Thursday, 1 October 2015

Stag's Knight - Gameweek 8

The Stag surveyed the expanse of colours laid out before him. The jerseyed knights jostled for positions, snarling as they sought the upper ground and over enthusiastically celebrated their triumphs. However, The Stag required a differential.  Only a knight less than 20% of the herd would do.  Only one knight could help him vault the others over the next 3 gameweeks.  Only one knight could bring him the fabled Green Arrows.  A knight to brighten his day.

FPL's a funny old game isn't it? You spend a whole week carefully deciding on transfers, you daydream about your players scoring hat tricks and you subdue the awful possibility that the player you transferred out does well. At the end of the day it's all a bit of luck. 53 missed shots and no goals caused me to ditch Alexis before gameweek 7. You can imagine my pain as he tore Leicester's porous defence to shreds. I feared for my selection of Coutinho as Stag's Knight after he wasted multiple opportunities against Norwich for the same reason, lots of shots and no returns. Yet there he was assisting the returning prodigal son Daniel Sturridge to two goals against Villa. If there's any lesson to be taken here, it's that irrational patience is key (I don't really believe this but it has proven true this season). Does that bode well for Aguero owners? I hope so!

With Nathan Redmond, the same principle could be applied in a microcosmic way. Sure, he started the season on fire, racking up 24 points in three gameweeks for only £5.5m; after that though, things changed. A drought descended where the young Englishman failed to pull any attacking returns for three games despite his team netting 4 goals. In the ruthless world of professional football, nobody is safe and Redmond's was punished for his dip in performance, dropping from the starting line up to play West Ham. He showed real character (at risk of sounding like Brendan Rodgers) by slotting home in the 83rd minute with a low shot to put his team in a lead that was cancelled out late on.

Why then, after telling you all that Redmond was dropped for poor performances, am I telling you to pick the £5.7m, 7.7% owned midfielder? Is he even guaranteed his place in the team?
Well I'll attempt to allay your fears. Redmond didn't start the Canaries' first game this season in the 3-1 defeat to Palace but he did score a goal in his 37 minute cameo as a sub. For that, Alex Neil rewarded Redmond with a string of starts which lasted until gameweek 7. As far as evidence goes, that's as much as is available right now. As always, keeping an ear open to the manager's press conference would be worthwhile, worry not, there's no risk of price changes with Redmond.

Delving into the stats, in 500 minutes of Premier League football so far this season, Redmond's offensive averages are not to be scoffed at. He has had an average of 1.7 shots per game and gives 2.3 key passes per game. Keep in mind that with those he has returned 3 goals and an assist. He also acquired 5 bonus points in gameweeks 2 and 3.

Finally I'll run through the fixtures. Norwich entertain Leicester before travelling to Newcastle and then hosting West Brom. Leicester STILL haven't kept a clean sheet so far this season in spite of their unbelievable form. They're the sort of team that try to outscore their opponents rather than choke them out and win 1-0. It would be astounding if Norwich fail to put at least one past Kasper Schmeichel. Everyone to visit St James' Park so far the season has managed to score and Norwich have lost only once on their travels under Alex Neil. Both those facts bode well for Redmond to do himself justice. Finally the home game against Tony Pulis' men would be tough for any team. I could see this game falling to a stalemate or exploding into life, let's hope it’s the latter with gameweek 8's Stag's Knight Nathan Redmond getting on the scoresheet!

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