Gameweek 12 was that rare beast, a weekend which almost entirely followed the script. North London derby aside the top teams all had comfortable victories, Burnley kept another clean sheet and Huddersfield failed to score away from home for the 5th consecutive match. For my own team the pickups of Asmir Begovic & Andreas Christensen paid off as I rode the Mo Salah train to victory once again in my head to head matchup. What a signing he has been for Liverpool and an absolute steal in the 3rd round of my Draft!
Here we take look at how the players of particular interest to Draft managers performed over the weekend.
🚨 Before we go any further there has to be a mention of our Gameweek 12 Streaming Tips. Our Friday Free Agents article produced 5 clean sheets and 2 assists while FPL Robinson’s Streaming Tips averaged 8.3 Pts Per Player this weekend! Gameweek 13 FPL Draft Tips will be out later this week 🚨
Arsenal 2 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur
For me the most surprising result of the week and the sort of excellent performance from Arsenal and in particular Mesut Özil that gets too easily forgotten when they don’t play so well.
Aaron Ramsey started his 8th consecutive game for the Gunners who saw Danny Welbeck return to the matchday squad for the first time since his injury. German International Shkodran Mustafi isn’t exactly a hidden gem but his unreliable fitness this year may have seen him fall off the radar of some managers. Saturday’s match was only his 6th start of the season but incredibly delivered his 5th clean sheet and he averages a whopping 6.7 PPG.
Jack Wilshere once again made himself comfortable on the bench, as did Alex Iwobi who had scored twice against Argentina in midweek.
Ben Davies & Kieran Trippier won the Spurs fullback lottery and the absent Toby Alderweireld was replaced in central defence by Eric Dier who is listed as a MID across most formats. Mousa & Moussa may sound like a family firm of solicitors but they certainly don’t specialise in FPL, Dembélé has scored just 7 League goals in 5 years at Tottenham while Sissoko has mustered 11 strikes over the same period since joining the Premier League with Newcastle.
I like Fernando Llorente but his fantasy value is best described as limited and he saw just 15 minutes of action here. The Great Frustrater himself Heung-Min Son came off the bench at the same time. His 6 starts this season have seen him average 4.8 PPG but he also has 5 single point scores off the bench. Unless there is an injury to one of Spurs’ main men his hit and miss scoring is likely to continue.
AFC Bournemouth 4 – 0 Huddersfield Town
The Cherries won for the 3rd time in 4 matches and have a further 4 winnable fixtures on the horizon. The key to their improved play has been their defence which has conceded only 3 goals in their last 6 League games which is all the more impressive when you consider Chelsea and Spurs were 2 of those opponents. I personally picked Asmir Begovic off the waiver wire this week and he bagged a satisfying 8 Pts. With Swansea, Burnley, Southampton & Palace coming up the big Bosnian looks like a shrewd investment.
The usually reliable Simon Francis received his marching orders and a subsequent one match ban for 2 yellow cards which may give an opportunity at right back to Adam Smith in Gameweek 13.
Did you read our Streaming Tips? Our Friday Free Agents piece for Gameweek 12 recommended Bournemouth trio Begovic (8pts), Charlie Daniels (8pts) & Andrew Surman (6pts). Not to be outdone the ever impressive FPL Robinson used his column to state the case for Callum Wilson who duly obliged with a hat trick and a massive 17 Pts.
Draft bust Jermain Defoe wasn’t in the matchday squad but Josh King did register an assist and could be worth a pick up or low value trade if he can form a partnership with Wilson over the next 4 games.
Huddersfield’s record over their last 5 Premier League away games doesn’t make good reading. No goals scored, 11 conceded and only 1 point gained from a nil nil at Turf Moor. This weekend they played the entire second half against 10 men and still lost that 45 minutes 2-0. Liverpool are the only Top 6 side they have faced away from home so far and Manchester City (H) & Arsenal (A) are up next for the Terriers. Gulp.
Aaron Mooy may well be the Yorkshire sides best player but his fantasy value has perhaps been overhyped compared to his stat sheet which shows only 2 goals and 1 assist for the season. The Aussie midfielder will benefit however from the lack of International games for the next few months. Tom Ince found himself drafted by some and has contributed next to nothing, no goals and just one assist to his name despite playing every minute of every game.
The festive period will see squad depth come into play and Huddersfield’s is for my money the worst in the league. The honeymoon period is over and moving forward I’d expect goalkeeper Jonas Lössl to score more points from saves than clean sheets.
Burnley 2 – 0 Swansea City
Burnley are one of the most settled teams in football with 7 players having started every single game this season, including all four members of their defence. This was Burnley’s biggest win of the season with all the previous 5 being by a one goal margin.
Chris Wood wasn’t involved after travelling to deepest, darkest Peru with his New Zealand team in midweek. Ashley Barnes started and scored but it would be a surprise if a fit and non jet-lagged Wood wasn’t first choice in the future.
The Clarets lack of firepower means their midfield of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Jack Cork & Johann Berg Gudmundsson will likely offer little more than sporadic returns.
Swansea have lost 6 out of their last 7 games and have only won twice all season, against Crystal Palace & Huddersfield Town. It doesn’t take a genius to see they are in trouble. For all the hype around Tammy Abraham the Welsh side have failed to score in 7 matches already. Gameweek 13 sees a huge home game versus Bournemouth before a difficult run over the festive period. In the 12 League fixtures that follow, half of them are against Top 6 sides.
I’ve never been a fan of Renato Sanches who in my opinion has a reputation built upon his elite technique rather than any meaningful production. If he is going to prove me wrong he will first have to prove his fitness, this game was just the second time he has completed 90 minutes this season.
Of more pressing concern is the injured back of talisman Tammy Abraham whose availability will have to be monitored ahead of GW13. Wilfried Bony himself returned from injury when he came off the bench at half time after a 4 match absence.
Crystal Palace 2 – 2 Everton
Palace have an excellent run of 7 winnable fixtures coming up and they really need to actually win some of them. To be fair they could have won this one, Oumar Niasse winning a questionable penalty for the visitors and the returning Christian Benteke fluffing his lines when through on goal in the second half.
Benteke was left on the bench as the Eagles again started a match without a recognised striker but he surely won’t have a long wait for his first start since GW6.
If Palace are to stop up then Wilfried Zaha will have had a big say in why. He averages 5.2 PPG since his own return from injury and has scored in his last 3 home games.
Man of the moment Ruben Loftus-Cheek started his 3rd consecutive match and grabbed his second assist in that spell.
Palace haven’t kept a clean sheet all season.
Everton haven’t kept a clean sheet since the opening day and have conceded 2 or more goals in each of their last 7 games across all competitions. The Merseysiders can no longer qualify for the next stage of the Europa League but still have a pair of group games to negotiate with the first of those coming this Thursday.
Oumar Niasse is the yin to Renato Sanches’ yang. At times Niasse looks like he has never seen a football before but he has scored 5 goals in just 377 minutes of Premier League action this season. At that rate if he played every minute of a full 38 game season he would score 45 goals. Don’t you just love statistics? Much heralded midfielder Sanches has scored a total of 5 League goals in his young career. 🚨 UPDATE: Niasse has been charged with simulation by the FA for his role in winning a penalty for Everton and if found guilty will face a ban. 🚨
Wayne Rooney was on the bench and was overlooked by interim boss David Unsworth who brought on Dominic Calvert-Lewin & Sandro Ramirez when looking to chase the game.
Gylfi Sigurdsson bagged a first assist of the campaign. Young midfielders Tom Davies & Ademola Lookman played a half each. Davies has 4 yellow cards already this season. Jonjoe Kenny has started the last 4 games at right back.
Morgan Schneiderlin went off injured at half time, struggling with the foot he had an injection in pre match.
Leicester City 0 – 2 Manchester City
Life’s not fair. If there’s one team that doesn’t need Lady Luck on their side to win games it’s Manchester City. If Vincent Kompany had been sent off in the 6th minute for chopping down Jamie Vardy it could have all been so different. As it was it was all so familiar with a routine win for the best team in the league. Benjamin Mendy wrote on Twitter that Kevin De Bruyne doesn’t even know which one of his feet is his weakest. That the Belgian continues to steal the headlines away from the likes of Leroy Sané shows what kind of season he’s having.
For Leicester Demarai Gray has now started every game under new boss Claude Puel and must now be in your thoughts. Only the wayward finishing of his teammates prevented him from getting a hat-trick of assists last week and the Foxes have a decent run of fixtures in the next 6.
Despite Ben Chilwell impressing in Puel’s first game in charge he hasn’t featured since, with Christian Fuchs being once again being preferred at left back.
Shinji Okazaki again played a limited role and has now scored 1pt or 0 Pts 7 times this season. Expect him to be in and out the team once the schedule hots up.
Kelechi Iheanacho & Islam Slimai remain bench fodder while full back Danny Simpson has started all 12 matches this season.
John Stones went down with a hamstring injury which opens the door for an Otamendi and Vincent Kompany partnership for the foreseeable future. Also worth keeping an eye on is Eliaquim Mangala who will step into the breach whenever the fragile body of Kompany needs a rest or breaks down once more. Stones is expected to be out for around 6 weeks which could be as many as 10 League games.
Fabian Delph has started 6 consecutive games at left back with an average of 3.0 PPG.
Expect Danilo, Gündogan & Bernardo Silva to see some increase in gametime over Christmas as the superstars of City’s team get rested.
Liverpool 3 – 0 Southampton
There was a clip doing the rounds this weekend showing someone on a radio show in the summer talking about Liverpool’s signing of Mo Salah and confidently predicting he would be another Juan Cuadrado style flop in the Premier League. Well everyone makes mistakes and Salah is now the division’s top scorer, has 14 goals in 18 appearances for his new Club and has more FPL Pts (88) than anyone else in the country.
Trendy pick Joe Gomez didn’t play as the injured Joel Matip was replaced at centre half by Dejan Lovren. Ragnar Klavan kept his place in the side for the 3rd straight game. The right back berth was taken by Trent Alexander-Arnold who received a Bonus Point is his first League appearance since GW5.
There was no place in the matchday squad for recently fit again Adam Lallana but his impending return will surely cast even more doubt upon the potential playing time of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who made his 8th substitute appearance in 9 games. Ironically he had started all 3 games Arsenal had played this season before leaving for Anfield on transfer deadline day. Fellow midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum bagged his first assist of the season, he has started 10 League matches and has 1 goal to his name.
Neither Daniel Sturridge nor newly capped Dominic Solanke made the pitch after being named on the bench.
James Milner doesn’t win many awards but he gets my vote for most overdrafted player 2017/18. On average he was the 9th defender taken in the draft which is stunning when you consider that he isn’t actually a defender at all and Liverpool bought a left back in the summer. To be honest I myself expected Milner to start the season at full back before handing over the reigns to Andrew Robertson once the Scot had settled in on Merseyside. Due to the concerns over playing time he was 40th amongst defenders on my draft board. The only thing more shocking than the blind faith shown in Milner (who turns 32 in January) to play consecutive seasons out of posistion for a Top 6 side has been the emergence of an Alberto Moreno clone that has proven to be vastly superior to the original Spaniard. Who saw that coming? Moreno has started 10 games at left back this season whereas Milner has found himself in just 4 lineups due to a crowded midfield roster for the Reds.
For all their defensive faults the truth hidden behind a showreel of bad defending away at Tottenham is that Liverpool have now kept 5 clean sheets in 6 home League matches this season. Chelsea are the next visitors to Anfield.
The reigning champions will undoubtedly put up more of a fight than Southampton who have struggled for goals for a long time now. Shane Long started the match and he hasn’t scored since February. That he still keeps Charlie Austin on the bench says much for the health issues suffered by the former Burnley man who has played just 138 minutes of League action this season. Manolo Gabbiadini has 3 goals this campaign but 2 of those came in one match and he averages 2.1 PPG across the other 11 fixtures.
In defence both Saints full backs have started each of the first 12 Gameweeks but neither Cedric Soares nor the much vaunted Ryan Bertrand have an assist or a goal to show for their efforts. Wesley Hoedt & Maya Yoshida seem interchangeable at centre half alongside VVD.
Midfielders Nathan Redmond & Dusan Tadic have a grand total of 1 goal and 2 assists between them this season. Sofiane Boufal made his 3rd consecutive start.
West Bromwich Albion 0 – 4 Chelsea
A one sided affair in the Midlands saw the end of Tony Pulis as Chelsea moved up to 3rd in the table.
West Brom are another side who struggle for goals with Jay Rodriguez currently their top scorer with 2. There’s a lot of good will towards Rodriguez which stems mainly from his unfortunate ACL injury suffered in 2014 when he was in the form of his life and had a legitimate chance of making England’s World Cup squad that summer. There is no room for sentimentality in Fantasy Football though and since then he’s mustered just 7 goals in 46 appearances over the last 3 and a half years. Baggies fans will hope the new manager can invigorate their forward line in a way Pulis could not.
Matt Phillips hasn’t completed a full 90 mins since GW4, and Nacer Chadli hasn’t done so all season. Chadli wasn’t involved at all on Saturday through injury. Exciting prospect Oliver Burke came off the bench in the second half and could be the one to provide the attacking spark Albion need if he can get healthy. He has managed just 55 minutes of action since his summer move from RB Leipzig.
Read an article last week that claimed the authors drafting of Willian had paid off as he compensated for his quiet weeks with some big scores. Fair to say I didn’t agree at all. In the last 11 Gameweeks the Brazilian has 0 goals, 1 assist and averages 2.1 PPG. If you think this measly return is compensated for by a high score through that period of 4 Pts in GW9 then we clearly have differing opinions on FPL. Willian’s season long total ranks him as the joint 54th best midfielder in the game. If you’re in an 8 man league and think that represents good value for a draft pick then please seek medical advice immediately. Willian played 13 minutes against WBA and scored 1 pt. Fellow winger Pedro has also struggled for gametime and was once more on the bench.
After last weeks public dressing down from Antonio Conte David Luiz got promoted to watching the game from the bench rather than the stands. Chelsea have a sensational run of 8 favourable games after their trip to Anfield in GW13 and have huge potential for clean sheets throughout this period. If centre back Andreas Christensen is still available he is a handcuffing option as is Antonio Rüdiger.
Manchester United 4 – 1 Newcastle United
It’s not a coincidence that #Pogback saw United return to their free scoring ways. The Reds average a goal every 27 minutes with Pogba on the pitch this season!
Juan Mata started the game and it’s interesting that he hasn’t played a single minute against Top 6 opponents but has featured in all of the other games.
Ashley Young was once again preferred at left back to Luke Shaw who is an actual left back in case you can’t remember him. I’d be astounded if Shaw ever gets a decent run in the United team again.
Zlatan the lion claims he is happy to play behind Lukaku in a number 10 role. He will have to put up some huge numbers in that role to make those that have held him since GW3 feel vindicated. When he was added to the game 36 matches remained and he’s scored 1pt in the first 10 of those.
Much like Huddersfield, Newcastle seem to be regressing towards the mean after a promising start. The Magpies have now lost 3 games in a row and only have 1 win in 7.
Benitez bravely went with 2 strikers for the second consecutive game and it was good to see Dwight Gayle get his first goal of the season after having a perfectly good effort incorrectly ruled out for offside last week.
Ciaran Clark replaced injured captain Jamaal Lascelles in defence but the Geordies have only kept 1 clean sheet in the last 8.
Jacob Murphy came in for Christian Atsu on the wing and showed flashes of talent. Murphy is expected to start at home to Watford in GW13.
Watford 2 – 0 West Ham United
Ex Everton boss David Moyes saw his West Ham side soundly beaten by the man Everton want as their next manager, Marco Silva of Watford.
Richarlison was such an unknown quantity upon his arrival from Brazil that he is listed as a midfielder on the Official FPL site but is a forward on both draftfantasyfootball.co.uk and realFF.co.uk. His consistent good form shows no signs of slowing down and he has had a goal or an assist in 6 out of the last 7 Gameweeks.
Troy Deeney’s 3 match ban has given an opportunity to Andre Gray and the former Burnley man has responded with an assist in each of the last 2 games. Gray is expected to start away at Newcastle in GW13.
Watfords defence picked up their first clean sheet since GW4 helped by the 8pt debut of Marvin Zeegelaar.
Midfielder Will Hughes enjoyed a goal and an assist in just his second ever Premier League game.
Andy Carroll welcomed a child into the world this week and decided to name it Wolf Nine Carroll. Seriously. With the way he throws his elbows around I’m saying nothing.
The first lineup of the David Moyes era bore no surprises at all. With Chicarito & Antonio missing with injuries he picked the team most independent observers would have predicted. Will be fascinating to see if he can galvanise the Hammers and get the most out of some exciting talents like Lanzini et al but knowing Moyes improving them defensively will be first on the agenda.
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 – 2 Stoke City
What a great game this was! Hats off to both teams for trying to win it and attacking from the off, we saw 11 shots in the first 23 minutes!
Our old friend Glenn Murray can feel a little aggrieved to have only picked up a solitary Point this week as he was denied a clear penalty when tackled by Ryan Shawcross. Even Shawcross himself admitted after the game it was a foul!
Murray was also involved in the Seagull’s second goal with a lovely disguised pass to Izquierdo who slotted home after his initial attempt at a pull back was blocked. Colombian Izquierdo looked dangerous and has started the last 4 games on the left wing.
Dutch midfielder Davy Pröpper has played every single minute this season and picked up his second assist in the last 4 matches. He would certainly be my choice ahead of fellow centre mid Dale Stephens who has also been ever present.
Centre halves Shane Duffy & Lewis Dunk have proven to be trendy picks but need to be benched for weeks 13, 15 & 17 when they face Man Utd (A), Liverpool (H) and Tottenham (A).
Pascal Groß is competing with Richarlison for best undrafted player of the year. He is at the heart of everything Brighton do in attack and has a quite outrageous PPG of 5.7 this season. There will be some smug managers who picked him up after his breakout game in GW4.
Stoke have Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting playing up front despite being listed as a midfielder and forward Mame Biram Diouf plays as a right wing back. Both have started 11/12 games and Choupo-Moting in particular looks like a decent option due to his positive positional anomaly.
We tipped Shaqiri in our Friday Free Agents piece ahead of GW12 and he justified our faith in him with an assist. As mentioned previously he has never had a run of fitness and sustained playing time like this since his move to the Potters and his obvious quality is now shining through. Fingers crossed he can stay healthy through the busy schedule.
Jesé Rodriguez appears to be going through a difficult period off the pitch with the premature birth of his son and this may or may not be a factor in his reduced playing time. He hasn’t featured in any of the last 3 games.
It’s hard to believe now that Saido Berahino was once subject of a bid from Tottenham during his WBA days. He has had just one start in the last 10 weeks.
Defender Kurt Zouma’s goal contributed to a pair of Bonus Points as well, he now has 4 Bonus Pts this season.
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