Avoiding The Big 6

Adrián enters the fray as we target clean sheets

Since a back spasm ruled Wayne Hennessey out of the Crystal Palace first team, the Welsh international has failed to dislodge Julián Speroni from the number one spot, effectively leaving us with just one ‘playable’ goalkeeper, so GW19 looks like the perfect time to address this issue.

Our first choice shot-stopper Jordan Pickford would appear to have a stiff task on Saturday. Everton host Chelsea at Goodison Park in the early kick-off and our calculations suggest that he only has around a 17% chance of keeping a clean sheet, so we’re going to transfer out Hennessey in favour of West Ham United’s Adrián who goes straight into our starting line-up.

The Hammers’ Spanish keeper has seized his chance since replacing Joe Hart and would appear to be David Moyes first choice. He also has a pedigree for saving spot-kicks, something that is always a positive for fantasy football managers.

While Everton and West Ham might not rotate particularly well in terms of home and away games, it is possible to avoid Big 6 opposition by fielding one of them in each gameweek between now and the end of the season. The 2 exceptions to this rule are GW22 when West Ham have the bonus of a double gameweek, facing West Brom at home and Spurs away and GW33.

The Big 6 have scored an average of 2.1 goals per game this season, while the rest only manage 0.98 goals per game. The two Manchester clubs have scored in every match against non-Big 6 opposition, while Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool have failed to score just once each against the same sample.

Obviously Hart could win his place back but that’s something we are prepared to risk and feel that the managerial know-how of Moyes and Sam Allardyce, in particular, will stand us in good stead going forward. We will also have a wildcard to play at some stage should things need freshening up.

GW18 turned into a high-scoring affair so it was a bit disappointing to see our captaincy punt on Alexis Sánchez failing to pay-off. However, we still recorded sufficient points to register a green arrow and progress to the next stage of the FPL Cup.

Sánchez stays in the side for GW19 but he loses the armband, with Raheem Sterling taking that particular honour. It looks like clean sheets might be at a premium in this game round so we will need our offensive options to deliver.

Gameweek 19 - FPL Line-Up

We are somewhat concerned about whether or not Sead Kolašinac and Kieran Gibbs will be named in the starting line-ups for their respective sides, while Lewis Dunk is just one caution away from a ban. Neither Kolašinac or Gibbs are particularly cheap and Arsene Wenger now seems to have reverted to type, in terms of his preferred line-up formation. This all points to us rethinking our defensive strategy but we’re going to hang fire for now and see how things pan out this weekend.

Fixture difficulty tracking is one of the key elements to fantasy football success – we’ll soon find out if our investments are in safe hands!