Musings from the mind of veteran player Jon Ounsworth better known as FPL Coach. The Coach has vast experience having played the game for over 12 years, has witnessed everything that can happen in the game and has probably forgotten more than you know…
The Ancelotti effect
11 points from their last six games sees Everton in third place in the Premier League form table behind Liverpool and Man City right now. The toffees have seen a dramatic turnaround since the Italian’s appointment at the start of December when the team were 15th in the table and just 4 points above relegation.
It’s clear that an appointment of Ancelotti’s calibre has been a huge lift to the Merseyside club and the team are riding high on confidence evidenced to best effect by their incredible 3-2 away win at Watford when they only had 10 men.
Despite such an impressive run of form many have been put off by Everton assets in recent weeks due to their upcoming ‘tricky’ fixtures.
On paper, they don’t get much tougher as we’re only missing Man City from the top 7 in the next 8 but with defences so frail this season is it really so inconceivable that they won’t score against some of these teams?
Holding the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison over the next few weeks could just turn out to be a masterstroke.
Man City on the naughty step
Friday afternoon the world was given the unexpected news that champions Man City are due to be banned from the Champions League for two seasons due to breaking financial fair play rules. Whilst it’s unlikely that the ban will stand in its current state as the club vehemently deny any wrongdoing, you have to question what impact it might have on the club, the team and their immediate performances.
Guardiola has already claimed that the ban has brought the team closer together and acted as more of a rallying call to arms amongst the ranks but with the Premier League title already lost to Liverpool can we expect more of a shift in focus to their European campaign this year?
Take everyone’s favourite rotation fear Aguero for instance, at 31 years old this could be his final chance for European glory at the club he has dedicated nearly 10 years of his career to. I fancy him to be more up for Real Madrid away in a week’s time than either upcoming fixture vs West Ham or Leicester.
If the worst happens and the ban stands the ramifications could be catastrophic for the club and their long-term ambitions.
This piece has been written before the West Ham game so cue a City masterclass and an Aguero hat-trick. For me personally though I’ll be nervous about more news on this subject in the coming months.
Chelsea sending an early warning
Frank Lampard and Chelsea made a big statement last week with the announcement of big money signing Hakim Zayech from Ajax.
Although the player won’t join until the summer Lampard has made it clear that they tried to make it happen in January so he’s sending a clear message to his current playing squad that they are not meeting the grade and he expects more from them.
Combined with his changed team sheet at Old Trafford on Monday night Lampard is likely hoping that this announcement will serve as an extra motivation for the likes of Pulisic, Mount and Hudson-Odoi to prove that their place should not be under threat by the imminent arrival and with a potential DGW29 on the horizon for Chelsea it could come at just the right time.