Bouncebackability! We have been talking about it for a few weeks and we finally got it. On a GW where the FPL team of the week included world beaters such as Marcus Rashford, Connor Wickham and Craig Gardner, we somehow managed to score 51 points on a 33 average, a points haul enough to move us up over 60k places back up inside the top 250k. Maybe, just maybe, the forward planning around these blank weeks and double GW’s could be paying off. So, let’s have a look at our GW27 performance.
So for anyone who read Friday’s article it will now be very clear which drunken option I chose between triple captaining Butland and texting an ex! Neither worked out particularly well but let’s be honest, the triple captain chip is far more valuable than my dignity or self-respect anyway! It is becoming more and more clear that Stoke, minus Shawcross, just aren’t the same. Since he came off against Leicester in GW23 Stoke have conceded 10 goals. In the 11 games Shawcross has played 90 minutes this season Stoke have kept 7 clean sheets and in the 2 games he failed to complete 90 they didn’t concede until he went off. This needs to be considered going forward.
Our back 3 looked a positive trio this week but it was Christian Fuchs who made it a decent score. Dier and Dann conceded but Fuchs picked up a cleanie and 3 bonus. Those 3 took his bonus total to 15 for the season. That’s more than players like Costa, Rooney, Firmino and Aguero!
The midfield looked littered with great match ups but it was Arnie that delivered. We had said he was lucky to still be in our line up following just one assist and no goals in his previous 7, but if we have learned just one thing from this frankly bizarre season it’s that Aston Villa are absolute toilet. The fact he’s on pens and set pieces has kept him hanging on and at last it paid off. He returned 15 points and almost single handedly decided whether people had green or red arrows. Mahrez was stifled by a stubborn Norwich team, Payet was outdone by Antonio in the West Ham midfield and Sanchez is now struggling to justify a very heavy price tag. The fact Arsenal have a GW30 fixture is the only reason he is sticking around.
Up top looked decent on paper. 3 stand out captain options but just the one assist to show. Kane was kept quiet following surgery on his hooter and Ighalo blanked AGAIN. The only plus point was Jamie Vardy’s extra long studs. Thankfully, the FPL saw sense and awarded him the assist for Ulloa’s winner but I’ll be honest, it was almost impossible to see the assist in real time speed and harsh on Albrighton owners. The assist was enough to give us double figures for our captain and allow all Vardy owners to breath a small sigh of relief.
51 points and a move up the overall rankings means we now continue to work on the ‘Plan’. We currently have 9 players available for the GW30 blank so we will ensure all 3 free transfers between now and then are used on players playing. This will give us 11 plus a fall back sub if needs be. That means we have decided to avoid using a transfer this week to give us 2 free next week. So with that said the only decisions this week were around the starting XI and here it is.
In goal we go with Butland again. With Shawcross likely out again it wasn’t an easy choice but we feel a little more confident in Stoke at home to Newcastle than Hennessey away to Sunderland.
In defence we go with a back 3 again but with Dier dropping to the bench. Baines comes in for him (yes we are aware he might not play but if you play Villa you start). Scott Dann away to Sunderland and Christian Fuchs home to WBA also get starts. A little less appealing than last week but still aiming for double figures from the 3.
Our midfield 5 is a full house of home fixtures and nice looking home fixtures at that. Riyad Mahrez faces WBA, a team that he hit a brace against back at the end of October. Dimitri Payet has title chasing Spurs and if ever there was a game for him to truly endear himself to the Hammers’ fans then it’s this. I’m quietly confident he steps up and delivers this week. Arnautovic, certainly not one for consistency, has beleaguered Newcastle, who themselves have been a real mixed bag lately and have conceded 7 of their last 8 goals to midfielders. Alexis Sanchez really is due a return now. 5 blanks in a row since his injury lay off are really hurting us and all his other owners but with a full run of fixtures over the next 3 weeks we just cannot justify dropping him at this stage. Last up is Roberto Firmino. Monday was spent deliberating at length as to whether he or Ighalo sit on the bench as first sub but given Firmino’s performance in the reverse fixture against City and Ighalo’s lack of any form whatsoever we decided on our first 5 man midfield in a long time. Over the last 7 GW’s Firmino has alternated with single digit, double digit returns (2/13/2/18/2/13/6) so we will hope this continues. Plus the fact he tormented City in the previous league game gives us confidence.
So to our front 2. With Ighalo benched it leaves Kane and Vardy. Kane loves a London derby and Vardy loves playing at home. Kane now has 13 goals in 16 London derbies and Vardy has attacking returns in 11 of his 13 home league games this season. Both captain options again but we are sticking with the Leicester man. A home match with WBA is good enough for us, so we, along with all Vardy owners and neutral football fans will be hoping Leicester continue this fairytale run.
With a quick turnaround between GW’s 27 and 28 it’s time for smart decision making. If possible avoid knee jerk moves and try to pre-plan all transfers now around fielding a full 11 in GW30. As we have said before, it’s the blank weeks and DGW’s that determine mini league winners and losers so good luck to all. Well, by all I mean anyone not inside the top 250k obviously!!
Written by FPL Guru