It’s been far too long since I felt like writing this article as I FINALLY finish with a green arrow in a week that was very poor overall. The average points for the week was just 43, as Sergio Aguero failed in his captain bid, while Harry Kane got two bites of the apple and converted real late on, what I thought was a poor penalty call, to slot home a late goal. It was all about Mohammad Salah, as the Egyptian continues a torrid pace, helping me to 69 points overall.
Defensively, the gameweek was a bust for nearly every fantasy manager, as Man United was the only team to keep a clean sheet. That was a win for David de Gea owners, as he posted his 5th clean sheet in the last 6 gameweeks. However, Phil Jones was a no show, rested for the game. Jordan Pickford continues to play very poorly, as does Everton, outclassed by Arsenal 5-1. While Everton have some favorable fixtures, not sure the Toffees can tighten things up at the rear guard to make him a viable option. That is what I was banking on, possibly to move de Gea to free up funds for another move.
While I measured up a few Christensen replacements, I selected Nathan Ake (yeah I know what @hailcheaters say about a BOU defender), based on his attacking prowess, saw it better than Charlie Daniels and felt he could prove worthwhile in a rotation with Paul Dummett. Ake and Alfie Mawson didn’t return any points on the weekend. I do like Mawson going forward, good fixtures and good form, I suspect Swansea might keep a few clean sheets and could post a few goals. With Marcos Alonso benched on Monday due to fatigue, Dummett was first off the bench for just a single point.
As for Alonso, his number might be up. The addition of Emerson during the transfer window could see Alonso lose a few games, but his £7.4 could help make way for more offensive firepower. No decision made right now, I am willing to give him West Brom in GW27 before making any changes. After WBA, it’s Man United and Man City, both away with Spurs in GW32. A tough run for an out of form Chelsea squad. Points might be lean with the Blues struggling to find goals.
Leading up to Gameweek 26, I had fully committed to captaining Alexis Sanchez. When I looked at the updated points during the early games I noticed the captain’s ‘C’ was on Salah and I was a bit upset. It seems I captained the wrong red jersey by mistake, but that worked in my favor as that red jersey was worn by Salah, who finished on 30 points! Sanchez was highly invovled for United, all over the pitch and played very well at home. A late penalty miss with a followed up goal and yellow only got him 5 points, but fell it’s still money well spent. I can always get out of him in a single move.
I had made the decision to take a punt on Oumar Niasse after a positive comment from Big Sam regarding his forwards. Niasse put in 77 minutes, but it was Arsenal who dominated and Niasse with a big opportunity missed out returning any points. I mention this because Niasse was selected over Luca Milivojevic, who at £4.7 is close to be a “must have” if you are starting a 5-man midfield. He’s returned 3 goals in the last 5 games and is on set pieces, which is where he got his 6th of the season (10 points) against Newcastle.
While Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t start last week, he put in a 90 minute shift and finished with 3 assists. Shades of his early form with Man United when he posted 5 assists in 3 games. He’s now on 8 for the season and at £7.6 I see him as a real bargain, as I expect more goals from the Gunners.
The odd many out might end up being Marc Albrighton. Not sure what to make of Leicester City with Riyad Mahrez missing out last week and what state of mind he will be in after not moving during the January transfer window. The Foxes still have Jamie Vardy up front, but Albrighton has been rather unimpressive since picking him up when I wild carded GW23. I continue to watch Abdoulaye Doucouré be the most consistent offensive player for Watford. At £5.3 with 7 goals and 3 assists and the addition of Gerard Deulofeu, he might be worth a 5th spot for your midfield. A quick word on Deulofeu, I think priced at £6.0 he is too much. Not known as a goal scorer at Everton, he could provide a great complement to Richarlison on the opposite flank, but there are still questions up front for Watford, goals have been few and far between, even after their 4 goals outburst against Chelsea.
Up front, in addtion to Niasse, Callum Wilson, who some fantasy mangers captained, failed to return against an improved Stoke City defense. I still favor Wilson the next 2 weeks; hud/NEW. Kane, well Kane was unimpressive again, off the boil but lucked into a 4 point return. A late “soft” penalty call got him to the spot for a second time, late in the game. After failing to convert, he got “another bite of the apple” and scored. Many fantasy manager had the armband on him, but his failure, along with that of Aguero lead to the lower average score on the week.
For the week, 69 overall points was my highest score since Gameweek 20, but also my second highest gameweek ranking at 175k. This saw a huge jump from 733k, after last weekend’s poor showing to 523k. An improvement of 210k, my biggest one week jump of the season. All is not lost, I still have a belief that a few more correct captain picks (#AlwaysCaptainSalah) and I could easily bump into the top 100k.
This year more than the last few years, the success of a squad mirrors the success of the captain selected. While that might be a generalization I took a quick look at my captain selections over 26 weeks and compared it my change from the previous gameweek (red or green arrow). Over 26 weeks I have hit my captain picks 14 times with a score of 10 or more points. Over the same period I have seen 14 green arrows, however not all coincide with my captain posting attack returns. On 3 occasions, (Kane x2 and Firmino) I failed to post attacking returns from my captain, but still received a green arrow. In just one instance my captain hit for a return, but finished with a red arrow.
Moving forward from GW26, we need to consider what the BGWs and DGWs will throw at us, which will play out in the next few weeks. I have already moved off all Man City players, with no intentions on bringing any of them back into my starting XI. As mentioned previously, Alonso might be on his last leg with a tough run forthcoming and Chelsea not right on the pitch. I liked the new look Arsenal with Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang going forward, while the Gunners still featuer Mesut Ozil and the now fit, Aaron Ramsey. However I am a bit gun shy doubling up with the midfielders, seeing a higher ceiling on Mkhitaryan. After GW29 I am considering an investment in Aubameyang.