Think Different: 5-Man Defense GW4

Clean sheets this season seem to be a rarity, even though we saw four more bringing the season total to 17 across the league. That is one fewer than last season (18) and three off the start of the 2018/19 (20). Numbers are fairly consistent over this time frame, even though Liverpool stand out with three clean sheets to open the 18/19 season. Never did I think I would see Aston Villa, Southampton and West Ham each on two cleans to start this season. Intentions going in this season was to buy “big at the back” but that seems to be a bit of a determent at the moment. Defensive points have been very difficult to come by, as witnessed by game week four, as my squad has posted just six clean sheets by my defenders.

If I had not activated the wild card ahead of GW3, I have no doubt this team would worse off than where I currently sit, 1.7m in the world. Can’t argue with three green arrows to start the season, can you ? I’ve gained a million in budget over three weeks, rest assured that will increase during the break, but the problem isn’t in budget, it’s in performance.

Much like the 6thGoal team, I am aiming for 60 PPW with this team, in order to be competitive. Headed into the break, it’s up to 54 PPW, but still off the pace, much of that attributed to the lack of clean sheets we’ve seen to start this FPL season. Maybe we see a change in teams when they return from break, as long as players stay healthy and remain free from injury.

Ahead of the season and I seem to reiterate this constantly, this team is built around defense. Ahead of the season it was going to be double Liverpool and Man City with Matt Doherty. The only consistent through four weeks is I’ve stayed on double Liverpool after moving Trent Alexander-Arnold during the wild card for Mo Salah. Man City not starting the season caused some problems, but even their defense hasn’t been impressive, as they conceded five goals to Leicester just two weeks ago. This week a total of -3 points between Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson.

The FPL mindset tells us, play attacking defenders, since points are points and the Liverpool wing backs like to get forward. That is still the case through four weeks, as Robertson (44) and Alexander-Arnold (33) are in the top three for crosses. No surprise that Luca Digne (32) rounds out that top three. It’s the 11 goals conceded that is much more concerning for the Reds defenders, now with Alisson out through mid November. Yesterday revealed just how suspect that defense is with Adrian calling the shots.

Not happy with Everton’s defense either, Digne was to be a placeholder for my second Man City defender but that might happen. As long as the Toffees continue to Jordan Pickford in goal, they will piss away those clean sheets. How this kid is the England number one is shocking! Everton have conceded five goals in their last three games but even that might not see me over off Digne because of his potential on corner kicks and set pieces. It was just a single point against Brighton.

It’s the midfield that has kept this team afloat. Now an OR of 1.7m isn’t impressive, but the team has been consistent, which is always important. Looking at FPL through a long lens of the season and not the short term, setbacks we have struggled with in the early part of the 2020/21 season. For GW4 it continued that way as captain, Mo Salah (26) and James Rodriguez (18) combined for 44 points, while KDB failed many managers with a no return.

Up front, it continues to be the Dominic Calvert-Lewin show at Everton, as he’s really improved from last season under Carlo Ancelotti. It’s unsustainable, but it’s great to see him knocking balls into the goals on a consistent basis. It’s now six goals to start the season for DCL. Still trying to figure out Wolves, as Raul Jimenez looks the part but hasn’t returned since GW2 and is on just two goals for the season. He’s still got a good run of fixtures, but could be a question mark in my starting XI out of the break.

LOOKING FORWARD

Green arrows from the start have given me a sense of accomplishment that I’ve done something right in this unique start to the season. There will be more change coming with this squad. Not sure what the plan is with Man City defense, as Walker is a placeholder for Amyeric Laporte. It might be a case of holding off until there is some more consistency from the Sky Blues. At some point before we are too far into the season I will be doubled up on them.

With the defense struggling, I would like to capitalize on another midfielder. While it feels a bit knee jerk, I am watching Heung-Min Son for the long term and Jack Grealish or James Maddison in the short term. Just not ready to back some of these teams off to a hot start, the exception is Everton. That means limited Villa, no Leeds, no Newcastle, can’t trust Southampton and West Ham seems to be a streaky team.

Right now, nothing matters. It’s time to take a break from the game, not worry about the who, what, where or why of FPL and relax. Enjoy the break!

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