Premier League: DGW32 Starting XI

Can’t remember where I wrote it or mentioned it, but this double game week is no different than the previous 31 FPL game weeks. Pick the best players you think will score the most points. It’s become a bit tiring to see so many Twitter teams looking identical, but that’s to be expected. I am not buying into the discussion of “swords vs shields,” this isn’t fucking Dungeons & Dragons. So work whatever angle you want, but fill your team with players you will feel will score points. The goal of the game remains unchanged. Continue reading “Premier League: DGW32 Starting XI”

Free Hit Activated – DGW32

Planning for the “business end” of the FPL season began when Ben Crellin posted the potential double and blank game weeks. The unscheduled games were confirm on Tuesday by the Premier League. This allowed me to finalize when I would use the Free Hit Chip (FH) and activate the second Wild Card (WC). Initial plans had me using the FH for BGW31 and WC in GW34. After listening to Planet #FPL and their chip strategy, as well as discussing chip options with Casey during Episode 26 of The Pitch & Pint Podcast, I changed my strategy for better chip usage. Continue reading “Free Hit Activated – DGW32”

BGW31 and Beyond

Coming off my best week (69 points) since Gameweek 20, there is little planning to do until the FA Cup 5th Round Replays next week. Using data compiled by Ben Crellin, fantasy managers are provided statistical analysis and probability of what teams will be without a fixture in Gameweek 31/35. As of this writing, there are just two confirmed matches; LIV vs WAT and STO vs EVE. The remaining teams and fixtures are yet to be determined. So what is a fantasy manager to do?
Continue reading “BGW31 and Beyond”

Premier League: DGW36 Plan

Amazing the amount of variables to take into account, when just a few short weeks ago when I posted Premier League: Seeing Double and my plans for the run in to DGW36 and DGW37. With change in the wind, injuries on the pitch and questions surrounding form, formation and fixtures I have taken a risky route over the next few weeks.

Just 5 players remain from the plan I formulated prior to GW33. With already have played my WC in GW21, it would be a string of hits in order to get the proper personnel in place to take advantage of the DGWs. Original thought was to triple up on Man City, but the injury to Aguero and the rotation risk of Sane tempered my transfers. However the return of Jesus has sparked interest in City for DGW37.

Before moving ahead, let’s take a look at DGW36 and who isn’t in my starting XI or even on my squad. The two most notable names, Gabbiadini and Sanchez. Based on recent form, neither deserve a starting spot. Since returning from injury Gabbiadini hasn’t been the same offensive threat we saw when he made his move from Serie A. Even when at Napoli he wasn’t a prolific scorer; 5 goals in 23 games last year and just 3 goals in 13 this season before the transfer.

So’ton’s DGW schedule isn’t kind, facing Liverpool (A) and Arsenal (H) in GW36 followed by Middlesbrough (A) and Man United (H) in GW37. I fancy that the Boro match up is their only favorable fixture, a team they defeated just 1-0 back in GW15. Rumors of discontent are running through the team, as well as the impending return of Austin from injury and the veteran, Long off the bench to steal minutes.

The exclusion of Sanchez doesn’t come without risk, the league’s top scorer (214) has been omitted, in fact I didn’t have him included when I wrote up my original plan during GW33. Earlier this season, I felt Sanchez was indispensable (read Sanchez Effect) and before running the stats, felt NOT including Sanchez was a reason for my lack of performance. The reality of the situation, he would have contributed approximately 59 points over the gameweeks I didn’t have him versus the players I did start in his place.

The last 6 weeks have been his worst run of the season, with just a single return in GW33 (7 pts). How does he warrant a place in the starting XI? Wenger is now experimenting with formation, Sanchez is still playing wide left, but is he just playing out of the season before moving on? Based on the reverse fixtures against Man United and So’ton, he totaled just 2 points! Looking ahead to GW37 he posted returns of 5 and 13 against Stoke City and Sunderland. If fantasy managers see that sort of return in GW37 using the triple captain chip, they should be elated. However I feel there are stronger, in form players to start in the midfield. The one component you can’t take away from Sanchez is his explosiveness.

For GW36 I have taken a 12 point hit. That hurts, it’s bad enough I have been on a nasty string of -8 points hit (6 out of last 7 weeks), which feels as if it has become the norm. Unfortunately, these hits come at a cost of limiting my climb up the global rankings. However the returns have been positive with just a single red arrow since GW27, last week in GW35. Still sitting at 651k, is considerable lower than I anticipated to be at this point in the year. Still, take the good with the bad and look forward to the next fixture. I finger a poor run of form starting GW8 through GW13 as a reason for my current ranking.

As for the GW36 squad the changes have come up front, as I moved out Benteke and Gabbiadini this week in favor of Costa and Jesus. To free up enough budget, I said good bye to Zaha and brought in Fraser from Bournemouth. The other addition this week was introducing Stephens for Gibson and getting his price bump early in the week.

Costa now pairs with Hazard for the double and a great run in through the end of the season, with just a single away game remaining. He picked up just his third double of the season in GW34 but his form seems to be returning.

Jesus seemed to be a no brainer, as Aguero limped off the pitch last week after a solid performance with a groin injury. Jesus returning to pitch after injury has looked great in just 2 appearances. Dynamic and excitable and very favorable fixtures to finish the season. This kid could post some great returns before the season is up. Games include Palace (H), Leicester (H), West Brom (H) and Watford (A). He will also wear the armband for my squad this weekend.

The inclusion of Costa, Jesus and Stephens set me up for DGW37 leaving just 4 players who don’t have a DGW next week. When the transfer window opens for DGW37 I will look towards upgrading my defenders. Bailly and van Aanholt will be out and I’ll be looking at Man City and Chelsea defenders. It doesn’t appear I will have the budget to include one from each team. The decision will hinge on what I do with Jakupovic. The sole player remaining from GW1 will possibly be move for either Cech or Courtois. If I get Courtois, then it will be the budget defender, Holgate with no DGW to fill the final defender slot.

Premier League: DGW Double Take

Leading up to DGW34 I had been planning, scheming and strategizing on how to navigate GW34, GW36 and GW37. With DGW34 in the books, I have a solid core group of players to carry me through the end of the season. My previous article, Seeing Double had me favoring a Man City trio, not paying much attention to Arsenal or So’ton, each who play 4 games in GW36 and GW37. Injuries and a rethink seemingly have brought me full circle and now I have established, what I feel, is a good plan. Still, we need to get through GW35, but here’s how things are laid out.

GW35
OUT: Lukaku, Llorente
IN: Afobe, Benteke

Notes: While neither player have a DGW remaining, both are in form and feel they deserve to be in the starting XI. Benteke has Burnley (H) this weekend and Hull (H) in GW37, that’s enough for me. Man City hasn’t been all that impressive on defense, and Palace could nip a goal or two in that match. Afobe may seem an odd pick, but a budget forward, has 5 returns in the last 7 games, which includes 3 goals. Remaining fixtures include Sunderland (A), Stoke (H), Burnley (H) and Leiceter (A). We know Eddie Howe loves his offense, Bournemouth are safe, goals could fly! His inclusion frees up budget for use in DGW36.

GW36
OUT: Zaha, Gibson
IN: Sanchez, Holgate

Notes: Still high on Zaha, but I need to free up a midfield position in order to bring Sanchez in, who’s potential is too much to pass up. After GW35, it could be feast or famine for the Chilean, but DGW37 holds hope, Stoke (A) and Sunderland (H). It’s a case of I would rather be with, than without on the off chance he scores big. To free up the remaining funds, Holgate (4.1m) comes in with CS potential in GW36 and GW37.

This is what my squad looks like for GW36, which would carry over to DGW37.

Not sure what Big Sam’s intentions are with van Aanholt. I picked him up for DGW34, but saw limited play in just one game. Injuries have taken a toll on the Palace defense, but Schlupp still holds a starting spot. Depending on taking another hit in GW36, van Aanholt could make way for Jagielka, who was in my original plans, like Holgate has CS potential in GW36 and GW37, plus has some offensive prowess with 3 goals on the season. Fuchs, Yoshida and Bailly will constitute the rest of the defensive line due to DGW37.

We are still a few weeks out from DGW37, anything is possible. Not too surprising to see how drastically plans have changed in the matter of 10 days, when I posted Seeing Double. The possibility of City players still exists, but with the uncertainty surrouding who to start, they have all taken a seat on the bench for now. We will wait and see what GW35 brings before formulating a new plan…if needed.

Premier League: GW34 Retrospect Part 2

This is the second in a two part recap of DGW34 (read Part 1 if you missed it), which ended Thursday, just hours ago as the Manchester derby ended in a scoreless draw. However, that’s excellent news for me, as I finished the week on 78 points. Not outstanding for a DGW by any means, but in this limited game week, where many managers fancied Negredo or Rashford as their DGW captain, I take solice in knowing Bailly picked up 24 points with the captain’s armband. Talk about a punt, but it paid dividends with the City and United going scoreless. Without the armband, Bailly was still my high weekly scorer with 12 points, just missing out on bonus points in the derby. My final score of 78 points has me seeing green for an eighth week in a road, a record for me in the 4 years I have participated.

 

As mentioned, Bailly was major punt on my part. I felt confident he would start both matches in DGW34 and knew his offensive potential was limited, requiring CS in order to make this work. Burnley was somewhat of a given, even at home with their limited offense, United was able to handle the Clarets, 2-0. The derby had me questioning the move, as City dominated the game, but the resilient United defense came up with big saves, big blocks and a few timely calls from the officials. In a surprised turnabout…not really…Gibson came back to redeem himself as Boro shutout Sunderland, 1-0 where he picked up a bonus point. On the whole, my defense accounted for 38 points!

I do believe Eriksen salvaged me from a rather dismal week with his goal in the Spurs 1-0 victory as he captured 11 points, with a CS and 3 bonus points. Alli was quiet in the win with just 3 points. There might come a time in the next few weeks I need to move one of these two players, currently it’s Eriksen that would be on the chopping block. After watching City today, I am not so sure I am ready to triple up on Sterling, Sane and Aguero. Hazard was supposed to be sold before this week to make way for City players. As it goes, he stayed in the starting XI and has me rethinking my strategy, which appears more foolish than foolproof. Hazard netted a goal, CS and 2 bonus points for 9, giving him good returns in 3 out of the last 4 games as we look toward an easy run to the end of the season after GW35; MID (H), WBA (A), WAT (H), SUN (H).

Overall a very pleased 78 points as I move up in the global ranking to 637k, as improvement of 78k spots. Since GW27 I have gained 495 points, averaging 61.8/week, a figured just over the 60 points a game I had set as a goal. The DGWs in 36 and 37 will be the turning point of the season for me. If I can gain 120-140 points, I have a good shot at 2000 points, down from 2170 points last year and a finish in the top 75k. Both mini leagues have made a drastic turnabout, now sitting second in one, just 44 points off the lead. The other league sees me in fouth place, 6 points out of third and 133 from the apex. Hopefully positive differential players will give me an advantage starting in GW35.

As I sit here contemplating GW35, I don’t really have a plan. My original of transferring up to DG37 has failed, as I didn’t bring in the necessary players last week, deciding to hold a few players back before of good fixtures. Two moves I know I will make, Gabbiadini and Benteke will grace my front line in GW35. With questions still surrounding the fitness of van Aanholt, he might need to make way for a DGW defender and I would like a keeper, most likely Forester to replace Heaton or Jakupovic. I was all hot and heavy into bringing in Aguero, but after today’s derby not sure that will be the case. IF a move is made for a City forward, it will be Jesus and most likely Sane if I double dip.

Premier League: GW34 Retrospect Part 1

With lofty exceptions, there was a letdown at the conclusion of the weekend games. I started GW34 with 4 players involved in DGW action; Bailly, van Aanholt, Zaha and Gibson. The only DGW fixture that appeared straight forward was Man United visiting Turf Moor and Burnley. Many managers, including myself took a chance on Middlesbrough. Gibson had been starting since GW30, but many transferred him in. I took a hit last week and bought Zaha to start in my 3-5-2. Van Aanholt and Bailly were late transfers, in order to take advantage of DGW34 and DGW37 for Man United. Crystal Palace also has good fixtures in GW35 and GW37.

The weekend started off greast with King getting on the scoreboard for Bournemouth, but finished with just the one goal and no bonus points finishing with 8 points. Ten man Hull played outstanding after losing Niasse but Watford didn’t mount much of an offensive showing and goalkeeper, Jakupovic kept a CS for 6 points. Everton, as expected disappointed at West Ham, Lukaku had but one shot and really never was in the game, looked a bit lethargic offensive. Yet, that’s been his road form, poor…piss poor. This is the final weekend I will own Lukaku, who is being transferred out for GW35.

Top performer over the weekend, Eric Bailly, solely based on the captain’s armband. Looking over my starters, including three Spurs players and a few different captain polls, there was never really a consensus captain. Names such as Negredo and Rashford, as well as Benteke and Kane seemed to come to the forefront. I decided on Bailly, as he had a DGW facing Burnley (A) and the Manchester Derby against City. Rolling the dice, I felt good about United shutting out Burnley, which they did, 12 points for Bailly to start the week.

While City wasn’t involved in an EPL match this weekend, but visited Arsenal in an FA Cup semifinal match. City lost 2-1 in extra time, but registered 20 shots with just 3 on target. United have won 2 of the last 3 games, in all competitions against City. The last October 26, 2016, 1-0 in the EFL Cup 4th Round with 1-0 victories in their two wins. Confidence is high, this game could be played out to a 1-0 or 0-0, which would mean Bailly ends with a minimum of 24 points for the DGW. Of course that’s speculation, but that was my rational for captaining him.

My 31 points tentatively gives me an 8th green arrow in a row, now globally ranked at 699k, but expecting better at the conclusion of the week. There is no movement in either of my mini leagues, but just 55 points off the leader and 5 points from second place. My other mini league has second and fifth separated by 27 points, I feel confident I can push into second place by the end of DGW34,

With lineups already set, it’s not too early to look to GW35 and impending changes to my squad. My “Seeing Double” plan went out the door in GW34, when I decided not to pick up Sane for City, as I was going to triple up with Sterling and Aguero rounding out my squad. A knock picked up by Aguero in their FA Cup match may have me changing strategy before GW35. More GW35 discussion later this week at the conclusion of DGW34.

Premier League: Seeing Double

The current EPL season comes down to two weeks, as managers either planned or are scrambling to navigate the the DGWs in GW34 and GW37. Many managers have held their second WC and Triple Captain Chip until GW36 in order to maximize their opportunity for a big return. For me, I activated my WC in GW21 and my Triple Captain Card was applied to Aguero in GW27 for just 27 points. Managers were hoping to Sanchez would continue his run of form and triple captain him against Stoke City and Sunderland in GW37, but based on his last 3 fixtures (before GW33), it appears he might not be the best option.

Here is my current squad as of GW33, before any transfers for GW34:

Since GW25 I have made 16 transfers with seven 8 point hits during this period. My season turned the corner in GW27, when I started a run of 7 green arrows that has seen my global ranking climb 947k to 682k! This run of success has me pushing for the top spot in both mini leagues, where I sit in 2nd and 5th place.

With the help of Navigating the Double Game Weeks I formulated my strategy for the rest of the season. Using this article as a template I started looking forward to DGW34 and DGW37 in an attempt to maximize returns to end the season on a strong run. While it’s not the best DGW plan, moving forward without a WC means I miss out on potential points or risk take a -4 or -8 point hit in order to see a higher return each week. So far the additional transfers I have made have equated to a positive return of 15 points over those 7 weeks. Not great, but at least I wasn’t negative.

GAMEWEEK 34
Transfer OUT: Grosicki, Hazard, Mawson
Transfer IN: King, Sane, Van Aanholt

Notes: Transferring Hazard will free up the addition budget I require to kick off this strategy. While they do have a favorable DGW in GW37, I feel there are stronger midfielder available with better fixtures. Grosicki, has been good for Hull, at home. While the Tigers need help, there has not been enough scoring to justify retaining his services. Mawson served his purpose, picked up a few goals, but Swansea is struggling…still. No DGWs and a mixed schedule, didn’t like those prospects.

King and Sane come in on good form, more importantly with good fixtures ahead of them. King could be seen as a questionable selection with no DGWs but home matches against MID, STK and BUR. After GW34, City has a great looking schedule, thus the inclusion of Sane, who will face CRY, LEI, WBA at home and MID and WAT on the road with a DGW in GW37. Van Aanholt, back from injury could be a strong differential candidate. While the fixtures for DGW34 don’t justify it, his style of play could benefit Palace against Liverpool. His inclusion is based on GW35 and GW37 home to BUR and HUL.

GAMEWEEK 35
Transfer OUT: Llorente, Eriksen, Lukaku
Transfer IN: Gabbiadini, Sterling, Aguero

Notes: What could be seen as questionable transfers come to the forefront in this week. Llorente has been a waste of space, injured for 2 weeks and no returns in 4 weeks. Eriksen, really? Even now I have a hard time making this transfer happen, as he has been fantastic this season! Good returns since GW26 and a challenging DGW in DG37, I would rather hold Alli and Kane as the attacking pieces of my squad. Finally Lukaku, the Belgian has been outstanding…at home but atrocious on the road, just 12 points in his last 4 away fixtures. With 3 of the last 6 on the road and a home match against Chelsea, I can’t justify keeping him in the starting XI.

Gabbiadini hit the EPL in grand form, 4 goals in 3 EPL games before succumbing to injury. He’s got DGWs in GW36 against LIV (A), ARS (H) and GW37 against MID (A) and MNU (H). Sterling will come in to partner with Sane for City with LEI and WBA at home in DGW37. Aguero is the final piece of this offensive puzzle, but not sure if that piece will fit, with the word that Jesus could be returning. That could call into question Aguero and his playing time or worse, rotation. It is Pep in charge, but with no UCL and Aguero in form, Jesus might be called upon from the bench. Thankfully I have a few weeks to wait and watch.

GAMEWEEK 36
Transfer OUT: Gibson, Heaton
Transfer IN: Vertonghen, Courtois

Notes: The defense gets an overhaul, as Gibson makes way with no DGW in GW37 and a terrible schedule after GW34 there were better options. Heaton has been masterful between the sticks and with good fixtures to finish the season, like Gibson Burnley doesn’t have a DGW.

Vertonghen comes in for the final 3 weeks of the season, away to WHU and WBA and a DGW in GW37 against MNU (H) and LEI (A). He’s the cornerstone of the Spurs defense, his inclusion could be questionable depending on the return of Rose. Courtois, currently injured, returns to my squad as Chelsea look to win the EPL Championship. Three out of the last four games are at home with WBA and WAT in DGW37.

GAMEWEEK 37
Transfer OUT: Fuchs
Transfer IN: Monreal

Notes: The final piece is put into place, as Fuchs makes way for Monreal, who faces STK (A) and SUN (H) in DGW37. Arguably the best DGW fixtures in GW37. Not much for Arsenal defenders this year, at least Monreal gets forward in that wing back position.

CONCLUSION

The team above costs me 103.5m, leaving me with 0.7m ITB for unexpected changed. As I mentioned earlier, this plan looks great on paper, but how it actually plays out is another story. Potential injuries, falling out of form or the return of players from injury could change my strategy. I don’t move forward without concerns, most notably the “second coming” of Jesus at City. Not including Hazard (30.6%), Sanchez (24.8%) and Lukaku (46.9%) is risky, all are highly owned and all have been in form, Sanchez for much of the season, excluding the last 4 weeks. For DGW37, this gives me 8 players with two games, which potentially could be 9 players if I select Gabbiadini over King or Zaha.

While I don’t have it on paper yet, I am working on a contingency plan, which could include Townsend or a Chelsea defender. Up front if Aguero becomes a rotation risk I will make the move back to Ibrahimovic, but United’s DGW37 is tough; TOT (A) and SOU (A).

It’s a risky proposition, but many fantasy managers wait for the DGWs in order to make their moves, activating this WC and chips. Final note, speaking of chips, I only have my bench boost and all out attack remaining, as I played by triple captain chip back in GW27 on Aguero. GW35 I will plan on using my AOA chip nd GW37 will feature the bench boost.

Premier League: GW27 Retrospect (Part 2)

How else do I sum up this first DGW, which I activated my Triple Captain Chip on Sergio Aguero? Disappointing…very disappointing. Much like my entire season, this single action reflects just how poorly my squad has played this season. While there have been some good decisions made, the frustration in seeing a player not perform has cost me more points and used up one of my most important chips. Add to that, the fact Pep decided to rest Raheem Sterling against Stoke, after chipping in with an assist days earlier versus Sunderland.

Depending on what fantasy sites you call upon to help, one that I fancy on a regular basis, Fantasy Football Geek indicates I have the proper players in place. “The core players are then 8: Aguero, Lukaku, Sigurdsson, Sterling, Mane, Coleman, Brunt and Alonso. Starting to look like more of a template now which is understandable going into the blank and double weeks.” The only difference being that I dropped Alonso in favor of Mawson, since he was playing. So it appears I am in good company when it comes to being frustrated.

Starting at the back, I missed Heaton being benched due to a late illness, which automatically slotted Jakupovic in as the starter at the conclusion of GW28. While he did get me a save bonus, it was nullified as Hull gave up 3 goals to Leicester. Moving forward, I still plan on sticking with this duo, as Jakupovic will start GW29, home to Swansea. In fact, I see 3-4 games in which Heaton will give way to Jakupovic based solely on match up. However two of those games are home matches and Burnley still plays very tough; Spurs in GW30 and Man U in GW34.

Defensively it was a nightmare…again! Just 3 points from my starting 3 defenders; Brunt, Coleman and Mawson. The only bench option would have been Yoshida, but he returned just 1 point as well. Still waiting on the health of Friend, but Boro has been leaking goals, even at home and don’t expect him to be much of a factor. Mawson was introduced for Alonso in order to free up the budget to bring Aguero in. I figured Swansea had a good shot at a clean sheet and Mawson has scored in 2 out of his last 5 games, yet Swansea has only kept 3 CS on the season. For Mawson it’s about his offensive production.

Brunt, Friend and Yoshida are on the short list to be moved. WBA has a nasty run of fixtures and I am looking to potentially double up on Everton, introducing Funes Mori with the next 2 matches at home against WBA and Hull City. Outside of the L’pool and Man U in GW30/GW31, Everton then face Leicester and Burnley at home. Four great home matches! At 4.8, I might keep Brunt just because he is an offensive threat, as a defender playing OOP as an attacking midfielder. I had planned on bringing Alonso back, but Chelsea hasn’t kept a CS in the last 5 games and Alonso had accounted for a single goal since GW21.

The midfield has been my Achilles heel all season long. Seemingly I am always a week early or week late when shuffling players. There has been no consistency in my midfield play all season and its reflected in my overall score of just 1292 points and the fact I am still globally ranked at 1.5m. Not where I expected to be.

My midfield has been settled for the past few weeks. Snodgrass, Mane and Sterling were brought in GW26 to couple with Eriksen, the longest tenured player since GW21 and Sigurdsson with Swansea now facing a favorable run. Out of GW27, Sterling will be the only player not to make the cut. The fact Pep will continue his rotation leaves Sterling as a risk, which will cost potential points. With the Spurs scoring 7 goals in the last 2 games Eriksen has picked up 13 points on 2 assists in GW27, his first points since GW21. He’s a catalyst for Spurs but his returns have me questioning his form but Spurs have a good schedule through the end of the season. Chances are with Spurs in form I will hold Eriksen through his spell.

As much as I don’t want a Liverpool midfielder I will stick with Mane into GW29. He comes off 13 points (goal/assist) in the 3-1 win over Arsenal. One tough match in GW29 away to Man City and after that…L’pool have a nice run of games through GW35. Sigurdsson also appears to have good fixtures ahead after picking up his third assist in as many games. Just want to see more goals from him. Snodgrass is currently on the outside looking in as my 5th midfielder. I have transitioned back to a 3-4-3 with the in form Gabbiadini now starting as my third.

I have been keeping an eye on Kamil Grosicki, since he made the move to Hull, I have been impressed with the Polish international, only problem is Hull doesn’t score much. That said, Grosicki has returned 2 assists in his last 2 games, along with a fair amount of dead ball responsibility. If I move for him it will be Snodgrass to make way.

Up front I am still feeling the effect of picking up Gabbiadini in GW26 with a blank, followed by another 2 weeks later. Not a wise move on my part, still he did return in GW27, which keeps him as an in form forward headed into GW29.

Due to the fact the Toffees had games the past 3 weeks I have been running with Lukaku, he secured his 6th goal in the past 3 games, in a 3-2 loss to Spurs. Two favorable home games against WBA and Hull means Lukaku will continue to see playing time. For GW30/GW31 it’s possible I will move him in favor of another as I don’t like the Liverpool and Man U match ups.

As for my “man crush” he completely crushed me and the other mangers who brought him in and activated the Triple Captain Chip. It wasn’t bad to see him pull 21 points after the Sunderland game, hoping he would add a goal or two to that tally. It was the exact opposite. Man City was flat and played to a 0-0 draw against Stoke City. The plan had backfired, even though the run up to the DGW indicated it was a great situation and Kun could potentially “go Newcastle” on either opponent. It comes as no surprise he will not factor into my squad in the near future. I am planning on shipping him out by Friday in favor of Fernando Llorente, who will most likely get the captain’s armband against Hull. GW29 could be interesting depending on how Llorente plays as the following week Swansea visit Bournemouth.

Harry Kane is on a very short list and most likely be brought in for GW29, depending on my budget. I don’t want to sacrifice Lukaku the next 2 weeks and want to hold Gabbiadini through GW32, after Spurs in GW28; Palace (H),  Bournemouth (H) and WBA (A). Potentially a GREAT differential leaving Kane (TSB 20.4%) sidelined in favor of lesser owned TSB 8.8% Gabbiadini and 10.4% Llorente. Not sure I have balls of steel to make that decision or not.

After Wenger’s decision to bench Sanchez in GW27 his spot in my starting XI is no longer guaranteed. Previously I mentioned the exclusion of Sanchez being my turning point in the season, one in which saw nothing but a string of red arrows. As the leading scorer, 187 points and at 11.5m, an uncertainty surrounds Alexis looking forward to GW29. Plans were to bring him in after the blanks game weeks, but that decision is now in doubt. Options to replace him; Hazard, 29 points in his last 4 games, Alli, 2 goals in his last 2 games or Pedro, 28 points in his last 3 games. Bringing in Hazard hits my budget, but would still allow me to move for Kane, leaving 1.0m ITB. Introducing Alli means I would triple up on Spurs with Eriksen and Kane. A risky move, but any offensive points SHOULD belong to me, right? Pedro at 7.1m isn’t a guaranteed starter, worse he rarely seens a full 90 minutes, finishing full games just twice (GW18 and GW21).

Premier League: GW27 Retrospect (Part 1)

It’s Sunday and just finished watching an unimpressive display by Man City and their 2-0 victory over Sunderland. Can’t say I was all too pleased with the performances of Aguero and Sterling, both added this week for a -8 because of the City’s DGW. Thankfully both returned points, but City did not dominate as I had expected them too. Unlucky for Sunderland who hit the goal frame numerous times and had one called back for offside or the score could have been different. However I figured Pep would try to run the score up but that was not what City appeared to have in mind on the pitch.

As for starting XI, I took an -8 point hit as indicated late Friday, after being persuaded to active the Triple Captain Chip on Aguero and his fixtures against Sunderland and Stoke City. Further discussion left in doubt the fitness, form or fixtures for future DGWs later in the year. Candidates to wear the TPC would be none other than Sanchez or Kane, but much can happen between GW27 and GW34, the next possible DGW. As it turns out, Sanchez didn’t start against Liverpool, which has many questioning Arsene Wenger’s decision to bench the Chilean. Not surprisingly Kane continues his blazing form with a brace against Everton, scoring 6 goals/1 assist in his last 4 games. I will look to be targeting him come GW29, most likely in place of Aguero. It’s not my intention to bring Costa back into the mix, with just 1 goal in his last 5 games.

For GW26 I “wasted” my FT on Gabbiadini with So’ton on a blank game week, resulting in another -8 point hit to bring in Snodgrass and Mane to have a full starting XI. The move appears to be paying off, as Gabbiadini continues his great form with a late goal (and 5 points) against WHU to give him 4 goals in 3 EPL games since joining. Lukaku was primed to be the top forward for GW26 through GW28, as Everton had 3 games during that period with no blanks. He continues his form by finding the back of the net against Spurs, giving him 6 goals/2 assists in his last 4 games. However come GW30 I might be looking to ship Lukaku with the Toffees facing Liverpool and Man U away. Many managers should be looking forward to  the next 2 home games as Lukaku face WBA and Hull City.

I said hello again to my “man crush” Kun Aguero after transferring him back in, after an absence from my squad since GW10! With just 4 goals since that time, it was one of my better decision this EPL season. Aguero just happened to wear the armband and carry the triple captain chip this week against Sunderland and Stoke City. I had no intentions of running Aguero out this week, but was persuaded after listening to a few podcasts and reading threads on the “why” and “why not” for Aguero this weekend. Originally I had Sterling slated to be my captain and not take the hit for Aguero, but changed my mind. It’s a case of I would rather be with Aguero than without this week, just on the off chance he goes off for big points. Can’t say a goal and 1 BPS is a great first of two games, but 21 points had boosted my weekly score to 61 points. His addition to my squad will be short lived, as I don’t plan on keeping him, opting for Kane come GW29.

Outside of Eriksen (2 points) I was pleased with the play of my midfield players. Sterling continued in his fine form with the assist on Aguero’s goal, as well as a CS totaling 6 points. Much like Aguero though, I don’t plan on sticking with Man City players, so his departure is imminent after the DGW. Mane might make the grade, but at 9.3m I am not sure I want to stick with him. Outside of Man City in GW29, L’pool has a great run to the end of the season and Mane has been the midfielder in form. Even with the price tag I might stick it out for a few more weeks. He finished the week with 13 points on a goal, assist and CS with 3 BPS! That’s 3 goal/1 assist in the last 3 games.

Sigurdsson has now returned in his last 7 of 8 games, 3 goals/5 assists and is still the key for Swansea. The schedule is kind with just Spurs and Man U still to come, he may stick around the rest of the season in my midfield. At 7.6m and his current form, he is worth the investment. Some thoughts of doubling up with Llorente up front for the short term as well.

Defensively, I brought in Mawson this week for Alonso in order to support the addition of Aguero. Chelsea has not secured a CS in the last 5 weeks with their match against WHU on Monday and just a single goal in the last 7 weeks. Difficult to run without Chelsea assets, which I will look at after GW28. Mawson didn’t impress as Swansea couldn’t keep a clean sheet, which tells me he needs to score to be a strong differential. Brunt and Coleman were the other starters in my 3-4-3 and each were held to a single point. Brunt is going to be moved, if not for GW28, then GW29, as WBA has a difficult run of fixtures through GW34. Thankfully I didn’t double up on Everton defenders, as I had plans to pick up Funes Mori, but didn’t like the Spurs match, as the Toffees go down in defeat 3-2. With Hull and WBA in the next 2, I might double up on their defense as I look for 2 clean shhets before Livepool and  Man U.

Oddly Heaton was left on the bench in favor the old man, Paul Robinson. Left me frustrated, but Jakupovic will be subbed in for this game week thus increasing my weekly total to 63 points on the back of 1 save point. I don’t favor Heaton next week against Liverpool and will run out Jakupovic against Swansea.

As it stands now I have nobody in the Monday game, but am already seeing a green arrow for the week. I feel pretty confident I will end this ugly run of red arrows and climb in the global rankings. Hopefully this spawns a bit of a run for me, as I continue to struggle with form. Looking ahead to GW28 it appears I will only run 10 starters out. As it stands now I have 8 starters, including Jakupovic, Coleman, Mawson and Brunt defensively. The midfield sees just Mane, Sigurdsson and Snodgrass to start, while up front it’s just Lukaku. The FT will be used for a midfielder. If not Sterling, then Eriksen in order to free up enough budget to bring in Kane and potentially Hazard to my starting XI, which would leave me with 0.3m ITB and 8.1m if I move Sterling the following week.

Currently I have my eye on Pedro as well, through the Palace game in GW30. Not sure I want to double up in the Blues midfield, but it’s an option I can look forward to. Currently he’s pegged as the starter, but usually sees an exit before 90 minutes. After the exclusion of Sanchez from Wenger’s starting XI, I am having second thoughts about him. Talented and sensational are only two words to describe his play this season for the Gunners, but could be paving a way for his exit? A bit of doubt in my mind is a scary thing, which now has me looking in the direction of Hazard as a replacement for Mane in a few weeks. More dynamic than Costa, we know what Hazard can do. Third in points from the midfield, he has 6 double digit hauls this season but has only returned in 2 out of the last 4 games. Looking at hiss remaining fixtures only City and United look to be the formidable opponents in GW 31 and GW33.

With two games remaining in GW27, we will see if any other questions are answered. Hopefully Kun and City come out to play against Stoke.