Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Best Picks for Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 28 – Goalkeepers and Defenders

Dan Steeden in Editorial, English Premier League 20 Feb 2018

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Usually in the intros to Best Picks articles that follow an international or cup break I complain bitterly about how nobody cares and everyone just wants to see the Premier League. As a Wigan fan however I rather enjoyed this temporary break, which gave the mighty Latics just enough time to dismantle English football’s top dogs and favourites to win the Champions League, Manchester City. My support clearly spurred Wigan on to this historic victory, and hopefully my FPL tips will help you achieve some of the same glory.

Goalkeepers

Budget Option: Lukasz Fabianski (4.6m)

Since Carlos Carvalhal took over Swansea have been phenomenal, and they are now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions. They had however only kept two clean sheets in the eight matches before their last two, in which they have shut out Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. The Swans are going from strength to strength now, and they get a clash with struggling Brighton this weekend. The Seagulls have scored just 22 times in the league this season, which is actually more than Swansea have managed, but they are not on the same upward trajectory. I fancy Carvalhal’s men to walk this one, and Fabianski is a brilliant choice to rack up the save points.

Premium Option: Hugo Lloris (5.4m) 

A lot of the big clubs have tricky fixtures this week, but Tottenham travel to wildly inconsistent Crystal Palace. Despite sitting fifth in the league table, Spurs are having another good season under Mauricio Pochettino. They have registered three clean sheets in their last four Premier League games, which have included clashes with Manchester United and Arsenal, and are the fourth best defensive side in the top flight. The Eagles meanwhile have scored more than once in just one of their last seven games, and will be without the talismanic Wilfried Zaha for this match. Lloris hasn’t looked quite the same keeper this season as he has in previous campaigns, but Tottenham shouldn’t struggle to shut down this misfiring Palace offence.

Defenders 

Budget Option: Jamaal Lascelles (4.7m)

For a club undergoing a messy change in ownership that has prevented them from really flexing their muscles in the January transfer window, Newcastle are doing fairly well for themselves. Veteran coach Rafa Benitez is probably the man to thank for that, and he oversaw a remarkable 1-0 win over Manchester United in their last league game. This weekend they get a slightly easier tie against Bournemouth, and the Magpies haven’t conceded more than a single goal in seven of their last eight Premier League matches. The Cherries were soundly beaten by struggling Huddersfield last time out, and might not have enough to break down what can be a stout Newcastle defence.

Budget Option: Ahmed El-Sayed Hegazi (4.7m)

It seems foolish to suggest starting a defender from the club that is sitting rock bottom of the Premier League, having conceded 40 goals in 27 games. The club is West Brom however, a notoriously good defensive side on their day, and in a relegation six-pointer against Huddersfield this weekend I fancy them to grind out a result. Five of the Baggies’ seven clean sheets this season have come at home, but this is as much a fixture pick as it is a confident one. The Terriers have scored just 23 goals this season, and blanked in all three of their games before an outlier 4-1 win over Bournemouth. Alan Pardew must have an impact at some stage, and this game is as good a bet as any.

Premium Option: Virgil van Dijk (5.5m) 

I like Van Dijk as a pick this week for the same reason I like Hugo Lloris. For a lot of the top clubs this is a tough weekend, but Liverpool get West Ham at Anfield, which is a game you have to assume that they will win. After a rough start, the Dutch centre half has made a big impact defensively for the Reds, who have kept three clean sheets in their last four games across all competitions. That includes a 0-5 away dismantling of Porto in the Champions League, and the Hammers shouldn’t put up much more of a challenge than the Portuguese giants did.

Premium Option to AVOID: Nacho Monreal (5.7m)

The Arsenal fullback bagged two goals and two assists in two games a couple of weeks back and everyone went crazy. Any sane person could have told you that that trend wasn’t going to continue, and he thus blanked in his next two matches. Without attacking value Monreal relies on clean sheets, and Arsenal are statistically the worst defensive side in the top seven. Arsene Wenger’s men are without a clean sheet in their last nine league games, which is appalling for a club of their size, and they face Manchester City in this gameweek. Good luck to them, that’s all I’m going to say.

Bonus Tips

This gameweek finds itself in the bizarre situation of having all its games fall at the weekend, except for Arsenal v Manchester City, which is on the following Thursday. Don’t panic when you find your Agueros and Aubameyangs on zero points at the end of the weekend, just sarcastically applaud the crazy fixture scheduling.

There are a lot of big games in this gameweek, with Manchester United facing Chelsea and Arsenal facing Manchester City. These games are always difficult to predict, but most FPL managers will have a lot of players involved in these games. The key is to keep an eye on team news and, honestly, guess the right way with which teams you think will come out on top.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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