This team just scraped by in GW2 with 61 points, enough to give me a small green arrow but green is always better than red. With just 108 points from two weeks, this team is struggling, yet could be the underlying theme all season long, as I need the defenders to pull their weight with clean sheets. Coming out of GW2, I was running with treble Liverpool that will really make or break every week, but looking ahead I feel there is a big need to get Manchester City defenders in. More importantly, this team started without Mo Salah, which I felt was a mistake, even though I attempted to convince myself it was okay. It’s not and while Arsenal’s fixtures are turning and we roll into fall, it was time to make some big changes ahead of GW3.
There is a incompleteness to my defense not seeing the sky blue jerseys of Man City. Starting the season with a bye, then having Aymeric Laporte sidelined due to COVID, I’ve yet to buy in the league’s best defensive team last season. Coupled with Liverpool they have been the top defenses the last three years, it seems a a logical move to go big and blue at the back with Reds rounding out my defense.
I’ve said it in the past, I feel it’s important to own treble Liverpool and Man City, which is how I approached this wild card ahead of GW3. They are all season keepers for me, regardless of my team. I know that might not be the popular opinion, then again neither is playing a 5-man defense. Building at the back, I want to hold Matt Doherty, but Spurs haven’t been too damn exciting, as Doherty has returned just two points in as many games. In GW1 I made the wrong decision backing Caesar Azpilicueta, who’s yet to play but just five minutes but didn’t trust Luca Digne to pick up a clean sheet versus Spurs, which they did but also returned an assist. I moved to him ahead of GW2 and has expected with a knee jerk transfer was justly rewarded.
Virgil van Dijk and a change from Trent Alexander-Arnold to Andrew Robertson anchor the 5-man defense, as I introduce Kyle Walker and Nelson Semedo. Now Semedo might be a risk due to fitness, just coming over the Wolves, but I feel I can over that, if he doesn’t start in GW3 at the London Stadium and a bad West Ham club. That final defensive spot will eventually go to Laporte, but lacking fitness, it doesn’t look he will play this week as City host Leicester. At this point, I am going to hold Digne, who looked dangerous last week and was unlucky not to add any attacking returns. Not fond of their chance for a clean sheet with Jordan Pickford, but willing to role with the Frenchman for one, possibly two weeks until Laporte is dialed in and ready to start for City.
Changing the defense adds a bit more to the budget in the midfield, as I am able to off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well as Bruno Fernandes, after just one week. No doubt I will be punished for that move, but I favor my replacments. Coming into my starting XI, Salah and James Rodriguez, as this team starts to resemble my 6thGoal squad. This will give me a very solid midfield three with premiums in defense. This looks and feels good, but I know many managers will shake their head in disagreement, seeing how much budget could be shifted forward.
Speaking of the forwards, I’ve decided to bolster the front line, thanks in part to the shift of Liverpool defenders at the back. Gone are Callum Wilson and Aleksandr MItrovic. Replacing them, Raul Jimenez, with an absolutely fantastic run of fixtures through GW7 and the league’s top goal scored, Dominic Calvert-Lewin. This leaves 0.1 ITB for future changes.
Not only do I like the look, but the feel of this teams screams top 10k. Okay, maybe I am putting the cart before the horse, but I do like how it’s coming together. Just waiting on one last piece to this puzzle, which is Laporte when it’s fit and ready to return to the starting XI. As we all know the game isn’t played on paper, but this looks to be a strong team heading into GW. Looking forward to see what this team does in GW3. Good luck!