The Fantasy Footballing Gods came down hard on my team last gameweek in my loss to @nikarg, and they show no sign of letting up as we head into the Christmas fixtures and @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax’s clearly biased fixtures computer has me facing a resurgent @TomSunderland_. I would have beaten eleven other sides in Gameweek 17, but @nikarg’s third highest score of the week helped by an Ibrahimovic brace totally blew my side out of the water. That result put me down to ninth, with the only consolation being that most of the sides at the top of the table came unstuck too, resulting in only six points now separating second from fifteenth. With everyone in close proximity to one another a win over this festive season is even more vital. But to do this I’ll have to see off @TomSunderland_’s side, whose star players are slowly coming back from injury and into form.
|I've never seen Santa and Zlatan in the same room together. Just saying...|
Philippe Coutinho might still be side-lined for Liverpool, but Tom did welcome back Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez recently with two goals away at Bournemouth. This should sort out his Forward position as his other two players eligible for that slot, Martial and Stuani, have only managed to start seven games each this season. In Midfield he could also welcome back another player from injury this week in the shape of Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, and when the midfielder plays he averages nearly 17 points a game. The remaining Midfield spots will more than likely be taken up by a combination of Spurs and Saints players; two teams who face each other in the Wednesday night kickoff. Sissoko of Tottenham, with Ward-Prowse and Hojbjerg of Southampton making up a formidable trio if Tom needs his team to get back in the tie come Wednesday evening.
|@TomSunderland_ will be wearing his Southampton Christmas jumper this week|
He may not even need them though, as he has three of the most in form Defenders in the game making up his backline. Marcos Alonso averages 18 points per game and has been collecting clean sheets for fun at Chelsea recently. While, both Seamus Coleman and Patrick van Aanholt have been racking up to points thanks to their goal scoring exploits, despite playing in two teams struggling to find form. In goals he will rely on Leicester stopper Kasper Schmeichel. The Dane has only two clean sheets in nine starts, but does welcome an out of sorts Everton side at three o’clock on Boxing Day.
What I Need To Happen
That old adage that goals win games means I’ll be hoping that Tottenham can find a way to stop Rodriguez from finding the back of the net again this week. With potentially three Saints players in Tom’s side, a nice boring, but with lots of yellow cards, nil all draw, would do very nicely. Speaking of goals, if my players could find some in the fixture between Leicester and Everton, that would be great. At the back, hopefully the ball ends up at Leighton Baines’ side of the pitch rather than Coleman’s. If Kevin Mirallas could find a way to place the ball in the net that would be great; yet if he could find a way into the Everton starting eleven first that would be a bonus.
I do have a dilemma up front as Pedro did not start last time out for Chelsea, while Arnautovic is still out through suspension. Should I bring back in Fabio Borini, what with Sunderland making a daunting trip to Old Trafford? And if I do, that surely spells the end for Claudio Yacob. But can I afford the jettison the West Brom man when I’m unsure of the chances of a starting spot for Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mirallas, Wilshere, etc? Regardless of who starts, it looks like I will have to fall back on Joe Allen to dig my side out of whatever hole they have dug for themselves. The Stoke City midfielder heads back to Liverpool on Tuesday with a point or two to prove, and will hopefully pick up about forty fantasy points in the process.
Five correct and four dead wrong predictions last Gameweek. Getting more right than wrong is a positive I guess, and I’ll aim to end the year on a high with a clean sweep of correct predictions. Here goes! Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of the ups and down of each match-up.
Good Luck Everyone, Plus, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.