The best performances from the FA Cup 5th Round.
With five Premier League sides now through to the quarter final round of the FA Cup, the Analyst takes a look at the players who can carry their cup form over into Gameweek 26.
PlayON Price: £7.5m
Gameweek 25: 575 pts
The Belgian stopper has been a renewed force in 2015, rising from a period where he could do no right, to rank as one of the Premier League’s form keepers. Liverpool may have gone a goal down to a Frazier Campbell opener at Selhurst Park, but it was Mignolet’s timely interventions that prevented Crystal Palace from stretching their lead even further in the first half. With 3 saves and 4 claims throughout the game, Mignolet steered the Liverpool comeback from between the sticks, allowing the visitors to run out 2-1 winners.
Over the past four Premier League fixtures, Mignolet is tied for the most clean sheets (3) and second only to Everton’s Joel Robles in terms of goals conceded (2). Liverpool have certainly enjoyed a renewed solidity since reverting to a back three and their custodian has been the primary beneficiary. Facing Southampton away on Sunday – equally steely defenders in 2015, but certainly less free-scoring – Mignolet could be set to stretch this fine run even further.
PlayON Price: £7.1m
Gameweek 25: 1370 pts
West Brom were absolutely dominant at the weekend, expertly dismantling West Ham in a 4-0 drubbing. This was the latest step in the Pulis-ification of the Baggies, as they clocked their second clean sheet on the bounce against Premier League opposition. While the likes of James Morrison, Berahino and Ideye rightly took the plaudits for their goals and contributions, the backline quietly but commandingly went about their business, nullifying the normally potent attack of Sakho, Valencia and Downing.
Joleon Lescott was again key to that display, marshalling the West Brom defence to a clean sheet and watertight performance. Under Pulis, the centre-back is fast emerging as a reliable PlayON option over the past four Gameweeks, winning 62% of his tackles, adding 29 clearances and trailing only Martin Skrtel for blocks (6). Travelling to an inconsistent Sunderland this weekend, Lescott and his backline teammates could prove a useful and accomplished additions in Gameweek 26.
PlayON Price: £8.3m
Gameweek 25: 0 pts
While criticism begins to stir in fan and media circles regarding Louis van Gaal’s tactical “nuances”, one man is improving his reputation amid the inconsistent rumblings at Old Trafford. That man, and part-time battering ram, Marouane Fellaini, has become United’s not-so-secret weapon of late, usually wheeled out to sow mayhem in the opposition penalty area.
In truth, it’s proved an effective tactic. The Belgian excelled once moved into the number nine role, putting United 2-1 ahead away to Preston in the FA Cup and acting as a prime catalyst in their comeback and eventual suppression of the game.
His stats won’t challenge the top brass of midfield players, but with 3 goals in 8 Premier Leage starts, his record is not insignificant. Has Fellaini done enough to secure a rare starting slot in Gameweek 26? That remains unclear. Including the Belgian giant in your line-up is a gamble, but it’s a gamble that might just pay off.
PlayON Price: £10.8m
Gameweek 25: -90 pts
Olivier Giroud is now “a different player” – according to Arsene Wenger – to the man he purchased from Montpellier in 2012. The Frenchman came in for rave reviews following two superbly taken goals and a man of the match display at The Emirates on Sunday, where Arsenal shot high-flying Middlesbrough straight out of the FA Cup.
When fit and available, Giroud is always a popular choice in the fantasy world, but a propensity for bookings, coupled with the unpredictability of Arsenal’s line-ups can make him an unfeasible option at times. Claiming two goals and two assists in his last four Premier League appearances – on top of his cup displays – the striker seems now to be hitting top gear.
Over the past six Premier League games, Giroud has ranked 5th among strikers for goal conversion with 22% of his efforts hitting the net. Travelling to Crystal Palace in Gameweek 26, now could be the time to back the France international – if not on The Analyst’s advice, then on the praise of his manager alone.