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
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
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
differential pick or two
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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):
Nathaniel Clyne (loan)
Gonzalo Higuain (loan)
Michy Batshuayi (loan)
Jason Puncheon (loan)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
UK GC will also begin gathering evidence around the issue in February, with the
possibility of legislation to follow.
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.
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
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
consequences can be a swift build-up of unmanageable debt, with no way to pay
what of the other side to the argument? Could a ban be avoided?
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
would a ban even be effective?
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.
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
banks are likely to follow with similar features this year.
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.
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.
Gameweek 22 saw some interesting and surprising results, with West Ham beating Arsenal 1-0 at home, Southampton coming away from the King Power with three points, and United coach Solskjaer taking the away match at Spurs as the perfect opportunity to add a first “top six scalp” to his impressive start at the United helm. Still, for many FPL managers the weekend was overshadowed by serious injuries to two popular FPL assets, namely Hary Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold. While the Liverpool right-back is expected to be out for about four weeks, the Spurs striker is only expected back in March. Especially in the case of Kane, it’ll be interesting to see how Mauricio Pocchetino will cope.
This weekend’s stand-out encounter is the one at the
Emirates, where locals Arsenal host Chelsea. Besides that, there are plenty of
interesting match-ups, as usual, including Bournemouth versus West Ham,
Liverpool at home to Palace, and Fulham hosting a wounded Spurs side.
Some observations ahead of gameweek 23
We start off with news from the Premier League’s
current bottom club, Huddersfield, where David Wagner resigned after the game
against Cardiff (a 0-0 away draw). Under the German coach, who’d been managing
the Terriers since 2015, the start of the 2018-19 campaign was far from
satisfactory. Huddersfield are placed last, have scored fewer goals (13) than
any other team in the league, and are out of all the cup tournaments already.
Considering the current eight-point gap between the Terriers and the safe 17th
spot, it’s going to be a mammoth task to keep Huddersfield among the English
elite next season for any man coming after Wagner.
Southampton, another team currently camping close to the bottom of the league, have played seven matches since Austrian manager Ralph Hasenhüttl took over from Mark Hughes. Of those seven games, the Saints won three, drew one, and lost three, a record that can be considered something of a resurgence for the previously battered-looking club. Away to Leicester last weekend, the Saints went into the break being up 0-2, but also with a man less (Yan Valery red card). Despite Leicester’s goal in the 58th minute, the Saints really didn’t look too worried or in too much trouble for the rest of the second half. Apart from the three points, their performance at the King Power will have given the club’s hopes of staying in the Premier League a considerable boost. Their loss on penalties last night to Derby may ultimately also help the Saints’ EPL campaign although the 2-2 draw after being 2-0 up may dent the confidence a little and the 120 minutes of action may tire them for this weekend.
This season, Tottenham has had the best start to a
Premier League season in their entire history and the club is working towards
the official inauguration of its brand-new stadium, so the mood was generally
positive by the end of 2018. Two weeks later, in-form man Heung-Min Son has
departed for the Asian Games and star player Harry Kane is out with an injury
until March, and suddenly the much-discussed lack of depth in their squad has
flared up again. Spurs did not bring in any new players over the summer and
some felt that their squad would be stretched thin as the season would advance,
but Pocchetino proved the doubters largely wrong. Now though, with two absolute
key performers (22 goals and 13 assists among them in the league so far) out
for a considerable number of games and the Champions League knocking on our
doors again in less than a month, it’ll be interesting to see how the
Argentinian coach will react to his club’s sudden downturn of fortunes.
At Man United, the light has returned with the replacement of José Mourinho by former-Mancunian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and one of the major beneficiaries of this change has been the talented Marcus Rashford. The young Englishman has scored 7 goals and provided 7 assists so far this season, of which 5 goals and 2 assists have come under Solskjaer since he took over five league games ago. What’s possibly even more impressive though, is that Rashford seems to have made the striker position his own, at the cost of €85 million man Romelu Lukaku. Rashford scored the only goal of the game at Wembley last weekend and we can’t see why, in his current form, he would be dropped from the starting eleven any time soon.
Over the course of 2018-19 campaign, the role of Roberto
Firmino (£9.3m) in Liverpool’s attack
has changed. He’s gone from being the most forward player, though often roaming
around, to fulfilling more of a number ten role as Mo Salah now spearheads the
attack. The Brazilian’s start to the season was somewhat slow in terms of FPL
points, with 7 assists and just 2 goals in his first ten games, but he’s been
on fire recently. He’s scored 4 goals in his last three games, including a
wonderful hat-trick at home to Arsenal, and he’s had 8 attempt on target over
that period. Only Pogba and Rashford (10 each) top that. At a price of £9.3m in
the official game and the injury of Kane a fact, Firmino could be an excellent
replacement that will also allow you to free up some funds.
weekend’s game against Spurs was possibly Paul Pogba‘s (£8.5m) best game
under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and that says a lot, considering the Frenchman had
scored 4 goals and provided 4 assists in the five league games under him before
that. Not only did Pogba provide a fantastic assist to Rashford, sending the
young English striker on a lone run that ended in the match-winning goal, but
he also took six shots, five of which were on target. Add to that the facts
that out of those five shots on target, four came from inside the box, and that
the midfield maestro provided another three key passes for his team mates on
top of that, and it’s not hard to see that this man is in world-beating shape.
He’s a steal at £8.5m and Brighton is up next, at Old Trafford.
third premium pick of the week is a bit less in form at the moment, but
nonetheless essential to is team’s attacking intentions. Felipe Anderson
(£7.3m) hasn’t brought home an attacking return for the 18.1% of FPL
managers that own him since his brace at Saint Mary’s in gameweek 19, a slump
in form at the same time that West Ham was once again delivering proof of their
unpredictable nature (a 2-0 loss to Burnley, a 2-2 draw at home with Brighton,
and a 1-0 victory over Arsenal). In the four weeks before that run though,
Anderson scored 3 goals and provided 2 assists, while his tallies for the
season so far stand at 8 goals and 3 assists. A major reason for including him
in this list, apart from the fact that he can be absolute quality at any given
day, is Saturday’s opposition. Bournemouth have conceded an extremely
worrying goals in the last six gameweeks
and the Cherries have shipped a total of 17 goals in 11 home matches so far
this season. Taking a punt on Felipe Anderson might very well pay off this
A differential pick or two
As mentioned earlier, Harry Kane’s injury
will result in considerable movement on the FPL transfer market in the build-up
to gameweek 23. One of the beneficiaries of Kane’s absence could be his team mate
Dele Alli (£8.9m), at least in an FPL sense. With Kane and Son out for
the near future, there’ll be more eyes on Alli, expecting him to deliver in
their absence. The young attacking midfielder has had a relatively calm 2018-19
campaign up until now (4 goals, 2 assists, and 64 FPL points), but he’ll likely
become a bigger focal point in the Spurs attack now. With games against Fulham
(away), Watford, Newcastle, Leicester (all home), and Burnley (away) coming up,
it could be the perfect time to bring in Alli. On top of that he’s a sure
starter, he’s likely to be playing more of the field, and he’s currently £0.3m
less than Eriksen, who’s likely to be dropping deeper as a result of Son and
Our second differential pick of the week is Manchester United’s Luke Shaw (£5.0m). The first games under new manager Solskjaer were filled with goals and spectacle, but not so much with clean sheets. The Red Devils did shut out Newcastle and Spurs in the last two league games though, which might point to an improved defensive stability. Shaw is yet to NOT complete 90 minutes in a league game under Solskjaer and it doesn’t look like this will change in the foreseeable future. He has brought his owners 13 points over the past two gameweeks, and with Brighton and Burnley coming to Old Trafford in gameweeks 24 and 25, there could be more returns on the cards for Man United’s left-back. With a price tag of just £5.0, which is low for a starting United defender, Shaw could even be used to free up some funds or simply to replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold.
You might think that it’s kind of boring
and repetitive to be recommending Mo Salah (£13.4m) as either a premium
pick or a candidate for the captaincy (or both) practically every week, but it
is what it is. It’s not like we have a real choice. The Egyptian forward is in
top shape and matching his record-breaking 2017-18 campaign, so leaving him out
is simply not an option. If you have Salah, captain him, it’s that simple. He
brought home a fourth double-digit haul in his last five gameweeks last
weekend, taking his total FPL points for that period to a dazzling 49 points.
If we look back seven gameweeks, that total stands at 73… Salah has scored 7
goals and provided 4 assists in 10 home games, while his points average in home
games against teams from outside the top six stands at 8.85. Up next are a
stubborn and sometimes surprising Crystal Palace side, but we doubt they’ve got
what it takes to keep Momo from appearing on the score sheet.
Our other suggestion for the armband this weekend is Man City’s Leroy Sané (£9.6m). Since gameweek 13, the German dribbler has started in all games bar one, so as long as Mendy is out, Sané looks like a nailed-on starter. Quite a statement when talking about Pep’s Man City, we know. In that period, he got three double-digit hauls, while his total FPL points tally since gameweek 13 stands at 65, courtesy of 4 goals and 5 assists. His last assist came last Monday when he presented the opener on a gold platter for Gabriel Jesus. In that same game, Sané took four shots (that missed the target) and supplied two key passes, including the previously mentioned assist on Jesus. Coming up is a visit to a Premier League number 20 Huddersfield, who lost their manager at the beginning of this week and who have conceded 16 goals in 11 home games. City have scored 19 goals in 10 away games. Coming Sunday could well become a Sunday the Terriers will want to forget quickly.