The Good, The Bad, and The Smugly: In a regular series, our writer picks out 3 fantasy picks with contrasting fortunes in the last gameweek.
In this week’s edition, the focus is on the game between Bournemouth and Chelsea. The surprise 4-0 victory for Bournemouth had implications for different FPL players.
Joshua King. The Norwegian centre-forward is GW 24’s top dog, raking in a 16 point total. His haul comes in the form of two goals and an assist, which is enough to please even the best of strikers. With regular forward Wilson being seen as a doubt before the game, there was definitely some shaky knees seen at Bournemouth. Alas, don’t fear, King is here, and he absolutely rinsed that Chelsea defence. Owned by only 3.1% of managers, he proved a great differential this week.
A goalless opening 45′ was quite uneventful, bar a couple of great saves from Artur Boruc. In the first, Kovacic arguably should have scored but, with heading accuracy not being on his list of favourable traits, was only able to bounce an upward header in the direction of the Pole. Still, Boruc did well to get a hand on the ball and guide it on to the crossbar. The second, Azpi produced a lovely curled shot but the Cherries’ shot-stopper dove well to keep it tied at the break.
Just like the monarch in Greek mythos, everything Josh touched on Wednesday night turned to gold. Two minutes into the second half, a sublime pass from Brooks sliced the Chelsea defence and allowed King to hit a first time effort into the roof of the net. King then returned the favour to Brooks to assist the Welshman’s goal.
Drama continued as King made it 3-0 in the 74′, truly sinking Chelsea’s hopes of getting a result in this game. Again, the Chelsea defence proved too easy to be carved open by Bournemouth’s fast-paced passing play. One of the best sides to watch in the Premier League, especially at home.
In Fantasy terms, King is an okay choice. He’s in an offensively-minded side who always pose a threat. With Wilson expected to be out until the end of February, he could offer a good straight swap from Callum, and give you £0.2 ITB for other areas in your team. His fixtures aren’t fantastic though, with Liverpool (H), Arsenal (H) and City (A) in the next five. If you have Brooks or Fraser, I would skip on the Norwegian.
Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentinian debutante had a rough welcoming to Premier League life. Priced at £9.5 and selected by over 84,000 self-proclaimed clairvoyants, Higuain did not live up to his hype. Even The Scout got sucked into this, citing the Argentine as ‘One to Watch’. Perhaps Gonzalo needs time to adapt to English football.
It’s certainly different from Serie A, and it’s not like he was on the hottest streak upon arrival. Conte wanted Higuain during his Chelsea tenure but was told ‘too much, too old’ by the board. Were they right?
Sarri could make an omelette with the amount of egg on his face. Higuain, a man who scored 36 league goals in 15/16 with Napoli under Sarri, was finally reuniting with the manager who gets the best out of him. Chelsea fans basked in ecstasy at the supposed solution to their number nine dilemma. “He ain’t Alvaro Morata!”, they thought. “Finally, someone to finish those crosses!”.
Gonzalo no golazo
In general, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. This rule also applies to the many FPL hype-trains that leave the station each season. Higuain is one such train thus far, gaining about a metre of track before having to stop and refuel.
He was poor against Bournemouth having not registered a single shot in the game, on or off the target. Completed a few passes and made a few runs. An unexciting performance led to his substitution in the 65′. Drab, dull, dismal.
At the moment, I think Gonzalo is one for the watch list. Chelsea host Huddersfield next which seems favourable, but then travel travel to City the week after that, followed by a BGW. At his price, I wouldn’t risk bringing him in. It is only his first league game, although he’d want to do something soon; pressure mounts fairly quickly on the Chelsea number nine…
David Brooks. Weighing in at £5.1 and 6.2% ownership, the Welsh international scored 12 points this GW. Bournemouth have a great track record of providing high-quality budget players, and Brooks is no outlier. Bagging a goal and an assist, he was a key part of the Bournemouth team that dismantled Chelsea.
As covered above, King’s first goal was only made possible through Brooks. A great finish from Josh, but the credit here has to go to David. Starting his run in his own half, he propelled up the field and into a dangerous spot in the box. I’ve watched the goal umpteen times and still can’t fathom how he had the vision to make that pass, whilst drawing two defenders away from King. Sensational play-making.
Brooks the crux
The Welshman provided the most crucial point of the game when he made it 2-0. Again starting in his own half, he intercepted a poor pass from Luiz and managed to get the ball out to King who lifted a perfectly weighted pass back to Brooks. Luiz, who decided to chase the ball like a feral dog, flapped his arm trying to claim offside.
Alas, the officials were having none of it. Amazingly, Luiz managed to get goal-side of Brooks now opposite the goal, only to be burned again by the Welshman who faked with his right and coolly slotted it home with his left. How David Luiz still starts for a top European side escapes me, he has more mistakes in him than a blooper reel.
Brooks is great Fantasy option. Attacking midfielders rarely come around at his price, and when they do they get seldom minutes. Howe is obviously impressed by Brooks, giving him almost 3/4 of possible league playtime so far this season. Difficult fixtures lie ahead for Bournemouth, but if one team can power through tough games, it’s the Cherries. Brooks should be a definite addition to any team without a Bournemouth player, or even a replacement for Wilson/Fraser to free up some cash.