Friday, 9 December 2016

Seb's GW15 Preview

Teams, Games and Players to Look Out For


Clearly, the most in form team in the Premier League is Chelsea. The table toppers have won eight matches on the trot, and there have been no signs that this form will change. In this eight game period, Chelsea have netted 22 goals, and conceded only 2, keeping 6 clean sheets. On the attacking front, Chelsea players have excelled over this eight game period. Diego Costa (6 goals & 4 assists), Eden Hazard (6 goals & 2 assists) and Pedro (3 goals & 4 assists) have all provided consistent hauls to their owners. For those looking for a budget option, wing back Victor Moses could be a viable option. Although listed as a midfielder, Moses still has the potential to bring home points despite his more defensive role. In this period, Moses has managed 13 shots (2 goals) and 8 shot assists (1 assist), which is actually more than attacking midfielders such as Pedro (12 shots), Mahrez (11 shots). Defensively, all Chelsea defenders offer exceptional clean sheet potential. However, the clear in form stand out option is Marcos Alonso. Alonso is arguably the most valuable FPL asset from the Chelsea team, and his introduction to the starting team coincided with the start of Chelsea’s current eight match unbeaten run. During this period, he has had 13 shots (1 goal) and 11 shot assists (2 assists). Although, his shot frequency (1 every 55.38 mins) is inferior to Moses’ 53.07, his superior creativity as well as the fact that he is classified as a defender makes him a near essential FPL asset. Furthermore, Chelsea’s next five fixtures (WBA, sun, cry, BOU, STK) are highly favourable, which heightens the appeal of all Chelsea players. Ideally, all FPL managers would love to have Alonso, Hazard and Costa in their teams. However, this may not be possible due to the form of other players such as the red hot Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane. As a result, turning to players such as Moses and Pedro or Willian may become more common. Nevertheless, due to form, it is necessary to own at least one Chelsea player over their coming run of fixtures.


The history of matches can tell us a great deal of information. This is applicable to Arsenal vs Stoke this GW. Arsenal have won each of their last 14 home games against Stoke, keeping eight clean sheets along the way. Also, Stoke’s last away win at The Emirates came in the 1981/82 season, which highlights Arsenal dominance in this fixture. In fact, Arsenal have kept clean sheets in their past three meeting against Stoke. As a result, Laurent Koscielny, who has had three shots on target and 1 goal in his last two home games vs Stoke is a standout option this GW. On the attacking front, Arsenal players are also top options in GW15. In this fixture last season, Mesut Ozil created 8 chances (1 assist) and had a clear cut opportunity saved. Theo Walcott also excelled in this fixture last season, taking 8 shots (all inside the box) in which 5 were clear cut chances, and netting a goal. However, the main man in this fixture has been the currently in form Alexis Sanchez. In his past two home matches against Stoke, Sanchez has scored 2 goals and provided 1 assist, with a shot frequency of 1 every 14.5 minutes and a rate of 1 chance created every 34.8 minutes. Therefore, history suggest that Arsenal should beat Stoke comfortably, keeping a shut out in the process, which brings both defensive and attacking options from Arsenal into play.

Injuries and Player Availability

 Manchester City are the team that has been the hardest hit by injures and suspensions recently. Guardiola’s first choice centre back pairing of Kompany and Otadmendi has been torn apart, with Kompany (knee ligament injury – 02/01/2017) and Otamendi (5 yellow cards) both ruled out. Fernandinho, who has shielded the City back four so well this season, is also ruled out, having been handed a three game ban. Again, Sergio Aguero has been suspended, this time for four games for his horror tackle on David Luiz. Additionally, just to compound all these losses, Raheem Sterling is doubtful for the weekend, having picked up a knock against Burnely. Therefore, injuries to main players in key areas have weakened the already leaky City defence, and potentially lessened the potency of their attack.

Everton have been struck hard by injuries this week. First, Seamus Coleman was substituted with a shoulder injury and is now doubtful for the weekend. Then a minute later, Yannick Bolasie sustained a season ending injury, rupturing his ACL. These two right sided players are key to the Everton side, especially the attacking play. Four of Romelu Lukaku’s seven goals this season have been assisted by Bolasie, so the injury to the Congolese flyer will significantly reduce the appeal of Lukaku. Also, the appeal of Everton’s defence is also reduced without Coleman, who is ranked 11th amongst all players for average tackles per game.

Another team which has been impacted by injuries and suspensions is Watford. Like City, two of their key centre backs are injured, with Cathart ruled out and Kaboul doubtful. Additionally, right wing back Daryl Janmaat is also higly doubtful. This lessens the appeal of Watford defenders as they are now less likely to keep a clean sheet. Furthermore, Roberto Pereyra has been handed a one match ban after receiving a red card against West Brom. This diminishes the appeal of Troy Deeney, as he will not have a player with the creative skills such as Pereyra to provide him chances.

Finally, Liverpool have also been impacted by injuries. Philippe Coutinho is an obvious loss due to his form and talent. However, Liverpool do have other attacking players to fill the gap left by Coutinho. Despite a calf injury ruling Daniel Sturridge out, Klopp already has fit attacking players, Firmino, Origi, Lallana, Wijnaldum and ManĂ© (recently passed fit after knock sustained vs Bournemouth) at his disposal. The biggest concern for Liverpool is the absence of Joel Matip, who has returned to training following his injury but may not be ready to start this weekend. In the three league games where Matip has not started this season, Liverpool have conceded 9 goals. In comparison, in the eleven games he has started, The Reds have conceded 9 goals. This indicates his immense importance to Liverpool and highlights how key a player he is to them. With Matip playing, the Liverpool defence is still not the tightest and doesn’t offer great clean sheet potential, but Lovren and Clyne are still viable options due to their price and attacking output. However, when Matip does not start, the Liverpool defence becomes diabolical. Despite the attacking talent Klopp’s side possesses, he cannot rely on outscoring the opposition to win every game, and a time will come when his side must defend to stay in the game. If this cannot be done, Liverpool may find themselves lower on the table than expected and not dominating games as they would like. Therefore, without Matip, the appeal of all Liverpool players is greatly reduced.

Potential Stand out Players

Alexis Sanchez vs Stoke (home) - £11.6 (TSB 31.4%)

To be fair to Stoke, their form has been quite solid as of late. However, I can’t look past Alexis Sanchez this week as one of the top captain picks. With 5 goals, 1 assist and 37 points in his last two matches, Sanchez is pretty much untouchable at the moment. Compound this with his history against Stoke (2 goals and 1 assist in his past two matches with a shot frequency of 1 every 14.5mins) and Arsenal’s record when taking on the Potters, Sanchez clearly has the potential to be a standout player this GW.

Eden Hazard vs West Brom (home) - £10.4 (TSB 36.9%)

I know that Hazard is an obvious pick, but there are few players with greater potential to stand out this GW. In his seven home appearances this season, Hazard has netted 6 of his 8 goals, and recorded a shot frequency of 1 every 23.6 minutes. Chelsea’s superb form boosts Hazard’s appeal this GW, as The Blues have scored 14 goals in their last 4 home games. Also, Chelsea have scored 5 goals in their past 2 games against West Brom, and 6 in their past 3 home clashes with The Baggies. Moreover, West Brom have not kept an away clean sheet since GW1, which further increases Hazard’s potential for points this GW.

Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Sunderland (home) - £7.4 (TSB 7.6%)

Although a differential, I believe that Sigurdsson has the potential to outperform some of the heavy hitters this GW. In Swansea’s last home game, they put 5 goals past Palace, and Sigurdsson netted a goal and provided an assist in this game. He also registered 7 shots. More broadly, 25/43 of Siggy’s shots have come at The Liberty this season, with a rate of 1 every 25.15 minutes. Now looking at his opposition in GW15, Sunderland have not kept an away clean sheet this season. Delving in Swansea’s history against The Black Cats, Swansea have scored 9 goals in their last 4 home games against Sunderland. Furthermore, in his two matches against Sunderland last season, Siggy managed 8 shots (1 every 22.5mins) and 6 shot assists. Therefore, Sigurdsson clearly has the potential to reward his owners greatly this GW.

Punt Picks

Victor Anichebe vs Swansea (away) - £4.7 (TSB 4.3%)

Despite Defoe’s record against Swansea (5 goals in past 3), I’m backing Victor Anichebe to score more points this GW. This is due to his exceptional underlying stats. Taking Sunderland’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield where Moyes instructed his side to “park the bus” out of the picture, Anichebe has excelled since being instated into the first team four games ago. Of his 15 shots in these three games (1 every 24mins), 11 of them have come inside the box. He has also netted 2 goals and registered an assist. This highlights the clear attacking threat Anichebe possesses, and he should be able to exploit a Swansea defence which has conceded a league high 31 goals, including 9 in their past two games.

Christian Benteke vs Hull (away) - £7.6 (TSB 7.8%)

With 4 goals and 1 assist in his last 4 games, Christian Benteke has the potential to excel this GW. In addition to his goal scoring form in his last 4 games, his overall form is evidenced in his underlying stats, where he has registered 13 shots (1 every 26.9mins), 12 of which came from inside the box. Although Hull are not in the worst form, they still have a leaky defence, and expect Benteke to get the better of them this GW.

Divock Origi vs West Ham (home) - £6.6 (TSB 3.0%)

Despite the limited statistical data available backing this selection due to Origi’s limited game time, I believe that he could be a solid sneaky differential captain pick this GW. In his two league games this season where he has had enough time to make an impact, he has done so, netting 2 goals and picking up 2 bonus points. He has also scored 2 goals in his 3 starts for The Reds in the EFL Cup this season. Origi’s appeal is heightened by the creative players around him, with Firmino, Lallana, Wijnaldum and Henderson all capable of finding a pass to unlock a defence, in which Origi is capable of capitalising on due to his pace and finishing. Furthermore, Origi is also a solid captain pick due to the opposition he will face. West Ham have an extremely leaky defence, who have shipped 9 goals in their past two games in all competitions. However, this Origi option does have a slight element of risk. With Lallana sitting on the bench, he will want to force his way back into the starting side, and if this occurs, Origi may be the one to miss out, with Wijnaldum shifting to the left wing and Firmino moving back to centre forward. Nevertheless, Origi’s potential outweighs this risk, and he will definitely be wanting to make it three goals in three games this GW.  

Score Predictions

WAT 1 (Amrabat) | EVE 0

ARS 3 (Walcott x2, Sanchez) | STK 0

BUR 1 (Gray) | BOU 1 (Wilson)

HUL 1 (Snodgrass) | CRY 2 (Townsend, Benteke)

SWA 2 (Sigurdsson, Barrow) | SUN 4 (Anichebe x2, Defoe x2)

LEI 1 (Slimani) | MCI 1 (De Bruyne)

CHE 4 (Costa, Hazard, Pedro, Moses) | WBA 0

MUN 1 (Ibrahimovic) | TOT 1 (Alli)

SOU 2 (Redmond, Van Dijk) | MID 2 (Fischer x2)

LIV 3 (Mane, Origi, Firmino) | WHU 1 (Carroll)

So, with all this being said, here is the Star Picks XI for GW15

 If you have any questions about GW15 or need some advice on your team, please don’t hesitate to contact me on twitter – I’m happy to help.

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Enjoy this week’s Premier League action and good luck to all FPL managers for GW15.

By Sebastian Candido
(Twitter: @sebcandido)