So another GAFFR gameweek is in the books, so it’s time for another article! We’ll do another roundup, before getting into some of the thoughts of what could be a big weekend for playing boosts in GW5. But firstly, some of the headlines from last weekend’s action.
Do we have a third automatic promotion chaser emerging?
We’ve spoken in previous articles about West Brom and Fulham, the two favourites for promotion, who kept things rolling with another win at the weekend. West Brom beat Blackburn 2-1 with the goals being a fantastic first minute finish from Alex Mowatt (8.5m) assisted by Matt Phillips (7.5m), followed by Phillips getting himself on the scoresheet right before half time having been set up by Karlan Grant (9.5m). They did concede a goal to in form Chilean striker Ben Brereton Diaz (8.1m), but it’s another win on the board for the Baggies, who look very strong despite the loss of Callum Robinson (9.1m) for this weekend’s game to Covid, which we will touch on again later. Fulham, for their part, registered a fairly comfortable 2-0 win at home against Hull. The main men Aleksandar Mitrovic (11.0m) and Fabio Carvalho (5.2m) scoring the goals again, with returning from the wilderness Jean Michael Seri (6.1m) getting an assist, as did Antonee Robinson (6.5m). Fulham’s next game will be against the other team with 10 points on the board from their opening 4 games, Stoke City. Stoke are the other team on 10 points from their 4 games this season, building on a very solid defensive foundation to get results and have Potters fans dreaming of a promotion push this season. At the weekend, they got a very comfortable 1-0 victory against a very poor Nottingham Forest team (who didn’t register a single shot on target) thanks to a goal from Josh Tymon (4.6m) who was set up by Mario Vrancic (6.5m). This weekend’s game will be the first key test in establishing what Stoke might be capable of this season and just how high they can be aiming.
It is worth mentioning here that Bournemouth should probably be on 10 points as well, but threw away a two goal lead at home to draw 2-2 with a battling Blackpool team. Two goals from Dominic Solanke (11.1m) were equalised by goals from defender James Husband (4.6m) and striker Jerry Yates (6.0m). Bournemouth followed this game with a very disappointing heavy defeat at the hands of Norwich in the league cup in midweek, so will be hoping for a big bounce-back performance at Hull this weekend.
Teams we had hope for, continuing to struggle.
A few teams that there were preseason hopes for have really struggled in the early stages of this season and that continued at the weekend. The headline team in this group is Sheffield United. Widely tipped to be one of the main contenders for automatic promotion following their relegation from the Premier League, they at least thought they’d got their second draw of the season at the weekend when Billy Sharp’s (8.0m) 92nd minute equaliser went in to level it up at home against Huddersfield following Josh Koroma’s (8.0m) opener. But they conceded almost straight away in the 94th minute to Chelsea loanee Levi Samuels Colwill (4.5m) to make it another disappointing day. They did get a win in the league cup in midweek, but need to start getting more league points on the board, starting with Saturday’s trip to Luton.
The next team in this group is Millwall. Another one tipped to be pushing for the playoffs this season, they currently lie 21st and are one of only 4 teams without a win this season. They lost 3-1 at the weekend to Cardiff, thanks in large part to Cardiff’s goalscoring hero (no, not Kieffer Moore (10.0m)) Aden Flint (5.1m), who scored his second brace in two games despite being a centre back! Not to be completely left out, Cardiff captain Sean Morrison (6.0m) did get a goal himself after Benik Afobe (7.5m) had got his second in two games to reduce it to 2-1. Millwall need to start picking up more points, and will hope to get that started at home against Blackpool at the weekend.
The third team in this group is Reading. Hopes were high for Reading coming into the season, but with only 3 points from 4 games and a disappointing defeat to Coventry at the weekend, there are likely to be some concerns growing. John Swift (6.6m) did give them the lead against the run of play from the penalty spot in the first half, before Jamie Allen (4.6m) equalised and then Matty Godden (5.5m) scored a 98th minute winner to send limbs everywhere at the Ricoh Arena. The Reading disappointment was then summed up by an already thin squad losing another player, with Tom McIntyre (4.5m) joining the likes of Lucas Joao (10.0m) and Yakou Meite (6.5m) on the long term injury list. Next up for Reading is a trip to Huddersfield.
The final team that might be the most demoralised of the lot in this group is Nottingham Forest. As mentioned previously, they didn’t register a single shot on target in the 1-0 loss at Stoke at the weekend and now sit bottom of the league after 4 games as the only team on 0 points. They also suffered a heavy defeat in the league cup in midweek and calls for Chris Hughton to be sacked are growing. The addition of Philip Zinckernagel (8.0m) that looked to have hopefully added some spark hasn’t been enough. The promising young players like Alex Mighten (6.0m) and Brennan Johnson (5.6m) are rotating in and out of the team. It’s even got so bad that Lyle Taylor (7.0m) has been linked with a move to Birmingham City and that seems like a positive move for him. Forest have a massive derby game against Derby County this weekend and it increasingly feels like, if they don’t win, Chris Hughton might be packing his bags by the end of the weekend!
GW5 Away Days, and other thoughts
Gameweek 5 was highlighted in preseason as one of the standout weeks to play the Away Days boost, but that has become much more complicated for a lot of GAFFR managers in the last week or so. The biggest reason for this is Wednesday’s news that Callum Robinson has Covid and thus will be out of this weekend’s game against Peterborough. Couple that with the injury absence of Nick Powell (8.0m), to add to the absences of early season would be picks for this like Jack Stacey (5.5m), Lys Mousset (8.0m) and Joao and GAFFR managers are more unsure about playing the boost now. This has been exacerbated by the injuries to home players that many would have been carrying as their backups, or as one of their lone Home players, like Sean Morrison, Kenny Tete (6.0m) and Fabio Carvalho, leaving many managers debating whether they are still going to play the boost. A lot still will, particularly if their team is less affected by these (having Grant rather than Robinson for example), but with other good weeks to play this high upside boost coming up, it is ok for those managers who have been forced into a rethink to pivot. One idea we will mention here, in addition to just not playing the boost, is to play an alternative boost. Park The Bus may well be one that now suits, particularly if you were set to bench Flint or the other goalscoring phenomenon at the back Rob Dickie (5.1m), they now could slot in nicely alongside the defenders from West Brom, Birmingham or Bournemouth for that boost. One of the great things about GAFFR is the number of different successful strategies that are open to you, so most of all just work out what will work best for you and go with it!
As a final thought for GW5, we’ll just run through some captaincy options for the weekend. The best option looks to be Dominic Solanke, but other good options include Jed Wallace (10.1m), John Swift, Matt Phillips, Karlan Grant, Chris Willock (6.2m) or even Kieffer Moore (or Aden Flint!)
Enjoy the weekend’s action, we’ll be recording again on Sunday night (back to the full complement) and we’ll see you back here again next week!
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