When your week has been ‘saved’ by 2 West Brom clean sheets and a Liverpool defender fortuitously coming off your bench you know you have problems!
To say this season has been a bit of a struggle would be like saying John Terry sort of likes sleeping with team mates’ girlfriends. After another shocker where we scored 38 points we have now plummeted to 731k. As many jokes as I can make about standing outside the job centre with Sam Allardyce, the fear of the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ is real. My phone is on mute so if anyone upstairs at FPL Updates XI HQ gives me a call it’s very likely to go straight to voicemail.
At last Ben Foster delivered a clean sheet!! To be fair I could have gone in goal for WBA on Monday and picked up 6pts, but we will take it. His last clean sheet came on August 27th so I think we deserve it just for sheer persistence. In front of him we also had Jonny Evans picking up 6pts. It’s becoming somewhat of an FPL rule that if a team is home to Burnley you look to buy them or pick them. 5 away games for Burnley have resulted in 13 goals conceded, 1 goal scored and 1pt gained. Considering the 1pt gained was when Tom Heaton channelled his inner Manuel Neuer I think it’s safe to pick FPL players accordingly. Alongside Evans was Erik Pieters and Dejan Lovren. Pieters picked up 2pts against Bournemouth and Lovren came off the bench for John Stones to pick up just his 2nd clean sheet of the season.
Our midfield is continuing to be a huge disappointment. We seem to have the complete opposite touch to Midas. Aside from Roberto Firmino scoring 15pts for us last week we seem to bring out the blank in players when bring them in. Pedro started his first game for us following a run of 38pts in four games and blanked. Granted he did come excruciatingly close on a couple of occasions. Mesut Ozil blanked and is slowly becoming an FPL headache. He has an attacking return in 45% of games, which isn’t terrible but is behind other big name midfielders such as Coutinho 50%, Firmino 54%, Hazard 63%, De Bruyne 72%. He just doesn’t seem to do enough to really justify a 9.8m price tag. Firmino delivered us just 3pts in a tough 0-0 with Southampton and Raheem Sterling made it six blanks in a row in the 2-1 win away at Palace. With a mixed run of games upcoming he is very much at the forefront of transfer plans. And yes, I can see a smug Etienne Capoue sitting on the bench laughing at me!
Our attacking trio continued the trend of blanks as all three scored 2pts (4pts for captain Aguero) to make it a zero attacking returns for our front seven. I’m not sure if that’s ever been the case for an FPL team I have managed, but it almost defies basic logic with the names we have.
So after all that I have decided not to use our free transfer this week. Fixtures are fairly kind to us this week and I just think that having two to use next week will be more beneficial. With that said, I am aware of a possible Aguero injury so this is partially subject to change.
Once again Ben Foster is in goal. This week he faces Hull in his 2nd of three great matches. Hull have just 10 goals in 12 matches, the joint lowest total in the league, so there’s quiet hope of more points for our stopper.
In front of him we start Jonny Evans, Dejan Lovren and John Stones. Evans the same as Foster, Lovren home to Sunderland and Stones away to Burnley. Although Sunderland have now won two on the bounce I’m pretty confident Liverpool win this convincingly. Two clean sheets in 12 isn’t great but you can’t go benching defenders against relegation fodder. John Stones faces a Burnley team coming off of a hiding from WBA. Better at home but a nice match up none the less. With Vincent Kompany’s injury Stones should get the start.
Our midfield four are unchanged but we have given the armband to one of them. Step forward Bobby Firmino. With a home game against Sunderland and no European fatigue he gets the nod. Coming off of two straight wins Sunderland may be a little tougher to beat. Also given that they haven’t conceded more than two in any away game this season it is maybe not as easy a game as most would think. But Liverpool have 30 goals to their name this season and should have enough to see them win well. Mesut Ozil starts again and with Alexis Sanchez looking absolutely knackered it could be time for the German to step up as the main man. Bournemouth have been a real mixed bag over the last five weeks and this should be one Arsenal win by at least a couple. Raheem Sterling surely has to deliver a goal or an assist soon and what better game than Burnley to do it. Players to score against Burnley this season include Darren Fletcher, Jeff Hendrick, Michael Keane and Connor Wickham. Over to you Raheem. Last up is Pedro. He somehow blanked last week, although I’m still not sure that Middlesbrough crossbar was regulation width, he now looks to a London derby against Spurs. Not an easy game but Chelsea look different class of late and with Spurs deflated from their Champions League exit now could be a good time to face them.
Up top we obviously have the same three and starting with Sergio Aguero you just need to read my point above. Burnley are a lot better at home but they completely struggled with the movement of Salomon Rondon so I’d think Aguero should have plenty of chances. The reason he hasn’t been given the armband is purely through fears of his potential injury picked up midweek. Romelu Lukaku has now gone two games without a goal or an assist. Anyone playing FPL for a few years will be used to a Rom points drought so we are hoping this is doesn’t turn into one of those. Southampton away isn’t the best of games though. Last up is a man very much drinking in the last chance saloon. Not because Rashford‘s quality is in doubt but more because he just isn’t fitting into whatever system Mourinho is trying to work towards. Six on the bounce without an attacking return (we brought him in two days after his last goal) he needs to do something soon because the depth of mid-range strikers is really quite good. There is real justification to dropping him this week but West Ham at home isn’t a bad game so we will give him one more. Fingers crossed he actually starts.
There we have it. Looking at our team I feel we are unlucky to be outside the top 700k. On the flip side I really do believe we have a selection of players primed for a purple patch. I’m not a huge advocate of keeping out of form players but I do believe that form is temporary and can see a good week just around the corner. And if I’m wrong the next Wildcard is available in just seven game weeks!
With our three City players playing in the 12.30 kick off Saturday our week could already be taking shape by the time the 3pm games kick off. I will therefore make sure there is a pub within 20 metres of my whereabouts come full time, just in case I need to drown my sorrows off the back of a 6pt start.
Good luck to everyone and can you please cross your fingers for some green arrows for us because I might not be here next week if we don’t! Hang on, is that my phone?
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)