Another average week for the FPL Updates XI. When I say average I mean literally bang on the weekly average of 46pts. Gameweek 13 saw us fail to break 50pts for the 3rd consecutive week, miss out on captaining the ‘injured’ Sergio Aguero and watched two of our players blank for the 7th week in a row. It’s not all doom and gloom though, yesterday I found out I had a free whole chicken on my Nando’s card! Back of the net!
As Michael Dawson nodded the Hull equaliser past a stranded Ben Foster I became overwhelmed with a feeling of longing. A feeling of sadness. It dawned on me at that moment quite how much I miss Jack Butland. It was around this time last year that the Stoke stopper was banging out double figure returns at a rate that would make Sergio Aguero purr. Now we are stuck with a keeper that has one clean sheet in 10. For the record I really like Foster but the fact is WBA are just pretty crap and the belief that Tony Pulis bangs out boring clean sheets regularly is looking more and more like a myth with each passing week.
Our back three, for once, wasn’t a complete disaster. Dejan Lovren picked up a 2nd clean sheet in a week against a spirited Sunderland side, whilst Erik Pieters claimed just his 3rd of the season. Jonny Evans, like Foster, got Michael Dawson’d and picked up a solitary point.
Our midfield was saved by one of our newer additions Pedro. His superb equaliser against Spurs scored him and us 7pts. With three goals and four assists in his last six appearances he looks phenomenal value right now. Although on the flip side of that it is worth noting that he is yet to play a full 90 minutes this season. Last week we mentioned Mesut Ozil’s slightly below par attacking return percentage and his blank against Bournemouth will not have helped. His ridiculously favourable run through until January 31st is the only reason we are currently persisting, but at £9.6m we are keeping an eye on him. As mentioned at the top of the article we have two players who have now blanked in seven straight games and Raheem Sterling is one. Just 11pts over those seven weeks has finally got us to the end of our patience and it will come as no surprise that 56 minutes here against Burnley were his last in the FPL Updates XI. Last up was captain for the day Roberto Firmino. With Twitter in meltdown over a possible injury to Sergio Aguero we played it safe and captained a player that had 10 attacking returns in 12 matches so far. The fact he was playing Sunderland just cemented the decision. With Phillipe Coutinho’s first half injury Firmino found himself shifted wide to accommodate the introduction of Divock Origi. It seemed to nullify a little of his attacking potential and he could only return us 6pts.
Up top it was that man Sergio Aguero leading the way. All week there were fears of a foot injury and it would have been easy to buy into it and transfer him out. 131,000 FPL gaffers did and his price even dropped because of it but we kept him and we were paid off handsomely. Two goals in the 2-1 win returned a maximum bonus and a 12pt haul. Just a shame we didn’t captain him. Our other two strikers didn’t quite match that. Romelu Lukaku, in his now customary points drought he suffers every year, picked up 1pt away at Southampton, whilst Marcus Rashford was the other member of our team to make it seven consecutive blanks as he completed just 64 minutes against West Ham.
With no transfer used last week we have decided to use both of our two free transfers this week and it includes a little bit of a gamble.
Sterling (OUT) – Arnautovic (IN)
Rashford (OUT) – Austin (IN)
When it comes to FPL I have more patience than sense sometimes but with neither Sterling or Rashford delivering as much as even a scuffed assist since gameweek 6 it’s time to get rid. Knowing when to cut your losses on a player in FPL is almost as crucial as timing an early bandwagon and in this case my honest assessment is it took way too long.
So to the players coming in, we have Charlie Austin and Marko Arnautovic. Austin looks a little bit of a no brainer here. Six goals in his last nine and under 7.0m I have no doubt whatsoever that his ownership of 16% will see a significant hike in the coming weeks. Especially given that his run of games through to February is so fine it should have been walking the catwalk at Wednesdays Victoria’s Secret show. Marko Arnautovic on the other hand is owned by 0.9% of FPL gaffers and that’s probably about 0.8% too many. One goal and one assist this season mean you are probably about to close this page and go Youtube highlights of the above show, but don’t!
Well, you definitely should, but only after reading the rest. The obvious choice is Gylfi Sigurdsson but with him facing Spurs away this week we are holding off for the week and running with the Stoke winger for the home game against Burnley. Burnley have been nothing short of an embarrassment away from home and have actually conceded seven goals to midfielders in just five away games this season. For the record, he will very likely depart for Siggy next week!
Yep, Ben Foster. In the third of his three nice matches we are just hoping he can deliver a clean sheet before an inevitable thumping from Costa and co the following week. Watford aren’t bad but only have two away goals in their last four away.
Because of this we also start Jonny Evans in a WBA defensive double up. Can’t they play Burnley at home every week?? Dejan Lovren starts and will be hoping for his third clean sheet on the bounce. Away to Bournemouth there is certainly some hope. Last up is Erik Pieters. Home to Burnley. You know my thoughts on Burnley.
Marko Arnautovic is in and makes his 2016-17 FPL Updates XI debut. Home to Burnley. You know my thoughts on Burnley. Next to him is Mesut Ozil away to West Ham, Roberto Firmino away to Bournemouth and Pedro away to Man City. In all honesty I can’t see any of the three lighting up gameweek 14.
Up top we welcome new addition Charlie Austin and we have handed him the vice captaincy. Away to Crystal Palace, the only team yet to keep a clean sheet this season, there’s a real argument for him getting the armband. He starts next to Romelu Lukaku who faces Man Utd at Goodison Park and the now default captain choice Sergio Aguero. Reasons not to captain Kun. 1) He’s playing Chelsea who have only conceded one goal in their last seven, 2) No FPL classified striker has scored against them this season and 3) It’s a lunchtime kick off which seldom pans out. Reasons to captain him 1) He’s Sergio Aguero. So that’s it, it’s decided, he gets the armband. Jokes aside, he does have a penchant for goals against Chelsea so I have no regrets with the choice.
So there it is. This gameweek seems as though it is likely going to deliver a fairly low average weekly score so the main short term goal is to exceed that. It’s been a tough few weeks so it’s all about steadying the ship. I think we have the basis to a good December run but we just need that little bit of luck. And if we don’t get it at least it’s only seven gameweek’s until the next Wildcard!
Good luck to everyone and when Arnautovic inevitably gets booked and subbed on 59 minutes it will be greatly appreciated if you leave all Twitter banter until at least Tuesday when I’ll feel less embarrassed. Thanks!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)