Does anyone genuinely look forward to International breaks anymore? I remember the days when I used to revolve my entire week around England games. I’d be in the pub an hour early, beer in hand telling anyone within a 10 metre radius that football was coming home. I was wrong. Nowadays I seem to only tune in if I need some background noise or if I have a few quid on it.
The only consolation this time around was the fact I was in Mallorca getting a little bit drunk and a little bit burnt and thankfully not having to deal with the missus whingeing because for once I wasn’t refreshing Twitter and Futbol24 every 37 seconds.
What the break has done though is it has allowed me to conveniently forget for over a week how poor our gameweek 3 performance was. A weekly score of 39pts, against a week average of 43pts sent us falling to just outside the top 1m. Certainly not our best week and one we need to battle back from it. Before we look at how best to attempt some serious ‘bouncebackability’ let’s review the last gameweek:
In the last article I highlighted my complete inability to choose the correct goalkeeper each week. This issue has lingered for well over a year now and has become something of a running joke. In gameweek 2 I choose Rob Elliot (2pts) over Wayne Hennessey (9pts) so as we entered gameweek 3 I was keen to get it right. I reverted back to Hennessey with his home game against Swansea, whilst Elliot returned to the bench as he faced West Ham. Guess what, I f*cked it again. Hennessey picked up a solitary point whilst Elliot registered 7pts. My GK selection over three gameweek’s now reads as started 5pts, benched 18pts. I can see this becoming a regular torturous feature.
At the back we had Maya Yoshida to thank for keeping things respectable. 6pts was a massive relief when we had Rob Holding and Toby Alderweireld combine for 1pt. What was frustrating was that Rob Holding and his -1pt only came in because Trent Alexander Arnold didn’t play in the same game. Not ideal.
In midfield Sadio Mane was the only one to return. 8pts scored, courtesy of his superb strike against a woeful Arsenal team, softened the blow of Kevin De Bruyne, Paul Pogba and Heung Min Son scoring 3pts each. Pogba is allowed a quiet week or two, but De Bruyne is turning into a real dilemma. It’s a lot of money to invest in someone who is effectively playing as a deep lying playmaker. Even up until the time of writing this paragraph I still can’t decide if we drop him for the upcoming gameweek.
Up top it was the same story with one man carrying the others as Roberto Firmino took his overall total to 26pts with a goal and an assist at Anfield. Given that captain Romelu Lukaku had given us the unenviable task of trying to work out how you double zero, 12pts for the Liverpool front man was rather handy. Steve Mounie blanked for the second consecutive game following his gameweek 1 brace. Is he good or are Crystal Palace just really crap?
So how to bounce back from a sub 40pt week? For the past three or four years I have used my Wildcard at this stage. I have sworn by it. But this year is different. There still seems to be so many question marks around players, new signings and we are approaching a gameweek with very little ‘must have’ appeal. The more I look at the upcoming gameweek the more I think we will see one of the lower average scores of the season. I think it will hover around the 38-40 mark so if you feel your team can exceed that then maybe it’s worth holding on to it for another week as we are. What we have done though is taken another 4pt hit. Not ideal but I just couldn’t justify the large chunk we had invested in Kevin De Bruyne and I don’t want the spare cash go to waste.
(OUT) Kevin De Bruyne – (IN) Robbie Brady
(OUT) Steve Mounie – (IN) Alexandre Lacazette
Have you ever written a really risky text to a girl/guy and then sh*t yourself as soon as you send it? Why did I do that? Was it stupid? Well that’s how I felt when I pressed ‘Make Transfers’ this week. I did however feel I had no choice when it came to De Bruyne. He has been playing so painfully deep this season that I simply cannot justify having around 10.0m invested in him. Not that I would have expected Robbie Brady to be his replacement. Given that there were no hugely appealing midfielders under that price this weekend I thought I’d gamble and invest the spare cash on Lacazette. Yes, Arsenal are in turmoil, but I just can’t help but feel a home game with Bournemouth is the best remedy for that. And surely Wenger cannot bench him again.
Here we go again. Surely I can’t get this GK decision as wildly wrong as I have done the last two weeks. Or can I? To be perfectly honest I think both our goalkeepers will concede so I have gone for the one that doesn’t conflict with one of our outfield players, Rob Elliot. As mentioned before he is the only 4.0m starting GK in the game and has currently scored more points than Petr Cech, Hugo Lloris, Tom Heaton, Joe Hart and Ederson. I’m not confident this will last, but at least he is justifying his inclusion as our bargain basement option. He faces a Swansea team that have only scored in one of their first three games. Although they will be buoyed by having new signings Wilfried Bony and Renato sanches available for selection.
At the back we run with Maya Yoshida, Rob Holding and Toby Alderweireld. Our clean sheet hopes probably lie with Yoshida at home to Watford and Holding at home to Bournemouth but Everton have only scored two goals in three games so there’s an outside shot for Alderweireld. It’s one of those weeks that I wouldn’t be surprised if all three kept clean sheets but at the same time I can see them all conceding. It’s been a disappointing start for Holding who currently sits on zero points after only playing 90 minutes in one game so far. The last one against Liverpool. Therefore we need to have our fingers crossed he even starts.
Our midfield says goodbye to Kevin De Bruyne and says hello to Robbie Brady. This is the first time that I have ever included him in any team I’ve managed and in no way did I ever fathom it would be for a player as good as KDB. But a home game with Crystal Palace I thought why not. They have looked a mess this season, conceding five goals across the games against Huddersfield and Swansea. Although I can’t see this abysmal form continuing I do fancy Burnley to win here and think Brady could play a big role in this. He’s coming off of an 8pt performance against Spurs and with just 1.1% ownership I love that he’s a big differential. Alongside him we have Sadio Mane featuring in the early kick off Saturday. And what a game it is. Liverpool travel to Manchester City in what looks like it could be a flat out goal fest. I will be absolutely stunned if both teams don’t score here and feel Liverpool have already shown the damage they can cause if a team goes toe to toe with them and City know nothing else. Mane has started the season with a goal in each game and I would expect him to feel confident of making it four in a row. Our other two midfielders are also both playing away. Heung Min Son is away to Everton and Paul Pogba away to Stoke. Neither have an easy game but both have the potential to be match winners. It would be really nice if Son could get a full game though. His travelling back from International duty is a concern for his chances of selection but I didn’t want to take a further 4pt hit to drop him. I will certainly be crossing my fingers at 1:58pm on Saturday.
Up top we welcome in new boy Alexandre Lacazette. He started the season in stunning fashion, scoring less than two minutes into the first league game. Since then it’s been a little less positive. A disallowed goal against Stoke and a paltry 28 minutes against Liverpool have dampened his appeal. I however love to buy low and sell high. He’s dropped in price and Arsenal seem in disarray. But I’m not buying into it too heavily just yet. A home game against Bournemouth can do wonders for you and I can’t help but think Arsenal get back to winning ways with Lacazette at the forefront. Roberto Firmino starts again for us. He has been an absolute revelation already this season. Following his reclassification as a striker many people were a little less interested. After three games he has scored 26pts and soared to the top of the points table for strikers. Two goals and two assists so far have also helped the bonus points roll in, with 6 of them already. At 8.6m he looks one of the bargains of the season and I’d absolutely agree with Klopp that he is quite possibly the most underrated player in Europe right now. City away this weekend, he will have fond memories of his first game there in November 2015. He was by far and away the best player on the pitch. He picked up a goal and two assists that day and I certainly wouldn’t object if he fancied replicating that this time around. Last up is Romelu Lukaku. 19pts in his first two gameweek’s he followed them up with a big fat zero against Leicester as he saw his second half penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel. Away to Stoke this week it’s not the easiest of games for him to bounce back. He did score four goals in Belgium’s two games so hopefully he has them shooting boots back on.
So there we have it. In what looks quite a tough week I think we have more than enough to comfortably exceed the weekly average. The 4pt hit was not ideal but it would be such a waste to not use the KDB cash. Hopefully the double move works out. We have the Wildcard ready to go after this gameweek so from my view I just want to see some green arrows to send us positively into gameweek 5.
As we have done each week this season we are leaving the captaincy decision to you the reader, so please feel free to vote below. It’s been three weeks of Romelu Lukaku so let’s see if he get’s the nod again here.
Thanks again for reading and all the best this week!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)