How did I fare in GW13?
57 points in GW13 took my overall rank to 20,715, which is roughly where I was positioned after GW11. Despite the captaincy disappointment, my team is back to winning ways again, which is pleasing to see.
De Bruyne’s blank was saved only by two crucial bonus points, but I have no regrets in choosing him as my captain this week. He created a number of golden opportunities as I predicted, and would have come away with a lot more if Manchester City’s forwards had their shooting boots on.
Overall, it was a low scoring gameweek, so I was delighted to see my entire back four of Martinez, Chilwell, Robertson and Dallas all return with healthy point totals.
As for Fernandes, I wasn’t too disappointed when he blanked, as he was the other popular captaincy pick for the gameweek – obviously, I wanted him to return for my team, but his lack of points probably did my rank some favours in the end.
Bamford and Calvert-Lewin continued their fine form with a goal and an assist respectively and Salah scored again, making it just 2 blanks in the 11 games he’s played this season.
Heung-Min Son has continued to attract my attention, despite his somewhat unimpressive underlying statistics. The Korean is shooting far less than most premium players but his finishing is the best in the league at the moment, in my opinion.
I’ve also grown rather frustrated with double Villa attack after a number of blanks, so Grealish to Son is definitely a move I’m eyeing up at some point, if I’m able to raise the additional funds needed to upgrade.
Here is my evaluation of the gameweek:
- De Bruyne blanking was very unfortunate; the Belgian created 2 big chances in the game against West Brom, which should have been converted. The Baggies played exceptionally well and obviously put on a final show for Slaven Bilic, who was sacked in the morning after the game. Had I known of his departure before the deadline, it may have impacted my captaincy decision, so that was clearly a slice of hard luck.
- I’m very frustrated by Arthur Masuaku’s knee surgery and subsequent injury, which was out of my control. According to reports, the West Ham defender is now destined for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with early March speculated as his soonest possible return date. It would have been excellent to have Masuaku ahead of their double gameweek in GW19, but it seems now he'll have to make way.
- Yet again, Salah was fortunate to score his goal against Spurs, thanks to a heavy deflection off Toby Alderweireld. He looked sharp during most of the game however, so I feel the good fortune was somewhat deserved.
- Perhaps most fortunately, Ruben Dias’ own goal helped those around me in the rankings miss out on a certain clean sheet; it was fortunate considering I’ve been looking at him for a while.
- It has taken a long time for me to realise this, but selling Son a few weeks ago was admittedly a poor decision, and it’s making me think twice about selling in-form players with poor fixtures (such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin).
- Keeping Martinez in GW11 has proved fruitful again, with the keeper scoring a handy 8 points in the 0-0 stalemate against Burnley.
- Banking a transfer in GW13 has put me in excellent shape to prepare for GW18 and GW19, as I now have an extra move to help manage the schedule.
How am I planning to approach GW18 and GW19?
For those of you that don’t know, half the teams in the league won’t play in GW18 and will instead play twice in GW19.
The five fixtures in GW18 are as follows:
Sheffield United vs. Newcastle
Wolves vs. Everton
Manchester City vs. Brighton
Aston Villa vs. Spurs
Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace
Therefore, the remaining 10 teams in the league will play twice in GW19, and their fixtures are as follows:
Fulham vs. Chelsea (H) and Manchester United (H)
Chelsea vs. Fulham (A) and Leicester (A)
West Brom vs. Wolves (A) and West Ham (A)
Leeds vs. Brighton (H) and Southampton (H)
West Ham vs. Burnley (H) and West Brom (H)
Burnley vs. West Ham (A) and Liverpool (A)
Leicester vs. Southampton (H) and Chelsea (H)
Southampton vs. Leicester (A) and Leeds (A)
Liverpool vs. Manchester United (H) and Burnley (H)
Manchester United vs. Liverpool (A) and Fulham (A)
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy as to how to approach the blanks and doubles, because it is very dependent on your current team structure. However, be aware that players without a game in GW18 will play twice in GW19, which could be awkward to manoeuvre through.
For my team, I’m currently planning to play my Free Hit chip in GW18 in order to manage the blank – this way I can triple up on Manchester City and Spurs assets, who are arguably the strongest teams playing that week. As I only own Kevin De Bruyne from those two teams at the moment, it makes sense to use it then and return back to my normal team ready for GW19.
As for GW19, I’m hoping to play my Bench Boost chip. Chilwell, Dallas, Robertson, Salah, Fernandes and Bamford all play twice and with a few strategic transfers, I should be able to field roughly 10 players who play twice and 5 who play once. This would mean upgrading my non-playing sub goalkeeper to either Meslier or Johnstone between now and GW19, which could set me up nicely for a goalkeeper rotation in the second half of the season, rather than relying on Martinez every week.
It’s important to note that I won’t be exclusively focusing my transfers on double gameweek players. As I mentioned earlier, I’m keen to recruit Son by GW16 for his appealing fixture run, and I’m happy enough having him play against Sheffield United only in GW19.
What are my plans for GW14?
With £0.8 million in the bank, and Masuaku out for a while, it seems logical to move him on before he drops in price. Despite Chelsea’s losses to Wolves and Everton, I’ve been impressed by Reece James’ all-round game. He’s creating a number of chances from wide areas, has been on several set pieces since Ziyech’s injury and is part of a Chelsea side posting promising underlying numbers in defence.
Therefore, I’m going to use all my remaining money in the bank to transfer Masuaku to James for one of my two free transfers. The plan is to keep rolling two transfers until GW16, when I may sacrifice Robertson to fund a move from Grealish to Son.
Although Fernandes is a very tempting captaincy pick, I’ve decided to go with Mo Salah against Crystal Palace away this week. Due to Bielsa’s style of play, there will be holes in the Leeds back line for Bruno to exploit, but Salah has earned my trust as a consistent scorer of points. No player has tallied more FPL points in the last 6 gameweeks, and Palace have looked more attack-minded in recent weeks, which bodes well for the Egyptian.
Transfer: Masuaku out; James in. 1FT. £0.0 in the bank. (1FT rolled over)
Team this week (3-4-3): Martinez, Chilwell, Robertson, James, Fernandes (VC), De Bruyne, Salah (C), Grealish, Bamford, Calvert-Lewin, Watkins
Subs: 1. Lamptey, 2. Dallas, 3. Bissouma
Good luck everyone!