Stevie of EyeTestFPL casts the spotlight on three Fantasy Premier League (FPL) options that caught his attention in Gameweek 26, using ‘eye test’ screenshots and information from our Premium Members Area.
Joe Willock (£5.7M)
Under Eddie Howe, Newcastle are slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with after several shrewd January signings. They will also have a great fixture run which includes back-to-back doubles in Gameweeks 28 and 29.
In particular, Willock is a player I’m looking at closely from Newcastle. With the rock-solid midfield duo of Shelvey and Joelinton behind him, he is often the most advanced central on the pitch for Newcastle.
Willock is the engine of the Newcastle midfield, often making surging runs forward. After skillfully beating Declan Rice, he managed to get in front of Tomas Soucek to get Newcastle on the front foot.
He again made another surging run from midfield past Declan Rice and Craig Dawson only to be brought down by the latter.
He then jinxed past a crowd of West Hams players before leaving Ryan Fredericks with no choice but to foul him.
Being the most technically gifted player in midfield, it was no surprise to see him being given the freedom to roam forward into the penalty box. Especially when Newcastle got the ball out wide, Willock would make runs into the opposition area.
Jacob Murphy managed to get into the inside wide channel of the West Ham’s backline which became a signal for Willock to make a similarly dangerous run. However, Soucek was alert enough to keep track of the Englishman’s movement.
Newcastle were focusing their attacks from the flank, which simultaneously saw Willock getting inside the six-yard area. Fraser’s shot then took a deflection off Willock which could have gone anywhere.
It is clear Willock has goals in his mind based on his positioning, and his movement is somewhat reminiscent of Conor Gallagher’s when he was on a goalscoring spree earlier this season.
After another successful advance on the left flank, Rice failed to clear the ball away, inadvertently putting the ball back into the danger zone where Willock had been hanging around all afternoon. It then bore fruit to his first goal of the season.
He had another decent goalscoring chance from inside the box, but his shot could not make it past a swarm of West Ham defenders.
Willock was also trigger-happy from distance against West Ham, making three attempts from outside the penalty area. After a quick drop of the shoulders, he released one just wide off the post.
Over the last two Gameweeks, Willock is first among all players for shots (eight) and joint-third for attempts inside the box (four).
One thing that’s worth mentioning is the possible rotation risk posed by new signing Bruno Guimaraes, who has replaced Willock off the bench in each of the last three matches. They’re different types of players, however, and the good news is that Eddie Howe has said on a couple of occasions recently that he likes the “balance” of his present midfield, and there seems little reason to change it while the Magpies are in form.
I expect Willock to maintain his often predatory presence inside the box over the upcoming matches, especially with Newcastle playing with more gusto lately.
Emmanuel Dennis (£6.1M)
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