FPL Holly is back this week with her selection of captain picks for the Quarter Finals. Her Clueless Husband is doing his best to avoid the World Cup football and is absolutely adamant that football won’t be coming home.
3⃣ free transfers before the quarter-finals…
5⃣ players from each country instead of 4⃣…
Are you ready for Round 5⃣ of McDonald's FIFA #WorldCup Fantasy?
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) July 4, 2018
The Round of 16 was a challenging one for the captain armband, with just Mbappe and Cavani managing to break the 10 point barrier, within games which appeared challenging on paper. It also saw some casualties of popular fantasy options, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Diego Costa.
The remaining games will be hard battled affairs, with just two game days. This means just two bites of the captain cherry. It could be the time to consider the “Maximum Captain” chip, with the highest point returner in your squad automatically given double points. I’m strongly considering using this chip for this round, with games perhaps slightly more open than in subsequent rounds and a bigger pool of star players to select from.
The bookies odds suggest England, France, Brazil and Croatia will be the teams to progress: but if this World Cup has taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Belgium could have the quality to topple Brazil, Russia have the hopes of their whole country willing them past Croatia, Uruguay and Sweden will be difficult to break down for France and England respectively.
Shield Pick: Philippe Coutinho vs Belgium
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 21/20
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 4, 2018
Coutinho’s ownership is way over 50% and he’s had a fantastic tournament, getting 2 goals and an assist. His reliability went awol in the Round of 16, but with Brazil managing to keep another clean sheet, he still finished on a reasonable 3 points. He looks unlikely to hit double figures, but should be a decent bet for a single attacking return. With Belgium conceding two goals to Japan in their last match, Brazil will fancy their chances here. Are you going to play safe and go with the shield pick?
Sword Pick: Neymar vs Belgium
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 23/20
1 – Neymar has attempted the most shots (23) and shots on target (12), as well as creating the most goalscoring chances for his teammates (16) and suffering the most fouls (23) at the 2018 World Cup. Busy.#BRAMEX #BRA #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/wTjXLoro8w
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 2, 2018
While Coutinho has been reliable, Neymar is explosive and is starting to play himself into form, with two goals and an assist. He’s the biggest player left in the tournament and is yet to produce that star performance expected of him: could this fixture be the one? He’s more than capable of a brace or a hat trick, plus he’s on penalties too. Will you select the sword pick?
Form Pick: Kylian Mbappe vs Uruguay
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 9/5
🗓️ July 1998
🇫🇷 France win #WorldCup
🗓️ December 1998
👶 Mbappé is born.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) July 2, 2018
Mbappe has finally announced himself at this tournament, with a brace in the Round of 16 and more performances of this calibre could challenge Harry Kane to the Golden Boot. France are favourites to progress to the semi final, but this solid Uruguay defence may be difficult to unlock. He’s cemented his starting place and his pace can cause plenty of problems towards the end of games. Can the star man from the Round of 16 continue his form?
Fixture Pick: Harry Kane vs Sweden
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: Evens
Harry making history. pic.twitter.com/SNlasFkrCy
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 3, 2018
Harry Kane may well have the Golden Boot sewn up, with three penalties converted and a couple of headers from set pieces. England will continue to rely on set plays as a source of goals, with Harry being at the centre of it all. Sweden have been resolute defensively, but England should pull through in this one. Are you going with the fixture pick?
Twist Pick: Luka Modric vs Russia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 7/2
They've had some fantastic players in the past, but Luka Modric is the best player in Croatia's history.
That's the view of team-mate Ivan Rakitic.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 1, 2018
That penalty miss in the Round of 16 is the only blip in Modric’s record for this World Cup, but he made amends in the shoot out and will continue to be key in this side. Hopefully he can hold onto spot kick duties, although a penalty decision against the host nation will be surprising. Russia have ground out some impressive results, so Modric will need to provide and create for the talented team around him. Appearing in the last Quarter Final game on Saturday, will you twist in the quest for points?
Punt Pick: Aleksander Golovin vs Croatia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 18/5
Aleksandr Golovin has created more chances (5) than any other #RUS player at the 2018 World Cup; two of which have been big chances.
The creative spark. ☄ pic.twitter.com/JLWgNIG0Pz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 1, 2018
The unlikely fantasy hero from Round 1 has yet to replicate that early performance, but he did play out of position for the hosts against Spain as a support striker. With 120 minutes in that game, it looks likely he will get plenty of minutes again here, including extra time if needed. He provides pace in the side and has a share of set plays too. The host nation are on a phenomenal run, are you going to bet on them producing another big performance here?
Park the Bus Pick: Diego Godin vs France
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 20/1
Clean Sheet Odds: 9/4
"Diego Godin is the best defender on the planet. Without question."
— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) July 2, 2018
Uruguay have been one of the most solid defences in the entire tournament, conceding just a single goal to Portugal over their four games. France are going to be difficult to keep out, but they’ve been far from clinical in some of their early games. Godin also has strong attacking credentials, providing a big threat from set pieces. Are you brave enough to captain a defender?
Clueless Husband Pick: Andreas Granqvist v England
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 11/2
Clean Sheet Odds: 27/10
I couldn’t care less if England win a football game or not. It makes no difference to me.
I’d rather Serena win Wimbledon again this year. She’s already done that seven times.
— FPL Clueless Husband 🤷♂️ (@FPL_Clueless) July 4, 2018
My Clueless Husband is far from into this tournament, making plenty of derogatory comments about his own country! When asked for his Quarter Final pick he was less than impressed, remarking “Definitely none of those England dogs. Who’s the captain of Sweden? I’ll have him!”. Going against England is very unpatriotic, but Granqvist has the second highest points tally in the game: three clean sheets and two penalty conversions are impressive figures. Will you side with my Clueless Husband?
Until Next Week…
Holly and her Clueless Husband