While the last two game weeks have been the worst I’ve experienced this season with scores of 45 and 40 points, I’ve seen my rank plummet by over 87k. That’s the downside, but spinning with a positive note, I’ve made 16 transfers this season, with a -8 point hit in game week 15 but have gained 72 immediate points from those transfers. This number includes moving Pascal Groß and Will Hughes last week with two free transfers for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Felipe Anderson resulting in 6 points.
While 40 points represents a season low, I have been reviewing my team with discussion on last night’s episode of the Academica Vertex (Ep. 25). Ahead of game week 18, I am confident my squad. While my defense failed me for the second time in three weeks, the forward line failed to return anything other than a late Harry Kane assist, while wearing the captain’s armband. It could be considered a “perfect storm” situation.
As I have learned over the years, sometimes it’s better to stand and do nothing than make a reactionary decision that could be a determinant to your squad. While Kane picked up a late assist, scoring 10 points, I still consider it a captain failure. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed against a resurgent Southampton team that got a “new manager bump,” under Ralph Hasenhüttl. Defensively, it’s a case of “putting your eggs in one basket,” as I have £39.9 (buying price) million invested in my defense. Starting Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Marcos Alonso, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk scored just nine points.
Over the course of 17 weeks I have built a competitive team that has struggled at one position, the midfield. Starting the season with Mo Salah (£13.0) and investing in defense strapped me for budget up front but was able to put together a a positive start to the season when I picked up Sergio Aguero during my wild card ahead of game week 3. Since that time, I the defense has remained unchanged, with van Dijk being added, but the midfield has been chopping and changing budget priced midfielders, led by Ryan Fraser.
While moving Salah in game week 15 appeared to be the correct move, with Leroy Sane, Kane and Aubameyang returning 33 points! A week later, I was left scratching my head, wondering if transferring out Salah was the correct decision. Time will tell, but I am eyeing a up a move to get Salah back in after game week 21. Just how much time do Aubameyang and Kane have on my squad is up for debate.
As for this week, it appears I will take the high road, show patience and roll my transfer. Another thought centers around the injury to Callum Wilson, while all appears well, the start a rough run in game week 19. Will Bournemouth continue to bang? Is there a better option to downgrade to? While I don’t want to consider Danny Ings a “one week wonder,” he is a confidence players. Two excellent goals against Arsenal and he’s suddenly become a hot commodity.
Rolling the FT will allow me more options ahead of game week 19, giving Wilson another week to strut his stuff on the pitch, as the Cherries welcome Brighton to Dean Court. Ings and the Saints travel to the Kirklees Stadium and David Wagner’s Terriers. Both fixtures are good, not sure if Ings will gain the start under Hasenhüttl this weekend, as Austin picked up a late goal as well. Then there is Shane Long. Nothing new with the musical fowards from Southampton. That should make Wilson the logical choice, as he has proven himself over the course of the season.
This will set me up nicely for game week 19, in hopes I can pick up a £0.1 increase to help potentially give me a few more options when I use both transfers as I chase a Brazilian pigeon and a budget forward.
Martin Dubravka (£5.0/TSB 0.6%)
On the back of a 1-0 win over Huddersfield, the Magpies face the leagues bottom dwellers, Fulham. A sieve at the defensive end, they have just four goals in their last five games. Dubravaka has made 9 saves in the last two weeks and picked up the CS and two bonus points last weekend. I look to Newcastle to make it two clean sheets in a row this weekend.
Sean Morrison (£4.7/TSB 0.5%)
While Cardiff have struggled at the back recently, they have won two out of their last four. More impressive has been Morrison in the offensive end with 20 penalty touches in the last four weeks and six attempts on goal. The man is overdue for headed goal. United, now without a manager could be a hot mess this weekend. While I don’t know if Cardiff has enough, their set piece abilities are strikingly good.
Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4/TSB 0.7%)
I’ve been high on Deulofeu since last season, when Watford took him on loan. This season, started with an injury but since his return, he’s looked the best attacking asset since game week 8. Last week, he saw his best game in Watford colors, with a goal, assists and three bonus points. He’s posted 42 penalty touches, 16 goal attempts, 13 inside the box.
Salomon Rondon (£5.8/TSB 3.5%)
One of the best stretches as far back as I can think for the Venezuelan Ronaldo, “Rondonaldo” as he’s posted returns in the last three games. With a struggling Fulham team, he’s sure to net this week. He’s leading all forwards with 14 goal attempts in the last four weeks. Look for a brace from the big man to help Newcastle to another victory.