Amazing the amount of variables to take into account, when just a few short weeks ago when I posted Premier League: Seeing Double and my plans for the run in to DGW36 and DGW37. With change in the wind, injuries on the pitch and questions surrounding form, formation and fixtures I have taken a risky route over the next few weeks.
Just 5 players remain from the plan I formulated prior to GW33. With already have played my WC in GW21, it would be a string of hits in order to get the proper personnel in place to take advantage of the DGWs. Original thought was to triple up on Man City, but the injury to Aguero and the rotation risk of Sane tempered my transfers. However the return of Jesus has sparked interest in City for DGW37.
Before moving ahead, let’s take a look at DGW36 and who isn’t in my starting XI or even on my squad. The two most notable names, Gabbiadini and Sanchez. Based on recent form, neither deserve a starting spot. Since returning from injury Gabbiadini hasn’t been the same offensive threat we saw when he made his move from Serie A. Even when at Napoli he wasn’t a prolific scorer; 5 goals in 23 games last year and just 3 goals in 13 this season before the transfer.
So’ton’s DGW schedule isn’t kind, facing Liverpool (A) and Arsenal (H) in GW36 followed by Middlesbrough (A) and Man United (H) in GW37. I fancy that the Boro match up is their only favorable fixture, a team they defeated just 1-0 back in GW15. Rumors of discontent are running through the team, as well as the impending return of Austin from injury and the veteran, Long off the bench to steal minutes.
The exclusion of Sanchez doesn’t come without risk, the league’s top scorer (214) has been omitted, in fact I didn’t have him included when I wrote up my original plan during GW33. Earlier this season, I felt Sanchez was indispensable (read Sanchez Effect) and before running the stats, felt NOT including Sanchez was a reason for my lack of performance. The reality of the situation, he would have contributed approximately 59 points over the gameweeks I didn’t have him versus the players I did start in his place.
The last 6 weeks have been his worst run of the season, with just a single return in GW33 (7 pts). How does he warrant a place in the starting XI? Wenger is now experimenting with formation, Sanchez is still playing wide left, but is he just playing out of the season before moving on? Based on the reverse fixtures against Man United and So’ton, he totaled just 2 points! Looking ahead to GW37 he posted returns of 5 and 13 against Stoke City and Sunderland. If fantasy managers see that sort of return in GW37 using the triple captain chip, they should be elated. However I feel there are stronger, in form players to start in the midfield. The one component you can’t take away from Sanchez is his explosiveness.
For GW36 I have taken a 12 point hit. That hurts, it’s bad enough I have been on a nasty string of -8 points hit (6 out of last 7 weeks), which feels as if it has become the norm. Unfortunately, these hits come at a cost of limiting my climb up the global rankings. However the returns have been positive with just a single red arrow since GW27, last week in GW35. Still sitting at 651k, is considerable lower than I anticipated to be at this point in the year. Still, take the good with the bad and look forward to the next fixture. I finger a poor run of form starting GW8 through GW13 as a reason for my current ranking.
As for the GW36 squad the changes have come up front, as I moved out Benteke and Gabbiadini this week in favor of Costa and Jesus. To free up enough budget, I said good bye to Zaha and brought in Fraser from Bournemouth. The other addition this week was introducing Stephens for Gibson and getting his price bump early in the week.
Costa now pairs with Hazard for the double and a great run in through the end of the season, with just a single away game remaining. He picked up just his third double of the season in GW34 but his form seems to be returning.
Jesus seemed to be a no brainer, as Aguero limped off the pitch last week after a solid performance with a groin injury. Jesus returning to pitch after injury has looked great in just 2 appearances. Dynamic and excitable and very favorable fixtures to finish the season. This kid could post some great returns before the season is up. Games include Palace (H), Leicester (H), West Brom (H) and Watford (A). He will also wear the armband for my squad this weekend.
The inclusion of Costa, Jesus and Stephens set me up for DGW37 leaving just 4 players who don’t have a DGW next week. When the transfer window opens for DGW37 I will look towards upgrading my defenders. Bailly and van Aanholt will be out and I’ll be looking at Man City and Chelsea defenders. It doesn’t appear I will have the budget to include one from each team. The decision will hinge on what I do with Jakupovic. The sole player remaining from GW1 will possibly be move for either Cech or Courtois. If I get Courtois, then it will be the budget defender, Holgate with no DGW to fill the final defender slot.