Premier League: What next?

As we approach Gameweek 10, I feel my squad is in complete disarray. Off the activation of my Free Hit Chip last weekend, I feel as I was the one who got hit, resulting in a season low, 36 points. In hindsight, I should have held the chip and rode out the mixed fixtures with the starting XI I had in place. It doesn’t help that Kane posted a season high, 16 points, a player I had been tossing the armband to on a regular basis. Add to that, the fact Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling started on the bench only made the weekend worse. Somewhere in there must be a silver lining. But where?

The backbone of many fantasy teams, the midfield. Opting for a 5-2-3 formation has limited my midfield selections to date. Christian Eriksen has been the mainstay for the last 7 gameweeks, averaging 5.6/PPG. To date, Eriksen has been one of the most consistent performers in the EPL this season, sitting second with 58 points among all midfielders.
Pascal Groß was brought in for Gameweek 8, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan made way due to his lack of involvement after injuries to Pogba and Fellaini. Back to back 6 point returns for Groß with favorable fixtures; SOU/swa/STO, has played his way into my starting XI.

Heading into GW10 I have £1.2m ITB, unfortunately it’s £0.6m short to secure the services of Watford’s starlet, Richarlison. Returns in the last 4 games has many fantasy managers eying the Brasilian through GW13; STO/eve/WHM/new. This would require a change in my defensive philosophy, shifting away from the premium wing back to a bargain or mid-priced defender, the options are plenty! Currently my 5-man defence consists of:

Priced at £30.1m, I didn’t skip out on going big to complement my big 3-man forward line. Kyle Walker is the only defender who is currently returning points. Ben Davies appears to have gone from “hero to zero” with the return to fitness of Danny Rose. Marcos Alonso is currently being outplayed by his defensive partner, Caesar Azpilicueta. Sead Kolasinac isn’t getting the marauding runs into the opponents box like we saw when Alexis Sanchez wasn’t starting for the Gunners. Aaron Cresswell, has returned just one CS in his last 4 games and was sidelined in GW9 due to a gametime illness. A fixture against Palace SHOULD be favorable for the Hammers defense. Should. Yet this season, things haven’t actually fallen into place as expected.

Up front Harry Kane anchors the forward line, now consider essential in my book, will be the default captain the remainder of the season. Gabriel Jesus continues to occupy the number two spot, but at £10.5m with Pep managing playing time, I might have to look elsewhere. Lastly, Jamie Vardy, who’s fill in role since GW6 has yielded just 9 points.

By all appearance the “power three” forward line is losing momentum and fantasy managers are looking at a 4 or 5-man midfield, especially with budget players now performing. We can’t overlook the return of Alexis Sanchez (2.3 TSB%), who bagged his first double digit return and a now fit, in form Eden Hazard (4.9 TSB%). Both carry a pricey premium, £10.6m and £11.8m respectively, but could be major differentials, considering they were template players last season.

For my squad, I am not ready to take a -4 point hit to bring in new talent, least of all a defender. With £1.2m ITB a single move for a new midfielder is going to be limited. Richarlison currently tops the list, but come up £0.6m short. That means I need to drip into the defense to free up the necessary budget. The single move option I h include, Abdoulaye Doucouré (£5.4m) and Eric Maxim Chuopo-Moting (£5.7m).

Given I only have one FT for the week, it would be wiser to move Kolasinac or Alonso in order to free up necessary budget for future moves. With a poor run of fixtures upcoming, Kolasinac could make way for £5.4m (or less defender). If it weren’t for the next two fixtures; TOT/che, Phil Jones would top the list. Elsewhere Kiko Femenia (£4.5m) and a Duffy/Dunk (£4.5m) are the other considerations based on upcoming fixtures. Maya Yoshida continues to prove good value, not at £5.1m and So’ton still has bha/BUR in the next 2 fixtures. He’s been a BPS magnet this season, totaling 6 points, as well a goal/assist and 4 clean sheets.

Finally, I need to look at the formation, which I still back but looking at where points are coming from, I am lacking quality returns from the high priced wing back. Could I continue to practice patience? Or does it demand a shift in formation to a 5-3-2, reducing the wing back options or moving to a 4-3-3 one of the more conventional formations, 3-4-3 or 3-5-2. Regardless of the direction I select, it will be a 3-4 week process to put the pieces in place.

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