After what appears to be a successful wild card played ahead of GW3, I rolled out of the international break with 57 point week, and a green arrow in a week that say 52 points as the average score. Intentions with an eye on Friday, roll the FT and come with potential changes in two weeks. The starting XI is settled. Bench, two players deep and both starting. Picking up two starting forwards ahead of GW5 in place of Harry Kane, I shifted formation to a 3-4-3, which appears to be favored by the top 1000 managers (45.8%).
Saw the news come through yesterday on Twitter of the Mason Mount injury. In seasons past, this would be a concern for me, but reviewing my team, I feel very good dropping Mount to the bench and starting Todd Cantwell this week. Norwich City are coming into a good run of fixtures; bur/cry/AVL/bou in their next four, so there isn’t much pressure to make a snap decision on Mount.
As mentioned on Episode 49 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast, I considering upgrading Mount to Heung-min Son, but wasn’t willing to take a hit. Now with the injury to Mount, the Son move could material ahead of GW7, as intentions to roll the transfer this week may come to fruition. The jump to Son (£9.6) from Mount (£6.2) would cost £3.4 and Sébastien Haller. Currently, I’ve got £0.8 ITB and owned the West Ham forward for just one week, which makes this week’s game against Manchester United more important. If he doesn’t get it done, chances are I will sacrifice him and move to Son. Haller would be replaced by Shane Long (£4.9).
Pending the Sunday performance of Haller, the easy move would be to Daniel James (£6.2), now flagged for a knock or Erik Lamela (£6.1), which would put an excess of £1.0 ITB and give me a fifth starting midfielder, while keeping the Hammers front man for another week. Realistically, change isn’t need immediately, so I am most likely to roll the FT into GW6.
Over the next five weeks, Arsenal. Chelsea, West Ham, Bouremouth and Norwich City are the top five attacking team based on FDR. Currently, my forward line features Teemu Pukki, Tammy Abraham and Haller. Prior to GW5, I had the chance to introduce Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but passed up that opportunity in order to get two quality forwards with good upcoming fixtures in Haller and Abraham. Callum Wilson (9.5 TSB%) deserves a second look, he’s been the most consistent forward this season and the Cherries are coming into an excellent run through GW15. At £7.8, he’s lost £0.2 on the season with 3 goals and 3 assists. Big play potential and a consistency that has been unmatched this season.
Based on the upcoming fixtures for these team, why not reinvest your budget in a 3-man forward line? We’ve already seen “big at back” failing, as teams struggle to keep clean sheets, more importantly, we aren’t seeing the defensive returns that made this lucrative to start last season. Through GW5, there have been 25 (9/2/3/4/5) clean sheets, compared to 23 (8/4/4/4/3) from last season. That goes against conventional thought based on how defenses have played so far.
The play of defender like Marcos Alonso, Ben Mendy, Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Lucas Digne helped fuel a premium defense, while funneling budget out the mid-priced midfielders. While many started with double Liverpool, this strategy has not paid off. The Alisson injury has but the Reds defense in a funk, just a single CS on the season. Injuries to John Stones and Aymeric Laporte showed City was vulnerable, as they conceded three goals to Norwich City last week and have just two cleans sheets on the season.
This week’s transfer will be based on the longer term prognosis of Mount’s injury. One thing is certain, I will continue to run with three forwards for the block (to GW8 and the second international break) of games. Who should we be speculating on this week, if we need to make that transfer? Here are a few options at each position.
Bernd Leno (£5.0/6.2 TSB%)
Leno has 15 saves in the last two game weeks, but the Gunners have conceded four goals over that time period. All appeared in their favor last week at Vicarage Road, but the Hornets came back to secure a draw. Villa is the second lowest scoring (4) team in the Premier League, which is what the Gunners need after last week’s defensive failure. They have scored just goal away from home.
Jamaal Lascelles (£4.5/5.3 TSB%)
Newcastle faces Brighton at St. James’ where they’ve conceded 21 shots, which is near the top of the league at home. Brighton doesn’t create well away from The Amex, just 11 attempts but have scored three goals on the season. Lascelles is the anchor in this defense that has a single CS this season (vs Spurs), but could give Brighton some trouble.
Richarlison (£7.9/8.3 TSB%)
He’s flown under the radar a bit this season but has posted three attacking returns in the last two weeks and continues to look dangerous for Everton. He’s a streaky player but is coming off a good performance last week with four attempts on goal. The addition of Iwobi and Kean make Richarlison better going forward.
Callum Wilson (£7.8/9.5 TSB%)
Wilson seems to have fallen by the wayside with more attention focus on Pukki, Abraham, Haller and Barnes. He’s been the most consistent forward, scoring three goals and three assists through five games and the Cherries travel to St. Mary’s against an upstart So’ton team, but don’t buy them as a defensive powerhouse. Cherries could take advantage of the fact the Saint have conceded 17 total shots, 13 from inside the box, both near the bottom of the league.
Good luck this week depending on how you set up and where you go with your transfers. Some good fixtures this week as many FPL managers look to get back on track after a poor GW5 score. No decisions on the direction I go until Friday morning, as I feel I burned myself last week making transfers on Thursday, but in the end they did work out well.