After a positive start back post-quarantine, where I almost halved my rank from 165k to 95k, my position is stagnating – so it’s time to start focussing on doing everything I can execute the perfect sprint finish.
Struggling does seems to be a bit of a feature of my season, where I get stuck at a certain rank without falling down the rankings, but equally not progressing to the top 10k where I want to be. But now I have to hope for the best.
Outside of Manchester United and Christian Pulisic (£7.2m), it’s a bit tricky to know where to go with your transfer moves. My decision to turn away from Liverpool to try and capitalise on other teams is also giving me sleepless nights – with few players / teams really impressing me to vindicate this decision.
With the Gameweeks still coming thick and fast, and with the Free Hit chip in my locker, I decided to come up with some kind of vague strategy as to what I want to do. By the time my next article comes out, we’ll be heading in to the final Gameweek of the season, so here’s my current thinking for the next three rounds.
I’ve banked two transfers going into the next Gameweek, as I’ve got my eye on two fixtures which I currently have no attacking cover for.
In the first game of Gameweek 35+, West Ham play Norwich – who have failed to pick up a single point in the five games they have played since the restart, scoring just one goal in the process.
This looks like a routine West Ham victory, and a win here will see the Canaries sadly relegated back down to the Championship.
In defence, I haven’t been blown away by the Hammers, which perhaps isn’t that surprising considering they haven’t kept a clean sheet since a 4-0 at home to Bournemouth back in Gameweek 21.
But given Norwich’s dismal form, a clean sheet looks likelier than usual. What is a shame is that the once mighty, marauding full back Aaron Cresswell (£4.5m) appears to have dried up almost completely with his attacking returns. His other defensive team-mates also do not scream investment, unless you are on a free hit, so I will be instead turning to their attack.
There’s two names I’m looking at. Jarrod Bowen (£6.4m) who I mentioned on the Scoutcast last week has three assists in his last three games and his all-action displays have seen him register some decent returns.
Bowen is a strong candidate, but the real deal has to be in the form of Michael Antonio (£6.9m). He was absolutely immense in Gameweek 32+ against Chelsea, and followed up a super performance up front with a goal against Newcastle.
He’s currently playing out-of-position, and looks like West Ham’s chief threat going forward. I’d strongly suggest that anyone reading considers bringing him in. He’s a great price, has form, something to play for, and plays three teams at the bottom of the defensive metrics for the season in Norwich, Watford and Aston Villa in the next four games.
Speaking of poor defences, I’m keeping a close eye on who strugglers Bournemouth are playing over the next few weeks. Next Gameweek, they play a Leicester team looking a bit like their old selves.
With James Maddison (£7.3m) a doubt and Harvey Barnes (£6.0m) making appearances off the bench, Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) looks the main contender for Gameweek 35+, possibly even as an armband contender.
He has three goals in his last two games, takes penalties, and his style of play suits playing Bournemouth – whom he already scored 16 points against in Gameweek 4.
For those looking for someone a bit different, consider Youri Tielemans (£6.1m). His goal threat is minimal, but only Willian (£7.3m) has created more chances for teammates in the last two weeks. If Leicester score a hatful against Bournemouth, I expect him to be involved.
With this considered, I’ll be looking to bring in one of Antonio / Bowen to pair alongside Jamie Vardy, with the disappointing Son Heung-min (£9.6m) and reliable, but less explosive, Raúl Jiménez (£8.3m) being the most likely two to depart my squad.
With my two free transfers used up, this looks like as good a time as any to hit that Free Hit chip.
Chelsea play Norwich, and this could be a goal-fest and I’m hoping to be able to get on the likely Manchester City starters (well as likely as you can get with Pep) for a home game with Bournemouth.
I’ll be looking to grab Six players from these sides, alongside three Manchester United attackers against a Crystal Palace side who are conceding goals for fun at the moment.
This leaves me two spots, with West Ham having a plum home fixture against fellow strugglers Watford, in what should be a pretty cagey affair – and Everton who play a goal-shy Aston Villa side.
It would be amazing if Marcus Alonso (£6.1m) can reclaim his place for the Norwich game, and if the signs are there, he’ll be one of the first names in my side. However, César Azpilicueta (£6.0m) does look a safer bet, and even managed a 12-point haul against Watford.
In midfield, Pulisic has been one of the stars of the last few weeks, and will be strongly considered for the captaincy. My burning dislike of Willian for failing to succeed as a Fantasy option in previous seasons is also looking a bit foolish, as he continues to create chances and is on penalties. Is the fact that he is most likely off in the Summer spurring him on to put himself in the shop window?
Up-front, I think it’s a risk worth taking in terms of who you think is going to start this one. Tammy Abraham (£7.4m) hasn’t looked great, but has been nicking a few goals off the bench – but if Olivier Giroud (£6.6m) can keep his starting spot, he looks a great pick for this game. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the coming games to see who I think will get the nod.
For Manchester City, it’s obviously really tricky picking who you think will start each game. However, the Free Hit chip lets me adapt to who we think is going to play based on previous minutes. In an ideal world, I’d pair Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) alongside Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m) to try and catch those with a (hopefully!) benched, Kevin De Bruyne (10.8) in their team – but this will most likely end in disaster!
For Everton, I think the most likely player I’ll bring in has to be Lucas Digne (£5.7m) with a great chance of a clean sheet against Aston Villa. He racked up an 11-point haul against Norwich a few weeks prior, and a clean sheet with at least one attacking return looks a very real possibility.
This actually looks a very tricky week to navigate. Liverpool and Chelsea play each other, and Leicester play Spurs. Manchester City, at the time of writing, have lost a couple of away fixtures – and play Watford who will be fighting for their life at this point.
They’ll also have just played in the FA cup and may be looking to rest some tired limbs. I like the look of Wolves vs Crystal Palace in this game, as well as the obvious Manchester United vs West Ham game.
It would be great to have a bit of a punt on Adama Traoré (£5.7m) on this game, particularly if he carries on playing up-front alongside Jimenez.
It will also be interesting to see if Arsenal can carry on their resurgence. They play Aston Villa, and if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) is still in the hunt for the golden boot, this might be a good opportunity to move Vardy over to him – to target both this game, and the final day home fixture against Watford.
Speaking of the Golden Boot, this is also a great opportunity to bring back in Danny Ings (£7.3m) to carry on targeting strikers playing Bournemouth. If Danny can get the Golden Boot, what a story that would be, but he’s going to need to grab a couple in the next few games to be in the reckoning. If he’s in and around Vardy and Aubameyang, I think he simply needs to come in. What a season he’s had.
I hope this piece has given an insight into what I’m planning – it’s certainly helped me get my head around what I’d like to do over the coming weeks, so thanks for reading! If you still have some chips left, now is the time to do similar, and sit down and work out exactly when you feel like they would be best placed.
In a ‘regular’ season, we don’t often have the luxury of being able to plan two to three Gameweeks in advance, the frantic end to the season means we need to stay on top of things, or we can end up lost and confused and trailing mini-league rivals who may be better prepared.
Stay safe everyone, and I’ll have my final article of the season ready before Gameweek 38+!