How did I fare in GW12?
My FPL team endured a second successive red arrow this week, causing my rank to plummet from the 20,000 mark to 36,907.
Whilst the GW11 drop was to be somewhat expected, after deciding to field only 10 players, my GW12 team seemed relatively strong on paper, so I was surprised and disappointed to see such a mediocre points return.
Just one point above the average with 52 points, I suffered blanks from Chilwell, Robertson, Dallas, Fernandes, De Bruyne, Grealish and Watkins – and the only player to return over double figures for me was Martinez.
Liverpool’s lacklustre performance at Fulham did me no favours in particular. Robertson is struggling to justify his price tag in comparison to the likes of Reece James and Joao Cancelo, and Mo Salah looked exhausted and lethargic for most of the game. If only he could have been rested midweek in Liverpool’s crucial fixture against FC Midtjylland…
Jokes aside, at least the FPL gods rewarded me with a fortunate penalty before he went off, otherwise I’d probably be sitting on a rank of 50k.
On reflection, I noticed two interesting patterns in general this week worth keeping an eye on. Firstly, home advantage seemed to return to an extent with fans back in the stadium: Everton, Southampton and Fulham were all given an extra boost from their respective supporters, which could be worth considering in the future when trying to determine how games will play out.
Secondly, players are starting to get rests and reduced minutes as teams prepare for the hectic Christmas schedule. Bamford came off early for the first time since GW2, Salah was rested after the Liverpool equaliser, and Graham Potter omitted Lamptey entirely against Leicester.
In terms of my own decisions though, here’s a reflective and evaluative breakdown of my recent activity.
- Some will argue that I was naïve to let him go, but selling Vardy to fund a Salah move was unfortunate. Salah was the most popular captaincy pick for a reason and Vardy had looked very vacant in the previous two games. If I’d taken a hit to manage the move, I’d perhaps be more frustrated with myself, but Salah’s fixtures are exceptional throughout the Christmas period and he should still outscore Vardy in the long run, in my opinion.
- Although it hasn’t affected me this week, the short-term injury of Lamptey and medium-term injury of Masuaku hasn’t helped my plans for winter rotation. With West Ham guaranteed a double gameweek in GW19, my plan was to hold Masuaku until then, but it seems he’s due back at the ‘start of January’ at the earliest, which means him missing out on a minimum of 5 games.
- The Salah penalty was a welcomed slice of good fortune, with the Egyptian ready to come off for Origi just before the penalty was awarded.
- Whilst I obviously wish him a speedy recovery, Jota getting injured has removed a complication in my overall strategy; I’ve been trying to work out how to get the £6.9 million midfielder into my squad but now I can focus on other areas without the fear of not owning him.
- Putting my faith in double Villa attack has not worked well. In reality, owning one of Grealish or Watkins is enough, especially as their production has diminished since the injury to Ross Barkley. I’m starting to question whether keeping both is worthwhile, but it’s hard to sell either of them when Villa have Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace in their next three games.
- I misread the nature of the Manchester derby, which punished me as a Bruno and De Bruyne owner. I was under the impression that both teams would come into the game with a point to prove, but they both seemed scared to commit bodies forward. In hindsight, 0-0 was a somewhat predictable outcome.
- Keeping Martinez last week certainly paid off; the Villa keeper got 11 points this weekend, resulting in an average of 5.5 points across the two gameweeks.
- Although I am disappointed with GW12 overall, Salah and Bamford both returned for me, so at least my transfers were somewhat repaid.
An update of the watchlist
All changes identified in bold.
Defence (in order of preference):
1) Reece James
2) Ruben Dias
3) Joao Cancelo – whilst still a rotation risk, he has started successive Premier League games; his attacking output is incredible and he’s a double digit haul waiting to happen, so I have to have him on the watchlist.
4) Eric Dier
Midfield (in order of preference):
1) Heung-Min Son
2) Ivan Cavaleiro – at £5.3 million, presumably on penalties after scoring one against Leicester and playing the furthest forward for Fulham in their new system, I’m tempted by Cavaleiro. I think Parker has found a system that works now and is likely to stick to it, which could prove fruitful for Cavaleiro if he can get into goal scoring positons.
3) Tomas Soucek – with two goals in two games, and sitting at only £5.0 million, he could be a fantastic budget enabler to help pump funds into premium assets. West Ham have solid fixtures from now until the end of January.
4) Jarrod Bowen
Forwards (in order of preference):
1) Harry Kane
2) Timo Werner - he's on thin ice; let's see what he does against Wolves...
*I don’t tend to track the progress of goalkeepers as I’m fairly averse to using transfers on them*
*I avoid Southampton players for personal reasons, but they have some great options at the moment: I would be strongly considering Ings for his consistency in front of goal; Ward-Prowse’s goal and assist potential from set pieces; and Vestergaard for his goal threat from corners. They would probably be on my watchlist too!*
Who has left the watchlist?
1) Trent Alexander-Arnold – I am no longer interested in the Liverpool defence double-up as I feel money is better spent on premium midfielders and forwards. It also looks as though Klopp will manage his minutes over the busy Christmas period, after just coming back from injury.
2) Diogo Jota – as he is now injured, I obviously won’t be pursuing him until a few games after his return.
What are my GW13 plans?
Despite dropping almost 30,000 places in two gameweeks, I’m still rather content with my team.
Both Lamptey and Dallas have favourable fixtures against Fulham and Newcastle which allows me to wait on more news regarding Arthur Masuaku’s return.
I could move Masuaku and use the £0.8m I have in the bank to upgrade him for Reece James before his price rises, but doubling down on Chelsea against Wolves at Molineux doesn’t seem the right time, especially as it would force me to bench both Lamptey and Dallas.
I could downgrade Robertson this week, but with Spurs likely to park the bus against Liverpool, I can see him playing very high up the pitch to create overlaps for Mane, which could result in attacking returns.
Between Lamptey against Fulham away and Dallas against Newcastle at home, I've chosen the Leeds defender in my starting XI. When Lamptey previously had a hamstring problem earlier in the season, Potter regularly brought him off early to manage his minutes, which could result in a 1-pointer if he doesn't quite make it beyond the all-important 60-minute threshold.
Currently, the armband is on Kevin De Bruyne. I appreciate Fernandes is also an excellent option, especially as he's playing on Thursday, but I feel Manchester City are more consistent. KDB should play even if their game is on Tuesday. He played every game across the Christmas period last year and he is critical to the way City perform. At worst, I see him coming off around the 60-minute mark when the game is already done and dusted. I've had him pencilled in as captain in this fixture for a while, so I'm not going to overcomplicate things.
Therefore, my plan right now is to bank a transfer and reassess for the weekend. Hopefully, the picture will become a little clearer and I’ll have a definitive decision on the likes of Robertson, Lamptey, Masuaku and double Villa attack.
Team this week (3-4-3): Martinez, Chilwell, Robertson, Dallas, Fernandes (VC), De Bruyne (C), Salah, Grealish, Bamford, Calvert-Lewin, Watkins
SUBS: 1. Lamptey, 2. Bissouma, 3. Masuaku
Good luck everyone!