Can Leicester win the league? Can you triumph at FantasyBet? The answer to both questions is the same: yes, but there’s a long road and hard work ahead. Last weekend we were pretty much bang on average (51 points), with our selections returning 52 points if you captained Romelu Lukaku or 50 points if you captained Mesut Ozil. Unfortunately, we didn’t recommend Riyad Mahrez, whose hat trick and resulting 21 point haul sent Leicester 2 points clear at the top of the Premier league and many a FantasyBet manager into the prize money.
There were 7 teams that rewarded managers who picked their defensive assets with clean sheets in Gameweek 15, but it’s fair to say that more than a few were unexpected. Stoke kept out Manchester City, whilst Bournemouth incredibly shut out Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Newcastle somehow managed to prevent a rejuvenated Liverpool from finding the back of the net. Well done if you had the steel to field defensive assets from those 3 teams. Only David de Gea (6 points) provided returns from our defensive selections, as Ryan Bertrand, Hector Bellerin and Alberto Moreno all conceded and disappointed, although the latter unfortunately had a perfectly valid goal ruled out for offside. Nevertheless, we push on with this week’s analysis and hope that the Fantasy Gods (and Premier League officials) treat us better this gameweek..
|Team||Clean Sheet Odds||Implied chance|
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool top the defensive rankings this time round with a 52% chance of a clean sheet as they host West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Tony Pulis’ men have the joint-second worst offensive record in the league this season having scored just 14 goals, averaging 0.93 goals per game. Away from home, their record is worse still. They have scored 4 goals in 7 games, a tally only bettered by Newcastle (3 goals away from home). Things look bright for Liverpool this weekend as they look to build on the defensive success from their last home fixture, a 1-0 victory over Swansea.
Speaking of Swansea, they face a daunting trip to the wrong side of Manchester, where City and their attacking riches lie in wait. The Swans haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 9 games, face the league’s deadliest home attack (23 goals in 8 games), and are now managerless. It’s fair to say that we cannot recommend any Swansea defensive assets for this gameweek. City (48%) are ranked second by the bookies, although their defensive toils without captain Vincent Kompany have been well-documented. If the Belgian centre back manages to make the team sheet, the Sky Blues will definitely fancy their chances of shutting out a Swansea side who have blanked in 4 of their last 5 games.
North London rivals Tottenham (47%) and Arsenal (44%) rank third and fourth respectively. Spurs entertain the aforementioned worst attacking travellers in the division, Newcastle, whilst Arsenal travel to Villa Park to take on the worst home attack in the division, with the Villains having scored just 5 goals in front of their own fans. With both teams having only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 6, improvement at the back will be expected this weekend.
Elsewhere, Manchester United (38%), with 9 clean sheets and 10 goals conceded have the best defence in the league. They travel to Bournemouth on Saturday evening, who have found their shooting boots lately, having scored 6 goals in their previous 3 games. In terms of who to avoid, the bookies recommend steering clear of defensive stock from Swansea, Newcastle, West Brom, Aston Villa and Bournemouth, all with a 25% or lower chance of keeping a clean sheet this weekend according to the bookies.
Our recommendations for your back line this week; David de Gea, Toby Alderweireld, Alberto Moreno, Aleksandr Kolarov.
Odion Ighalo (goal, assist, 2 bonus: 10 points) and Romelu Lukaku (goal, 2 bonus: 8 points) were the main contributors to our points total last gameweek, as Jamie Vardy and Mesut Ozil also chipped in with an assist each. Still, we know that somewhere within the bookies odds lies the key to much greater Fantasy riches, so we move forward with our analysis of this weekend’s offering..
|Player||Goalscorer Odds||Implied chance|
|Kevin de Bruyne||2.62||38.17%|
For the first time this season, the bookies odds present us with 3 strikers who have a better than 50% chance of scoring. Harry Kane (55%), Wilfried Bony (52%) and Daniel Sturridge (50%) all hold strong appeal as Fantasy options.
Kane, despite blanking against West Brom and Chelsea lately, still has 8 Premier League goals to his name this term and will certainly fancy himself to get back on track against a Newcastle side conceding an average of 2 goals per game this season, the joint worst in the division. Meanwhile, in the expected absence of Sergio Aguero, Wilfried Bony is poised to lead the line against his former club Swansea on Saturday. The Ivorian will be looking to add to his 2 league goals this season, and with Swansea having conceded 10 goals in their last 5, attacking returns from his ex-striker could close the curtains on Garry Monk’s managerial career in South Wales. Daniel Sturridge’s class and talent need no introduction. Whether or not he will start the weekend clash against West Brom is another matter, with Klopp keen to manage his minutes after returning from a lengthy period of injury problems. Even if the England frontman does get his name into the starting XI, Liverpool’s home attacking record (8 goals in 7 games) combined with West Brom’s strong defence away from home (5 goals conceded in 7 games) does little to overly inspire confidence. The latest news suggests that Sturridge is a major injury doubt for the weekend, so Christian Benteke (48%) is likely to lead the line for the Reds in his absence.
Olivier Giroud (48%) found the net against Sunderland last time out to take his tally to 5 goals in 7 games in the league, whilst also netting a sublime hat trick in the Champions League on Wednesday night. The Frenchman travels to Aston Villa, with Remi Garde’s men having conceded 8 goals in his 4 games in charge. The Villains will have to improve somewhat if they are to prevent Arsenal’s talented, albeit injury-ravaged, attack, spearheaded by Giroud, from piling more misery onto the Premier League’s basement dwellers. Romelu Lukaku (38%), fresh from scoring in his 5th consecutive game against Crystal Palace on Monday night, travels to East Anglia in Saturday’s early kick off. Whilst Norwich haven’t been too bad at home (9 goals conceded in 7), Everton have moved up an attacking gear recently, notching 8 in their previous 3.
Jamie Vardy (38%) and Riyad Mahrez (28%) enjoy home comforts against Chelsea on Monday night. With the Blues in turmoil, the Foxes’ main men, despite Vardy’s record-breaking scoring run ending last weekend, will certainly be confident of breaching Mourinho’s back line, having scored in every Premier League game this season.
Elsewhere, intriguing options include Kevin de Bruyne (38%) against the aforementioned struggling Swans, Dele Alli (30%), who continues to blossom in his maiden top-flight season, versus Newcastle, and in-form Watford strike duo Odion Ighalo (34%) and Troy Deeney (31%) at the Stadium of Light.
Our recommendations for your attacking line-up this week; Romelu Lukaku, Troy Deeney, Olivier Giroud, Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli.
Our recommendations for your captain; Romelu Lukaku and Olivier Giroud.
Victory is a Fantasy football and anytime goalscorer betting enthusiast. Enjoys SSS – statistics, strategising and spreadsheets. Follow his tips on Twitter.