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Fantasy EPL Primer: Actionable items for Gameweek 17… Son time?

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Son, tottenham, fpl gameweek 17

We had it all. We had potential deciders. We had thrashings. We had upsets. Most of all, we had anothwe week of wildly entertaining Premier League action.

Here’s what you need to be across, as we build up to FPL Gameweek 17.

When does FPL Gameweek 17 start?

Sunday 17 December, 12:30am AEDT

Nottingham Forest host Tottenham Hotspur to kick off FPL Gameweek 17. Steve Cooper is under more pressure than perhaps any other Premier League manager at the moment. His side are flirting with the relegation zone, having won just once since early November in a run that’s seen them concede 11 goals.

They face the threat of adding to that tally when Spurs come to town. Ange Postecoglou’s men head into FPL Gameweek 17 having ended a torrid run of results with an emphatic victory over Newcastle United.

After succumbing to four losses and a draw in their last five outings, Spurs rebounded in the best possible way. Their captain, Heung-Min Son’s (£9.5 I 34.7%), led from the front, creating twice in James Maddison’s (£7.8 I 8.8%) absence. Elsewhere, Richarlison’s (£6.6 I 1.1%) found himself among the goals. Contributions from the Brazilian will be crucial in coming months.

Having validated their steadfast belief in their approach against Newcastle, Spurs will smell blood in the water as they head to Nottingham. At their best, they’re free scoring. At Forest’s worst, they freely concede.

This could be a massacre.

ange postecoglou, Spurs
Aussie Ange

FPL Gameweek 17 notes

What’s going on at Chelsea?

Chelsea’s recent form slide was compounded by a 2-0 defeat at Everton. They’ve bought just about everything they can, spent more money than some countries have in the last 12 months, and yet they still can’t buy a goal.

Both Raheem Sterling (£7.1 I 11.6%) and Nicolas Jackson (£6.9 I 6.2%) started this one from the bench, Cole Palmer (£5.4 I 18.6%) continued his week from hell, while Christopher Nkunku (£7.3 I 0.6%) was deemed unfit to participate. There are major problems right across Stamford Bridge, and if they aren’t fixed soon we might find Chelsea in a relegation fight.

Poch’s worries will only be worsened by Robert Sanchez (£4.7 I 8.7%) and Reece James (£5.4 I 4.8%) joining and re-joining Chelsea’s extensive injury list.

For Everton, this victory was a continuation of their post-points deduction rebound. After putting Newcastle to the sword in mid-week, their destruction spree continued. At the back the now-suspended Jarrad Branthwaite (£4.1 I 3.0%) and James Tarkowski (£4.4 I 3.4%) were rocks again.

Going forward, can anyone stop Abdoulaye Doucoure’s (£5.5 I 1.3%) goalscoring? He’s fast becoming the Merseyside Dele Alli, popping up with crucial, and well executed, goals. FPL Gameweek 17 could be the perfect point to load up on Everton’s cheap options, though be wary of Doucoure’s AFCON qualification.

No Haaland, but City still partied

A foot injury kept Erling Haaland (£14.0 I 83.8%) out of Manchester City’s clash with Luton Town. It was the first Premier League game the Norwegian missed this season, against an opponent many would’ve gambled heavily on scoring at least once.

Despite his absence, City won their first Premier League match in over a month. Jack Grealish (£7.2 I 1.6%) and Bernardo Silva (£6.4 I 3.3%) were on the scoresheet for Guardiola’s side, with the formers strike created by Julian Alvarez (£6.9 I 28.6%), who grabbed his eighth assist of the season in Haaland’s absence.

Elsewhere, Elijah Adebayo (£4.8 I 0.6%), Luton’s tree-sized striker, scored in his second consecutive match, taking his season tally to four.

Moving into FPL gameweek 17, Haaland’s injury will need monitoring. Given he is selected in most FPL teams, and captained by most managers, his fitness is crucial to FPL success. As a precaution, having a solid vice-captain option should mitigate a sustained Haaland absence, with trading him out at this stage unwise and rash.

Erling Haaland breaks single season Premier League scoring record, best strikers
Erling Haaland missed his first match of the season against Luton I FPL Gameweek 17

Fantastic Fulham hit five again

That man Raul Jimenez (£5.2 I 1.7%). We wrote about him last week and he turned up with the goods this week, opening Fulham’s 5-0 thrashing of West Ham with a delightful header. in fact, every single one of Fulham’s starting midfield were directly involved in a goal.

Andreas Pereira (£5.3 I 0.9%) got his fourth assist in two games, Willian (£5.3 I 1.0%) his fourth goal of the season, while Joao Palhinha (£5.0 I 0.3%), Tom Cairney (£4.9 I 0.0%), and Alex Iwobi (£5.3 I 0.6%) each created a goal. Remember, this was against a West Ham side that kept Spurs to one goal.

If Fulham keep firing like this then it will be hard to ignore some of their attacking stars, notably Pereira and Jimenez.

Sensational Spurs silence doubters

Goalscorer turned provided. Striker turned left winger. That was the story of Heung-Min Son’s (£9.5 I 34.7%) involvements in Spurs’ victory over Newcastle. Moved back to the left wing position we’ve become accustomed too, the South Korean scored once and assisted two more.

His first was a by-line cross met by left-back Destiny Udogie (£4.8 I 9.7%), taking up a position more commonly associated with a striker. The Italian’s form had been questionable since his sending off at Chelsea, but he redeemed his manager’s, and fanbase’s, faith by opening the scoring here.

It was rinse and repeat for Spurs’ second. Son receives the ball, stands Kieran Trippier (£7.0 I 49.6%) up, and sends his cut-back onto Richarlison’s (£6.6 I 1.1%) boot. Newcastle’s right back will have sleepless nights at the thought of Son wheeling down the wing at him for weeks to come.

Richarlison capped a performance he needed with his second goal on the hour mark, before Son won and converted a late penalty to compound Eddie Howe’s Tyneside headache.

With barely a month until the Asian Cup and AFCON depletes his heavily depleted squad, Spurs manager, Ange Postecoglou will be praying for a swift results turnaround, and rapid rise back up the Premier League table, if only to mitigate for the potential January slide that seems all but inevitable.

Newcastle’s injury-hit side will be further weakened for next week’s outing at free-scoring Fulham in FPL gameweek 17 through Trippier’s suspension, accrued through his 83rd minute yellow card in this nightmare outing.

Are Aston Villa in this title fight?

Their fans probably don’t want to yell it too loud, draw too much attention to Unai Emery’s wonders, but it must be proclaimed: Aston Villa are right in this title fight.

They’re two points behind current league leaders, Liverpool, and beat both the former league leaders, Arsenal, and reigning champions, Manchester City, in consecutive games. At the heart of it all is a well-drilled, efficiently effective side with solid foundations at the back to allow their quick-breaking, free-wheeling attack to flourish.

John McGinn (£5.5 I 1.1%) scored the only goal of the Arsenal win, created by Leon Bailey (£5.5 I 2.0%), in for Moussa Diaby (£6.7 I 10.9%). But it was really Villa’s exceptional defence, marshalled by Pau Torres (£4.6 I 5.3%), Diego Carlos (£4.4 I 0.4%), and Ezri Konsa (£4.5 I 1.5%), who was shuffled to right back in this clash.

It’s no surprise how stacked Villa are right across the park. Matty Cash (£4.8 I 22.8%) came on late here but is one of the finest attacking right-backs in England. The same can be said for the now-suspended Lucas Digne (£4.7 I 5.6%) on the other side. McGinn is in career best form, so too is Ollie Watkins (£8.4 I 38.9%), whose impact is evident even when his name isn’t inked on the scoresheet.

So, it’s fair to shout from the rooftops: Aston Villa are in this title fight!

matty cash, fpl gameweek 17
Aston Villa’s Matty Cash

A moment for Salah’s significant milestone

Mohamed Salah (£13.1 I 50.7%) grabbed his 11th goal and seventh assist in Liverpool’s much-needed victory over Crystal Palace. The three points which eventually sent Jurgen Klopp’s took a temporary celebratory back seat to the Egyptian’s 200th goal for the club, a club of which their are only five members.

Some achievement for some player. If Liverpool are any hope of being in this title fight come April they are going to need Salah to continue this run of form, which could be argued as the best we’ve seen from him. Which is remarkable considering how high he has set the bar, but incredibly true. City have Haaland, Liverpool need Salah.

It’s not exactly time to stress about relegation just yet for Crystal Palace. But, they’ve collected just four points from their last eight games and have won against a side not in the relegation zone since beating United in early October.

Whether Roy Hodgson stays or goes remains to be clear, but what is blatantly obvious is something needs to change. Yes, they’re currently hindered by crucial injuries to Eberechi Eze (£6.0 I 3.0%) and Cheick Doucoure (£4.9 I 0.1%), while Michael Olise (£5.8 I 0.3%) has only featured five times this campaign.

But they’ve looked lifeless for too long, a defensive shambles inviting goals and misery. Four of their five clean sheets came in the opening eight rounds, with just one since.

Something needs to happen, someone needs to grab the defibrillator out of the closest and shock them into some form of action of they mightn’t be able to rescue themselves from their slide.

Mohamed Salah, AFCON, FPL wildcard, Premier League
Mohamed Salah joined an exclusive club against Crystal Palace I FPL Gameweek 17

United’s inconsistencies continue as Solanke’s delight goes on

Many will argue it’s Manchester United’s worst post-Ferguson loss. Just when they looked to have turned a corner against Chelsea, they were thrown back in their own self-made cell of inconsistency and impunity by Bournemouth.

A 3-0 home defeat places places as much pressure on Erik Ten Hag as a garbage press would a rotten banana. New manager, same problems, United again look like an assortment of expensive, randomly collected parts assembled together with cohesion or planning and expected to succeed, like throwing a Ferrari engine in a Toyota Camry with the aim of winning the Monaco Grand Prix.

That’s not to diminish Bournemouth, who deserved the points. Andoni Iraola is, as the kids say, cooking. The Cherries are effective pressers and quick attackers, give them even the faintest whiff of space and they will penetrate into it.

At the core of their revolution is Dominic Solanke (£6.6 I 7.9%), a highly touted, often unrewarding, striker who seemed to be cut from the Aleksandr Mitrovic mould of being too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier League.

solanke
Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke

His eight goals this campaign, including a well taken opener at Old Trafford, mean he is one shy of levelling the tally of nine goals he’d accrued in his previous four top flight campaigns. Some breakout.

Solanke is undoubtedly the focal point of Iraola’s system, dropping deep to begin attacks or link play, making beautifully timed runs to meet crosses and cutbacks, and finishing with the deft touch of Sergio Aguero.

With Fulham, Luton Town, and Nottingham Forest on the fixture list before 2023 ends there can be no mistaking Dominic Solanke for nothing short of an exceptional FPL striker option with the finish the season on 20 goals.

For Manchester United, it’s a case of riding out the storm or ripping the whole project up. Ten Hag’s selections have been questionable, to put it semi-complimentary, but injuries haven’t helped.

Rasmus Hojlund’s (£6.9 I 3.1%) price tag grows more baffling by the week, as does Marcus Rashford’s (£8.5 I 11.2%) form. Bruno Fernandes (£8.3 I 12.7%) will miss the next match which might be a silver lining given its potential to free Scott McTominay (£4.9 I 2.5%), United’s top scorer, to play further forward and the Dutchman to shore his midfield base up.

Mbuemo and Ferguson headaches

Respectively, both Bryan Mbuemo (£7.0 I 15.2%) and Evan Ferguson (£6.1 I 7.7%) are astute FPL selections. Mbuemo is listed as a midfielder in the game but plays as a striker for Brentford, while Ferguson is arguably one of the strongest strikers for his price point.

But through injury and inconsistency, both are causing more hands to scratch heads than rise for joy.

Mbuemo misssed Brentford’s 1-0 loss to Sheffield United through an ankle injury with an unspecified timeframe for return, and also faces potentially heading to the AFCON in January, meaning he is ripe for trading out.

Ferguson however is a whole other kettle of fish. After becoming one of the youngest players to score a Premier League hat-trick against Newcastle earlier this season, he’s blanked more often than not. The Irishman has scored just twice in his last 12 matches, eight of which have been starts.

His talent cannot be questioned, but when there are a plethora of FPL striker and goalscoring midfielder options parting with Ferguson might be a shrewd piece strategising heading into FPL Gameweek 17.

evan ferguson, brighton, premier league, FPL Gameweek 17
Is it time to part ways with Evan Ferguson? I FPL Gameweek 17

Transfer targets under 15% ownership

DEFENDER: Destiny Udogie (£4.8 I 9.7%)

MIDFIELDER: Abdoulaye Doucoure’s (£5.5 I 1.3%)

FORWARD: Dominic Solanke (£6.6 I 7.9%)

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