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Premier League 2020/21: FPL Gameweek 18 Fantasy Forecast


Ahead of each Gameweek in the Premier League, The Hype Train's team, Robert Austin, Sam Austin and Phil Jones, duel for FPL and league supremacy in predicting Premier League scores, as well as going head to head in picking a Scout Picks squad for each round of games. With the 2020/21 Premier League season starting tomorrow, we provide our Gameweek Forecast predictions, speculating how we think Blank Gameweek 18 will be played out. Welcome to the Forecast. All aboard.

Premier League 2020/21: Gameweek 18 Fixtures


Premier League 2020/21: FPL Gameweek 18 Forecast

Enjoy our FPL Forecast article, with each of our team forecasting how we think the Premier League will shape up this upcoming Gameweek. If you agree or want to challenge us on our point of view, get in touch with us on our main Twitter account, @RealHypeTrain.

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 18

Sheffield United 2-1 Newcastle

Burnley 1-2 Man United

Wolves 1-1 Everton

Man City 4-0 Brighton

Spurs 3-0 Fulham

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace


FPL Forecasting: Gameweek 18

So, we’re back after the FA Cup. And there has been even more fixture controversy, Covid-19 outbreaks, and the country is going through its worst period of the pandemic. I’ll do a quick FPL Q&A, just to cover the basis. There is a lot of hysteria over this Gameweek because of the reduced fixtures. People need to calm down, and just do something, literally, anything, even if its dropping 8pts to have enough players. Anyway:


Is this the week to play your Free Hit?

Yes – And, you didn’t have to pay a membership for a straight answer.


What teams to focus on if you Free Hit?

The four teams from the ‘Big Six’ that feature. Your strategy is to get 11 players from Arsenal, Spurs, City, and United. All of them have winnable fixtures. Bench fodder from the dead fixtures. Again, if you need to pay for a membership to find that out, then I have no words because you shouldn’t be playing this game if it wasn’t crystal clear.


‘But what about Wolves vs. Everton, is there value there, what about my budget, what about injuries, will they be available?!?!?!?!?!?’

This has been the one eye rolling question I have seen lots of ‘FPL Dave’ accounts ask this week, hyperventilating about a fixture that you should straight up avoid. Everton’s strikers won’t be available, Wolves neither, so it’ll be a dead rubber. When four of the ‘Big Six’ are in this reduced Gameweek you don’t need to look at other options. Also, for people that then ask the question, then shut people down, or tell them their wrong, or just be a vacuum of negativity, please delete your Twitter account.


Captaincy Options:

Son (TOT) or Kane (TOT). Only other option I’d consider is Bruno Fernandes (MUN), keep it simple, go with the points.


About The State of Football & Fixture Postponements:

So that is my Q&A this week. But let me ask you a question, do you think the players playing the matches care? The FPL ‘Community’ has a bad habit of making out like their players are playing for them, sometimes it feels like that when someone transfers in a dead option, and then they go on to get double digit returns. Crazy. The Premier League players have been making things harder for their reputation since New Years Day, with a huge Argentine contingent meeting up in London for a huge party (many Spurs and West Ham players were dropped for breaching protocols), forcing fixtures to be cancelled. What about Mendy and Walkers London bash? Newcastle revealing that masses of their staff and player base contracted COVID?


Record high numbers of positive tests week-after-week, and all the Premier League has done is simply remind these clubs of the guidelines…guidelines that the Premier League themselves don’t even follow themselves. It isn’t all players, but there is enough evidence to show that football has become arrogant of their position as a pillar of responsibility and exemplar of the entire UK, even the world. Most people look up to footballers, and they are trying their best to carry on like the pandemic isn’t happening. As I said a few weeks ago the notion of a ‘bubble’ in football was a non-existent joke, a PR statement made by clubs and the league to make out like everyone in football is exempt of the same judgment as everyone else.


Footballers, Football Clubs, and the Premier League itself have flaunted their privilege in the face of crisis and it feels like the bonds between football and supporters feels even more estranged than ever. First it was the money, but now this pandemic has highlighted the fact that elite level clubs don’t even need supporters present to operate. Lower Leagues are being punished, with football teeters on the cusp of its own foundations decay, and the Premier League feels like a law of its own. I feel detached from it as it feels like football is no longer a supporter’s game, as the league is only doing what the league wants for its best interests. As such this disconnect stretches to the FPL, which begs the question why people pay for memberships to accounts that will tell you everything is perfect because they want to protect their bottom line and hyperventilate over something that no longer gives its supporters a second thought, the players included.


FPL Differential Picks (GW18):

SHU/NEW: David McGoldrick (SHU, FWD, £5.2mil, 2.5% ownership)

BUR/MUN: Antony Martial (MUN, FWD, £8.8mil, 7.1% ownership)

WOL/EVE: Fabio Silva (WOL, FWD, £5.2mil, 1.6% ownership)

MCI/BHA: Phil Foden (MCI, MID, £6.2mil, 5.8% ownership)

TOT/FUL: Toby Alderweireld (TOT, DEF, £5.4mil, 2.5% ownership)

ARS/CRY: Pablo Mari (ARS, DEF, £4.4mil, 0.4% ownership)


Differential Captain: David McGoldrick (Sheffield United)

It’s time. This is the perfect game for Sheffield United to pick up their first win of the season, and who better than again the incompetence of Steve Bruce and what he has done to Rafa’s Newcastle side? Exactly. Eventually the Blades must win a game, it is unrealistic that they don’t, and Newcastle are that bad under Bruce that I would be surprised to see the Toon come away with a point. David McGoldrick is the starting striker, and that is good enough to make the bold but eventual claim that Sheffield United are going to get their first win of the season this Gameweek.


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 18

Formation: 3-4-3

Budget: £101.4mil


Starting 11


GK: Hugo Lloris (TOT)


DEF: Kieran Tierney (ARS)

DEF: John Stones (MCI)

DEF: Joao Cancelo (MCI)


MID: Bukayo Saka (ARS)

MID: Bruno Fernandes (MUN)

MID: Hueng-Min Son (TOT) - (VC)

MID: Raheem Sterling (MCI)


FOR: Alexandre Lacazette (ARS)

FOR: Harry Kane (TOT) - (C)

FOR: David McGoldrick (SHU)


Substitutes


GK: Jason Steele (BHA)

MID: Scott McTominay (MUN)

DEF: Chris Basham (SHU)

DEF: Tyrick Mitchell (CRY)

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 18

Sheffield United 0-1 Newcastle

Burnley 0-4 Man United

Wolves 2-2 Everton

Man City 3-0 Brighton

Spurs 6-1 Fulham

Arsenal 1-2 Crystal Palace


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 18

Formation: 3-4-3


Phil has opted to play his Free Hit chip this week and has shared with us his team for Gameweek 18. He's favoured players from only four teams - Man City, Man United, Spurs and Arsenal.

Fixture Predictions: Gameweek 18

Sheffield United 0-1 Newcastle

Burnley 1-3 Man United

Wolves 1-1 Everton

Man City 4-0 Brighton

Spurs 2-0 Fulham

Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace


FPL Forecasting: Gameweek 18


Top FPL player targets ahead of the upcoming reduced Gameweek:

There are only four teams worth considering for transfers this week – Man United, Man City, Spurs and Arsenal.


I’m keen on Holding, Tierney, Saka, Leno, Ruben Dias, Cancelo, Foden, Neto, Fernandes, Martial, Zaha and Darlow, to name a few solid considerations, though a lot of FPL opinion and research sits on quicksand right now, so just go for ‘nailed on’ starters right now to steer you through the storm of a complicated couple of weeks.


Who are the teams to look out for and avoid?:


Sheffield United & Newcastle (Both Avoid):

If any Newcastle fan tells you that they’re looking forward to sitting down and watching an away day at Sheffield United, especially without a crowd and during midweek, they’re lying to you (or are on some seriously good anti-depressants). This fixture hardly screams goals and aside from Karl Darlow I’d steer clear of this fixture when considering FPL options. I’d rather have an injured Calvert-Lewin in my squad ahead of the likes of record signing Rhian Brewster.


Arsenal (Cautious):

Arsenal have been on a hot streak and I’ve actually been looking forward to watching them for a change, highlighting how quickly the footballing world can flip the script. Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney, and Emile Smith-Rowe in particular have been the big game performances for Arteta’s side – hardly a surprise that young talent is forcing the issue when big wage earners stutter in the final third.


With that in mind, I am of course backing and willing Arsenal to prevail against Crystal Palace, as I have Leno and Saka in my personal team, but this isn’t a walk in the park. Whenever you think they’ll get a result, AFTV ends up trending due to one of their ‘pundits’ losing the plot over a defeat.


Crystal Palace have a Manager in Roy Hodgson, and a few key players such as Wilf Zaha, that could be giving the masses of FPL players instant buyers regret.


The Manchester Clubs (Watch):

‘Insert obvious statement about both teams having good fixtures against teams starting with B that struggle at both ends of the pitch.’


Can you plan for the long-term in FPL right now?:

Short answer, no.

Medium answer, noooooooooo.

Long answer, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.


In all seriousness, we wrote a lengthy piece about the dangers and reality of the Fantasy season running its course before the halfway point due to elite football clubs flaunting their privilege during the on-going Coronavirus pandemic, so I’ve linked it below as I genuinely don’t have the energy to continually fight the system.

Thoughts on the Gameweek 18 Postponements:

The article above, and my personal opinion, pretty much paints my picture in clear black and white colour – there is a definite necessity to get Spurs vs. Fulham played as quickly as possible due to the fixture list facing Spurs when February rolls around. Aston Villa have a lot to answer for here, as do all clubs that have huge breaches of Covid (Newcastle, Man City, etc) as this doesn’t put the Premier League and its paper-thin statements of having faith in their Covid procedures, put in any good light.


It’s actually ridiculous that Spurs will be dealing with a game every two-three days soon, pending of course they sustain a run in the Europa League from the Last 32 stage all the way to the final. If Mourinho’s team have one cancellation they will not have a free date in calendar until May, with Europa League, Premier League and FA Cup commitments keeping them busy every 3-4 days.


Who on earth thought it was a good idea to pile so much on this season given the reality of our situation in Europe with Covid? These football clubs in the upper echelon are trying to fit as many games in as possible as if nothing has changed and it is ‘business as usual’. I’m not in any doubt that clubs can fulfil these fixtures, we’re talking about squads with a lot of depth and healthy players, but morally it isn’t right to have footballers reputations dragged through the mud as the public spotlight sours on them as the 99% are locked at home and might not have left the house in a week.


Alternatives? UEFA and the leagues under its jurisdiction need a winter contingency if they have to take the stress off of clubs during a 34-38 game domestic season that is ravaged by natural disaster or disease. I’m not arguing for reduced divisions or segmented divisions within the league, similar to how the NFL and MLS are divided up into sub-divisions, but it wouldn’t be the worse starting point to look at alternative competitions and limited tournament structures. The culture of European football won’t allow it, but given the colder months has been a problem, a single calendar year season is not the worst idea at all.


I can’t be alone when I see the farce comprises of a large volume of fixtures combined with a rigidness and lack of common sense or flexibility from bodies like The FA or the Premier League to adapt for the better when tragedy strikes – anyone believing differently and wishing everyone goes on as normal, that football has to play on regardless of the facts at hands, are gravely missing the large point that people are dying across the world and we have a collective duty to protect one another.


The point being, the way football is structured through its current competitions has to change in special circumstances, or one cancellation such as Aston Villa vs. Spurs being called off for instance can have big consequences surrounding validity of results, people losing patience and interest in the game, wider development of the game being hurt as a result and so on.

Gameweek 18 - FPL Captaincy Picks:

Essential: Harry Kane (TOT)

Alternative: Bruno Fernandes (MUN)

Differential: Phil Foden (MCI)


Other Gameweek Comments:

I didn’t play my Free Hit this week, instead I just dropped some points to get a full starting squad available I’ve put my actual team in here for reference and it isn’t too far apart from my Scout Picks squad below.


If you have your FH chip available and want to play it, might as well just do it. You can only plan one day at a time in 2021, gone are the days of paying for fixture spreadsheets made by a troll in his basement. The chips in this game were once strategic but now it doesn’t matter when you play each one - if you have a big gap to plug one Gameweek and the resources to shuffle the deck to your benefit, might as well try to make the best out of a bad situation (until of course the next hurdle hits us at 100mph).


FPL Scout Picks: Gameweek 18

Formation: 3-4-3


Starting 11


GK: Bernd Leno (ARS)


DEF: Ruben Dias (MCI)

DEF: Joao Cancelo (MCI)

DEF: Sergio Reguilón (TOT)


MID: Bruno Fernandes (MUN) – (VC)

MID: Phil Foden (MCI)

MID: Heung-Min Son (TOT)

MID: Pedro Neto (WOL)


FOR: Harry Kane (TOT) – (C)

FOR: Anthony Martial (MUN)

FOR: Alexandre Lacazette (ARS)


Substitutes


GK: Karl Darlow (NEW)

MID: Bukayo Saka (ARS)

DEF: Federico Fernández (NEW)

DEF: Romain Saiss (WOL)

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles. We won both Goal of the Season Awards in the Berkshire and County FA regions, with Callum Parr-Jones winning the Berks & Bucks FA award, whilst Martin King won the PlaySport UK award.

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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