Premier League: GW13 Starting XI

With a Friday fixture in the fold, fantasy managers must make their decisions a day early. Having spent the better part of my work week finalizing my holiday strategy I have decided I will roll my FT over to Gameweek 14, in anticipation of introducing Chelsea assets to my squad. After rolling last week’s FT, which I burned in a knee jerk reaction to Callum Wilson’s hat trick, I didn’t feel change was necessary after posting 84 points, a season-high, last weekend.

This week I head into the gameweek with a single change to my starting XI as I bring back a formation that’s only been averaging 47 points/gameweek. The 4-3-3 sees Pascal Groß benched, virtue of his away trip to Man United, while Callum Wilson gets his first start of the season, fresh off his hat trick. However, it’s the captain’s armband that continue to cause consternation this week, as my opinions varies sharply with pundits and fantasy websites.

FPL TRADITIONAL STARTING XI

Defensive I have shifted from a 5-man set in Gameweek 10 to a 3-man set in Gameweek 11 but will retain the defense that posted 34 points last week, on the back of 4 clean sheets, 1 goal and 5 bonus points. The only concern this week is Burnley hosting Arsenal. Prospects look great for Burnley defensive assets, as the Cherries have conceded just twice all season at home. Arsenal on the road have scored just 6 in 7 games.  Sead Kolasinc and Stephen Ward retain their starting spots nonetheless, as I go in search of a 0-0 draw.

Elsewhere, Kyle Walker returned his 7th clean sheet last weekend and should make it 8 this week away to Huddersfield, who might have no answer in how to stop the Sky Blues. He’s record 405 passes in all away matches, 206 have been successful. More importantly, 90 of those passes have been in the final thir,m creating 6 chances (3 big chances). Along with Marcos Alonso, fresh off his third goal and 5th clean sheet, travel to Liverpool. Chelsea have scored 10 goals in their last 4 games, but the Reds have conceded just once at home. Something will have to give at the Anfield.

There was pause for concern this week as I contemplated moving Christan Erisken in favor of Paul Pogba, fresh off a 12-point return, home to Newcastle. After further consideration and a comment from @ffscout_AZ, “Oh. No way, keep Eriksen. WBA won’t be able to shackle him like Arsenal did,” the decision was made to hold the Dane for one more week as Spurs host WBA. Mohammad Salah, a potential captain option, has scored 4 goals in the last 2 games, but faces a tough challenge, home to Chelsea (2 CS in the last 2 games).

My most important selection this week, sticking the captain’s armband on Richarlison Andrade for the 4th week in a row. As highlighted this week, he’s returned 32 points in the last 3 weeks wearing the armband and I expect returns to continue away to Newcastle. On the season Richarlison has scored 4 goals (Watford 12 goals) on the road, while Newcastle has conceded 6 in their last 4 games. Could be a big return for the Brazilian this week.

Up front I return to a 3-man attack, as Callum Wilson was brought in to replace the injured Tammy Abraham. It was a knee jerk move, that I look back on know and wish I wouldn’t have made, opting to hold Abraham, who’d been goalless in his last 4 games. However the home fixture against Swansea City have seen the Swans conceded 7 goals in the last 4 games on the road, which bodes well for Wilson who should get his second consecutive start.

The “Vardy Party” continues, but no one, not even Jamie Vardy has really shown up since being brought in for Gameweek 6. Just 2 goals in the last 7 weeks doesn’t really justify his £8.5 price tag, but the fixtures have. Up against a dismal West Ham unit that has conceded 25 (league high) goals this season could mean great opportunity for the Foxes, who’ve scored 6 goals in their last 4 games.

The biggest question mark on the pitch this weekend is Harry Kane. Third (20) in penalty touches and top in goal attempts with 14, Kane has returns just 2 goals (brace in GW9) in the last 4 games. For my squad, this is last hoorah, as I my holiday plans do not include any Spurs assets. I haven’t considered him a captain option the last 4 weeks, which have all paid off handing the armband to other Richarlison and Lukaku (on the Free Hit in GW9). This week, home to a WBA squad is disarray would be just the week for Kane to get back on track with a big return. Armband or not, his fate is already sealed.

FPL DRAFT STARTING XI

It was another great week on the waiver wire for my draft team, introducing Kiko Femenia and Shkodran Mustafi to my 15-man squad. Mustafi, as the numbers show have kept 5 clean sheets in 6 games when he has played. Away to Burnley he could improve on those numbers. Femenia proved himself fit after a great game last week, home to West Ham, which saw the Hornets post their 4th clean sheet of the season, as he picked up a single bonus point. More importantly, he looked dangerous down the flank. Could continue where he left off as Watford have looked more lethal away from Vicarage Road.

It’s been a challenging year owning Sergio Agüero as he’s been a part time player for City when not injured. Out of the last 6 games, he’s played parts in just 2 games but more importantly, he’s returned 2 goals in limited minutes. On a punt, I brought in Callum Wilson ahead of GW12, which appears to be a great addition, he’ll also see his first start of the season.

For Gameweek 13 I have decided to go 3-5-2 and bring Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting a start in the midfield, after 4 returns in the last 6 games and coming off his 3rd goal of the season last weekend.  The options remain wild, as Wilfried Zaha and Richarlison both start and will look to continue providing attacking returns. Zaha has 3 goals in the last 5 games, while Richarlison looks to improve his already strong road numbers at St. James against the Toons.

Coutinho has a tough fixture ahead, as Liverpool host Chelsea. He has posted 3 double digit returns, when healthy as Liverpool has scored 10 goals in their last 3 fixtures, most importantly only conceded once at home this season. While not all that high on Coutinho posting good numbers, he still has set piece responsibility, which could be key.

I am very high on Dele Alli, which is something that hasn’t been mentioned in conjunction with his name this season. The Spurs midfielder has been unimpressive to date, 3 goals and 2 assists as they continue to struggle at Wembley. Looking at 2016/17 it was Gameweek 13 that saw Alli turn his season around and go on and score 8 goals and 3 assists over the next 10 weeks, which had fantasy managers tripling up on Spurs assets. Jury is still out, but Alli looked choice in the midweek UCL fixture with 2 assists.

Up front, as I eluded to, its going to be Agüero and Wilson leading the attack. While I don’t expect Agüero to start or possibly play that means I have but one real option off my bench. Femenia would be called into duty, shifting that 3-5-2 to a 4-5-1. Not sure I can rely on Glenn Murray or Shane Duffy, as Brighton are away to Man United, who have conceded just once at home, all season. In 3 of the first away games, Agüero posted 30 points (4 goals, 1 assist) to start the campaign, but more doublespeak from Pep and the fact that Agüero hasn’t featured in an away match since GW6.

Not really sure what to make of Callum Wilson, on the heals of his first return, albeit a hat trick. Coming off a second ligament injury he looked fit and dynamic, home to Huddersfield. The kind fixtures continue for the Cherries as they travel to Swansea City who’s given up 7 goals in their last 4 matches. There could be the risk of rest for Wilson, who’s track record of starting healthy isn’t very good. Add to the mix, Benik Afobe, Josh King and Jermaine Defoe (inj), Wilson could be on a short leash, but hopefully can perform when on the pitch.

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