Anyone else miss the simpler times? The days when all you had to do was give Luis Suarez or Robin van Persie the armband and watch as the points just rolled in. Maybe it’s just me but my lord does it feel so much harder nowadays. When Sergio Aguero can’t even get a regular run of games you know times are a changing.
A GW23 fact for you. Crystal Palace defender Scott Dann scored 15pts this week. The top seven scoring strikers in FPL (Ibrahimovic, Costa, Defoe, Lukaku, Kane Aguero and Rondon) scored 11pts combined. Congrats to anyone who broke 50 but at the same time I want to know what on earth your team looks like and what you were drinking when you picked it. As our FPL Updates XI delivered bang on the weekly average of 35pts we had to watch Eldin Jakupovic flaunt his 11pts at us from the bench. Sitting there like the hot girl in the bar, full on cleavage out, knowing full well you aren’t getting anywhere near. The tease.
There I was thinking Ben Foster was a far better keeper option than Eldin Jakupovic. An 8pt difference between the two was tough to take on a week where those points would have seen us pick up some much needed green arrows. Interestingly it now means of all keepers playing a minimum of five games this season Jakupovic is joint 2nd on points per match average (4.9).
For once we decided to run with a back four and it certainly didn’t work out as we had hoped. Chris Brunt played his first game for us as part of a defensive double up and conceded. More left back than left wing back this week he wasn’t quite as attacking as usual. Leighton Baines and Marcus Alonso were both involved in 1-1 away draws. Considering their form of late we can forgive them this. Our only noteworthy defensive performance came from Erik Pieters as he picked up a surprise two bonus points. His 2nd 4pt return in consecutive weeks.
Our midfield three delivered mixed results. Whilst Matty Phillips blanked for his 3rd game in a row (guess which week we brought him in), we saw Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard register assists. Although both scored us points my feelings towards the two are pretty different right now. The assist for Sanchez now makes it attacking returns in 10 of his last 11 games. Whereas in comparison Hazard has now failed to complete 90 minutes in his last three games and only has five returns since GW12. I can honestly say that there is now a real argument for selling the Chelsea man.
Up top we finally saw Christian Benteke score!! We transferred him in back in GW18 and watched him blank in five straight scoring just 6pts in those games before ending the drought against Bournemouth. He now faces a very appealing run of games so points certainly there to be had. New boy Andy Carroll came in off the back of three goals in two games but West Ham were steam rolled by Man City and Carroll managed no more than a solitary point. Last up was our captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic and unfortunately for him our sub keeper was in inspired form. Two blanks in a row for the Swede but thankfully his fixtures suggest this wont last long.
A very small drop of about 8k places wasn’t too terrible but we have now only seen green arrows in two of the last 13 GW’s, so we need to see a positive turnaround soon. With that said we have made a couple transfers this week that I feel could make a big difference.
Hazard (OUT) – De Bruyne (IN)
King (OUT) – Davies (IN)
As we have highlighted over the last couple of weeks Eden Hazard’s FPL dominance is showing signs of decreasing. Although he’s still playing pretty well it’s just not converting into points. With a sizeable amount of the budget free we are going to look no further than Kevin De Bruyne. Man City have been a little hit and miss this season but watching the midweek game against West Ham showed how scarily good they can be. As exciting as that front three is it’s De Bruyne that is pulling the strings. He’s at the heart of every attack and with Swansea, Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke next four he could be set for a big February. It helps that his ownership still sits well below 10% whilst Hazard’s is around 30%. Appealing if you want to make ground on those above. Our second player in is Tom Davies. The Everton youngster has now completed 90 minutes in the last four straight games. He may not play every game but he looks great when he does. At 4.4m he looks a steal.
So with the transfers done and the team ready to go for GW24 let’s see how we line up.
After all that about Eldin Jakupovic we have benched him again. Not sure he can do much more to get the start for us but match ups dictate. Ben Foster’s match against Stoke looks better than Jakupovic’s match against Liverpool. Surely we can’t get this wrong again can we??
We revert back to a 3 man defence. Erik Pieters makes his way to the bench whilst Chris Brunt gets the nod in the same game. This defensive double up of WBA just feels wrong but if we get it right it can be huge for us. Marcos Alonso starts at home to Arsenal and Leighton Baines home Bournemouth.
A four man midfield for us this week and 50% of it has changed. Both new boys Kevin De Bruyne and Tom Davies start for us. We have justified the reasons they are in and i’m confident we will see returns quickly. Both are in fine form and both have a decent run of upcoming games. Matty Phillips gets his 4th start for us in a home match against Stoke. With no attacking returns in his time in the FPL Updates XI it’s time he does. He’s still a better option at that price than many others so we will be patient with him. Last up is Alexis Sanchez. In my opinion the best player in the Premier League and the only must own player in the FPL nowadays. Fixtures don’t get much harder than Chelsea but it’s not like you can’t play him.
Up top we give the armband to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Away to Leicester may not seem the best match up in our team on paper but the underlying stats suggest otherwise. The current champs have conceded eight in their last three Premier League games and two against Championship outfit Derby in that time, whilst Zlatan has scored seven in his last six away games for United. It’s a small risk but one we are happy to take given our current overall position. Alongside him we have Andy Carroll away to Southampton. Again not necessarily a game that would previously have been viewed as a ‘favourable’ match up but with van Dijk’s injury and Fonte’s departure Carroll will be licking his lips. Well, as long as he doesn’t get injured having a shower or doing the ironing between now and the game. Last up is Christian Benteke. Home to Sunderland. Those three words alone should be a good enough reason for his inclusion. He scored in the away match earlier in the season and loved playing against them in his Villa days. There’s an argument for him getting the captaincy but his recent form hasn’t been quite convincing enough.
So there we have it. Our GW24 line up and surely there has to be some green arrows here. My main concern is no Spurs cover but then I thought that last week against Sunderland. If we can dodge Kane going goal crazy then we should be ok.
As tempting as it has been to Wildcard we are still being patient and awaiting the double game weeks later in the season. I think the team is in the best shape it’s been for the majority of the season and I’m finally confident of a run of greens. Also, this paragraph is definitely not a desperate bid to convince the FPL Updates XI board to keep me on as gaffer! Honestly.
Thanks for reading guys!
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)