We are about 24 hours away from game week 15 kickoff as the festive period is in full swing, as we look forward to the next game week on Saturday. Last week tossed a wrench into the machine to upset many fantasy mangers, myself included. Thankfully Virgil van Dijk picked up 12 points with the most unique assist that gave Liverpool a 1-0 win with virtually the last kick of the game. Ahead of the game week I am down to 97k after 54 points, but feeling confident as I took my first hits of the season. I do feel a bit dirty after hitting the transfer button, but do think my team has been strengthened.
As I wrote in Premier League: GW15 Transfers, I took a -8 point hit ahead of the game week to bring in the forward duo of Harry Kane and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, along with Leroy Sane. This was a blockbuster move, based on how I have been playing all season and uncharacteristic on my underlying theme of playing boring and preaching patience. I do feel the forward line has been upgraded, while Sane isn’t as pricey as Mo Salah, I do feel I have a comparable player right now, based on the current form.
Some Twitter accounts have been asking, is it time to get rid of Man City defensive assets? The short answer, no. While they have conceded three goals in their last four games, they are the second best defense in the league. I still put value into the fact the defenders have been excellent, while Ederson made two mistakes, each awarded penalties for his actions. Fixtures are strong through last January. The only reason I would move off Ederson would be triple defense with Liverpool, but that would be a risky play with some tough games coming up through game week 21.
Defensively, my squad is unchanged. Aymeric Laporte continues to occupy the second City spot, I had given thought to changing the Liverpool duo of Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk. With Trent Alexander-Arnold, playing a more important role down the flank, as well as being £0.7, I could potentially make a lateral move, dropping van Dijk. I like the differential, but feel not owning TAA could be a mistake, as he’s now owned by 37.3% of the top 1000 managers, compared to 5.1% on van Dijk.
Marcos Alonso continues to anchor my premium defensive line coming up against a struggling Wolves team. I feel after City in game week 16, he could go on a defensive terror with 4-5 clean sheets over through mid-January. It’s tough to buy in on him now, at £7.1, but if you have him, you continue to keep him. On the other end of the spectrum, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, at £4.2, I just can’t see moving him. He’s been excellent at his price, starting the season, more recently in the last two games, banging two more clean sheets, now on five for the season.
The midfield shake up that saw Pascal Groß come in last week, saw the exit of Mo Salah this week. Honestly, it wasn’t in my plans to move the Liverpoll man, but looking at fixtures, FDR and form, I felt there was another direction to go. Salah allowed me some major moves this week and was sort of the after thought, after I decided to drop Aguero. Leroy Sane will get the first start on my squad, the first City midfielder I have owned this season. With Mendy continuing to be out, he should reap the benefits and remain in form (hopefully) through the festive period.
As it stands now, I will be running out a 4-3-3, as Groß and Ryan Fraser will start with Sane in the midfield. Both have excellent fixtures, as Bournemouth host Huddersfield and Brighton host Palace. Let’s not forget, it could be a real ass whooping at Vicarage Road.
Up front, on the back last week’s action, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane start, as Callum Wilson gets the nod and starts after a week off. Expectations are high as both premium forwards post some good returns. Wilson should remain in form, but the play of Josh King is starting to concern me.
Captain for the week, I run out Harry Kane at home to Southampton, as the board just sacked Mark Hughes. I don’t see a new manager bemp happing this week, as Spurs looked in form as the “band is back together.” Currently I have Aubameyang slotted in as the vice-captain, but chances are high, he won’t be needed.
On paper, it looks like a good starting XI, but as I’ve said before the game isn’t played on paper, but on the pitch. Still, I feel I have improved my starting XI over last week. Two premium forwards in for Aguero, while I replace Salah with Sane. This week I look to rebound after a shaky 54 points last week. Very favorable schedule this week for the big six, could lead to big points.