We should not bench Riyad Mahrez. We should not bench Riyad Mahrez. We should not bench Riyad Mahrez.
There are very few things in the world of fantasy football that are more frustrating than benching a player hitting double figures. It’s even worse when you are benching the highest scoring player in the entire game who then goes on to score 14 points in the biggest game of the season so far.
On a week that we were really looking to bounce back to form we hit another big red arrow, scoring 52 on a 55 point week average, dropping down to 281,613th. The only real positive of the week came in our captain choice. So with that said, let’s have a look at how we did.
It was Jack Butland in goal and it was another disappointing week for us and him. 3 goals conceded against an improving Everton team made it just 1 cleanie in his last 7. Thankfully his upcoming fixtures look appealing.
In front of him it was a mixed day. We had Leighton Baines starting but unfortunately Roberto Martinez didn’t so it meant Kurt Zouma came in for him. Our decision to have Zouma over Dann on the bench hurt us when Zouma conceded and then went off 2 minutes shy of the 60 minute mark to return a solitary point. Russ Martin got the start for us against Villa but proved that the Norwich defence is quite clearly the worst in the league now. The 2 conceded at Villa Park made it 16 goals conceded in their last 5. Eric Dier once again proved his value as a nice mid-range defensive option with his clean sheet. That’s 2 clean sheets and 1 assist in the last 4 weeks for him.
Our midfield had one clear stand out performer. Our decision to captain Roberto Firmino was met with a small number of raised eyebrows but it turned out to be a much needed choice. His 26 point return accounted for exactly 50% of our weekly total and at least validated our move to transfer him in over Ross Barkley a couple weeks ago. The Brazilian has picked up an odd tendancy to rotate returns. His last 6 weeks points have been 2/13/2/18/2/13. With Villa up next I can’t help but feel and hope that he will break the trend. Around him we had Payet (2), Arnautovic (2) and Sanchez (3) all return disappointing totals.
Our front 3 saw the departure of Romelu Lukaku for a multitude of reasons and that meant he scored his first goal in 6. Typical. Thankfully his replacement Giroud picked up an assist so the pain of the swap wasn’t too lasting. Odion Ighalo and Harry Kane blanked to leave us with a trio of non goal scoring strikers.
So with the GW27 blank for 4 teams and the long term injury to Zouma, our hand has been forced a tad this week with our free transfer.
Zouma (OUT) – Fuchs (IN)
This is quite possibly the least aesthetically pleasing transfer we have done all season but need must. Our team looks ready to go for the next 2 weeks and given the fact Leicester have kept 5 clean sheets in 7 and have a nice run after Arsenal this was a safe enough change. So here is how we line up this week.
We’ve decided to run with Hennessey here. Although we have Watford attacking coverage we feel better about the Palace rear-guard over Stoke at present, given that Stoke have conceded 3 goals in each of their last 3.
Our back 3 includes Scott Dann, for the Palace defensive double up, Russ Martin and Leighton Baines. I’m ordinarily not a huge fan of doubling up at the back with a team but we can’t see Dier or Fuchs keeping clean sheets and Dann has proven his eye for goal. Martin is in purely for the outside potential of a goal and Baines is in due to his nice match up, even if he isn’t nailed on to start for Everton at the moment. The back line is causing minor headaches so we will certainly be reviewing the possibility of calling in the wildcard very soon, DGW’s permitting.
Our midfield unsurprisingly sees the return of Mahrez. Note to self, if Mahrez is fit he starts. Arnautovic therefore gets benched. His and Stoke’s poor form made this decision a fair amount easier. So we have Payet against a porous Norwich, Firmino against bottom placed Villa and Sanchez and Mahrez facing off in the game of the weekend. Hopefully an absolute goal-fest. I can’t see too much wrong with this midfield 4 so hopes certainly lie heavily with them.
Up top it’s the same 3. Kane away to City, Ighalo against our Palace duo and Giroud against Leicester. 3 tough match up’s but hopefully enough to get us a respectable return.
For the second week in a row we have gone outside of our front 3 for the captain choice and the decision has been made to give it to Alexis Sanchez! Back in September when the 2 teams met he bagged himself a hat-trick and although he has stuttered since his return from injury we are placing our trust in his ability to deliver in the big games.
So, we have a mixed line up of those we have big hopes on and those we are closing our eyes and crossing our fingers with. The team is nicely poised for the blank week and with our second wildcard burning a hole in our pockets I’m sure it won’t be long before we pull the trigger.
Good luck to all and just make sure you base any late transfers around next week’s blank week.
Written by FPL Guru