The Differential XI’s first run out brought about mixed results in Gameweek 12; a Gameweek which seems like months ago thanks to the latest UEFA Nations League interlude.
Bringing in two points or less in Fantrax, Christopher Schindler, Alberto Moreno, Naby Keita, Josh Murphy and Robert Snodgrass were (to be frank) rubbish.
Tidy scores from Marc Albrighton and Danny Ings eased the mood slightly but a Xherdan Shaqiri goal and a clean sheet from Kasper Schmeichel got the ball rolling for the unfancied squad.
However, it was Salomon Rondon who stole the show for the Differential XI. His double strike amassed a whopping 28.5 points to ensure an average score became a… slightly better one.
Rondon’s double took the Differential lads to 83 points. Not bad but we want 100s.
If you picked up the Venezuelan for your own team, you’re welcome. Here’s Gameweek 13’s starting XI.
It’s hard to look past Everton’s Jordan Pickford this week. A clean sheet last time out at Stamford Bridge shows marked defensive improvement and another shut out at home against Cardiff City seems likely this week. If he’s unavailable Rui Patricio is also a decent shout.
You’d be forgiven for having no idea who Ruben Vinagre is. However, if you’re part of the FPL Twitter community, you’ll now know everything from his career stats to his show size and enough Salt and Vinegar puns to last a life time. The injury to Jonny Castro Otto means Vinagre should get a nice run in the side as the Wolves left wing back. Judging by the videos everyone has posted of him this week, expect attacking returns from him, starting with this week’s favourable matchup at home to Huddersfield.
Another injury to another FPL favourite in Jamew Tarkowski has allowed Kevin Long the chance to stake his claim. His first start of the season coincided with Burnley’s first clean sheet since September away at Leicester in Gameweek 12. This week’s fixture with Newcastle represents another decent shot at a clean sheet as well as plenty of aerial duels with our guy Rondon.
Our biggest defensive gamble this week comes in the form of Diogo Dalot. Predicting Jose Mourinho’s full backs is often a frustrating game for FPL managers, even more so with Luke Shaw suspension this week. This could lead to Antonio Valencia’s return and Ashley Young switching to left back. Or Young remaining on the right with Marcos Rojo filling in on the left. Or Dalot may finally get his chance to prove that all the talk surrounding him in for real. Either way, he’s only 11% owned and should pick up decent points against Crystal Palace if he gets the nod.
Fred normally takes the title of “best named Brazilian” but this year Bernard has stolen the show. He’s also played quite well too so his 44% Fantrax ownership amazes me. Going into a nice matchup at home against Cardiff, Bernard could be the ultimate differential pick in Gameweek 13. Should Gylfi Sigurdsson fail a late test, Bernard may even be moved centrally, potentially meaning even more key pass and goalscoring opportunities.
Last week’s Cardiff punt didn’t work out but I’m choosing to ignore that in picking Victor Camarasa. Due to the giants that they possess, the set piece taker at Cardiff can be a lucrative FPL option and Camarasa is posting decent scores without relying on goals or assists. The Bluebirds won’t be expecting to come away with much against Everton but set pieces will be their main source of attack, meaning the Spaniard is still a decent pick this week and worth holding for next week too.
Southampton’s attacking improvements against Watford coincided with Stuart Armstrong’s return. The Scot has been a bit part player for much of this season at St Mary’s but while Charlie Austin stole the headlines with his parklife themed ranted, Armstrong was involved in much of the good stuff Southampton did going forward. His performance warranted 10.5 points in Fantrax and his fixture this week against struggling Fulham gives him a great chance to get off the mark in the Premier League. His song at Celtic was also great, well worth a listen. Alex Pritchard rounds off the midfield having bagged his first goal of the season last week.
You rarely find a sane manager dropping their striker after he bagged a brace in the previous week so Salomon Rondon keeps his place. He is joined by fellow beefcake Sam Vokes. The two face off in what will surely be a Monday night football classic. Expect much of the football to be played in the air, a game that would suit most both of these strikers.
In stark contrast to the aforementioned bruisers, I’m expect a mini comeback from pocket sized Fulham forward Luciano Vietto. Many are expecting the “new manager effect” under Claudio Ranieri after his arrival at Craven Cottage and the mini playmaker brought in from Atletico Madrid could be one who benefits from a new regime. Vietto has impressed when he’s played, particularly during the 4-2 defeat of Burnley early in the season, but lost his place under Slavisa Jokanovic. A home fixture against Southampton this weekend could be his time to shine if he gets the nod.