The welcome sight of green was waiting for me as I loaded up the FPL app on Tuesday morning. My score of 54 was 10 points above the average of 44, which saw me rise nearly 100,000 places to 50,875th overall. That’s not bad, out of 4.9m players. Still, that means there are 50,874 people to chase down which means there’s work to be done. Which brings us to Week 5…
The way the fixtures are, it seems to be feast and famine in consecutive weeks, as nearly all of last season’s top 6 have home games this week. The exception to that is Arsenal, who face the trip to Chelsea on Sunday lunchtime in the weekend’s showpiece fixture. Arsenal might have got back to winning ways last week but it would take a braver man than me to back them to do much against a resurgent Chelsea, who won 6-0 on Tuesday night. Morata remains a great option at just 10.1m, especially having been rested in midweek. Hazard made a substitute appearance in the same game but this might be the time for him to start. He’s not cheap at £10.5m though.
Man Utd’s game plan will have been slightly disrupted by Pogba’s injury, as will the 38.5% of FPL players who own the Frenchman. Everton are the visitors to Old Trafford, with the focus on Rooney and Lukaku facing their former clubs. I’ve captained Lukaku every week so far and you’d always back him at home, especially after Everton’s horrorshow at home to Tottenham. Another team missing a key player is Liverpool, who will be without Sadio Mane for a few weeks following his red card last weekend. With Coutinho available again and Sturridge a further option, I don’t think Liverpool will be particularly disrupted at home to Burnley, with Mo Salah (£9.1m) a good option as he seems to have shaken off an illness bug. Pep’s rotation express arrives at Vicarage Road, and although Watford are much improved since the 4-0 reverse on the final day of last season, you’d still back City to win. Whether Pep rotates the squad after a Champions League game remains to be seen, but it’s only the Carabao Cup midweek so surely it will make more sense to rest players for that?
Tottenham at home to Swansea would normally have my FPL eyeballs popping out of my head, and after Tottenham’s defeat of Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday is it safe to say the Wembley thing was just a coincidence. Add to that, Swansea were very average at home to Newcastle last weekend, and this looks promising. Harry Kane is up and running after four goals in a September week, and at 12.4m you could gamble and buy him whilst his price is still low. It won’t be for long.
If you think Roy Hodgson is going to make everything better for Crystal Palace, well good luck. But he has a nice opening game against a struggling Southampton side who are short of goals, and their previously watertight defence seems to also be less reliable these days. Having said that, Palace have 3 stinkers after this week so any move should be short term. If Newcastle have found a formula that works then a home game with Stoke needs to be the type of game they demonstrate it. Jesus Gamez deputised at left back at Swansea last week and at £4m he could be a cheap way into Rafa’s backline – goalkeeper Elliot is also priced at £4m.
It’s a Friday night, 7pm deadline people. This Friday night football is a real pain in the backside. You have a wildcard to use and we’re getting into the time where you’ll get the most out of it. Teams are starting to settle and with Pogba and Mane out for a few games, I’d wager a fair few wildcards are being played this week. You have it until the end of December, so there’s no panic.
I’ve alluded to this already, but I’m looking at Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku this week. Shocker, I know. Firmino at home to Burnley would have been another hot pick but his penalty miss on Wednesday has shaken my confidence. Will he keep spot kicks? Burnley are without their number one goalkeeper which just helps the Liverpool cause further. I’m not going to offer a wildcard pick because with Man Utd, Liverpool, Tottenham and Man City all enjoying favourable fixtures, it would be silly to look further afield. Even Morata against Arsenal is a great option.
I decided to bring in Ramsey for Willian last week – so much for keeping my powder dry – and Ramsey rewarded me with an assist whilst Willian started on the bench. Here’s what I’ve gone for this week, with Jesus Gamez in for the unused Hefele. Gamez will hopefully keep his place, and it creates £0.4m in the budget. Jack Stephens is under severe pressure for his place at the heart of the Saints defence so I’m pre-empting his dropping. Gabbiadini has similar issues but I’m not made of transfers.
De Gea (h), David Luiz (h), Dawson (h), Gamez (h), Ramsey (a), Salah (h), Eriksen (h), Loftus-Cheek (h), Lukaku (h), Kane (h), Gabbiadini (a)
Subs: Elliot (h), Stephens (a), Carroll (a), Mee (a)
I’m taking a break for a few weeks but I believe Mr Darwen is stepping in for me. I’ll be back with the gameweek 7 preview.