In our latest Pro Pundits article, Ash – aka ‘Chief’ – is readying himself for a Sergio Aguero swansong as Jamie Vardy’s form and fixtures become too good to ignore.
Before last week’s deadline, I wanted to get attacking Leicester coverage in no small part due to their tremendous form under Brendan Rodgers as well as their good run of upcoming games.
Jamie Vardy (£9.3m) and James Maddison (£7.3m) were at the top of my watchlist but, instead of buying them, I decided to bank my free transfer and hoped that the Foxes could somehow have a quiet Friday night game. That thinking didn’t go to plan as ten-man Southampton capitulated and shipped nine goals. Kasper Schmeichel’s (£5.1m) clean sheet was damage limitation at best for my FPL team.
Thankfully, Raheem Sterling (£12.1m) did the business as captain the day after and, for the first time this season, I captained the highest-scoring player in my team for a given Gameweek! It was also my first back-to-back green arrow for this campaign.
It could have gone horribly wrong had I trusted Sergio Aguero (£12.1m) with armband duties, with the Argentina international failing to start for a second week in a row and only making a cameo appearance. In the end, despite my initial trepidation, I somehow scored 64 points, which was well above the average and translated into a 300k overall rise.
It’s fair to say that any FPL manager will be in panic mode if their squad contains a £12m+ striker that has failed to score since Gameweek 6 and who has not started in two consecutive Gameweeks during that time. After his damp squib cameo, I was extremely tempted to sell Aguero late on Saturday night in anticipation of his price drop and Vardy’s price rise.
However, I wrote off the -£0.2m swing and opted to hold in case unexpected injuries cropped up on the Sunday games. In addition, I was also keen to see what Pep Guardiola would do with his rotation policy for the EFL Cup on Tuesday night. To my annoyance, he started both Aguero and Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m). Aguero’s brace served as a futile reminder of what could have been against Aston Villa.
In a strange way, it’s a good thing that he scored as Manchester City are due to play the Saints again over the weekend. Also, Jesus has started three games in a row over a short period of time. Surely he’s due a rest? With this in mind, I’m reluctantly willing to hold onto Aguero for one more Gameweek.
At the same time, with my two free transfers (and a -4), I’m trying to see if I can still shoehorn Vardy into the team. If I did, it will involve selling Mason Greenwood (£4.3m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) and Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.0m). But I’m not keen on doing that due to the imbalance it would create. Maybe I will have to persevere without Vardy for one more weekend? After this weekend he faces Arsenal and he loves scoring a goal against them (eight in eight). One thing is for certain, it really is last-chance saloon time for Aguero.
In my estimation, if there’s one thing that we learned from Tuesday night it was that Sterling will almost certainly start on Saturday after his absence from the EFL Cup squad (provided he remains injury-free). Sterling is the stand-out captain pick, not just for Manchester City in Gameweek 11, but among all teams.
With the exception of Gameweek 8, he has registered a Fantasy return in every home game that he has started in the Premier League this season. You can’t go wrong captaining one of the marquee players of the reigning champions, a team that on average score more than three goals per game at the Etihad. It’s as good as it gets in FPL as a ‘captain obvious’ pick.
I wouldn’t risk captaining Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) against Aston Villa despite his goal against Tottenham, as Villa appear to be a tougher unit when playing at home this season. As for Tammy Abraham (£7.8m), on paper he has a good fixture against Watford – however, the Hornets have kept two clean sheets in their last three games, so I won’t be giving him the armband either.
Ash, known by many as Chief, recorded his best-ever FPL finish of 110th in 2011/12 and has become a hugely popular name on Twitter ever since.
Lessons learned from Gameweek 9
- Everton 2-0 West Ham United
- Aston Villa 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Bournemouth 0-0 Norwich City
- Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United
- Leicester City 2-1 Burnley
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Watford
- Wolves 1-1 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City
- Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool
- Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal
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