The only thing worse than the weekend before an International break is…the International break itself. A loss ahead of a dismal FPL-less fortnight is the last thing you need as an FPL draft manager but a win before the break means two whole weeks of bragging rights over your Fantasy enemies.
In an attempt to soften the blow of the loss of Fantasy football for the mid-term future, I’ve decided to shake it up a bit and provide a full differential eleven. Basically, it also gives me more chances at making a good call.
Kasper Schmeichel gets the nod for me this week. A hard fought clean sheet under the aerial onslaught at Cardiff last week should be followed by another in GW12 against lacklustre Burnley side.
Defence is often the best place to find differentials. Following a busy week of European action and with a busy week of internationals ahead, rotation should contribute towards some tidy pick-ups this weekend.
Alberto Moreno earned a first start of the season against Cardiff a fortnight ago and there are rumours of similar rotation this week as Liverpool host Fulham on Sunday. The Spaniard’s lack of regard for defensive duties shouldn’t deter FPL managers from giving him a shot this week and a clean sheet coupled with an attacking return is on the cards if he does indeed get another chance.
Arsenal’s winning run has now been downgraded to an unbeaten one but they are still very much a team in form, despite having played without a recognised left back for a few weeks. Sead Kolasinac’s return to fitness is timely and, judging by Arsenal’s pre-season lineups, Unai Emery is a fan of Kolasinac. The Bosnian is another one who is guaranteed to produce a decent attacking return over the season and has an excellent chance to make a start this weekend with a home fixture against Wolves.
Finally, Christopher Schindler couldn’t believe it when his winning goal on Monday night eventually went down as an own goal. Regardless, his Fantrax return of 25.5in GW11 was a welcome one for the 43% that own the German giant. West Ham at home is another good chance for Schindler to rack up those aerial points with a decent chance of a clean sheet.
Yes, there is a little bit of Liverpool bias this week but, in my defence, they are hosting the worst team in the Premier League this weekend. Xherdan Shaqiri has appeared more than any other player in my differentials column this season, simply because when he plays, he returns. A goal and four assists in 217 minutes is prolific and he should be well fresh on Sunday after his politically motivated rest in midweek. I fully expect him to start.
Keeping with the theme, Naby Keita has a few critics to silence and this week’s matchup signals a great opportunity to do it. His Average draft position of 35 suggests that plenty of Fantrax managers expect big things of Liverpool’s new man but he is yet to deliver; his highest score being the 9.5 he scored in the second week. I’d expect him to start in Liverpool’s midfield on Sunday following his return to fitness.
This season has seen the renaissance of a FPL darling in Robert Snodgrass. The Scot brought back memories of compatriot Charlie Adam’s days at Blackpool when he was producing big return at Hull two season ago. His transfer to West Ham was an ill fated one and led to a spell in the Championship with Aston Villa but he is now firmly in the plans of Manuel Pellegrini. His dominance (and quality) of set pieces alone makes him a great FPL asset. Returns of 9.5 and 11 points without a goal or assist show that Snoddy’s all round contribution is a good one. The goals and assists will come.
Josh Murphy continues to look like Cardiff’s main attacking threat and his shoot on sight policy should lead to some more good returns in a favourable fixture against Brighton this weekend. Meanwhile, as the FPL world mourns James Maddison’s injury, Marc Albrighton is set to be the main beneficiary ahead of a fantastic match up against Burnley. He should take over set piece duties and have many opportunities to whip numerous dangerous crosses into Jamie Vardy.
The forwards section was the toughest to pick out some gems this week. Salomon Rondon is yet to get going for Newcatle but the Toon should come into a winnable matchup this weekend with some confidence after last week’s smash and grab victory against Watford. The Venezuelen bulldozer is generally a good Fantrax option with his non goal dependant points scoring and will fancy his chances against an inconsistent Bournemouth back line.
Meanwhile, Danny Ings unexpectedly re-found his scoring boots against Manchester City last week (albeit from the penalty spot) and will be confident of continuing that against another inconsistent outfit in Watford.