Goops’ Blog, 20/21. GW1: Blankety Blank

Tom’s good mate FPLGoops is back for another season, writing a weekly FPL diary from the perspective of an “FPL Everyman”.

Follow him on twitter @FPLGoops.

So football is back. 

Finally.  Although. of course, it’s been a shorter break than usual, it feels like we have been waiting forever.

I’ve found preparing for this season the most difficult of all seasons I’ve been playing, and the biggest factor is that we start with a set of blank fixtures – 4 teams out of action.

And not just that, it’s both Manchester clubs – clubs with players you would ordinarily choose in your GW1 squads as set and forgets… well, at least until the first wildcard!

So, there’s been an inordinate amount of tinkering with best formations, with placeholders to protect transfers, and with ways to ensure you get a good start but still have a sensible plan to get Manchester club players back in.

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Planning for GW1

We go into this season with some very interesting pricing decisions and reclassifications.

Only one place to start.  Aubameyang as a midfielder. Wow.  Golden Boot contender in midfield.  Give me a piece of that (only when the fixtures are good though).

With 2 absolute gimme opening fixtures I’d be amazed if he’s not in most engaged players teams as we start the season – but also probably the most likely makeweight come GW3 when we all pivot towards United and City.

The problem with that is Salah and Mane have not been reclassified.  And we still have KdB and Sterling to consider.  So we now have the unenviable task of fitting all these heavyweights in our midfields. I’m going round in circles.  Bruno at 10.5 looks a veritable bargain if you compare with the Liverpool and City assets but quite expensive when compared with Rashford 9.5 and Martial at 9 who himself is now a striker but had a significant breakthrough year and that price is kind.

Last season we saw United and Chelsea assets well priced at the start.

Whilst the United assets have seen expected hikes, Chelsea’s stellar forward line all come in at prices that appear quite tantalising for the calibre of player.

Timo Werner at 9.5 could be excellent based on his Bundesliga record and being cheaper than Kane and Vardy, even if unproven.

However it’s the signing of Havertz that is perhaps more exciting with a midfield entry price of 8.5 and the no 10 role.  Pulisic is also kindly priced at 8.5 if he build on last season and Ziyech has the potential to be a Bruno-esque creator. It’s too early to know who’s going to be the best option but a kind set of fixtures across the front 8 suggests we should take a punt.

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GW1 Strategy

Truth be told, I’ve still got 2-3 strategies on the go.

One thing is clear, other than TAA in my backline I’m going cheap at the back with rotating 4.5s (god help me) and diverting more of my funds to midfield this year.

I’ll start with 2 premiums in Salah and Auba.  Auba will make way for KdB from GW3 but the other positions are up for debate.  How does one fit Bruno in as another premium? I don’t think we can and that’s where the Chelsea guys and maybe Alli at 8 or Mason Greenwood at 7.5 make a strong case.  I’ve got my eye on Hames Rodriguez priced at 7.5 coming into a strengthened Everton midfield with a better record than we all think.  Also he loves Carlo.  That’s why he’s made the switch to a non top 6 club.  It could be gold but I’ll wait and see on that.

I’m most torn on my forward options.  I’ve currently got Werner and Ings to start the season with the talismanic Mitrovic well priced at 6 to provide the goals.

I’m contemplating keeping 0.5 in reserve to turn Ings into Martial for GW2 when United join the party with 2 tasty looking games vs Palace and Brighton.

In my season ending blog I wrote up my biggest lessons learned – check this one out:

Biggest Regret: continuously overlooking Danny Ings because of fears over his fitness and Tony Martial because he’s always let me down in previous seasons

Haha – now I’m talking about switching one for the other after 1 gameweek – deary deary me… that’s got egg on face written all over it.

I’m keen on Havertz too, truth be told – it’s probably between Havertz and Martial or Werner and Greenwood.

Well…,at least that way I can have both Ings and Martial together!

Che Adams is proving something of a mercurial choice – the new Hindu Monkey early season train.

I kind of like it – actually rating him ahead of Mitrovic and might yet be convinced to bring Martial in and keep on the bench in which case Che becomes Ingsurance (nicely coined Tom).

And then there’s Vardy – the Leicester talisman was in my first few drafts with a decent set of opening 5 fixtures –  but at 10m I’m not sure I am comfortable to part with the cash.  And finally I’m waiting to see what happens with Brewster.  If he gets a move and gives us a viable 4.5m striker then I’ll need to rip it up and start over!

The simple truth is it will go down to the wire.  It’s tough not to feel settled or at peace this year with my choices – the blank week is a killer and has created a barrage of overthinking – all the usual GOOPS FOMO is live and at play.

Not the way I would have planned it but also I’m desperate not to use the wildcard too early.

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Good luck with the season everyone.

Set your goals and aim high.

Be good to know if you’ve had the same challenges as me picking the right blend! It’s certainly been tough.

Goops