Premier League: GW19 Starting XI

First off let me thank everyone who has supported the development and content I have provided on 6thGoal. It’s great to be part of a great community of like minded fantasy football managers who enjoy the beautiful game. While we don’t all share the same opinions, it’s great to provide content, sometimes from a different viewpoint. Have a great holiday season and Merry Christmas!

Now, onto more important things, Gameweek 19 and a jam packed few weeks of football during the festive period. It’s been an absolutely crazy week, not only in my life but following fantasy football. After two poor returns in Gameweek 16 and 17 I rebounded nicely on the back of 62 points (-4) to see a small green arrow that has me at 479k ahead of this week’s action.

Jay Egersdorff dropped a bombshell this week on the Fantasy Football Scoutcast, promoting #KANEXIT. While it’s difficult to judge the overall effect of this movement, you can’t ignore what such a successful fantasy manager is doing when a controversial move like this is put forth. For me, I moved Kane (and Eriksen) after Gameweek 14. Disappointed with their returns and not seeing Spurs gaining any form I pushed for a Chelsa duo.

While that move hasn’t been what I bargained for, as Morata has just a single return since that time, change was necessary. I brought forth #MORATADIOS as another option to Egersdorff’s #KANEXIT. With Morata picking up his 5th yellow card, now suspended, moving Morata was a no-brainer.

I waited until Thursday to break out my master plan for the holiday season as I invested 12 points from my 955 overall points in order to better my squad. With no forwards providing consistent returns, nor playing up to their current price, Morata led the way for massive changes moving forward.

Prior to Gameweek 18 I brought in David de Gea and Arthur Masuaku for Lukasz Fabianski and Aaron Cresswell. The West Ham defender swap was a lateral move, but I need to free up funds to introduce DDG. Unfortunately, Fabianski posted 9 points to de Gea’s 3 points, but it’s the longer term that will pay off for adding a premium keeper.

This week, as you can see above a 12 point hit has occurred without the blink of an eye. It was something I had been planning since moving Kane a few weeks ago. While Sead Kolasinac wasn’t a players I wanted to part with, Wenger not including him in the last 2 games and moving to a 4-defender set had made the Bosnian the man out, making my decision easier. He was upgraded (?) to Andreas Christensen, now featuring a double Chelsea defense.

Richarlison, in a funk as Watford has gone winless in 5 with just a single assist during that period was moved out in favor of Raheem Sterling. While I wanted to retain his services because of Watford’s upcoming fixtures, Marco Silva has some work to do in order to get the Hornets moving in the right direction. Sterling is a big upgrade for the young Brazilian.

It was also time to say good bye to Pascal Groß, who had been a mainstay in my starting XI since bringing him in for Gameweek 8. Paul Pogba could be seen as a questionable inclusion, but his 7 PPG average difficult to overlook, even though he’s missed 10 games. He will be nailed on when healthy and not suspended.

Finally, what could be see as “questionable” was the inclusion of Laurent Depoitre to my 15-man squad. While not originally on my watch list, I opted to bring the Belgian based on Huddersfield upcoming favorable fixtures, the fact he’d scored 2 goals in his last 2 games and his ownership at 2.2% compared to that of Dominic Calvert-Lewin (11.2% @ £5.4). It’s not without risk, but he could feature up front on a rotation basis.

As I wrote on my new Think Differently article for Fantasy Football Geek, my intentions were to run out a 4-5-1 for Gameweek 19 and beyond, but Christian Kabasele, more importanly, Watford worry me.  Maybe I look at the squad more from a support perspective than a bystander. Both would agree the Hornets are struggling, part of that was team induced with 3 consecutive red cards, playing with 10-men the last 3 games. Against Brighton, I feel confident the ‘Orns can get back on track, but I look back and see Huddersfield posted 4 against that defense. Not sure I want to take a chance this week and feel Laurent Depoitre is s stronger candidate to get the start.

By Depoitre starting he will partner with Charlie Austin up front, as the So’ton front man has been reborn with 4 goals in his last 6 home to Huddersfield this weekend. If by some chance Depoitre doesn’t start or I change my mind, then the formation will shift to a 4-5-1 with Kabasele featuring.

The time has finally come to boast 5 premium midfielders in my starting XI. The addition of Sterling and Pogba round out my starters, which I am very pleased with. Lots of money wrapped up, which means big expectations, but all should return big points. At least that is what I hope.

Salah and Coutinho have the toughest fixture visiting the Emirates and Arsenal, which have been high scoring affairs. This could bode well for the duo, to the point I currently have Salah captained. Honestly, that’s the ONLY way he becomes a viable differential with such a high ownership. Sterling currently is the vice-captain and the more popular choice this week. I might make the change, but right now I plan on walking like an Egyptian.

In the back I am probably rolling the dice, doubling up on Chelsea defense with the addition of Christensen to my starting XI. The only other option during the transfer period was to bring in Phil Jones, but I feel he’s an injury and rotation risk through the rest of 2017. Everton could provide a tough task for Chelsea, but he Blues have kept 2 clean sheets in a row. Between the posts, David de Gea will look to post his 11th CS on the season.

To be honest I am looking for nothing short of 80 points this weekend as Salah and Coutinho kick it off tonight against Arsenal. Going big in the midfield mean expectations are sky high ahead of Gameweek 19. Everything appears to be heading in the right direction as I look towards the festive period starting off right tonight.

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