FPL Goops: 19/20, Blog 4 –  Pukki Stokes the fires

Tom’s good mate FPL Goops is writing an FPL blog for us this year from the perspective of an “FPL Everyman”.

See his Intro Post here and his last Season Review here if you want to catch up.

Follow him on twitter @FPLGoops.

I was up at Headingley on Saturday to watch England begin their epic comeback in the Ashes test having looked absolutely dead and buried.

Stokes, you bloody hero. 

It was a glorious bank holiday weekend and amongst the cricket banter and free flowing beer, it was probably a blessing that I couldn’t focus on the football action.

Nevertheless, I was quietly confident going into Gameweek 3 with my three expensive premiums set up of Salah, Sterling and Kane. All with favourable fixtures…

 

Gameweek 3 review

GW1 was reprieved by Kane’s late brace.

I didn’t expect a return last week at City but, after Newcastle’s woeful start to the season and form, the Spurs home fixture looked nailed on for another decent haulI went all in with Kane captaincy ahead of both Raheem Sterling and Mo Salah, who were very appealing options.

After they both delivered, all eyes were on Kane for the Sunday 4.30 final fixture.

News that Tanguy Ndombele was missing had caused a moment of doubt before the deadline.

But I backed my instinct that Newcastle’s status as this season’s whipping boys justified Kane as captain.

I hadn’t factored in the ongoing uncertainty around Eriksen.

It’s clearly having an impact on Spurs which was masked last week when they earned that surprise draw, yet still I was confident Kane would return something.

I was wrong.  He may have been a little unlucky to be denied that penalty.  Knowing my luck he would probably have missed.

A blank hurt, a captain blank was absolutely galling.

I ended the Gameweek on 49 points.  Below the min threshold again. After a highly commendable opening week 83 pter, it’s going downhill a bit too fast.

 

Other than the Kane fiasco, the other major area of concern has been my defence.

In fairness we all have the same issue here.

Just two clean sheets in both of the last two gameweeks, and this week one was for Aston Villa, the other Southampton.  What were the chances?

Luca Digne’s 1 pter on Friday night didn’t get me off to a great start.

Also the new Teemu Pukki owners were instantly rewarded.

Then another fail for KwP who only just lasted the hour before doing his hammy and Dunk having a goal chalked off by VAR.

You know your luck’s not in when Pope is then 2 injury time mins from securing a great shutout at Wolves when a dodgy penalty wipes it out.

I got a whopping 8 points from my 5 playing defenders in all.

So much for big at the back, despite what the boys said this week!

In contrast, though, my midfield performed well.

Sterling’s goal completed a full house of midfield returns; Kane’s blank was matched by a more expected one from King.

I’d bought Kevin de Bruyne and Todd Cantwell in for Ryan Fraser and  Ayoze Perez.

Both had attacking returns and the players I dispensed with blanked.  That’s exactly what you want from your transfers.  I’d got that spot on.

Salah’s 15 pointer was welcome – and I did feel for those on wildcard who’d moved Mo to Mane and were immediately punished.

I know how that one feels.

Gameweek 4 Planning

I hate being reactionary in FPL.  It was my undoing last season.  All those hits, many completely unnecessary when you call on Captain Hindsight.

I’ve been measured this year with no hits and sticking nicely to my early season gameplan.

However one man has changed all that: Teemu Pukki.

Photo: Getty

All week managers had been scrambling to get Pukki into their teams as his price continued to rise almost daily.

I sat back and watched, confident that Kane would prove a very useful differential this week.

My early season team structure has hinged around Kane firing to justify the investment in an extra premium at the expense of other credible mid priced assets.

So I have to admit to my first proper sense of humour fail on FPL.

Oh boy this game tests even the most resilient manager, doesn’t it?

His early season stats are just far too good to ignore – he could easily be the first player to see a 1m price rise before the first IB and I’ve simply got to get an invite to the Pukki Party.

Cantwell covered me quite well this week but I’m not missing out on the Pukki hauls anymore and Josh King really is expendable.

The price rises have required me to take my first hit this season.

My makeweight to get Pukki in is Lewis Dunk to John Lundstram. I had exact change to do it on Saturday night (yes BEFORE the gameweek was complete) and, whilst I don’t generally advocate this, I felt I had to move before I was priced out.

West Ham have conceded a whopping 12 big chances so far this season and that’s enough to convince me double Norwich in attack is worth the hit.

I bet he blanks (sorry in advance!)

Having frustratingly overlooked Sterling captaincy for 2 straight weeks now I’m not going for the hat trick and he wears the armband at home to Brighton.  Should be lucrative.

 

No Sky Blues (again!)

My Sky form is in sharp contrast to my FPL form so I’m going to continue my little Sky Corner.

Starting the gameweek ranked 6k overall I have finished it ranked 2.8k.  I need to post that here in case I never reach these heights again.

It started well enough on Friday night when Freddie Guilbert, my cheap Villa enabler who hadn’t played a single minute, was drafted back in time for a clean sheet. What a bonus!

Pity my captaincy was placed on Digne – a logical choice I’m sure you agree.

Salah captaincy on Saturday returned handsomely with his brace and MOTM performance. Another return from James Maddison kept me ticking over nicely.

Ahead of Sunday I had a choice of whether to move Aubameyang back to Kane who had returned well in GW1 or Sterling who has been punishing non owners.

As I was all in on Kane in FPL I decided to hedge and use a transfer to get Sterling for Sky and captained him.  This one paid off.

79 points in all – I think quite a modest week in Sky terms but enough to propel me to a really good start and something to build from.

 

Goops’ Unexpected Star of the Week 

Photo: FPL

Back to FPL and my unexpected star goes to Patrick van Aanholt who popped up with a last minute winner to end Palace’s woeful record at Old Trafford and snatch victory at the death for the first time in 30 years, much to my obvious dismay as a suffering United fan.

PVA has one of those bizarre early season records.  He really does start very well. I actually had him in my GW1 line up start of last season – double Palace at the back with AWB – as fixtures were great and he has this knack of popping up with returns.  And so perhaps this goal should not have been unexpected – but oh my what a coupon buster.

 

Goops’ Weekly Pick

I’m really bad at this.  Moise Kean and now Shane Duffy have delivered absolutely nowt.

Whoever I pick seems to have the kiss of death, so sorry again in advance if you have my pick in your team.

I think I’m playing it slightly safer with Sebastian Haller who opened his Hammers account with a brace at Watford last week, and has a good fixture at home to leaky Norwich whose all out attack leaves them susceptible at the back.

WGTA did a Prospecting the Prospects piece on Haller which identified great form in the Bundelisga, and it looks like he could be a very decent option for our FPL teams going forward.

It should, in fact, be a very open and free scoring game.

Commentators curse probably delivers a 0-0.

 

Gameweek Lessons Learned

I’ve decided to add a new feature and need to retro fit for the first 2 gameweeks.  Each week I’ll call out a lesson I’ve learned based on the outcome of the gameweek.

  • Gameweek 1 – in the absence of any stats early season, trust your instincts
  • Gameweek 2 – you can’t hit the jackpot every week – keep calm, be patient

And…Gameweek 3 – Man City and Liverpool deliver FPL guarantees. Always leave your captaincy with one of their premiums.

 

I’ve been tempted but resisted playing my wildcard and Kane gets a reprieve.

My personal expectations are low but praying for a green arrow.

Good luck for GW4!

Goops