Gameweek 21: Team Reveal

How did I fare in GW20?

Despite getting a brace from Tomas Soucek and mega-haul from Joao Cancelo on Tuesday, my team failed to kick on a secure a green arrow. Dropping marginally in the overall rankings from 2,394 to 2,421, I managed to take 57 points from the gameweek, which was a little disappointing, but by no means disastrous.


My captaincy radar was off the mark this week, as I put my faith in Bruno Fernandes to score heavily against rock-bottom Sheffield United. The Red Devils and Bruno managed very little throughout the game, which has left me rather unsure about trusting him again. Whilst only a minor blip in form, Fernandes’ production seems to have lessened since the restoration of Paul Pogba in midfield, which is somewhat concerning. If my planned captain Kevin De Bruyne had stayed fit and featured against West Brom, he would surely have been amongst the points, which is a frustrating thought.


Bad luck:


- Having Reece James miss out for Chelsea’s 0-0 with Wolves added to the woeful journey I’ve been on with the defender so far this season. Having held him for this long, I feel I need to see whether he is going to be part of Tuchel’s long-term plans before shipping him. Hopefully, he’ll start against Burnley at the weekend instead of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

- For both Heung-Min Son and Salah to score disallowed goals on Thursday night was very frustrating, but at least I felt the decisions were correct in both cases.


Good luck:


- I was strongly considering moving Kane in last week instead of Son, which proved incredibly fortunate considering his new ankle injury. My suspicions are that Kane will be back to full fitness sooner rather than later, but I’m certainly going to hold off for a couple of weeks now.


Bad judgement:

- In hindsight, I shouldn’t have moved for Son ahead of a tricky fixture against Liverpool. In most instances, I’m drawn to targeting players with good fixtures rather than players in good form, but I felt Son’s counterattacking potential could do damage against Liverpool, as it nearly did. In retrospect, I probably should’ve swapped Kevin De Bruyne for either Jack Grealish or Ilkay Gundogan, who both scored goals in kinder fixtures.

Good judgement:

- Taking a hit to bring in Cancelo for Robertson proved an astute transfer; Liverpool weren’t able to keep Spurs at bay and most of Robertson’s energy was directed to defensive duties. On the other hand, Cancelo continued to create big chances and get forward against West Brom, which resulted in a goal and assist as well as a clean sheet.

How am I shaping up for GW21?

With Harry Kane’s injury scuppering my initial plans for GW21, I had to consider my free transfer very carefully this week.


At any other point in an FPL season, I would be looking at Jamie Vardy’s red flag and decisively transferring him out. At 10.0m, he offers the opportunity to move for almost every forward in the game.

However, it’s hard to get excited by any forwards in the game right now. With Aguero out and Jesus playing sporadically, I don’t feel confident enough to bring in a striker from in-form Manchester City. What’s more, Martial and Cavani share minutes for United, Lacazette’s fixtures are unappealing at best, and it’s impossible to predict the impact Werner will have under Tuchel, even with his enticing fixtures.


The only names I’m drawn to are Michail Antonio and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Antonio has been in great form since his return from injury and was unlucky not to score more points against Crystal Palace, but I’m not expecting West Ham to get the same number of chances against Liverpool at the weekend.


Conversely, Calvert-Lewin is in something of a goal drought at the moment, but his next two fixtures against Newcastle and Leeds could be worth the punt. Even then, I’m not too convinced about his fixtures in the long-term.


Therefore, I’m leaning towards keeping Vardy firmly rooted to my bench for yet another week, especially as there are so many fantastic budget options in the game right now. There’s no real necessity to pay attention to team value at the moment, with so many viable options under £6m.


Rodgers has also said in his most recent press conference that Vardy’s recovery is going well. Whilst confirming him out for the game against Leeds, he commented on the striker ‘progressing really well’, so it could be that Vardy returns earlier than first anticipated. Holding off on the Vardy move also allows me to learn more about the players I’m currently unsure about: by GW22, I should know more about Kane’s fitness status and I’ll have seen how impactful Werner is within Chelsea’s new structure.


Therefore, I’ve decided to bring in Ilkay Gundogan for Yves Bissouma this week and upgrade my ‘eighth attacker’ slot. The German has been Manchester City’s best player since the start of 2021, and Pep Guardiola spoke again of his importance to the team during Manchester City’s press conference.


Usually, I would look to minimise the amount of money sitting on my bench, in order to spend the majority of funds on first team players every week. However, at this point in the season, it seems more appropriate to spread the cash around, as it will give me added flexibility to manage injuries and rotation. When Vardy returns or Kane finally comes in, I’ll simply rotate the attacking assets depending on fixtures.


Captain:


In terms of captaincy, I’m currently deliberating between Mo Salah, Heung Min-Son and a Manchester City asset. In my opinion, there are no standout captaincy picks this week, so it could be the right time to take a differential captaincy punt, if you are that way inclined.


Liverpool looked back to somewhere near their best against Spurs and Salah will gain confidence having found the net, albeit for a disallowed goal. Whilst West Ham are relatively solid at the back, they did concede twice to Crystal Palace, and Liverpool certainly have the attacking impetus to cause them problems.


At first glance, Son may suffer without his strike-partner Kane, but the Korean performed well under Pochettino as a solo striker in Kane’s absence. As we’re unsure exactly how Mourinho will shape up, I’m probably going to avoid captaining Son this week, but there is always the potential he could explode.


Finally, Manchester City are the in-form team in the league right now and they look like the golden captaincy options this week, playing bottom-of-the-league Sheffield United. However, whilst I’m confident Gundogan will start, there’s a strong possibility Pep gives him a rest around the 60-minute mark, and Sheffield United could perform doggedly in defence after their triumph at Old Trafford. Strangely enough, I feel more confident captaining a City defender this week, as I feel Sheffield United’s blunt attack will struggle to break them down. The major question mark here is whether Joao Cancelo is a safe bet to start the game, because he offers more of an upside to John Stones from defence.


At this stage, I’ve decided to sleep on it – but I’m leaning towards Salah against West Ham.


Team for GW21: Martinez (SOU), James (BUR), Stones (SHU), Cancelo (SHU), Dallas (LEI), Gundogan (SHU), Son (BHA), Fernandes (ARS), Salah © (WHU), Bamford (LEI), Watkins (SOU)


Bench: Soucek (LIV), Coufal (LIV), Vardy *Injured* (LEE)


Good luck everyone!

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