After a fortnight full of Brexit deals, Christmas adverts and mash-ups of Charlie Austin and Blur, football fans from all around the world can rejoice that there are no more international breaks until mid-March. Riding the emotional wave of football deciding to come home, we return to Premier League action and weekly FPL agonies.
Gameweek 12 ended with Man City’s dominant derby win over Man United, Silva-lined thanks to Bernardo, David and the new tints of Sergio Aguero (£11.4m), who made it seven goals in seven home games. Earlier that afternoon, captainers of Mohamed Salah (£13m) were feeling conflicted about the Egyptian’s returns against Fulham. He did bag a goal but, in a match where Liverpool were expected to cause destruction, another failure to land bonus points caused a score of just eight points.
Percentage of matches FPL midfielders have scored/assisted— Icelandic Statistician™ (@IcelandicStats) November 14, 2018
🇧🇪Hazard - 73%
Sterling - 70%
🇩🇪Sane - 60%
🇪🇬Salah - 58%
🇫🇷Martial - 56%
🇮🇸Sigurdsson - 50%
🇧🇷Richarlison - 50%
Fraser - 50%
🇪🇸D. Silva - 50%
🇮🇸Gudmundsson - 45%
🇫🇷Pogba - 45%
Maddison - 45%
I wonder about this too Rich! 7 big chances missed for Mo now (3rd overall behind Wilson (10) and Jesus (8)).— Who Got The Assist? #FPL Podcast (@WGTA_FPL) November 14, 2018
Shuuuurely we'll get a game where it all clicks right. But we have been hoping for this all year and it hasn't quite happened for him. Hold til gw15 at least for me
Tottenham host Chelsea in the weekend’s big match, following a string of injuries to key FPL players. Although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m), Wilfied Zaha (£6.8m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) and Anthony Martial (£7.6m) are expected to get the green light, the knee surgery of Benjamin Mendy (£6.4m) will rule the defender out for the foreseeable future. That explains the 170,000 (and counting) sales of Mendy, with similar numbers in reaction to Kieran Trippier’s (£6.2m) groin injury.
The last optimum squad scored 69, which is impressive considering Davinson Sanchez (£5.8m) and James Maddison (£6.8m) didn’t play at all and Trippier limped off after 23 minutes. It would have been another example of successfully stacking up on a team’s defence – Tottenham kept a clean sheet at Crystal Palace. In fact, the defence was a great source of bonus points, with Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.1m) claiming two and both Ricardo Pereira (£5.0m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.5m) snatching all three.
This time, the algorithm has chosen two defences to double-up on – Man City and Everton. Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) has played every minute of league football as Guardiola’s side have kept seven clean sheets so far. With Mendy’s injury, Laporte has been this week’s most popular transfer. Teammate Ederson (£5.8m) has been sensational and is expected to continue this on Saturday’s trip to West Ham.
Everton, meanwhile, face Cardiff at home fresh off an impressive clean sheet at Chelsea. The next four games also sees them host Newcastle and Watford, increasing the appeal of attacking full-backs like Seamus Coleman (£5.2m) and Lucas Digne (£4.8m). But centre-back Michael Keane (£4.9m) is also worth attention, already scoring once and assisting twice in his ten matches.
Only Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Spurs have beaten Wolves’ four clean sheets. However, as enticing as it is to face Huddersfield at home, recent injuries to Matt Doherty (£4.9m) and Jonny (£4.5m) will require a re-thinking of the wing-backs – something which may deny them adding a fifth shut-out this weekend. Therefore, defender-cum-midfielder Marcos Alonso (£7.1m) has earned the final defensive spot with his insanely attacking positions and habit of grabbing bonuses.
With Romelu Lukaku’s (£10.7m) hamstring injury and Alexis Sanchez (£10.0m) starting just one of Man United’s last six games, it seems that Martial has perfectly timed his scoring streak. Six goals and one assist in just five league games has seen the midfielder’s ownership increase from 25,000 owners to 609,000. Surely undroppable for the time being, he’ll be heavily backed to keep up this momentum against Crystal Palace. In fact, those who want to punt on an alternative captaincy choice should seriously considering both Martial and Richarlison (£6.9m). The out-of-position Everton star dampened fears over his early withdrawal at Stamford Bridge by scoring for Brazil on Tuesday night.
[1/2]— The Editor (@FPLEditor) November 18, 2018
A very well written #FPL piece & some nice observations
Martial is over-performing, as can be seen in the info-graphic below looking over last 6GWS
56 pts vs. 40.3 'expected pts'
So, let's say he performed to his 'mean' (40.3/6). It's still 6.71 ppg
Well worth £7.6m pic.twitter.com/22JF8S5IZo
Rounding off the midfield is Ruben Neves (£5.0m), who has attempted the most long-range shots out of everyone this season (31 from 32 goal attempts). He scored a penalty against Spurs in Gameweek 11, as did Raul Jimenez (£5.8m). The Mexican striker has proven to be a great team player for Wolves, although that does seem to neglect his goal scoring. Nevertheless, he has the low price and the favourable fixture needed to boost his appeal.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.6m) has seemingly lost form of late, going six games without a goal for Fulham. But this isn’t the whole story, considering that a perfectly fine headed goal was ruled out for offside at Anfield and the Serbian bagged a goal against Montenegro. His friend Slavisa Jokanovic has been replaced by Claudio Ranieri ahead of a promising home game against Southampton, meaning the half a million managers who have ditched Mitrovic in the past two Gameweeks may soon rue their decision.
Also in the team is Aubameyang, who should recover from the minor injury which led to his withdrawal from last week’s Gabon squad.
Continuing with the backing of Everton and Man City are Jordan Pickford (£4.9m), Kyle Walker (£6.5m) and John Stones (£5.3m). Left-back Lucas Digne has some impressive underlying stats, with no defender creating more chances or taking more corners in the past four Gameweeks. Another team predicted to deliver defensively is Newcastle, who have already kept three away clean sheets. They visit a low-scoring Burnley side, increasing the potential for Martin Dubravka (£5.0m), Jamaal Lascelles (£4.8m) and Paul Dummett (£4.4m). Should the latter two recover from very recent injuries, they’re projected to score well.
Paul Pogba (£8.0m) missed the Manchester derby because of a thigh injury but is expected to return this weekend, as are Alexandre Lacazette (groin, £9.7m) and Wilfried Zaha (hamstring). Bournemouth won’t fear the visit of Arsenal, especially with Ryan Fraser (£6.2m) and Callum Wilson (£6.8m) in such form. Scoring a goal on your England debut tends to be a confidence booster, so Wilson will expect to notch against Arsenal for a fourth consecutive time. Danny Ings (£5.5m) assisted against Watford and faces a leaky Fulham backline, with Eden Hazard (£11.3m) aiming to return to the pre-injury form which saw him score seven times in six games.