I’m writing this article in quite a good mood.
Despite having Tomas Soucek (£5.3m) on my bench and not taking a hit for the mighty Ilkay Gündogan (£5.7m) as I planned, the second half of the season has started pretty well for me.
João Cancelo (£5.9m) has finally delivered on all of his promise and Raphinha (£5.4m), who I’ve had for what seems a decade, got me a nice double-digit return.
I’m really hoping a decent Gameweek 20 can be the catalyst in my average season and I can start getting some decisions right. The last few seasons have seen me struggle until around this point and then I’ve managed to turn it around – so here’s hoping I can pull that off again this year.
I’ve got a plan going forward, so here it is:
Operation Target Everton and Manchester City players
You don’t need to be an “expert” (and I’m certainly not) to know that a) Man City are pretty good and b) we should probably get in some of into our teams.
The question is, who do we go for?
Going with two defenders from the same team normally fills me with fear, but I don’t have any concerns when it comes to City. Going three at the back is also an option, where rotation looks less likely with the likes of John Stones (£5.1m), Ruben Dias (£5.9m) and of course Cancelo all looking strong.
Ederson (£6.0m) is the most nailed on player in the whole team – but getting in an expensive goalkeeper and missing out on defenders with an attacking threat, or limiting yourself to not being able to move for a midfielder, does not seem sensible to me.
For me though, I think it’s now time invest in a Man City midfielder and, Kevin De Bruyne’s (£11.9) has paved the way for quite a few options to come into the reckoning.
Mark and I talked extensively about Gündogan on FPL BlackBox and it was nice to see those who took a punt on him rewarded straight away.
His stats are brilliant this season and any fears of him playing too “deep” were allayed with a fantastic performance against West Brom. He’s my pick of the lot. As my fellow Top Gun Luke said to me, if Gündogan was valued at £11m, people wouldn’t have hesitated to get him in and would probably have captained him against West Brom. I think he’s right, the German being such a cheap price, leaving people with lots of money in the bank and no idea what to do with it, probably puts people off.
Gündogan’s form doesn’t mean that players such as Raheem Sterling (£11.5m), Bernardo Silva (£7.4m) and Phil Foden (£6.3m) should be completely off people’s radar though. In fact, this might be the time to grab two midfielders, rather than two defenders. This would make the most of what promises to be a rather incredible run of games for City, likely involving lots of Double Gameweeks – and the likes of Sheffield United (home) and Burnley (away) who you would expect them to steamroll.
So, along with my three City players (most probably Stones, Cancelo and Gündogan), I’m also looking at Everton who have literally just scored a goal against Leicester as I write this (it must be a sign).
They currently have two games in hand, have a couple of good fixtures to come against Newcastle (home) and Leeds (away) and crucially, they’ve got their players back. Losing the likes of James Rodriguez (£7.7m) and Lucas Digne (£6.0) is enough to unsettle any side – but these two are back and looking class when I see them play.
I’m hoping that this means extra service for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m) and he can get back to his early-season form. Digne is playing on the left of midfield tonight. I’m going to find it very hard to resist him, knowing his quality and with the upcoming fixtures and this new potential out-of-position classification.
I think I’ll be getting both Digne and Calvert-Lewin in my team this week.
Time to take some captain punts
It was a really interesting chat with Mark on BlackBox about how myself and most people I know are much more likely to take a punt on transferring in a player rather than rolling the dice with a captain option.
There’s an element of fear when it comes to captaincy, but this season should be teaching us to perhaps think outside of our normal realm. The likes of Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) and even the ever-reliable Bruno Fernandes (£11.4m) have all let us down on occasion and with the likes of West Ham, Leicester, Everton and Aston Villa surpassing our expectations, I believe it is time for us to start widening the net.
The likes of Cancelo and Gündogan were overlooked this week as people (myself included) flocked to Bruno Fernandes, who became the most captained player ever in a Gameweek (and the full-time whistle has just gone, he’s blanked at home to Sheffield United!!!). The logic of Fernandes was completely sound of course, but there is huge potential to get ahead if you can get the captaincy call right.
The captaincy allows us to roll the dice for one week and if we want to elevate our seasons to the next level, getting on the right end of some of these calls could be a great way to rise up the ranks.
It’ll be a fortnight until my next article, so I’m planning on mixing things up a bit and captaining my City and Everton players, who at this point, are likely to be flying a bit under the radar when it comes to captaincy and will hopefully mean I can maximise their potential in the games ahead. One of Gündogan or Calvert-Lewin (or maybe even Digne if I’m feeling particularly brave) is likely to be my captain in three of the next four Gameweeks.
I’d feel really good about captaining a Leicester player this week against Leeds too. Either Harvey Barnes (£6.8m) or my favourite player, James Maddison (£7.2m). I think I’d swing for Barnes in this one though as I expect Phillips to do a good job on Madders, with Barnes causing havoc down the wings. I think I need to prioritise getting Gündogan in this week, but if I had a transfer spare, it would likely be captain Barnes for me.
The biggest test for my new brave outlook on captains will be the Spurs vs West Brom game in Gameweek 23. With the Baggies conceding goals for fun it will be hard to back against Son Heung-min (£9.7m) or Harry Kane (£11.3m).
Can Chelsea can get their act together so we can consider one of their players versus Sheffield United? Or maybe Bamford can find his shooting boots again before they entertain a pretty woeful Crystal Palace side. Man City also play at Anfield in what could be a title-deciding match – we’ve seen goals in this fixture before, so depending on the Liverpool’s centre back status, the likes of Gündogan may still be a shrewd move.