Double Gameweek 24: Team Reveal

How did I fare in GW23?

Another gameweek, another red arrow. Dropping approximately 500 places overall, my rank fell from 4,344 to 4,852 in GW23, with a total score of 68 points.


Without the last-gasp efforts of Stuart Dallas and Patrick Bamford, I would have lost significant ground, perhaps dropping out of the Top 10k altogether.


However, the way my team is currently set up, I’m confident heading into upcoming double gameweeks, and feel it’s only a matter of time before I see another green arrow.


Bad luck:

- I had two transfers last week and was therefore forced into making one, so bringing in Nick Pope ahead of a home game against Brighton seemed ideal, considering his double gameweek in GW24. Therefore, I benched Martinez and played Pope, and it subsequently cost me 7 points: Burnley let in a cheap goal from a corner, whilst Martinez kept an unlikely clean sheet against Arsenal. I was always going to play Pope, so I’m chalking this one down to rotten luck!


- Mike Dean the red card machine was up to his old tricks again at Craven Cottage, showing a last-minute red card to Tomas Soucek – as predicted, the suspension was rescinded shortly after the game, but my -3 points still contributed to score.


- Coufal almost hauled against Fulham after hitting the bar; the goal would have been much appreciated this week.


- Finally, I feel I made the right captaincy call this week, even if Bamford ended on fewer points than Son and Fernandes. No striker had more big chances than Bamford, and if he were as clinical as he has been in recent weeks, I’d have been on for a great captaincy score.


Good luck:

- Michail Antonio blanking was strangely the best part of my week. After agonising whether to transfer him in and captain him, I decided against it, so was delighted to see Fulham frustrate West Ham for 90 minutes, even as a Soucek owner.


- A couple of my goals this week were rather fortunate: Mo Salah’s penalty was rather soft in my opinion, and Ollie Watkins’ early goal against Arsenal went in because of a healthy deflection off Rob Holding.


Bad judgement:

- My worst decision of the gameweek was benching Ilkay Gundogan for Tomas Soucek. At the time, I was expecting West Ham to score plenty against Fulham, and I felt Soucek would continue his goal scoring form. However, with Soucek, his goals are rather unpredictable, so playing him against a deep block or weak team isn’t necessarily the best move, particularly when you can play a Manchester City player. I fully expected Liverpool vs. City to be a tight game, and I didn’t trust the scintillating form of Manchester City enough, which was a mistake.


Good judgement:

- Not transferring in Antonio was a patient and shrewd move. Had I brought Antonio in, I would have almost certainly captained him and then subsequently looked to transfer him out again for a double gameweek player in GW26. It’s made me realise the risk with short term decisions – if it doesn’t pay off, it can really squander your plans moving forwards.


How has the FA Cup altered my plans for GW24-29


Due to the FA Cup fifth round results in midweek, there are a number of teams set to blank in GW29. According to Ben Crellin (the double gameweek and blank gameweek guru on Twitter – follow him if you haven’t already!), the majority of these teams will play their GW29 fixture in GW26 instead, causing another rather hefty double gameweek.


Therefore, the only remaining fixtures in GW29 are:


Brighton vs. Newcastle

Fulham vs. Leeds

West Ham vs. Arsenal


*The postponed fixture Aston Villa vs. Spurs is also likely to be rescheduled to GW29, as both teams are out of the FA Cup and will have a free weekend.


Ben Crellin’s spreadsheet below indicates the impact of these blanks on the upcoming gameweeks. We are most likely to have these fixtures confirmed before the GW25 deadline.

Therefore, as I am planning to activate my Bench Boost chip in GW26, I’m keen to prioritise my transfers towards players that play twice that week, without neglecting the two smaller double gameweeks we have in GW24 and GW25.


To complicate matters, my original plan was to bring in Dominic Calvert-Lewin for his double gameweek this weekend, but the striker is now a doubt for the match against Fulham, after tweaking his hamstring in the FA Cup. Favourable picks Dias, Antonio, Digne and Justin have all picked up injuries too during the fifth round, so I can definitely count myself lucky as a non-owner!


My greatest nugget of advice is to keep banking transfers for maximum flexibility. Lots can change in a few days, and I’m expecting more injury chaos and fixture rearrangement in the upcoming weeks, considering how congested the schedule already is.


Therefore, this is my current plan over the next few weeks:


GW24:

Reece James (CHE) out, Matthew Lowton (BUR) or Luke Shaw (MUN) in. Bank 2nd free transfer.


GW25:

Jamie Vardy (LEI) out, Harry Kane (TOT) in. Tomas Soucek (WHU) out, Raphinha (LEE) in


GW26:

Vladimir Coufal (WHU) out, Matt Targett (AVL) in.


Bench boost with Pope (plays twice) and Bamford, Raphinha, Dallas (play once).


Or


Vladimir Coufal (WHU) out, Matt Targett (AVL) in. Take a -4 hit to transfer Raphinha (LEE) to either Ademola Lookman (FUL) or Jorginho (CHE).


Bench boost with Pope, Lookman/Jorginho (play twice) and Bamford, Dallas (play once).



What are my plans for GW24?


Heading into GW24, I have 4 double gameweek players (Pope, Cancelo, Stones, Gundogan), and I’m not too desperate to spend my free transfers on more. I already own three Manchester City assets - a necessity this week, in my opinion - and I’m not too enticed by Everton or Fulham players. With Calvert-Lewin injured, Everton’s primary points scorer is unavailable, and I don’t back Fulham to score plenty of goals against Everton and Burnley, which is putting me off Lookman right now.


Therefore, the likely move this week is to finally remove Reece James for a shiny new defender and put an end to the miserable journey we’ve been on. Whilst James has a nice fixture to Newcastle this week, I can’t be certain of him starting every week under Tuchel.


Originally, my plan was to bring in Matthew Lowton to double down on Burnley’s two fixtures this week, but after more consideration, I’m actually leaning towards a move for Luke Shaw.


Although Lowton is scheduled to play one more fixture than Shaw in this run of games, I think the Manchester United defender has every chance of matching Lowton’s output, after factoring in Shaw’s assist potential.


Lowton fixtures until GW27: Crystal Palace, Fulham, West Brom, Tottenham, Leicester


Shaw fixtures until GW27: West Brom, Newcastle, Chelsea, Crystal Palace


With 0 goals and 0 assists to his name this season, it seems Lowton is only good for clean sheets during this run, and I certainly wouldn’t expect Burnley to keep both Tottenham and Leicester at bay. Conversely, Luke Shaw is leading the league amongst defenders in assists and expected assists since GW18.


Admittedly, the thought of captaining Pope had crossed my mind, but I think I’d be foolish not to captain a Manchester City player this week. My armband is firmly on Gundogan barring any unprecedented team news.


Once again, my headache this week is deciding which players to bench. The conundrum I currently have in my head is: trust the player or the fixture?


Jamie Vardy faces Liverpool and Heung-Min Son faces Man City, whilst Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal are up against Sheffield United.


Firstly, I’m very hesitant to bench Jamie Vardy this week, as he’s facing an out-of-form Liverpool side that have struggled defensively in recent performances. Klopp usually deploys a high line with space behind the back four, which is certainly an area of strength in Vardy’s game.


Son, on the other hand, is a different story. Manchester City have been a defensive juggernaut for weeks now and have a staggeringly low 2.97 xGC (expected goals conceded) in the last 5 games. Although Son scored in the reverse fixture, his chances will be limited, and I can envision Mourinho playing a low block for most of the game.


On the contrary, Sheffield United seems a favourable fixture for West Ham on paper, so it’s hard to stomach benching Coufal and Soucek. The Blades have struggled to defend set pieces this season, which could prove profitable for FPL managers playing Soucek this week.


In fairness to Sheffield United, they’ve managed to improve in front of goal in recent performances, so I wouldn’t be too shocked to see Coufal’s clean sheet wiped out.


At the moment, I’m backing Vardy and Son to deliver more points, but I could easily swap Soucek for the Tottenham winger tomorrow.


Good luck everyone!







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