How did I fare in GW31?
This is not a drill. My overall rank is 100th in the world!
Fair to say my GW31 wildcard has worked out beautifully so far, with 81 points and a rank rise of over 200 places.
Clean sheets from Holding and Sanchez, goals from Alexander-Arnold, Salah and Son and braces from Lingard and Iheanacho helped contribute to a gameweek rank of 25,645 – my best of the season so far.
I’ve managed my wildcard team with the intention of banking a transfer this week for flexibility in blank GW33, and unless there are several injuries in the Europa League tonight, I’ll head into GW32 unchanged.
- Even at 81 points, FPL managers will always think what could have been. Rudiger had a header saved off the line and both he and Alexander-Arnold were unlucky not to keep clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa respectively.
- I obviously had a lot of good fortune this week to gain such a hefty green arrow. Lingard’s opener was a rather fortunate finish in my opinion, and Alexander-Arnold scored an injury-time winner, which rose his score from 2 points to 11 points in a matter of seconds.
- It’s hard to find fault with a wildcard team after it scores 81 in the first week, but I’ve left myself 0.0m in the bank to play with. Hopefully, this won’t have too much of an effect in the short-term and I can stay well clear of injuries and suspensions.
- Opting for just one Chelsea defender on wildcard seems to have paid off so far, as Sanchez outscored Mendy in GW31 and now I have Lloris’ double gameweek in GW32. Avoiding City players against Leeds proved fruitful too and proves that you don’t need to ‘punt on a differential or explosive captain’ to gain a significant rank rise.
Rating your teams ahead of GW32
Yesterday, I asked the Twitter community to share their teams ahead of GW32. Although I am rating the teams, please be aware that this is just what I would do in each position. There are plenty of avenues to success and it’s important for managers to play their own game!
FPL Bajen forever: ‘The no Son route’
I’m a big fan of this team. Ederson in goal, although a little expensive for my liking, offers security of starts between the sticks and can be covered well by Sanchez in GW33. Aside from Watkins against Manchester City, every player in the starting eleven has a favourable fixture this week and the bench can cover well for any absentees.
The only key player missing from this team is Heung-Min Son, who could deliver plenty of points in Spurs’ double gameweek. Personally, I wouldn’t rip my team apart to bring in the Korean, as this midfield is structured well to manage the rest of the season. It’s probably worth crossing fingers here and hoping Son has a quiet week against Everton and Southampton.
In terms of transfers, I’d wait until the press conferences before making any final decisions. My hunch is that Calvert-Lewin and Raphinha will play this weekend, and if they are cleared fit to play, I’d keep both of them over Ollie Watkins. Raphinha has solid fixtures after GW33 and Calvert-Lewin is likely to have a better double gameweek than Ollie Watkins because of his better fixture run.
Easy transfer this week for me. Watkins out, Iheanacho in!
Carle YNWA Lenting: ‘Swansong for Aguero?’
I chose this team for the article as it features Aguero at 3rd spot on the bench. It indicates to me that Carle has probably lost patience with Pep roulette at this stage and is looking to ship him on for good.
There is every chance Aguero plays against Aston Villa, as we’ve seen Guardiola rotate heavily in the league recently to prioritise other competitions, and the Argentine is far from first choice these days.
However, I’m not sure Aguero is the same player he once was and there’s no guarantee he’ll score even if he does start.
Fortunately, the rest of this team is really well set up and there are no real fires to extinguish. Therefore, I’d swap Aguero for either Jamie Vardy or Kelechi Iheanacho.
It’s hard to justify the price for Vardy when Iheanacho is outscoring him, so I would probably drop down to the Nigerian and save the money for a rainy day. However, Vardy is undoubtedly the differential in this scenario and is a guaranteed starter once James Maddison and Harvey Barnes return. Vardy could be worth it with West Brom, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle in his next four! I like both options.
Jamie Anthony: ‘Hit or hold?’
It’s refreshing to see teams with a few differentials included; I really like the Havertz punt now he’s cemented himself as Chelsea’s main man up top and Aubameyang could have prospered in Arsenal’s easy run of fixtures.
However, Aubameyang’s persistent exclusion from Arteta’s starting eleven is slightly suspect for me, and I’d be thinking about letting him go. We saw a similar narrative happen with Mesut Ozil and I’m expecting Arteta to put his faith in Saka, Lacazette and Pepe more often than not.
The obvious move here is to use the free transfer to swap Aubameyang for Son, who has a double gameweek in GW32. With only Dias and Kane set to miss out in GW33, this team should manage fine in GW33 even with Son added.
The next question is whether to take an additional hit to replace Antonio, who is out with a hamstring problem. I’d certainly wait for more news in the press conferences tomorrow before doing anything – Antonio may be cleared fit to play (even though it’s unlikely).
The clear replacement for Antonio is Iheanacho (fear of sounding like a broken record here!) but it would depend whether the Leicester striker were part of a long-term move. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Iheanacho to repay the hit in one week, but with excellent fixtures in the next four, he’d probably make the -4 worthwhile.
Also, it takes a brave man to bet against Harry Kane this week! Of course, Salah could bag another hattrick against Leeds as he did in the reverse fixture, but I would always put my faith in the double gameweek player. Up to you, of course!
Kuromikojiharu: ‘The De Bruyne Conundrum’
This team has a really nice mix of template and differential players, but there are a couple of areas I’d look to improve.
Personally, with De Bruyne, I’d keep him for Aston Villa. Guardiola doesn’t often rotate the Belgian and he had a rest against Leeds. Of course, he could miss out again, but I think it’s worth keeping him for his explosive potential for now. If you’re sick of the fear of rotation though, maybe a simple switch to either Salah or Son would suffice.
The key weakness in the starting eleven is Lewis Dunk against Chelsea, but with Brighton set to face Sheffield United in blank GW33, I’d definitely keep him on the bench this week. Joao Cancelo has regressed somewhat recently and is still susceptible to Pep roulette, so I’d probably look to swap him out.
If you’re aiming for someone around the same price, Azpilicueta still hasn’t missed a Premier League minute under Tuchel and Chelsea’s defence is second best in the league at the moment in terms of underlying statistics. Saving a bit of money could be worthwhile too however, so you could always drop Cancelo down to a Conor Coady, Rob Holding or Nathaniel Phillips, who each have great fixtures for the run-in.
Toby: ‘Bench boost’
Along with the screenshot of his team, Toby said he was tempted to bench boost his team this week to claw back some lost ground in GW31.
Although it’s hard at times to do this, I always try to limit reactionary decisions in FPL, as tempting as it is. Chips should be used at the optimum opportunity, not just to recover from a poor gameweek.
That being said, GW32 looks like a great time to use it. Most of the popular wildcard picks have favourable fixtures in GW32 and there are 15 players here who start regularly.
If this team has been assembled with no hits, I would almost certainly bench boost it. Cavani, Reguilon and Bowen are inviting differentials, but the rest of the team fits the new template. I’d be expecting a healthy green arrow here.
However, if you’ve taken two or more hits to get here, I’d think carefully about each hit in isolation. The more hits you take, the more you are lessening the impact of the bench boost, and with a possible double gameweek to come in GW35, there may be a better time to use it.
What are my plans for GW32?
Unless there’s an injury bloodbath in the Europa League tonight, I’m content rolling a transfer this week. Lloris will come in for Sanchez to complete the Spurs triple-up and Shaw will head back into the starting eleven with a solid home fixture against Burnley.
Alexander-Arnold’s attacking potential is too explosive to bench against Leeds, so my main headache this week is who to start out of Rudiger, Fofana and Holding, and each make a strong case.
Rudiger arguably has the hardest fixture of the three against Brighton this week, but Chelsea are so good defensively and Brighton struggle to find the net against solid back lines.
Fofana’s home fixture to West Brom looks great on paper, but Leicester’s defence has dropped off recently and the Baggies’ rampant displays against Chelsea and Southampton concern me.
Finally, Holding plays arguably the worst attack in the league at the moment behind Sheffield United, but with Fulham desperate for points, I worry they’ll throw caution to the wind and attack Arsenal – who are often leaky when on the back foot.
At the moment, I’ve played it safe and gone for Rudiger, but this could easily change ahead of the GW32 deadline.
My captaincy is firmly on Kane this week. He’s the Premier League top scorer, is second only to Fernandes for FPL points this season, and plays two games against Everton and Southampton. Simple.
That’s it for this week’s article. Let me know your thoughts via social media (Twitter: @back_four_FPL or Insta: back_four_fpl) and best of luck for GW32!