Fantasy Football can be a cruel mistress. We love her, we care for her, we invest considerable time and effort in her. And yet, sometimes, she chews us up and spits us out without showing even the faintest sign of remorse.
Gameweek 13 was one of those weeks. Not a single goal, assist, or bonus point was accrued by our keeper, defence, or midfield. Fortunately, our front line saved us from complete and utter devastation. Still, 45 points is neither the kind of score we aspire to nor are proud of, especially in a gameweek where the average was 55 points, and the highest a whopping 129. So what do we do? Do we do away with the pain and the hurt? Not a chance! We love more, care more, and invest more, and hopefully, hopefully, we’ll do better…
We should have known we were in for a rollercoaster of a weekend from the very first game. The signs were there. Marcus Rojo, having racked up 8, 6, 8 and 5 points over his previous 4 games, seemed a solid pick for our defence. He was benched. But lady luck shone brightly on us, as he emerged in the 25th minute to replace the hamstrung Ander Herrera, just in time to earn his 60 minutes on the pitch and register the desired clean sheet. Oh what fools we were to believe. The Argentine gave away a penalty in the 86th minute, which Troy Deeney duly converted, and we were left with a meagre 2 point haul to start off the gameweek. Still, a round of applause to Messrs Rojo and Bertrand, who were the joint top scorers in our defence with 2 points apiece. Petr Cech and Scott Dann (1 point each and more late heartbreak for the latter), shame on you. Nevertheless, grudges have no place in Fantasy Football, so read on to see what we make of the bookies odds for clean sheets this weekend…
|Team||Clean Sheet Odds||Implied chance|
Liverpool top the defensive outlook this week, with the bookies giving them a 46% chance of a clean sheet when they entertain freefalling Swansea on Sunday afternoon. Whilst the Reds have not kept a clean sheet in the league since Klopp’s first game against Spurs, they have not been conceding many (5 in 4). The Anfield faithful will be confident of a second clean sheet in the league under their new manager given that Swansea have failed to find the net in 3 of their last 5, including their last away game against the defensively meek Norwich.
Both afforded a 40% chance of a keeping their respective opposition at bay, Crystal Palace and Manchester City rank joint-second. Palace welcome Newcastle to Selhurst Park, where they have registered 2 clean sheets in their last 4, whilst the Magpies have blanked in 4 of their 6 away games this term. The Sky Blues enjoy a home encounter with Southampton, for whom main goalscorer Graziano Pelle is suspended after accruing his fifth yellow card of the season last time out. Still, the chances of a home clean sheet will likely depend on the availability of captain Vincent Kompany, who is currently sidelined with a calf complaint. With the commanding Belgian at the heart of their defence, City have conceded just 1 goal in 8 games. Without him, they have conceded 12 in 5.
Arsenal complete the top 4 this week, as they travel to East Anglia where Norwich lie in wait. The Gunners have kept 6 clean sheets in the league this season, and will be confident of becoming the second team to come away from Carrow Road with a shutout this season (after West Brom in Gameweek 10). Norwich have failed to score in 2 of their last 4.
Sticking with the aforementioned Norwich and Southampton, the bookies see them as the least likely teams to keep clean sheets this weekend, with both being given just a 13% chance. Swansea (14%) and Newcastle (18%) should also be avoided according to the odds, although one glimmer of hope for the Toon is that Palace have scored just 3 in their last 5, and 1 in their last 3 at home.
Our recommendations for your back line this week; Heurelho Gomes, Laurent Koscielny, Alberto Moreno, Seamus Coleman.
We may as well not have picked a midfield last week, as Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling, Willian and Yannick Bolasie all disappointed to score a cumulative grand total of 7 points. However, in-form strikers Harry Kane (2 goals and 3 bonus points), Romelu Lukaku (2 goals and 2 bonus points) and Jamie Vardy (10th consecutive goal and a bonus point) proved to be our saviours as they returned 32 of our 45 points. Hopefully, with the help of the bookies, we can pick an equally explosive midfield this time round…
|Player||Goalscorer Odds||Implied chance|
A familiar name tops the rankings once again. Sergio Aguero, undoubtedly the most gifted forward in the Premier League, is back fully fit and firing again after scoring against Liverpool last time out on his return from injury. The bookies give him a 50% chance of scoring on Saturday against the Saints. We don’t disagree. If City are to maintain their title challenge, having slipped to third, then their golden boy is key.
Another appearance up front for the Gunners, another goal for Olivier Giroud (47%). That’s 4 in his last 5 league games for the Frenchman. A trip to Norwich, who have kept just 1 clean sheet this season, will instill no fear as Giroud looks to build on his recent form this Sunday. Alexis Sanchez (40%), following a midweek brace in the Champions League, is also of interest.
Liverpool players also feature heavily towards the top of the goalscorer rankings having put 4 past Manchester City last time out. The sight of the Swansea defence, who have conceded 10 in their last 6 and look a shadow of the resolute unit we saw last season, will equally instill no fear in the Reds attackers. However, fitness worries will. Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke (both 45%) are yet to return to competitive action, whilst little magician Philippe Coutinho (31%) is a doubt with a hamstring injury. Could Roberto Firmino (34%), in the goals last weekend and finally beginning to show glimpses of his Bundesliga form, be the best shout at Anfield?
What of last weekend’s saviours? Romelu Lukaku (40%) travels to the South Coast to tackle a Bournemouth side conceding an average of 3 goals per game over their last 5. Things look favourable for big Belgian, who has found the net 4 times in his previous 3 outings. Harry Kane (36%), off the back of 7 goals in 4 games, comes up against a Chelsea side who may be beginning to turn their season around. The White Hart Lane clash, in which Kane netted twice last season, represents a real test for both the England hitman and Mourinho’s Blues. Finally, we turn to the form man of all form men. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware that Jamie Vardy (33%) has scored in 10 consecutive Premier League games, and has the chance to beat Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record this weekend against the Dutchman’s old club. The top of the table clash sees the best attack in the division (Leicester, 28 goals scored) face the best defence (United, 9 goals conceded). With the home fans behind the Foxes, and Vardy, we are backing the former non-league player to send The King Power into absolute ecstasy and write his name into English footballing history.
Other alluring options include Mesut Ozil (25%), on the scoresheet in midweek for The Gunners, Ross Barkley (26%) who netted twice last weekend, and Jermain Defoe (25%) who has scored 2 in 3.
Our recommendations for your attacking line-up this week; Romelu Lukaku, Jamie Vardy, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Roberto Firmino, Mesut Ozil, Ross Barkley.
Our recommendations for your captain; Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
Victory is a Fantasy football and anytime goalscorer betting enthusiast. Enjoys SSS – statistics, strategising and spreadsheets. Follow his tips on Twitter.
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