FPL Season 2021-22: Gameweek 12 preview

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were going through our 37th draft for the 19th time with five minutes to go to the gameweek 1 deadline. A lot has happened since then though, and with the third international break of this season now behind us, what’s probably the biggest period of the FPL year now comes into sight: the Christmas period. Ten gameweeks in about 40 days, combining with the two final rounds of the European group stages over the coming weeks, and the League Cup semi-finals towards the end of December. You better have a decent playing bench at your disposal.

For now though, gameweek 12 and it’s not looking like a straight-forward one. No fixture really stands out from a fantasy point of view, unless you really strongly believe in the “new manager bounce” for what has been a lacklustre Spurs squad this season as they host an equally flat Leeds side. Bar the elevated rotation risk, Manchester City at home to Everton could bring joy as well, while United away at Claudio Ranieri’s Watford would be top of the list had it not been for the away side’s terribly unpredictable form and uninspiring performances of late. Chelsea and Liverpool have their work cut out for them with games against Leicester away and Arsenal at home, respectively.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 12 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, November 20th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 18th, 2021)

GKSanchez (BRI), Raya (BRE), Schmeichel (LEI)McCarthy (SOU), Ramsdale (ARS), Guaita (CRY)Sanchez red card, Raya injury
DEFAlonso (CHE), Shaw (MUN), Azpilicueta (CHE)James (CHE), Cancelo (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Alonso and Shaw flagged, form of Cancelo, James and TAA
MIDGray (EVE), Mount (EVE), Grealish (MCI)Gallagher (CRY), Smith-Rowe (ARS), Son (TOT)Everton fixtures, Mount and Grealish flagged, Gallagher and ESR form
FORVardy (LEI), Ings (AST), Toney (BRE)Antonio (WHU), Kane (TOT), Armstrong (SOU)Vardy blanking, Ings flagged, Kane fixtures. Armstrong form

Premium pick

The original plan was to recommend Mo Salah as our premium fantasy pick once again, simply because even against Arsenal at home, he’s the most reliable FPL asset around. At the last moment though, we figured you already know that so we take this opportunity to mention Harry Kane (£12.2m) instead. The Spurs striker is having a bad season so far with just a single goal and a single assist to his name after 10 league games, and his underlying numbers are far from great, but we might just be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. First, there was the appointment of Antonio Conte for what will hopefully translate to a serious “new manager bounce” for Kane and co as they host Leeds on Sunday. Second, the Spurs forward made the most of the last international break by scoring no less than 7 goals in two games. In all fairness, the opponents in those games were Albania and San Marino, but it’ll surely have done his confidence some good. All we need now is for him to start delivering in the Premier League again as well.

Non-premium pick

While we were going over our candidate non-premium fantasy picks for inclusion in our GW12 FPL preview, we were a bit surprised by Diogo Jota’s (£7.5m) ownership at the time of writing. While 12.8% moves him out of differential territory, it’s still quite low when you consider the current state of Liverpool’s attack, according to FPL, at least. As we’re preparing for gameweek 12, the following attack-minded Reds are flagged: Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott. In other words, how is Jota not going to start for Jurgen Klopp’s side when they welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Saturday? It’s not the most favourable of match-ups as the Gunners have been picking up some good form since their horrible start to the 2021-22 campaign, but Liverpool still boast the league’s best attack with 31 goals scored. Jota himself currently sits on 4 goals and 1 assist from nine starts. Arsenal have generally been resilient in defence, except against the division’s elite sides (the 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Man City back in GW3 comes to mind), so we’re hoping for that pattern to continue this weekend.

The budget enabler

You may or may not have noticed, but rather quietly, Southampton have been one of the league’s stand-out performers over the past month or so. The Saints have taken an impressive 10 points from their last four games, scoring 5 goals in the process. Their striker Adam Armstrong (£5.9m), who was brought in from Blackburn Rovers for about £15 million over the summer, has been directly involved in two of those goals in the last two games. In GW10, he provided the assist for the only goal of the game in a 0-1 victory at Vicarage Road and in GW11, he scored the only goal of the game and took home 9 FPL points against Aston Villa at home. The fact that his goal was the result of a thundering strike from outside the area wasn’t much of a surprise, considering that only Michail Antonio has taken more shots than him this season. Up next are a Norwich side under new management, but we’re honestly not sure how much of a difference it will make. It’s true that the Canaries have been OK at times when they were not facing top-6 or top-8 opponents, but they don’t seem to possess sufficient quality to secure Premier League survival. They have conceded a minimum of 2 goals in four of their five league games at Carrow Road this season, which bodes well for an budget-enabling Adam Armstrong in good form.

The differential

Remember when AFC Bournemouth were the FPL gift that just kept on giving? In the 2018-19 season, budget picks like Callum Wilson (£7.3m) and Ryan Fraser were lighting up the league for the Cherries under coach Eddie Howe. Where the former managed 14 goals and 12 assists in 30 games for 168 FPL points, the latter recorded 7 goals and 14 assists for 181 FPL points. Since then, that Bournemouth team has slowly been dismantled, but as fate would have it, the recent appointment of Eddie Howe as Newcastle manager has seen the coach united with his two former star players once again, only this time at Saint James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. While Fraser has yet to make an impact, Wilson has already shown glimpses of his goal-scoring prowess for the Toon. Despite missing several gameweeks due to injury, he has still managed 4 goals so far, and for a struggling team that is. The hope is that the arrival of Howe will blow some new life into the Magpies, just in time for an up-tick in form to coincide with a good run of fixtures, starting with promoted Brentford at home. With that game followed by Arsenal away and then back-to-back home encounters with Norwich and Burnley, Wilson could represent enormous differential value with an ownership of just 2.5% at the moment of writing.

The (vice-)captaincy

Seeing as Mo Salah should be your FPL GW12 captain (don’t argue with 10 goals, 8 assists and 117 FPL points from 11 starts), we’ll continue what we started by instead taking a look at wise vice-captain picks. With so many injuries doubts plaguing the Reds at the moment, it just feels like even more eyes and more hopes will be on the Egyptian wizard, if that’s even possible. From the same roster, Jota could be a good shout as well.

Earlier, we have also mentioned the soon-to-haul(-we-hope) Harry Kane earlier in this gameweek 12 preview, while despite unreliability hitting peak levels at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo can never be discarded, especially not against a relegation candidate like Watford. More budget-friendly picks include Michail Antonio away at Molineux, Adam Armstrong or Che Adams against Norwich at Carrow Road, or Callum Wilson or Ivan Toney from the encounter between Newcastle and Brentford on Saturday.

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