Not a bad start for the Differentials XI, hitting the average points marker of 58 bang on the nose in gameweek 1.
Below is a look at the Differentials XI line-up and who scored what this week.
Star of the show was the captain choice, Morata, who emerged from Chelsea’s bench to score and assist his way to 20 points. When the teams were announced and he was absent, it was a real concern until he came on and made a positive impact. Mkhitaryan – a player I love this year – started as I think he’ll carry on, with a couple of assists. I fully expect the Armenian to be unavailable to me by the end of the month, but I’ll have him and enjoy him while I can. At the back, it was just a sole clean sheet, from Danilo, who is deputising for City until Benjamin Mendy reaches full fitness. Saed Kolasinac – another who I think will be great this season – set up a goal and registered five points despite Arsenal conceding three times. You may notice I made a couple of alterations to the team after last week’s post, and this was due to rises in ownership and then Sanchez being confirmed as injured.
So then I looked at the line-up and saw Kolasinac’s stock had already risen to the point where I had to drop him. I replaced him for Bailly, picked the team accordingly for gameweek 2 and then wrote my article.
But then I wondered – how is this helping you, the reader? Yes, it’s quite fun to watch a hopeless bloke make a team of mostly unfancied players work from week to week, but as an actual FPL user, am I helping you? What are you gaining from reading up on my team each week? Why should you revisit this page?
So I went to FPL Updates HQ and suggested that this team becomes the ‘Differentials XI…. of the week’. Here’s the plan:
Going forward, I will take massive points hits on a weekly basis. Rather than selecting a team that I hope can do well and take me up the ranks, I’d prefer it if this piece was helping you out as an FPL manager. Therefore, each week, I will select the best differential options according to their match ups, form, fitness and any other facts or stats I feel are necessary.
This way, I’m still aiming to score big points each week, but I’m doing it with a bunch of differential options that I can hopefully influence you to place into your team. As we’ve only done the first week, the above is arguably the best differentials I felt were available in gameweek 1 and, if I’m scoring the average points mark or above each week, I’ll be happy.
So yes, going forward this column will be a little different to what you may be used to and no, I’m not going to win any fantasy leagues with it. But, hopefully you’ll be able to take something from it each time, and come back each week to see what I think are the best differential options for that upcoming set of fixtures.
Let’s go… The Differentials XI for gameweek 2:
Starting XI: Schmeichel (3.4%); Valencia (9.7%), Otamendi (6.1%), Alexander-Arnold (2.7%), Maguire (2%); Redmond (8.1%), Mahrez (3%), Sane (4.6%); Benteke (9%), Mounie (3%), Rodriguez (2.6%).
Subs: Begovic (5.9%), Zanka (3.1%), Ramsey (2.4%), Ritchie (3.5%).
As you’ll see, there’s a few faces from gameweek 1, but in terms of differentials for the upcoming set of games, I like these guys.
In goal I’ve gone with Schmiechel. Yes, Leicester conceded four in their first game so yes, they have the joint worst defensive record in the league so far, but a home game against Brighton is a welcome fixture for the Foxes this time around. The Seagulls struggled to create much at all last week – granted, against Man City – and I expect them to do a little better at the King Power. Even so, Schmiechel has a good chance of a clean sheet here, so I’m sticking him in with confidence.
At the back, Maguire has kept his place in the team. The centre back looked good against Arsenal, despite the goals against, picking up an early assist too. He’s a threat from set pieces and loves a tackle, and again, that home game with Brighton is a favourable one. Valencia is in on the basis that United have a very nice looking game against Swansea. I fully expect Mourinho’s men to pick up where they left off last weekend, humbling the Welsh side in the process. Alexander-Arnold makes the team this week on a few grounds. Firstly, he looked excellent against Hoffenheim in midweek. Second, he may be on free kicks, having scored the opening goal on Tuesday night. Finally, he’s playing Palace, who were God awful against Huddersfield last Saturday. Otamendi is in, having looked comfortable at Brighton last week too, while I’m jumping on Zanka’s bandwagon after his 10-point performance in gameweek 1. He’s on the bench, but he makes the squad because Newcastle at home could be a lot worse.
I’ll admit, I think midfield is the weakest part of the team. I know Mahrez wants out of Leicester, but he put in a decent shift against Arsenal and registered an assist. As well as that, his set piece delivery is always a threat, so he could be a good pick here. Sane, benched against Brighton, keeps his place because I think he’ll start this week. City struggled to break the Seagulls down, and you can hardly blame the newly promoted side’s tactics. I just think Sane is such an asset out wide that he’ll get the nod against Everton. Redmond is my last starter in the middle, facing a West Ham side that didn’t look anything like a cohesive defensive unit last Sunday. Ramsey is on my bench, as he often saves good performances for trips to Stoke, such is the mutual hate he and their fans have. Also, he scored a cracking goal last Friday and I think his numbers will vastly improve from what we saw last term. Ritchie is my final choice, because I think he is capable of being Newcastle’s most creative force in their game against fellow new-boys Huddersfield.
Up top, Benteke is in. Yes, Palace were awful, but this week they’ve got a Liverpool side that looked completely rotten defending set pieces across the 180 minutes I’ve watched them this week. The big Belgian is always a threat in the air, plus he played excellently at Anfield last season as he tried to inflict revenge on the club that sold him after just a year. Rodriguez also gets the nod, despite not scoring last weekend. The rules of football clearly state you must score against your former clubs, so the Burnley born boy is sure to find the Turf Moor net on his imminent return. Lastly, I’m going kneejerk again and pulling a Mounie with my final selection. The forward was brilliant leading the Terriers line at Selhurst Park, and he’ll be in high spirits for the club’s first ever home game in the Premier League.
With no obvious captain choice, I’ve gone for Rodriguez with Mouine vice. However, as I’m not really looking to properly compete, it matters little.
What I do hope is that your team may benefit from one or two of these differential selections. Good luck and let’s hope for those green arrows.
Roll on the weekend!
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)