Hopefully I haven’t spoke too soon, as it appears my season is turning around. GW29 marks the third week in a row I have received a green arrow. This is just the second time all season I have put a streak of this duration. With the international break forthcoming, hopefully my starting XI can keep the streak going into GW30. While it was a good showing in GW29, it could have been much better. The captain selection and injury coupled with an ineffective defender cost me a few points. Add to that the fact I took an -8 point hit (4th in 5 weeks) to get the necessary players in.
Over the last 3 weeks I have recorded scores of 69, 42 and 78 to improve my overall rankings by 445k, from 1.6m to 1.1m. Currently on just 1400 points, I will need to average about 66 points/week in order to reach my updated goal of 2000 points. Not out of the question, but just when I feel I have the game figured out, it takes a turn and smacks me upside the head. I am trying to ignore what happened to my team the last time I put together my three green arrows, as it was followed by three red arrows and a drop of nearly 700k, which didn’t stop until GW27 following five red arrows.
The ankle injury to Kane with an unknown return date meant I held my forwards for another week, led by the red hot Lukaku. Unfortunately I made the decision not to captain him this week opting for Sanchez against West Brom. For 90 minutes of the game, it appeared to be the right decision, as Lukaku accounted for just a single assist. In extra time, Lukaku found the back of the net twice and finished the week on 16 points including 3 BPS. For a second week, Llorente was highly ineffective up front against Bournemouth returning nothing. All the hype and expectation of Gabbiadini lasted just 31 minutes when was removed with a groin injury.
Llorente now finds himself on that short list to be sold, even though Swansea have good fixtures over the next 4 out of 6 weeks. Potentially making his way into my squad will be Jamie Vardy, the Leicester front man scored his 3rd goal in 3 games with an 11 point return. Two outstanding match ups, Stoke and Sunderland both at home await after the break. My only concern at this point is coming up with the necessary budget to make this transfer happen. Currently I am 0.8m short. However Sanchez was withdrawn early due to injury.
Speaking of the midfielders, this was one of my most productive weeks all season long. Amazing to see the difference when there is some consistency at this position. Playing a 3-4-3 I started Alli, Eriksen, Sigurdsson and Sanchez with Snodgrass on the bench. After 7 straight weeks of returning points, it would Sigurdsson to let me down this week. In reality, Swansea was dominated all game long by the Cherries and had difficulty putting together any sort of sustained attack.
I tuned into the Spurs game with halftime approaching and was thrilled to see Eriksen and Alli each with a goal and expected this to continue in the second half. A bit of disappointment when I saw the final score of 2-1 in favor of Spurs and no further goals from my “dynamic duo.” Out of Arsenal’s blank week I decided to run out Sanchez with the captain’s armband. Guess I should have stuck to Lukaku, playing at home as opposed to Sanchez at WBA. After losing points on Sanchez throughout the year I felt confident with him. Sanchez returned a goal and 3 BPS for 9 points, which doubled to 18 points. This was a strong effort but bested by Lukaku in the late game.
Defensively I have improved with the addition of Coleman for GW23 and Valencia in GW29. Mawson is still a bit of a question mark, but with a dreadful performance on Saturday he might be relegated to my fourth starter. In Mawson, a manager must rely on his ability to score, as Swansea has managed only 4 CS on the season. Mawson had 4 goals in his last 9 games before Saturday. An own goal and conceding another, Alfie finished with a -1 point.
His defensive partners were much strong, led by Valencia who picked up an extra time strike for 8 points. Coleman and Everton finished off Hull with a CS and 6 points. It would be Burnley’s Tom Heaton to lead all my defenders with 10 points on the back of a CS and 3 BPS. Not sure Heaton will see the start in GW30 against Spurs, as Jakupovic will return to face WHU. The ineffectiveness of Brunt and ongoing injury to Friend are causing problems and limiting my options. I am transferring both players, however even with WBA’s tough schedule I would be willing to keep him over Friend. Watching Boro yesterday, I was impressed with the new look under Steve Agnew, so Friend (if and when healthy) could flourish in the starting XI. Yet if his calf injury continues I will be forced to move him in favor of another starter. Currently he’s listed as “MAjor Doubt” with a expected return of April 2, which means he might be available for GW30 vs Swansea.
As we work our way to GW34 and potential DGWs I am hoping to position my squad to take advantage of players with multiple games. Currently I have 7 players on my squad who will have DGWs but would like to increase that number to 9 or 10 players. Arsenal and So’ton lead the way, each with 3 games to make up due to blanks. Chelsea, Man U, Man City, Spurs, Leicester and Sunderland each have 2 games with Watford, WBA and Boro each having a single game. Opportunities are there, even without my second WC, it appears I have time to make the necessary transfers.
Sitting with two injuries and on eve of the international break, I can only hope that Sanchez and Gabbiadini either don’t play or are limited and return to their respective clubs ready to play. I don’t plan on making any snap decision until the night before GW30. The last thing I need is another player to down to injury during the break and be sidelined on their return to the EPL.