The midweek, Gameweek 14 fixtures were challenging, but things don’t appear to be any easier as we head into Gameweek 15 this weekend. The holiday festivities are in full swing and FPL managers must stay sharp to and be open to potential rotation. Midweek many fantasy managers lost out on players like Hazard, Coutinho, Azpilicueta and Salah, who actually came on and in 23 minutes posted a brace. Amazing! The Egyptian continues to perform like Aladdin with his magic lamp!
FPL TRADITIONAL STARTING XI
This week was supposed to be the third in a season, where I am reallocating assets from a 5-2-3 formation to a 5-man midfield. Callum Wilson was a knee jerk move 2 weeks ago, while he hasn’t returned, I would still have required a budget forward. Midweek featured two transfers who netted a single point, in Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata. While the short term points didn’t pay off, these are moves for the long term (through GW27), which I know will come through.
This week I was planning on shipping out Jamie Vardy and Pascal Groß. While Groß didn’t return midweek, Vardy picked up a goal for his second attacking return in 2 weeks and Leicester has good form. While not the level of their championship season, the combination of Mahrez, Albrighton and Vardy look good!
Plans were to introduce Leroy Sané and Oumar Niasse, fresh off a 2-game suspension for diving. It’s yet to been seen if Niasse is a “Sam Allardyce guy,” but I did hear he’s continuing to “work hard” and could be slotting back into the starting XI over Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
I have no doubts that Man City are going to post a big return against struggling West Ham, but there could be some doubt that Sané could miss out because of his 4 yellow cards, being saved for the Manchester Derby, next week. This has me concerned, as does the question of Niasse starting, home to Huddersfield.
Onto my starting XI, as Lukasz Fabianski, fresh off a 5-point fixture against Chelsea gets the start because Rob Elliot has been dropped by Newcastle as the starting keeper…maybe. Swansea is away to Stoke and Fabianski is currently the second highest scoring (62) keeper behind de Gea (72). A replacement for Elliot won’t be considered at the moment, as I will elect to run Fabianski out and hope for save points.
Currently planning on a 3-man defensive set with Marcos Alonso, Kyle Walker and Sead Kolasinac, as I continue to hold on to my high priced wing backs. Alson and Kolasinac each returned a CS midweek, while Walker and City gave up a cheap goal to WBA. All three wing backs still possess some good numbers going forward in their last 4 games.
The midfield is coming together nicely, as Eden Hazard and Mohammad Salah now anchor the position, with Sané or Sadio Mané poised to come in. Initially plans were for Sané and Paul Pogba, but that may change. Richarlison and Groß round out my starting midfield. Both have challenging fixtures, but Spurs have been struggling defensively, while Watford has posted 9 goals in their last 5 games.
Groß has still been playing very well with 28 points in his last 5 games, which included a GW13 match in which he recorded no attacking returns but gained 3 bonus points. True BPS magnet when it comes to his involvement and contribution on the pitch for Brighton. Liverpool has been terrible on the road, conceding 16 goals in 7 games, which give me hope that Groß continues to post attacking returns.
Up front I start 3 forwards for the second week in a row with Callum Wilson, Jamie Vardy and my newest acquisition, Alvaro Morata. Wilson continues to disappoint since hitting for his hat trick in GW12, but is home to So’ton this weekend. Vardy scored last week, which gives him returns in the last two gameweeks and the Foxes looked very dangerous. Home to Burnley, who’s been stingy, conceding just 2 goals over their last 4 gameweeks. I do however have high expectation for Morata against a leaky Newcastle. While he won’t be captained, attacking returns should come.
FPL DRAFT STARTING XI
The draft squad will look to get back on track after a mess during the midweek GW14 fixtures. Not a great showing, losing a few points off the pace of team at the top of the table. Heading into Gameweek 15, I have made two claims off the waiver wire, bringing in Kiko Femenia and Oumar Niasse. Not sure what to make of Wayne Rooney’s hat trick midweek, as “Big Sam” could help Rooney post better offensive numbers as the #10. However I am still looking at Niasse for the long term.
Defensively the squad lines up with Ederson coming into start over Nick Pope, as City hosts a poor West Ham squad. With a 3-4-3 formation, Shkodran Mustafi, Cesar Azpilicueta and Charlie Daniels start. All my defensive starters have good prospects at clean sheets. Arsenal’s fixture, hosting Man United do concern me, but suspect Jose Mourinho will come to the Emirates looking for a draw.
The midfield really disappointed in GW14 as I look to Dele Alli and Philippe Coutinho to step up their games this week. However, I have been saying that about Alli for too many weeks now, as he and Spurs look in poor form. Liverpool visits a The Amex and Brighton, who’s been very good this year, at both ends of the pitch. I suspect the Reds offense will return points this weekend.
Richarlison and Wilfried Zaha round out the 4-man midfield. Zaha has blanked in his last 2, but does have Christian Benteke back in the mix, as they face West Brom this weekend, a squad that has looked bad defensively. We will see if that changes under Alan Pardew. Richarlison had his midweek goal attempt go off the goal and wasn’t able to post a return in the 4-2 loss to Man United, midweek. It doesn’t get any easier this weekend, as the Hornets host Spurs, who have destroyed them in the past. Spurs looking poor defensively, might give opportunities for Watford to post a few attacking returns, which means the Brazilian could feature prominently.
Sergio Aguero leads my forward line against West Ham, posting just 3 goals in his last 8 games. It is West Ham and City could put up 5-6 goals this weekend. I don’t have that warm, fuzzy feeling for Niasse and Wilson headed into Gameweek 15. Wilson has blanked in his last 2 fixtures after hitting for a hat trick, while Niasse is returning to the squad after a 2-game suspension for diving. The bench has Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Brent Mee, who I might swap in, opting for a 4-5-1.
With a few hours left to decide my final lineup, we will see what changes occur. Overall I look forward to posting good numbers with both squads. Good luck to all!
*UPDATE* Late changes, I have moved Choupo-Moting for Xheridan Shaqiri and Callum Wilson for Wayne Rooney, which means I shift my draft starting XI to a 3-5-2.