Each week, Sport360 will bring you tips for the English Premier League’s official fantasy football game. Fancy pitting your wits against us? You can join “Sport360 Fans'” league using the code 118790-38575.
In this week’s column, we look at why you should captain Romelu Lukaku and the five players you should turn to in this week while most of the big teams are out of action.
But first, a shout out to these tactical geniuses who top our Sport360 fans league going into this week!
WHO TO PICK AS CAPTAIN
Raheem Sterling [7.9m] was the pick for captain in Gameweek 27 and the Manchester City midfielder registered an assist against Sunderland but played no part in the game at home to Stoke City. As a result, he didn’t live up to the expectations brought on by the double gameweek.
This week, you’d do well to captain Romelu Lukaku [10.1m] who is admittedly one of the few options this weekend.
He’s scored twice in the last three rounds and normally comes good at Goodison Park where Everton take on West Brom on Saturday.
FIVE PLAYERS TO TURN TO
Only eight teams take part in Gameweek 28, seriously limiting the options for FPL managers.
However, there are a few players who should be essential in this round and also go on to provide consistent returns until the end of the season.
SEAMUS COLEMAN – EVERTON [6.0m]
The Everton full-back has delivered returns in nine of his last 12 outings. Not only is he consistent, but he is also capable of scoring big as he chips in with goals and assists.
He’s scored in the double figures four times this season, that’s one more than FPL favourite Diego Costa. Everton’s fixtures are still favourable as well, starting with West Brom at home this weekend.
SADIO MANE – LIVERPOOL [9.6m]
Managers are scrambling to get this man in their teams this week and rightly so. Mane has produced two big performances since his return from AFCON, scoring a total of 29 points in encounters against the two north London clubs.
With Burnley to face at Anfield on Sunday, he’ll be expected to deliver big again. Apart from an away trip to the Etihad Stadium next week followed by the Merseyside derby at home, it’s pretty much smooth sailing for Liverpool until the end of the season.
Sadio Mane say hi and bye to Nacho Monreal pic.twitter.com/r3RXXJYzTC— LFCMostar (@LFCMostar) March 4, 2017
MARTIN OLSSON – SWANSEA CITY [4.5m]
Many have flocked to Swansea’s Alfie Mawson since the centre-back has emerged as a threat from set-pieces. However, Martin Olsson may represent more of a bargain.
He’s 0.1m cheaper than his teammate and has scored 21 points in his last three fixtures. He has two goals to his name since joining the Swans in January but may be in line to bag a few assists as well as he’s getting forward and crossing the ball with more frequency with the in-form Fernando Llorente waiting in the middle.
GYLFI SIGURDSSON – SWANSEA CITY [7.7m]
The Icelandic midfielder has failed to provide a return in only one of his last eight gameweeks.
If Swansea score a goal, there’s a 50% chance that Sigurdsson will be directly involved in it. They travel to Hull this Saturday.
ANDY CARROLL – WEST HAM [6.2m]
Before his latest injury, Carroll had scored 24 points over four games. At his price, he’s a good option and West Ham have a relatively comfortable run of fixtures to look forward to until Gameweek 36.
The Hammers travel to Bournemouth in this round who have conceded more goals from headers than any other team in the league.
Fancy pitting your wits against us? Join the “Sport360 Fans'” league using the code 118790-38575.
The uncertainty surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future and the general feeling of gloom around Arsenal has led to suggestions that there could be a player exodus this summer.
After Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the latest player to be linked with a summer move away from Arsenal.
If he does choose to leave, where would he go? Here, we look at three possible destinations for the midfielder.
JOINING THE KLOPP REVOLUTION AT LIVERPOOL?
Liverpool are reportedly ready to bid for Oxlade-Chamberlain if Arsenal are willing to sell him. With his power and direct running, it’s easy to see how the Ox could fit in at Klopp’s Liverpool.
For Oxlade-Chamberlain, the argument against a move to Anfield is that there’s no guarantee of a regular starting place. Jordan Henderson and Giorgino Wijnaldum will usually be two of the three starting midfielders, leaving the Ox to battle it out with Emre Can and James Milner (if he’s returned to his preferred position in midfield) for the last spot.
Liverpool are monitoring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He is not a main target but he could become an option if Arsenal sell. (James Pearce)— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) March 9, 2017
FOLLOWING IN ROBIN VAN PERSIE’S FOOTSTEPS?
The last player to leave Arsenal for Manchester United is now a subject of universal hatred at the Emirates Stadium, and while Oxlade-Chamberlain probably wouldn’t be treated the same way Robin van Persie is, there’s no doubt the Emirates faithful would consider such a move a betrayal.
That is not Oxlade-Chamberlain’s concern, however – if he sees a path to regular first-team football at Old Trafford, he would be justified in wanting to take it.
But it’s not clear that such a path would exist. United are definitely thin on midfield options, but with their spending power, the club is sure to look for more A-list player in the transfer market, with the likes of Toni Kroos being mentioned.
Would the Ox fit the bill in terms of the star power United generally seek?
A RETURN TO SOUTHAMPTON?
This is perhaps the most unlikely move of the three but Southampton are in a much healthier position than when the Ox left the club in 2011 – when they were a League One side.
A move back to the south coast would certainly guarantee regular first-team football but the lack of European football could hinder his international ambitions.
That all said, it would be comfortable surroundings for the player who actually grew up in neighbouring Portsmouth.
It’s safe to say things aren’t all sunshine and happiness at Arsenal right now, in fact far from it.
Their 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Muich was embarrassing and seemed to tighten the noose round Arsene Wenger’s neck, his exit at the end of the season becoming increasingly more likely.
It’s certainly not all the Frenchman’s fault and he has definitely been let down by his players, but there are a number of factors that lay firmly at his door.
Here, we look at five things that are going wrong at the club right now.
KEY STARS ARE HAVING A LAUGH
In the second-leg defeat to Bayern Munich even Alexis Sanchez was laughing at his own team’s demise. But it’s difficult to comprehend what the Chilean could find funny given Arsenal’s current climate and it speaks volumes of his future with the club. His contract negotiations have hung over the Gunners and talk of unrest with Wenger and the rest of the squad has hardly helped matters.
Alexis Sanchez laughing on the bench. 😅 pic.twitter.com/S92eOiDq9F— Premier League (@EPLBible) March 7, 2017
WENGER’S TACTICAL THRASHING
This season more than any has exposed Wenger’s tactical deficiencies. The Frenchman’s inability to adapt and at times approach games in a more pragmatic style has formed much of the fury for Arsenal fans. He has allowed his side to become a soft touch and their vulnerabilities are all too obvious. His methods and tactics are obsolete and perhaps a fresh approach is needed.
THE OWNERS ARE TOO IMPASSIVE
The fear of the unknown is arguably what’s keeping Wenger in the job. For all of his obvious flaws, Stan Kroenke and co. are happy for the club to glide along providing Champions League football is secured. Wenger is a sure thing in that respect, helping the club to turn over a profit with the sacrifice being defeat to Europe’s elite. The owner’s impassive nature suggests it’s not a football club but a business.
CAN’T WIN ANYTHING WITH ARSENAL’S KIDS
When the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri departed, the hope was that youthful replacements could step up and make their mark. But the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have simply failed to kick on and Wenger’s misplaced loyalty in them has ultimately cost him. When he needed them most, they’ve deserted him.
THEY ARE PAYING THE PRICE
Another point to consider is the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners not only have the most expensive match-day tickets in the Premier League but also the most expensive season tickets. The extortionate pricing has meant expectations for success has risen tenfold. Paying £97 (Dh433) per game to see a side consistently finish fourth has created the poisonous atmosphere we see today.