Good day! Week three feels like an awful long time ago, doesn’t it? My slow but inevitable demise is well underway, as my score of 46 only narrowly beat the average of 43. That dropped my overall rank to 149,361 – hardly a disaster but red arrows are not nice to see. The blame for my failings is being pinned firmly to the feet of Romelu Lukaku; his failure to convert from the spot gave him a score of 0. As my captain, double of zero is nothing. This makes me sad. How can we put it right?
I have to say, week 4 fills me with trepidation. I mean for starters it’s really making me think about what to do. There’s new players to consider, old players coming back into the mix and the always irksome fatigue from International fixtures. Oh and the Champions League starts on Tuesday. This must be how Pep feels every week.
Speaking of Pep, the main attraction this week is Man City vs Liverpool in the early kick-off. As a match, it fascinates me, but as a fantasy football prospect it makes me want to go and hide under the bed. Pep flexed his rotational muscle to leave out Aguero at Bournemouth, so I doubt he’ll do the same again, especially as Aguero didn’t play any minutes for Argentina. Gabriel Jesus did at least turn out for Brazil, but how many minutes they get here is anybody’s guess. Liverpool have similar issues, with their front line being away to Senegal, Egypt and Brazil qualifiers respectively. And will Coutinho slot back in? He scored for Brazil, so he’s clearly available. Ironically Daniel Sturridge is probably the only fresh player. I suspect with both sets of players in the same positions both managers will go all out so as not to lose an early advantage to a title rival.
Arsenal probably have the nicest looking fixture on paper, they face pointless Bournemouth at the Emirates, but Arsenal are not in good shape right now as has been well documented. Is now the time to bring Sanchez in? How about Ozil? Will Lacazette be recalled? It sickens me to my core. Ramsey at £7m is my pick. Chelsea travel to Leicester, having taken Danny Drinkwater from them, and Eden Hazard is back from his long term injury. That spells trouble for one of Willian or Pedro, with Pedro preferred for much of last season. I guess there’s a chance Hazard will start from the bench having featured for Belgium but it’s just one of the many question marks over this weekend.
Tottenham also have a tough trip, with Goodison Park their destination. It’s September now so Harry Kane is allowed to score again, but Everton are a tough nut to crack at Goodison. It’s hardly an easy fixture but if Tottenham are going to take time to adapt to Wembley they need to be winning on the road. Everton have the quality that is Gylfi Sigurdsson but he’s a big outlay at £8.5m.
Burnley’s home form is normally reliable and a home game with struggling Crystal Palace should only help. Chris Wood at £6.5m could be useful, as well as most of the Burnley defence being priced at £4.5m. James McArthur is the only Palace player to score this season, and as a midfielder priced at £4.5m that makes him an option. If Palace improve that is. Southampton and Watford is another that is hard to predict – Southampton are still goal shy whereas nobody knows what Watford are up to. Van Dijk is back in the reckoning for Southampton but will he replace Yoshida or Stephens, who have done pretty well so far?
All the deadline day arrivals are now available on the FPL website, including Renato Sanches of Swansea who is priced at £5m. Swansea’s next 5 aren’t too bad at all, starting with the visit of Newcastle this Sunday. That could also bring Wilfried Bony into the mix, valued at £6m, but Abraham is cheaper at £5.5m and (probably) contractually obliged to start. Another player on the move was Kieran Gibbs (£5.5m), who will presumably slot into left back at West Brom despite not fitting the usual Pulis mould. With Jonny Evans set to return from injury this week, that should mean Brunt back into midfield but bad news for one of Dawson, Nyom and Hegazi. Goodness knows what will happen when McAuley is back. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is now a Liverpool player, though where he’ll fit into the 11, if at all, remains to be seen.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a serious axe to grind with the fixture computer for this week. I’d struggle to back against Man Utd at the moment even if Stoke is a tough place to go, would Lukaku blank again? Harry Kane will surely open his Premier League account sooner or later, but Goodison is a tricky trip for anybody, it’s not really captaincy worthy. If you’re brave enough to have an Arsenal player, or if you want one, I’d assume Lacazette is going to be restored to the lineup and he’s got a fair chance of scoring against Bournemouth.
I’m actually considering making no changes this week and keeping those two transfers for next week when I might have a clue what the team selections will be. It’s a big risk as I reckon about 5 of my team are a risk this week, especially Willian. Players I’m concerned about being benched are marked with a *
De Gea, Dawson*, Mee, Stephens*, David Luiz, Willian*, Eriksen, Salah*, Kane, Gabbiadini*, Lukaku. Subs: Elliot, Hefele*, T Carroll*, Loftus-Cheek*
Hopefully, I’m just being paranoid, but most of my bench is already out of favour. The wildcard hour is nearly upon us.
In summary, I don’t have high hopes at all this week. All I can do is wish you good luck, and may all your arrows be green!