Pick of the week – GW16

It’s Friday, and that means another edition of Pick of the Week to help with your team selections for this week’s games.

Remember, at FantasyBet, you can play new games every week, meaning you never have to make long-term planning when acquiring players for your team. Next week, there are brand new fixtures and brand new games, meaning your could buy an entire brand new set of players.

Let’s start off by looking at last week, as always, which was pretty much a complete screw-up. We all know what happened to Sergio Agüero just a couple of minutes into the game. After a seemingly harmless challenge, he goes to the ground with great pain. Our favourite Argentinian leaves the pitch in tears in heart-breaking fashion. Fantasy wise, he only got one point, which certainly was disappointing, but he earned our sympathy as well. That’s probably not helping him much, but Agüero really deserves a break when it comes to injuries.

The remaining two on our list was Christian times two. Benteke was the better of the two, setting up Alan Hutton for the winning goal against Leicester. Hutton’s goal was his first in four years! Christian Eriksen’s best contribution was his brilliant dragged nutmeg on Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly. Unfortunlately, you don’t get style points in (fantasy) football, so Eriksen ended up with two points after picking up a late yellow card for his bad foul on Marouane Chamakh.

Total score: 8 points. Moving on..

This week’s fixtures

7 matches on Saturday, and we’ll try to pick the teams with most favourable opponents. The first team that catches our eye is in-form Manchester City who plays Leicester away. Although it could probably not be a worse time for their star player to get injured, they’ll still have a couple of well-known names to step in and do the job. Man City also have an extremely favourable December schedule, and fantasy wise it would probably be a good idea to put a few City players on your short list (you can make players favourites through the player information popup for easy access later).

Last time around, Chelsea found themselves slipping for the first time this season, but we’re pretty sure this was a one-time work accident, and are eager to show this at home to Hull. Although the visitors have collected more points on the road this season, and conceded 11 which is not too bad considering their position, no-one haven’t been able to cause much trouble for Chelsea at their own playground so far. This might be the biggest favourite this weekend.

West Ham is travelling to Sunderland on Saturday. They will be loaded with confidence after three straight wins, Andy Carroll back to his good old self last weekend and Diafra Sakho back on the scoresheet as well. Sunderland are usually drawing their matches (9 draws out of 15), but needs to start winning in order to stay clear of the relegation zone. No one really believes West Ham are good enough to stay where they’re at right now, but this match surely is winnable, but we won’t be surprised if the teams end up with one point each here. When was the last time Andy Carroll played two good matches in a row?

West Brom haven’t really found any home form yet, and appear a lot more stingy when away from the Hawthorns.  Aston Villa is paying their visits this weekend, and are bringing a bit of a momentum with five matches without defeat. Benteke is making an impact after his return from suspension, but this match is difficult to predict anything. Any defenders from any of these teams wouldn’t be in our recommendations.

The big match this weekend is taking place at the Theatre of Dreams, with the all-time classic Manchester United – Liverpool. Everybody who loves football got to love these clashes that always live their own life. Manchester United are firm favourites, but usually form is out the window when these two clash together. United are historically the best team in this clash with 13 league wins since the Premier League started. Liverpool has won 5 and 4 have ended with a draw, but not since 2000 have the two teams split the points. Last time around, Liverpool beat their rivals 3-0 at Old Trafford, but we would think Louis Van Gaal is eager to revenge his predecessor David Moyes. Whether you choose to use any players from these teams or not, be sure to tune in on Sunday morning for this classic!

Everton must feel really disappointed by what they’ve achieved so far this season. Roberto Martinez’ first season as Everton manager ended in fifth place, which is one below their fourth place finish in 2006/2007, but with an all-time high in terms of points (72). One win in six matches and 3 matches without a win makes Toffees close to bottom on the form table. Harry Redknapp and QPR is going to try to grab their first points on the road this weekend. The R’s away goal difference is 2-17, which means they score fewest and concede by far the most in the league when they’re not playing on their own turf. This is a must win for Everton if they wants to avoid being left behind. This is the Monday night match, by the way.

Pick of the week

This weekend, we’ll be changing the setup of the pick of the week. Instead of giving you three players, we’ll be giving your our recommendations in each position.

Goalkeeper – Thibaut Courtois (CHE)

As mentioned in our fixture assessment, Chelsea are heavy favourites at home against Hull. In fact, the away team scoring would probably come as somewhat of a surprise for many. Courtois will probably not grab any points from making a lot of saves, which means he probably won’t be the highest scoring goalkeeper this weekend. On the other hand, since Chelsea will keep a clean sheet so often in this game, his expected point value will be higher than anyone else this weekend. If Chelsea were to keep a clean sheet 7 out of 10 times home against Hull, Courtois will be averaging 4.8 points per game.

Defender – Leighton Baines (EVE)

We do not believe that Everton is not playing at their full potential. Romelu Lukaku has scored 6, but he is capable of far more. Everton is having an excellent chance of scooping QPR this weekend, who just can’t make things right away from Loftus Road. As mentioned earlier, 3 away goals is the record so far, something that should scare no one. Leighton Baines is very involved in Everton’s attacking play, which can be seen through his six assists and two goals so far. Also, Baines is taking the penalties, and he usually put them away in a secure fashion (yes, he missed against Man Utd earlier this year).

We’re expecting good chances of a clean sheet, and won’t be surprised if he picks up an assist or a goal as well. Another (cheaper) option could be Nathaniel Clyne or Ryan Bertrand, both offensive full backs on Southampton, who plays Burnley away.

Midfielder – Oscar (CHE)

Since Chelsea is playing Hull at home, we expect a comfortable win with potentially quite a few goal points overall. Some might argue that Eden Hazard would be a better pick than Oscar, since he is scoring more goals than his colleague. We believe Oscar is a better pick for two reasons:

  1. Price. Oscar is valued at £8.5m, while Hazard is more on the expensive side, costing £10m.
  2. Oscar being more effective in terms of points per minute

To elaborate on the second one, Oscar has played 1041 minutes so far, over 13 matches. Hazard has played 1306 minutes, over 15 matches. Oscar has three goals and five assists versus Hazard’s five goals and two assists. This gives Hazard 31 goal points (points for goals and assists), and Oscar ends up with 27. Crushing these numbers show that Oscar is getting a goal point each 38 minutes, while Hazard uses 42 minutes per goal point. This makes Oscar slightly more effective than his team-mate, but the drawback is that Oscar is more often the one being sacrificed when Mourinho makes changes during the match. Oscar has only finished 5 out of his 13 starts, while Hazard has been subbed 5 out of 15 starts. This is advantage Hazard in terms of picking between those two, but Oscar being the cheaper choice tips the scale in his favour.

If you can afford it, selecting both would not be complete craziness!

Forward – Robin van Persie (MANU)

Manchester United are facing a Liverpool that looks uninspired, low on morale and self-esteem and very little creative moving forward. United, on the other hand, are not playing fantastic either, but they are still winning matches, which is exactly how we remember them from the period of sir Alex Fergusons’s regime. Now it also looks like van Persie is also finding form, scoring both goals in the 2-1 win against Southampton. He also had one goal and one assist in the 3-0 victory against Hull a couple of weeks ago.

If van Persie can continue his run, and grab a few goals in the matches to come, who knows where the season will end for Manchester United. This match will most definitively produce goals, and van Persie might easily be the one who tips the scale in favour of the Red Devils.

Another option could be Edin Dzeko, who is likely to replace Sergio Agüero in the Man City attack, although he has not scored since City beat Hull 4-2 on September 27. He did not play a ton during this period though, but we’re unsure whether he can fill the shoes of Agüero in his absence.

Good luck with your games this weekend, remember the deadline to enter our games at 20 minutes before kick-off.

Eirik Henriksen

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