Make it six green arrows in a row as GW32 and a season high 87 points! Prior to this week, I asked myself, “so how do I improve on 81 points?” My answer this week is similar to last week, a great run of luck, something I have been short on nearly all season long. Now that my season has turned, I can only hope to maintain this streak and trust the decisions I make don’t hamper my climb back up the global rankings and now push for top spot in my mini leagues.
The most frustrating part of this week, not seeing Valencia and Fuchs included in the 18 man rosters for their matches. Man United posted a CS in a 3-0 victory over hapless Sunderland. At the least, 6 points for the CS. Fuchs, on the other hand would have been zero points, as Leicester gave up 4 goals in a loss to Everton. My first two bench players; Grosicki and Mawson will pick up the slack and provide me another 4 points to my season high total. In the end, it works out to my advantage.
Defensively, my squad has been in form and scoring at will. The pairing of Gibson and Yoshida did it again this week, recording 8 and 9 points respectively. For Gibson it’s been 19 points over the last 3 game weeks, including 4 bonus points, while Yoshida has picked up 27 points, including 7 bonus points. Couldn’t ask for better production, but fixtures are about to turn for both players and it could be time to look at elsewhere for defensive points. Mawson (2 pts) was substituted in place of the non-playing Valencia.
Gibson potentially has 2 games left, the DGW in 34 as Boro face BOU (A) and SUN (H). I don’t plan on starting him in GW33 vs ARS and after GW35 I don’t like the fixtures. Yoshida and So’ton have 2 DGWs yet to be scheduled, although home games against MNU and ARS are ones to smile about, I can see just 3 potential games So’ton keep CS on. Those matches would be against HUL (H), MID (A) and STO (H). Fuchs could potentially become rotation fodder as well. Until this weekend, Valencia was the only defender I had planned to start the rest of the season, but with United still alive in the EL, there might be some more rotation planned by Jose.
A change in rear guard, as I moved Jakupovic to the bench (vs Man City) and opted to start Heaton away at Boro. It turned up roses on all accounts with Gibson posting a nice return and Heaton recording a CS and a point for saves; 7 total points. Looking ahead, I might sacrifice Heaton in favor of Valdez for Boro’s DGW in 34 against BOU (A) and SUN (H). Both have the potential for CS and possible some save points at BOU. This swap will be short lived as BUR has a favorable games from GW35 to the end of the season. Based on my planning it appears Jakupovic and Heaton would split the final 4 games of the season.
I have never been a big Son fan, but you can’t deny him when given the opportunity in the starting XI. While I didn’t have him this week, nor did I contemplating bringing him in,Alli and Eriksen were already cemented in the starting lineup. Returns of 16 points and 6 points started the weekend off properly. With the imminent return of Kane, consideration is being made to triple up on Spurs. Only once this season, GW18 did that occur with Spurs; Alli, Eriksen and Rose, prior to his injury. Alli, Eriksen and Kane would provide big returns, but not without some risk. Eriksen has been an assist machine this season, but it’s Alli outscoring him, just only 8 points.
However, there are options available in the midfield if moves were to be made. Eriksen would then be expendable, making way for the possibly of Coutinho, Sterling or Sigurdsson, if he gets back on track at Swansea. The other option, would be to move Eriksen, free up my budget and bring a third premium forward in for a shift in formation to 3-5-2.
At Chelsea, the introduction of Hazard for Sanchez yielded 10 points, as he found the net for his fourth consecutive game. In my opinion, his form and play has been more dynamic than that of Costa,who is 0.2m more. Chelsea still has a game yet to be scheduled, WAT (H) , should be a favorable DGW as they have a solid run to a potential championship.
On a few comments from other manager’s, who’s opinions I respect I moved Sigurdsson for Walcott. If you watched the game against Palace today, it was a dismal performance by the Gunners. How do you dominate position, but not capitalize on shots? Maybe Big Sam has the right formula for success. I for one did not expect a 3-0 final score. Regardless, the Gunners looked terrible at both ends of the pitch. I am well aware they have two DGWs, but ask me right now and I am not going to push to include any of them in my starting XI, even IF they play Sunderland! As quickly as Walcott has come into my squad, he is poised for a quick exit.
In addition to my season high score in GW32, I took another -8 point hit, which saw Vardy depart and Lukaku return. Prior to GW30, I had little faith in Lukaku returning on the road, so I shipped him in favor of Vardy. With two home games, I brought him back, but moved Vardy because Leicester is still involved in the UCL and there was a chance he would be rested. That rest came on Sunday, as Vardy was substituted at the 60 minute mark having no impact or return on the game. Lukaku on the other hand posted a brace and 3 bonus points for 13. He was paired with Ibrahimovic, who I brought in last week. Zlatan impressed with a goal and assist coupled with 3 bonus points for a total of 12 on the day. Third forward Llorente was deep on the bench and could be short listed depending on how I approach the upcoming games.
Decisions only seem to become more crucial the longer a run goes on. This has been my best run, now into my fourth season, that I have experienced. On the flip side of this run, I haven’t been pleased with the number of hits I have taken to get me where I am. The current run includes a -40 point hit over 6 weeks, not an ideal strategy when looking to improve in the global rankings or mini leagues. But one cannot argue with 415 total points over 6 weeks or 69.1 point average. This is 9 points above the 60 point average I was hoping to maintain this season!
Going forward there is still a growing concern about the DGWs. We are still waiting to hear on how the DGWs play out before putting together a strategy to navigate those weeks. While I have a play pieced together, it is subject to change, as there are games that have yet to be scheduled. Unlike other managers I have already activated my s second WC and Triple Captain Chip, leaving me the AOA and Bench Boost yet to play. Looking past GW33 I am planning on bringing in Valdez and starting Gibson for the GW34 games. Originally I was set to start Valencia and Ibrahimovic, but seeing Valencia rested the last 2 weeks, doubt has not been cast on him being “safe” from rotation. I do have my eye on Eric bailly, while not as offensive minded as Valencia, he can secure a CS or two.
With Walcott suddenly on a short list, I am still looking at moving Llorente, even with WAT and STK in their next two. The “potential” is there, but we haven’t seen Swansea capitalize on their chances with just 3 goals in their last 5 games, it was no surprise I moved Sigurdsson this week. However I am hopefully the return of Llortente spawns the Swans in the next few weeks.
After Monday’s fixture I am now up to 719k in the global rankings, an improvement of nearly 900k over the past 6 weeks. In my mini leagues I am second and fifth, but just 26 points separated 5th from 2nd. As for the top spot, 132 an 66 points in are how close I am after GW32. can I close the gap? Potentially. My squad is different than those sitting at the top spot. Time and luck will tell.