You simply cannot beat the opening day of the Premier League season. Watching the player you drunkenly transferred out on the Friday night scoring, the screwed up bet slips on the floor by 3:45pm and the realisation you now have a proper excuse to spend less time with the missus! I just cannot imagine a life without it! Thankfully this week I was too drunk Friday to do anything except text an ex, I had my betslips screwed up by 3:12pm and I’m painfully single! Anyway, thankfully here at FPL Updates XI HQ we posted an acceptable 55pts in gameweek 1. As expected, we spent some of the week unsuccessfully bullet dodging as big names we ignored scored but all in all a score over 50 first week is decent enough.
So let’s have a look at how the FPL Updates XI performed.
With painful regret we had to take out Jack Butland late on Friday due to his injury and replaced him with Fraser Forster. His 2pts at home to Watford were a little disappointing but with only 2 out of 20 teams keeping a clean sheet in gameweek 1 we can live with that. We didn’t fancy Eldin Jakupovic but typically he actually scored a point more.
At the back we went with the ‘All Out Attack’ chip. Part of the reason for this is the fact we didn’t foresee many clean sheets this week and so it proved. All 5 of our defenders scored 2pts so the fact we started John Stones and Luke Shaw was frankly irrelevant. As irrelevant as that chip, to be fair. Unfortunately not all of our midfielders could oblige. What is worth noting is that our defenders gave us cause for optimism. John Stones looked settled in the Manchester City line up and looks nailed on, so 5.0m is a bargain. Ronald Koeman has been implementing a wing back system at Everton that could make Leighton Baines absolutely essential if continued. George Friend was bombing forward at every opportunity and Erik Pieters looks fairly settled in a defence known for delivering points. My only slight concern sits with Luke Shaw. At the same price as Antonio Valencia, his attacking threat looks a little more handcuffed due to Anthony Martial’s attacking positioning. Valencia on the other hand was clearly given the license to attack. The upside is that Luke Shaw looks a nailed on starter where Antonio Valencia still has rotation concerns. Let’s be honest, they play in Jose Mourinho’s defence so clean sheets should be consistent.
Our midfield is a mixture of mid-range and big hitters and true to price it was the big hitters that delivered. Anthony Martial registered 2 assists (let’s not discuss the fact that both were a little lucky) and Eden Hazard struck a second half penalty, whilst looking a constant menace throughout. Martial, now an FPL midfielder and the only real pace in that United starting attack, looks borderline must-have. Eden Hazard looked very much like his old self, so add in the fact it is now clear he is the designated penalty taker, he could be a huge pick. The mid-range players Andros Townsend, Gerard Deulofeu and Dusan Tadic may have only scored 2pts each but the signs are there that all 3 could deliver this season. Andros Townsend registered 6 shots against WBA last week. From a footballing perspective it shows how desperate Crystal Palace are for a striker, but from an FPL perspective it suggests there’s opportunity for points. Gerard Deulofeu was deployed as the false 9 for Everton and we all know the benefits of an ‘out of position’ player. If this happens often the points will come. Lastly Dusan Tadic. All the plaudits went to Nathan Redmond for the goal, but it should be noted quite how big an influence Tadic had. He was the most creative player on the field by far, out-performing every player on the pitch in practically every category. If you own him don’t fear, the points will come.
Our front 3 didn’t quite perform to expectation. Yes, captain Sergio Aguero notched, but blanks for Shane Long and Andre Gray, both in favourable match ups, disappointed. Unsurprisingly this is where a lot of our focus for our free transfer has been.
It is easy to panic transfer after things become a little clearer in gameweek 1 but knee jerk transfers are ill advised. So we have used our free transfer on the following:
Shane Long (OUT) – Andy Carroll (IN)
There are certain things you shouldn’t do in fantasy gaming and bringing Andy Carroll into any team you own is pretty much always in the top 5. This comes with a huge BUT this week! They are home to a Bournemouth team who conceded 3 at home last week and it’s West Ham’s first Premier League game at their new home. The place will be buzzing and given that Dimi Payet is back to start and that West Ham look less likely to sign a striker than Arsenal, Carroll could thrive. It’s a gamble but I’d like to think an educated gamble. So here is how the FPL Updates XI line up for gameweek 2:
In goal we make the change. Fraser Forster has been given the ‘Joe Hart’ treatment and harshly benched in favour of a crap alternative, but for us it’s fixture based. In no way whatsoever are Southampton keeping a clean sheet at Old Trafford on Friday night. Plus we have attacking coverage for Manchester United. So in comes Eldin Jakupovic. ‘Who?’ you say. Well I have no idea either. But he looked ok against Leicester last week and Swansea aren’t exactly renowned for plundering goals.
Our back 3 is made up of John Stones away to Stoke City, Luke Shaw home to Southampton and Leighton Baines away to WBA. I think there are points here so I’m more than happy with it. Although I do still slightly regret not having Antonio Valencia over Luke Shaw at this moment.
Our midfield sees Andros Townsend drop to the bench. He has points in him but away to Spurs makes him less appealing than our other 7 attacking options. Anthony Martial and Dusan Tadic both start for us and both feature in the first Friday night game of the season. I’m not a fan of conflicting players in matches like we have with Dusan Tadic and Luke Shaw but if Southampton are to do anything then I think it will involve him. Gerard Deulofeu away to WBA is in, as is Eden Hazard, obviously.
Up top new boy Andy Carroll gets his first taste of FPL Updates XI action. The instructions I have given him in training this week have been simple. Score a goal and don’t be sh*t! I’m basically the next Pep Guadiola. He lines up with Andre Gray and captain Sergio Aguero. Andre Gray looked a little subdued last week so the lack of creative quality in the Burnley team is a concern but my faith in him hasn’t diminished. Just remember that Callum Wilson blanked gameweek 1 last season, people swapped him out and then he banged in a hat-trick against West Ham. As long as Liverpool have either Simon Mignolet or Alberto Moreno in their team I will happily start attackers against them. Theo and Ox even scored against them! Our final player is Sergio Aguero and as stated he is the captain. A goal last week and a hat-trick midweek he is clearly match sharp and firing. Let’s just hope he isn’t on penalties!
I feel we have a lot of positives here so hopefully our players can realise their FPL potential sooner rather than later. As I said, don’t throw all your plans out the window just because Phillipe Coutinho scores a rare brace or that Harry Kane blanked. Coutinho won’t do that every week and Kane will score soon. Isn’t he on every set piece? As long as you have a good reason to keep each player then stick with it. The Fantasy Premier League is littered with stories of gameweek 1 knee jerk transfers out that come back to haunt so good luck and as always we are available on Twitter and the FPL Updates forum for any last minute help.
Written by FPL Guru (@FPL_Guru_)