Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 22 Preview

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Friday Foreplay Style

A first for the Foreplay; Non-English lyric vandalism. Now, with the distasteful use of the most popular Youtube song of all time over and done with, we dive into the captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.

Captain Picks

1. Suarez: Liverpool are scoring 2.43 goals per match, thanks in large part to Suarez. He’s defying all odds this season, posting better numbers than former Ballon d’or winner Messi and current winner Ronaldo. When he’s not facing elite defences, he’s almost a given and ATFPL wouldn’t recommend another captain unless you are desperate for a differential. This is reflected in our Captain Analysis article, where 9 double-digit returns in 16 appearances were noted.

2. Aguero: The only player getting close to Suarez’s threat is Aguero. Before his injury he had 5 goals in his last 5 league games, and is playing for the best attack in the league. Registering 13 goals and 8 assists in 15 appearances, with City averaging 3.80 goals per game at the Etihad he’s a fine pick if for some reason you don’t have Suarez. One word of caution is the amount of minutes Aguero may receive from Manuel Pellegrini as the Chilean looks to protect his main battering ram from any setback. He’s already on Fantasy managers’ radars, as highlighted in this week’s Market Mechanics.

3. Giroud: He was back with a goal against Aston Villa after missing the Cardiff game. After four blanks in a row, his last three outings have been productive, with Giroud getting two goals and an assist. It brings his total for the season up to 9 goals and 5 assists. Expect goals against a flailing Fulham side, although you would be brave to pick him ahead of Suarez.

Heavy Hitters

Although Touré and Silva are fine picks they are both small doubts for the Cardiff game. So we are going with red hot Negredo who has scored 7 goals in 5 games in all competitions in January. He’s behind Aguero in both goals and underlying stats, 2.7 shots and 1.1 key passes per game, which is accurately reflected in his lower price. Nevertheless, he’s a valid substitute, if you think you can use the difference in price productively elsewhere in your squad.

Özil blows hot and cold and seems to reserve his warmth for the Emirates. All his goals and over half of his assists have come at home and mostly against inferior sides. A home match against Fulham seems like a match made in heaven for the German, so expect some huffing and puffing in Gameweek 22, as well as goals and assists.

Hazard has 3 goals and an assist in his last four Premier League games and is flourishing in Mourinho’s new setup. He’s taking 1.9 shots and delivering 2.4 key passes per game and should be played by Fantasy managers in every game, such is his attacking prowess. A struggling Manchester United side is not the solid unit of old, so their visit does not dent our hopes of hazardous pun-overloaded Belgium delivery in Gameweek 22.

Sturridge’s goal and assist in 25 minutes catapulted him straight into this Gameweek’s Heavy Hitters. Despite scoring 10 goals and delivering 3 assists in 13 games he’s still Liverpool’s second best striker, which goes to show how dangerous they are. A short term bet on doubling up on Liverpool strikers is a valid strategy and could offer valuable differential returns as we discussed in the Mid-Week Round Up.

Eriksen is somewhere in the gray area between Heavy Hitters and Punts but is include in the Hitters due to his new found consistency. He’s scored 3 goals and provided 1 assist in his last 4 games, as well as picking up 7 bonus points. Tottenham are value for the win, as predicted in this weeks Fancy a Flutter, and Eriksen value for Fantasy returns.

Punts

Adebayor isn’t far off Eriksen, recording 7.2 Fantasy points per game in 5 starts under Sherwood. Last Gameweek’s What We Learned notes his considerable Fantasy history and current potential, which could be a big factor in the Fantasy game if he stays motivated.

Adam Johnson’s amazing 22 point return last Gameweek, coupled with a three seasons of finishing with over 100 points, brings him to our attention for the first time this season. If Sunderland are going to stay up, they need goals and creativity, which is not coming from their current forward line. Poyet can’t rest him after a hattrick and at 6.4 mil, he’s a fine gamble.

Clean Sheets

Arsenal, Manchester City, and Norwich are playing at home against opponents that have struggled for goals away from home.

Koscielny’s partnership with Mertesacker keeps on improving and he currently lies in our top defensive spot in the Watchlist. He’s also benefited from the new bonus point system, including 4 points in his last 3 games.

Kompany is Manchester City’s, and perhaps the league’s, best defender. He’s almost rotation free so if he stays fit, the extra price for him could prove valuable over the latter part of the season.

Olsson has played every minute of every game for Norwich since Gameweek 6 and is a budget pick at 4.2 mil. He’s a great pickup if you need to save some schilling for an Aguero or a Hazard. Norwich face Hull, who are sitting 17th in the league for goals away from home ,scoring 0.70 goals per game.

Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick

Allardyce has finally got his battering ram back from injury. Carroll has only played 19 minutes in the league this season for a West Ham side ranked 13th in goals scored at home but flies into our gut pick. Truthfully, the main reason is that this could be our only chance to call him a gut pick, so he’s almost certain to score against a robust Newcastle side. Almost. 

Credits

Statistics gratefully lifted from squawka.comwhoscored.com, soccerstats.com, and statto.com.

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