FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 18 Preview

Eden Hazard jogs over to the corner

“Chelsea’s Eden Hazard shone in the 1-2 victory over Brighton last weekend, with an assist and a goal” (CC by 2.0) by Ben Sutherland

European football and the increased danger of rotation that comes with it may be on a break until February, but that doesn’t mean FPL managers get a break. The Premier League keeps powering through the festive December month and this week it was time for the League Cup quarter finals as well. As far as Premier League clubs are concerned, Man City eliminated Leicester after penalties on Tuesday night following a 1-1 draw with Kevin de Bruyne starting and scoring after 14 minutes and Aguero played for 76 minutes. On Wednesday night, Chelsea beat Bournemouth 1-0 (thanks to a Hazard goal after coming on as a 2nd half sub) and now face Tottenham (in a two leg semi-final) after their 2-0 win at the Emirates against Arsenal (Harry Kane came on in the 2nd half to provide the assist for Deli Alli’s goal, whilst Aubameyang played the full 90 minutes). These match-ups will inevitably have an impact on the starting line-ups for gameweek 18, so keep an eye on what happened in these League Cup matches.

Some observations ahead of gameweek 18

Some of the more attentive and risk-tolerant FPL managers out there will have noticed the rising appeal of Huddersfield players since last gameweek, at least in terms of their fixture calendar. Between rounds 18 and 22, the Terriers are facing Southampton at home, Fulham away, Burnley at home, and Cardiff away. Despite the fact Huddersfield have scored just 10 goals and brought home 10 points from 17 games, you could be forgiven for considering a few Huddersfield assets as differentials. If you do though, keep in mind that Huddersfield’s best player and creator-in-chief Aaron Mooy will be out until February, which is more than likely going to affect their productivity in front of goal. And they are the least-scoring team already, by some distance.

The shock result of gameweek 17 was Southampton’s home victory over Arsenal. In new manager’s Ralph Hasenhüttl’s first game at Saint Mary’s, the Saints were the team to end Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run. True, Arsenal’s defence is still a work in progress, but Southampton had won only once in 16 games before last weekend, a run in which they scored just 13 goals. Credit where credit’s due. It was only Hasenhüttl’s second game in charge, so it’s way too early still to judge the real impact he will have on the Saints squad. The first signs are promising though, and apart from Man City at home and Chelsea away in gameweeks 20 and 21, their fixtures look pretty interesting until February. Watchlist material.

At Chelsea, Eden Hazard seems to be finding the form again that showed why he was the best player in the league at the start of the 2018-19 campaign. The talismanic forward has been deployed as a false-nine in the last two games (after Morata’s recent hamstring injury), which yielded a 2-0 victory over reigning champions Man City and a hard-fought away victory over Brighton last weekend. Against the champions, Hazard provided two assists, while he scored and assisted one against the Seagulls. The Belgian recently declared that he gets less time on the ball when playing all the way up front, but the role seems to fit him like a glove inside Maurizio Sarri’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.

As a final point, we should probably mention José Mourinho‘s departure as Man United coach, despite the apparent inevitability of the decision since the start of the season, more or less. The final nail in the coffin was last weekend’s 3-1 loss to bitter rivals Liverpool. The result was bad, but always a possibility against the best Liverpool we’ve seen in many years. The real on-field problem was the uninspired, unattractive way in which the Portuguese manager had his Red Devils playing, again. Against Liverpool, they had 37% of the possession, resulting in 3 shots on target and 2 shots off target. The home team recorded 10 shots on target and 11 shots off target. With players like Rashford, Alexis Sanchez, Martial, Pogba, Matic and Lukaku, there is plenty of potential at United, and it’ll be up to former-United player and hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bring the enjoyment and results back to old Trafford this season as interim manager.

Premium picks

With Man City facing Crystal Palace at home in gameweek 18, our first premium pick of the week is City winger Leroy Sané (£9.7m). Not only is the young German one of the in-form players in Pep Guardiola’s team, but he was left out of the squad for Tuesday night’s League Cup game against Leicester. Though no algorithm in the world can predict which eleven players Pep will start coming Saturday, Sané has a good chance of appearing at the kick-off. He has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last five games, and he’ll be facing a Palace team who have conceded 15 goals in 9 away games. As a matter of fact, no midfielder in the FPL has recorded more goal involvements than Sané, and the match against Palace could very well result in his fourth double-digit haul of the season.

The story of Eden Hazard (£11.0m) for gameweek 18 is somewhat similar to the reasons for including Sané in this list. Chelsea faced Bournemouth on Wednesday night in the League Cup quarter final round and Hazard was left out of the starting XI by Maurizio Sarri only then to come on in the 2nd half and score the winner. The Belgian dribbler was taken off with a slight injury in the 83rd minute last weekend, after scoring a goal and providing an assist for Pedro, but his coach assured the 34.8% of FPL managers who own Hazard that the injury was nothing serious as was proven last night. It’s highly likely that the Blues’ star man will be starting on Saturday at home to Leicester, possibly in the false-nine role that he’s been handed since gameweek 16. Hazard has provided four assists and a goal in his last four Premier League games, bringing home 33 FPL points and becoming the highest-scoring FPL asset in the process. He’s the player with the most attempted assists over the last four gameweeks (13) and another haul coming weekend is far from unthinkable.

Our final premium pick for gameweek 18 is again, partly, related to this week’s League Cup encounters. Arsenal hosted Spurs on Wednesday night and to the surprise of many, it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who led the front line in the derby, not Alexandre Lacazette (9.6m). The Frenchman has seen limited pitch-time over the past few weeks, playing no more than 45 minutes in any of the last four gameweeks. He still managed to record a goal and two assists in that period though, with 16 FPL points as result. Seeing as Lacazette played half an hour against Spurs in the League Cup while Aubameyang completed the full 90 minutes, it seems probably that manager Emery will be starting with the French striker against Burnley on Saturday. The Clarets have conceded an average of two goals per away game this season and the 10% of FPL managers who own Lacazette will be hoping for a goal or two.

A differential or two

This week’s first differential pick is a combination of a decent price-to-points ratio and a very attractive gameweek 18 fixture. Newcastle’s Solomon Rondón (5.8m) has scored 2 goals and provided 1 assist over the past three gameweeks, a run that consisted of a home game against Wolves and away games versus Everton and Huddersfield. Newcastle will be facing the league’s worst defence this weekend, with opponents Fulham having conceded a whopping 24 goals in 9 away games. Rondón has won his owners a total of 20 points over the past three gameweeks, which is an excellent return for a player with his price tag. He’s one of the best budget striker options in the English elite division right now and a legit captaincy option in gameweek 18 for the more risk-tolerant FPL managers among us.

Mentioning Southampton’s Danny Ings (5.4m) as our second differential pick of the week can be seen as a case of wanting to jump on a bandwagon that’s not even a real bandwagon yet, but hear us out. New manager Ralph Hasenhüttl will need some time to make his mark on the Saints, but if the team’s performance against Arsenal was anything to go by, several Southampton assets could be rising in popularity over the coming weeks, Ings among them. The English striker missed four gameweeks through injury, but returned with a bang by scoring twice last weekend. As a matter of fact, he’s been directly involved in four goals in his last four Premier League games (3 goals, 1 assist), resulting in 25 points. At a price of £5.4m, with an ownership of just 4%, and an away game against Huddersfield this Saturday, Ings could be a very rewarding differential signing.

For further inspiration, have a look at the fiso forum Gameweek 18 FPL Transfers topic.

The captaincy

We’ve mentioned earlier that predicting Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up is close to impossible, but we’re still recommending a City player as a premium option for the captain’s armband coming weekend. Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) has been impressive so far this season, which is illustrated by his 9 goals and 7 goals in 1,135 Premier League minutes. To the disgust of the 21.8% of FPL managers who have the young Englishman in their team, he was left out of the starting line-up twice over the past three gameweeks, with the game in which he started (the defeat to Chelsea) resulting in just two points. On Tuesday, Sterling was brought on in the 66th minute to force a winner against Leicester in the League Cup, something that unfortunately didn’t happen. What did happen, was him sending a penalty over the bar during the game’s penalty shout-out. Considering his excellent form this season, he won’t be phased by this though and will be looking to make amends for that bad penalty miss. So on the contrary, he’s a prime candidate for a big haul against Palace this weekend and thus for the armband.

Our final recommendation for gameweek 18 is Liverpool’s Sadio Mané (9.6m). While an away game against Wolves is no piece of cake this season, with the Wolves taking 14 points from 9 games at home, a great return for a newly-promoted team. The Reds are flying though, with them extending their stay at the top of the league for at least one week after taking care of arch rivals Man United at Anfield. Mané was a constant threat to the Red Devil backline and he scored the opening goal by converting a lovely Fabinho chip. In terms of FPL returns, the Senegalese powerhouse had been quiet since his two assists against Watford in gameweek 13, but his goal against United might be the start of a high-scoring run. It’s also interesting to know that Liverpool are the only club from the current top five to have had a full week of rest, as they are no longer in the League Cup. Jurgen Klopp will have a pumped up and fully-rested squad at his disposal for the game at Molineux, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mané’s name on the score sheet coming weekend.

Don’t forget that the first match this GW18 is on Friday night and if you don’t like our two Captain suggestions have a look at the GW18 FPL Captain Poll on the fiso forum where currently Sterling has 48% of the vote, followed by Sane 15%, Aubameyang 13%, Salah 8% and Hazard 7%.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 17 Preview

Mo Salah, Mo Salah , Mo Salah…

“Last gameweek’s hattrick hero Mo Salah in action for Liverpool” (CC by 2.0) by Patrick Strandberg

Bar the happy 38.5% of FPL managers who had Liverpool’s Mo Salah in their teams for gameweek 16, the last round of Premier League football was one to forget for most. In FPL terms that is because, in non-Fantasy football terms, gameweek was more than exciting. Man City lost their unbeaten status to a Chelsea side that recovered admirably from the disheartening defeat against Wolves a few days earlier, which gave Liverpool the chance to go top of the league. After a period of 11 days in which we saw three gameweeks, thirty games, and a LOT of rotational heartache among FPL managers, most teams (apart from those playing in Europe this week) have a week to prepare for gameweek 17. The festivities continue…

Some observations ahead of gameweek 17
During the week build-up to gameweek 17, the final rounds of the group stages in the Champions League will be played. On Tuesday night, both Spurs and Liverpool qualified for the knock-out stage by drawing away at Barcelona (with a late Lucas Moura goal after a cross from Harry Kane) and winning at home to Napoli (with a cheeky goal from that man Salah), respectively. On Wednesday night, Man City beat German side Hoffenheim 2-1 thanks to two excellent goals from Sane, while their red city rivals Man Utd are lost by the same score to a Valencia side in disarray and only scored in the last 10 minutes thanks to a Marcus Rashford header. Both teams had already qualified for the Champions League’s round of 16, but the battle for first place in the group was still on.

This (Thursday) evening , Arsenal and Chelsea are playing their last games in the Europa League group stage. The situation for both of these teams is a bit different in comparison to that of their colleagues in the Champions League, as both teams have already secured a spot in the Europa League knock-out stage as the winners in their respective groups. Chelsea will be visiting Hungarian outfit Vidi FC, while Arsenal are welcoming Qarabag FK from Azerbaijan to the Emirates. Again, do keep an eye on how the London powerhouses line up for these games, but expect a considerable number of key players to be rested in preparation for gameweek 17 in the Prem.

Despite lining up at home against Fulham last round, few people will have considered the game a shoe-in for Manchester United, especially when it was confirmed that star performer Anthony Martial would be missing the game. What followed though, was a more than decent display against an, admittedly, impotent Fulham, resulting in a 4-1 victory for the Red Devils. Marcus Rashford started on the right wing and repaid his manager’s faith in him with a goal and an assist and an overall impressive performance. From an FPL point of view though, the United squad remains something of a mixed bag, with Mourinho’s uncanny ability to seemingly cause dressing room disharmony wherever he goes. Paul Pogba, for example, remained on the bench for 90 minutes due to no other apparent reason than the manager’s choice.

In London then, Chelsea hosted rampant reigning champions Man City. The Blues had suffered something of a shock defeat away to Wolves a round before that and hopes for something of a result against City were low. Coach Maurizio Sarri, who is known to tinker very little with his starting eleven, somewhat surprised us as he left Giroud on the bench and Morata at home in order to have Eden Hazard play in a false-nine position. Likewise Man City started without Aguero or Jesus up front. Sarri’s approach worked though, as the Blues went on to beat City 2-0, the first Premier League defeat for Pep Guardiola’s men this campaign. While City dominated large parts of the match particularly in the first half, Chelsea’s backline operated as one and the Blues attack was effective on the counter, with Hazard at the centre of almost everything. If this match has shown us anything, it’s that the 2018-19 title race could well be very tight until the very end.

Premium picks
This gameweek, the Premier League’s top 3 are playing home games, so we’re selecting what we expect to be a main man in each of the encounters, starting with Man City’s Raheem Sterling (£11.6m). Despite playing 90 minutes and bringing in just two points for his owners in gameweek 16 when he played as the centre-forward against Chelsea, the young Englishman is primed to feature and shine against Everton this weekend. He wasn’t however rested against Hoffenheim on Wednesday night but he did sit out 90 minutes in gameweek 15, so he’ll hopefully be back to his usual, goalscoring ways on Saturday. Sterling’s 8 goals and 7 assists in the league so far make him the second-highest scoring player in FPL (106 points), just 5 points behind Mo Salah. Of course, rotation is always a risk when it comes to Guardiola, but Sterling hopefully will be a pretty safe bet.

Spoiler alert: we’ll be recommending Harry Kane as one of our captaincy options for gameweek 17 a bit later on in this article, so we’re going with Christian Eriksen (£9.3m) for our second premium pick for this week. The reason we want to include both Spurs stars this week, is that they are hosting Burnley on Saturday. Mind you, that’s not last season’s rock-solid, hard-to-break-down Burnley, but this season’s Burnley who have scored just six goals in eight on the road while conceding 17. Five of their away games ended in defeat and no team in the elite division has allowed more shots per game than the Clarets (20.7 on average). Eriksen’s 23-minute cameo off the bench last gameweek was disappointing, but the Danish playmaker provided 4 assists and a total of 22 FPL points in the three games preceding gameweek 16. He did complete the intense 90 minutes at Camp Nou yesterday night, so there is a slight chance of rotation again, but it’s likely Pocchetino will start him against Burnley.

Finally, current league leaders Liverpool are playing at home as well, though their guests are of a different calibre than Burnley or even Everton. The final game on Sunday will see Liverpool host bitter rivals Man United, which sounds more than promising. After his fantastic hat-trick away against in-form Bournemouth in gameweek 16 and his crucial goal in the 1-0 victory over Napoli on Tuesday night, there’s no getting around Mo Salah (£13.0m). The Egyptian wizard has been good all season, but it seems like he’s taken the festive period to work back to his record-beating best. He’s scored five goals and provided one assist over the last five gameweeks, bringing his total for the 2018-19 campaign to 10 goals and 5 assists in 16 games. His goal last night sent Liverpool through to the Champions League knock-out stage, while Chelsea’s victory over City in gameweek 16 meant that Liverpool took over from City as leaders in the league after beating Bournemouth 0-4 themselves. These are good times for Salah and Liverpool.

A differential or two
There will have been a lot of sad faces as well as a few full-blown panic attacks among West Ham supporters when club talisman Marko Arnautovic announced he would be out injured for about a month after limping off in gameweek 15. Fortunately for the Hammers, Chicharito (£6.4m) stepped up immediately. The Mexican poacher already made the most of his first 90 minutes of Premier League football in gameweek 14 by scoring a brace against Newcastle, followed by a disappointing 2-pointer at home to Cardiff and a stellar performance versus Palace last gameweek (1 goal, 1 assist, 9 FPL points). He seems to thrive in Manuel Pellegrini’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, and with Fulham, Watford, and Southampton up next, Chicharito is bound to bag a few more goals.

Up until a few days ago, we would have recommended Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy as our second differential pick of the week, but the Australian playmaker unfortunately suffered an injury that will see him out of action for the foreseeable future. This is a considerable blow to David Wagner and his Huddersfield, for whom Mooy is often the best man on the pitch. Terriers fans will now be hoping that another one of their creative thinkers will step up and provide the much-needed supply up front. Alex Pritchard (£4.8m) is a nailed-on starter for David Wagner and the importance of his role in the team will only grow in the absence of Mooy. Huddersfield are, as we know by now, the least productive outfit in the Premier League in terms of goals, but their upcoming fixture list presents plenty of opportunities to improve on that front. With home games against Newcastle, Southampton, and Burnley coming up over the next six gameweeks, as well as away games versus Cardiff and Fulham, Pritchard might well prove to be a differential for those willing to take a punt. His 11 shots over the past four gameweeks rank him fourth among all midfielders in FPL, while upcoming opponent Newcastle are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to shots conceded (234).

If you’d like to see more suggestions on who to bring into your team for GW17 then head over to the fiso forum’s GW17 transfers topic.

The captaincy
As mentioned earlier, our first recommendation for the armband this week is Tottenham’s very own Harry Kane (£12.5m). At home to an out of sorts Burnley it’s hard to imagine Kane not getting on the score sheet. Only Fulham (40) have conceded more goals than Burnley (32) this season, while Spurs have scored 11 in 6 home games. As far as Kane goes, the English striker has had 27 shots on target, a total only equalled by Mo Salah, with just over half of his efforts ending up between the woodwork. His 16-minute cameo against Leicester in gameweek 16 was a kick to the gut for many FPL managers, but he recorded attacking returns five weeks in a row before that (4 goals, 2 assists, 36 FPL points). Harry played 90 minutes against Barcelona on Tuesday, providing the assist for Moura’s goal in the 85th minute, so there is a small chance his time might be managed against Burnley. Still, considering he was largely rested in gameweek 16, it’s probably safe to captain him this weekend.

Our second captaincy pick for gameweek 17 is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m), who’ll be facing Southampton at Saint Mary’s on Sunday. Arsenal’s productivity at home against Huddersfield in gameweek 16 was disappointing, to say the least. Where many expected a goal bonanza, the Gunners struggled to break down the well-organised Terriers. The eventual only goal of the game fell in the 83rd minute, as good work by Aubameyang allowed for an acrobatic finish by Torreira. The Gabonese striker completed the 90 minutes against Huddersfield, but he’s expected to be rested for Arsenal’s home game against Qarabag FK on Thursday. Understandable, as his 10 goals and 4 assists in just 1210 minutes of Premier League football make him the highest-scoring striker in FPL at the moment (98 FPL points). Southampton has conceded 10 goals in seven home games, while Arsenal have been scoring more or less for fun in away games (18 goals in 7 games), so Aubameyang could be in for a big haul this weekend.

Not surprisingly Harry Kane is leading the fiso forum GW17 Captain Poll with currently 72% of the vote. Aubameyang follows with 10%, Sterling 6% and Hazard 5%.

How Felipe Anderson has Settled in at West Ham United

Eyebrows were raised when West Ham United announced the signing of Felipe Anderson in a club record deal from Lazio. The £36 million transfer fee was huge was West Ham, but as we near the halfway stage of the season, it already appears to be a bargain.

West Ham ended November with a 4-0 defeat at home to Manchester City a result which left them in 13th place in the Premier League and four points above the relegation zone. Felipe Anderson struggled to make an impact against the defending champions and West Ham fans may have been left wondering why they had paid so much for the Brazilian attacking midfielder.

Their next game was away to Newcastle United and this time, Felipe Anderson was in fine form, producing multiple opportunities for the Hammers strikers as well as being on the end of some opportunities himself. Although he failed to produce an assist for one of his teammates, he did end up on the scoresheet, with a 93rd minute goal to give West Ham a 3-0 win over the Magpies at St James Park.
He was once again found wanting in the Hammers’ match against Cardiff, as the midfielder failed to make an assist or to score as West Ham ran out 3-1 winners against their Welsh opponents. He once again found his form in their most recent match against Crystal Palace, where he scored West Ham’s third goal in their 3-2 win against the Eagles.

Although Anderson has produced moments of magic for his new club, his lack of consistency might be a concern. West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has already admitted that he has his eyes firmly on the top six this season, with only five points separating West Ham in 11th with Manchester United in 6th. Felipe Anderson will be key to that charge towards the top six and as he gets more accustomed to the Premier League, who knows how good the Brazilian could become?

As are the dreams for many clubs, the Champions League will be eyed up by both the club’s fans and hierarchy, especially with Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini in charge. If West Ham are to have any hope of being involved in any future UEFA Champions League odds, the club will need to back the manager in the transfer market.

West Ham have been unlucky with injuries over the past few seasons and they will be praying Anderson doesn’t fall victim to such a curse. Having almost taken over from Marko Arnautovic as the club’s most important player, any injury to him will severely damage the chances of West Ham reaching the top six.

With six goals and one assist in the league for the Hammers’ this season, this could well be the start of something magical for the club. A player whose impact has already propelled the club up the table, more consistent performances from the Brazilian may end up with a transfer bid in the not so distant future.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 16 Preview

“Brighton’s Glenn Murray scored his 8th goal of the campaign last Saturday against Palace” (CC by 2.0) by James Boyes

With gameweek 15 behind us, we have now officially entered the Premier League’s action-packed festive period, with six gameweeks taking place over the coming three weeks. The general fear of rotation among FPL managers proved to be grounded, as several coaches mixed it up for gameweek 15. Popular (captain) picks such as Raheem Sterling, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané, just to name a few, were all either starting on the bench or out of the matchday squad completely. Thanks to some in-form differentials (Mahrez, Snodgrass) and strong performances from a few of the big FPL names (Kane, Wilson), gameweek’s average score still stood at 45 points.

Rotation risk is still a big risk for FPL managers because, as well as the crowded December programme, the final Champions League group matches take place on Tuesday and Wednesday 11 and 12 December. Spurs have to win at the Nou Camp in Barcelona and Liverpool have to beat Napoli at home. One of the big Champions League matches on Wednesday is between two of the favourites who have already qualified, Ajax at home to Bayern Munich. The champions league winner odds will give you an insight into which team might be the ultimate winner. The game between Ajax and Bayern could go either way according to the betting odds. Bayern Munich last won the Champions League in 2012/13.

Our picks for gameweek 15

PICK – PLAYER – PERFORMANCE
Premium pick – Christian Eriksen (Spurs) 6
Premium pick – Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) 0 (injury after 39min)
Premium pick – Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 0 (Injury, as warned)
Differential – Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) 2
Differential – Glenn Murray (Brighton) 7
Captain – Harry Kane (Spurs) 12
Captain – Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) 12

Some observations ahead of gameweek 16

Gameweek 15’s average score of 45 was relatively high considering not just the amount of popular players that were left out of the starting line-ups or the matchday squads altogether, but the fact that it was the first round this season in which no clean sheets were recorded. As a result, premium defenders such as Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and City’s Kyle Walker ended up with disappointing hauls for their owners. Though no reason to start downgrading your defensive assets, the defensive organisation and stability of some teams might be affected as the fixtures pile up and Premier League managers keep mixing up their starting eleven selections these weeks.

With 12 points each, Bournemouth duo Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser both reserved a place in gameweek 15’s Team of the Week. As a matter of fact, this was the second time both were among the eleven best-performing players in the same round. While the English forward and the Scottish winger are having a great season so far, the Cherries are also boasting exceptional quality and form on other parts of the pitch. Asmir Begovic is a more-than-decent goalie, Nathan Aké is one of the most complete and promising young centre backs in the league, and new man Lerma is proving to be the much-needed lock on the door for the Bournemouth defence. Despite their tough upcoming fixtures (Liverpool home, Wolves away, Spurs away and United away over the next five), Bournemouth’s in-form assets remain interesting (budget-enabling) options.

Marko Arnautovic wasn’t just a popular transfer target in the run-up to gameweek 15, but a popular candidate for the captaincy as well. The striker’s night ended with an anti-climax though, as he picked up a hamstring injury and was replaced just before the half-time whistle. The Austrian forward is expected to miss about a month of football as a result, which means it will be up to another West Ham striker to fill the sizeable gap up front. Lucas Perez did great against Cardiff by scoring two goals, while Chicharito scored a brace a week earlier. On top of that, Andy Carroll has been declared fit again. It’s probably wise to keep an eye on developments surrounding the replacement of Arnautovic, because each of the three options mentioned earlier could represent great value over West Ham’s coming favourable run of fixtures.

Two gameweeks ago, Chelsea‘s Maurizio Sarri became the first manager in Premier League history without a defeat in his first fourteen games and Chelsea looked like they were capable of challenging Man City for the title. Then Spurs came along and handed the Blues their first defeat of the season, which was followed by this season’s second defeat in gameweek 15, versus a Wolverhampton side that had been struggling themselves of late (although arguably perform better as a side against the top sides). As a result, Chelsea now suddenly find themselves in fourth place, ten points behind leaders City and eight points behind number two Liverpool. Star man Eden Hazard has failed to make his mark for several gameweeks in row now, and other players such as Marcos Alonso and Willian have been performing below par. Add to that the ongoing striker discussion and it’s clear Sarri has some work to do if he wishes to fight for the title until the very end.

Premium picks

After starting on the bench versus Man United, replacing Iwobi in the 65th minute, and rather luckily putting Arsenal in the lead just three minutes later, Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) is expected to start when the Gunners host Huddersfield on Saturday. The Frenchman has been dealing with an ongoing injury issue since gameweek 13, which explains the 70 minutes of game time he’s had over the past three gameweeks. He still managed to bag one goal in that period, bringing his season totals to 6 goals and 5 assists in 965 minutes of Premier League football. With the Gunners attack in good shape at home (16 goals in 8 games) and the Huddersfield defence pretty porous on the road (16 goals conceded in 7 games), it looks like Lacazette is a prime candidate for attacking returns this weekend.

An “advantage” of key players being rotated from time to time is that the player in question is at least fairly certain to return in the starting line-up the next game. Though “certainty” in this context is pretty much non-existent when it comes to Man City, winger/forward Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) is a player to whom the previously-described situation applies. The young Englishman is currently FPL’s highest-scoring player (104 points) and with reason, because he’s been outstanding throughout the first months of the 2018-19 campaign. In a star-studded squad, Sterling played 1,021 minutes out of a possible 1,350 minutes so far, bagging 8 goals and providing 7 assists in the process. He spent 90 minutes on the bench versus Watford on Tuesday and is expected to slot right into the starting eleven against Chelsea on Saturday. Visiting Stamford Bridge is never easy, but both Sterling and Man City as a whole are more than capable of delivering big against top-shelf opposition.

Our final premium pick for this gameweek is Arsenal’s starting right-back Hector Bellerin (£5.4m). Despite just two clean sheets so far this season and the fact that the Spanish defender hasn’t provided an attacking return for his owners since his two assists versus Leicester in week 9, a home encounter with a Huddersfield team that has scored just 7 goals in 7 away games is hard to ignore. Especially considering Arsenal’s fixture calendar after that, which includes away games against Southampton and Brighton as well as home games versus Burnley and Fulham between gameweeks 17 and 21. The pacey wing-back seems pretty much a nailed-on starter for Unai Emery, even during the festive period, although wing-backs do generally get rested more than centre-backs so we do recommend to follow the Arsenal team news in the build-up to gameweek 16’s deadline.

A differential or two

Our first differential pick of the week is somewhat of a punt, albeit one inspired by some strong points in favour. With Marko Arnautovic out for about a month, West Ham will have to get through the month of December without their most important offensive player and the question is who will be replacing him. Considering Andy Carroll has only just returned from a long-term injury and Lucas Perez (£6.2m) scored a brace after replacing Arnautovic on Tuesday, the diminutive Spaniard might be lining up from the start this weekend to form the Hammers attack with Chicharito. His two goals in mid-week represent his only attacking returns of the season, but his total of 157 Premier League minutes played so far put that output somewhat in perspective. With a home game against Palace this weekend and an away game versus Fulham after that, Lucas might well be adding to both his minutes on the pitch and his goal tally. Of course, Chicharito is available at the same price and he’s been called upon much more often by Hammers coach Pellegrini, so the choice is yours.

After recommending Hector Bellerin as a premium pick for this weekend’s home encounter with Huddersfield, we’re recommending his counterpart on the left as this week’s second differential pick. Bosnian international Sead Kolasinac (£4.9m) was given a chance after starting left-back Nacho Monreal got injured in the build-up to gameweek 9. Kolasinac played five full Premier League games since then, providing two assists in the process, in gameweek 13 versus Bournemouth. The Gunners defence is definitely not the tightest in the league, so we wouldn’t recommend doubling up on Bellerin and Kolasinac, but if you can’t afford Bellerin or want to take a punt on a real differential (1.1% ownership), the Bosnian is your man.

For further ideas have a look at the FISO forum FPL gameweek 16 transfers topic.

The captaincy

An away game against Leicester is rarely a walk in the park, but when a player like Harry Kane (£12.5m) is in form, anything can happen. The Spurs striker has brought his FPL owners attacking returns every week since gameweek 11, racking up 4 goals and 2 assists in the process, as well as 36 FPL points. In gameweek 15, Kane scored a goal and provided an assist for Son as Spurs beat the Saints 3-1, a welcome result after the disappointing London derby loss against Arsenal the round before. Overall, the prolific forward has already netted 9 times this season, while he has also set up a teammate on three occasions, with 85 FPL points as a result after 15 games. Leicester have conceded just 6 goals in 7 home games so far this season, but Kane’s visit to the King Power will be making them nervous nonetheless.

Every now and then, it happens that we are more or less obliged to repeat an earlier suggestion in the captaincy candidate section, and this is one of those times. The reason we’re recommending Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) again is three-fold: Arsenal are playing Huddersfield at home, Lacazette is very likely to start considering his 70 minutes of playing time over the past 3 weeks and Aubameyang playing every Premier League minute since gameweek 11 plus the Gunners are in fine (goalscoring) form. The Frenchman already has 6 goals and 5 assists to his name this season, from 14 games, and with Huddersfield (home), Southampton (away) and Burnley (home) up next, you can rely on him providing more attacking returns in the coming weeks.

Looking at the FISO forum GW16 FPL Captain topic, the votes are currently 44% for Aubameyang, 24% for Harry Kane and 18% for Salah with 14% for other players.

Premier League Betting Tips

According to UEFA statistics, the English Premier League is the second biggest European championship and one of the greatest sporting competitions worldwide. With 20 prominent teams in the league, it provides a great spectacle for football fans at the grounds and from the armchair. Think of Mo Salah, Jorginho, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku to name but a few of the world stars that are in the Premier League. The coaches and the clubs are very popular around the planet. Looking at the EPL betting angles, are you aware of the best trends to look out for?

What are the Best Bookies for EPL Betting?
Most football bets today are placed on English Premier League matches. There are more than 200 live platforms for different matches offered by EPL bookmakers. The bookies compete in the provision of the highest odds to entice customers. When searching for the best bookmaker, go for a platform that regularly provides the best odds backed up with a price promise. Also, check for free bets and special promotions such as Bet Credits which are exclusive to bet365 players. Normally, all bookies provide enhanced odds on a regular basis plus other specials on premier league betting markets. Always check their betting tips page for the best insights.

Find the Best Tipsters
The EPL is a tough league to successfully bet on as evident in the number of recent title winners. Every week there are surprising results. Betting on the teams that are considered weak will give you bigger odds but the more successful teams often have extra matches and are then susceptible to an upset. Home advantage is a big factor. Betting tipsters can help you to figure out the right direction in this case.

Expert Predictions
As you bet on the EPL, you involve yourself more in the action and the goals scored. For instance, Manchester City’s coach, Pep Guardiola set a record by hitting a significant mark of 106 team goals last season. Liverpool, on the other hand, slammed 84 goals. These are big numbers but can they repeat themselves in the current season?

In the last 10 years, the EPL is where you’ll find world-class strikers. Last season, Aguero (Manchester City) scored 21 goals; Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) had 16 goals; Salah (Liverpool) scored 32 goals and Kane (Tottenham) reached 30 goals. These statistics can help you when betting. Be aware when the team’s main goalscorer is on form or not.

Betting on Matches
Considering the statistics above, there are several principles that should guide you when making predictions. First, consider the form of EPL teams and their star players. It is important that you judge the history of a sides meeting. Before you place your bet, examine closely the rankings from the official pages of the Premier League and the form over the past 5 matches.

Most importantly, compare the odds before placing a bet on EPL. Use the best bookies and see which one provides bets of your own choice. If you think Manchester United will beat Tottenham, it would be wise to register with Bet365 that gives a rating of 1/3. After all, it is your pounds that are at stake.

Betting on Top Scorer
Harry Kane shined in the 2018 World Cup as England made it to the semi-finals. There’s a high probability he’ll be a top scorer in the EPL this season even though he once again has gotten off to a slow start (maybe due to fatigue from the World Cup). Mohammed Salah, who was unfortunately plagued with injury, could shine again for Liverpool but surely won’t reach the same heights as last season. Next is Aubameyang (Arsenal) followed by Aguero (Man City). These scorers are favoured everywhere by bookmakers.

Are you looking for the best sign-up offer from a leading bookmaker? Get bet365 Bet Credits during registration! Perhaps you are used to bookies that give a welcome bonus after joining their platform. However, bet365 offers ‘Bet Credits’ as a new customer offer. Bet Credits are similar to free bets in that you cannot cash them out. What you need to do is deposit at least £5 to your account and they will match it up in Bet Credits if you stake qualifying bets to the same value and settle the bet. You may qualify for up to £100 Bet Credits. Don’t forget to use a bonus code (SPORT100) when registering your account.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 15 Preview

19 Merci Arsène - Celebrating Iwobi's goal

“Celebrating a goal by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, gameweek 14’s top performer” (CC by 2.0) by Ronnie Macdonald

December has arrived, and the games are going to be coming in thick and fast in the Premier League for about a month. Counting gameweek 14, there are going to be eight Premier League gameweeks between November 30th, 2018, and January 3rd, 2019, which means 8 games in 34 days. Gameweek 15’s deadline is tomorrow evening, while the next deadline is just 4 days later. As usual, the festive period is the busiest, with gameweeks 18 to 21 taking place in a space of just 13 days (December 21st to January 3rd). The bad news? Fatigue, injuries, (extreme) rotation. The good news? All of your FPL rivals face the same issue. Our advice? Invest in nailed-on starters and have a bench you can count on. And if you’re still hanging on to your wildcard, use it!

Looking back at the outcome from our Gameweek 14 preview:

PICK  – PLAYER  – PERFORMANCE
Premium pick – Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 6
Premium pick – Raheem Sterling (Man City) 9
Premium pick – Mo Salah (Liverpool) 3
Differential – Leroy Sané (Man City) 5
Differential – Patrick van Aanholt (Palace) 7
Captain – Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 6
Captain – David Silva (Man City) 1

Some observations ahead of gameweek 15

After Leicester’s historical title-winning season, we all knew it was a question of time before Riyad Mahrez would be joining one of football’s elite outfits. The Algerian technician ended up staying for one more year before joining reigning champions Man City, which begged the question: “How are the Foxes going to compensate for the loss of creativity, creation, goals, and assists caused by his transfer?”. The answer? James Maddison. The now 22-year old attacking midfielder has the age, the qualities, and the mentality to make it big, not just at Leicester, but in European football. You just need to check out his goal versus Burnley last weekend as proof, especially considering he had just served a one-match ban for diving. The English youngster apologised publicly and subsequently rewarded his FPL owners with 8 points. He let his feet do the talking and his owners will get a lot more out of him this season (4 goals and 2 assists currently).

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola started FPL’s mass rotation anxiety off in style by leaving both the in-form David Silva and the slightly muscular issued Kun Aguero out of the starting line-up against Bournemouth on Saturday. Aguero’s omission in particular has had a profound effect on FPL scores, considering his ownership currently stands at 46.7%. On top of the coming crowded Premier League schedule, Man City still have a Champions League group game to go (Hoffenheim on December 12th), as well as a League Cup quarter final (Leicester on December 18th). Despite the number of injuries the Cityzens are dealing with at the moment (De Bruyne, Aguero and Mendy among them), they still have enough squad depth to drive FPL managers crazy. We’re not saying not to invest in City assets (you really, really should), but just be ready for that all-too-familiar feeling of rotation-related disappointment here and there, from time to time.

At the bottom of the league, things have been shifting a lot over the past few weeks, with most of this season’s initial ugly ducklings improving on their performances and scraping points to get away from the drop zone. One team going in the other direction though, is Burnley. Sean Dyche’s men have had a pretty disappointing season from the start, but the Clarets have officially dropped into the relegation zone after last weekend’s defeat against Crystal Palace. The Eagles hadn’t won a home game up until that point, in part due to their seeming inability to score goals. Burnley conceded two though, including a fantastic one by Andros Townsend, making it an unacceptable 2 points from the last 7 games (4 goals scored, 19 conceded). It looks like Sean Dyche has the difficult task of preventing his team from becoming the Premier League’s next whipping boys and with Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton coming up in the next five gameweeks, few managers will be envying him at the moment.

Premium picks

Between gameweeks 1 and 6, Christian Eriksen (£9.2m) produced just two assists and 19 FPL points for his owners as he shared in Tottenham’s overall underwhelming start to the 2018-19 campaign. Then, between gameweeks 7 and 12, the Danish playmaker played just 41 minutes of Premier League football due to an annoying stomach injury, but it looks like he has returned in full form. After providing two assists in the home game against Chelsea and scoring the only and thus winning goal in the crucial home encounter with Inter Milan last Wednesday, Eriksen gave another assist in gameweek 14’s away defeat to Arsenal. With a relatively comfortable fixture schedule for Spurs over the coming months, now could be a good moment to start considering snapping up the Dane at his current price. He’s got the fixtures, the form and the starting berth in the first eleven, so without trying to sound too bandwagon-y, you should probably get onto this one.

With 21 points from the last four gameweeks and a current ownership percentage of 22.2%, it’s hard to call Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m) a differential, which means we’re including him as one of our premium picks this week. The Austrian hitman simply looks excellent value in a team with a lot of potential. True, the Hammers have been somewhat inconsistent over the opening months of the 18-19 season, but Arnie’s role as supplier of goals and team talisman hasn’t changed once. He’s got 5 goals and 3 assists to his name already, with a total of 59 FPL points to show for it. Combine this with West Ham’s scrumptious-looking upcoming fixture schedule, including Cardiff, Palace and Watford at home in the coming 4 gameweeks, and the Austrian’s current price tag kind of looks like one of the bargains of the moment.

Our final premium pick this week is another striker, namely Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (£8.9m). It’s true that Vardy is something of a personal FPL favourite, but the case for him is more compelling than his current ownership percentage might suggest. Between gameweeks 8 and 12, the English striker went through a very unproductive period, FPL-wise, due to a 3-match ban, some injury worries, and an apparent spat with his coach. All that seems to be water under the bridge now though, as Vardy has scored in both gameweek 13 and 14, with 16 FPL points as a result. When fit, he is a guaranteed starter for Leicester, something we don’t feel will change much over the festive period, and with (away) games versus Fulham and Palace coming up in the next three, he looks set to bring more joy to his owners (current ownership of 4.5%), assuming he gets over the slight muscle injury he currently has.

A differential or two

It sounds almost too good to be true to hear talk about an attacking midfielder in FPL who is currently the fifth-highest scoring midfielder in the game while boasting a £7.4m price tag and an ownership of just 8.1%. Well, that’s Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) for you. The Icelandic playmaker has been quietly going on about his business under Marco Silva, cementing a central attacking role in a constantly improving Everton side. He scored twice and assisted once over the past five gameweeks, raking in 29 points in the process, while his current season totals stand at 6 goals scored, 2 assists provided, and 74 FPL points brought home for his owners. From Everton’s last 9 games, the Toffees have only lost three (against Liverpool, Man United, and Arsenal), while winning five and drawing 0-0 at Stamford Bridge. With home games against Newcastle and Watford coming up in gameweeks 15 and 16 respectively, both Everton in general and Sigurdsson in particular could be thriving.

Our second differential pick of the week has a story that is somewhat similar to Sigurdsson’s. Brighton’s Glenn Murray (£6.7m) was surprisingly left out of the starting eleven against Huddersfield on Saturday, but he’s expected to start against Palace at home this week on Tuesday. The 35-year old poacher is the eight-highest scoring forward in the game, currently outscoring Arnautovic, Firmino and Lukaku, just to name a few, while Raul Jimenez and Aleksandr Mitrovic are the only forwards in the top ten with a lower price tag. He has scored two goals in his last five games, and seven in total this season, with 60 FPL points as a result. That leads to a points per million (of his price) ratio of 9, which is amongst the highest PPM ratios in the game. Brighton are facing arch rivals Palace at home next before travelling to Burnley in gameweek 16 and Murray could net in both, to be honest.

For further ideas about transfers into your squad for gameweek 15 have a look at that topic on the fiso forum.

The captaincy

For a long time this season, Harry Kane (£12.4m) has seemed affected by his excellent World Cup exertions, like much of the Spurs squad perhaps, making his hefty price tag seems a little too hefty. Over the past month or so though, Tottenham’s very own has been on a roll again, scoring 3 goals and providing 1 assist in his last four Premier League games, including two strikes against Arsenal and Chelsea. Kane has scored 29 times in each of his last two seasons in the Prem, and 25 in the season before that, so the FPL pedigree is definitely present, we all know that. Now that he’s started to justify his £12.4m price tag and with a favourable run of fixtures coming up for Spurs, starting with a mid-week game at home to managerless Southampton, he should be on top of your transfer list as well as your captaincy list for this week.

It would make for somewhat more surprising reading if we would say that our second captaincy pick of the week is an exciting differential or a risky punt with huge points potential, but Callum Wilson (£6.8m) is neither of those things. What he is, is one of this season’s best players, one of the most consistent performer, and a player who has grown into a realistic candidate for the captaincy on an almost-weekly basis. The Bournemouth striker has an impressive 7 goals and 7 assists to his name so far, in just 14 gameweeks, which has resulted in a total of 80 FPL points. Only Aubameyang (91) and Aguero (82) have more points among forwards, but Wilson is £4.2m and £4.6m cheaper respectively. That’s incredible value right there. He’s facing Huddersfield at home this week and despite the Terriers recent mini resurgence, you’d bet on Wilson bagging a goal or two in front of his own fans.

Don’t like our suggestions? Then head over the fiso forum GW15 Captain Poll. Not surprisingly, Kane is currently leading the way with 48% of the vote, followed by Salah with 23% and then both Arnautovic and Sterling on 10% each.

Everton form continues in the Premier League

The Premier league campaign has shown a positive start for the club, as they continue to pick up important points, with European football the main aim for next season. Before this campaign begun, many Premier League tipsters out there were backing Everton to have a solid season under new manager Marco Silva. One football prediction we saw recently was tipping up the Toffees to challenge the top 6 places in the Premier League – and these predictions are now looking strong, as Everton are one of the in-form sides in the league at present. Everton are currently sitting in sixth, ahead of Manchester United and just six points off the top four.

This start just shows the incredible job that Marco Silva is doing as the blue’s boss. He has pushed his attacking philosophy on to the squad, in which they now play very exciting football. Richarlison is continuing to show why he could be the future of the club, in pushing them back into challenging for the Champions League spots. He is already showing that it is money well spent following the big move, which at the time raised some eyebrows.

Everton are coming off the back of picking up 16 of the last 21 available points in the League prior to the Liverpool fixture. This includes comprehensive victories over the likes of Fulham, Crystal Palace and Brighton. The Blues also picked up a very important point away at Chelsea, who themselves have been in stunning form this season, despite the recent poor showing against Tottenham. This is just another indication of the run of form the side has been on.

Everton now have a very difficult run of fixtures up to Christmas, which could define their season. This starts with the local derby away to Liverpool and then two home fixtures against resurgent Newcastle and Watford, with the latter likely to be a big test. Watford themselves have kicked off the season very impressively and sit just two points behind the blues in ninth, following the opening thirteen fixtures.

Everton then travel to Manchester City, who ominously look to have improved further this season. This is a game that any points picked up will be seen as a big bonus for them. The final game of this difficult run before Christmas is a home clash against Tottenham on the 23rd of December. This will be another fixture, in which Everton will start as the underdogs. Everton have struggled against Tottenham in recent years, in what is set to be one of the toughest tests for them over the season. If Everton can pick up seven or more points over these next difficult five fixtures, it could be massive to their European hopes come the end of the season.

FPL Season 2018/19 – Gameweek 14 Preview

Eden Hazard / Эден Азар

“After a few disappointing gameweeks, is Eden Hazard delivering at home to Fulham this weekend?” (CC by 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

Now that the Champions League group stage has reached the decisive and final round and with only Man City and Man United sure of qualification for the knockout stages, the words on the minds of many FPL managers this weekend will be “rotation risk”. Nonetheless, the coming weekend offers plenty of attractive fixtures as Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all play home games that could end up being full of goals. Arsenal are also playing at home, but they are hosting an improving Spurs side for a derby match that could go either way. We’ll take a look at some interesting facts from last weekend and the mid-week Champions League games before moving on to our picks for gameweek 14.

Some observations ahead of gameweek 14

First of all, the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s love for player rotation could drive any FPL manager crazy on any regular Saturday afternoon, so the fact that Man City turned up in their strongest formation versus Olympique Lyon yesterday could have devastating consequences. Or not. What we know is that Sterling (90 minutes), Sané (71 min), David Silva (90 min), Mahrez (90 min) and Aguero (90 min) started, with especially the first three having been in exceptionally good form these past few weeks. So will Pep rest some of these players? As usual, it’s hard to say, though rotation risk is slightly reduced by the current injury worries surrounding Bernardo Silva and Gundogan. It’ll come down to your own assessment of form, fixtures, fitness, and Pep’s thoughts , so good luck with that.

The Reds from Manchester also played in Europe last weekend, hosting Swiss minnows Young Boys. José Mourinho opted to start without Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, while the seemingly discarded Alexis Sanchez wasn’t even on the bench. In the 65th minute, Lingard and Fred made way for Lukaku and Pogba, and seven minutes later yet another injury to right-back Valencia meant he was replaced by Juan Mata when perhaps Fellaini was about to be taken off. Luckily Man United forced a 90th-minute winner through Fellaini (assist Lukaku), which sent the Red Devils through to the next round. In the light of this weekend’s game at Saint Mary’s, FPL managers with United assets won’t have to worry too much about rotation risk. It should be taken into account that in-form Anthony Martial played the full 90 minutes against Young Boys, but that’s about it.

Meanwhile, a new wind is blowing through Craven Cottage and it could have an impact on FPL management all over. Manager Slavisa Jokanovic was replaced by none other then miracle man and fan favourite Claudio Ranieri after losing 7 in a row, conceding a whopping 31 goals in just 12 games. The Cottagers promptly beat Southampton. Over the first few months of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign, a tendency to bet big on teams facing Fulham has developed, but this could be over soon. Ranieri is aiming to bring better tactical discipline and awareness to the team, as well as more defensive solidity. Sure, it will take some time for the Italian coach to mould his new team into a coherent unit, but it looks like Fulham won’t be the league’s whipping boys any more.

The position in which Fulham find themselves at the moment, which is last, is one that had become all too familiar for David Wagner and his Huddersfield Town. Currently though, the Terriers are in 15th place with 10 points after starting an unbeaten streak in gameweek 11 that has extended to three matches after last weekend’s emphatic win over Wolves (0-2). The 1-1 draw at West Ham the week before and the 1-0 victory over Fulham the week before that have put Huddersfield two points above the drop zone. They’ll be hoping to remain unbeaten for a fourth consecutive time against Brighton at home this weekend. To say we should all flock to Huddersfield assets ASAP now would be exaggerated, but the likes of playmaker Aaron Mooy (highlighted by us as a potential differential captain pick in gameweek 11) who scored a double in his last match, central defender Zanka, and midfielder Billing could be interesting budget-enabling differentials.

Do also keep an eye on the fiso forum gameweek 14 transfers topic for more ideas.

Premium picks

We have just said that Fulham will soon no longer be the Premier League’s whipping boys, but this doesn’t mean that their away game against Chelsea this weekend isn’t looking like an extremely plum fixture for Eden Hazard (£11.1m). The Belgian Blues star has had a few inconsistent weeks of late as a result of a nagging ankle injury, so the home game versus Fulham could be the perfect opportunity for him to show the world that he’s still the best in the Prem. Chelsea have won 4 out of their first 7 home games this season, scoring 15 goals in the process. Of those 15 goals, Hazard was directly involved in 7 (5 goals and 2 assists) despite not playing more than half an hour in two of those home games. Possibly more interesting though, is the fact that all of Hazard’s goals were scored when Olivier Giroud was on the pitch, who the Belgian recently described as “the best target man in the world”. From an FPL perspective, Hazard is obviously more much decisive when playing with Giroud than with Morata, so keep an eye on the starting line-up for the Thursday game against PAOK.

As mentioned earlier, Man City’s starting line-up for this weekend’s home game against Bournemouth is hard to predict, but we still feel one of this week’s premium picks should be a Cityzen. From Aguero, Sané, D. Silva, and Raheem Sterling (£11.3m) we’ve eventually chosen to go with the latter. The young Englishman is back on fire, scoring 3 goals and providing 5 assists over the past four Premier League games, with 45 FPL points as a result. The current highest-scoring player in the official fantasy game (95 points) played the full 90 minutes against Lyon yesterday, so rotation is rearing its ugly head here, but can Pep really leave out a Sterling in such form? Additionally, the injury doubts for B. Silva and Gundogan (both given a 75% of playing by FPL) should reduce the rotation risk somewhat.

Our final premium pick of the week will be starring in the Merseyside Derby coming Sunday afternoon, as Liverpool host Everton for what surely will be entertaining encounter. The rivalry between the Reds and the Toffees, as well as the importance of this derby, are common knowledge for FPL managers, and Liverpool are expected to line up in their strongest formation. That means Momo Salah (£13.0m) will be starting at Anfield, which also makes him a captaincy option. The Egyptian forward has scored 4 goals and given 2 assists in his last five Premier League games, totalling 41 FPL points over that period. Salah started for the Reds in Paris against PSG on Wednesday night for an all-important clash in a Champions League group, but Salah looks set to start versus Everton.

A differential or two

Our first differential pick of the week is Leroy Sané (£9.3m), whose price tag might not make him affordable for everyone, but whose current ownership (6.1%) could make a huge difference for you. Over the past three gameweeks, the German youngster played the full 90 minutes twice and recorded an impressive 34 FPL points over that period (3 goals and 3 assists). With Mendy out for the foreseeable future, his spot will be covered by the less offensive Delph or Zinchenko. This means that Sané will be taking up much of the attacking responsibilities in that time, as Guardiola has asked from him in the past. He was taken off after 70 minutes mid-week versus Olympique Lyon, so we expect him to start on Saturday at home versus Bournemouth, especially considering his current purple patch.

Dutch wing-back Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m) is our other differential pick this week. Like Sané, the Crystal Palace defender is not the most budget-friendly option, but his ownership of just 3.7% makes him a tempting option in the run-up to the home game against struggling Burnley this weekend. Palace are far from playing free-flowing football and booking comfortable victories themselves, which is illustrated by their current 16th place in the league, but this should be seen in the right context: the Eagles faced Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, and United in their last five Premier League games. Roy Hodgson’s men are not a bad outfit, but they are lacking some confidence and a serious goal threat apart from talisman Wilfried Zaha. Against a Burnley side who have taken a meagre 2 points from their last 5 games (in which they scored just 4 goals), Palace have the chance to get back to winning ways. In total, Burnley have scored 6 goals in 7 away games, so a clean sheet is definitely possible, and in the case of Van Aanholt, some attacking returns are as well.

The captaincy

Thanks to the fixture calendar, each of our three premium picks this week, as well as differential pick Leroy Sané, has serious captaincy potential. Considering Hazard’s slight injury worry and the fact that we’ve mentioned him as a stand-out premium pick already, we’re recommending a team mate of his here instead: Marcos Alonso (£7.1m). The Chelsea wing-back is the official fantasy game’s highest-scoring defender and the game’s second-highest scorer overall (87 points), with only Raheem Sterling earning more FPL points over this season’s first 13 games. Alonso brought home 36 points over the past four gameweeks, courtesy of 2 assists and 2 clean sheets in that period. Those performances also earned him 5 bonus points. The Spaniard will have space and time to bomb forward at home to Fulham this weekend, while a Blues clean sheet isn’t unthinkable either.

When it comes to Man City, we’ve covered Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané already in this piece. Seeing as a Man City attacker should be involved in this section with a home game versus Bournemouth on the cards, we’re highlighting David Silva (£8.6m) this time. The Spanish playmaker has been excellent so far this season and he’s been exceptionally prolific over the past month or so, as well. The original Silva has scored a goal in each of his last three Premier League games (Southampton home, United home, and West Ham away), bagging a decent 3 bonus points and 25 points overall in that period. He did play the full 90 minutes against Lyon on Tuesday, but Pep is likely to start him on Saturday after three days of recovery. What adds to David Silva’s FPL appeal is the fact that his ownership currently stands at just 10.8%, making him somewhat of a differential.

 

Top Three FPL Goalkeeper Picks

It’s often the case that people overlook goalkeepers as a lesser priority when putting together their Fantasy Premier League teams, although their potential to help add important points cannot be understated.

A safe pair of hands between the posts is priceless for most teams, as is the added bonus of helping their team secure three points with a clean sheet. Of course, any savvy FPL manager will probably check upcoming fixtures before deciding who to choose, although these three shot-stoppers have proven to be the most reliable options so far this season.

Ederson – Manchester City – 68 Points

The most expensive FPL goalkeeping option at £5.8 million, choosing the agile Brazilian may require you to shuffle things around with your outfield selections, but Ederson well worth both the investment and confidence. Particularly given he also has one of the tightest defences playing ahead of him.

Still unbeaten after GW13 and having only conceded five goals, it’s with good reason that Manchester City remain outright Premier League betting favourites. Having also kept eight clean sheets, which is more than any other goalkeeper, choosing Ederson in the number one spot is pretty much a no-brainer for most FPL managers, with 26.7% having opted for the 25-year-old.

Alisson Becker – Liverpool – 63 Points

If one Brazilian wasn’t enough to help prevent conceding goals, another one is doing a fine job at Liverpool this season. Jurgen Klopp didn’t bat an eyelid at the £67 million fee the club paid, although thankfully, Alisson Becker is much more of a bargain at £5.7 million for FPL managers, with 20.2% having put their faith in the 26-year-old and his abilities.

Second only to his Brazilian compatriot Ederson, with seven clean sheets Alisson has brought a greater level of certainty between the posts at Liverpool, helping them remain the only unbeaten side along with Manchester City, pushing the reigning Premier League champions in a tight race for the title this season.

Jordan Pickford – Everton – 61 Points

After heroics and fine performances with England at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the praise continues for Jordan Pickford, who has proven to be a vital last line of defence for Everton during their 2018-19 Premier League campaign, with the team now a serious contender to finish amongst the European positions.

Pickford has certainly helped the Toffees get out of more than one or two sticky situations, pulling off some fine flying saves to help his team secure valuable points, and at just £4.9 million to FPL managers, his selection can genuinely be viewed as an absolute bargain. 15.5% of FPL managers have the 24-year-old in their team, indicating he is a very popular choice.

Solid Alternative Options

If the thought of spending more on goalkeepers than outfield players makes you twitch with uncertainty, then there are a couple of very good alternative options to consider. Wayne Hennessey at Crystal Palace has racked up 55 points in the FPL charts, and though his team have often struggled this season, the 31-year-old has been in excellent form individually.

Meanwhile, with his Manchester City nightmare and England World Cup squad omission seemingly now behind him, Joe Hart appears to be rediscovering the best of his form at Burnley, scoring a highly creditable 52 FPL points so far this season. He’s also quite the bargain at £4.5 million, therefore worth keeping in mind when shuffling your team selections around.

The First Team Squad of Football Players with Gambling Issues

While kind of sad, it would indeed be possible to make an entire football team (and a pretty good one for that matter) made up entirely out of football players that have or had a gambling addiction. Maybe it’s because of how much football players get paid, maybe it’s because they are famous people, but for some reason many football players don’t know their limits and have developed a real problem playing casino slots and other casino games.


This is the team we imagined and their positions on the field:

 Gigi Buffon G
 Phil Bardsley D
 Dominic Matteo D
 Kenny Sansom D
 Scott Davies D
 Paul Merson M
 Joey Barton M
 David Bentley M
 Keith Gillespie M
 Wayne Rooney A
 Michael Chopra A


By Doha Stadium Plus Qatar from Doha, Qatar – Gianluigi Buffon, CC BY 2.0, Link

These are all really famous players that have had some interesting careers. The most famous of them all are Gigi Buffon, Wayne Rooney and Scott Davies. While Buffon is most famous for his skill rather than his gambling, he was involved in some scandals involved in match-fixing and corruption in gambling, he had illegal gambling allegations in two separate instances, but all changes was dropped and he was found innocent. Wayne Rooney is one of Manchester United’s most famous players, but he also had a gambling debt of £700,000 in 2006. He got there by betting on football, horses and dogs.



Source: www.skysports.com

Unfortunately, Scott Davies is more famous for his problems with gambling than he is for his passion and talent for football. He struggled quite a lot, lost his career and more than £200k, but now he’s been through rehab, has completely gotten rid of his addiction and is trying his hardest to help others.

The good part is that the football players’ age was legal so they weren’t breaking any laws.

If they would have practiced responsible gambling instead when playing casino games they probably wouldn’t have had a problem. Gambling can be fun and safe if you know when to stop and how to take control over your finances and your life.

For example, on Jetbull you could play casino slots and games online in a safe environment where you could impose limits on yourself. You can also self-exclude yourself at any time or seek help if you feel like you’re not having fun any more and things are getting out of hand. Gambling can be a good thing in online casinos that are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and that has players’ mental health and well-being at heart.

If you want to play, make sure to play responsibly!