It’s hump day as we stare down towards the weekend and GW23. I have listened to a few podcasts but haven’t come to any decisions. Last Thursday I was thinking of activating my second wild card (read Ways of the Wild Card) after seeing a few on Twitter take the plunge. By Tuesday, I was convinced my 2 FTs were enough to make necessary changes to improve my squad thus holding the WC until a later date or should I?
There has been no change in personnel since the end of Gameweek 22 as I look at 4 players carrying flags, which includes Philippe Coutinho, who moved to Barcelona. There is some question that Mohamamd Salah will play against Man City this weekend, but more importantly, I have no intentions of moving him, even if he misses the match this weekend. That leaves Charlie Austin and Rob Elliot to be replaced. Along with Coutinho, Austin are the two players who will make way ahead of GW23. Elliot currently is the back up GK for David de Gea, replacing him isn’t high on my priority list.
Currently have £2.1 ITB as I turn my attention to what transfers to make. While Harry Kane is who I was after, at £12.9, I can’t bring him and a midfielder in on a double move, as it leaves me with just £4.2 for my final player. Some thought of Sergio Agüero (£11.7) to head my attack with Jesus out injured, he should see a bulk of the starts for Man City. However, I am not fond of the away trip to Anfield to play Liverpool, who have been very good defensively at home. This would leave me £5.4 ITB, which is enough for Abdoulaye Doucouré (SOU/lei/stk) or Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (mnu/HUD/WAT). Final option, bring back Alvaro Morata (£10.5), which would give me £6.6 ITB, enough for Jesse Lingard.
While this option is probably the best, it also gives me 4 Chelsea assets, which means I would need to take a points hit to move Andreas Christensen. Not quite sure I want to transfer out any Chelsea defensive assets with LEI/bha/BOU/wat/WBA coming up. It appears there is no easy answer to this predicament. Does this situation warrant the activation of the second wild card? Can I get away with just the 2 FTs for Gameweek 23?
Back into advanced planning, I’ve been playing with numbers, rotation and a few different players but have decided to activate the wild card. While I know this could put in my a tough position for the yet to be announced DGWs, I don’t feel I can gain much ground with the current squad.
Must have players currently include Kane, Salah, Sterling, Otamendi and Alonso. The inclusion of de Gea is debatable, but for the sake of argument I will include him as well. Current players in form include Heung-Min Son and Jesse Lingard. Now, with the wild card activated, I have included all these players in my starting XI. Differentials at this point include the addition of Paul Dummett (0.2 TSB%), Colin Quaner (6.1 TSB%) and Oumar Niasse (4.0 TSB%) to round out my squad along with current players, Jonjoe Kenny (6.3 TBS%) and Andreas Christensen (4.4 TSB%).
It appears to be a good combination of players going forward, as I have planned through Gameweek 23, but have a few alternatives in case of injury, which derailed me when I put together my 5-man premium midfielder ahead of the festive period. Out of the upcoming gameweek I will be look at possibly rotating Kane and Son when Spurs hit a tough stretch with MNU/liv/ARS. Alvaro Morata and Kevin De Bruyne would come in for a 3-week period, leaving options open to use 2 FT to bring Kane and a fifth midfielder back in.
Defensively, I look strong with coverage from Chelsea, Man City and Man United, while Dummett and Kenny rotate well through Gameweek 32. The addition of Wayne Hennessey, is a speculative move, in hopes he retains his starting position, as Crystal Palace hit a nice stretch starting GW31 through the end of the season.
The Achilles heal is felt up front with Kane as the lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation. Niasse was brought in on the rumor he might end up at in a different kit before the January transfer window closes including Crystal Palance, Brighton or WBA. Quaner could be a spot starter, as I moved Laurent Depoitre out of the squad, however his inclusion is also for budgetary reasons.
In the short term I resolved all my injury question marks, brought in a few essential players and should be able to make up some ground as long as the armband to given to the right starter. Looking ahead to future DGWs, it could take some planning to field a full squad, but I will address that as soon as we see more confirmed games and blanks.