the general passage of play over 90 minutes will only have added to their confidence. With Bournemouth (away), Huddersfield (away), and Cardiff (home) up next in the Premier League, and Espirito Santo’s preference to stick to a fixed starting line-up, Wolves assets like Matt Doherty, Raul Jïmenez and Joao Moutinho remain investments with great points potential.

TFF Matches in the FA Cup 15 to 18 February 2019

It’s that time again when Telegraph Fantasy Football (TFF) managers at the top of the leaderboard hope that their players won’t be rested when the Premier League clubs take to the field in the FA Cup. For the managers hoping to rise up the leaderboard it’s an opportunity to buy players with the potential to score big against lower division opposition. David Parker’s team ‘ENABLE’ currently leads TFF on 1,659 points closely followed by David Burch’s ‘Apostis’ on 1,650. Well known fantasy football managers such as Bruce Baer, Andy Luckhurst and David Browne lurk close by in the top 10.

From 2019, FA Cup Fifth Round ties will be decided on the day. Any match drawn after 90 minutes will be settled by extra time and penalties. In the TFF game, points are not awarded for FA Cup penalty shoot-outs but extra time action does count. If you’re out of the running for the season prize then don’t forget about the monthly (£1,000) or weekly (£100) prizes which could boost your income. Another way to raise money is to sell clothes online.

FRIDAY 15TH FEBRUARY

FIFTH ROUND

QPR 19:45 Watford

This weekend’s 6 FA Cup ties start tonight because it’s a Friday night fixture featuring Queen’s Park Rangers of the Championship against the Premier League’s Watford. QPR have been on a poor run since Christmas and are currently lower mid table so shouldn’t pose much of a threat to a Watford team even if they rest the majority of their first teamers. Watford’s popular defender Holebas has a 2 match ban so won’t be appearing and popular midfielder Pereyra is an injury doubt so probably will be rested.

SATURDAY 16TH FEBRUARY

FIFTH ROUND

Brighton 12:30 Derby

Just two matches with any TFF involvement on Saturday, the first of which is the early kick-off between Brighton and Frank Lampard’s Derby County. A month ago Brighton would have probably considered prioritising the FA Cup but a dip in their league form and table position means Premiership survival should be their main focus so maybe their top scorer Glenn Murray will be in the bench. Derby are in good form and might cause an upset today with Brighton’s focus perhaps elsewhere. 

Newport 17:30 Man City

The second fixture is the late match where Manchester City must travel to the Welsh side of the bridge to take on Newport County of League 2. Expectations will be for another one-sided game but the League Two style of play might surprise City. Expect Jesus & Mahrez to start and their top TFF scorers Sterling and Aguero to be rested.

SUNDAY 17TH FEBRUARY

FIFTH ROUND

Bristol City 13:00 Wolves

Two more games on Sunday, the earlier of which gets underway at 1pm and has Bristol City hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers. Bristol City are another Championship side who are still in the Cup. They are sat in the play-off positions at the moment so may see the Cup as an unwanted distraction. Wolves however should treat this competition as their best chance of silverware. They fielded a strong defensive line-up in the last round and their wing-backs Doherty and Jonny are usually a threat with central defender Boly providing aerial power in the penalty box.

Doncaster 16:00 Crystal Palace

At 4pm the second match gets underway and features Crystal Palace versus Doncaster who are occupying a play off spot in League One so might not put up too much of a fight. Crystal Palace will be torn between keeping their Cup run going and the possibility of being sucked into a Premier League relegation battle. A rotated Palace side (without the banned Zaha) should still be strong enough to get through and earn them a place in the next round, just like Shopify could earn you or your business extra money.

MONDAY 18TH FEBRUARY

FIFTH ROUND

Chelsea 19:30 Man Utd

Here we come to the weekend’s big match – Chelsea versus Manchester United. Both teams come into this match off of the back of a high profile loss. OGS lost his first match as United manager in mid-week but more importantly lost Lingard and Martial to injury. Chelsea were drubbed by Man City 6-0 last time out but bounced back last night with a 2-1 away win in the Europa League thanks to goals from Barkley and Giroud (despite resting Hazard). The FA Cup might be considered a lesser competition by these two but the winner here will receive a huge morale boost. VAR is in operation for this match.

For more TFF discussion check out the FISO TFF Forum.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 26 Preview


“After just 1 assist in 5 gameweeks, Eden Hazard rewarded his most loyal believers with 15 points in gameweek 25” (CC by 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

Now that the dust has settled after this season’s very first double gameweek, it’s time for us to congratulate those captaining Aguero or Laporte, to console those who went with Richarlison and Sané, and to give a disapproving shake of the head to those who bet on Everton’s defensive assets. With more or less expected results from Man City and Everton, the only two teams with a double  gameweek, the results were a mixed bag for FPL managers. There was a small surge in activated Free Hit chips, but unless you also captained Aguero (or Laporte), it probably wasn’t the ideal moment to do so. There are still some blank and double gameweeks coming up that will be harder to navigate without a Free hit. These weeks will more or less take place in the period between gameweek 31 and gameweek 35, and the blanks for gameweek 31 will be announced in the build-up to gameweek 27.

Some observations ahead of gameweek 26

It looks like Man United have uncovered a match made in heaven, so to say, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to reinstate Paul Pogba as the team’s big man in the middle while at the same time giving Marcus Rashford a chance to prove himself as their starting number nine. Not only have they each scored six goals since Solskjaer arrived in gameweek 18, they have also provided 6 and 2 assists respectively. What’s more, last Sunday’s only and this winning goal against Leicester was created by Pogba and finished by Rashford. Next up is leaky Fulham at Craven Cottage so if you’re a betting man (or woman) then, as bet brain uk will tell you, the odds are in favour of goals and a win for Man United.

Around a week ago, Chelsea were blown away by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium and Blues manager Maurizio Sarri publicly criticized his men for seeming “impossible to motivate”, so last weekend’s 5-0 drubbing of Championship-bound Huddersfield should be placed into perspective. Of course, it’s an excellent result, and Blues fans and FPL managers alike will have enjoyed Gonzalo Higuain’s first two goals in a Chelsea shirt as well as his seemingly great understanding with star man Eden Hazard (who also scored twice, by the way, his first goals since gameweek 19), but don’t immediately forget Chelsea’s run prior to last weekend: last five games played, 2 victories (Palace and Newcastle), 1 draw (Southampton), 2 defeats (Arsenal and Bournemouth), 3 goals scored, and 7 goals conceded. The real tests for Sarri’s men come quick and fast this month, with games against City and Spurs in the league, and against United in the FA Cup’s fifth round.

In a direct battle for the title of “Best of the Rest”, Wolverhampton have shown once more, this time at Goodison Park, that they are in the Premier League to stay. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team displayed their, by now, trademark defensive stability and disciplined attacking patterns, which stood in quite a sharp contrast to Everton’s largely toothless performance. It’s no coincidence that Wolves assets like Matt Doherty, Raul Jimenez, and Rui Patricio have emerged as major bargains, because in reality, the newly-promoted side are playing like they’ve been competing for a top-10 spot in the Prem for years. With a nice run of fixtures coming up, count on Wolves assets to rise further in both price and popularity.

At the bottom of the table, Huddersfield are not the only team that has seen the gap between relegation and safety grow over the past weeks. Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham is down there with them, though still six points above the Terriers, in 19th place. The gap to the safe 17th spot is currently seven points wide, and the Cottagers are about to embark on a run of fixtures that provides very little hope for improvement: In the coming 7 gameweeks, they are facing United, Chelsea, Liverpool and City at home and West Ham, Southampton and Leicester away. The outlook is grim for Ranieri and his players.

Premium picks

When Liverpool visited the Vitality Stadium back in December 2018, the Reds swept the locals aside, largely courtesy of a Mo Salah hat-trick. This week, the reverse fixture is on the calendar, but seeing as we’re recommending the Egyptian for the captaincy later on, we’re going with team mate Sadio Mané (£9.5m). The Senegalese winger is in blistering form of late, which has seen him score once in each of his last three Premier League games and bring home a total of 24 FPL points. In the last six games, only number 19 Fulham and number 20 Huddersfield (12 each) have conceded more goals than Bournemouth (11), making it hard to not see the home team working on their goal tally on Saturday. If they end up doing so, Mané should be a good source for points.

Our second premium pick of the week is in-form Manchester United midfield maestro Paul Pogba (£8.6m). We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, simply because the Frenchman’s form makes it unavoidable: since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in gameweek 18, Pogba has scored 6 goals and provided 6 assists. Over that period, he amassed an impressive 76 FPL points. Despite not recording a single shot on goal against Leicester last weekend (he did provide the assist for the only goal of the game), it looks like the French midfielder will get his opportunities against Fulham coming Saturday. Between gameweeks 21 and 24, Pogba took 23 shots in direction of the goal and 10 of those were on target, while the Cottagers concede an average of 15 shots per game. It’s no surprise they still have the Premier League’s worst defense (25 games played, 55 goals conceded).

A few months ago, there was a considerable amount of (mostly rotation-related) doubt when talking about Man City’s Kun Aguero (£11.4m), but it looks like the Argentinian killer has secured the starting spot up front for yet another season at the Etihad. Despite blanking against Everton on Wednesday in what was the second game of his double gameweek, he is our third premium pick of the week, largely thanks to his great performances prior to the Everton game. Kun has scored 6 goals and given 2 assists in his last 8 games in the Premier League, resulting in a total of 49 FPL points. This run includes a 14-minute cameo in gameweek 22 versus Wolves, but also a hat-trick against Arsenal last weekend. Rotation is always a risk in Pep’s Manchester City and Aguero is facing formidable competition in the form of Gabriel Jesus, but Kun looks like the first choice striker. Do keep in mind that City are blanking in gameweek 27 and that the Champions League will be getting underway again next week.

A differential pick or two

Brighton has one of the most favourable fixture calendars for the coming weeks and after not booking a victory in any of the last five Premier League games, the Seagulls are an interesting source of potential differential assets. For an 11-game run in which Brighton will only face one team from the top six (Spurs away in gameweek 33), we’ve gone with attacking midfielder Pascal Gross (£6.7m). The German creator has scored a goal and provided an assist in his last last three games, and he created an unbelievable 10 chances versus Watford last weekend. Five of those came from set-pieces, which Gross more or less always takes for the Seagulls, and he also made three attempts at goal (all of them off-target). With his current price and his upcoming run of fixtures (he blanks next week, though!), Pascal Gross has the makings of a real differential and budget enabler.

Speaking of budget enablers that can make a real difference: Wolverhampton’s Joao Moutinho (£5.3m). The Portuguese veteran midfielder is a whole £1.4 million cheaper than Gross and in arguably much better form. Moutinho has brought his FPL owners a more than decent 27 points over the past three gameweeks, courtesy of 5 assists and 5 bonus points. He’s a guaranteed starter under Nuno Espirito Santo and we know how little the Portuguese manager likes to tinker with his starting line-ups, so that’s another one in Moutinho’s favour. With games against Newcastle (home), Bournemouth (away), Huddersfield (away), and Cardiff (home) coming up, it might be a good time to move the playmaker towards the top of your transfer lists.

For further transfer ideas in GW26 check out this fiso forum topic.

The captaincy

Both Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.2m) will be amongst the most-selected captains for gameweek 26 as borne out by the FISO Forum GW26 Captain Poll, thanks to their favourable match-ups against Bournemouth (home) and Huddersfield (away). We’re starting with the Gabonese striker, who has already scored 15 goals this season and is currently Arsenal’s highest-scoring player in FPL (150 points). PEA has been excellent of late, though a bit inconsistent in terms of FPL returns if anything. Since gameweek 18, he has scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists, resulting in a total of 50 FPL points, or an average of just over 6 points per game. If we ignore potential bonus points, that’s the equivalent of a striker scoring every game. Huddersfield have conceded 20 goals in 13 home games this season and the Terriers haven’t won a game at the John Smith’s since the start of November. You should probably trust Aubameyang with the armband if you can.

Mo Salah (£13.6m) is having a bit of a dip in form lately, illustrated by his first two consecutive blanks since gameweeks 7 and 8, which is frustrating for his owners, considering his absolute premium price tag. Still, for a game versus Bournemouth at Anfield, few FPL managers with the Egyptian in their teams will decide against captaining the Egyptian this weekend. Just to remind the doubters: between gameweek 16 and 23, Salah scored 9 goals, provided 3 assists, and recorded 87 FPL points. His average per game against sides from outside the top six this season: 8.7 points. Bournemouth are far from the league’s most stable defensive unit, having allowed three big chances and no less than 12 attempts on goal (of which 9 came from inside the area) versus Cardiff last Saturday. Even during the shock 4-0 home victory over Chelsea a week earlier, the Cherries still conceded 11 efforts on goal of which 7 came from inside the area. Eddie Howe’s men haven’t taken a single point from an away game since gameweek 10 (a 0-3 victory at Craven Cottage) and despite Liverpool’s slight struggles over the past weeks, we foresee the possibility of an abundance of goals in favour of the home side this coming Saturday.

FPL – Players to Watch in the Second Half of the Season

That’s it, done, the January transfer window is shut. We’ve seen a few gems sneak into the FPL list in recent weeks, but who are the must-haves for the second half of the season as everyone battles to move up the FPL table to mini-league or fantasy cup glory? With gameweek 25 well underway, let’s take a look, starting with those between the sticks.

Goalkeepers

Many FPL veterans argue that you need two £4.5m goalkeepers at the beginning of the season that rotate well so that your bench boost can be effective later on in the season, as well as keeping funds free for the rest of the squad. It’s difficult to argue with that tactic as it tends to work well, but Alisson leads the way in the rankings at £6.0m. However, as good as he’s been, Neil Etheridge is hot on his heels at just £4.6m.

Ederson is another one who you’d expect, along with Alisson, to pick up a fair few clean sheets in the second half of the season, and he’s slightly cheaper than the Liverpool ‘keeper at £5.6m. Do not overlook the likes of Lukas Fabianski or Patricio either, as they’ve picked up a fair amount of save points and bonus points so far.

Our advice? Pick two keepers that play at around £4.5m-£5.5m who are with clubs in the top half of the table, as you’ll accumulate enough points for it not to really make a lot of difference between that and a £6.0m Alisson for example.

Defenders

Andrew Robertson is a must have if you can afford him, although he’s closing in on the £7.0m mark, so, if you’re heavy up top, you might not be able to bring him in.

New Fulham signing and ex West Ham player Havard Nordtveit has been added as a defender at £4.5m. We’d expect him to probably play in the centre of midfield if Fulham watched his centre-back displays for West Ham. He’s a bit of a liability at the back. Don’t expect him to score many, but as a defender potentially playing in Midfield, like Declan Rice for the Hammers, it might be worth having him at such a cheap price to pick up the odd clean sheet.

Cardiff’s new signing, Leandro Bacuna, has also been priced up at £4.5m as a defender. It’s tough to see Cardiff picking up many more clean sheets this season so he might be worth avoiding as there is better value elsewhere.

Where is the value?

Looking beyond the likes of Robertson, Van Dijk, and Alonso, who are expensive, you should really be considering the likes of Chilwell (£5.0m), Holebas (£4.8m), Wan-Bissaka (£4.5m) and possibly even Wolves’ Jonny at a tempting £4.3m.

Midfielders

Arguably the most important choices you’re going to make in FPL this season is in your midfield. It’s simply because there are so many goalscorers to choose from, you need to either make sure you have them all or choose a couple and offset it with a decent striker or two.

If you can afford Mo Salah, get him. He’s only going to keep scoring, and as a midfielder, that equals a crazy amount of points, especially with bonuses added on. Let’s not forget he’s on penalties too.

Salah actually leads the way in the scoring charts at the time of writing, and he’ll take some stopping. If you’ve got a bet on him to be top scorer this season, the bookies now have him at around 4/5 to win the golden boot. Aubameyang, Aguero, Hazard and Sterling are hot on his heels, and it could be worth backing one of the outsiders for a bit more value if you think the likes of Arsenal, City, and Chelsea are going to have a stronger second half to the season than Liverpool. The Reds might start feeling the pressure soon.

If you’ve not got an account with a bookie to place a Premier League Top Goalscorer bet and you’re considering signing up, finding licensed sportsbooks is important, so it’s best to use one of the big betting firms you hear about all the time in the UK. You know they’re safe and secure.

Hazard and Sterling are the other two leading the way in the FPL midfielder charts, and it’ll definitely pay to have at least one of these in your side for the rest of the season. They’re just going to keep scoring and assisting heavily, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Another player worth considering is Son Heung-min. With Harry Kane and Dele Alli out for a while, the responsibility will fall on his shoulders to produce the goods and keep Spurs in the hunt for the title in the next few weeks and months.

Newcastle’s record signing, Miguel Almiron, loved a goal in the MLS with Atlanta, so who’s to say he can’t bag a few in the Premier League? He might be worth considering in your midfield at an appealing £6.0m. Over January signings include Fulham’s Lazar Markovic (£5.0m) and Leicester’s Youri Tielemans (£6.0m), although he might not be as much of a goal threat as Almiron and Markovic.

Attackers

Harry Kane posted a video of his rehab recently which has given Spurs fans a lift. He might be back sooner than anticipated, and he’s probably a must have once he returns to action. Another injury casualty at the moment is Callum Wilson, who’s out for a few weeks.

In the meantime, there are a lot of options in your front three. Aubameyang, Firmino, Aguero, Jimenez, Lacazette, Rashford, Mitrovic. The list goes on. If you insist on having Salah and at least one other big gun in the midfield, affording the likes of Kane and Aguero is going to be difficult. But the cheap options are not disappointing this year. Josh King (£6.4m) and Glenn Murray (6.3m) are definitely worth considering as your third striker as both have hit a bit of form recently.

Crystal Palace’s new signing, Michy Batshuayi might be worth a punt at £6.5m, as too Peter Crouch, who moved to Burnley. If he gets a regular starting berth, his £4.5m cost could prove to be an absolute bargain.

If you’ve still got your wildcard, you might like this final section. Here’s our squad of 15 we think will do wonders in the second half of the season. If you choose to go with it, you might just leapfrog a few mates in the league table.

GK – Ederson & Fabianski

DEF – Trippier, Chilwell, Holebas, Zouma, Wan-Bissaka

MID – Salah, Sane, Pogba, Brooks (currently injured), Markovic

ATT – Aguero, Jimenez, Mitrovic

Reasons to Watch Rugby League

The game of rugby might be focused on highly contested scrums. But to some of us, the game of rugby must be all about thrilling tries, big breaks, big hits and exciting movements with a lot of energy and passion. If you pay a closer look at some rugby challenge cup matches they are too tactical.

However, if you don’t want to get bored with rugby consider watching rugby league. Below we are going to showcase some of the reasons why you should do so.

Rugby League’s Excellent Skills

Rugby League being a simpler game means it is less tactical. Watching rugby league will let you witness some brilliant and world class moves. Passing, tackles, offloads and strong, fast running all in one plate. That is surely something that can put you on the edge of your seat like playing online slots at good real money casinos. This is simply because the level of rugby in Rugby League is incredible.

Witness the Drama at Rugby League

This sport will leave you with more questions than answers. A lot of drama comes from the rugby league world cup itself. In Australia, history was made in the grand final between Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys. The fascinating encounter convinced every Tom, Jack and Harry it was going to end 16-12 in favour of the Brisbane Broncos.

But the turn of event was heartbreaking. North Queensland came up with a last minute try accompanied by wonderful football and scoring at the same time as the clock hit 80 minutes which saw some world bookies officials left stunned. It was indeed heartbreaking for the side that was leading but that’s what rugby league is all about.

Tiger Woods Continues to Amaze

Some people feel as if golf has been one of those sports that has been sidelined. But then is that really the case? The history of golf is rather interesting. This sport was not a sport for the public but restricted to the upper classes back in the 15th century.

But let’s not get into that and instead, talk about the great men and women in the game of golf. According to reports found at newzealandbetting, the game has developed over the past years and it is anyone and everyone’s sport.

Tiger Woods

There is no way that we were going to talk about golf and not mention Tiger Woods. One of the greatest men in golf of all time. Have you ever just looked at someone whether in person or on the telly and asked yourself if they have golf blood running in their body?

For us, the person who makes us feel like that is Tiger Woods. Despite having a lot of problems and making the unwelcome news headlines he has been the greatest golfer. So even after the whole issue of being arrested, being in rehab etc he managed to come back better than before.

Betting on Tiger Woods has been very lucrative for people. When he is playing in a tournament the odds of the winner are influenced greatly. He is known to close out tournaments so as soon as he gets into the lead the odds on him winning are very low. Probably you are not a betting type of person then go for real money online slots that have golf themes.

If you disagree then answer this question for us. Who have you heard in the history of golf, who’s been a champion for over 13 years? And when we say champion we are talking about a person occupying the number one spot.

Justin Rose: Undisputed No. 1 Golf Player

Justin Rose had a two-shot victory over Adam Scott on Sunday week at the Famers Insurance Open held at Torrey Pines in California. This was his third win in the last year. Rose continued a run of consistency that has seen the player post 16 top-10 finishes in his past 24 worldwide events.

Scott said that Rose was the number one golf player in the world. According to this sports betting site https://www.cansportsbetting.ca/, Scott had a 19-under-par effort and would have won the past 9 Farmers’ tournaments. Scott went on to say that even though he was a little bit off, he kept it together. He then closed with 5 birdies in the last 12 holes. He said that it was hard to beat when you are 3 back around this golf course.

Rose has been on the top of his game for the better part of the past 18 months. In fact, he has a slew of high finishes dotting his resume.

Rose holds off Scott to win at Torrey Pines

Rose had a few nervous moments, worse than waiting for the jackpot winning symbol on online slots but he soon overcame them. He holed enough key putts down the stretch for a 3-under 69 as well as a two-stroke victory over Scott on Sunday.

After a frustrating tournament, Tiger Woods finally got something over his final 9 holes. He made 5 birdies to finish with a 5-under-par 67 at Torrey Pines. So Woods has started this year with a good showing in California. Soon, he will take a few weeks off. Woods had a chance to get to a win in September at the BMW Championship but lost out to Keegan Bradley.

Rose did not hold the number one spot at the start of 2019 but has moved back to the top. This was after Koepka had failed to finish high enough when he played at a tournament in Hawaii 2 weeks ago. Now, it does seem like he is going to stay there for a while. Rose spent most of the past 8 years among the top 20 in the world.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 25 Preview

David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne

“Man City are up for the first double gameweek of the season in gameweek 25” (CC by 2.0) by Brad Tutterow

The season’s first double gameweek has arrived, and fate has it that it’s coinciding with the end of the January transfer window. Both events are more than meaningful for FPL managers, so we’ll start off with an overview of the doubles and the most significant Premier League transfers. As far as the doubles are concerned, just Man City and Everton are playing twice this round:

  • Man City: Arsenal (home), Everton (away)
  • Everton: Wolves (home), Man City (home)

When it comes to the incoming transfers of this winter transfer window the UK bookmakers will have kept a close eye on these in case of major signings which could influence the destiny of the title or the relegation positions. Some interesting moves have been made, including on the final day of the window. We won’t include all transfers in this list, instead we’ll mention those we feel might have an impact on FPL in the 2018-19 campaign (positions and prices are those in FPL):

NAME POSITION CLUB PRICE
Denis Suarez (loan) Midfielder Arsenal 6.5m
Nathaniel Clyne (loan) Defender Bournemouth 4.5m
Peter Crouch Forward Burnley 4.5m
Leandro Bacuna Defender Cardiff 4.5m
Oumar Niasse (loan) Forward Cardiff 5.0m
Gonzalo Higuain (loan) Forward Chelsea 9.5m
Michy Batshuayi (loan) Forward Crystal Palace 6.5m
Ryan Babel Midfielder Fulham 5.5m
Lazar Markovic Midfielder Fulham 5.0m
Jason Puncheon (loan) Midfielder Huddersfield 4.2m
Karlan Grant Forward Huddersfield 5.0m
Youri Tielemans Midfield Leicester 6.0m
Miguel Almiron Midfield Newcastle 6.0m
Samir Nasri Midfield West Ham 5.5m

Premium Picks:

Of course, seeing as gameweek 25 is this season’s first double gameweek, at least one of our premium picks needs to be from either Man City or Everton. We’ve gone with the former by picking Leroy Sané (£9.7m) this week. The German winger has been impressive over the past weeks and months, scoring 2 goals and providing 2 assists in the last 4 games, with 32 FPL points as a result. That’s an average of 8 points per game for that period. First up this gameweek are Arsenal at the Etihad, who have conceded 22 goals in 11 away games, followed by an away game at Goodison Park, where locals Everton have conceded 16 goals in 12 games. 

The next premium pick of the week is Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen (£9.3m), who is facing Newcastle at home on Saturday. While the Toon come off a fantastic victory over Man City, Spurs only just managed to keep the three points at home against Watford, courtesy of a late Llorente winner. They will nevertheless be boosted by the hard-fought victory and possibly even more by the return of Heung-Min Son. As far as Eriksen is concerned, he’s been instrumental for Spurs since coming back from injury in gameweek, dictating the play and scoring 2 goals in the process. He has also notched 2 assists and is on most set-pieces. With Son back in the team and an opponent who has conceded 14 goals in 11 away games coming to Wembley, more attacking returns may be on the cards for the Danish midfielder.

A differential pick or two

The first differential pick for gameweek 25 is Kevin de Bruyne (£9.7m), for whom this week is a double gameweek. The Belgian midfielder has spent most of this season out injured, but he’s been fully fit since gameweek 22 and Guardiola is easing him back into the starting eleven. In theory, KDB is one of City’s best and most decisive players, and the assist in gameweek 22 should be a sign of more and better things to come. As usual when it comes to Pep and City, rotation will be a worry this week, as De Bruyne competes with David Silva, Bernardo Silva, and Gundogan for two spots besides Fernandinho. He did start both of City’s semi-final encounters in the League Cup against Burton this month, playing around an hour in each, while also starting (and playing 65 minutes) in gameweek 24. He completed the 90 minutes in gameweek 23. Whether all of this should be interpreted as slowly building up his match fitness towards 90-minute performances every week or as a sign of looming absence this weekend, we’ll leave up to you.

The second differential of the week is something of a punt, but with potentially huge rewards. Chelsea’s Gonzalo Higuain (£9.5m) will want to forget his first match as a Blue as soon as he can. He was part of his new club’s complete demolition away to Bournemouth, ending in a 4-0 victory for the Cherries, but what better way for him to make a second first impression (and for Chelsea to wash away some of the shame) than a home game against Huddersfield. The Terriers have conceded 21 goals in 11 away games, while Chelsea have scored 21 in 12 home games. The home team is far from being in good shape and Higuain has definitely not been dropped into a smoothly running, free-flowing footballing machine, but like we said, a home game against Huddersfield could (and maybe should) be a turning point on the way to better things. Count on the Argentinian to start on Saturday and we wouldn’t be surprised if he starts working on his goal tally from that moment onwards.

For more GW25 transfer ideas have a look through this fiso forum topic.

The captaincy

To put it simply, it makes sense to put the armband on a player with a double gameweek this week. True, there are some very good “normal gameweek” options (Salah, Son, etc…), but we’re starting with Man City’s Raheem Sterling (£11.3m). The English winger has had a great season so far, though his attacking returns have diminished a bit since a month or two. Still, he managed to notch a goal and provide 3 assists over the last 5 gameweeks, bringing his owners 28 points in the process. Of all Man City players, Sterling has one of the highest chances to start both games this week, at home to Arsenal and away to Everton. As mentioned earlier, both the Arsenal defence and the Everton defence are far from airtight, and Sterling could have a field day against them. Arsenal at the Etihad looks especially tasty, with Bellerin, Sokratis, Koscielny, and Holding unavailable due to injury. Who’s going to stop Raheem when Sané, Aguero, and the entire midfield are charging as well? Maybe even a candidate for a triple captain card?

Our final suggestion of the week is Everton’s Richarlison (£6.8m). Admittedly, the Brazilian is a bit of a personal FPL favourite, so it was good to see him back on the score sheet again last gameweek, after four consecutive blanks against mid-table opposition. He brought his owners a decent 8 FPL points and the hope is that he has tapped into a vein of goals now, with a double gameweek coming up for Everton. The Toffees are facing Wolves at home before hosting Man City, neither of which are considered easy matches under any circumstance. Wolves have conceded 13 goals in 11 away games, while City have conceded just 9 goals in 12 away games, so Richarlison has his work more than cut out for him. We know the Brazilian is up to any task when in form, though. Putting the armband on him is a considerable punt, but it could pay off big this week. 

This week’s FISO Forum FPL Captain Poll is not surprisingly dominated by Manchester City players.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 24 Preview

Napoli, tegola per Benitez: Higuain ko contro l'argentina
“Is winter acquisition Gonzalo Higuain, pictured playing for Napoli, starting for his new club Chelsea in gameweek 24?” (CC by 2.0) by Nazionale Calcio

Despite the 9-day break between gameweeks 23 and 24, there has been little to no rest for England’s footballing elite over that period. This break from Premier League football opened up the schedule for the second legs of the League Cup semi-finals and the fourth round of the FA Cup, which saw a considerable number of Premier League clubs crashing out of the tournament. Before focusing on gameweek 24, we’ll provide a simple overview of which Premier League outfits are still active in the domestic cup tournaments, as this will start having a considerable impact on the inevitable blank and double gameweeks later on in the season. For more information on the impact of all cup proceedings on FPL, do check out Ben Crellin’s Twitter account (@BenCrellin).

  • The League Cup final is between Manchester City and Chelsea, which means the fixtures of these two teams in gameweek 27 (Everton vs Man City and Chelsea vs Brighton) will be postponed (Everton vs Man City to gameweek 25, the other game is still to be decided).
  • The Premier League clubs qualified for the fifth round of the FA Cup: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Manchester United and Watford. (Chelsea were drawn at home to Man Utd in the 5th round whilst all the remaining EPL clubs avoided each other).
  • The Premier League clubs with a replay to come to qualify for the fifth round of the FA Cup: Brighton (away to West Brom), Wolves (at home to Shrewsbury).

Some observations ahead of gameweek 24

The team in form is first up. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had a more than reasonable fixture list to start his interim job at United with, so consecutive victories over Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth in his first three matches were, for many, no reason yet to jump on the United bandwagon. Not an unwise kind of reasoning, but it’s a few weeks later now and United have still not been beaten under OGS: 8 games, 8 victories, including a 0-1 away victory over Spurs in the League and a 1-3 away win over Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Red Devils’ calendar for the coming weeks: Burnley (home), Leicester, Fulham (both away), Liverpool (home), Palace (away), and Southampton (home). The Solskjaer-effect might just continue to fizz for some time to come.

Probably one of the most interesting features of the FA Cup’s fourth round was the Chelsea debut of AC Milan’s Gonzalo Higuain. The veteran Argentinian striker, who successfully starred under Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri at Napoli, was brought in to solve the club’s ongoing issues with the number nine position. Neither Oliver Giroud nor Alvaro Morata (who has now joined Atletico Madrid) are cutting it up front for the Blues, so Higuain immediately started against Sheffield Wednesday. In his 82 minutes of playing time, he made clear that he came to Chelsea with objectives, to score goals and weigh on enemy defences, but what became even clearer once more is that the Londoners have a supply issue more than anything else. Of course, Sarri started a team that was changed in six positions, so that doesn’t help the team’s cohesiveness. It’ll be interesting to see if and how the Argentinian will adapt to playing for his new club in the coming weeks but the initial signs are promising.

At the moment, just five Premier League clubs have qualified for the fifth round of the FA Cup, while two more (Brighton and Wolves) need to get through a replay in order to qualify. One of the qualified teams is Watford, who beat Newcastle in the fourth round with a completely overhauled squad. Rather quietly, the Hornets have become one of this season’s outstanding performers due to their excellent results in the FA Cup combined with the club’s current seventh position in the League. The fact that coach Javi Gracia not only could, but also dared to field eleven players that usually don’t start is proof of both the depth of the Watford squad and of Gracia’s trust in all of his players. Thanks to the excellent performance in the League so far, Watford can permit themselves to shift the focus to the FA Cup from time to time, which turns Watford into an outsider for the title. As far as the Premier League is concerned, Watford are facing Brighton (away), Everton (home), and Cardiff (away) in the next five gameweeks, so points are on the cards in that sense as well.

Finally, Tottenham Hotspur are having a tough start to 2019. Even though in-form man Heung-Min Son has returned earlier than expected from the Asian Cup, star players Harry Kane and Dele Alli are still out injured for some time to come. The Spurs’ record over the past five weeks is proof of this: eliminated in the League Cup semi-finals (two legs) against Chelsea, a victory (vs Fulham) and a defeat (to United) in the Premier League, and eliminated by Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The season has taken a bit of a dramatic turn for Tottenham, but they have three home games coming up in the Premier League now (Watford, Newcastle, Leicester) to boost their confidence before the double Champions League clash with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund, in between which an away game at Stamford Bridge and a home game against Arsenal are sandwiched. It’s essential for Mauricio Pocchetino’s men to get through this period well if they still want to have anything to fight for towards the end of the season.

Premium picks

Our first premium pick of the week is Manchester United’s Paul Pogba (£8.7m). The on-fire offensive midfielder has scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists over the past gameweeks, while he also created another 4 big chances for his team mates over that period. In a tough match at home to Brighton in gameweek 23, the Frenchman was instrumental by scoring the game’s first goal, which resulted in 1 bonus point for his FPL owners. His total ownership has crossed the 40% threshold, which is not surprising given the fact there are currently few to no midfielders in his price range with the same FPL value. Add the upcoming fixture calendar to that (Burnley, Leicester, Fulham, Liverpool at Old Trafford, Palace, Southampton), and Pogba starts looking like a must-have.

While Arsenal are still struggling to collect clean sheets on a more regular basis, the Gunners attack is surrounded by a lot less doubt. As focal point of that attack, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) has scored 14 goals this season already, complemented by 5 assists. The Gabonese striker has disappointed in terms of FPL in the last two gameweeks, posting back-to-back 2-point returns against West Ham at home and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. His upcoming fixture list is hard to ignore, though: Cardiff (home), Man City (away), Huddersfield (away), Southampton (home), and Bournemouth (home). In the last five gameweeks, PEA was subbed on late, but he still managed 2 goals and 1 assist, while he created no less than 7 big chances in addition. It looks like a big haul isn’t to far off for Aubameyang.

Our third premium pick for gameweek 24 might surprise some, considering the injury nightmares and recent run of disappointing results for Spurs, but Christian Eriksen (£9.4m) could prosper over the coming weeks. The big question surrounding the Danish playmaker is how deep he’ll be playing during the upcoming home game against Watford. With Lamela, Son, and Moura back in contention again, Pocchetino might decide to position Eriksen in a deeper playmaker role, but don’t forget that the Dane will be on most, if not all, set pieces. With Kane and Alli out of action, Spurs will be more dependent than ever on the creativity and output of their playmaker. He’s in excellent form (2 goals and 2 assists in the last five gameweeks) and he sat out the lost FA Cup fourth round tie against Palace, so Eriksen will be full rested to face the Hornets at Wembley.

A differential pick or two

When a player scores 2 goals in the two consecutive gameweeks and his ownership lies under 1%, he’s more than qualified to feature as one of our weekly differential picks. This is the case for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse (£5.0m), who’s been in great form of late. The Saints are currently on a 3-game unbeaten streak (a 0-0 away draw at Stamford Bridge, a 1-2 away victory over Leicester, and 2-1 home victory over Everton) and the English midfielder is rapidly becoming an essential part of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s tactical plan. He’s brought home 21 FPL points over the past three gameweeks for his owners, and with encounters against Palace (home), Burnley (away), Cardiff (home), and Fulham (home) over the coming five gameweeks means JWP, who takes an excellent free-kick, will get more chances to add to his tallies.

After a rather unimpressive start to life in the Premier League, Wolverhampton’s Diogo Jota (£6.0m) seems to be on the way to once again cementing a starting spot in Nuno Espirito Santo’s team. Of course, Jota’s incredible hat-trick and subsequent 19-point haul have placed the Portuguese midfielder in the spotlight and no manager can realistically expect similar outputs from him on a regular basis, but hear us out. Jota was injured between gameweeks 18 and 21, but in the three weeks before his injury, he was on a great run: 3 games, 2 goals, 2 assists. An additional upside to Jota, besides his form and his attractive price tag, is that he’s listed as a midfielder, but often acts more like a forward for Wolves, in tandem with Raul Jimenez. The coming fixtures for Wolves are West Ham (home), Everton (away), Newcastle (home), Bournemouth (away), Huddersfield (away), and Cardiff (home).

For further ideas have a look at the FISO Forum GW24 transfers topic.

The captaincy

Liverpool’s Momo Salah (£13.5m) is unavoidable as a captaincy candidate. The Egyptian has been simply incredible again this season. In reference to his past six gameweeks in the Premier League, Salah scored 6 goals and with 3 assists, while he also created 7 big chances. Over this period of time, he brought home an amazing 64 FPL points for his owners, which equals to more than 10 points per game on average. Over the coming eight gameweeks, Liverpool are facing just one opponent from the top six (Man United at Old Trafford in gameweek 27) and it’s common knowledge that Salah performs best against non-top six. This week, Leicester are coming to Anfield, and the Foxes have lost five of their twelve away games so far this season, conceding 17 goals in the process. The Reds, on the other hand, have won ten of their eleven home games (1 draw) and scored 31 goals in those games. There are a few good captaincy candidates this week and Salah is among them.

Our second pick for the armband and final pick for the week overall is Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford (£7.3m). Since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford in gameweek 18, the young Englishman has scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists, resulting in a total of 46 FPL points. He has also created four big chances over the past five gameweeks. Next up are Burnley, who are coming to Old Trafford with a defence boosted by the return of Tom Heaton, but who’ll find it difficult to keep out the red-hot United forward. After that, United are visiting Leicester and Fulham, before hosting Liverpool, visiting Palace, and welcoming Southampton to Manchester. In other words, plenty of opportunities for Rashford to add to his goal and assist tallies.

The FISO crowd agree wholeheartedly with Salah as their GW24 Captain with our weekly Poll running at 73% for him currently.

Should Gambling With Credit Cards Be Banned In The UK?

Problem gambling hit the headlines in the UK again this week as it was reported that the government is investigating the use of credit cards to place bets online with a view to introducing a ban.

Culture, Media and Sport secretary, Jeremy Wright, has called for a meeting with banks and bookmakers following a recent UK Gambling Commission report which indicates that between 10% and 20% of deposits for betting online are made through credit cards. That amounts to around £8.6 billion in deposits.

The UK GC will also begin gathering evidence around the issue in February, with the possibility of legislation to follow.

There are 340,000 problem gamblers in the UK, which is 1.2% of the gambling population and there is a huge amount of support in the public, media and politics to see stricter rules brought in to prevent more people falling into addiction.

In 2018 several measures were already introduced to service this aim, including a reduced cap on the maximum stake allowed at Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2 to come into force in April 2019, a ban on betting advertising during live sports events after the 9pm watershed, and an industry-wide self-exclude scheme for problem gamblers (GAMSTOP) that is still under review.

So is the next step really going to be a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling? Is this a necessary measure to curb the growing problem of gambling addiction in the UK, or is it a step too far and an infringement of our civil liberties? 

Well, the arguments for a ban are clear.

Gambling with credit is not the same as gambling with your own money which makes it very dangerous for anyone with an addiction. It is so easy to apply online and within minutes qualify to receive a card in the post. And when you do have one, the delay between spending the credit and receiving the bill can make it feel less risky – after all the money is not coming straight out of your account.

The consequences can be a swift build-up of unmanageable debt, with no way to pay it off.

But what of the other side to the argument? Could a ban be avoided?

Of course, libertarian gamblers will quickly argue that consumer rights are the cornerstone of the free market and a ban on the use of credit cards anywhere is an infringement of these rights. After all, we wouldn’t ban the use of credit cards to buy alcohol or in any other circumstances, so why should the ban apply here? We are all individuals with free will and should be free to make our own choices.

And would a ban even be effective?

For a hardened gambler there are plenty of ways to get around the restrictions. Using an eWallet funded with a credit card would be one way. It takes minutes to set up an online account and transfer money onto it using a credit card. Then the customer is free to place a bet with Skrill or play at a UK Paypal slots site without being affected by the proposed restrictions.

And in any case banks are already devising alternative measures that empower the customer to limit spending at online betting and casino sites. In December 2018 Barclays announced an initiative that allows customers to block certain categories of transactions from leaving their accounts, including gambling transactions.

Other banks are likely to follow with similar features this year.

And what about the responsibility of the gambling operators themselves? They should also take more steps to ensure problem gamblers are spotted and excluded based on analysis of patterns of play and deposits.

The government has been keen to emphasises this point, as Jeremy Wright has said: “Gambling operators must step in and act when people are showing signs of risky gambling. Their licenses are at risk if they do not.”

So it is clear that there are plenty of alternative options to help curb gambling addiction in the UK without banning credit cards.

But despite all the arguments to the contrary, and whatever your view, it seems more than likely based on these recent reports that as part of a holistic approach to tackling the gambling addition problem in the UK we should be prepared to see a ban on credit card deposits coming in 2019.