We’re already into February, and there are just 13 gameweeks left in this Premier League season, so the pressure is on for everyone heading into this weekend. Tottenham visit Liverpool in a game that could have a huge effect on the race for Champions League qualification, Everton’s Theo Walcott returns to his old club Arsenal with a point to prove, Man City look to edge closer towards the title at Burnley, and there are key battles in the relegation dogfight as Bournemouth host Stoke, Brighton play West Ham, and West Brom entertain Southampton. But who amongst all of those key games should be in your FPL team? Here with their top five suggestions are our friends at Armchair Fancast – the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!
- Kasper Schmeichel (LEI, £5.0): Before Walcott came alive against Leicester on Wednesday the 2016 champions were on a run of three consecutive clean sheets, and there is good reason to believe they can get back to that kind of defensive reliability this weekend. Their opponents are Swansea who – for all of their recent heroics at home against Liverpool and Arsenal – have still only won on the road twice in twelve attempts this season, scoring just 8 times in the process. Schmeichel remains an asset for the Foxes and has been instrumental in their recent good form, especially at Chelsea where his 7 saves helped him pick up maximum bonus points. Definitely one to consider this week.
- Nacho Monreal (ARS, £5.7): Only Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso has scored more goals from defence in this year’s Premier League than Monreal, who hit the net for the second game in a row against Swansea midweek. That game underlined the Gunners’ vulnerability on the road, but don’t overlook that they have the Emirates is still something of a fortress: Arsenal have only lost once all season in front of their home fans while Saturday night’s visitors Everton have only one away win to their name. A resurgent Walcott is the wildcard here, but otherwise all signs point to a quiet night for Monreal and the rest of the Arsenal back line.
- Anthony Martial (MUN, £8.1): United’s capitulation at Wembley on Wednesday should raise eyebrows for all FPL managers, but let’s not get carried away: the Red Devils will still be overwhelming favourites against a Huddersfield team in freefall, and Martial remains one of the most in-form players in the entire league. The reverse fixture back in October saw the Terriers pick up a famous victory against Mourinho’s men, but a trip to Old Trafford is a different ball game entirely, and a fine opportunity for Martial to add to the 9 goals and 5 assists he has already earned in this campaign.
- Junior Stanislas (BOU, £5.9): Has there been a more surprising result all season than Bournemouth routing Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday? Eddie Howe’s men were patient, persistent and extremely well-organised throughout, and a couple of players in particular stood out: one was Callum Wilson, but Junior Stanislas was exceptional too, scoring one goal and making another. The English winger has only played a full 90 minutes on two occasions so far this season, but the odds must be good that he’ll play the whole game against Stoke this week, and with only 0.2% of FPL managers currently selecting him, he could be a difference maker for anyone who puts their faith in him.
- Olivier Giroud (CHE, £8.2): Let’s assume Chelsea’s defeat this week was an anomaly in an otherwise solid recent run for the champions – but one area where they desperately needed reinforcements was up front, especially with Morata injured. Enter Olivier Giroud, a proven Premier League goalscorer whose signing brings the added bonus for Chelsea fans that it has deeply upset many Arsenal supporters. Monday night will almost certainly see his debut for the Blues at Watford, the team with the worst home record in the competition. The chances are therefore good that the Frenchman can immediately start proving that he was worth his £18 million price tag.
Author: Dave Bradshaw