Premier League: GW36 Starting XI

“So let it be written. So let it be done.” @AnfieldExpress has tweeted and it appears that Mohamed Salah is starting, home to Stoke City. Big news as fantasy managers scramble, debating on a hit to bring the Liverpool midfielder back into their starting XI. It’s Stoke! The point haul COULD be massive, but let’s not get too far ahead of the Saturday fixture that starts GW36.

More important, it appears I have decided to roll my FT to DGW37, which could potentially save me a -4 point hit ahead of the action. I had planned on moving on a new defender or midfielder, but at this point in time, that player wouldn’t start this gameweek. Florent Hadergjonaj and Ashley Young are both on the short list, while I continue to waver on Cenk Tosun’s inclusion in games going forward. More on this later.

This week I have decided on a 3-4-3 formation, as David de Gea get’s his staring spot back between the posts. Could be a tough call this week against Arsenal, wanting to go out on a high with the Arsene Wenger retirement news, but coming off a 1-1 draw in UEL action. Pickford, could be a sneaky punt, however Everton is away and Huddersfield needs to step up if they don’t want to be relegated. On paper the match up looks good, but it might be one to avoid.

Defensively, it was a call of sitting Paul Dummett, home to WBA or Matt Lowton, home to Brighton. The rational of starting Lowton is based on the fact that the Baggies have put two good games together under Darren Moore, as they attempt to salvage their poor season. I could get be a 0-0, but Salomon Rondon has been playing well and face a stingy Toon defense. Lowton does carry concern, as Brighton has been held scoreless just once in their last 9 games, while Burnley has just one clean sheet in their last 4 games.

Confidence is high with Virgil van Dijk, home to Stoke City, still looking for that attacking return on a set piece. Vincent Kompany rounds out my defense, as the Belgian is fit and back in the starting XI for Man City. There could possibly be some rotational risk, but he’s the squad captain and he’s missed many games this year and is fresh to play this weekend, away to West Ham.

The midfield remains unchanged, as Salah one again will wear the captain’s armband, away to Stoke City. Even if he plays 60-75 minutes, I feel there is a quality returning coming to fantasy managers who have decided to captain him over Harry Kane. Like Kompany, there could be some question about David Silva starting, but he Spaniard has been excellent with three double digit returns (16, 11, 12) in the last five games. Expecting Silva to be pulling the strings as the advanced midfielder along side KDB. Heung-Min Son retains his starting position after I saw a graphic yesterday on how he feasts on Watford, which is the Monday game. There was some considering to drop him for a more nailed on starter, but that might has been put on hold, as he will get another start. Finally, Luca Milivojevic. We knew he scoring (PK) run would end and last week with no return has managers looking toward this week’s game home to beach dwellers, Leicester City.

Up front, I have toiled with dumping Kane all week. Not happy with him as a player and still feel his “ghost goal” antics are actions of a poor team player. That’s me. He also has been a poor performer sans GW7, all season long for me and NOT worth his price tag. Unfortunately, practicing patience and out of fear I think the out of form forward will remain in the starting front line. While I should have more confidence over Gabriel Jesus, the fact that Pep could pull the rug out from underneath fantasy managers and their starting XI is always a concern. The season ending injury to Sergio Aguero leaving Jesus as the only fit forward, but we have seen Pep run a three man front without Jesus involvement.

Cenk Tosun will round out my starting XI for the weekend, but there is a slight possibility he could be moved before the start of the game. Priced at £6.7 and with £1.6 ITB, I have thought about bringing in Olivier Giroud as a punt against Swansea City, in hopes he would also play in the Huddersfield fixture next week, as opposed to Liverpool. Regardless of my decision, I do believe he gets 1-2 starts in the remaining games, but should see playing time in all of them. He’s an impact player who needs just 30 minutes to make his presence known.

This is an important week as I start the gameweek at 151k in the overall rank, looking to possibly crack the top 100k. Ahead of the GW36, I am -22 points back of the top 100k, a differential scoring could make up a majority of those points, possibly even captaining Salah with many fantasy managers moving away from the Egyptian. If I stick with Tosun or go Giroud, both would start as a big differential as well. Should be an interesting week. Good luck!

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