A hat-trick for Alexis Sanchez, a brace for Harry Kane and even a goal for Eden Hazard! All this the same week Sergio Aguero decided to book himself a month off for Christmas. 10 FPL Guru points for anyone who can guess which one of those four we had!
Following a run of eight gameweeks that has seen our overall rating drop from 80k to just outside the top 1m, we have had to sit and reflect and make some big boy decisions. We have been way too patient with some and it’s time for change. But before we get into our set up for this week let’s have a little recap on theFPL Updates XI gameweek 14 performance.
Ben Foster was between the sticks again and picked up 3pts. What is baffling about WBA right now is they find themselves performing way above expectations, stealthily moving up to 7th in the league whilst actually only delivering one clean sheet in their last 11 games. The days of WBA relying on a sturdy defence over attack seem to have long gone. With Chelsea (a), Man Utd (H) and Arsenal (a) in their next four they will certainly be needing that defence to perform though.
Doubling up on the WBA backline we had Jonny Evans. As with Foster he didn’t manage a clean sheet but he did notch his first goal of the season to pick up a very healthy 9pts. He was partnered by Erik Pieters who scored 6pts for the second consecutive week and Dejan Lovren, who was part of THAT capitulation to Bournemouth.
Our midfield wasn’t atrocious but when you realise that our four combined scored 3pts less than Alexis Sanchez on his own you can already picture the red arrows. Pedro, substituted on 49 minutes, scored 1pt. He should be fit for this weekend but the bigger concern is Willian’s impact and the fact rotation looks inevitable over the busy festive period. Our gamble for the week paid off. We brought in Marko Arnautovic instead of Gylfi Sigurdsson for one week and one week only and he delivered a 6pt performance. Mesut Ozil scored his highest total of the season with a goal, assist and 11pts against a pretty lacklustre West Ham team whilst Roberto Firmino was nowhere to be seen as Liverpool scored three but conceded four on the South Coast.
Up top there is no point starting anywhere other than with Sergio Aguero. Firstly. I think it’s clear he doesn’t like David Luiz. Secondly, it is the 6th time in 12 games that he has scored 2pts or less. Two of those times have been a minus score. No player in FPL has the ability to control green and red arrows quite like he does, which is understandably why he polarises opinion so much. What has saved us all a massive headache now though is his four game ban, meaning he won’t feature for City in the league until New Year’s Day. The day before the next Wildcard chip kicks in. Alongside him we had Charlie Austin with 1pt against a Crystal Palace team that registered their first clean sheet of the season and Romelu Lukaku scoring 1pt, in what was his fourth consecutive blank.
38pts on a 50pt gameweek average means we have lost even more ground on a pre-season aim of a top 50k finish. December is unquestionably the most important month in FPL so we have gone hard this week. The team has had more reconstructed surgery than Madonna’s face and taken more hits than Rihanna spending a weekend at Chris Brown’s.
Pedro (OUT) – Hazard (IN)
Arnautovic (OUT) – Sigurdsson (IN)
Evans (OUT) – Alonso (IN)
Aguero (OUT) – Iheanacho (IN)
As practise I would never usually agree with a 12pt hit but these were essential and I am confident we will have lost more than 12pts throughout December by not making these moves now. We also have 1.9m in the bank ready for the imminent arrival of Harry Kane after this weekend. With the new boys signed, sealed and delivered let’s have a look at how we will line up for gameweek 15.
Ben Foster. Away to Chelsea. Fingers crossed for save points.
We stick to a usual back three and all look fairly favourable. Dejan Lovren looks great value at 5.0m but will probably need Loris Karius to pick up a training ground injury if he wants a clean sheet this week. John Stones gets the nod. Less because of form and more because Leicester have been bringing their 2014/15 form to the table so far. Last up is the new defensive addition Marcos Alonso. Taking a points hit for a defender is usually a big no no, but once you take a glance at Chelsea’s December fixtures it suddenly feels a little more understandable. WBA (H), Sunderland (A), Crystal Palace (A), Bournemouth (H) and Stoke (H) take the Blues up to 2017 and mean investment is wise.
Our midfield welcomes the two newcomers and both bring great matches to the fold. One of those is Gylfi Sigurdsson. He may have blanked last week but will chomping at the bit to face Sunderland at home this week. Admittedly Sunderland have been far better the last month or so but that’s only from an attacking perspective. Just the one clean sheet this season suggests Swansea should score. Mesut Ozil remains and faces a Stoke team coming off of two straight clean sheets. Arsenal have 14 goals in their last five so we are still confident of goals for the hosts. Roberto Firmino also remains. He may be on the back end of three straight games without an attacking return, but with West Ham at home this week he’s going nowhere. Lastly its captain for the week Eden Hazard. No need for a load of stats to back up this choice. Home to WBA he will by no means will this be a differential captain choice but looks a safe one none the less.
The front three suddenly looks a little lightweight without a certain Argentinian striker. He is replaced by a gamble selection in Kelechi Iheanacho, who actually returns a goal or an assist every 50 minutes this season. Bare in mind it’s pretty much all been cameo appearances I have high hopes that with an extended run over the next four games he can prove huge value for money at 6.6m. Next up is Romelu Lukaku. In what is very likely his last game for the FPL Updates XI he faces a Watford team who have conceded 24 goals this season. Only four teams have conceded more. With Arsenal and Liverpool to follow this he needs to hit form soon. Last but not least is Charlie Austin. Middlesbrough at home looks a nice one on paper and will garner a fair amount of captain interest i’m sure, but they are the only team so far this season to stop Arsenal scoring at the Emirates. They also pulled off an impressive 1-1 draw at Manchester City so this may be tougher than expected.
A new look team for us this week then and although it’s taken us 12pts to get there I feel a lot more confident in the December run now. With gameweek’s coming thick and fast it’s time to make sure you’re team is ready to go with players unlikely to rotate heavily and a bench of players that start regularly.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week. Also don’t forget that there is another gameweek starting next Tuesday, so be sure to meet meet back here on Monday!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)