So hopefully you caught my first draft of the Differentials XI at the weekend. With time ticking by and the season very nearly here, thank God, it’s time to confirm the side that will take us into the campaign. As per the rules, stated in the last piece, every squad member must have under 10% ownership (TSB%) to qualify as a ‘Differential’.
Urgh, I’m very annoyed. In my last article I had Vertonghen at the back, Aguero up front and felt good about my team. Thanks to both players TSB% reaching the 10% threshold, both have had to go, so below is the revised squad who will start the season for me.
Cech (5.5%) and Begovic (6.4%): No change between the sticks. Both men have held their low percentages over the week so both remain. In case you missed last time, my plan throughout the first month or so is to rotate so that I have a run at Leicester H, Watford H, Liverpool A, Bournemouth H, Brighton H across the two teams.
Kolasinac (9.1%): It’s amazing what a Community Shield goal and cult hero status can do to a man. The Bosnian’s ownership is up hugely this week, with many scrambling to include him following his eye-catching display over Chelsea. I wrote about Kolasinac for the website last month (here) stating that I thought he’d become a popular choice if he hit the ground running – my new shout is he’s going to be the league’s new Branislav Ivanovic. Time will tell.
Danilo (3.6%): With Benjamin Mendy out injured and Pep Guardiola spending the summer ensuring City’s old left-back contingent have pushed as far away from the Etihad as possible, I fancy Danilo to begin life in Clichy/Kolarov’s old spot. Their opening few games are kind too and although Guardiola is probably going to have to play 16 different midfielders and attackers, somehow they’re going to have to work out how to defend. I hope Danilo can be a part of that.
Van Aanholt (4.1%): No change here, PVA stays. Huddersfield at home first up and I want a clean sheet. And if I’m being greedy, maybe an assist.
Maguire (1.4%): Similarly to Van Aanholt, Maguire remains in the team. Huth’s absence means I think he’ll start for Leicester, although his run of games is a little ugly. He’ll remain on my bench for the first few weeks.
Ake (9.5%): I panicked here, I’ll admit. Vertonghen went out, Danilo came in, but then I messed around with the other positions I had to change and just eventually settled for Ake. I’m not convinced but Ake looked great for the Cherries last season when there on loan. Now a permanent signing, I expect Eddie Howe to build his backline around the 22-year-old Dutchman.
Mkhitaryan (6.1%): No concerns here, Mkhitaryan was in the team last week and he remains there today. He’ll play, and he’ll be good – I’m sure of that.
Sane (6.1%): I’m less sure about Sane starting, but I’m pretty convinced he’ll be good when he does get the chance. City’s attacking options are well-known to be fully stocked; I just have to hope the German gets the nod for the season opener away at Brighton.
Sanchez (8.3%): Alexis Sanchez yes, you may have heard of him. For some reason, his TSB% has really dropped this week, so much so, he’s under the threshold. It seems pretty ridiculous that last year’s top point’s scorer is a ‘Differential’ but I just couldn’t help myself here. He may not even start against Leicester on Friday, though Wenger may just chuck him in for the shits and giggles, and if he is – I’ll benefit.
Gray (1%): I’m expecting big things from the Leicester wideman this year. With Mahrez’s future uncertain and Albrighton just an average player, now is the time from Gray to make his mark and secure a regular place in Craig Shakespeare’s team. Again, early fixtures aren’t great but if I can rotate him in and out and picking up some points, I’ll be pleased.
Fraser (1.6%): When you have Sanchez, you have to have a couple cheap options. Fraser is one of them, and I’m hopeful he can make an impact too.
Morata (8%): Oh god. I’m not convinced here, not at all. And I’m really not sure Morata is ‘goals for fun’ as you’d like from your star striker. However, at 10m and with a home debut to come against Burnley – one of the worst sides away from home last year – and he might just be a good choice for this weekend. Beyond that, I don’t know. I just have to hope. We’ll see…
These two have stayed in my team since last week, here’s what I wrote then:
Rashford (6%) I have to admit, I had Benteke in this slot, but his TSB% snuck up to the threshold whilst I wrote this piece, so out he went. Anyway, young Marcus is his replacement, and I’m more than happy to have him. His pre-season form is good, he looks capable of playing with or wide of Lukaku, and miraculously, Jose Mourinho appears to trust him. He won’t start every week, but with United back in the Champions League, I think he’ll feature a lot.
Rodriguez (3.2%): After a torrid couple of years with injury, I’m hoping a fresh start at West Brom is what Rodriguez needs to get his career back on track. Remember, a few years ago he was an England hopeful, but his horror couple of seasons put paid to that. Now a Baggie, I expect him to get far more game time than he did last term at Southampton. If he can rediscover his scoring touch, he could prove to be a real bargain this term at 6m.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)