Premier League: Life without Lukaku

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” or so the saying goes. As fantasy managers find something to pass the time this weekend, many are reviewing and preparing their squads for the upcoming DGW, as we have 9 week of play remaining. Riding the success of three green arrows into the international break, I feel my squad has turned the corner and I’ve gained nearly 500k spots, positioned at 1.1m with 1400 total points. Not ideal, but it’s been a challenging season. To think, I had this all figured out after GW6 sitting at 29k, on the back of three green arrows.

Bold moves may mark the start of GW30 as I prepare my strategy and transfers through GW34. I am without a WC, which I activated in GW21 to rebuild my team as I was struggling with just 3 green arrows out of the previous 10 weeks. While I am holding my FT until late next week, we wait and watch the international matches in hopes EPL players stay in form and more importantly, healthy. Seamus Coleman has already been lost for the rest of the season due to a broken leg. That is one transfer I hadn’t accounted for.

Plans for GW30 now include 3 transfers; Sanchez, Lukaku and Coleman out for Vardy, Mane and Fuchs. Yes, you read that right, I plan on moving the most in form forward, Lukaku. The next two matches are away to Livepool and Man United, two games in which he didn’t return points earlier in the year. In fact if you look over his Merseyside Derby stats, he has just two goals since joining Everton. His home performance is stronger than on the road, with 12 goals in 13 matches at home versus 8 goals in 14 matches on the road. He’a also created 3 more chances (20) at home than on the road. His shot accuracy remains constant at 66% in both cases.

Introducing Vardy will be the first time the Leicester man has made an appearance on my squad. His form and that of the Foxes has been lacking much of the year, as they push to stay clear of the relegation zone. Since Craig Shakespeare has taken the reins, Leicester has been undefeated in 4 games, advancing to the quarterfinals in the UCL and now 6 points clear of relegation. Vardy has been reborn, so to speak with returns in his last 3 games, including 3 goals. Up next for the Foxes, home tilts against Stoke City and Sunderland. Based on form and fixture, Vardy could put together to solid performances.

“The Vardy Experiment” will only be for 2 weeks, as I plan on getting Lukaku back for GW32, when the fixtures turn more favorable for Everton. As for Sanchez, Arsenal need his performance to excel in order to secure a top 4 finish. Much like Vardy, running a starting XI without Sanchez is a risk that I could take. Selected by just 26.2% of fantasy managers, does that make him essential? Fantasy Football Geek shows us that just 40% of the top FPL managers (10) he follows has Sanchez. Combine his number with that of the top 10k fantasy managers and Sanchez still misses the 50% cut for being “essential” in our fantasy squad. Conversely, Mane is owned by 90% of the top managers he followed and 54% of 10k manager, making his inclusion “essential.”

Statically, Sanchez has the advantage over Mane in many categories on the comparison matrix at Squawka.com. That doesn’t come as a surprise. Both midfielders have scored 34 points over the last 5 game weeks. Sanchez a bit more consistent with a single no return against Chelsea. Mane scored 29 points hitting braces in two games and no returns in the other 3 games. On the pitch, we all know Sanchez IS Arsenal, his involvement is key to their success. Mane is a cog in a talented midfield with Coutinho, Lallana, Miler, Wijnaldum and Firmino. You take a gamble when you transfer in one of the “big three” (Coutinho, Mane, Firmino) that they follow through from week to week with returns, while Sanchez carries a better consistency.

While I swore off Mane after last time, I swore I wouldn’t go without Sanchez after posting The Sanchez Effect. Now it appears the tables could be reversed…again! Thankfully we have another week to wait and watch, to work on our strategy to get through DGW34 and beyond. Sanchez due to his high price tag doesn’t allow me the necessary budget to make the necessary moves to get me through GW34. Mane, however, does. Not that I will let that sole fact be the deciding factor.

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  1. Pingback: Premier League: GW30 Retrospect - T H E 6 T H F L O O R

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