2019/20 Premier League: Starting XI

I am already on international break, have been since the end of GW10. It has nothing to do with the Twitter community, those I discussion FPL with, pod with or write for. Like many other mangers, it appears I am still trying to sort this game out, looking back on the decisions that were made, which have put me in a position I didn’t expect to be in come November. It’s been said before, I honestly feel like Watford. I continue to put in the work and the results just aren’t enough to pick up that first win of the season.

Yet, that is the great think about this game, even if I am not doing well those around me are and I would like to think that something I said on the Pitch & Pint Podcast or in my writings helps someone, even if it just a single manager. Ahead of GW12, I sit at 1.3 million in the OR with an overall points total of 591. Compare that to last season, I had scored 672 and was at 169k and was still improving weekly, before peaking at 81k three weeks later.

Ahead of GW12, I enter the week with a “who fucking cares” attitude, why should think any different? Looking over my starting XI, it’s good, but could be stronger. Some recent decisions have left me short on points, such as moving Caglar Soyuncu a few weeks ago and starting Ryan Fredericks over John Lundstram last week. Even missing out on those points, I still point to the captain decisions as the biggest hit to my overall points and rank.

This week, as I had planned since GW9, I brought in Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemens, as I mentioned yesterday in my GW12 Transfers article. A move orchestrated because of their fantastic run, but it was really just the start of restructuring the team to set up for a potential successful run through the festive period.

I’ve got “mounting” concerns in my midfield, not only will this be the first week I play without Raheem Sterling, offering him up as a sacrifice to building a team going in a different direction. Mo Salah was pulled at 65 minutes in GW11, but played the full 90 minutes, midweek against Genk, the ankle appears to be okay. As for Mason Mount, he remains flagged after picking up an ankle injury against Ajax three days ago, but has trained with his team. Currently, he’s my fourth midfielder, but if he doesn’t play against Crystal Palace, Todd Cantwell would slot in as my first bench substitute.

One area being addressed in this restructuring of the team, building a stronger bench. Cantwell hasn’t returned since GW5, Fredericks, a single assist in GW8 and no CS since GW6, while Kelly appears to have lost his starting spot at Palace after picking up an injury. Really, it’s feast or famine heading into GW12, with Mount as a key player to the potential success of my team.

The big decision ahead of GW12, who to captain. I’ve had the armband on no less then five players; Vardy, KDB, Jimenez, Abraham and Mount. Logic and past performances tell me to remove players away from home, so KDB no longer becomes an option at Anfield. Mount by virtue of the flag is removed, which leaves me with three forwards all playing at home.

In all away games this season, Villa have been the worst defense, conceding 11 goals away from home, followed by Palace (9) and Arsenal (7). Goals scored at home favor Leicester (12), with Chelsea (7) next followed by Wolves (7). Total attempts (80) and shots on target(29) favor Chelsea. Both the Blues and Wolves played midweek, as Jimenez and Abraham featured for 90 minutes. Many FPL managers have a raging hard on for Vardy this week and he does have good history against the Gunners.  Vardy has an excellent conversion rate (41.7%) but his penalty touches (25) and total attempts (12) just aren’t impressive but we know he needs just once chase to capitalize. Not sure FOMO will get the best of me this weekend or not.

Right now, I am holding steady with Jimenez as my captain and Abraham as my vice captain. Mistake? Probably. The conventional captains haven’t worked this season, hopefully I pick up a return this weekend.

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