The Watchlist Updated – Gameweek 18

Filed under: The Watchlist - Posted by: Mark

The postponement of Arsenal’s Boxing Day clash has a marked effect on our Christmas Watchlist rankings, with Arsene Wenger’s assets stalling in our thinking, despite a convincing win at Reading last time out. That paves the way for familiar heavy-hitters to return to the upper echelons in midfield, while at the back and up front, the status quo remains. Our updated rankings are now available in your right sidebar; read on for details behind the big movers…


The goalkeeper situation remains a minefield for Fantasy managers, with seemingly ever-decreasing options in the mid-price and budget areas who can promise returns. An effective rotation pairing looks hard to find, with a “one stop shop” solution looking a more favourable route right now, at least until injuries clear.

The likes of Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris can also be considered as single solutions to the keeper conundrum but, while they have form and fixtures with them, their price tags are major obstacles and, arguably, there are more attractive routes to covering the City and Spurs defence.

Despite missing the Boxing Day Gameweek, Wojciech Szczesny remains in our thinking by virtue of offering the most secure route into an Arsenal defence that faces an obliging run of opponents going into January. While there are other options in the Gunners defence, notably Kieran Gibbs, the Polish keeper is assured of his number one status and is reasonably priced to offer promise between the sticks.

Ben Foster is now edging a return to the West Brom lineup and so can take his place in our thinking for the Christmas period. He fares well in tandem with Asmir Begovic, who looks set to suffer a torrid time in terms of fixtures. Foster also works well with Villa’s Brad Guzan, while West Ham’s Jussi Jaaskelainen is, at last, coming out of an evil run of fixtures to offer value once more in the New Year.


Glen Johnson continues to impress with his forward forays and has the fixtures to maintain his form both in defensive and attacking terms. He remains on top of our rankings, holding off the charge of Jan Vertonghen, who delivered on his promise with the winning goal against Swansea at the weekend. With very strong fixtures over the next five, the Belgian is an expensive punt but, as we mentioned last week, a clear differential who could prove highly effective.

City’s Matija Nastasic climbs in our thinking, despite continued concerns on rotation in the City ranks. The Serbian is priced at 5.6 in the FPL and that’s a big factor which makes the prospect of being rested somewhat more bearable. City’s fixtures are strong enough to warrant the gamble and, with Vincent Kompany likely to be fit for a return, defensive solidity is set to be restored, having conceded at Newcastle.

Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs would have been ranked higher had it not been for today’s news on the Boxing Day postponement. Gibbs showed his attacking qualities in the win at Reading and sneaks in above the less expensive Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman may have lost his fruitful partnership with Theo Walcott on the right flank after the winger was moved inside at the Madejski and that also works in Gibbs’ favour. Neither Arsenal full-back is 100% secure but Gibbs is possibly the safest route, with Sagna threatened by Carl Jenkinson for his starts over the busy festive spell.

The Chelsea defence is edging back into the equation, marked by Branislav Ivanovic’s climb in our rankings. His ascent is not enough to overtake Leighton Baines and United’s Rafael, however.

In terms of mid-price and budget, West Brom’s Gareth McAuley remains a solid option, have returned a clean sheet against the Hammers and with strong fixtures to come. Villa’s Ciaran Clark and Norwich City’s Sebastian Bassong have goal threat to compensate for a testing fixture list, while Joey O’Brien now appears to carry the flag for the West Ham defence – the full-back seems to have cemented his start and offers some attacking intent.


Michu remains top, despite the fact he’s still just a single yellow card away from a one-match ban. His form is strong enough to maintain his ”most wanted” status, regardless of some testing festive fixtures.

The charge of Arsenal pairing Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott is considerable but is tempered by the postponement of their Gameweek 19 fixture. Both players sparkled in the win at Reading but their potential has been somewhat derailed by today’s announcement.

With Arsenal drawing that Boxing Day blank, City’s David Silva earns a top three ranking: the Spaniard remains the most secure and sound investment in Roberto Maninci’s side ahead of the visit of Reading this weekend. Both Gareth Bale and Juan Mata also jump above the Arsenal pairing, despite the Tottenham man being on the verge of a ban and not yet being assured of his start against Stoke, following a recent hamstring injury.

Adel Taarabt is your best placed mid-price asset off the back of his outstanding display in the win over Fulham – although he, too, is just a booking away from a ban, with African Cup of Nations commitments also beckoning in January. Yaya Toure is also vulnerable to the call of international duty but offers enough in the short-term to retain a decent Watchist ranking: Silva remains the weapon of choice, however.

Southampton’s Jason Puncheon is the highest rank budget option, just nudging out Raheem Sterling, who looks set to earn a rest of some degree over the next fortnight. West Ham’s Kevin Nolan has poor form but – once his Boxing Day blank is out of the way – has fixtures ahead of him that show promise; look for him to climb further as the weeks roll by.

United’s Ashley Young is now our preferred midfield option in Sir Alex Ferguson’s ranks – ousting Antonio Valencia on form. There’s little doubt that Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney are the prime targets in the league’s most potent side, although Young is a decent compromise in midfield. Rotation remains a concern, however.


There’s no let up in the form of both Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and it’s a brave Fantasy manager who goes forward from this point without one of them enrolled in their squads. Goals look forthcoming as United’s fixtures continue to please and the gap between these two and the rest of the chasing pack is pretty significant in terms of potential goal power.

Jermain Defoe is currently ranked third, with Luis Suarez suffering a blip of late. Dimitar Berbatov’s form is also a major concern, although his fixtures are so strong, he could well climb back into our top three following the trip to Anfield this weekend.

Villa’s Christian Benteke is undoubtedly your differential and man in form below these established names. He has enough in his favour to rank above the City pairing in our thinking – with fixtures falling nicely for the Belgian following the testing trip to Stamford Bridge.

Both Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero have to remain in our thoughts given their quality and the fixtures ahead of them, but there is real uncertainty over just how many minutes we’ll get from this pairing over the next two weeks. Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli remain factors in Roberto Mancini’s squad and this dents the appeal of the Argentine pairing, making Silva all that more enticing as an acquisition in midfield.

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“Mark created the beast. He's now looking to tame it.”


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  1. Play sterling or Sess this week?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. stess

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. Sterling

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
    3. Sterling could be rested but that's what they said last week ?

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. yeah there seems to be a few posting on a sterling rest here

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
        1. Rodgers said he needs a rest but he also said he has nobody to replace him to give that rest and he can't afford another result like against Villa so I wouldn't be surprised to see him start against Fulham and away from home they are pretty poor defensively !

          • 3 years, 1 month ago
    4. That's my only question this week: Sterling or AJ?

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  2. What a class finish from Nando !

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  3. torres!!! el capitano this weekend

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. ccc

      In league play, Torres has only 1 more goal than Nolan.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. I am ok with him having only 3 more than Nolan by the end of this week :)

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
  4. Can anybody tell me how it's possible to own four players from the same team? I thought you could only own three players from the same team but I saw some people say their cup-opponents have 4.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. buy them when they play for their old club

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. If you have 4 players from the same team, is it possible than to trade anyone of them to another player from the same team or do you first have to downgrade to 3 players?

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. You get some in before they transfer to that other team.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  5. Until my wildcard I want a solid keeper and 2 defenders from Spurs, Pool, City (and maybe Cech)

    I already have Johnson and Nastasic and Rafaael (who I can sell for 6.1m) so any ideas? Thinking ....

    Lloris - Johnson / Nast / smalling

    Reina - Walker / Nast /

    Cech - Walker / Nast / Johnson

    Hart - Walker / Nast / Johnson

    All suggestions welcome :)

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. I don't like Lloris with Friedel around, not a fan of Reina. I would go for one of the bottom two

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  6. Thoughts on this idea please?

    This week Sterling --> Puncheon for free (already done Fellaini --> Walcott)
    Next week (GW19) Walcott --> Bale

    That would leave me exactly enough for Walcott --> Bale assuming no further price drops / rises

    Squad would be

    Jussi, Mignolet

    Rafael, Enrique, Shawcross, Shorey, Nelsen

    Bale, Silva, Michu, Nolan, Puncheon

    RVP, Suarez, Lambert

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Like it. My only concern is Silva. I can see City fwds running riot this week and am just wondering on a Tevez/Yaya combo.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  7. Sowill Kompany's return have an effect on Zabeleta's returns?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  8. My front three is now RVP, Suarez and Tevez. Mind blowing on paper, need Suarez to start scoring though, dreadful run as of late.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Ideal front 3 there. What's your midpark like?

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. There's a new post mate.

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
      2. Currently Michu, Pienaar (was felliani) James Morrison, Snodgrass and Schneiderlin. Poor last week but they usually pull in some decent returns for their price.

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
    2. Good except for tevez

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  9. any news on rafael, Enrique or fletcher? who will start?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  10. Whos on the prise move tonight ? Does any1 know cheers?.

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  11. Think Fletcher -> Benteke is a good move?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  12. Zep
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member


    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  13. Szczesny
    Cameron Clyne Nastasic
    Cazorla Mata Michu Toure
    Rooney Suarez Tevez
    Begovic Sterling Cuellar Hughes
    Who should I captain and do I have my starting XI right?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. Looks good. Keep an eye on the team sheets but if Tevez starts, I'd captain him. If not, I'd go Rooney.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
      1. Thanks, that was my thinking. Of course it'll probably be a contrarion result of 2-0 for Reading.

        • 3 years, 1 month ago
  14. will enrique play this gw? whats the latest news

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
    1. he is fit to play.most probabaly will start.

      • 3 years, 1 month ago
  15. thinking of taking a 4 point hit to bring in bale or mata (or silva???) for Jon Walters

    I have defoe for chelsea cover, and tevez for city cover... does that mean mata is the safe bet given silvas form hasnt been the best and bale is injured/suspension worry? thoughts?

    • 3 years, 1 month ago
  16. should i play with hughes or nelsen in defence ? am decided on sagna and billy jones just a lil bit confused on this .

    • 3 years, 1 month ago

Scout Picks

Gameweek 26

  • Hennessey
  • Coleman
  • Ivanovic
  • van Dijk
  • Daniels
  • Payet
  • Oscar
  • Roberto Firmino
  • Ozil
  • Aguero
  • Lukaku
  • Cresswell
  • Barkley
  • Afobe

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The Watchlist


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:01pm
Player Club Factors
Up Forster SOT A, Vs
Down Butland STO C, Vs
Up Schmeichel LEI A, Vs
Up Courtois CHE B, Vs
No Change Boruc BOU B, Vs
Up Hennessey CPL C, £
No Change Cech ARS A, VsX
Up Fabianski SWA B
No Change De Gea MUN B
No Change Adrián WHM B


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:08pm
Player Club Factors
Up Fuchs LEI A, Vs, £
Up van Dijk SOT A, Vs
Up Daniels BOU A, Vs, £
Up Dann CPL A
No Change Ivanovic CHE B, Vs
No Change Alderweireld TOT B
No Change Bellerín ARS B, VsX
Up Johnson STO C, Vs
No Change Cresswell WHM B
Up Van Aanholt SUN A
No Change Williams SWA B, £
Up Smalling MUN C
Up Coleman EVE B, Vs
Down Dawson WBA C
Down Moreno LIV C, Vs
Down Kolarov MCI B, Rest, Inj


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:17pm
Player Club Factors
Up Mahrez LEI A, Vs
No Change Payet WHM B, Vs
No Change Dele Alli TOT A, Inj
Up Arnautovic STO C, Vs, Inj
No Change Ozil ARS C, VsX
Up Eriksen TOT A
Up Antonio WHM A, Vs, Rest, £
Up Sigurdsson SWA A, OoP
Down Barkley EVE B, Vs
Down Roberto Firmino LIV A, VsX, OoP
Down Sánchez ARS C, VsX
Up Lingard MUN B, Rest, £
Up Khazri SUN B
Up Oscar CHE B, Vs
No Change Wijnaldum NEW B


Last updated: 10 Feb, 2016 1:44pm
Player Club Factors
Up Vardy LEI B, Vs
No Change Kane TOT A
Down Aguero MCI A
Up Diego Costa CHE A, Vs, Inj
Up Rooney MUN A
Down Ighalo WAT C, VsX
Down Lukaku EVE C
Up Afobe BOU A, Vs
No Change Giroud ARS B, VsX, Rest
No Change Defoe SUN A

Selection Factors

A, B, C Current Form
Vs Favourable Fixtures
VsX Unfavourable Fixtures
Rest Rotation Risk
Inj Injured/Returning from Injury
OoP Out of Position
£ Potential Bargain
Sus Suspended/Near Suspension
Player Team YC
Colback NEW 9
Yacob WBA 9
Byram WHM 9
Lucas LIV 8
Jones SUN 8
Westwood AVL 7
Diego Costa CHE 7
Huth LEI 7
Can LIV 7
Mangala MCI 7
Shelvey NEW 7
Pieters STO 7
Dele Alli TOT 7
Dier TOT 7
Brunt WBA 7
McClean WBA 7
Noble WHM 7

“All players will blank a few times during the season. When almost all do it in the same Gameweek, it is tough to take, but that's just the dark side of probability.”

Abreu 42 Community regular