CAN WALCOTT HELP US NAVIGATE THE BLANKS? | Gameweek 27: Players to Watch
Posted by FFPundits
8:10am Feb 7 2018
Can Everton’s Theo Walcott help us navigate the blank fixtures in Gameweek 31?
Many Fantasy Premier League managers have followed the great work done by Ben Crellin on Twitter this season, as he once again helps us all navigate through the upcoming blanks and double Gameweek’s with his amazing spreadsheet.
With one eye firmly on the BLANK Gameweek 31 fixture schedule, it’s time we began to shape our teams in preparation, with players from Liverpool and Everton at the top of our watch list.
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Theo Walcott vs. Crystal Palace (H)
Since his transfer to Everton, the former Arsenal man has impressed, providing 2 goals and 1 assist from 3 starts. With form and fixtures on his side, could now be the time to pick up the £7.3m midfielder?
Over the last 4 Gameweeks, only Salah (5), Ward-Prowse (5) and the injured Arnautovic (4) have contributed to more goals than Walcott (3), while the Everton midfielder’s tally of 5 shots on target is on par with Eden Hazard; only 4 midfielders have taken more in that time.
Walcott has been involved in 2 big chances over the same period, which puts him joint 5th amongst midfielders, behind Salah (5), Sterling, Son and Mané (3).
Everton have a kind run of fixtures to come, including home games against Crystal Palace and Brighton and are guaranteed to play in Gameweek 31, when a number of teams will have their fixtures postponed due to the FA Cup games.
So, picking Walcott up now will help us navigate the Gameweek 31 blank fixtures.
Everton face Crystal Palace in Gameweek 27, a side that have conceded 9 big chances over the last 4 Gameweeks; only Swansea, Newcastle (10) and Everton themselves (16) have conceded more.
Roberto Firmino vs. Southampton (A)
With Gameweek 31 fast approaching, Liverpool are another team we can turn to for players who have a guaranteed fixture that week. Currently, only Liverpool, Watford, Stoke and Everton are certain to play.
For any FPL managers who are not looking to use the Free Hit chip that week, preparing for it with transfers now is a good idea.
Roberto Firmino has played a hand in 3 goals over the last 4 Gameweeks and Liverpool have scored 9 times over that period; only Man City (10) and Arsenal (11) have scored more.
The Reds have a kind fixture list, including home fixtures against West Ham, Newcastle and Watford to come over the next 5 games and they’ll travel to Southampton for Gameweek 27.
No team have kept fewer clean sheets on home turf this season than Southampton, with the Saints keeping out their opponents on just 2 occasions at St. Mary’s. Only Stoke (20) and Watford (26) have conceded more goals at home.
Xherdan Shaqiri vs. Brighton (H)
The Stoke midfielder has boasted some strong underlying numbers since Paul Lambert took charge and found the opening goal against Bournemouth last weekend, during their 2-1 defeat.
Over the last 4 Gameweeks, Shaqiri has directly contributed to 2 goals (1 goal, 1 assist) and his tally of 8 shots on target in that time is joint top amongst midfielders, on par with Kevin De Bruyne, while only Harry Kane (13) has managed more amongst all players.
The Swiss international has also produced 11 attempted assists in that time; only Eden Hazard has more, with 12.
Similarly, Shaqiri’s 3 big chances created over the last 4 Gameweeks is on par with Mkhitaryan, Özil and Alli; no player has produced more.
Stoke host Brighton in Gameweek 27, a team that have conceded 8 times during the last 4 Gameweeks; only Huddersfield and Everton (11) have shipped in more goals over that period.
Charlie Daniels vs. Huddersfield (A)
Bournemouth’s 3-0 away win over Chelsea in Gameweek 25 gave us the opportunity to reconsider their defensive assets, particularly Charlie Daniels, who has played in a left-wing back role and has directly contributed to 2 goals already this season.
Whilst they were unable to build on their clean sheet tally last Gameweek, Bournemouth only conceded the 1 goal during the win over Stoke and their tally of 3 big chances conceded over the past 4 Gameweeks is on par with Man City; no team have conceded fewer over that period.
That number suggests the defence is tightening up just in time for their trip to Huddersfield in Gameweek 27, a side that have scored just once in the last 4 Gameweeks, mustering up just 1 big chance over that period; fewer than every other team.
Spurs at home in Gameweek 30 looks to be Bournemouth’s only tough fixture between now and Gameweek 34, by which time, many of us will be using the second Wildcard, so Daniels could be a good defensive investment until then.
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