That was the sound heard prior to the conclusion of Saturday’s fixtures after Callum Wilson netted his third goal of the day, as Bournemouth rolled up Huddersfield, 4-0. This was your classic knee jerk reaction transferring in a player returning from injury, making a major impact. While I have preached patience this season, as we haven’t seen many patterns emerge to date, this reaction to Wilson’s performance nearly had me clicking a -8 before I stopped and told myself to slow down before I made any further rash decisions.
The last time I spoke about patience was back in Gameweek 9 when I activated my Free Hit Chip, based on the matches for the big teams for the weekend. The move didn’t pay off, scoring just 36 points, a season low to date. Patience would have rewarded me with 58 points, 8 above the average for GW9 and not caused drop of 495k in the overall ranking. As a fantasy manager, we live by our good and bad decisions with a sprinkling of lucky, this appeared to be a good decision that just didn’t pay off, however there has been a silver lining since.
Last week I wrote about Holiday Planning, Midfield Differentials, Potential Budget Midfielders and Attacking Question Marks as we moved forward out of the international break. I put in some time reworking my strategy, concentrating on defenders and their fixtures, while shifting assets and budget to the midfield. By Friday, I made the decision to stand pat and rolled by FT to Gameweek 13. It was good decision, as Sead Kolasinac was on the chopping block, but finished the weekend on 6 points, with a CS home to Spurs.
As Saturday rolled on, players continued to net goals, Mohammad Salah hit for a brace, Eden Hazard hit for a brace and assist, Paul Pogba finished on a goal and assist, Philippe Coutinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Richarlison each picked up a goal. It was a great day for midfielders. Unfortunately Harry Kane and Christian Erisksen failed to return again. Kane now scoreless in the last 3 games, while Eriksen hasn’t returned in the last four. It’s very concerning, as they haven’t produced well enough on the road recently, while their home form against lower division squads has been nothing short of pathetic, regardless of the outcome. Is it time to move Spurs attackers?
Any other season, you look at Spurs with Kane, Eriksen and Alli home to West Brom and you can figure they would supply good returns. Last season Kane hit for a hat trick and has a total of 5 goals against the Baggies in the last 5 match ups. However, Spurs scoring at Wembley hasn’t been impressive, just 3 goals from fixtures against BUR, SWA, BOU and CRY. Why should we think Spurs will roll up WBA this weekend? It could be another case of “click click boom” for Kane and Eriksen this weekend, as a strategy is in place with or without them.
I have mentioned before that a 4-5-1 is about as unconventional as a 5-2-3, a formation that served me well to start the 2017/18 FPL season. Looking at the forward position as a whole, 10 points separate Morata (72) from Jesus (62) with Lukaku (70), Agüero (67) and Kane (66) in between. It’s big money, but we’ve seen fantasy managers starting Kane, Morata and Lukaku, a hefty £34.7, leaving little coverage in the midfield, even with 4 budget defenders.
Midfielders look to be making a play, shifting the balance of power in fantasy squads. I am a few weeks removed, since running with 3 big forwards, opting to play a 4-4-2 the last few weeks. For me, the season hinges on Harry Kane, at £12.8, moving to Alvaro Morata would save £1.3 that could be better spent in the midfield. Combined with a few defensive transferss I could have a midfield of Salah, Pogba, Hazard, Sané and Richarlison, which has me salivating at the possibilities of consistent returns.
The disadvantage of running a 5-man midfielder, it leaves Morata as the only forward who would start and two budget options on the bench. In this possible scenario, that leaves Callum Wilson and Oumar Niasse, if called upon to start a 2-man forward line. Both players are “in form” (a bit of a stretch for Wilson) but the big guns in the midfield could make up for the lack of a second or third forward.
Although changes during the season become challenge, with my Wild Card already activated back in Gameweek 5, these potential players would come at a hefty cost. Based on my research last year, excessive hits rarely paid dividends, when taking a -4 or -8, in some cases a -12 point hit. There were just two stretches during last season that ended up providing a positive returns in points, that saw my increase my overall rank. This season, Kane is the linchpin who must be sacrificed if I am to move forward with four premium midfielders. It’s just Monday, but I have some time to consider the possibilities and options before making a decision.