Goops’ Blog: Power Shift (GW 12 Review/GW 13 Preview, 2019-20)

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

See his Intro Post here. Follow him on twitter @FPLGoops.

He’s also teamed up with Jeremy, otherwise known as FPL Doodles, to bring you an exclusive “Doodle Corner” every week. Follow Jeremy on twitter @FPLDoodles1.

I’m cock-a-hoop going into this International Break compared with the last one.

Two juicy green arrows in a row has transformed my FPL season – I’ve had a rank rise of 1.25m in just 2 weeks and back in the top 10% of FPL managers.

Life is good!

The most surprising element is this is off the back of 2 hits in a row.

Normally, hits don’t pay off and are a recipe for treading water at best but, for once, I’m in healthier shape having gambled this week with both Vardy (as captain) and Jimenez securing max bonus which meant that it was all more than worth the -4.

It’s a lesson in patience vs dynamism: sometimes you need to follow your instinct when you can smell blood.

Gameweek 12 Review

The forwards must have felt left out in FPL last week when the defensive lynchpins smashed home double digit returns.

They responded in kind with my new look V-A-J frontline paying instant dividends with goals and bonus points galore
Vardy 12 (x 2 for captaincy) = 24
Abraham – 8
Jimenez – 9
Total = 41 points

And finally, I got a captain choice right with Vardy. The lad is on fire. I was a bit nervous after the Tammy haul earlier in the day but Leicester are just too good right now and called this one perfectly.
I was delighted to finally be on the VIP guest list at the Vardy party.

There’s a clear Power Shift in the upper echelons of the PL.

Leicester’s title win in 15/16 was glorious, but this current generation look a stronger unit all over the pitch and I can only see a greater divergence between those clubs as the season progresses.

Anyway, with the hit I was set on most of my team. Lundstram, despite a tough looking fixture at Spurs, was undroppable after his 21 point salvo last week and nearly added to his goal tally at White Hart Lane to reward loyal managers.

This left me with a straight choice between a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 set up. And the choice for my 11th pick came down to Cantwell vs. Soyuncu.

My FPL enjoyment has always stemmed from cheering on attacking assets rather than the more stoic relief at a clean sheet. I’ve always preferred a 3 at the back set up, and to pack the midfield or play 3 up top. It’s just how I’m wired.

Soyuncu was the obvious pick based on form, but I had a nagging feeling that Norwich saw this home tie vs. Watford as a must win which would restore a fit Cantwell as the supply line for Pukki on the Friday night.

As ever when I’m undecided, I’ve taken to asking the Community, not to necessarily follow the advice (I’m my own man) but to gauge mood.

The results were pretty definitively in favour of Soy but, in my mind, Arsenal may be in lousy form but the one area they excel is up front and I expected goals. Plus, perhaps wrongly, having bagged his 1 goal of the season last week I felt Soy was due a 2 pointer. So, I ignored you again (I’ll never learn) and went for the attacking asset, also giving me some skin in the Friday night game. It’s funny how our minds work.

Once Cantwell was benched I knew it would end in tears. It must be my general upturn in form but I’m not beating myself up on this one. You can always create a coherent and compelling ‘I told you so’ argument after the event but here’s the facts. I went with my gut. My gut was wrong this time. I’m remarkably relaxed about it.

I missed the Liverpool vs. City fixture (I was en route to checking out a new puppy!) but with 4 players in the game, I kept a close eye on it via our Slack group. As a Man United fan, watching these two clubs at the peak of their powers is tough to cope with. All clubs have their cycles of success and ours will come again but right now Liverpool are untouchable.

In recent weeks they have shown that wonderful knack of grinding out results, with late comebacks a real sign they are set to end thirty years of hurt.

This game was billed as a ‘must not lose’ for both clubs. I expected it to be a cagier affair this early in the season. However Liverpool went for the jugular, armed with the knowledge that City are incredibly vulnerable at the back. Klopp has to take some credit for turning this well drilled unit into title contenders and they will deserve it this year on this evidence. I can’t see them being caught this time.


Gameweek 13 Planning

Having taken 2 hits in a row – for once successfully – I need to take stock going into the IB and not be fooled or railroaded into chasing the form players as their prices rise.

My instinct is to roll the FT and arm myself up for using 2FT ahead of GW14 when both Chelsea and Leicester have agreeable fixtures.

Pulisic and Maddison are most definitely on my radar for triple ups on both clubs.

In order to afford either or both, I need to reassess thinking on the City assets. One of Sterling or KdB would need to leave my team. Earlier this season, 2 City assets as set and forget would have been viewed as the bare minimum requirement. No longer.

This feels an important crossroads for FPL. The fixture swing favours Liverpool over City. There’s an argument for Salah and Mane double up with Sterling the makeweight. I need to be convinced Salah is fit. This IB injury may just be a ruse but he clearly needs to rest that ankle.

There’s equally an argument for TAA and Robbo in tandem which is more affordable. The fact Liverpool only have 2 clean sheets out of 12 gameweeks remains a worry and needs to be factored. Surely this will change and suddenly 2 defensive assets with the potential for both clean sheets and attacking returns are worth their weight in gold.

I’ve got time to assess – a lot can happen across the IB and it’s time to sit tight watch and learn. The affordability and viability of Leicester and Chelsea assets has made budgeting across our squads easier than first suspected when the prices were released.

Either Mane or Vardy will be my captain. Their current form is excellent and they do have the best fixtures. It’s a tough call. I think Brighton without Dunk might make a difference to Vardy’s potential in this game and could swing it.

Chelsea are away at City diminishing options amongst their collective ranks for the captaincy.

That said, Sterling had a stormer vs Chelsea last season – albeit Chelsea under Sarri – terrorizing them with 6-0 victory. Sterling would be a brave captain choice this time round and the controversy over his ‘disagreement’ with Joe Gomez during the IB could either have a galvanizing effect on him within the protective net of the Etihad and their loyal fans or could negatively impact his form. It might be best to avoid.

Despite his lovely 9 pter this week, it makes sense to bench Tomori away at City. My defensive options run deep.

Doodle Corner – Kop of the Klopps

Jeremy (aka fpldoodles1) has continued to entertain the FPL Community with his sharp-witted Doodles pulling apart the weekend action.

Liverpool’s categoric win over City wins the award for most significant gameweek action and whilst they are right not to get too carried away after a few near misses, the title really looks to be going back to Anfield – 30 years of hurt are over.

What took you so long? Their fans have always had a sense of entitlement but you can’t argue they deserve it this year.


Goops’ Unexpected Star of the Week

I really should take my own advice. I singled out Lord Farquaad as my unexpected star just last week and waxed lyrical about his impact on Leicester’s season – and then proceeded to bench him! I don’t overmanage that often but we should all be big enough to accept when we do rather than justifying our picks at all costs

This week I’m going back to another old fave who is in cracking form – Dwight McNeil. I have a soft spot for direct, tricky wide players. Absolutely loved Kanchelskis back in the day.

Burnley have had a bit of a wobble recently. Prior to this match I was surprised to read Ashley Barnes had not scored since August. Wow, such a bandwagon early on. Dwight is only 19 and plays with great freedom for a team best known for their defensive prowess. After a recent wobble he was instrumental in putting a rather woeful West Ham side to the sword and helping Burnley to rediscover their verve.

Goops’ Weekly Pick

Alain St Maximin did me proud with an assist and another very bright performance for a much improved Newcastle team helping them to back to back wins.

This week I’ve picked another mercurial and oft-maligned FPL pick in Richarlison.

I started last season with this lad – expecting him to spearhead Everton’s campaign back in tandem with his former boss, Marco Silva, and as he had done the previous year at Watford he started the season like a train.

This season has been tough for the Everton talisman. Poor form across the team has hampered his campaign but he looked back to his menacing best away at Southampton last week and has the chance with a home tie against free falling Norwich to register back to back. If you fancy a 1 week punt, I’d consider him but do factor that Everton’s form is patchy and their fixtures really stiffen in December.

Gameweek Lessons Learned

I’m compiling a list of my personal key learnings each week. I’ll start running out of space soon so just going to show the last 5 Gameweeks from now on:

  • Gameweek 8 – Key players will get injured. If they’re only likely to be out for 1 week then hold and use your bench. You’ll be thankful for that extra FT the next week.
  • Gameweek 9 – Rotation is rife with all these midweek European fixtures for the big teams so just like them utilize your bench. Not all heroes wear capes.
  • Gameweek 10 – Every once in a while you have a terrible week. You are entitled to wallow in self pity briefly but remember next week YOUR differential could smash it. Back yourself.
  • Gameweek 11 – When it all slots into place, especially when you least expect it, remember to ENJOY IT.

Gameweek 12 – Don’t overthink it. Sometimes the obvious choice is the best

Enjoy the IB folks – let’s all get set for the big lead into Christmas. Bring it on.

Can’t wait for that 3rd green arrow in a row. It’s been ages since that happened.