Premier League: GW29 Transfers & Starting XI

It’s been a week stuck inside my strategy spreadsheet for many hours while at work. The only positive, at least I am getting paid for it. Listened to a handful of podcasts during the week, discussed players and strategies with the lads on Episode 31 of Academica Vertex. I am trying to avoid the Twitter bias in order to now sway my decisions. Holding two free transfers ahead of game week 29 was supposed to make things easier, but it seems that hasn’t been the case. When that occurs, the answer usually is, don’t do anything but I don’t want to give away a free transfer, as both are needed to help me round out a BGW31 squad.

Sitting with £3.4 ITB Paul Pobga, Heung-min Son and Sead Kolasinac are shortlisted to be moved. While no further games have been confirmed, the more news out we get, the more they impact decisions for FPL managers. This week, it wasn’t easy with 2 FTs, but the decisions have been made. While Chelsea are fresh in mind, based on their away trip to Fulham, I’ve decided to hold back transferring any of them in. Hazard, Luiz and Higuian, could still possibly end up on my team but, I am against taking a -4 for Hazard, as he’d be first choice.

The first player dropped, Aubameyang. I don’t like the Gunners next two fixtures. That doesn’t mean they won’t breach the Spurs defense in GW29, followed by a tough game at Old Trafford against United, but more importantly, they don’t feature in BGW31. On a positive note, Arsenal have been playing better. His price free up enjoy budget to add Raheem Sterling, for the first time this season, the Man City midfielder will grace my team. In order to make room for him, I had to deal away Son. It’s not because of the blank last week, but the fact they have Arsenal at home this week, a blank in GW31, followed by a trip to Anfield in GW32.

Replacing Aubameyang and spearheading the attack, Jamie Vardy, and the first Leicester City player I have owned this season, which means I have now used one player from every Premier League team this season. It’s a risky call, but I like the attack-minded philosophy of Brendan Rodgers, which could potentially lead to more chances for Vardy.

STARTING XI

After two weeks with no changes in my starting XI, I shake things up, but still remain patience with my squad, as I have held Bournemouth assets through a difficult run and decided not to move the previously injured Aaron Wan-Bissaka off my team. There are problems that still need to be resolved, but they will need to wait as a few weeks longer, when bring in a new defender and goalkeeper, while playing my FH and WC.

This week, I look for Neil Etheridge to redeemed himself as Cardiff City visit Molineux. If Huddersfield can defeat Wolves, so can Cardiff City. At the least, I look for save points, as Wolves are attack-minded, it might be too much to consider a clean sheet, but this is the Premier League, anything can happen.

Defensively, I change my formation from a 3-4-3 to a 5-3-2 this week. The 3-4-3 formation has been my most used formation, averaging 60.4 PPG, however my 5-3-2 has averaged 68 PPG! The defense is anchored by Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk, while Sead Kolasinac is spared, as I decided to look to be more aggressive going forward, where there are higher ceilings for players. Jonny gets a spot start this week, but talking to FPL_Fly, he could be dropped by Nuno Espirito Santo, nothing confirmed, but Fly knows Wolves. If that happens, then Pierre-Emile Højbjerg will come off the bench. Wan-Bissaka will get a start, away to Burnley

The midfield got a much needed shot in the arm, with sterling coming in and immediately getting the captain’s armband against a leaky Bournemouth defense. Sterling is owned by 21.7% of the top 1000 managers, being brought in by over 68k new managers this game week. While I didn’t want to keep Pogba, it appears (on paper) United has a good fixtures, home to So’ton. However, as FPL_Shark reminded us on the live stream last night, United struggles with So’ton. Of course, I have been continually reminded that was under Jose not “Old Gunner.” Honestly, is it going to matter? I’ve decided to hold Mo Salah through BGW31 but could miss a 3-week period from GW32-GW34, before looking at him again for the remainder of the season.

As mentioned in the transfers, Vardy now graces my starting XI, first time since Leicester won the Premier League. It’s been that long! Still not completely sold on him, but he’s fast, dynamic, can finish and is on PKs. He’s also steal at £8.9, owned by just 4.2% of managers across FPL and 9.1% in the top 1000. He will partner with Salomon Rondon, away West Ham.

I’ve decided to bench my Bournemouth assets for one more week. The reverse fixture was 3-1 in favor of City, but I think there are stronger options defensive to play then hoping for an attacking return against this defense. It’s a pivotal week, as I have reclaimed by spot inside the top 100k, as I sit at 80k, 20 points off the the top 50k. Consistency remains importance, as does patience, something I have been all season, while limiting negative hits to just two transfers for 8 points.

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