Walt's GW21 #JackInTheBox: CLINT DEMPSEY
The window is open (has been since January 1) and quite honestly I haven't looked at fixture lists or ownership percentages for one single second. Ever since reading the words "Clint Dempsey" and "Fulham physical" in the same sentence a few weeks ago my GW21 #JackInTheBox was decided.
Holy crap though; the reasons NOT to pick him will pound you in the face like a right-left-right-left flyweight combination that has you knocked on your tookus before you even know what hit you. Within two years he went from a Fulham standout seeking a Champions League transfer to someone struggling to score a goal in a league that, although a proud American, I can't claim with certainty is among the top 10 leagues in the world. He hasn't played a minute of EPL football this season and there's nothing about his recent form that would lead you to believe he will hit the ground running. He will be playing on a team that I will say is struggling because I can't quickly think of a better word to describe a team whose only real bragging rights lately are that they're not owned by Vincent Tan and aren't managed by Big Sam.
There really are only two reasons to cling to in selecting him. The first; he lit it up the last time he wore a Fulham jersey and the London club and its fans (including our good friend @samsonmcmuffin) are buzzing with hope that he will do it again. The second, and the one that made him a lock for me before even stepping out onto the field; he's CLINT DEMPSEY!
I mean, come on..... he's Captain America. Every living, breathing American fan with red, white and blue stars and stripes coursing through their veins knows that when times are tough, when the you-know-what has hit the fan, and there are two minutes left to snatch a point or three from the hands of defeat, he's the man that will do it. He's not going to dazzle you with fancy footwork and dizzying dribbles up and down the pitch leaving outstretched defenders in his wake. He's not going to use inhuman speed to surge past a slew of defenders and cause a keeper to make a game-threatening, 10-man creating lunge as he nudges the ball by. He doesn't do either of those things. His modus operandi is much more cunning and lethal than that: he just simply FINDS A WAY.
Whether it's a scrum in a middle of the penalty box during an incoming corner and the ball just winds up at his feet; whether it's making that subtle run behind the defender that enables him to tap the ball home from a cross that really was meant to be a shot; or whether he's using his body to physically block the keeper's view before turning and shooting, he doesn't score the prettiest goals in the world, but he FINDS A WAY. And the goals he scores using his grit and determination and his persistence earn his side the same number of points as the dazzling, curling free kick from 30 yards out or the take-your-breath-away grandeur of a Suarez or Van Persie special.
His recent form may be crappy, but he's one of those guys that it's just not a good idea to bet against. Always remember, Fulham fans:
"Where there's a Clint, there's a way."
That's right... I went there ;)
See you guys again in a few days when I prepare the FPLHints GW21 Review!!
Until then, Happy GW21 Everybody,