How did I fare in GW22?
Enduring my third successive red arrow in GW22, my overall rank suffered a drop to 4,344 from 2,452. With only 68 points to my name, GW22 was certainly one to forget, as I was well below the average score within the top 10,000.
However, after reflecting on the gameweek slightly, I cannot be too disappointed with the returns. Bamford, Watkins, Soucek, Gundogan, Stones and Cancelo each earned single digit scores, whilst Bruno Fernandes hauled with an impressive 17 against Southampton.
Unfortunately for my team, popular picks such as James Justin, James Maddison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka damaged my rank significantly, which is particularly frustrating as I considered a last-minute move from Reece James to Justin moments before the deadline!
I ultimately decided to bank a transfer this week which has inevitably given me more flexibility this week to tackle the upcoming double gameweeks.
Finally, since my triple captain disappointment in GW19, I’ve managed to evade the best captaincy option and this week was no exception. Salah failed to deliver once again, and after watching Spurs’ lethargic performance against Chelsea last night, I’m slightly put off the idea of captaining Son against West Brom, even though it is the conventional ‘standout’ captaincy fixture this weekend. I’ll get into it later, but it could be time to trust a budget forward this week!
- The woodwork was not my friend in GW22. Both Watkins and Bamford hit the post during their respective games, and had Bamford scored his, I would have also received assist points from Dallas. Very frustrating!
- Despite James’ 8-point score, I had a relatively frail bench for GW22, so I consider myself fortunate that all my starting 11 were selected from the outset. I’m predominantly alluding to Pep Guardiola; I breathed a sigh of relief when my City trio of Stones, Cancelo and Gundogan were each named as starters.
- Perhaps holding Vardy for this long was a mistake, but Soucek and Gundogan have each covered me effectively in his absence. Rodgers has disclosed that he’s in contention to feature against Wolves which is great news, but I’m still considering making the switch to Antonio, who could have plenty of chances against strugglers Fulham. Part of me wishes I made the switch ages ago, and saved a bit of money in the process.
- I think I have managed my transfers methodically over the last few weeks, and now that some double gameweeks have been announced, I feel I am in a good position to capitalise. Bringing in an eighth playing attacker (Gundogan) during Vardy’s injury spell means I am now closer to a Bench Boost in GW26, as I am now without the inexplosive Bissouma on my bench. Hopefully, I can start finding some green arrows again as I did before GW19!
How do I plan to manoeuvre through double GW24 and double GW25?
For those of you who don’t already know, the Premier League have issued changes to their schedule, meaning certain teams will play twice in GW24 and GW25.
The postponed fixtures Everton vs. Manchester City and Burnley vs. Fulham are due to be played during GW24, whilst Leeds and Southampton will lock horns in GW25.
Therefore, the double gameweeks are as follows, with home fixtures highlighted in bold:
1. Manchester City vs. Spurs and Everton (GW24)
2. Everton vs. Fulham and Manchester City (GW24)
3. Burnley vs. Crystal Palace and Fulham (GW24)
4. Fulham vs. Everton and Burnley (GW24)
5. Leeds vs. Wolves and Southampton (GW25)
6. Southampton vs. Chelsea and Leeds (GW25)
Fortunately, the fixtures fall rather kindly for me, as I already own Stuart Dallas, Patrick Bamford, Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and John Stones, who each double during this period. In my opinion, the most enticing double gameweeks are Burnley (from a defensive perspective) and Leeds (from an attacking perspective), so my immediate thoughts are to load up on these teams in the coming weeks.
However, as I will later discuss in my transfer section, I may look to Dominic Calvert-Lewin in GW24; I would expect Everton’s top scorer to be amongst the goals against Fulham, and additional appearance points (at a minimum) against Manchester City would be worthwhile.
With the FA Cup 5th round scheduled this midweek, it is probable we’ll have more information about double GW26 just before the GW24 deadline. Therefore, if at all possible, it is perhaps best to hold on to an extra transfer this week to allow maximum flexibility.
What are my plans for GW23?
Once again, most of my decisions this week revolve around Jamie Vardy. I have kept him for so long now and he's finally fit, but I still must question whether he fits into my short-term and long-term strategy.
Rodgers is confident Vardy will be involved against Wolves this weekend, but a 90-minute appearance still seems rather unlikely. I envision him either starting and coming off early, or missing out until 60 minutes and coming on for a short cameo.
However, Leicester’s midfielders (in particular Maddison and Barnes) are in fine form and will supply plenty of chances to Vardy when he does feature. Furthermore, Wolves have not looked the best defensively this season, and have struggled to keep out opponents in the same secure manner they managed last season.
If I were to keep Vardy this week, my plan would be as follows:
- Start Vardy against Wolves this week.
- Transfer out Vardy for Calvert-Lewin in GW24, ready for his double gameweek.
- Bench Calvert-Lewin against Liverpool and play both Gundogan and Raphinia (who would be my transfer for Soucek that week), ready for Raphinia’s double gameweek in GW25.
- Have Calvert-Lewin for double GW26 and use the extra funds to bring in a mid-priced midfielder, such as Jack Grealish.
However, Michail Antonio has been electric over the last few games, and he has two fantastic fixtures against Fulham and Sheffield United in the next two.
Therefore, I could cut my losses with Vardy and instead do the following:
- Transfer out Vardy for Antonio this week.
- Keep Antonio against Sheffield United in GW24.
- Transfer Antonio back out for Harry Kane in GW25, when he is due to play West Ham (provided he is back from injury)
- Have Kane for double GW26.
On top of this, I am also thinking of ways I can bring in Burnley defenders. The Clarets not only have a great double gameweek but their fixtures in and around GW24 are also very appealing.
Therefore, with two free transfers this week, I’m tempted to bring in Nick Pope and save the second transfer until next week. Hopefully next week we will have more information regarding GW26, and I can think about moving for Calvert-Lewin, or even doubling up on a Burnley defender! This would mean hiding behind the sofa during the West Ham vs. Fulham game and praying Antonio doesn’t repeat the 4-goal haul he got against Norwich last season.
As for captaincy, I’m currently torn between Bruno Fernandes and Patrick Bamford. Spurs arguably have the easiest fixture this week against West Brom, but Son hasn’t given me much confidence after two poor displays against Chelsea and Brighton. Fernandes is always a great option for captaincy because of his consistency, but I can also see Bamford exploding against Crystal Palace, as the Eagles have become increasingly frail at the back in recent weeks.
The final contentious call is Soucek over Gundogan. I feel West Ham are more likely to create chances against Fulham and whilst Gundogan could still notch points against Liverpool, I have a suspicion that City’s chances will be limited against Liverpool, in what promises to be a tight game.
I'll make a decision in the morning - at the moment, I'm tempted to captain Bamford and hold Vardy, ready to swap him for Calvert-Lewin in GW24.
Good luck everyone!