In hindsight, it was probably a hasty decision to activate the wild card ahead of Gameweek 3, but I saw a few problems mounting that I wanted to head off before they came major issues the further we got into this young season. That said, I was very pleased with how my WC turned out and had a confidence heading into GW3, off scores of 67 and 66 in the first two weeks of the season.
Based on the numbers from FPL Statistico, ahead of the week I was just 46 points off the top 50k. However more importantly, I had been consistent over the first two weeks of the season, as I attempt to post a 60 points per game average over the season. Not easy to do but off to strong start through the first few weeks.
It was another nail biter of a week, as I was sorely lacking after the Saturday fixtures. City conceded, Liverpool scored just one and Arsenal didn’t really impress. There was still a lot of football to played on Sunday, which helped to bump my score over 60 points momentarily, on what appeared an Alonso goal, which turned into an assist.
It was the first week with Ederson (£5.5) in goal, as I brought him in on the wild card. It was a let down, not in so much as City failed to keep it clean, but the referees failed to see two infractions by Wily Boly on his goal. First was the offside that wasn’t called on Matt Doherty, followed the Boly’s best impression of Diego Maradona and his “Hand of God” that wasn’t seen, giving Wolves a 1-0 lead. He registered just one save on the day.
For the second time in three weeks I started with a back three, that appears to template; Marcos Alonso (£6.6), Benjamin Mendy (£6.1) and Andrew Robertson (£6.0). This defensive combination are in 22.7% of top 1000 squads (3.6% over all FPL). They have combined for 40 points over the last two weeks. There is something to be said about going big at the back to start this season, as they are outplaying some mid-priced midfielders.
On the day, Alonso was the biggest performance, nearly netting a last goal against Newcastle to go along with his assists. His 11 points topped all defenders on the day. Robertson, on the back of his third CS posted a score of 9 points, picking up 3 bonus points. That’s now 6 on the season for him. Mendy failed to return an assist, but still looked fierce down the left flank, did pick up 2 bonus points, finishing on 4 points.
This was the hardest hit position when I activated the wild card, as I moved Tom Cairney, Pascal Groß and Christian Eriksen. The Eriksen was a late add in order to get a premium forward, as he had yet to return any attacking points. The midfield was led by Mo Salah (£13.0), who put in a captain’s performance, scoring the lone Liverpool goal, finishing the day on 20 points. That is really where the midfield scoring ended. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£7.0) and Richarlison (£6.8) were brought in, based off their previous performance. Mkhitaryan had only returned in GW3, but Richarlison had been good through both games. These two players combined for ZERO points, as Richarlison saw red, for a headbutt and Mkhitaryan, didn’t feature in any of the offense points. The Gunners still have some good fixtures, I expect him to come good in GW4.
Pedro (£6.6) was another new face in my retooled midfield, all built around Salah. Pedro had his third start of the season, but unlike the first two week didn’t provide a return. The positive to take away from the game was the fact he started on the right flank, opposite of Eden Hazard, who got his first start of the season. Will that remain next week at Stamford Bridge against Bournemouth, is yet to be seen. The other option will be James Milner (£5.5), who picked up a single point, thanks in part to the CS.
Part of the reason for wild carding so soon was the fact Aguero hit for a hat trick the week before and was facing Newcastle in GW4. I intentional started with no premium forward, knowing it was risky. Hiding behind the couch for the first two weeks was tough, especially watching him go off in GW2. Unfortunately, Aguero didn’t net, but got into the box nine times, with four shots, but just one on target.
Partnered with Aguero, I decided to stick with both, Marko Arnautovic (£7.0) and Wilfried Zaha (£7.0) in a 3-forward set. Both Arnie and Zaha hit for goals in their games, scoring 10 points, the West Ham foward went off on the 59′ minute with a muscle injury and could be a question mark, home to Wolves in GW4.
With no players in the Monday night game, I will end the week on 57 points, on a week in which the average was 38 (which I expect to rise after the game). Currently on a green arrow, up 474k to 496k in the overall ranking. More importantly, I am still over a 60/PPW average at 63.5 through three weeks.