For such a low scoring week, I will consider myself lucky I finished on 43 points and saw a small green arrow, scoring 7 points over the weekly average of 36 points. That is the sort of weeklly average we see when very few captains hit and very few premium players scoring. I took a chance and captained Teemu Pukki, at home for another wasted armband. That makes 5 game weeks in a row that I had a successful captain play. More importantly, my team continues tick on with a consistency I am pleased with, even though I find myself off that 60 PPG average I am targeting.
Let’s start with the fact five of my starting XI didn’t post any return on the weekend, including Pukki, who I captained for the second and last time this season. I’ve been a week off the captain selection, attempting to play catch up but failing miserably. Felt Pukki was a good call at home, but Norwich was shit on the weekend and Pukki will be lucky to make it out of the international break.
Defensively, I was led by Nick Pope, as Burnley picked up their third clean sheet on the season with a 1-0 win over Everton. I made the decision to start John Lundstram at Vicarage Road, which rewarded me with a CS, but also a yellow card, finishing on five points. Liverpool lost their CS, but Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up bonus point for three points. Knowing it was a bad move going into the weekend, I decided to stay the course with Oleksandr Zinchenko, as City conceded twice, late to lose 2-0 to Wolves. Zinchenko is now on borrowed time with a no return. It was great to see Martin Kelly post another solid return, seven points, as he picked up the assist in Palace’s 2-1 at London Stadium.
Mason Mount continues to play very well, as Chelsea is chugging along picking up a big 4-1 victory over Southampton, even if they did not secure a clean sheet. Raheem Sterling, Mo Salah and Todd Cantwell scored a combined six points. A complete clusterfuck in the midfield, as Kevin De Bruyne watched, injured.
Tammy Abraham picked up his 8th goal of the season and finishe don eight points, as Chelsea still have a fine run of games out of the break. Sébastien Haller appears to have shrugged off the stay of execution, as he FINALLY returned a goal. That’s back to back games with returns of five points. Pukki, as I already mentioned, he’s run his course and feel he could be on his last leg out of the break, even though Norwich have United and Watford at home. Don’t think there is enough there to stick with the Finn. It was fun while it lasted.
While it was a rather disappointing total, I did jump up the overall rank to 820k, up nearly 200k and back on the right side of a million. Now can I turn this season around and start a positive run of form? At the conclusion of GW8, I am now 43 points off my imposed 60 PPG average. Realistically, that could be made up in a single week, if luck played a major role, but by no means am I struggled, averaging just over 54 PPG. Still pleased to see six out of eight game weeks, at or over the weekly average, even though I’ve recorded four red arrows. At some point this season needs to turn, maybe it will be out of the break.
OUT OF THE BREAK
The international break comes at a good time, headed into GW9 on a green arrow, but two weeks to see how things shake out with injuries and strategies going forward. KDB remains an injury concern, but at this point I plan on holding the midfielder. Zinchenko and Pukki on the short list to be moved out of the break, as I look to pump a bit more budget into my forward line, which could be as cheap as Callum Wilson or expensive as Jamie Vardy or Roberto Firmino. Defensively, it’s nice to see Kelly starting and returning, but Palace come on some tough fixtures. Salah should be safe, but Sterling…eh, might not make it through the break. Just have to wait and see how it turns out when the Premier League returns.