Gameweek 20: Team Reveal

How did I fare in GW19?

If any gameweek epitomised the ups and downs of FPL, it was GW19. After triple captaining Kevin De Bruyne and fielding 11 double gameweek players, I was feeling very confident heading into GW19, but would have received a red arrow if not for last minute returns from Martinez and Watkins against Newcastle.

My 4-point hit to bring in De Bruyne and Stones knocked my 109-point score to 105, which was just enough to secure a miniature green arrow from 2,503 to 2,394.

Without John Stones, who was my only goal scorer during the entire double gameweek, I would have struggled to accumulate a competitive points total. Coufal performed admirably with a clean sheet and assist in each match, whilst Martinez, Watkins, Robertson, Fernandes and De Bruyne returned with more than just appearance points.

Of course, the main disappointment of GW19 for me was triple captaining De Bruyne, who looked to be a smart choice after assisting Stones’ opener against Crystal Palace. For the Belgian to limp off injured 90 seconds before the 60-minute mark was incredibly unlucky, as it cost me a minimum of 6 points.

However, taking emotion out of the equation completely, GW19 was another positive week for my team, further securing a rank inside the top 10k.

Bad luck:

- De Bruyne set up numerous opportunities for his City teammates and was criminally unlucky not to gain more than his one assist. Foden missed a golden chance against Aston Villa, Cancelo hit the crossbar, and to make matters worse, City won a penalty after De Bruyne left the field.

- Not only did Vardy blank in both his double gameweek fixtures, but he’s now out for an extended period of time because of a hernia operation. Part of the reason I brought him in was for his favourable fixtures against Leeds and Fulham after the double gameweek, so to lose him is incredibly frustrating.

Good luck:

- I can count myself rather fortunate that both Fernandes and Salah failed to explode during the double gameweek. Although I own both, the duo had an effective ownership (EO) of over 100% amongst teams in the top 10k, because of the amount of FPL managers captaining them. I was dreading Salah’s fixture against Burnley after the KDB disappointment against Villa, but his benching was a timely relief to say the least.

- Brighton beating Leeds 1-0 stopped my Leeds assets from hauling on the bench, so I was pleased in the end I didn’t opt for the Bench Boost route.

Bad judgement:

- On reflection, bringing in Jamie Vardy for a hit in GW16 was a poor decision. I was lured in by the enticing fixtures after the double gameweek, but knowing of his ongoing hip injury, I should have stayed well clear. The lesson here is not to look too far ahead and focus my transfers on the upcoming two or three gameweeks.

Good judgement:

- It was definitely the right decision not to Bench Boost and take copious amounts of hits ahead of GW19. After the recent FA Cup results, it seems likely that most of my ‘big hitters’ will play twice in GW26 and blank in GW29. The loose plan right now is to use transfers to set up for a Bench Boost in GW26 and then wildcard to navigate the blank gameweek. Emphasis on loose: if I need to wildcard before, I will!

- It was pleasing to see Watkins return with an overdue goal, and my decision to hold him looks to have paid off. Villa have solid fixtures in the next few weeks and looks like one of the best cheap forwards in the game right now.

The return of the watchlist

Now that the storm of the blanks and doubles has passed, we are no longer looking at double gameweek players. Therefore, I’ve updated my watchlist with players I’m likely to consider in the coming weeks.

Goalkeepers & Defenders:

Alponse Areola – I’ll eventually need a £4.5m goalkeeper for a Bench Boost in GW26, and right now Areola looks the best option. Fulham have improved defensively since moving to a back 5 and the Frenchman has the best save percentage in the Premier League.

Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias – Manchester City look good for a clean sheet every week and the double-up seems the best route to points in defence right now. Cancelo, whilst always subject to the occasional benching, looks dangerous in attack, and could be given more creative responsibility after the injury to Kevin De Bruyne.

Luke Shaw – the left-back has been nothing short of sensational for Manchester United in recent weeks, and at £4.8m he offers exceptional value. Seems to be taking the odd corner as well.

Matt Targett – although I’d probably opt for Grealish if I decided to go for a Villa triple-up, Aston Villa’s defence has been solid this season, and a defensive double-up with Martinez could be an excellent differential, especially if Targett keeps accumulating assists.

Tyrick Mitchell – at £3.9m, Mitchell offers phenomenal value as a 5th defender, as he seems to have cemented his place in the Palace back line permanently now.

Midfielders & Forwards:

Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane – both have consistently racked up the points this season and are due a few double gameweeks as well.

Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden – both are likely to accrue more minutes in De Bruyne’s absence and City have an attractive run of fixtures. Although Foden is the more explosive of the two, I feel Gundogan is more likely to start every week for City.

Jack Grealish – Grealish is top in the league for expected assists (xA), big chances created (BCC) and key passes (KP), so is posting elite numbers at £7.7m.

Michail Antonio – the Englishman has become West Ham’s talisman under Moyes and now he’s fully back from injury. He also scored against Burnley and West Brom in the double gameweek, which bodes well for the striker.

What are my plans for GW20?

The injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and Jamie Vardy have scuppered my plans somewhat, as I was hoping to avoid a hit this week.

However, needs must, and I’ve already decided to transfer out Kevin De Bruyne to Heung-Min Son and Andrew Robertson to Joao Cancelo.

Although Son plays Liverpool this week, I fully expect Spurs to give them a good game and trouble them on the counterattack. Son is arguably Spurs’ greatest threat on the break and scored in the reverse fixture at Anfield earlier in the season.

I wasn’t forced into transferring Robertson out, but I feel a Man City double-up in defence is the best long-term option. The hit allows me to target a plum West Brom fixture – I’d hope for at least a clean sheet from Cancelo, who may even chip in with an attacking return.

The extra funds raised from the transfer will enable me to bring in Harry Kane for Jamie Vardy next week, and the added possibility of Tomas Soucek to Jack Grealish if I wish to take an additional hit.

I don’t like taking hits so regularly, but I feel this season has been an exception. So long as they set me up for the long-term, I feel they are justifiable.

Fernandes will wear the armband against Sheffield United this week; for me, he is the standout captaincy option in GW20 and Manchester United should be animated after their FA Cup success against Liverpool at the weekend.

Team for GW20 (4-4-2): Martinez (BUR), James (WOL), Stones (WBA), Cancelo (WBA), Dallas (NEW), Son (LIV), Soucek (CRY), Fernandes © (SHU), Salah (TOT), Bamford (NEW), Watkins (BUR)

Bench: 1. Coufal (CRY), 2. Bissouma (FUL), Vardy (EVE) *Injured*

Good luck everyone!

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