Premier League: GW2 Starting XI

Looking back on the past 7 days, it’s been a good fantasy week, starting with the 67 points my starting XI scored in GW1. While that doesn’t sound like much, it was 14 points more than the 53 point average and it was over 60 points, which acts as a measuring stick for the season. While I didn’t post my goals for the season (yet), averaging 60 points has been on that list for a few years. Looking ahead to GW2, I have made one change in my starting XI and have decided to roll the FT in anticipation of big changes ahead of GW3.

Thoughts on GW2 have run he gamut this week, from no changes to, “fuck it, let’s activate the wild card.” Thankfully Twitter talked off the ledge. Talk about knee jerk! Nearly as bad as transferring in the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Ruben Neves or Callum Wilson. WTF are some fantasy managers thinking? One game does not make a season. Chances early season price rises might not make it worth it in a few weeks, if and when you actually need that FT to cover an injury you sustained.

This season, all one week, I continue to preach patience. As @FPLChef noted in a DM, “playing template is boring.” While I agree with that opinion, it’s a phrase I continue to think about before I knee jerk the latest and greatest weekly player, into my squad. Had I been “that manager” I would be chasing the likes of Sadio Mane or worrying that Kun Aguero is a “must have” this weekend as Man City hosts Huddersfield. Thanks to Axl Rose’s soothing lyrics of Patience, “take it slow, and it’ll work out fine.

Ahead of GW2, I plan on just a single change in my starting XI. After a upseting, 90’+2 goal last week, David De Gea remains my starting goalkeeper, as United travel to Falmer Stadium, to take on a poor Brighton team. With a toothless attack last week against Watford, I don’t expect many saves from “Super Dave” this weekend.

In front of DDG, I shift personnel and roll out a 4-4-2 formation this weekend, as James Tarkowski gets his first start in my XI, as Tom Cairney is relegated to the bench, as Fulham visit Spurs. After Burnley posting three CS in the last three games, confidence is high that the Clarets roll out of GW2 with another CS, as they face a Watford team that looks very attacking last week. If you go deeper into the numbers, you will see that the Hornets have scored just two away goals in the last 12 games.

Lining up with Tarko are Benjamin Mendy, Andrew Robertson and David Luiz, all who walked away with clean sheets,  combining for 3 assists and 5 bonus points. Mendy has the best shot at offensive points, against a weak Terriers team, on the road, while Robertson and the Reds welcome Crystal Palace, the last few years this has been a very competitive fixture. As for Luiz, the Blues play at the Bridge against an Arsenal team that mustered no goals last weekend. Luiz, could be on for a CS, might be a tough ask but Unai Emery has some personnel issues to work out on the pitch.

The midfield seems to be an Achilles heel this weekend, as I am concerned about Pascal Groß and Alexis Sanchez. The Brighton midfielder was nonexistent in GW1, coming off in the 59′ against Watford. This week Groß and the Gulls face Man United. If there is one consolation, Groß scored the lone goal last May, in a 1-0 victory at home, over United. Sanchez was a high risk, high reward type of player when I drafted him into my starting XI ahead of GW1. Thankfully, albeit a bit lucky, Sanchez returned an assist last week. This week would be a prime example of a top player going off against a lowly opponent, on the road. Still, he’s just one of a number of premium players that could benefit in GW2. His GW2 performance will dictate what happens to him next week.

Confidence continues to run with with the Egyptian, as Mo Salah continues in my lineup and will most likely wear the captain’s armband as they travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace. Salah got off to a flying start last week with an early goal, but seemed to be out shadowed by his teammate, Sadio Mane, who hit for a brace. The final midfield spot is occupied by Christian Eriksen, while he had no attacking returns in GW1, I feel confident that Spurs could take it to Fulham in GW2. The concern I have, is how Spurs played last season, early against weaker opponents. Expectations for many goals didn’t really come to fruition. Just ask Harry Kane.

At the head of my attack it’s Marko Arnautovic and Wilfried Zaha. They were in good company last week, as very few forwards had any attacking returns, especially the premiums. Arnie and the Hammers welcome Bournemouth, who hasn’t had the strongest defense in recent games. Zaha and Palace after a convincing GW1 win face a stout Liverpool defense that has improved in the off season. If I were a betting man, I give Zaha the nod, as opposed to one of their defensive assets scoring in GW2.

With an #FPLBeerClub discussion going on this morning, on my commute, I have started to look ahead to transfer for next week and 2 FT in my hip pocket. There are a plethora of moves that will be under consideration. Options ahead of GW3, shifting to a double, or even treble Man City defense. A second Spurs midfielder could also be in the mix or I could go red and look at Liverpool. Activating the wild card probably won’t happen, as I would lose both free transfers, but moving two players would benefit my starting XI moving forward.

Just want to take a moment to thank those who have followed some of the articles I have posted this season on, as well as on Twitter. Good luck in GW2!

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