View from the Boot Room | Week Sixteen

Friday, December 6 2019


We had a little glimpse of the future in the Premier League this week…

No, not Man United heading back to former glories. No, not Arsenal’s empire collapsing. And not a preview of Liverpool battering Everton in their FA Cup 3rd tie (although…).

We had the full program of fixtures delivered the same day by Amazon Prime.

My feedback: five stars. On-time and as described.

Alexa…? More of the same, please.

Tap ins…

Surely Tottenham can keep a sheet at home to Burnley. C’mon, Jose. Sort the handbrake out on that bus. I’ll be loading up with Aurier again – who can score at both ends here. Alderweireld and Vertonghen are decent low £5m value too.

And Alli is back to stinging like a bee (after spending much of the last year floating like a butterfly) if you can find room for him.

And Liverpool should extend Bournemouth’s losing run to five. Yes, five. The midweek-rested Salah and Firmino will likely be the difference, but the host’s blunt attack is our guide here. Keep in Allison, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold.

Oh, and, Vardy. Skipper.

Long Shots…

Palace will travel to Watford full of themselves. But I don’t trust Zaha. And at £6.7m Milivojevic is a big punt on Palace getting a penalty. Ayew is rubbish – despite 5% of you taking the £5.1m hit. The keeper Guaita is at least £0.1m more appealing this weekend.

Expect a bounce from Everton. There will, after all, be half a dozen looking to impress ahead of the January window. Especially at the thought of David Moyes being reinstalled. No Silva lining there.

But not enough to blow out Chelsea’s Lamps. Abraham (doubtful), Pulisic and Mount are the goal threat. Pulisic is due one.

Now that Pukki has found his (domestic) shooting boots, he makes a compelling case for you 3rd choice striker. I fancy goals when they host Sheffield United. At both ends. And he looks a better pick than Blades defenders this weekend.

Worth a punt...

How about a West Ham clean sheet? No? Okay, perhaps not. But Cresswell (at £4.7m) and maybe even Yarmolenko (at £5.7m) are worth a tickle because Arsenal are creaking. And only Watford, Villa, Everton and Norwich are worse on the road. And two of those are going down.

Finally, the big one…

I fancy Ruiz to stop AJ late between the 8th – 10th rounds.

You knowz I gotz jokez.

Okay, the Manc derby. United’s front three – Rashford, James and Martial if fit – are everything that City’s back four don’t like. And Pep hasn’t slept in clean sheets since Villa at home, ten matches ago. So ditch defenders on both sides. But if you can get De Bruyne in your side do so. Even at the expense of Sterling.

Yeah, I said it!



What we learned | Week Fourteen

Monday, December 2 2019

Six things we learned this weekend…

Clean Sheets are so last season…

There’s me saying (in Friday’s View From The Boot Room GW 14) that there might be an upswing from the average four or so we’ve been seeing this season. And we top out at 2.

One for Palace, the other West Ham. Who’d have thunk that?

This season it’s all about assists for Defenders. And Jose agrees. He can’t have been happy inheriting the loosest of loose cannons Serge Aurier at Spurs. But has responded by sticking him on the right-wing, maximising his attacking threat. And limited the damage he can do defensively.

Take note. And another thing…

Jose is not quite at the wheel at Tottenham…

Six of the last seven goals Tottenham have shipped have come in the last 20 minutes of the match. The previous four have been when already 3-0 up and the Spurs bus should be safely parked. Very un-Jose like.

My Alderweireld tip was looking rosy on 70-odd minutes; made two, assisted 1, sheet looking handy. But he’s worth persisting with. Mourinho likes a centre-back who can quarterback attacking moves – and if Alli has turned the corner, both will be worth looking into for the rest of the campaign.

Emery out. Mustafi in. But no change at Arsenal…

No-one expected Arsenal’s defensive frailties to disappear overnight. Especially when they saw the team sheet on Sunday. The hapless Mustafi was barely through his first 20 minutes of Premier League action before bundling one into his own net at Norwich.

(If you’re one of the 0.3% FPL managers with him in your ranks, give yourself a Chinese burn).

Pukki will rightly take the credit with his first goal in 8 (as tipped up in Friday’s post, while we are dishing out plaudits). But rear Gunners remain a no no.

In fact, Aubameyang is the only one I’d mess with. Especially versus promoted teams – his retaken penalty was his 10th in 11. Bullying in the workplace.

Have Blade will travel well

Sheffield United extended their unbeaten away record to seven. True, six have been draws. But they are not going to suffer too badly at home so remain a solid pre-Christmas defensive pick. We can expect a wobble/ slump/ gassing at some point, but not yet.

Don’t get carried away with Mousset though. Still has a hint of the talented pub player about for me. Hasn’t finished a game all season and fits Wilder’s philosophy of getting 10-12 good games (and 6-8 goals) out of 3 or 4 average strikers.

Last-minute Leicester look like they smell success

Leicester were far from convincing against Everton but celebrated their last-minute winner like Champions. Surely, they’re not thinking… Not again.

Probably not. But when you have a gen-u-ine (pronounced ‘Jen. You. Wine’) goal scorer in your team, you can do damage. So, if you’re one of the 55% that haven’t yet, do what you have to do to get rat boy Vardy in yours.

Another good week for Li-VAR-pool

Another team that celebrated like Champions after scraping an uncomfortable win.

Their front three have only failed to secure them the points 3 times this season. But someone normally steps up. This time it was the increasingly immaculate Van Dijk. Proving he’s got a bit of everything in his locker.

He might yet add the Ballon D’Or to his CV this season. Messi will probably win it. But after consulting VAR, it will be awarded to Virgil.



View from the Boot Room | Week Fourteen

Friday, November 29 2019

Matt Nesbitt has queued up all night, survived a shop doorway stampede and had an in-store fistfight over a flat-screen TV to bring you his Black Friday rundown…

Thank flip for Fantasy League. It’s a somewhat less than inspiring fixture list, aside from perhaps Newcastle United v Man City - and that’s being generous.

If it wasn’t for the FPL points on offer, you could be forgiven for ditching the Premier League results in favour of a five-episode binge of Come Dine With Me on Saturday afternoon.

That’s what Pochettino will be doing.

Anyway, eyes down…

Tap ins…

It hasn’t been the season for clean sheets - roughly four a week so far. But we could be treated to some laundry this weekend.

Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Leicester look handy. And I can see another couple too – but we’ll come on to them in Long Shots.

So, round up the usual suspects – your Robertson’s, your Alexander-Arnold’s; your Pereira’s, your Chilwell’s, and your Soyuncu’s.

Plus, you might even get some value out of those so-far overpriced Chelsea and Tottenham Defenders. At the Bridge, Tomori is the cheapest and best value option. With Azpilicueta up next.

And based on what we’ve seen at Spurs under Jose, I’m going to change tack. I’d already filed Aurier in the ‘Liability’ section – and thought Mourinho would do the same. But I’m wrong.

He’s been relieved of his defensive duties (we agree on that, at least) but instead, he has played in a very advanced right wing-back role, racking up a goal and an assist in his last two (all comps).

Jose likes Alderweireld too.

Long Shots…

I have an inkling there might be another one or two sheets to be snaffled up this weekend too. I could see one at St Mary's. Watford have failed to score in over half their matches this season, and I don’t think Southampton are as bad as their record suggests. Almost. But not quite.

And I’m not the only one among you. Vestergaard features in more teams than Burnley’s Tarkowski – one of the Top Six defensive performers this season – or any Sheffield United defenders (Lundstram aside. Who’s a midfielder in real life).

Speaking of which, I could see clean sheets at both ends in Wolves v Blades. Patricio and Doherty have not yet hit the heights of last season, but are good value at £5.2m and £6.0m.

Wolves are gathering pace. Beaten just once in 14 (all comps), 15pts from a possible 21pts puts them in the Top Four of the form tables. And their quality players are starting to fizz.

And don’t be put off by Sheffield United conceding three last week. They have a tidy run of fixtures betwixt now and Xmas. Cash in on the likes of Henderson, Stevens and – obvs – Lundstram while you can.

Worth a punt…

If you’re looking for goals this weekend, I’m thinking Leicester’s Vardy, Tottenham’s Kane, Burnley’s Barnes and Wood, VAR’s Salah and Mane, Saints’ Ings.

And City’s Jesus has hit seven in his last 8 PL starts. Thankfully, for the Magpies Aguero is out. 15 in 14 v Newcastle.

These are not so obvious: Manchester United’s Martial is due one. Without Tammy pressure mounts on, erm, Mount and Pulisic at Chelsea.

And how about Norwich’s Pukki to end an 8-match barren run – the Finnish finisher has hit 5 in his last 3 for his country, so it’s not like he has lost his scoring touch completely.



Ben Dinnery

Ben Dinnery


Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.

Johnny Wilson

Johnny Wilson


Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.

Matt Nesbitt

Matt Nesbitt On TipTV


Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.


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