Punts of the Week - Gameweek 18 | Manchester United

12:22pm Dec 21 2018

Mourinho OUT and PogBACK? Can Paul Pogba and Manchester United rescue their Premier League season and bring them back to FPL relevance?

daily fantasy tips - week 18

Our Fantasy Football Pundits ‘Punts of the Week’ are back and this time, it’s a Manchester United special.

As we approach the halfway point in the 2018-19 season, there will no doubt be many of you who need to make up ground, and it’s those low ownership players who will make or break the rest of your FPL season.

Well, after Jose Mourhino’s sacking this week, we explore which Manchester United assets could kick-start their seasons – especially with a favourable fixture list over the festive period about to begin.

As a Manchester United fan myself (@FFPundits_Drew), the issues at the club go way deeper than Mourinho – however, I see this change in management as a positive and look forward to seeing which players benefit from the clubs next chapter.

For all you FPL managers out there – as well as those of you playing Starting 11 daily fantasy with us each week, I hope this week’s sections give you plenty of food for thought when locking in your FPL and/or daily fantasy lineups for Gameweek 18.


Paul Pogba vs Cardiff (A)

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After returning to Manchester as the clubs record signing, Jose Mourinho used Paul Pogba to send out a statement to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and other Premier League rivals.

Pogba became the driving force behind the team and when he played well, Manchester United usually played well.

Last season, he scored 6 goals and provided 10 assists in the league – despite a campaign which ended the season trophy-less.

Of course, an under performing record-signing like Paul Pogba was an easy target for the media. Disappointment for Manchester United fans, as well as a clash of two strong personalities between player and manager – Mourinho showed his authority and Pogba found himself stripped of the captaincy, whilst also demoted to the bench.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjær now brought in as temporary manager, what tactics he will adopt or whether the team will use this moment as a spring-board for the rest of their season is yet to be seen.

Personally, as a Manchester United, fan I expect Pogba to return to the starting 11 on Saturday with immediate effect.

Will he be given the creative freedom we have waited for? Will be play as part of a front three as he did for Juventus?

Only time will tell – but what we do know is that a favourable fixture run is now upon Manchester United and with a point to prove, could Pogba prove to the hottest fantasy football differential around?

I know I will be looking at how I can get Pogba into my FPL side a quickly as possible, he feels like a punt worth taking given his ability, fixtures and price-tag – as for Starting 11 he’ll be straight into my side this weekend.


Luke Shaw vs. Cardiff (A)

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Those of you who have read my articles in the past will probably know that it doesn’t take much to tempt me into backing Luke Shaw.

I spent years saying “this will be his year”, despite injuries and falling out of favour both working against him.

It has to be said that despite this being Manchester United’s worst start to a season for 18 years, Luke Shaw as been one, albeit dim, shining light within the squad – his performances have stood out, despite only three attacking returns and 1 (ONE!!) clean sheet.

If we see the attacking performances I expect to see in the post-Jose era, then Shaw is certainly an exciting fantasy football prospect.

If given the freedom Manchester United fans want to see, he can create as well as score goals – and that’s something I want to see much more of in the second half of the season.

If Jose is so defensive, then why have they not been keeping clean sheets?

Having grown up supporting the Manchester United of the 1990’s, it’s firmly built into me that attack is the best form of defence and if we can get back to our attacking football, asap, then our opponents aren’t going to have as much time on the ball to develop attacks of their own.

Unfortunately, we can’t do much about the odd Phil Jones own goal.

I generally own defenders on FPL and Starting 11 for attacking returns, not clean sheets and for me, Luke Shaw fits that group perfectly.


Anthony Martial vs. Cardiff (A)

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Martial has been a hot topic on FPL Twitter this season and the debate will likely rage on whether the Frenchman has over performed this season or not?

All I will say is, IF he is slightly off -form but has over-performed, then just think what he can do when he is in-form?

This isn’t really the time for an xG discussion!

Martial came to the club as a number 9 and went on to put in some fantastic performances out on the left – but no football fan wanted to see an attacker with Martial’s abilities making interceptions, at left back.

Under new management, I expect Martial to continue playing wide left, but preferably in a more fluid system allowing him to find the space he can exploit with his pace.

Seven goals and an assist this season isn’t too bad, but I want more than a player of his quality and I expect more to come under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Manchester United’s first opponents, post Jose, are Cardiff – who despite having recently worked out how to score goals, continue to leak them – having conceded 33 goals this season, with only Fulham have conceded more.

From an FPL and Daily Fantasy Football perspective, the thought of owning Anthony Martial each and every week, especially over their friendly Christmas schedule, excites me.

UPDATE: With Romelu Lukaku now expected to miss a few games due to a family bereavement, this could further enhance Martial’s appeal in the Belgians absence.

Thoughts go out to Big Rom and his family.

BEFORE YOU GO… We’ll be giving away another £25.00 in cash to the winner of FPLTips’ SATURDAY ONLY Mini League on Starting 11 this weekend.

Simply download the free app below and create your best 11-man team for Saturday’s 8 Premier League games – oh, and you’ll need to pick a captain.

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Thank you for reading ‘Punts of the Week – Gameweek 18’ which was written and produced by @FFPundits_Drew