The toughest decision I had to make ahead of Gameweek 2 was not to do anything and let my starting XI run their course. Was it the best decision made? In some respect it was, as we spend many hours reviewing statistics, building many different teams and experimenting with formations ahead of the opening fixtures. So to burn a FT after the first gameweek doesn’t make much season. Then again, I am trying to turn over a new leaf and be more patient in this, my fifth year at the helm of an FPL team.
As for Gameweek 2, I save it until the Monday night fixture and scored 66 points on the week, which was just 6 points above the average week of 60 points. Still, as I said after last week, I scored over 60 points, which is the average I am pushing to maintain all season.
I had concerns all weekend, as I didn’t own Kun Aguero, who broke out with a hat track, scoring 20 points and appeared to be one of the most captained players this weekend. So, while my arrow was red, I don’t feel bad about how I have started the season, as I attempt to play more boring, which will hopefully lead to more consistency in the end.
Starting the gameweek, I knew I had two transfers in my pocket to look forward to. While much of the Twitter talk center around rumors of Aguero possibly be dropped, it was actually Alexis Sanchez who did not travel with United to face Brighton. As I said on the Academica Vertex podcast, I do believe he could have made a difference, had he been on the pitch, but he wasn’t even on the bench.
We spend big money on a goalkeeper for one reason. Clean sheets. Last year David De Gea finished on 18 clean sheets, but through two games has conceded five goals. While not all of it rests on his shoulders, his central defenders haven’t been the quality we saw last season, which has me reconsidering the £6.0 keeper. He finished the day on a single point, making no saves on the day and United host Spurs next week.
For the second week, my defenders put in excellent performances, sans David Luiz. Benjamin Mendy looks like an absolute BEAST down the left wing, playing such an advanced roll, it appears he’s keeping Leroy Sane on the bench. His heat map was hottest in the Huddersfield attacking third of the pitch. While there is some debate, Mendy could have ended on three assists on the day, but did tally another two assists, bringing his season total to four, just one point back (23) of Alonso, as the top scoring defender.
Andrew Robertson kept a clean sheet on Monday night against Crystal Palace and came ever so close to recording an assist on a nice ball to Mo Saleh, who just couldn’t finish it. Robertson also picked up a bonus point this week, but not for his defense work. James Tarkowski found his way into the starting XI, based on the fact that Watford had not won an away fixture in all of 2018. That changed in the Hornets 3-1 victory, but it was Tarko on the corner set piece, finding the net to finish the day on 7 points.
Finally, it was Chelsea and David Luiz. Considered a risky pick to start the season, Luiz does fit the Sarri system, starting in the middle after very little consideration last season with Conte in charge. All was playing out in my favor the first 20 minutes and thought the Blues had this in the bag, then a 4 minutes period of shear madness, when Blues looked liked lasses on the pitch and conceded two goals. Still on set pieces, he does have some value moving forward and Chelsea have favorable fixtures (new/BOU/CAR/whu) through GW6.
Ahead of the Sunday fixtures and prior to Manchester United hosting Brighton, I transferred Pascal Groß out. Maybe I should have put a bit more faith in the Brighton midfielder, but their upcoming run of fixtures are tough. Groß was lucky enough to convert from the spot, just prior to halftime as he finished the day on 10 points, which also include three bonus points. This was the reason Groß was selected, he can step up and play against any team in the Premier League. While I didn’t consider him a captain option, I kept the armband on Mo Saleh and the Egyptian didn’t disappoint. While he wasn’t as prolific as Aguero was, Salah finished with two assists (9 points) for a total of 18 points. Christian Eriksen didn’t return for a second straight week, but unlike last year, I am not going to transfer him out. Tom Cairney, no return, received the spot start, as he was first up on the bench, due to Sanchez not playing.
Prior to the start of the season, I knew the risk and accepted it, going forward without a premium forward in Aguero or Aubameyang. Kane was never a consideration, due to price and the fact he never had scored in August. While I don’t want to regret my decision, it’s a case of hiding behind the couch two weeks in a row watching City play. This week, it was Marko Arnautovic coming good, from the penalty spot and converting for his first goal on the season. He’s an intense, big game forward and though he’s only returned 10 points to start the season, I like what I have seen on the pitch. He was partnered with another £7.0 option in Wilfried Zaha. Ahead of Monday, I knew Palace vs Liverpool was going to be a tight fixture and it was for the entire 90 minutes. While dynamic and inside the Liverpool box, he was unable to create more than just two chances on goal and didn’t return.
While I received a red arrow, dropping 126k to 970k, I am pleased with my overall points for the week (66). I have maintained a good consistency without and rash or knee jerk transfers. With any luck, I can maintain this level of play without the peaks and valleys…well I’ll take the peaks, but without the valleys that put many managers behind, only to play catch up for the remainder of the season. I’ve already used both free transfers for GW3, at hopes of improving my squad, based on the run of fixtures for teams like Everton and Arsenal.