Premier League: GW4 Retrospect

From an FPL perspective, it was a rather poor week, but the thrill of the Watford, come from behind victory at Vicarage Road, over Spurs was a thing of beauty and made the FPL weekend that much better, even though it nothing to do with my overall score. It was another challenging week that has seen my overall average slowing sliding in the wrong direction.

Ahead of the season, one of my goals was to maintain a 60/PPG average. Through three gameweeks, I posted a 63.3 average. Gameweek 4 hasn’t been kind, scoring just 45 points, which saw me a single point over the weekly average. While that is a small wonder, on the season I have 235 points, which seems my yearly PPG drop to 58.75. Now with a deficit of 4-points to make up next game in order to bump that PPG above the 60 point mark. Current overall rank has me at 786k, but there are fine margins when it comes to overall rank.

Currently, I sit just -10 points off the top 500k and -23 point off the top 250k, margins that could easily be overcome in a single gameweek. While the season is still early, I haven’t had one of those “big” weekends, like we saw in the first two week, sans those fantasy managers who activated chips to get a statistical advantage. Still lots of football to play and at the moment, I am pleased with my squad’s performance.

GOALKEEPER

When I activated my wild card ahead of GW3, Ederson looked to be the player many managers wanted between the sticks. At £5.5, he was £0.5 cheaper than David De Gea and with the run of fixture City had, he was a “sure bet” to return points. Now, two weeks after that transfer, many pundits are saying a £4.5 rotation is the way to go, after another 2-point performance. Amazing how quickly opinions can change. Let’s remember FPL tests your patience. We know the quality of players City carry. Have they been a bit lax on defense? Possibly. Ederson has just 5 saves, but going in I knew he wasn’t going to post De Gea type numbers. Just one clean sheet in four games, City could easily bump that number to four over the next three games with FUL/car/BHA. Not time to jump ship on Ederson.

DEFENDERS

On the season my defenders are averaging 6.93/PPG, nearly doubling the output from my midfielders (3.65/PPG). It’s been a love affair with Benjamin Mendy (£6.2), Andrew Robertson (£6.0) and Marcus Alonso (£6.7) as my starters on defense. All three have possessed amazing offensive potential, posting 10 assists since I’ve owned them!. This was another week in which their attacking returns salvaged my week, as none of their respective teams keep clean sheets against Bournemouth, Newcastle or Cardiff. While many are looking to move Robertson, he may retain his spot based solely on his attacking return potential over the run of tougher fixtures that Liverpool face.

One the week it was returns of 5, 5 and 9 points, with Ryan Bennett if Wolves grabbing 5 points as my third bench player. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka returning from suspension, he’s play was flash in the pan type, as he returned no points. The injury to James Tompkins could be determent to the CS possibility for Palace going forward.

MIDFIELDERS

The biggest risk in the midfield this year seems to the be ownership (52.3 TSB%) in Mo Salah (£13.0). Many fantasy managers are jumping off the Egyptian based on his “lack of performance” through only four gameweeks. This was the first week in which he posted no attacking returns. But is it really time to panic? Comparing the first four games from this season, to last season, his numbers are considerably stronger, but it’s the price that are having manager consider their investment.

Salah aside, my midfield continues to struggle. A string of bad luck with Everton, saw Richarlison suspended due to a red card when I brought him in, followed by Theo Walcott picking up an injury this week, going of in teh 56′. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£7.2) didn’t start this week, but got his 1-minute cameo, which trolled MANY owners. Pedro, like Mkhitaryan found himself on the bench to start GW4, but found the back of the next in just 25 minutes. Is it enough to propel him back into a starting spot? Not sure, but I can’t argue with three goals in four games. James Milner scored 4 point as my second bench player.

FORWARDS

Up front, I still felt ownership in Kun Aguero was a must, at £11.0, he was easier to fit in the Harry Kane, who was still battling fatigue from the World Cup, as well as the August curse. While I missed out on Aguero’s hat trick, I feel I have a stronger team with him. While he didn’t live to the hype this weekend, he finished on 12 points wearing the captain’s armband. Not bad, but expected much more against a soft Newcastle team. I still back him through GW7, which could see him carry the armband over that period.

A late scratch on Wifried Zaha sent my planned 4-3-3 into a 4-4-2 at the end of the gameweek. Zaha picked up a groin injury, but not much was mentioned of it during the week, with some cryptic words from Roy Hodgson. That left Marko Arnautovic as my second forward. He played well against a stingy Wolves defense, that saw Arnie come close with a big chance taken that was saved by the head of Patricio. Where do owners go with Arnie from here? That is a good question, as West Ham have a terrible run of fixtures; eve/CHE/MUN/bha/TOT.

CONCLUSION

The international break comes at a good time, as I have some extra time to contemplate upcoming moves. Looking ahead, I do have a strategy in mind, which could potentially sound risky, but based on where points have been coming from in the first four gameweeks, it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. Intentions were to hold the first WC until this break, but a hasty push of the button and I am left with a single transfer over the break, one that I might just hold, as my strategy requires multiple moves and I don’t feel it justifies taking a -4 point hit this early in the year.

Now with two injuries on my squad, I play the waiting game, to see if either are fit ahead of Gameweek 5. Currently, I am not planning either in the starting XI, which I can still deal with but both Zaha and Walcott are issues that I will need to address. Currently, I am more inclined to hold Zaha, even if he drops in price, while Walcott and that “told you so” voice in my head, tell me I need to rid myself of the troll.

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