Gameweek 9 was an amazing Gameweek for me. After taking my first hit of the season, I managed to get a total of 88 points and a Gameweek rank around the 20K mark, which was one of my top ranks in a single Gameweek ever.
Consequently, I got a massive green arrow that propelled me to inside the top 30K in the overall rankings with the Wildcard still available.
Out of my starting eleven, four players delivered a double-digit haul and only my two Aston Villa assets blanked. Even Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) managed to get seven points without a clean sheet or a penalty save so I could not be happier with my boys.
Even though I mentioned in my last article I was planning to keep Mohamed Salah (£12.2m) in my team, ultimately, I decided to sell the Liverpool star for Bruno Fernandes (£10.8m). There was plenty of doubt if Salah would miss one or two matches due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and it coupled with the appeal of captaining Fernandes against West Brom, made me change my mind.
And so, on Friday night, I decided to pull the trigger, bringing in the Portuguese maestro and trusting him with the armband. This decision worked pretty well after Fernandes scored yet another penalty and collected three bonus points in a tougher than expected home match for Manchester United.
Nevertheless, Salah could start at Brighton after playing against Atalanta on Wednesday night and we all know how he can punish his sellers in any given week. However, after Brighton, he plays against Wolves and both these opponents are well-organised teams.
For this reason, I will take my chances without Salah for two Gameweeks, looking to probably bing him back in Gameweek 12, when Liverpool play against Fulham (possibly by using my Wildcard in that exact Gameweek).
Additionally, I needed a defender to replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) and Lucas Digne (£6.2m) was the standout choice to me. Everton’s three immediate fixtures were excellent, his assist potential is only second to the Liverpool fullbacks and I thought he had good potential for clean sheets or attacking returns in the short term.
I was very happy to see him bombing forward even more than he usually does, playing as a left wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation against Fulham. This new system suited him perfectly and he delivered two assists in a crazy first half at Craven Cottage. Sadly, for Everton and for his fantasy owners like myself, he suffered an ankle ligament injury in training this week and will be out for the foreseeable future.
Gameweek 10 plans
Looking at my team ahead of Gameweek 10, I am a little bit concerned about the fact that I don’t own any Manchester City players for their back-to-back home matches against Burnley and Fulham.
My initial plan was to get Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m) in for Son Heung-min (£9.5m) but I find it hard to justify using a free transfer to sell such a reliable source of points, regardless of how bad Spurs’ schedule may be.
I think Son was clearly underpriced by FPL this season, especially if we compare him with other heavy-hitters such as Raheem Sterling (£11.5m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.6m) or even De Bruyne, who costs £2.1m million more than the Tottenham superstar right now.
Another thing we know about Son is that he is one of the most clinical finishers in the world and he doesn’t need many chances to score goals, as we saw in Gameweek 9 when he scored with the only real chance he had in the whole match.
And so, given Son’s price, form and overall career numbers, I decided I am going to keep him in my team for now. This way, I can use my transfers to improve weaker links in my squad, even if it means going without De Bruyne for their match against Burnley. I will re-assess this decision ahead of Gameweek 11 and if Guardiola’s team looks better attacking-wise than they have looked lately, I might decide to get him in by then.
Even though 4-3-3 has been working pretty well for me so far, I think now is the time to finally switch formation and get back to the more conventional 3-4-3. There are several factors that clearly make me think this is the correct timing for a change:
- 1) Two of the best defenders in the game (TAA and Digne) are injured for an unknown period of time;
- 2) Clean sheet potential for good defensive teams such as Wolves, Tottenham and Burnley doesn’t look good in the short-term given their tough schedule;
- 3) There is, finally, a cheap midfielder who I think will be able to compete with the best defenders in the game in terms of expected points and value.
With all these factors in mind and with £4.4 million available in the bank, I decided to bring Diogo Jota (£6.7m) in for Mario Lemina (£4.5m). The most recent Liverpool acquisition seems to have settled perfectly into Jurgen Klopp’s plans and, priced at £6.7 million, I don’t think he even needs to start every match to be worth every penny.
Since joining the Reds, his expected goals and assists per 90 minutes are pretty close to what Salah and Mane have been doing for years and, even if these excellent numbers decrease over a larger sample (which I doubt they will), I think he will have no problems justifying such a cheap price tag. To me, he is the clear front-runner for the award of best value player in the game this season and if he manages to nail a spot in Liverpool’s starting eleven, I think he will be pretty much an essential pick for every fantasy manager in the world.
With my free transfer locked in and, after taking no hits in the first eight Gameweeks of the season, I am now considering taking my second hit in a row to get rid of Digne for Rúben Dias (£5.5m).
However, I am still debating if I should play Stuart Dallas (£4.5m) and sell Digne next week for free instead. Dallas played out of position against Arsenal last weekend and he was pretty close to scoring his second goal of the season while bombing forward the whole match. Unfortunately, Leeds travels to Goodison Park and Anfield next, which means the chances of him getting clean sheets anytime soon are very slim.
Manchester City’s defence, on the other hand, looks really good this season and I think Dias could be worth four extra points over Dallas in the sum of the next two Gameweeks. In fact, bookies give Manchester City a 55% chance of getting a clean sheet this week and he also offers a decent threat from set-pieces.
If I decide to take a hit for Dias, I will be able to field a very strong defence with the Portuguese centre-back alongside Andrew Robertson (£7.1m) and Ben Chilwell (£6.0m). This will allow me to use my free transfers in midfield and attack in the next Gameweeks, which I think is really important.
Anyway, this will definitely be a late call for me and it’s possible I decide to just get Jota this week and hope that Marcelo Bielsa plays Dallas as a box-to-box midfielder again.
Having made the decision of going without De Bruyne this week, I have no choice but to trust Fernandes with the armband yet again. Since joining Manchester United, he delivered more points away from home than at Old Trafford and I expect Southampton to play an attacking style of football (as they always do), which hopefully will benefit Fernandes’ potential for points.
FANS ARE BACK
Other than that, I was very pleased to know that half the Premier League’s clubs will be able to welcome back fans starting in Gameweek 11. For now, only 2,000 supporters will be allowed in the stands but, after almost six months of empty stadiums, it’s definitely a nice improvement.
That being said, I don’t think this change will have any impact on my FPL decisions. I don’t think there will be a huge advantage for the 10 teams allowed to have fans in their home matches and I will only consider this factor whenever there is a really close decision between two possible transfers I might be considering for my team.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week!
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