Going into game week 21, I knew my free transfer for Cardiff City ‘s, Neil Etheridge wasn’t a strong selection, as they hosted Spurs. While Ederson hadn’t kept a clean sheet since game week 13, he’d been losing value, which was hurting my team value. Etheridge beat out Vincente Guaita at Crystal Palace based on the upcoming run of fixtures for the Bluebirds. If Neil Warnock is to keep his team in the Premier League, this is the part of the season they need to convert and win some game. For me, it starts in goal with Etheridge, keeping it tight at the back.
While the Etheridge transfer was the first to see a negative return (-1 point), I knew it was going to be a tough call against Spurs and my expectations weren’t high. Looking forward to game week 21, Cardiff have the best run of defensive fixtures. Will that equate to clean sheets and points? Only a game against Arsenal from the top six, but many “three and a half start FIFA19 teams” to play against, so said Sloth and Sauce on The Punt this week.
Over the next 11 weeks, here’s are their schedules shake out. Could be a risky call, but there could be another change between the posts when the second wild card and free hit chip are played.
Looking ahead, I am getting very excited at the prospects I face. There are a few names on the short list over the next two weeks I want to bring into the starting XI and one that will be hold for game week 27. Any big move I want to explore will cost me (selling price), either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1) or Harry Kane (£12.4). Comparing Arsenal and Spurs through game week 31,. Spurs have the better fixtures, with or without their “favorite Son” in place, due to the AFC Asian Cup.
Players on the listed to be moved with Aubameyang, Felipe Anderson (£7.3), as West Ham come into a challenging run, as they face Arsenal this weekend at London Stadium, Liverpool at home in two weeks and then an away trip in game week 28 to the Eithad and Man City. I do think Crystal Palace and Wolves could prove difficult as well, on the road.
Rolling the FT this week would give me approximately £21.4 to spend next week if I were to move both players replacing them with Mo Salah and a forward valued at £8.1 or less. Salah would return to my starting XI for the first time since game week 14. Since dropping him, he’s returned 65 points. Marko Arnautovic, injured over most of those game weeks scored 20 points and Sergio Aguero picked up 17. A grand total of 102 points I missed out after my game week 14 transfers.
Look at the other side of the transfer, as I brought in Aubameyang, 41 points, Kane, 57 points, Leroy Sane, 22 points and Paul Pogba, 21 points. Total of 141 points, so reflecting back, moving Salah paid off, gaining me 39 extra points. Now as I look forward, I need to ask myself who will score more points, Aubameyang or Salah, as they are the premiums in play.
Salah would now partner with Kane, as I would use both players as potential captain options. After this week, Kane could wear the armband through game week 27, as Spurs have great fixtures. As for Salah, Liverpool are top of the table through game week 31 as it relates to teams with the best attacking FDR. This might be the time to shake up the starting XI to start the new year.
That leaves a vacant forward spot and £8.1 to spend, while keeping an eye on potential defensive changes. Not many names jump out at that price point. United fans will remind us that Marcus Rashford (£7.3) is the next coming, as he’s returned in three out of the last four games, posting 31 points. That would put me in a double up situation, as Paul Pogba is in the starting XI. After this week, Man United have a great run through game week 26.
Raul Jimenez (£6.4) is always an options, as Wolves tick on with a strong FDR through game week 29, he’s been a model of consistency all season long. Through 21 weeks, Jimenez has 12 attacking returns, on 95 total points. Arnautovic, returning to fitness made a great return with a brace last weeked. At £6.9 he’s probably undervalued at this point, but coming off injury. I’ve already spoke about West Ham and their schedule.
Regardless of the player selected up top, I want to keep a 3-man forward line in mind, so going with a budget option isn’t a possibility to bolster the midfield, dropping Pierre-Emile Højbjerg or upgrading Richarlison to Gylfi Sigurdsson. On the defensive front, I am willing to run out Marcos Alonso, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk. I am considering upgrading Jonny Otto to Ricardo Pereira (£5.3) ahead of game week 27. I wouldn’t be surprised he sees a few rises between now and then.
Looking ahead for those managers wanting or needing a change and not sure where to go, consider one of these plauyers.
Angus Gunn (£4.3/TSB 0.2%)
The “young” Gunn looking to post back to back clean sheets in the Premier League this weekend as the Saints visit the KP Stadium and Leicester City. Not a high powered offense, but one that makes the most of their chances. Gunn looked excellent last weekend against Chelsea, posting 6 saves. Don’t see the Foxes generating that sort of offense and Gunn could move So’ton out of the relegation zone.
Sol Bamba (£4.5/TSB 2.2%)
Cardiff City looking to distance themselves from the relegation zone, just two points ahead of So’ton. The Bluebirds come into their best run of the season. This stretch needs to be dominated by the defense, in order to fuel the offense and pick up some wins. Bamba has been one of the strong defenders for Cardiff, as he and Sean Morrison need to lead that defense and post some clean sheets. They host lowly Huddersfield this week, great time to keep it clean.
Johan Berg Gudmundsson (£5.6/TSB 1.4%)
Burnley back to winning ways with victories over West Ham and Hudderfield. Tom Heaton back in goal and Gudmundsson is now fit with Stu Barnes and Chris Wood on the pitch and hungry for goals. He hasn’t returned in 10 weeks, but he was an important piece to the Clarets offense. They host Fulham and a defense that has conceded 47 goals on the season.
Troy Deeney (£5.9/TSB 3.9%)
With Danny Ings (£5.6) injured, Deeney could be a viable replacement for the next few weeks. He’s posted five goals and two assists on the season, coming off a season high, 15 point performance last week at Bournemouth. The big man continues to get 90 minutes and play well for the Hornets, who travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.