Last week I had higher expectations, but results fell short for GW6, as I decided to roll the FT into GW7, as I felt my starting XI was solid. As has been commonplace this season, CS were difficult to come by…again! This was the second biggest week for CS, with 6 (GW1 had 9) and I picked up two, but expect more. Ahead of GW7 I must look at addressing my defense, which continues to struggle. Last season, it was the anchor for my success but this season, my defenders are averaging just 2.75 PPG.
Player selection wasn’t the problem to start the season, as I, like many other FPL managers backed the best teams in the league, Liverpool and Manchester City. After the first week, they struggled and John Stones got injured. Ahead of GW3, I activated the wild card and decided to move the premium defenders, however that strategy failed, as new defenders picked up just 3 points. Dreadful performance and it’s really been in a funk all season long, as premium options are needing those attacking points to remain “premium” options. Three of the top four options are priced at 5.2 and less with TAA the only premium options in the top four.
Looking at fixtures, Oleksandr Zinchenko heads the list, as the wing back has lost his spot to Ben Mendy (£5.9) but FPL managers are moving to Nicolás Otamendi, as 18.4% have already made the change. Managers are hesitant to get Mendy back in, as his ownership is just 0.2%, as he picked up 45 minutes last weekend. The move to Otamendi makes sense as City have a great run of fixtures that see them traveling to Goodison Park this weekend and an Everton team struggling to score goals, hitting for just 5 goals though six games. This fixture has clean sheet possibilities and Otamendi picked up a goal and assist last weekend.
The other option, use the £0.8 ITB and look at Chelsea’s, Marcus Alonso. Somewhat forgetten by FPL managers, as Emerson Palmieri picked up a hamstring injury was was replaced by the Spaniard last weekend. Still priced as a premium, at £6.2, he’s played bits in the last two games and could be a big differential the next two weeks; bha/SOU into the international break. The cheaper and longer term option at Chelsea could be Fikayo Tomori, priced at £4.5 has played 90 minutes in his last three games, while adding a goal.
Not completely sold on West Ham but they have a run of games against weaker opposition that could see them continue on their clean sheet run that now stands at three. Over the next 5 weeks the Hammers play; bou/CRY/eve/SHU/NEW. Take out Bournemouth and the other four teams have scored just 20 goals combined and are all near the bottom of the league. So a punt on Issa Diop (£4.5) or Ryan Fredericks (£4.5) could be a wise shout. I am in for Adam Cresswell, now £4.9 but has featured in just two games. If he was nailed on, he would be a great selection at that price due to ability to jump into the attack.
Looking at the near future, which includes both sides of the international break, I want to remain in City, buy into Chelsea and Leicester City. Plans will be to hold Lundstram at Sheffield United and Martin Kelly at Palace. Zinchenko will be replaced, then a decision will be made to move either Michael Keane and/or Aaron Wan-Bissaka. At this point, I am more inclined to hold AWB, as I feel they have better CS potential then Everton, who’ve struggled since the first two game weeks.
OVER THE PITCH
Elsewhere in my squad, I am keeping an eye on Todd Cantwell (now £5.0!) and possibly shifting funds to acquire John McGinn (£5.7). hard to price them in the same together intially, as Cantweel was £4.5 to start the season, while McGinn was £5.5. McGinn has scored just one more point than Cantwell (30 vs 29) but more importantly has better statistics and key indicators when it comes to a direct comparison with Cantwell. Both players have been good and both could be a starting third, fourth or fifth midfielder. Over the course of the season, I feel McGinn will outplay Cantwell. A telling stat, McGinn has 17 attempts on goal, compare to 7 attempts by Cantwell, as both players have scored twice. McGinn also has 10 shots on target, compared to three for Cantwell.
Up top, I’ve still got reservations about Sébastien Haller (£7.4), now scoreless in his last two games, but his statistics are over the top when compared to the consistency of Callum Wilson (£7.8) and just slightly better than Tammy Abraham (£7.5). Can we ignore the the underlying stats of Haller? West Ham have a good run, but his performance last week against United was shit from an FPL perspective, playing a bit deeper and holding up play for wingers around him.
As for my suggestions this week, if you are looking to make moves for GW7, here are a few thoughts of players I might consider. All these players are under the 10% TSB and attempt to keep them budget friendly.
Tom Heaton (£4.6/6.7% TSB)
Not expecting many goals this weekend as Villa welcome Burnley to Villa Park. Burnley have three goals in their last three games, as the Villans have conceded just twice this season, at home. Ashley Barnes, no returns in his last three games. Could see this as a 0-0 draw.
Fikayo Tomori (£4.5/1.6% TSB)
I’ve got to back the young, Chelsea defender who featured in 44 games last season at Derby County, under Frank Lampard. The kid has looked good in the center, partnering with Kurt Zouma. While he could be prone to a mistake or two, Chelsea has conceded 6 times since he’s been a regular starter. That statistic alone is a bit concerning, but do like the Blues at the Bridge against Brighton.
Andriy Yarmolenko (£5.9/0.9% TSB)
Not the most consistent scorer, but last year was playing very well before his injury. He now fit and back in the starting XI on the right flank, where he looked so dangerous last week, cutting inside with that left footed curler against United. He’s picked up two goals in the last thee games and never been sold on that Cherries defense.
Honorable Mention: Wilfried Zaha
Diogo Jota (£5.9/0.9% TSB)
He made his first attacking return count last week, picking up an injury time goal that gave Wolves a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park. This week, Wolves welcome a hapless Watford, conceding an average of three goals a game (18 on the season). I look for Wolves to hit for at least three goals this weekend and Jota should get off to a flying start.