882
Say What

Say What?

Belgian strikers lead the way in this week’s Say What? as we prepare to study the low country’s World Cup qualifiers with rather more intensity than usual.

There’s also rotation conundrums a-coming at Chelsea, more evidence that Raheem Sterling remains central for Pep Guardiola, while the current states of play for Ben Davies and Roberto Firmino couldn’t be more diverse.

Interesting Belgian #1

This season has been one long bout of uncertainty for Fantasy managers.

Templates have been smashed, bandwagons have failed their MOTs and key injuries have led to transfer turmoil.

Among all the confusion, one man has plodded along scoring more points than every other player bar one.

And how we have responded to that? By flogging him, both metaphorically and, in the case of sales, literally.

Yep, it’s tough being Romelu Lukaku.

Seven league goals in as many matches just hasn’t cut it for many managers and he endured two Gameweeks worth of sales when we turned our fickle eyes on shinier baubles we thought would give us more explosive returns.

Bauble 1 promptly crashed into a Dutch post and Bauble 2 did his hamstring.

But Romelu’s still standing and accumulating owners once again.

It’s a typically lukewarm market for the Belgian this week, however, with some 58,000 bringing him in, while another 56,000 have binned him.

The news that the striker is carrying an ankle injury might have had something to do with that. His 11.8 price tag and Man United’s tough immediate schedule (liv TOT che) to come over the next four Gameweeks – will also have been factors.

But if he’s fit for next weekend, the comments from his club manager, Jose Mourinho, should help to stoke a bit more enthusiasm in the big man’s charms.

“Look, without Zlatan, we cannot rotate the striker, especially because Marcus Rashford is playing also in other positions. So until the moment, we have Zlatan we cannot think about giving rest to our No 9, the same way we give in other positions. We cannot do that.”

A manager insisting that he can’t drop a major player is a nugget of Fantasy gold tarnished only by that injury.

“Belgium is Roberto’s responsibility and it’s his decision to play him or not to play him. I cannot, professionally speaking, say, ‘Do this or do that’.”

‘Professionally speaking’ maybe, but the idea that Mourinho hasn’t been employing methods both subtle and sledgehammer – including that quote you’ve just read – to impress upon Roberto Martinez the need for Lukaku to be rested on international duty is laughable.

And it seems to have worked, as the striker has been omitted from tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against Bosnia.

We will still, however, have to watch Tuesday’s match against Cyprus with eagle eyes.

If he plays, that’s good right? Unless he gets even more injured. And if he doesn’t, is that confirmation he’s crocked? Or that Martinez has cracked after the 68th late night phone call from a mysterious stranger who would only whisper, ‘Rule Lukaku Out Again’.

Belgium have already qualified for next year’s finals in Russia, so Martinez doesn’t even have to play Lukaku at all, which merely adds another layer to the intrigue to come.

And there could be more where that came from…

Interesting Belgian #2

Here’s the scenario: Lukaku is totally forgotten by a deliriously sleep-deprived Martinez, giving Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi the chance to show the world what he’s capable of, banging in successive hat-tricks against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus.

And an Alavaro Morata-less Antonio Conte finally realises that he simply has to play the Belgian up top when Chelsea travel to Nul Point Palace for Gameweek 8.

The striker is not ruling that scenario out. At all.

“It sounds strange to say, but the misfortune of one is sometimes the happiness of the other. I know I will get more opportunities to play in the coming weeks. And is it then up to me to show that I am capable.”

Batshuayi’s season has been about as exciting as a book on Alan Shearer’s washing-up routine (glasses first, cutlery last and go easy on the Fairy Liquid).

But he has so much more to give – in 36 appearances for Chelsea, of which 25 have been as a sub, he’s scored 14 goals and provided three assists.

And with Morata possibly ruled out for several Gameweeks, he could be the next mid-priced striker to grab our attention, particularly as the man who started the season valued at 8.5 is now all the way down to 8.1.

“I really think Conte believes in me otherwise he would have said I could leave in the transfer window – and he didn’t say that. To score even more, to be even more efficient, to work even more…perhaps to grumble more, it could work (laughs). I can not really answer, it’s up to the coach to decide. I’m very effective when I’m called in.”

Actually, he’s not been very effective this season. But then he’s not really had the opportunities, with 98 measly minutes from seven league matches to this point.

When Morata limped off against Man City, Conte opted to use Eden Hazard as a false nine rather than let Batshuayi go batshuit up front.

Conte could feasibly go that way again, unless Batshuayi were to catch the eye for Belgium…

Conte looking back

Unfortunately for Michy, his boss is looking elsewhere at the moment.

“To play three games in seven days is not simple, above all for our wing-backs. Moses played two whole games against Stoke and Atletico, Alonso played one and a half games, because against Stoke I changed him after 10 minutes. Then you have to try to not put your players in difficulty, and not to risk this type of player, because Moses for us is an important player, and to play three games in only seven days, it means that you risk.”

This is not good news for Moses’ minimal army of owners, obviously. But Alonso’s 17.6% ownership, in particular, must also be concerned.

They’ve paid a premium price, upwards of 7.0, for a player who has, thus far, started every league match this season – a situation that Conte is now explicitly saying cannot continue.

The next ‘three games in seven days’ scenario will take place straight after the international break, involving the Palace trip, Roma in the Champions League and then a visit from Watford in an early kick-off.

After a blistering 16-point two-goal display at Spurs in Gameweek 2, Alonso’s star has been on the wane, with nearly 170,000 managers getting rid over the last three rounds.

If his starts are no longer nailed-on, then that figure will continue to decline.

Conte also revealed that he resisted the temptation to rest Morata for the Man City match in which he was injured.

“With Morata it was the same, but I make this decision to risk Morata in this game, because imagine if I decide to put Morata on the bench?”

That smacks of regret; an emotion that might well lead him to be rather more ruthless with his rotation across the squad from now on.

Chelsea have that great schedule to come – only Man United at home and a trip to Liverpool stand out among the fixtures through to Gameweek 21.

Second-guessing Conte’s selections will make those fixtures a damned sight harder for us, though.

Unguarded Guardiola

The master of rotation, however, remains Man City’s Pep Guardiola.

But if he continues to confound us with his selections, at least he has become rather more open as to the whys of them.

He’s been using Raheem Sterling relatively sparingly this season, although the 5.9%-owned nipper has been rich in goalscoring form despite his relatively limited opportunities.

Four starts and two sub appearances have yielded five goals. He scored seven across all of last season.

He started, and blanked, in the win over Chelsea, but Guardiola was clearly pleased with Sterling’s (and Leroy Sane’s) display from a tactical point of view.

“The wingers’ influence today, Rash was maybe minimum, but helped us from his positions to keep their full-backs in the position for more space when we need to attack, that’s why both of them were so generous and of course they have the quality in the last moment for the counter-attacks, both of them they are so so fast, so quick.”

The manager also acknowledged that Sterling is now more suited to a central role, although he failed to impress as a number ten for England against Slovenia on Thursday.

“We know that is a guy we discover last season, or this season too, he likes to play more in the middle, attack more central defenders, than be wide wide on the line, but today the way we want to play, it was so necessary to be wide, go, make an action, the wingers. But he’s young. He’s so young, he have a lot to improve, in the last pass, the last assist, to be more clear in the last action. When he’s able to get that, he will become a top, top, top, top player.”

A quick look at City’s upcoming schedule promotes Sterling’s potential.

They have back-to-back home matches with Stoke and Burnley after the international break and in fact, aside from a Bonfire Night visit from Arsenal, their fixtures look favourable until the fireworks of a Gameweek 16 Manchester derby.

With width now being provided by the wing-backs, Sterling is set to continue as the main central support for Gabriel Jesus, at least while Sergio Aguero remains crocked.

He certainly has the numbers to back up his claims for starts. As well as being the leading scorer from midfield thus far, his 20.4 minutes per chance average is bettered only by Anthony Martial among those who have featured more than five times this season.

And for a man not noted for his finishing, his 26.3% shot conversion rate is way better than any other midfielder in the top ten for attempts.

At 7.9, he is the cheapest route into City’s attacking riches and has started the last four matches that he’s been available for.

Sterling might never be the Premier League’s most popular player, but in Fantasy terms, there’s a lot to love.

Firmino? That’s a firm no

Love is not in the air for Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.

This season’s first mid-priced striker bandwagon (he was owned by nearly 1.6 million by Gameweek 5) has not scored for four league matches and lost close to 400,000 managers as a result.

A further 112,000+ have got rid this week, although Jurgen Klopp is keeping the faith.

“We are not crazy. But I’m really happy. We have Roberto Firmino, maybe not 25 goals but ask anyone in the Premier League and they will say ‘What a player’.”

Ask anyone in the Fantasy Premier League and they will say ‘seven points from the last four Gameweeks’.

“That we don’t score at this moment is not the fault of one player. Yes, maybe Harry Kane would have scored one or two of the chances we had, probably yes. Taking more chances, everybody could do this. Roberto as a player is really, really good.”

Firmino himself is not giving up hope just yet either.

“It is important to stay positive. We have created a lot of chances to score and that’s better than not creating them. I hope in coming games and the games after them, we’ll be able to finish them and achieve victories.”

The Brazilian is still owned by 22.1%, which makes him the fourth most popular striker in FPL. And with the injured Morata a mere 0.5% ahead of him, he could soon be in the top three despite all those recent sales.

The problem is that Firmino has been in the last chance saloon for the last couple of Gameweeks, while the next couple involve a visit from a Man United defence with six clean sheets from seven and then a trip to Spurs.

That United match also happens to be Gameweek 8’s early kick-off – hardly ideal for a player who will have to fly back via private jet from South America sometime next Wednesday morning. He was, at least, given the night off when Brazil drew 0-0 in Bolivia earlier today.

Klopp’s words are encouraging, as was the lack of form of understudy Daniel Sturridge, who was less than impressive when handed Firmino’s starting spot against Newcastle.

But asking him to relocate his goalscoring touch against two of the best sides in the league currently looks beyond him.

Poch hearts Bavies now

Last week he was drooling over Harry Kane.

This week, Mauricio Pochettino has eyes for Ben Davies as well.

“I think today that if we talk about one player other than Harry Kane, it’s Ben Davies. He was so young when I arrived. He was working so hard to make his moment, and always being professional. That is why his team-mates, the club, everyone is so proud of him.”

A full 23.6% of us are proud of him too. Or proud of the 49 points he’s provided for our teams, anyway.

The worry is that rotation will require Pochetino to spring another nasty surprise on us like he did when dropping Davies to the bench for Gameweek 5’s guaranteed clean sheet at home to Swansea ‘defence is the best form of attack’ City.

The post-international break schedule involves three matches – Bournemouth, Real Madrid and Liverpool – across just eight days. The possibly imminent return of pre-season bridge burner Danny Rose from injury further clouds the issue.

But Pochettino seems to be in no doubt as to who his number one left-back is.

“In the last three seasons he was so important for the team. Today he showed a fantastic performance. Defensively and attacking, because he scored and gave an assist. His energy is fantastic. For me he is one of the best full-backs in the Premier League.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s immune to rotation – that’s Harry Kane’s job.

But the fact is that Davies is clearly the go-to guy in his position at the moment.

And when you have a 5.9-priced man delivering more points than all bar two other players in FPL – and both of those are strikers – we should all be grateful for what he’s delivering in the time he’s been allotted.

Pochettino certainly is.

882 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Monkey Hanger
    • 8 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Tammy just gave Solanke a goal.

  2. shotgunnufc - MANIAC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    look, I know we're all tired of WCs but I'm going round the twist and could do with some experienced help

    Ryan, Elliot
    Mee, luiz, otamendi, bavies, jones
    Eriksen, silva, richarlison, RLC, Carroll
    Vardy, Kane, Jesus

    Scared of lukaku ownership, should I be?

    1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      No.

      But ask yourself this: how many minutes has RLC played, for the crappest team in the Premiership? Are there other 4.5s who have played more?

      Do I want to play a player with these fixtures???

      WAT : ARS -274 che -691 STK 35 eve -432 WHM -36 new -250 MUN -308 TOT -464 bur -194 cpl -30 HUD 59 bri -241 LEI 84 SWA 92 mci -543

      1. CABAYE4
        • 9 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        Given my limited understanding of your numbers, it looks like you don't rate Watford Doosra?

        Surely those Stoke, West Ham, Huddersfield, Swansea hope games Watford would be expected to score plenty of goals.

        1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 years, 11 months ago

          Well, if you insist. I won't hold my breath.

          Besides - it is REALLY not me that doesn't rate Watford - it is a FACT of where they are.

          1. CABAYE4
            • 9 Years
            3 years, 11 months ago

            Not sure I follow.

            Surely the fact is that they're 8th in the league, 6th top scorers and have played 2 of the top 6 already?

            1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 years, 11 months ago

              True. And they have caught a few cold.

              WAT: LIV -281 bou -237 BRI 13 sou -205 MCI -449 swa -66 wba -256

              - but it won't last. Trust me. 🙂

              1. CABAYE4
                • 9 Years
                3 years, 11 months ago

                We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

                1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 11 Years
                  3 years, 11 months ago

                  Yes, we do. 🙂

      2. shotgunnufc - MANIAC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        I completely see that but he's the only 4.5 that when he plays looks dangerous. in this set up he is essentially second sub, I can play 433 or 523. but I do take your point

        1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 years, 11 months ago

          Well then, your observational skills need brushing up. 😉

      3. FFSbet.com
        • 5 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        I dont agree,think Richarlison and RLC are good picks.

        1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 years, 11 months ago

          Go for it. 🙂

          1. FFSbet.com
            • 5 Years
            3 years, 11 months ago

            With another WC i would instant,just to get Hazard in and City defense 🙂

    2. tempest
      • 10 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      Probably yes.

      A lot of money in defence

    3. FFSbet.com
      • 5 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      Good team,Vardy can maybe match Lukaku in next 10 games for 3.3M less.
      Even if he dont with 3.3M upgrade you will get more points.

  3. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    I have just been for a very expensive Chinese. It was neither as good, nor as much fun, as my local. I am going to lash myself. Stupid Git.

    1. Adam West - Team Serbia for…
      • 11 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      I had a spice bag and I am very happy .

      1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        I hope Robin puts itchy powder where appropriate. 😉

    2. Delhidynamo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      Turned out to be a Chun Ki Ho?

      1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        No, it was better than that.

        But still ...

    3. shotgunnufc - MANIAC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      is that going to be like when I plump for lukaku and rashford bangs 2 in

      1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        I hope so, because, in another part of the forest, I have Rashford, but not Lukaku. 😉

  4. Phil Dagger ⭐
    • 5 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Arnautovic goal 😀

    Austria lead Serbia 2-1

    1. marquinhos
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      Wish he could do that for W. Ham for often 😀

      1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        - or even any time? At all?

    2. tambourineman
      • 7 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      Matic goal

      2-2

      1. tambourineman
        • 7 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        Arnautovic goal

        3-2

        1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 years, 11 months ago

          *runs off to the loo*

  5. TorresMagic™ - 6dcode
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 12 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Nemanja Matic 2-2

  6. Magic Bean
    • 5 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Matic 🙁

  7. marquinhos
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Atsu, Naughton & Morata to Joselu, Silva & Davies for a (-8) ?

    1. shotgunnufc - MANIAC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      as a newcastle fan I can't condone a double hit that includes Joselu

    2. CABAYE4
      • 9 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      I'd be very surprised if that paid off.

      I'd just look to move Morata on this GW.

    3. marquinhos
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      cheers all, I guess the ITB driving me crazy 🙁

    4. Seanigula
      • 12 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      I'd keep Atsu and save the -4

  8. Phil Dagger ⭐
    • 5 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Arnie Brace 3-2

    1. marquinhos
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      SCENES

      1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 years, 11 months ago

        *vomiting*

    2. Nanoelektronicar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      He didn't touch it, I'd say, but he fooled Stojkovic to go went for the wrong side.

  9. New Article Posted
    1. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      *gasps*

  10. The Royal Robin
    • 6 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Is Lukaku's injury serious then? Only just noticed he's flagged in all honesty.

    1. Seanigula
      • 12 Years
      3 years, 11 months ago

      wait and see if he plays on Tuesday

  11. Sharkytect
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 years, 11 months ago

    Alonso didn't get a clean sheet against spurs.

    Just saying