Premier League: GW12 Starting XI

With the international break now behind us, we put the pedal to the metal and go headlong into the very busy FPL holiday period. We kick things off this week with a big slate of games on Saturday, beginning with the the North London derby, Arsenal v. Spurs. This fixture could set the table of things to come for the week, which could potentially results in BIG scores across the board. Many favorable match ups for the big clubs, while some of the lower, in form clubs could post good returns.

Now less than 24 hours away from kickoff I still hold my FT and consider the possibilities of change. Earlier in the week I considered moving Aaron Cresswell and/or Sead Kolasinac in favor of a £4.5-ish defender, as I move a step closer to acquiring Alvaro Morata by Gameweek 14. In fact, I could take a -4 hit and move Kolasinac and Jamie Vardy move up the timetable on the Chelsea forwards. However, I favor Vardy this week as they host the Man City juggernaut. Like my last fiver, this FT is burning a hole in my pocket.

FPL TRADITIONAL STARTING XI

We start between the pipes, as Lukasz Fabianski retains his starting position over Rob Elliot by virtue of fixtures. Swansea is awqay to Burnley and with the Clarets lack of attack, this match could end in a 0-0 draw. Fabianski hasn’t been been overly impressive with no CS in his last 3 but did register save points in GW9 and GW10.

Defensively, I have started to shift out the high priced, premium wing backs in favor of the in form budget defender. With Stephen Ward posting 12 points since I bought him in, I will be looking to further reduce the price of my back line. However, as it stands for Gameweek 12, I feel I need to hold my FT and run with Marcos Alonso, Kyle Walker and Sead Kolasinac for another week. The Arsenal wing back is the only defender who doesn’t have a favorable fixture, as the Gunners host Spurs.

I continue to hold Alonso, as Chelsea is ready to “set sail on a sea of green” after a rough fixture in GW14. This weekend against WBA, Chelsea should be able to keep it clean, against the toothless attack of Tony Pulis. Alonso remains on the fence, so to speak as I look at possibly picking up another premium midfielder.

Kyle Walker is my only Man City asset and “that’s the way I like it” if I must quote KC & The Sunshine Band. With no rotation in site for the former Spurs man, Walker continues to post consistent returns; 6 CS and 4 assists on the season.

Further up the pitch, the midfield has recently been anchored with the acquisition of Mohammad Salah, who returned 15 points in GW11. He is about as template as it gets for fantasy managers right now. Liverpool is home to So’ton in a tricky fixture that has seen a few 0-0 draws in the recent past. While anticipation is high for Salah to build on his 7 goals and 3 assists, I am not convinced to hand him the arm band…yet.

Christian Erisken returns to the EPL, on the back of a hat trick to see of the Republic of Ireland. This after posting no returns on the run up to the international break. The Dane appears to have been positioned a bit deeper in the Spurs midfield, leaving the attacking to Kane and Son further up the pitch. Hopefully on the back of his international success, he will return to Spurs and spark more creativity and points into my midfield.

Budget midfielders, Richarlison and Pascal Groß round out my 4-man midfield. Both players feature at home versus questionable opponents, as Richarlison takes on West Ham, while Groß faces Stoke City. The armband could be handed to Richarlison for the third week in a row, but his home statistics included just 2 assists, but has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 6 fixtures, both home and away. Groß has been over performing to date with 2 goals and 5 assists on the season. Unlike @FPLThunshot, who’s benched Groß this weekend, I feel the play of veteran, Glenn Murray up front is all that’s needed for Pascal to pick up another assist this weekend.

Up front I continue to back Harry Kane as my premium option, his underlying statistics are solid, much like Richarlison, but his output has been very inconsistent. While I hesitate to give him the armband, his record in North London derbies is very good, 6 goals in 5 games. He will partner with Jamie Vardy, who dropped 3 goals on City last year. Without Otamendi in the line for the Sky Blues, Vardy might be able to hit them fast on the counter. Unfortunately just a single goal returned since I picked him up for Gameweek 9.

On the back of 4 green arrows from the last 5 gameweeks, I continue to build on the previous week. What I am in search of is that 80-90  point week to help boost my position in the overall ranking. To date, 78 points has been my best, but it’s the captaincy output, as it is with many others, that continues to hamper my weekly results. Hopefully out of the international break I can pick up another green arrow and see myself inside the top 500k by the end of the weekend.

FPL DRAFT STARTING XI

While still not fond of the draft game, my squad continues to post some good returns. Currently sitting in second place, I am actively making moves weekly, in order to improve my team. To date, I have been hampered by injuries to Dele Alli, Philippe Coutinho and now, Sergio Aguero, after his fainting spell while on duty for Argentina. Hopefully this is the first week I have all three of those players fit and starting.

Between the pipes is Nick Pope, who I transferred in last week, he will look to post a third clean sheet in the last 3 games as the Clarets face a dismal Swansea City team at home. Pope has posted some outstanding numbers, on par with David De Gea.

It’s been a rotating door defensively for me, as I continue to shuffle players in and out, based on fixtures and their current form. This week I moved John Stones, with the thinking that City won’t keep a clean sheet against Leicester City this weekend. As mentioned above, Vardy hit for a hat trick last season and with Otamendi out due to suspension, I think the City defense is a bit suspect.

On the week I brought in Brent Mee, Matthew Lowton and Shane Duffy. Currently, Mee and Duffy are slotted to start, while Lowton hold the number one bench spot. I don’t see Swansea scoring, which could have me move Charlie Daniels to the bench in favor of Lowton. The decision isn’t that clear cut, as Daniels and the Cherries are home to Huddersfield, another team struggling to find the back of the net.

As for Duffy, he’s done just about everything right, except score this season. Coming off a heartbreaking loss in the World Cup playoff game against Denmark, Duffy gave the Republic and early 1-0 lead, heading the ball into the goal. He’s currently got good from, comes off a great season last year and the Seagulls have a good fixture in GW12, home to Stoke City.

“Dave” anchors my defensive back line, as he has done all season. His 5 assists, connecting with Alvaro Morata make him dangerous at both ends of the pitch. Against WBA, I look for Azpilicueta to throw up at minimum, a clean sheet, as he looks for his 6th assist on the season.

The midfield is chocked full of potential, but to date haven’t posted the expected returns. Injury has befallen three of my four starters, with Richarlison being the only starter to remain fit from the start of the season. Philippe Coutinho should return to the Reds starting XI and is currently starting for the draft team. Dele Alli missed last week due to a hamstring and was left out of the international duty, but is reported fit for the derby against Arsenal. He hasn’t produced as anticipated, just 3 goals and 2 assists on the season. This is similar to last season, when it was about this time, he turned his season around and became an “essential” template player.

Wilfried Zaha was highly touted to start the season, but fell to injury and missed 6 weeks, but returned in GW8 and has posted 2 goals since, play OOP as the lone forward. Palace face a struggling Everton squad at home, who gave up 2 goals to Watford last weekend, but came from behind to win 3-2. Hodgson appears to have things turning around for Palace and a return looks possibly for Zaha this weekend.

Finally, the Brazilian wonder kid, Richarlison Andrade fills the fourth and final midfield spot. He’s posted 4 goals,  4 assists  and 4 bonus points through 11 games. Unfortunately, just 2 assists have come at Vicarage Road, which is a concern, as Watford face a struggling West Ham, who’s been bleeding goals defensively. He continues to get the touches inside the box, as well as shots on goals, of which 10 have been big chances, but only 4 have found the back of the net. Hopefully he can lead the Hornets to victory against the Hammers.

Up front I have decided to partner Sergio Aguero with Glenn Murray, who is currently returned 4 goals in the last 3 games. He has been getting great service from Pascal Groß and Anthony Knockaert. While his legs not be what they once were, he’s proven he knows where the net is and will be standing in the right position to find the back of the net.

There is some concern with Aguero, who spent the night in the hospital after passing out during half time against Nigeria. He is reported to be “fine” and ready to face Leicester City this weekend. With Pep, we have no clue what we will get. I have a feeling it’s going to be Gabriel Jesus starting as the lone forward, with a cameo from Aguero around 60 minutes.

This make my bench important just on the off chance Aguero doesn’t play. Lowton holds the number one position and by virtue of Burnley’s match up with Swansea City will retain that spot. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is moved to the two hole, as he find himself on the bench since being introduced in GW7. This because Coutinho is back and fit. Finally, I am taking a punt of Callum Wilson, who had 76 minutes in GW11 and could lead the attack for the Cherries. He was brought in early this morning in place of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who I will look at once again depending on what Murray and Wilson do this weekend.

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