In the words of Ax Rose from the 1987 release, Appetite for Destruction and their song, Sweet Child O’ Mine, “where do we go now?” That is the question I’ve been asking myself the last two weeks, ahead of BGW31. Now, Thursday afternoon, I am no closer to answering it, as there are options on the bench with two free transfers in hand. Like that unspent money, it’s burning a hole in my pocket. I’ll see if I can talk my way through my transfer options for this, the first major blanks game week in the Premier League.
Coming off a season-high 84 points, I enter BGW31 with great expectations, but a team that’s a few players shy of a full starting XI. That isn’t much of a concern, as I am not backing clubs like West Ham, Leicester City and Everton. Newcastle, like that hot blonde across the room, is flirting with me but I just can’t give in. I’m a married man to Liverpool, currently the only team I’ve trebled on ahead of the game week. I’ve got an unwavering confidence in their team, stacking Mo Salah with Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk.
After rolling the FT in GW30, I have left myself options ahead of the game week that could see me start eight or nine players, depending on what I think Callum Wilson will do. After last week, he’s no longer a question mark as to “when” but “how many” starts to creep into our planning. Wilson started and played all 90 minutes, finishing on 11 points with a goal and assist with two bonus point. While it wasn’t the hat trick performance we saw when he returned from injury last season, he passed the eye test.
It was my intention to have eight players ahead of BGW31 but that plan changed when FOMO grabbed me and I transferred in Raheem Sterling, as I had no Man City coverage, feeling they were playing better than Chelsea. That meant I would wait on getting Eden Hazard in. Instead of adding David Luiz or Gonzalo Higuain, I transferred Jamie Vardy in. Those decisions left me a player shorter than I expected at this point.
All is not lost, as Newcastle defenders have failed to impress since their back to back clean sheets starting GW26 against Huddersfield and Burnley. It was my intention to bring in Fflorian Lejeune and Martin Dubravka for BGW31, knowing their BGW33 fixture was up in the air due to involvement in the FA Cup. Four goals in the last two games, have turned me off, but I am still high on Salomon Rondon.
With a Liverpool treble in place, I’ve doubled up on Ryan Fraser, while decided to hold Josh King this week, as moving to Wilson would be seen as a lateral and possibly not better than what King has shown. Their stats are very comparable. Vardy, as mentioned previous appears to have hit his stride under new manager, Brendan Rodgers, but still have more to prove, as I am not completely sold after one good game.
That leaves me with these 2 FTs, where do I go? I don’t want to fall into the trap of holding a player because I have value in them. Paul Pogba is the perfect example in my starting XI. I bought him at £7.9, his current price is £8.9 with a selling price of £8.4. Sterling was bought at £11.4 two weeks ago and I’ve got no value in him. In fact, looking over my squad its only Robertson and van Dijk I’ve got a good investment in, but won’t use that as a deciding factor when it comes to players I move.
So who do I consider viable ahead of these blanks? Chelsea continues to turn my head, the siren’s song is luring me to Eden Hazard, but watching so many FPL managers get burned by his this season, I am attempting to resist the sweet melody. At £10.9, I can move Pogba and use a portion of the £2.7 ITB to fund the move. That move leaves me 1 FT and £0.2 ITB. As a Sterling owner, I can go ANY direction to get a seventh attacker or a premium defender.
Mane isn’t in the equation because I already have treble Liverpool. Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3) is the next highest scoring midfielder playing BGW31 I don’t own, as I already own Fraser (141 points). The Toffees host Arsenal in BGW33, another unfavorable fixture. Felipe *hahahaha* Anderson? Fuck no! At £7.2, he rivals Richarlison when it comes to being on the side of a milk carton, just one return in an eternity (okay, just 11 game weeks).
Many FPL managers on Twitter are pushing the Leicester City midfielders. Again, like West Ham, I feel they are too inconsistent to back at this point of the season, knowing I will need to hold them through BGW33 and a trip to Huddersfield. If you look at the last 4 games, James Maddison (£6.7) has two assists in four games for 16 points. Harvey Barnes (£5.5) is overpriced for my liking has two assists in the last four games for 15 points. But you look back a bit further and they lack the returns, even if their underlying statistics are very good. I’ve considering Youri Tielemans (£6.0), who’s picked up three returns in the last four games and looks like the real deal.
So realistically for me, there are no other midfield options. No, I don’t treble with David Brooks (£5.1) either since I own Fraser. Buying into Chelsea will be short term, as I put together an exit strategy before GW34, as they travel to Anfield. Defensively, I have painted myself into a corner, as I wasn’t expecting to be in this situation. Chelsea defenders come off the board, as I am not willing to take a -4 and I only have £0.2 ITB. Does that mean I wink back at the blonde and Newcastle? Lejeune? Yedlin? No Yedlin, he’s American and I don’t draft them into my FPL teams.
One final thought, Manuel Lanzini (£6.4), back in the starting XI, but limited in two of the last three weeks picking up 90 minutes just once. No attacking returns, but that said IF the Hammers were to find form, it would at the London Stadium against the Terriers. It doesn’t come with risk, however that same thought process can go for many others players, Ashley Westwood (£4.6) for example. Two returns in his last two, as Burnley host the Foxes at Turf Moor.
I could ramble on until kickoff Saturday and still not make a decision. I do believe after the live stream of Academica Vertex at 5PM PDT (00 GMT) on Thursaday, March 14, I will have a decision, but it will take the brain trust to help me see the light.