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05th Feb 2016

Fantasy football cheat sheet: Can’t afford a car so we’re going to buy us Alexis

*Lyric courtesy of Kanye West*

Darragh Murphy

It’s a genuine possibility now.

Leicester are actual, real life title contenders and no amount of Vardy doubting, Ranieri dubiety or underestimation of the importance of Fuchs can stop them.

The Foxes are top of the league, with two difficult away ties before a relatively doable run of fixtures towards the end of the season.

And we don’t want to jinx them. So we won’t be picking any Leicester player this week because, even to whisper “Mahrez” could result in a capitulation that we’re not willing to risk.

Here are our fantasy football picks this week.

Three players to sign

Arsenal FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League

He’s still recovering from injury so it’s understandable that so few people have jumped at the chance to bring Alexis Sanchez back into the fold.

It took minor miracles in goal to prevent the man who never skips leg day from putting Southampton to the sword midweek and he looked well on his way to a return to form against Burnley in the FA Cup last weekend.

We reckon the Gunners will be smarting after throwing away two points to Saints on Tuesday and, we hate to say it, but we think Bournemouth are going to face Sanchez’s wrath this weekend.

You may as well get him in now before his ‘selected by’ percentage rockets up and everybody will be availing of his thunderous right leg. Reap the benefits now!

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League

That’s right, a Sunderland player. We’re choosing a Sunderland player.

It’s not glitzy, it’s not glamorous. Some might call it indicative of a need to see a doctor but Sunderland are precisely the kind of team that can punish Liverpool.

Jermain Defoe is a proven finisher, with more Premier League goals this season than supposed world class strikers like Diego Costa, Wayne Rooney and Christian Benteke.

Simon Mignolet is the most staurophobic (look it up) goalkeeper in the league and treats every ball into the box like a glowing piece of coal from the fire. Big Sam, meanwhile, adores a set piece.

We think Sunderland will score at Anfield and who else in the Black Cats’ dressing room but Jermain Defoe knows how to find the net?

Colchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

Non-Spurs fans, all millions of them, may not be aware of Kevin Wimmer.

The centre-half arrived from FC Koln in the summer and is expected to fill in for stalwart Jan Verthongen who is ruled out for the foreseeable future.

Toby Alderweireld is reliable enough to keep the youngster afloat in the Spurs back four so we think this could be some shrewd business.

Wimmer is cheap as chips, selected by virtually nobody and he looked a real solid prospect against Norwich midweek. Granted, it’s only Norwich.

Three players to sell

Watford v Swansea City - Premier League

We’re doing it. We’re losing one of the Watford wonderboys.

So often this season when the Hornets have scored, it’s been a flip of a coin between Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo as to who’s set it up and who’s put the finishing touch on it.

But Spurs are at the tippy top of the form table, having been victorious in all three of their last Premier League games, scoring 10 and conceding just two.

Mauricio Pochettino has his defence well drilled and, even with Verthongen’s absence, they’re unlikely to concede a lot.

Deeney and Ighalo haven’t been controlled often this season but we think the Spurs back four is capable of it.

Southampton v Crystal Palace - FA Cup Fourth Round

We mentioned the all important form table above… Guess who’s bottom?

That’s right, Alan Pardew’s low-flying Eagles are in danger of skimming their breasts on the footpath as they’ve lost five in a row.

Shockingly, Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t turned Crystal Palace’s fortunes around and it’s not just up front that Palace are struggling.

They’ve conceded 13 over those past five games and that’s far too leaky a defence to explain the 11.2% selection rate that stopper Wayne Hennessey has.

Swansea have found a new lease of life under Francesco Guidolin so they should be able to sully any chances of a Palace clean sheet.

Get rid of him.

West Bromwich Albion v Everton - Premier League

John Stones is injured and that’s actually a bit of a positive as he’s been nothing but a liability for Everton in recent weeks.

Having said that, Stones can’t shoulder all of the blame and that’s not just because he’d try to take it down and play it from the back.

None of the Toffees back four have performed to their abilities this season and the less said about Tim Howard, the better.

Phil Jagielka should start alongside Ramiro Funes Mori at the weekend but we somehow don’t think they’ll keep Stoke quiet, despite the Potters abject performance at Old Trafford during the week.

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