And you say, be still my love
Open up your mind, let the stats flow in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my Wildcard to kick in
A new year and a spanking brand new Wildcard; what more could a Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Manager want? Consecutive green arrows you say, as we go down this beaten path and up this cobbled lane. So let us walk in our old footsteps, once again, and dive into All Things FPL’s (ATFPL) Gameweek 21 preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut
Out of the four players in Pepin’s Captain Foresight piece, Eden Hazard has the highest average point per game numbers, both in the last four Gameweeks (7.5) and at home (8.3). With managerless Newcastle visiting Stamford Bridge and Chelsea with a point to prove following their surprising loss to Tottenham, expect a glut of goals for the men in blue. Also expect Hazard to be heavily involved.
With a superior goal threat to both Hazard and Costa in the last four games, Alexis Sánchez’s captain potential is only slightly hampered by a tougher fixture—Stoke have been defensively sound on the road under Mark Hughes this season. Nevertheless, 17 goal attempts and 11 shots in the box over the last four Gameweeks indicates that the hard working Chilean is due a big points haul.
With the emergence of both Hazard and Cesc Fàbregas as elite Fantasy options the excitement for Diego Costa has waned. For most other forwards five goals and an assist in the last ten games would be perfectly acceptable, especially if the Chelsea forward gets closer to his early season form. Costa is a fine player to have—a great forward in one of the two best teams in the league—and 14 goals and an assist in 17 appearances should not be taken for granted.
With Sergio Agüero not fully fit and Yaya Touré off to the African Cup of Nations, David Silva is the pick of the Manchester City bunch. He tops the Midfielders ATFPL Watchlist due to great fixtures up ahead and solid attacking numbers in the last four—11 goal attempts, nine key passes, and five through balls are indicative of his all around attacking threat.
Santi Cazorla is worth monitoring as long as he retains the number 10 role for Arsenal, as noted in the Midfielder Wilcard article. Cazorla’s 55 goal attempts and 44 key passes compares favourably with most midfielders (including Sánchez), but the big question is what will happen to his position and game time when Theo Walcott, Mezut Özil, Jack Wilshere, and Mikel Arteta are fit again.
It is impossible to ignore Harry Kane after his amazing performance against Chelsea. With six goals, four assists, and 11 bonus points in his 10 starts since the middle of November, Kane offers Fantasy Managers another forward budget option—Austin and Kane could be used to spend the leftover money on multiple midfield heavy hitters, as noted in Stoosher’s What We Learned.
Ángel Di María doesn’t need any time to get up to speed following his hamstring injury, based on his performance and goal in a substitute appearance for Manchester United against Yeovil in the FA Cup. ATFPL is banking on this, transferring him in for the departing Touré for the official ATFPL team. This Gameweek’s fixture against Southampton should be tight, but the Argentine possesses exactly the type of quality needed to make the difference. After this Gameweek the fixtures look attractive for Manchester United so his 9.4 million price could prove a bargain.
Charlie Austin is most certainly good enough for the Premier League and is vital to QPR’s chances of staying up this season as can be seen in his 64% goal involvement for Harry Redknapp’s team. He’s this Gameweek’s Risk v. Reward pick, thanks to his amazing attacking numbers in the last four (25 goal attempts, 16 shots in the box, and 10 shots on target) and Burnley’s dreadful defensive numbers this season—they are 17th in the league in goals conceded (1.60 per game), no wonder given their staggering 180 shots conceded in their box (third worst in the league).
Saido Berahino’s goal in West Brom’s draw against West Ham on New Year’s Day was his first since Gameweek 9. He’s hard to recommend as a permanent fixture in Fantasy teams due to the emergence of Austin and Kane, but a home game against Hull is exactly the type of one Gameweek punt you could make before Wildcarding next week.
Olivier Giroud is the focus of Darsh’s Differentials this Gameweek despite bad memories of captaining him for his red card in Gameweek 18 (guilty as charged). If he starts upfront he’s a fine differential on only 8.2 million. He’s viable, if not great, Arsenal cover for those Fantasy Managers that don’t have Sánchez.
The ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of…
…Chelsea’s John Terry who has shown his attacking value in recent games. Add Chelsea’s normally solid defence against Kane-less teams and he’s a fine expensive defender to own.
…Differential pick Joleon Lescott for West Brom who could become a fantastic Fantasy signing for the latter part of the season if West Brom enjoy the same Pulis-effect as Crystal Palace did last season.
…Arsenal’s Mathieu Debuchy, playing at home Mark Hughes’s Stoke. Although The Gunners have been far from tight in defence they finally have a healthy backline including Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny who returned 16 and 17 clean sheets last season, respectively. If Arsenal show that form in the second part of the season, Debuchy is certainly one a value player to watch out for as highlighted in Tommy’s excellent Wildcard series.
Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
Strictly a Gut pick due to Aston Villa’s dreadful attacking output—Villa have the worst goals per game record in the league (0.55)—Christian Benteke looks like their only hope. But his own numbers aren’t bad at all in the last six Gameweeks (20 goal attempts and 8 key passes) so ATFPL’s gut rumbles for the strong Belgian.