One week before we the first international break of the season, which doesn’t seem like the most logical move for world football with COVID still a major player on the world stage. Rest assured we will have players return, sick and losing more time in the FPL game. That is just another factor we must take into consideration, to some degree when we contemplates transfers or the activation of our wild cards. For me, the first wild card is done and I am now looking at both sides of the break to see how to navigate my way though this questionable period.
In retrospect it would have been a wise move to hold off activating that first wild card until the end of the international break, ahead of GW5. It feels as if there is a lot of uncertainty and questions that still need to be answered. There was logic behind my wild card decision in order to set up for game weeks four through eight, knowing we would have a break and potential fatigued and injured players. FDR was taken into consideration for players selected and those I did not have in my starting XI that I wanted.
While very few teams scored big last week, I like the make up of my starting XI, but as we get close to the festive period will need to address the bench players. Right now, they are of little concern. Last week I brought Villa’s, Jack Grealish against a very poor Fulham defense and he returned eight points. I went in knowing I wasn’t going to retain his services for GW4, as the Villains host Liverpool. Now, we could make a case for Grealish, Liverpool has conceded four goals over three games, but haven’t been as flawless on defense with two defensive errors leading to goals. Hell, Leeds United scored three on the Reds, so there is a solid case to hold Grealish and roll free transfer to be used out of the break.
Intentions as of this article were to move Grealish out in favor of Harvey Barnes, as the left winger has been dynamic down the flank contributing a goal and assist for the Foxes scoring 18 points. Leicester is 7th in total attempts (34), behind Fulham (35), creating a chance every 8.3 mins behind Newcastle, Sheffield United, Southampton and Leeds United. The most telling statistic, nine goals from inside the box, eight big chances scored, both lead the league. Barnes has also posted 20 penalty touches (4th best), 12 total attempts (3rd best), 10 attempts inside the box (2nd best) and seven attempts on target (1st best). Seems a great options as Leicester host West Ham and Aston Villa on each side of the break.
James Maddison was flagged ending last season, due to a hip injury that was carried over through the shortened pre-season and into the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season. While his played just 64 minutes on the season, he returned his first attacking points last weekend at Man City, scoring 12 points on the back of a goal, assist and bonus point. Is he fully fit? We might wait until manager, Brendan Rodgers has his presser ahead of Saturday’s game. He’s a huge differential with potential, owned by 2.7% across the FPL game. The Hammers struggled away from the London Stadium last season, conceded 195 chances inside the box (3rd worst) and 99 shots on target (4th worst).
Maddison is the the playmaker for the Foxes, posting excellent distribution numbers last season with 110 crosses (3rd best), ,29 successful crosses (3rd best), creating 41 chances (3rd best) and 7 big chances (4th best). He’s on set pieces and has a lethal in and around the 18-yard box. He’s a great options in contrast to Barnes. West Ham surprised last weekend, posting their first clean sheet, against Wolves of all teams, but have conceded 2 goals in their only trip away this season at Arsenal.
Looking at the potential transfer for this week, don’t think I need to go any further than Man City. At 6.6 million, Phil Foden might be the fourth midfielder I need. They travel to Elland Road and Leeds United. On the season they have conceded seven goals, third worst in the league behind relegation candidates, West Brom and Fulham. Defensively, the Whites aren’t a strong team and coming off a 5-goal spanking by Leicester City, you can be guaranteed City will come out firing. Watford conceded eight goals to City last September and I don’t see this Leeds defensive unit as strong as what the Hornets had. There could be plenty of goals to go around for the Sky Blues. The only concern, does Foden get the start? Gabe (@FPLLens) has head “chatter” that Foden could “actually play the false 9 like he did against Madrid in CL.” Something to watch and consider ahead of GW4.
It’s hump day and all downhill from here. No decision will be rendered until Friday afternoon. Need to see how the midweek cup games play out and listen to the pressers on Friday. It could potentially be a huge weekend, based on the match ups. Man City and Wolves could some good points, I am still backing Liverpool for a convincing showing, even with Villa upgrading their defense.