Smokey is sick from all of the extra el-bees he packed on over the holidays, or maybe he’s just sick from the very spirit of Christmas itself. Regardless, I’m taking a stab at the transfer biznass, or so they say.
Before all else, happy everything! Hope you celebrated with as much football as I did, and if you didn’t then shame on you and may the January transfer window epically smash your fantasy prem team to bits and pieces. We had some high scoring matches featuring 28 total goals in 9 matches – with just one from Manchester City! – and we still have Arsenal v Crystal Palace to go as of Thursday morning. That’s an awful lot with the league leading attack only netting 1.
Well GW 20 is kinda semi-effed in the “A” because we have two teams blanking – Spurs and West Ham, who have scored 8 and 5 goals in the last two game weeks. While both of the London-based sides blank in GW 21, they come back with a two-game slate in GW 22, officially marking our first Double Game Week of the 2017/18 season. I could care less if this means you go triple captain on the likes of Kane, Arnautovic, or Lanzini, or just fill your side with some decent shouts to score points.
If your squad his healthy, you really only need 1 bench player able to cover for a potential blank in GW 21. Ideally, your two other benched players are some GW22 double game week players, which would then allow you to at least add one more come the next set of weekend fixtures. The trick, however, is selecting players you won’t want to immediately transfer out afterward, as both Hammers and Spurs have some fantastic looking fixtures in the early part of 2018.
If you don’t have Harry Kane, I suggest targeting two of these four attacking options for GW 22:
Heung-Min Son, Tottenham – £8.0M, MF – Spur’s next 4 (with double game week in GW22: Swansea (A), West Ham (H), Everton (H), Southampton (A). After that, they go ManU, Liverpool, Arsenal, and then another run of 4 fixtures. Son is a great longterm buy, as his performance over the last 6 matches have seen 4 goals and 4 assists, averaging 7.14 points per match. If you don’t have Kane, transferring in 4.2%-owned Son to get a piece of the Spurs’s makes far too much sense.
Manuel Lanzini, West Ham – £6.8M, MF – Lanzini will be fresh off a two-match diving ban and ready to add to a recently inform Hammers’ attack. Only owned in 1.0% of leagues, Lanzini will be primed for some extensive match time and will face off with quite the fortuitous run of upcoming fixtures after the DGW duo of West Brom (H) and Spurs (A); Huddersfield (A), Bournemouth (H), Crystal Palace (H), Brighton (A), Watford (H). He’s a great differential if you’re into that kind of thing.
Marco Arnautovic, West Ham – £6.9M, MF – The most in form player on West Ham, I think you’d be foolish to ignore his recent form and not include him in your squad.
Jesse Lingard, Man Utd – £6.1M, MF – After getting onto the pitch at half time, Lingard proceeded to put up MOTM numbers, scoring two goals to help Manchester United escape defeat home to Burnley. After such a performance, and a staggering 60 points in his last 7 matches, I doubt there are many other midfielders in his price ranges returning as consistently. Mourinho knows he has been vital to some point hauls for the club, and with Southampton (H), Everton (A), Stoke (H) and Burnley (A) as his next four fixtures, I see him having continued success as Mourinho trusts him more and more.
Defensively, let’s consider these guys as your best transfer targets:
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton – £5.5MN, DEF – Kidding! Wait ’til he plays a damn minute for Liverpool before you bring him in, we have noooo idea what Klopp will do once his prize defensive talisman is officially with the Reds. Stay away from big VVD until we have clarity, but other Liverpool assets aren’t bad rotational pieces to use until then.
Deandre Yedlin, Newcastle – £4.4M, DEF or Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle – £4.6M, DEF – Since Lascelles came back in GW17, Newcastle has given up 1 goal home to Everton, 1 goal away to Arsenal, 2 goals away to West Ham and 1 goal home to Man City. The 5 weeks prior that he missed: 4 away to ManU, 3 home to watford, 2 away to West Brom, 1 away to Chelsea and 3 home to Leicester. Newcastle just played a very difficult portion of the season and should have some confidence after playing Man City to a 1-0 finish. They face Brighton (H), Stoke (A) and Swansea (H) in the next 3. You could do a lot worse for a cheap, three week defensive punt than either of these two.
Andreas Christensen, Chelsea – £5.7M, DEF – Christensen missed GW20 due to an illness, but remains the cheapest defensive option to the Chelsea back line, face Stoke at home in GW21, followed by away to Arsenal, home to Leicester, away to Brighton and home to Bournemouth. For a player who had started every match since GW 11, I believe he’ll be back to his Chelsea CS ways over the weekend and now is the last chance to buy.
Kevin Long, Burnley – £4.0M, DEF – Strictly a one-week punt, Long at £4.0m as a DGW place-holder and money saver is a great bargain. With Ward and Tarkowski injured, he is guaranteed to start and not a bad shout for a potential clean sheet the way Burnley ahs played all season. This deal won’t last long, so get it while it’s hot.