GW31+ Retrospect: 72 Red!

It sounds like some sort of NFL play call, however that was my final score for GW31+, which resulted in a red arrow. It’s always a tough pill to swallow when your starting XI finished 10 points above the weekly average (62) and it results in a red arrow. Not the first time it, nor will it be the last. I mentioned previously, I am not followed the ownership numbers of the top 1000 managers, that group finished on 69 points, which is partly responsible for the red arrow this game week. The KDB goal and points from players like Salah and Alexander-Arnold really hurt since I did not include any of those teams when I activated my Free Hit chip for the game week.

GW31+ THOUGHTS

In retrospect, the last two game weeks have averaged 66 and 62 points, the MOST since GW1, where the average score was 65. While it was a red arrow, I was happier with this result that the 121 points I picked up on the restart in GW30+. It was the lack of midfield points that came back to bite me, as Son started off hot, picked up a goal that was called back (VAR is bullshit!) But players like Maddison, Richarlison and Fernandes were nowhere to be found on the pitch.

Manchester United continued to look dangerous in attack and actually put together their 9th clean sheet of the season, making it 7 out of the last 9 games and I really like their run of fixtures the remainder of the season. They take some lower league teams (bha, BOU, avl, SOU, cry and WHU). What’s not to like? While I did have a fleeting thought of swapping Fernandes to Martial, I stayed on the playmaker, but it was Martial who did the damage. Needless to say, as of this article near 200k managers have moved Martial in, coming off the lieks of Grealish, Richarlison, Barnes and Mahrez. Regardless of how I set up, I will have treble United in my starting XI.

While I was hoping to remain positive on Richarlison and even look at Calvert-Lewin, it feels as if Everton is slow on the restart, just a single goal (Keane) in the two games played. They did manage 12 shots against Norwich and 8 against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, but until they show something, Richarilson is headed for the bin. Maybe after Spurs I would reconsider picking the Brazilian up.

The week’s results was based on a strong defense, which seems to the underlying theme for the second week in a row, as 9 teams kept a clean sheet . That’s two weeks in a row we’ve see that many clean sheets with 6 teams scoring just a single goal. Along with De Gea (6), the twosome of Boly and Doherty combined for 13 points on the back of their 9th clean sheet, while Spurs and Aurier did the business, 2-0 against West Ham for their 6th clean sheet.

Spurs have some outstanding fixtures, but can we truly trust that defense? On paper there could be some challenging match ups, starting next week at Bramall Lane with the Blades. I do feel Everton the following week could be a tough game to call with Arsenal (35) and Leicester City (36) to come. I continue to back Aurier, this week as I activated the Wild Card ahead of the start of GW32+. Wolves, like Spurs and United have strong fixtures away at Villa Park on Saturday. A team out of form and lacking depth, Nuno’s lads could really put the screws to the Villains this weekend with strong fixtures up until the final day of the season (ARS, she, EVE, bur, CRY). Much like United, I am planning a Wolves treble, bank on the £6.3 Doherty, Jimenez and Traore to play a key role the rest of the way.

Rashford ( 2A, 9 pts) and captain Jimenez (1G, 18 pts) will start up front in GW32+. This week it was Kane rounding out a 3-4-3 formation, as he picked up his 12th of the season. His price of £10.9 feels a bit restrictive but can argue with 15 shots for the Spurs as a club. He could be a differential, as he’s owned by just 10.6% across FPL and only 7.4% in the top 1000. Yet, you still might get more mileage and production out of Son (£9.8).

LOOKING AHEAD – GW32+ WILD CARD

As mentioned in the previous article, I activated my wild card once GW31+ started. Why wait? All the previous strategies we had were binned when the season was put on hold and activating this week gives me some strong fixtures to rebound from a 72 point week. As of today, I am planning to play a 3-5-2 but could easily shift to a 3-4-3 or run out a 5-man defense. This allows for options and I still have £2.2 ITB.

Building from the back, I had initially planned on De Gea (£5.3) but feel United are going to continue to score, so I dropped him in favor of Ederson (£6.0). City looked like shit on the Pulilsic goal, sadly that lazy defending has seen some weak goals conceded in previous games, but after Pool in 32+ it’s weak, lower league teams that all have problems scoring. Ederson will partner with Foster, who might get a few starts, including this week, against So’ton at the Vic.

The defenders are set as I plan on running out Azpilicueta, Doherty, Aurier and Femenia. This week van Aanholt will be a one-week appearance as they play a depleted Burnley squad that features JRod and Vydra up front. After this week, PvA will be moved and Laporte will feature in a City double at the back. I don’t plan on playing Femenia or Aurier much as the back three will feature Azpilicueta, Doherty and Laporte. That £2.2 ITB could easily get me TAA for a few weeks. Not sure if I want to buy back in on Liverpool or not at this point.

KDB anchors the midfield wild card with Son, Fernandes and Martial, while Traore could be that swing man as the 5th midfielder. The £8.2 (and under) price point for a midfielder is a weird bunch, no one really stands out. Can we rely on Willian (£7.0)? Grealish (£6.3), who’s got poor fixtures. Leicester’s three headed midfield monster; Maddison, Barnes or Perez? That leaves Mount (£6.2) or even Pulisic (£6.9), who, like Willian is a rotation risk. That’s why I decided to double up on Fernandes and Martial. Prior to the stoppage, Fernandes was unstoppable since moving to Old Trafford with 3G, 3A in six games, scoring 47 points.

Up front, I round out United and Wolves with Rashford and Jimenez, based on FDR. While Joelinton (£5.5) was a consideration, I’ve decided to downgrade to Nketiah (£4.4), who picked up his second goal for the Gunners. He MIGHT be a spot start, home against Norwich in GW32+.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Based on FDR, the team feels right. The most glaring point, no Liverpool players. I have no doubt Klopp will continue to play the big names and I could potentially have done myself in by not including any Reds in my squad. I’ve got the option with £2.2 ITB. With the league won, what do they have to play for? That was the driving factor in selecting players on the wild card. Wolves, United, Spurs and Chelsea still battling for a top four finish and a CL berth.

With the rule changes and the kiddy water breaks, rotation will be a bitch to sort out with managers like Pep. Comes as no surprise we could see an array of players making appearances the end of the season. Some young talent that hasn’t picked up many minutes might make more than just a cameo appearance some so squads. The end of the year, usually know for strategies, double and blank game weeks are now pretty straight forward with. The league champions crowned, the battle is at the bottom of the table, while FPL manager continue to battle up the OR. Good luck!

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