For the first time in 10 weeks my decision making didn’t pay off and I was left to ponder move before the DGWs begin. While I don’t have any players in today’s match, Watford hosting Liverpool, I can only hope that the Hornets tighten things up and don’t give the Reds opportunities in and around the box. I finished GW35 with 57 points, which included 3 players with just a single point. Between the pipes I had been strong with Heaton and Jakupovic, but in a hasty, last minute decision I brought in Caballero. What a disaster!
The once hot Crystal Palace has definitely cooled off. Their DGW34 wasn’t all that impressive, unless you owned Benteke. I chose Zaha and van Aanholt and held them over through GW35 for the Burnley match. Winless on the road, Burnley put in a great shift and held Palace goalless, 2-0. Zaha and van Aanholt (bench), each finished with a single marker. Benteke came into the squad replacing Llorente, played just 70 minutes and picked up a yellow card. Originally I had planned on holding Palace through GW37 and their home fixture against Hull, but their their defense ailing, these players may be in jeopardy.
Another failed move this week, one that I was one leading up to GW35 was introducing Gabbiadini. He picked up 59 minutes in GW33 and 85 in GW34, with an assist against Chelsea. It appeared he could be back in form. Facing Hull in GW35 at home, the table was set, as he was highly transferred in and captained. At the same time I was considering Afobe as a budget buy in order to introduce Sanchez for DGW36. Following other managers Gabbiadini came into my starting XI. It was a very uninspiring performance for the So’ton forward, who now has us asking questions on the horizon of DGW36 and DGW37 for the Saints.
At this point, you need to figure he could see a consider amount of playing time. I do believe he is their best option up top, but there is some risk with Long and Austin, who’s returning from shoulder injury. As of now, I have not see a return to fitness date, which could bode well for Gabbiadini owners. Liverpool, one clean sheet in the last 10 games and Arsenal, three out of the last 10 games, have given up goals, so Sot’on could profit offensively. Yet, it’s been the defense that has played better for the Saints. At this point, I do plan on playing Gabbiadini through both DGWs.
Elsewhere up front, it was Kane setting the tone for Sunday, picking up another goal while wearing the armband for 10 points. This was his third return in 3 weeks as they play away to West Ham this weekend. In GW37 they face Man United (H) and Leicester (A). Kane is a starter for the duration, along with Eriksen and Alli, as I plan on all three Spurs players through the end of the season. Early chances weren’t converted or all three players would have posted higher scores. That being said, Alli picked up 8 points with a goal and CS, while Eriksen added another assist and CS for 6 points.
On the weekend, it would be King for Bounemouth who topped all starters with 11 points, on a goal and 3 bonus points. While he doesn’t have a DGW, he will be play out the season in the starting XI. GW37 could see him as a strong captain option, home against Burnley, but the draw of the DGW players might be to strong, even with a solid match up.
Hazard returned for his fourth week out of five with an assist and clean sheet. He’s been dynamic and vital to Chelsea’s run to the title, but has only played 90 minutes twice in the last 10 games. Home to Boro in GW36 should prove fruitful…then again I am sure owners of Man City players said the same thing.
Speaking of Man City…Caballero, on paper looked to be the beneficiary of an injury to Bravo between the pipes. On paper, away to Boro appeared to be “business as usual” for City, who should have rolled into town and beat Boro. That didn’t happen, two goals and City were reeling, as they had to come from behind to register a 2-2 draw. As for Caballero, he was a late change on Saturday morning. I felt Heaton and Jakupovic didn’t have strong fixtures and I wanted to add a DGW keeper to my squad. In the end I opted to move Heaton, who scored 7 points against Palace, which included a CS and save points. But it was Jakupovic, 14 points that made me hurt. he registered a CS, save points, 3 bonus points and a penalty save. I can take solace in knowing I would have started Heaton, as he was in my starting XI before move to Slick Willy. Hopefully his gloves are more sticky come GW36.
Defensively, I rant with just two defenders this week as I activated my All Out Attack chip. Staring defenders were Yoshida and Bailly, both put in solid shift rewarding me with two clean sheets for 12 points. Unfortunately, Bailly was lost on the stroke of 60 minutes, but I was able to get the full complement of points from him. He appears to be a risk for the coming game week, which means another hit to transfer in a healthy defender, unless I hold him out of the gameweek in an away match to Arsenal. Bailly had returned 42 points in the last 7 games!
Tentatively I was rewarded a 9th green arrow in a row, a record I continue to build on, now in my 4th year as a fantasy manager. The 8 points hits, while beneficial, have still hurt my global ranking, as I moved up just 10k this week to 627k. It was my hope I would be around 300k by this week. I suspect I will drop after Monday’s game, but SHOULD remain with a green arrow.
Looking towards DGW36 I am not sure what to do. More injuries have put me into a quandary over what direction I want to go for the next 2 weeks. With no WC to use and just the Bench Boost remaining, I know I will activate it in DGW37. Injuries to Bailly, Aguero and Afobe all come at a cost as further transfers will need to be evaluated to see if I can fit them within my budget, which now stands at 104.4, a season high for me.
Initially plans called for Zaha and Benteke being transferred out in favor of Sanchez and Afobe. But the groin injury picked up by Aguero means that Jesus could be starting over the next few games. He looked excellent, partnering with Aguero up front in GW35. I am unable to bring both Jesus and Sanchez in, as I have a shortfall of 1.8m. So do we trust a very unimpressive Sanchez over back to back DGWs to flourish with the armband? Do we play the Brazilian young gun for City looking to impress with his flair and excitability on the pitch?
Options include passing on Sanchez but adding Ozil, who’s got two double digit hauls in his last 5 games. This would allow me the budget needed to add Jesus to the mix. Adding Sanchez leaves me with only 6.9m for a third forward. That list includes Origi and Rashford at the top with the usual suspects; Negredo, Deeney and Llorente also available.