A return for this Pre-Gameweek weekly article after the International break. In which I hope to capture the heart of the FPL community. I am using some FPL personas to inspire my Picks for the next Game week. The accounts I use have no affiliation with this article or the picks within. I mean no malice, I am just calling it how I see these accounts. Hopefully it is just a bit of fun when everyone is losing their Sh*t in the countdown to deadline. If anyone does not want to be included going forward just let me know.
The Newcomer Pick
This pick is inspired by a new’ish FPL account run by a fellow Yorkshireman (Also ties into the pick). That man is @FPL_Clarkie. Leeds fan, so don’t hate him for that. But the pick is based around the traction that both Clarkie and the pick have got in recent times. The pick is Enda Stevens.
Last year for the Blades in their promotion winning season the Irishman was a great success. He contributed 4 goals, 6 assists and 20 clean sheets. So obviously due to this FPL priced him at 5m. UTD have just the one clean sheet but look very determined at the back and more could be on the way. But it’s the attacking output that we are drawn to. He made a mess of Chelsea’s right back area with his assist for Robinson in the 2-2 draw.
His heat map above shows, as expected a storming performance down the left. Recording 79 touches and registering as I mentioned that assist. He also completed all 4 of his dribbles he attempted. Combine this with him winning half of his combined aerial and ground duels and he had a really good game. in GW5 he is at home to Saints. Who could be buoyed by the draw with the other UTD. But I am banking on a clean sheet and a cheeky attacking return for the rampaging left back.
The Buffet pick
Now this pick is inspired by an account who likes filling his boots with the best meals. Enjoys a good bit of grub and also has started dabbling with FPL. He knows his onions and calls it as it is, also another Yorkshireman. It is the one, the only @CuntyYorkie.
My pick inspired by a player who I think is going to an all you can eat defence and is going to carve it up is Bobby Firmino. His teeth will be gleaming after his demolition of the Toon defence. 2 goals and 2 assists in the first four games, and he is doing it some-what low key. Everyone flocked to Mane and Salah in pre-season, and rightly so. But Firmino could have his best season yet. As opposition tend to worry about the 2 flying forwards, Bobby could do the most damage. He plays the false 9 so well. Disguising his runs and passes to inflict damage. But he also knows where the net is. Last season he got 12 goals and 8 assists; I can see him easily reaching the double double in both this year.
Heatmaps for both the wins vs Arsenal and Burnley above. They show constant positioning in dangerous positions in the oppositions half. 79% and 68% in the two games with 3 shots on target. This as well as completing 5 out of his 10 attempted dribbles shows he is doing a little of everything. I could see in the toon game, Bruce going with the 5-4-1 that beat Spurs. To overload the wings and stop Mane and Salah. This could leave Bobby free to wave his wand and do the damage.
The Champion pick
This one pains me to write from a personal POV and a football one. This pick is inspired by a friend and fellow #FPLBeerClub member @Padful. I narrowly lost our Beer league to Pad last season, so he out of all the Club got the plaudits and beer to match the winning status. Well Deserved but hard to take.
A player that is Also a Champion is Kyle Walker, gutted when he left our flying Spurs team to go and win things. Cannot begrudge him that, but it was some of the best football I had ever seen Spurs play. And we still have not replaced him. Now he has no England games to play so should be fresh for the Norwich game. Where it seems the “Pukki Party” has run out of booze and cheap perfume. He will play, whether it’s a right sided CB in a three, as City try to limit the mistakes that lurk around Ota and Stones. Or as his usual right sided inverted full back position.
We all know Walkers position so no need for heatmaps, but they range from in the oppositions half constantly to in the oppositions half constantly. He seems have platoed currently at City and we have arguably 2 better Right backs who are English at the minute. But he is still a very good right back who plays for the Champions of England and his versatility and output cannot be questioned too much. Cancelo could be the competition that he needs to get back to his best level.
The Next Chapter pick
A romantic pick this one, inspired by two people entering their next chapters in the life. One sooner than the other. So inspired by the nearing Marriage of @The_PaulAitken, another #FPLBeerClub member. And another person starting a new chapter just not for another 9 months, Christian Eriksen.
Mr consistent, Mr covers more ground the anyone in Spurs games, Mr cool, calm and collected. I will miss watching this silky dane play in my beloved Lilywhite. But at the same time, I did not see him staying, I thought he was gone. Hopefully, as the true professional I believe he is, he gives us 9 months of excellent performances. He is a player that can impact a game to a great degree but doing the simple things well. He has a wand of a foot, can pick a pass and is so calm in doing it. Ice in his veins.
Spurs play palace at home, where we will expect a huge performance. We cannot afford to lose another game at home to seemingly inferior opposition. Palace on a roll after 2 league wins, will probably set up with a 4-5-1, able to break with Schlupp, Zaha and the rejuvenated Ayew. We will have to break them down, and key to that is Eriksen. Hopefully we have Son and Dele/Lo Celso playing to keep defenders occupied so Eriksen can do what he does.
The Biased Fan pick
Inspired by recent interactions with this well-known Arsenal fan. As sometimes the best picks are picks you know inside and out. So, who better to pick than a striker that should start every game that they play, that striker is Lacazette. And it was @ThreeFiveWho that inspired this.
Lacazette plays a Watford side who have conceded 8 goals in the 4 games played and only stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw away at Newcastle. This used to be a game Arsenal would look to throw away. Poorer team in bad form, play Arsenal, turn up and get a result. I do not think it will be the way this time. Providing Ceballos plays, I can see the front three including Lacazette, to reap the rewards of the poor Hornets backline.
Lacazette scored a blistering goal just before HT, which gave the Arsenal team the impetus to push on in the second half and eventually draw the game. His heatmap shows he played furthest forward out of the trio. From his position he had 6 shots, 3 of which were on target. Including the lovely take, touch and ThunderB*stard of a shot for their first goal. Ceballos came on the pitch 5 minutes after Lacazette departed. I think they would have won if they were both on the pitch at the same time. He starts vs Watford; he will get the chances he needs.
The Creative pick
Creative sums up both the pick and the inspiration for my pick. You might have heard of this little FPL account called @fpldoodles1 if you haven’t then what are you doing?!? The creative pick is one James Maddison. Leicester’s creator in His 1st year in the premier league and he created 100 chances for his teammates. Which was 3rd most in Europe’s top five leagues. As dangerous from open play as he is from set-pieces.
In the game vs Bournemouth, he made 42 passes, 30 in the oppositions half. Recording a 79% pass accuracy. And he was quiet in this game. He has 2 assists already this season and this number is only going to increase. Feeding the ever-green Jamie Vardy. Who is the perfect off the shoulder striker for some of Maddisons beautiful through balls. It’s just a matter of time before he opens his goal scoring account for the season. Could it be against GW1’s favourite defence, the now leaky Manchester UTD?