Premier League: DGW32 Starting XI

Can’t remember where I wrote it or mentioned it, but this double game week is no different than the previous 31 FPL game weeks. Pick the best players you think will score the most points. It’s become a bit tiring to see so many Twitter teams looking identical, but that’s to be expected. I am not buying into the discussion of “swords vs shields,” this isn’t fucking Dungeons & Dragons. So work whatever angle you want, but fill your team with players you will feel will score points. The goal of the game remains unchanged.

As of Thursday and this article, I have not confirmed a starting XI. Honestly, I am not being bothered by it either. I just don’t want to sit in front of of PC tweaking and twerking my team, only to be put off by a Twitter comment promoting a player outside of the “popular” selections, just to be different. That’s not to say don’t start a differential or two in your team, but FPL managers are looking to make an impact but sometimes it’s not warranted.

A good example, my thought to bring in Richarlison…yes THAT Richarlison as a differential this week, as Everton travel to London Stadium and a poor West Ham defense that conceded three to Huddersfield. I asked that question of James and Suj for their Planet #FPL Podcast. He’s scored two goals in the last two games, appears to have a bit of form, which goes a long way for him, recalling his streak last season. The Hammers haven’t been good defensively, very leaky, so I think Richarlison could have a banger of a game, potentially scoring a brace. At 6.5, he’s 0.2 more expensive than Luca Milivojevic, who plays home to Huddersfield and away at Spurs. Viable?

No surprise to see Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba in my starting XI. Owned by many FPL managers for the double. Looking at my squad, I’m planning on treble Chelsea and Man City. Not sure if I can justify three from United, as I am not sold on the out of form, Marcus Rashford (1 goal in 7 games). Defensively, the Red Devils haven’t been good, outside their run when OGS took over and posted five clean sheets over seven games. That leaves just Paul Pogba and based purely off his 51.3% ownership in the top 1000, I must have him in my squad.

That leaves three spots, possibly differentials. Many mangers seem to be favoring Crystal Palace and their first game against Huddersfield to pick up goals and a clean sheet, before it’s the inaugural game at the new Spurs stadium. In an early draft, I had bulked up on treble Wolves, but have since backed off, but reconsidering Raul Jimenez, who makes the strongest case, based on his consistency this season.

Watford also make a strong case for inclusion in my starting XI. Gerard Deulofeu and Troy Deeney have earned spots, but doubt has the equation. As I mentioned in Episode 32 on The Pitch & Pint Podcast, “Typically, Gracia doesn’t play him [Deulofeu] 90, finishing just 5 games on the season since returning in GW8. You can except 60-75 minutes before the likes of Andre Gray spell him.” Partnered with Deeney, these players are the heart of the attack for the Hornets. The doubt, when Gracia made seven changes to their GW30 starting at home to Man City, when they had FA Cup quarterfinal seven days later.

Since starting this article, I’ve hit on my starting XI that will be rolled out in a 3-5-2 formation. Not my favorite, but given the game week I feel it’s a strong team that should given me 100-120 points. Now, I’ve lost a bit of faith in Chelsea, however that said they could come to play and bring a double CS, but I won’t be there to pick up all their points. Azpilicueta gets the start as my only premium defender. which was unlike earlier iterations of my starting XI. He is paired with Patrick van Aanholt and James Tomkins. Decided to avoid the Schlupp bandwagon, as his stats aren’t good, but has gotten forward. Rather that the certainty of Tompkins and PvA playing both.

Between the stick, I’ve downgraded from Ederson, to Kepa and finally Ben Foster, a goalkeeper who I haven’t owned this season and my first non-premium at the position. Foster has put together one of his best seasons in the Premier League, as he is now the all-time saves leaders. Watford SHOULD pick up a clean sheet against Fulham, a team they finished 1-1 earlier in the season, while conceding two goal against Man United. I do feel they have a chance to win both games and could potentially come out of the DGW with 4-points, which would be great!

The midfielder has been a major talking point the past few weeks with many FPL managers. I’ve decided to venture into General Pep’s minefield and start Sterling and David Silva. Choice double game week for City could equate to big points. I also selected Hazard over Harry Kane, up front. Just don’t like the Liverpool match up and feel that Crystal Palace could pull an upset at the opening of the new Spurs stadium. Pogba still gets the start because of his high ownership in the top 1k. The final spot was a toss up, as Richarlison was a legitimate punt this week, don’t say I didn’t say so when he bangs two goals in against West Ham. I decided to stick with a double game week player and the treble on Palace with Milivojevic.

Up front, the sometimes reliable, Aguero gets the start, but don’t feel confident he gets both games. I partnered him with Jimenez, the first and probably last time I will own him this season. Not feeling at all confident with the forward line, lots of questions left unanswered that no one has answers to. Many of the options, while strong could potentially miss a game or have a poor match up, Kane against Pool for example.

I had enough ITB to round out the bench with two potential players who could score. Adrian Mariappa and Peter Crouch are listed my first two, playing substitutes. Expectations this week would be great to hit 120 points, but more importantly I want a score that is 40-50 over the average score to see a stronger green arrow. Good luck to all FPL managers!

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