Premier League: GW18 Starting XI

Instead of preparing for Gameweek 18 I have spent more time attempting to plan out transfers leading up to the first DGW taking place in Gameweek 22. Taking injuries and potential transfers into consideration, along with fixtures for this week, I believe I will roll my FT to Gameweek 19 and make multiple changes. As it stands now, the only player still flagged heading into the weekend action is Stephen Ward, with Burnley’s run of poor fixtures, he will be transferred out soon.

The wear and tear of the past 2 weeks have been frustrating, while my overall score (897) and drop in overall rank (485k) has been disappointing. That sea of green arrows has sailed, as I come off back to back red arrows that dropped me 134k as I score 35 and 36 points respectively. I can take some comfort in knowing I left 14 points on the bench in Gameweek 16, but overall the premium players haven’t been performing, causing captaincy selections to fail (again!) and squads that SHOULD be keeping clean sheets against weaker opposition, end up leaking a single, cheap goal.

With any luck…which I could use now, fortunes will turn this week, as the risk of rotation and rest should be over and we can get back down to our players scoring goals, something I lacked last weekend. The initial plan for the holiday period, after dropping Harry Kane and bringing in Alvaro Morata (along with Eden Hazard) was to run out a 4-5-1 formation. Unfortunate, since Gameweek 14 I have used that formation once, last week, the results? Poor.

However, I don’t finger the formation as the cause for the paltry 36 points I scored, but the rotation and fact the players I had didn’t perform, recording just 2 assists on the day. For Gameweek 18, the 15-man squad remains unchanged for this gameweek, but I do make some adjustments, partially due to the injury to Stephen Ward.

While not happy with him, Lukasz Fabianski starts again in goal. Surprisingly scored 2 points midweek after giving up 4 goals. I will take it! He’s on the short list to be moved, but with more pressing team problems, I will continue to run him out until I get that luxury transfer for the second WC. Everton have been hot and cold, but currently on a good run of form under Big Sam. Could be a tough call for the Swans defensively, but I will be looking to get some save points this weekend.

Defensively I am going with a back four left my Marcos Alonso and Sead Kolasinac…still. Kolasinac didn’t start midweek, while Alonso contributed with an assist. Both players (teams) need to work hard for the CS, as they have been prone to leak the cheap goal. Alonso is on his last leg again at £6.9, as plans are to downgrade him to Andreas Christensen in a fortnight. This will allow me to bring in a £4.5 “Cheaters Cheapie” that will bring my ITB total to £2.4. While my intentions were to transfer out Aaron Cresswell, he remains on my squad as the Hammers have had a resurgence under David Moyes, along with 16 points in his last 3 games. Expense at £5.0, but has the ability to provide attacking returns (Arthur Masuaku £4.4) is a budget option).

Indications for many fantasy managers seems to be loading up on midfielders in a 3-5-2 formation. It’s not uncommon to see Richarlison, Mohammad Salah and Eden Hazard listed as starters with a smattering of City midfielders also getting the nod. While I have only own KDB to start the season, I have not dipped into the Sky Blues pot recently, but with favorable fixtures and David Silva great value at £8.2, I plan on bringing him in next week. The following week will be the return of Paul Pogba (£7.9), who appears to be another “steal of a deal” favorable fixtures to finish the year.

This week my 4-man midfielder is just as potent as many others I have seen, as I run out Eden Hazard, Mohammad Salah, doubling with Philippe Coutinho and Richarlison. My fifth, currently first off the bench is Pascal Groß, more on him shortly. Just 31 points from these 4 starters over the last 2 weeks has contributed to the poor overall scores I have posted recently. I don’t feel this trend will continue and it’s just a lull in an otherwise good group of players who have all gone south at the same time.

Up front Alvaro Morata is the only nailed on starter, who was to lead my 4-5-1. However I brought Charlie Austin in Gameweek 17 for Jamie Vardy to free up the necessary budget to add Coutinho (drop Ramsey). It was a net -1 for this transfer, which also didn’t benefit me. Austin faces Chelsea this week, he’s scored 4 goals in 5 games but blanked away to Man City and home to Leicester this past week.

Chelsea, as mentioned earlier hasn’t been as dominate defensively as we have seen earlier this year (GW10-12) or last year. This leads to the question, do we trust Austin to camp in the 6-yard box and score a cheapier? Do we look at Groß at the Amex hosting a stout Burnley defense led by Nick Pope? Currently, it’s Austin putting me at a 4-4-2 and leaving Groß first off the bench.

Out of Gameweek 18 future plans do include picking Kane up for DGW22, which means rolling over my GW21 transfer in order to make it happen.  With 2 FTs for Gameweek 19, I am planning on Alonso being swapped to Christensen and Coutinho to D. Silva. These moves will save me £3.2 ITB.

Looking ahead of Gameweek 20, it will be Groß making way for the return of Pogba, which will give me; Richarlison, Pogba, Silva, Salah and Hazard in the midfield. Headed into Gameweek 21 I will still have £1.1 ITB to bring Kane in for the DGW. This week could see a downgrade in a defender, as Ward (£4.9) is injured and Kolasinac (£6.1) could be sacrificed for another in form defender.

Between now and DGW22 lots can happen, so it’s just a tentative plan to hopefully take advantage of some good fixtures that are upcoming.

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