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[/three_fourth]Many will be reading this with a wildcard in their pockets, comfortable with not having to hit for DGW players leading up to DGW34 & 37. That’s nice for you, I’m truly happy for you, honest!! Sadly, my wildcard pocket is empty though I do still have my Bench Boost and Triple Captain chips to use over the next few weeks. For a quick summary, I played my Wildcard in GW21 for a couple of reasons – my rank was shocking, the deficit to my mini-league leader was too much, there were 5/6 players I didn’t own who I wanted to own, but let’s face it, the main reason I played my wildcard was because I possess no patience – never have done and likely never will do. Though I will hold my hand up and admit that with the introduction of these new chips I will endeavour (best laid plans and all that!!) to hold my wildcard next season for use around the DGWs. That said, my early wildcard hasn’t been a disaster – I have had 10 green arrows in eleven weeks and sit at my best ranking of the season thus far. How that can be quantified with what would have happened if I had held my wildcard until now, I don’t know. But fact is, I can’t argue with the results – but am now left scrambling around for a decent DGW34 side together with a plan for the weeks after 34, especially the blanks in GW35 and DGW37.
Enough waffling, I bet you thought Kop or Init wrote that intro!
So, what is my plan for the DGW34 and 37 with no wildcard? Firstly, panic, fret, laugh (always have to laugh) then try and construct the best squad I can.
This is my squad right now. (don’t laugh)
The players I currently own that have a DGW in 34 are:
Not great really. Plus Kompany is crocked, so make that five, not six! (this is when the panic sets in.)
I have 2 free transfers for GW32 and then obviously 1 each in GW33 and GW34. However, I will hit to reach a decent DGW squad – after all, if you can’t hit for a double game-week then when can you hit? And most round here will know I’m not afraid to take a hit or two.
Looking at the fixtures, I favour Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd and I’ll include Man City for their fixtures either side of the DGW. I don’t fancy Everton for DGW34, their fixtures are not great, they appear to be concentrating solely on the Cup and they blank in GW35, unless their match vs Palace is rearranged for GW35. That may change my thinking.
West Ham and Watford also have two DGWs but both blank in 35. Palace look worth ignoring, Toon are Toon – I have Wijnaldum but he’s playing deeper than ever and only Elliot looks value. West Brom, well, let’s just not go there.
3 Arsenal players seems to be a must – home to Palace and West Brom in DGW34 is then followed by Sunderland (a), Norwich (h), Man City (a) and finishing with Villa (h) in GW38. I already own Kos and Ozil and I would dearly love to get Alexis as well – his performances and stats are improving by the game and those fixtures look so appetising. But he’s expensive, so although I would love him as a great differential I’m not yet sure whether I can realistically get him. The other alternatives I would consider are doubling up in defence or taking a punt on Welbeck who seems to have found some form and looks to be ahead of Giroud in the pecking order as we speak.
Liverpool – I’m currently favouring Coutinho over Firmino on the basis of Firmino seems restricted by Sturridge playing. Liverpool’s fixtures either side of DGW34 plus their DGW37 mean that at least two players are required, which is tricky as the defence is so woeful, as we saw when they lost a two-goal lead at Southampton on Sunday. Maybe I’ll get Sakho or Mignolet. Liverpool also have to face Dortmund in the Europa League, the second leg of which is on the Thursday before their first match of DGW34, so rest, rotation, disappointment and injuries could all play havoc with selection. AAAARRRGGGGGHHHH!!! This is doing my head in!
Man Utd – this is where it gets tough. DGW34 matches at home to Villa and Palace is offset with a blank GW35 but then they have another double in GW37 and finish the season home to Bournemouth. Rashford would be a shoe-in but Rooney will be back by then. Martial maybe? Maybe. Defence seems the better option but they all get injured hence it’s tough to predict who will be fit to play. Which leaves De Gea as probably the best option at the back, which means no Mignolet! You see, it’s bloody tough!!
Man City – Kun I already have, so he stays, obviously. With rotation and injuries at the back, I think I’ll stick to Kun. Midfielders are expensive and underperforming, KDB is due back but their double fixtures are both away and his and City’s away form is poor.
West Ham double twice, but with a blank in 35 and fixtures mixed, it’s tough to bring in Payet at that price when compared to other players available, in my opinion.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of some of the players I am currently looking at. Most are no doubt not a surprise as I assume you’re all looking at a similar group.
I’ll keep Mahrez for now – Leicester’s fixtures remain decent until GW36 and we all know that one good week for him will dwarf most player’s DGW performance.
So with all the above analysis, what sort of team can I construct for DGW34 and how will it leave me for the blanks in GW35 and DGW37?
Provisional team for DGW34
How will I get there?
GW32 – Sell Kompany and Wijnaldum – Buy Simpson and Antonio (no hit)
GW33 – Sell Dier and Alli – Buy Sakho and Coutinho (4pt hit)
GW34 – Sell Courtois, Azpi, Ritchie and Vardy – Buy Elliot, Rojo, Alexis and Defoe (12pt hit)
Gulp – just writing “12pt hit” makes even me shudder!! Of course, this is no normal week and hopefully it will contribute to a monster week! This is the gamble.
I will Bench Boost in DGW34.
I managed to keep Alexis and I am hoping this is my differential play to those around me. Yes it is costing me to get him, but from DGW34 until the end of the season, Arsenal’s fixtures are about as good as they get and although he has underperformed to his own high standards this season, I am gambling on him continuing to improve those performances and stats and turning them into the FPL beast we know he can be. Is it worth all those hits? We shall see, but what have I to lose? Don’t die wondering and all that.
You may ask, “Why buy a Leicester defender now?” Great question. Every week not having a Leicester defender is hurting me and with decent fixtures up to, including, and after DGW34, Simpson can still contribute to my team and enables me to afford the likes of Alexis and Coutinho and keep Kane, Kun and Ozil.
I’m selling Wijnaldum as despite his 8pt return in GW31, Benitez is playing him too deep for him to be as effective as before. It’s like owning a more creative Flamini without the yellow cards.
The hits are a shame, but inevitable.
This squad leaves me with a full playing XI for GW35 – I will bench Hennessey, Rojo, Rangel and Antonio.
I am left with 5 DGWers for 37 with free transfers in GWs 35, 36 and 37 to build up that number.
Please note – this is just a provisional squad. We have a whole host of internationals to play before GW32 and then GWs 32 and 33 before the big one. Much may change, injuries could occur, plans could change etc.
For example, if Rooney is not back and/or Rashford remains a starter, he will come in for Defoe. And Everton coverage could come into play if their Palace fixture is announced for GW35.
This is just really me thinking aloud – don’t take the above as gospel as what will occur, as I have pointed out, much can change and no doubt will. I will also listen carefully and appreciate your comments / thoughts / suggestions.
Bottom line – this is just one great big RMT for me – thanks in advance!!
Love you all.
THE FIXTURE TRACKER