The return of last season’s heroes gradually, gameweek by gameweek continued last week with Harry Kane coming up trumps with a hat trick. However, one game isn’t enough for me to back him for this week’s Stag’s Knight, combined with the fact that Spurs’ fixtures aren’t all that great. Instead, it’s Gameweek 9’s man of the moment Georginio “Wij” Wijnaldum who comes in as my top pick for the upcoming three gameweeks. For the Dutchman, it’s a combination of partial form, undoubted ability and fixtures that make him the standout pick.
I’ll hit all the nails I just outlined on the head now, starting with form. Wij’s returns have been more consistent than Newcastle’s results for a start. In the two games before the infamous 4 goal bonanza against Norwich, when the Toon faced Chelsea and Arsenal, he managed to get a goal and then an assist. In addition to that, Wij also scored on his Premier League debut against Southampton in Gameweek 1. You have a certain comfort in picking Wij too that you wouldn’t have often wouldn’t have when you’re dealing with players from other teams – almost everything Newcastle do successfully in attack goes through him. Of the 12 goals they’ve managed to score this term, Wij was involved in 7 of them. That’s staggering!
Undoubted ability you say Mr Stag? Prove it! Okay, okay precious readers. Sit down around the fire to hear some career stats. From midfield, he managed to score 56 goals and create a further 24 goals in 154 competitive appearances for PSV over in Holland. Just over one attacking return every second match. Bear in mind also that he managed all that while a young developing player (Wij turns 25 on November 11th). While I’ve outlined his Premier League returns, I didn’t mention the stats that underpin them and highlight his ability further. When you consider how terrible Newcastle have been, averaging 1.5 shots per game and 1.1 key passes per game is quite impressive (whoscored.com). These personal stats are sure to improve as they consistently play weaker opposition over the next three gameweeks, and the team around Wij will find it much easier to supply him.
Speaking of weaker opposition, I’ll outline the enticing fixtures I’ve spoken about. Newcastle host Stoke, go to wayward Bournemouth and then play Leicester in St James’ Park after the International break. Stoke won’t exactly be shrinking violets when they head up to Tyneside. It’s the most difficult of the three. However, the injury to Geoff Cameron is a sure blow to their defence system, as is highlighted by the two goals Watford put past them last weekend after he was forced off. Need I explain Bournemouth? Boruc has suddenly become the poorest ‘keeper in the division and the team have shipped 10 goals in their last two games. Leicester are still poor defensively, their first clean sheet of the season last weekend doesn’t change that. Oh yeah, why didn’t I choose him last week so? Two reasons, derby and new manager playing at home. Two things I always fear.
6.9m, 7% ownership and a key attacking outlet. Georginio Wijnaludum is Gameweek 11’s Stag’s Knight. @FPLStag
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