FPL Gameweek 15: Team Reveal

How did I fare in GW14?

GW14 was perhaps my most pleasing week of the season so far, with 94 points and a hefty climb in the overall rankings to 6,921. The last time I popped into the Top 10k, I was hit with a couple of red arrows, so I’m hoping this time I can stay there for a long while.

Salah’s haul off the bench kickstarted my week brilliantly, earning 32 points as captain. As a Fernandes owner also, I was pleased to see Bruno return plentifully against Leeds.

Robertson and Grealish came back with 10 points each, Calvert-Lewin tallied a third successive assist and De Bruyne bagged an unexciting but dependable 5-pointer.

Ironically, I transferred out Arthur Masuaku (who was confirmed out with a knee injury a week ago) for Reece James – only for the Chelsea defender to pick up a knee problem after the deadline. His absence this week was fortunately covered by Stuart Dallas, who came off my bench with 5 points, thanks to a great goal against Manchester United.

With Ben Chilwell now injured, my Chelsea double-up in defence didn’t even last a week, which is frustrating when looking ahead to double GW19. Holding both until mid-January just to see if they’ll play seems too risky, so I’ll likely part with one them (if not both) by GW19.

Bad luck:

- For Masuaku, Lamptey, Chilwell and James all to pick up injuries in the last fortnight is nothing but unlucky, as I’ve had to focus most of my attention towards defensive transfers. Although I’d prefer to use my transfers in midfield and attack, I must react now to the current needs of my team.

- Yet again, Watkins had a goal disallowed, which makes him one of the most unfortunate strikers I’ve seen in the game for a long time. His fixtures look pretty difficult after his GW15 tie against Crystal Palace, so I can now see myself transferring him out very soon.

Good luck:

- Salah scoring fruitfully off the bench was very fortunate. We know what he’s capable of even on limited minutes, but two goals and an assist was about as good as I could have hoped for after seeing the initial team sheet.

- I knew Manchester United would do well against Leeds, which is why I had Dallas as my second substitute. However, with Lamptey and James both getting 0 minutes, Dallas was auto-subbed, and would have scored -1 without his late goal. A huge slice of luck – but I’ll take it!

Bad judgement:

- In hindsight, captaining Salah was a poor decision. I missed the leaked information about a possible Salah benching prior to the deadline, and had I heard, I would have definitely switched to Fernandes. Klopp is known for mid-December rotation and has spoken out about the early kick-offs in recent weeks. Had Salah blanked or scored just 1 point, I would have blamed my poor judgement.

Good judgement:

- Building a strong bench has helped me immensely during the Christmas period, and will continue to until the end of January. Although it may take me one or two hits between now and GW19, the well-rounded squad has hopefully enabled me to play the Bench Boost chip in the double gameweek, barring any major injuries and suspensions.

How have my GW18 and GW19 plans changed?

The EFL Cup final has now been rescheduled to GW33 rather than GW26, which means GW26 is likely to be a larger double gameweek than first anticipated. For most, this won’t impact your plans for GW19, but some may decide to save their Bench Boost chip until later in the season.

For me, I’m fairly content with working towards a GW19 Bench Boost. If all goes well, I should be able to field between 11 and 12 double gameweek players, provided I play my Free Hit chip in GW18.

My decision to play the Bench Boost chip will be influenced by the fitness of Reece James. If he fails to return before mid-January, I may decide simply to field a very strong starting 11 and evade the inevitable 4 point hit I’d take before GW19 to bring in a £4.5 million goalkeeper and Tomas Soucek.

Personally, I’m not desperate to field 15 double gameweek players in GW19; I feel the likes of Heung-Min Son against Sheffield United and Kevin De Bruyne against Crystal Palace could easily outscore a double gameweek player on their day, but I will monitor their form over the next few performances.

What are my plans for GW15?

Starting with captain, this is an easy one. Mo Salah against West Brom cannot be overlooked, and after his benching in GW14, he’s bound to start the game in my opinion. De Bruyne will take the vice-captain armband with a favourable fixture against Newcastle.

With Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Tariq Lamptey injured, I’m in dire need of a defensive transfer or two this week.

According to reports, James’ knee injury is less serious than first speculated, and the club are now resting him for a few games to reduce the pain he’s been suffering from.

Conversely, Chilwell’s is to undergo a scan for his ankle injury and Lampard has realistically assumed won’t feature until New Year at the earliest. Although I have a lot of value tied up in him, he’s more expensive than James and posting similar (if not inferior) underlying numbers.

Therefore, I’ve decided to take out Chilwell and bring in Coufal from West Ham – the attacking fullback has impressed in recent weeks and West Ham have solid fixtures from now until their double in GW19.

The West Ham double-up in defence could be a viable strategy in GW19 and I may decide to transfer Lamptey out for Balbuena in the coming weeks. The Hammers face Burnley and West Brom at home in the double gameweek, and at £4.4 million, I feel Balbuena could be a risk worth taking, thanks particularly to Cresswell’s dangerous delivery from set pieces.

However, the Coufal transfer hopefully gives me a full playing line-up this week, and at the moment the most I can sell Lamptey for is £4.7, which means I can endure one price drop without losing any money. There are lots of possible moves I’m planning in the upcoming gameweeks, so part of me feels it’s best to save two free transfers where possible.

This decision may change however, so watch out for any alterations on the Back Four FPL Twitter page! The Lamptey to Balbuena switch could even be my second free transfer this week.

Team this week (3-4-3): Martinez, Coufal, Robertson, James, Fernandes, De Bruyne (VC), Salah (C), Grealish, Bamford, Calvert-Lewin, Watkins

Subs: 1. Dallas, 2. Lamptey, 3. Bissouma

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