Premier League: GW14 Retrospect

GW14 finishes up today with Hull City visiting Boro with no players involved, it’s time to look over the week that was. My squad finished the week with 61 points, my best point total since GW10 (78 points) but only the second time in 8 weeks I have been above that 60 point average I was hoping for. I held onto my FT until Friday afternoon, when I finally played it, moving Coutinho, due to injury in favor of the in form Sigurdsson. Not the wisest of moves and I knew that before making the transfer as the match up against Spurs was going to be a challenge. He didn’t let me down, scoring 2 points. Yet another transfer that didn’t pay off. To compound the pain I took a -4 point hit to also bring in Cedric for S’hampton, who got thumped 3-0 by Crystal Palace, this on the back of consecutive clean sheets.

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Forward continue to play very well as I have finally settled on Costa, Austin and Kane. This week Kane grabbed the arm band and rewarded me with 26 total points on the back of a brace. Costa continue “en fugeo” bagging a goal and assist for 12 points. Both players picked up 3 BPS to strengthen their position as in form going into GW15. Austin wasn’t as fortunate this week, with returns in the last 3, Palace shutout Austin and the Saints in a game I thought would be one sided for them. Defoe continues to sparkle, now with 83 points for the season, a player once owned, dropped GW10 in favor of Austin. This decision after 3 weeks of no returns but has really been in form since. At 7.7m I can’t afford him right now, even with the 0.8m ITB.

Without consistent returns, I shipped Aguero out for GW10, favoring De Bruyne as my Man City coverage. With assists in GW11 and GW12 KDB looked to be regaining his form, but missed the start in GW13 and didn’t return versus Chelsea in City’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea this week. Me and 165k other owners made an early decision to pick up Sanchez after his hat trick performance against Stoke. In order to bring him in I dropped KDB him for the second time. Not sure what to make of City, but if Sanchez continues in form, I see no reason to chase midfield coverage from City, especially adding Toure and Gundogan to the mix, which could represent rest for KDB and Silva.

Hazard was my top midfielder this week with 9 points, grabbing a goal and CS along with 2 BPS. Chelsea has some outstanding fixtures through the end of December, which could result in big returns for Hazard and Costa. Still looking to triple up on Chelsea, but feel I missed out on Alsonso before his recent price increases. Elsewhere the in form Sigurdsson failed in his bid to keep his returns going for a fifth straight match. Spurs shut him down and shut Swansea out. I knew this before I picked him up, but honestly wasn’t excited about the prospects of picking up Walcott (returned 3 points in GW14). There was some consideration for Firmino, but again I went against that “gut feel” I had before I picked up Coutinho. I don’t feel a Liverpool midfielder is necessary. Looking through the end of the year, Swansea has some great fixtures as well, starting with Sunderland next week. No reason that Sigurdsson returns to form.

My fourth midfielder was a toss up, Allen or Capoue. Recently, it’s been Capoue in better form, but Watford has been struggling to create goals. I started Capoue for 2 points, but might be looking elsewhere for change. Phillips of WBA has been outstanding for the Baggies recently, at 5.4m, he is a great addition as a 4th or 5th midfielder. Only drawback, their upcoming fixtures feature Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal and Southampton through the end of 2016.

Defensively, I continue to struggle. This single point is the difference between returns of 8 points versus that of 18 or 24 points. Like weeks prior, this was another week in which late, single goals cost me points. WBA gave up a 60 minute goal to Watford, while an 89th minute PK robbed Valencia from 6 points and Man U, the victory. But it’s been that sort of season, many mangers have struggled defensively. Chelsea is one of the few teams that have been returning clean sheets on a regular basis. With team value on the rise, I am considering investing more in the rear guard.

Valencia has been on the transfer list nearly all season, but I can’t bring myself to2016_league_gw14 pull the trigger on his departure. He only has 3 returns of 6 or greater, no assists and no goals. At 5.4m he has become a liability, especially with Man U not playing well. With 0.8m ITB, it might be time to invest in a Chelsea defender. Azpilicueta, Cahill and Alonso are all 6.2m but the cheaper route would be Courtois at 5.6m. Cedric was brought in with a -4 point hit for GW14, figuring I would record a CS vs Crystal Palace. That moved cost me, as S’hampton gave up 3 goals, Cedric returning just 1 point. Moving forward, Cedric looks like a solid play until early February, the only match drawing concern against Spurs in GW18.

McAuley has 3 goals on the season, but it could be his teammate Brunt to draw more looks. Playing as a midfielder (much like Kante last year), he is poised to bring good returns, as he returns from a knee injury. Yet, as mentioned WBA doesn’t have a favorable schedule into January, but 4.9m might be a good budget buy with offensive potential. Holebas WAS a starter, but with Watford giving up goals he has been relegated to the bench along with van Aanholt, who is a spot starter. The Watford defender has -1 point in his last 4 games, while van Aanholt returned 10 points in GW12 has been quiet the last 2 weeks.

I already used my FT for GW15 bringing in Sanchez for KDB, in order to capture the price increase. My team value increased from 102.5m to 103.1 overnight! A nice little bump that shows me with 0.8 in the back to improve my squad. Global ranking saw an improvement of nearly 80k up to 762k. Still looking for that one big week, which has only come in my dreams. Team is still averaging 49 points a week, which is well off my goal.

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Premier League: GW13 Retrospect

If I were a Premier League manager, I would have been fired after just 14 games. It’s been that sort of year and we still have 24 games remaining in the 2016-2017 season. To date, I have only had 2 green arrows in the last 7 weeks, seeing my global ranking fall 799k! That’s what will happen when your weekly average dips from 60.6 points to 42.1 points. Challenged and frustrated doesn’t begin to describe how I have been feeling since seeing red. Literally every move I make seems to be counter-productive, either costing me points, resulting in injury or loss of form. Case in point, the addition of Coutinho for GW11 scores 11 points, but follows up the next 2 weeks with a total of 3 points and now is injured with no return date. Hazard, picked up for GW12, coming off back to back double digit returns only to follow up with 6 points the next weeks. Most recently, Kane picked up for GW13 after returns of 8 and 13 the last 2 weeks to score just 2 points.

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On paper my team has appeared strong from GW1, yet just 2 players remain since the start of the season, Valencia and Foster. Still player selection hasn’t been bad, Mahrez, Payet, Ibrahimovic and Aguero were just four names to start the season for me. Things looked grand by GW6, I had tripled up on Man City with KDB, Sterling and Aguero resulting in 42 points! Defoe went for the double, but there was still concerns to address in the midfield and more importantly, defensively.

Player selection between the sticks and on defense has been very difficult this year. Even the pundits talk about the lack of clean sheets. Although after 13 weeks, we have begun to see some trends, such as Chelsea running off 6 in a row. But they have been the exception, but the standard this season. Last week was my best defensive showing to date, 24 points, Foster/McAuley 12 points, van Aanholt 12 points and Williams 2 points. Again, this has been the exception, not the standard when it comes to defense returns. Many teams have shown up for 60-70 minutes only to leak in a single goal in the dying minutes. Man City for example has conceded 1 goal in 9 games this season. West Brom and Man U have conceded a single goal in 6 games over the same time frame. So the clean sheets have been close, resulting in a possible 6 points to just 2 points. Through it all, I have stuck with Foster and Valencia, picking up Willams and McAuley for GW4 to represent my defense. Although in a spot start, van Aanholt picked up 10 in GW12.

The recent addition of Cholebas (GW9) hasn’t quite paid off with just 12 points returned, follwoed by -2 points and then a suspension, returning zero in GW13 vs Stoke playing just 55 minutes and picking up a yellow card. While the budget defender has been popular this year there is still something to be said about paying a premium price for a top defender. No surprise to see 3 of the top  5 defenders (Cahill, Azpilicueta and Alonso) from Chelsea, yet all start at 6.2m. Arsenal have been strong defensively with Koscielny (6.6m) and Bellerin (6.5m) rounding out the top 5 defenders. I have taken the budget option, with Valencia at 5.4 being my highest priced defender but have considered adding a higher priced defender to the mix when the next WC becomes available. Williams is now on the short list to be replaced, as Everton can’t seem to keep anyone out of the net, conceding 7 in their last 3 games. Valencia has 3 CS this year, no assists or goals and has been on the short list for some time but haven’t really found another player with his potential to replace him with. I have however started looking at adding a Southampton defender; Fonte  or van Dijk.

Midfielders has been the most volatile position all season. Early returns from Capoue and Fer made them “must have players” early on, while some of the higher priced players; Payet, Hazard and Sanchez didn’t pay off. Ever week I think I have found the best combination at the position, only to end up with 2 point returns from the starting 4 players. De Bruyne has been the only mainstay since GW7. Sterling, Walcott, Sanchez, Rashford, Snodgrass and Antonio have all come and gone, at a price, since that time. Without Aguero up front, I still believe Man City coverage is warranted, thus KDB won’t be going anywhere this season. Although we have seen some good games from Gundogan and Toure, who might be back in the mix in the City midfield.

I have read a few articles on Hazard vs Sanchez, priced at 10.2 and 11.3 separated by a single point (88 vs 87). Can you have both in your starting midfield? Is one better to have than the other? Can you do without either? So many questions, but based on their performance and history it appears one of the two should be starting. Originally it was Hazard, picked up for GW4, which unfortunately started his run of no returns through GW7. He was dropped in GW6 in favor of De Bruyne, who lasted just a week being replaced by Sanchez. The midfield has been a revolving door! Things aren’t as they appear, missing out on many big performances from different midfielders, probably taking a bigger point hit than in returns. It was my hope to this season to bag a transfer or two and roll with the same starting XI for a few weeks, but that hasn’t happened to date. I don’t believe the current players; Capoue, Hazard, De Bruyne, Coutinho and Allen are the right combination.

The ankle injury to Coutinho could be long term, currently ‘No Return Date’ is showing at Physioroom.com and running without an 8.6m midfielder in the starting XI doesn’t work to my advantage. The logical transfer would be Firmino for Coutinho for GW14. Firmino did pick up a knock, but shows a December 4 return date, chances are good he starts versus Bournemouth. No other premium midfielder really jumps out. Walcott picked up a late goal on Sunday but it was his first return since GW8. Sigurdsson has been in great form the last 4 weeks, 2 goals and 3 assists. After a tilit with Spurs in GW14, Swansea have a great run of fixtures. It might be the time to buy the Icelander.

Up front there was a lot of speculation that Aguero and Ibrahimovic were “must have players” at the start of the season. Early on it appeared that was as both players returned 3 goals in 2 weeks. Then both players seemed lost their form and returns were spotty. Aguero picked things up starting in GW10, recording 5 goals over 4 games, while Zlatan picked up 4 goals in the next 10 weeks. Oddly enough it was Aguero who made way first when I used my WC for GW4, replacing him with Zaza and Defoe. I ran with Zlatan for 6 weeks (36 points) before picking Aguero back up. Neither player were very consistent and I tired with Man City not scoring and shipped off Aguero a second time in favor of the inconsistent, Lukaku, which came back to bite my in the ass. Just this last week Lukaku made way for Kane. Kane now partners with Costa (picked up GW10) and Austin up front. After picking up 4 yellow cards, I held off considering Costa, but his goal scoring has been the most consistent this season and too hard to avoid not starting, thus I grabbed him GW10 for Defoe. Returns of 5 and 9 for Costa and Austin, were a bit lower than expected, but with only 37 points this week I will take points wherever I can get them.

GW13 was a forgettable one, much like GW3, 7, 8 and 9, as mentioned, just 37 points and another 222k drop to 828k. The injury to Coutinho after just 33 minutes, while being captain hurt my point total. De Bruyne not starting was a bit unexpected, after a midweek CL match, while Hazard and Capoue were just ineffective. Defensively I expected 24 points this week, with Foster/McAuley, Valencia and Cholebas all recording shut outs. Each leaked a single goal in their matches and that 24 dropped to 14 points. Thankfully McAuley scored his second goal of the season and picked up 3 BPS. Up front, Kane didn’t score, while Costa added an assist (5 points) and Austin scored just 42 seconds into the game.

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Premier League: GW12 Retrospect

If you had asked me on Saturday how I did, I would have been very disappointed and frustrated,only 28 points, thankfully we still had Sunday and Monday. I brought Hazard in very late for GW12, after wavering through out the week on what to do with my FT. While I really didn’t want to deal Sanchez, Arsenal’s record in November is terrible and with Chelsea being on excellent form, it was a worthwhile move to bring in the Belgian. Unfortunately the move didn’t pay off, as Hazard settled for only 4 points, coming off back to back double digit performances. Thankfully I didn’t captain him, yet the would be captain only got me 4 points. Overall I finished the week with 53 points, 13 points better than the average and saw a green arrow, my second in the last 6 weeks. I am still trying to recover from weeks of 24, 33 and 26 that dropped me 720k spots in the global standing. The current team value is low at 102.0 and the transfer for GW13 has already been played.

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Saturday saw a dismal performance as Lukaku and Austin returned a big, fat zero! I had captained Lukaku, so his performance was worth 4 points, but it wasn’t meant to be. Thankfully on Sunday, Costa continued his fine run bagging a goal and picking up 3 BPS versus ‘Boro, which helped salvage the weekend. Lukaku has been very inconsistent again this year. Starting the year scoreless through 3 weeks, followed by double digit returns in GW4 and GW5.  Three goals in the next 4 weeks and Everton was poised to be in fine form, but zeros the past 2 weeks and some tough fixtures upcoming; Southampton, Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, Watford and Leicester. He has been on the short list to replace since I picked him up, never have been a huge fan of his or that of Everton, but his play dictated I pick him up a second time this season.

2016_gw12_leaguesThe change for GW12 came at the expense of Sanchez. I am a huge Alexis fan, but Arsenal’s record in November has been a bit dismal, while Hazard had been in great form the past 4 weeks. This on the back of 4 terrible weeks, so he hasn’t been a model of consistency this season, but continues to show flashes of brilliance! So in comes Hazard, as I keep my fingers crossed, as I double up with Costa up front. Unfortunately in GW12 Hazard didn’t return, as ‘Boro’s defense played Chelsea tough and it doesn’t get any easier the next 2 weeks; Spurs and man City.

De Bruyne came out of the international break and spotted me 7 points, on the back of an assist, and 2 BPS. He has been one of the better midfielders all season long and without Aguero up front, I will look to keep a hand in man City with him. Upcoming fixtures are a mixed bag with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in the next 6 weeks. Coutinho was picked up for GW11, returning 11 points against Watford. Yet against Southampton he couldn’t find any niche during the game. I have been on the fence all season long with Livepool’s midfield. There hasn’t been much consistency all season long, but they all continue to score, it’s somewhat of a crap shoot when it comes to the question of, “Who do I pick up?” Right now, I lean Coutinho, but Firmino isn’t far behind. Allen picked up his fifth yellow card and is now suspended, but had only returned in one of the last 3 weeks. Only 1 point versus West ham and Bournemouth respectively. Not sure what direction I am going to go with Allen. I like the supporting cast around him more than those around Snodgrass of Hull City. Can’t say I am completely sold on Phillips, who’s returned 13 and 14 points the last 2 weeks for the Baggies. There is always Capoue (bench), McArthur, Fer and Matic in the same price bracket.

Up front it was Costa to the rescue, as this is the second bout with him in the starting XI. I dropped him prior to GW4 in favor of Lukaku, where he returned in all but 2 games. Lukaku isn’t bad, he has returned in the half the games this season, but it’s a consistency thing with him and Everton. There schedule is about to get tough with Southampton, man U, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester in the next 6 weeks. As of this writing, I have already used my FT, dropping Lukaku for Kane. I was considering Kane for the transfer last week, but honestly couldn’t pull the trigger, then he hits a brace against the Hammers. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. I didn’t. Austin rounds out the forwards, as my budget buy. Only 1 goal in his last 4 games, but has come close in a few of them. Their schedule is favorable through GW27, so chances are high, Charlie starts.

After GW12 I have scored 594 points, which continues to average 49.5/match, about 10 points lower than where I was hoping to be. I still point to GW7-9, which saw me score only 83 in those 3 weeks that has put me in this position. I know my team is better than a 20-30 point average/week  but I have not seen the squad click for a big week to date. As for my chips, I will continue to hold them until we see the DGW appear, sometime after the new year. I am already planning my moves for the WC when January rolls around. Now sure I want to spend money to upgrade (or downgrade) my defenders at this time. Still I feel my squad is better than it’s global rank of 616k.

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Back Where We Started

bannerFour months have passed and not surprisingly we have come full circle and are back where we started with #dontbuydenova in March, after we closed escrow. Since Doublespeak, Lies & Banging posted in July quite a lot has transpired in our (not) custom home in the new Emerson Ranch development of Oakley. Our main point of contention,before we closed escrow was a very poorly constructed and finished bathtub surround. It’s unacceptable and deplorable that craftsmanship of this kind get past quality assurance. Then again, experiencing the demeanor of the Warranty Manager and Director of Operations it’s rather evident, they don’t see the home through the eyes of a homeowner. Continue to boast about “commitment to quality and integrity…attention to detail…values” in your mission statement we haven’t had that experience.

August 3, we surprisingly got a visit from Lori Sanson, Vice President of DeNova Homes, along with her Warranty Manger, Kevin Maloney. My wife was unaware of the identity of Ms. Sanson, until after she left, I thought the introduction had been made, it never was. As we all walked the house we pointed out issues that had been on our punch list since before we moved in not, “searching for every possible cosmetic blemish” Ongoing issues that had not been satisfied included poor finishing work, carpet pulling up from corners and transition areas, cabinets not aligned, hollow sounding tiles, e-stone that it stained, paint on the carpet and the master bathroom tub. These issues had been on our list since March, so nothing we were pointing out were new issues.

As we walked back to the kitchen, discussion between myself and Ms. Sanson ensued. In a followup e-mail  she wrote, “As mentioned, we want nothing more than for you to be happy in your home. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that this may not be possible.” I agreed that could possibly be the outcome, even if our punch list was fulfilled. This led to our options to resolve the ongoing situation. The first option would be DeNova Homes buying back the home for the purchase price (plus moving expenses). Honestly, this was never an option, but wanted to see what sort of figure they presented up. If it were not for the kennel we already purchased and installed, we might have considered selling.

The second option remove and replace the master tub and vanity with tile of our choice, selected from DeNova’s design center with a predetermined material budget. It took the vice president to FINALLY provide us with a feasible solution to the problem. August 5, we were presented with a settlement agreement from DeNova Homes. Now maybe it was their intention we wouldn’t read the actual agreement and blindly sign it. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, as the verbal agreement between myself and Ms. Sanson wasn’t close to how the settlement agreement read. We were suddenly liable for any amount in excess of the material budget that was agreed upon.

Needless to say this one section of the settlement agreement raised all sorts of red flags, which required another e-mail to be sent to get clarification from Ms. Sanson when we finally received the settlement agreement on September 7.

Ms. Sanson,

It appears our response to you went missing, as I emailed it over 3 weeks ago with a list of what issues we feel still need to be addressed. Topping that list was the tub enclosure, which I will address in a bit. As for items still on our list:

  • Kitchen cabinets and hallway linen cabinets
  • -Cabinet hardware in kitchen broken
  • -Cabinet alignment in kitchen and laundry room
  • Remove and replace touch pad on microwave (we have the part).
  • Valance window treatments are short, not covering the entire shade/window
  • Hollow tiles installed in the kitchen
  • Cracked kitchen tile back splash and grout. Tile guy took measurement, but has never returned.
  • Carpet lifting in front of downstairs living room cabinets, up the stairs and at transition points between rooms.
  • Master bath and upstairs bath e-stone still has deep marks on them, look like water spots, but don’t come off.
  • Complementary carpet cleaning, which won’t resolve the paint/and frayed carpet, but were not going to push this issue any longer.

The kitchen and master bathroom counter tops. I stopped by the models to look at the install of both to compare them to what we have. If you look at the attached file, 216-countertop.jpg, you will notice the two pieces are set at a 90 degree angle to each other. I guess this is a “standard” install. Compare that to the model-countertop.jpg and it’s more of a “custom” install. Just curious as to why our counter tops were not installed like those in the models?

As for the PDF you sent, we can’t agree to it as written because of “Section 3. Payment”. We were under the impression from your earlier email dated August 5th that DeNova, “2) …will remove and replace your master tub and vanity splash with tile of your choice.  A material allowance of $[removed] will be provided at our design center.” Reading the Section 3 as written, “Owners shall be liable for any  and all costs in excess of the [predetermined] credit.” That is not what we understand in our face to face discuss and previous email with you. We heard DeNova was going to pay for all costs associated with correcting the bathtub surround. The $[removed] was to spend at the design center, anything over that $[removed] would be offset by Christal and I.

If we were mistaken, please let us know. Like you, we don’t want to continue to drag this out longer. Time permitting you can speak with my wife if not, then we will need to look for another resolution to the tub surround issue.
Thank you,
Stephen Toumi & Christal Davis

Within minutes we had a response, which listed (as seen above) our outstanding items and our concern with the payment clause in the settlement agreement. She agreed, “your understanding of the material allowance for the master tub/vanity splash is the same as mine.  I will review with our General Counsel to make sure the language is clear.” Twenty days later, we received an updated settlement agreement to reveiew, sign and return.

I’ll be honest, we took our time reading and discussion this updated settlement agreement. Initial thoughts were positive and we were excited to move forward and get the bathtub surround replaced. The more time that passed, the less inclined I was to sign the agreement. I began reading certain clauses to my wife, as well as ‘Exhibit 1’, which included our “open items list.” Each item appeared to have a corrective item associated and we were pleased. ‘Section 3. Payment’ was revised to include what Ms. Sanson and I had verbally agreed to nearly a month earlier.

The more I read it, the more I was confused and decided to enlist the services of a high school friend who was an attorney up in Chico.  We had talked previously via Facebook, on and off topic about the house, reminding me, “ Be sure to read your purchase contract very carefully. You don’t want to get into a legal quagmire...If you need a hand let me know.” I sent him a copy of the contact to go over on October 19 and received an email on October 30, “We should talk before you make a decision to sign or not.” That alone did not sound promising.

However after talking to the attorney, we had made our decision not to accept the terms of the settlement agreement, as it was written to protect the interests of DeNova Homes. Sure, we could of had the bathtub surround removed and replaced, but potentially tie our hands and release DeNova Homes responsibility if further problems were to arise. With all the issues we had reported in a new home, we did not want to give away any potential opportunity to get something repaired while the home was still under warranty.

Now nearly 8 months since the close of escrow and we are still waiting to get issues resolved. I did receive an interesting comment from a reader on my #dontbuydenova: The Saga Continues post:

Hi Steve,

Thank you for posting your Denova home issues and lack of service by this company. We moved into our new home (Gilroy, Ladera Vista) in May 2015. On walk-thru, we found countless issues with the home. Many as you described. I asked the service manger (Chuck) if anybody from Denova walked through the home prior to our inspection to make certain issues were addressed BEFORE our walk through and he said that was his job! So, as far as quality control, nobody seems to be making sure the service managers are doing their job properly. A year and a half later, we are STILL trying to have issues addressed. I usually give people more chances than they deserve, but once I’m done, I’m done.

So, did you ever contact a lawyer to help the process along? I have sent messages to two firms, but have not heard back. I also read that some Denova home owners received letters from a firm in LA representing homeowners for faulty construction and lack of action to correct, but some people responded that there are law firms that send these letters to all new home owners.

Here is someone I do not know in the DeNova Homes’ Ladera Vista development in Gilroy, CA. Her comments echo many of the ongoing complaints we have had with DeNova since moving in. Tuesday will open another chapter, as the warranty manager, along with contractors will be visiting our house again “to inspect several of the outstanding items. The goal being that all subs can see what repairs we intend on having them make while at the same time allow them a chance to determine what material they will need to have ordered prior to starting  repairs.” Hmm, this was already done months ago! The floor tile guy, the carpet guy, the cabinet company, the tiled backsplash guy! They have all been here and took measurements in order to get materials together to repair. Not why we are doing this again! So, the saga continues…but I might get to fly my banner!

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Premier League: GW11 Retrospect

Let the rollercoaster begin! Up one week, down the other as the last 4 out of 5 weeks have been nothing short of miserable and disappointing seeing my squad drop to a season low ranking of 820k, a loss of 97k spots at the conclusion of GW11. As we head into the break it’s 2 weeks of head shaking and contemplation, not to mention potential injuries and fatigue issue before return to EPL action. I am currently 119 points off the pace I wanted to be on through GW11, as my team is scoring an average of 49.18 points per week. This week’s total off 44 was 8 points off the 52 point average. I missed the opportunity to captain Coutinho, forgetting to give him the armband and rolled with Sanchez for the second week, a difference of 18 points.

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Defensively, my squad is getting better, but suffered another setback this week. Along with Everton giving up 5 resulting in zero points for Williams, Holebas and Watford gave up 6 goals, while picking up with 5th yellow card on the season for a -2. West Brom was solid through 54 minutes, up 1-0 against Leicester, but just 3 minutes after the Baggies scored, Slimani equalized. This was the fifth one goal game that Foster and McAuley had allowed. Talk about the razor’s edge, these two combined for just 4 points.

I still have van Aanholt and the injured Valencia on the bench. Valencia is on the short list to be replaced due to the arm and I have a few defenders in mind including Alonso, Fuchs and Vertonghen. Van Aanholt is probably going to remain as a bench player until the January WC, on a positive note, Sunderland does play Hull in GW12. Might do me well to start him for that match.

In the middle of the pitch is still undergoing a transformation. It’s becoming evident there are template players that are a “must have” emerging after the likes of Fer and Capoue having great starts to the season. My FT was used to bring in Coutinho for Walcott, on paper it appeared to be a strong move based on Liverpool’s schedule and the fact Walcott might be a rotation risk. IT was my intention to captain Coutinho, but I forgot and Sanchez kept the armband, which was a loss of 18 points that could have turned that red arrow to a green arrow. I now have 2 weeks to debate De Bruyne versus Hazard versus Sanchez before making a decision for GW12.

2016_leaguesHazard has quickly shot to the top of the midfield pack with returns of 8,8,14 and 19 points the last 4 weeks. It appears his 2014-2015 form has returned, as Chelsea is playing very well since moving to their 3-4-3.  Spurs and City in the next 2 out of 3 games for the Blues but neither are too much cause for concern. As for De Bruyne, he came off double digit returns in GW4-6, but a knock saw him sidelined in GW7. Since his return, his playing time was limited and has returned just 2 assists agaisnt Boro and the Baggies. Might be a cause for concern, but still feel he will return to the play we saw earlier this year. Sanchez has graced my squad twice now but feel his 11.4m price tag is worth it’s weight. While Arsenal’s record in November has been awful, the schedule appears to be in their favor with United (A) and Bournemouth (H). His continued inclusion on my squad is contingent on what Arsene could do with Giroud, up top as a starter. Sanchez, like Coutinho have a run of very good fixtures, which would have me leaning to keep both of them, sell KDB and pick up Hazard beginning in GW12.

Up top, Costa continues to find goals and stay away from that 5th yellow card, as Chelsea continues score with 13 in the last 4 EPL matches, conceding nil. As mentioned, outside of Spurs and City in the next few weeks a very favorable schedule to round out the year. Losing Aguero has hurt but still have confidence in Lukaku for at least the next 4 weeks when they play Arsenal and Liverpool back to back. Austin also picked up his 5th from the spot on Sunday and remains a good budget buy. However with back to back EPL victories, Vokes has suddenly popped up on the “watch list” with 2 goals in 2 goals, he also comes in at 6.1m, 0.5m less than Austin.

While disappointment and frustration continue, I am still on a better pace this point than I was last year. However seeing my team free fall, I wonder when it will stop. It appears every move I make ends up being the wrong move, like dropping Aguero 2 weeks ago, only to see him score 2 goals. Chances are good I will move KDB for Hazard coming out of the break, pending any major injury picked up by any of my starting XI. Another move I would like to complete is Heaton for Foster, but I’m having a hard time using a FT for a swap in goalkeepers. This too will probably become a WC move in January, unless I have a spectacular November and see the green arrows return.

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