Goops’ Blog: The Annual Sack Race (GW 13 Review/GW 14 Preview)

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.

A third of the way through the season and the Annual Sack Race has begun in earnest.

Pochettino being the first casualty was a surprise. Not because the situation at Spurs didn’t warrant that consideration, just how swiftly and brutally it was done to a manager who frankly has massively overperformed and, maybe, deserved a better send off.

The challenge for us FPL players is how it impacts on their assets.  The new manager bounce is, in my view, a real thing.  As a United fan, I suspect the Mourinho tenure will eventually end in tears – but what does it mean for us in the short term?

How good a differential pick might Alli suddenly be? Is Kane worth the lolly again?

**Spoiler Alert – I’m bringing in Son**

And what of the rest? Marco Silva at Everton, Unai Emery at Arsenal, Mauricio Pellegrini at West Ham and my own manager OGS at United are all clinging on somewhat and as the festive season sparks to life do we invest in or divest away from assets of these teams?

It could define our success over the jam packed Christmas fixtures.

*

Gameweek 13 Review

Ah, the smug satisfaction of a third green arrow in a row as captain Vardy helped deliver a third successive score over 70, and a rank rise in 3 weeks from the depths of nearly 2 million back into the top 500k again.  My season starts here!

Let’s start with the captaincy and a mad couple of minutes from Saturday afternoon:

Having blanked in the first half, a number of nervous eyes were on Leicester’s talisman to deliver a second half salvo.

He got the assist. Off the mark.

Then they won a penalty.  Oof, a proper chance of double digit captain haul.  NOOOOOO! PEN SAVE… and Maddison gobbles up the rebound. Vardy owners apoplectic with rage.  Maddy and Ryan owners erupt. 

But…hang on….my goodness it’s going to VAR.  What have they seen? All looked above board.  Surely not encroachment…

 VAR has prompted a retake. Vardy has a chance for redemption. HE SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rejoice.  Decent haul.  Maddy and Ryan owners slump.

VAR…….dy!!  Huge points swing. (stolen my joke from the pod – Ed.) 

This one passage of play really sums up the yoyo nature of this season: ultimate highs to earth shattering lows… and then back again!

VAR wasn’t done.  In the late kick off, Sterling appeared to have rescued those who kept faith and captained him to all but match Vardy’s haul. However his goal was cruelly denied – his armpit was offside. Plain ridiculous.

However, I was in good spirits after the captain came in and with my Gameweek: 71 points, another green arrow, recovery in my mini leagues, and 2FT to help me navigate a congested set of fixtures. I’ll definitely take that!

Elsewhere:

  • I was delighted to see Jimenez continue his goalscoring form
  • Tammy European injury a worry – looks like nothing serious, hopefully
  • Pope in goal also proving a potential season keeper as he hoovers up bonus too
  • Made no mistake with Soyuncu this week, and good to see Leicester proving as strong at the back as they clearly are going forward – what a bargain!
  • I left a juicy return on the bench again!  Todd Cantwell only went and smashed in the opener at Goodison Park to secure a 10 point return, but no-one saw that coming!

My final choice this week came down to Rico at home to Wolves or Guendouzi at home to Arsenal.  I was genuinely unfussed. Rico felt the sensible choice with the higher ceiling but in any case I put it out to the Community:

The FPL Community was pretty set on their preferred option.  The result – Rico got a zero pointer and Douzi just the 1.  No harm done.

Anyway, it’s amazing what a change in fortunes in FPL can do for your overall outlook. Suddenly I’m looking upwards and starting to shape a team I think can challenge for some big hauls.  It’s usually at this point when FPL throws up a spanner or two, but I hope I’ve set myself up to continue a very welcome purple patch.

*

Doodle Corner – The Sack Race

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

There’s one topic dominating the back pages – well, two if we count Mourinho – which has all columnists trying to forecast which manager will be relieved of their duties next.

The safe money seems to be on Marco Silva. Though it appears he has a stay of execution and will be in charge at the King Power this weekend, you have to think his days are numbered.  Hot on his heels we have Pellegrini and Emery.  It will be a fascinating few weeks following the comings and goings – an annual event in a world where patience in Boardrooms mirrors that of ours with our FPL teams.

*

Gameweek 14 Planning

I had enough budget to make the following two changes:

Sterling and Douzi to Son and Pulisic.

Whilst Spurs might be a watch and wait for some, I absolutely love Sonny and, whilst there are others who may also benefit from the Mourinho bounce, I think Sonny will be leading that pack.  I didn’t really have to think twice.

Actually, I didn’t get a chance to after his 13 point haul vs. the hapless Hammers led to immediate price rise concerns, and I flounced all the important rules on patience to get it done.

Sterling’s late chalked off goal helped a bit to post-rationalise his removal so soon after bringing him back in.

Pulisic is one FPL asset that I’ve been eyeing up for a few weeks now.  His stats are barmy, and I wanted to supplement those with the eye test. After doing so, I really like what I see.

I’m ready to bring him in for this plum set of fixtures whilst many dither and delay on what to do with Mount, whose FPL form has dipped. This was further compounded when he was dropped at the weekend in favour of a steelier midfield triumvirate at City (though I think personally that was purely tactical for that fixture).  However, it does inevitably raise some question marks over Mount’s game time, especially as Kovacic performed very well at City and Kante scored.

If you own, you have to hold (he’s still a firm Frank favourite) but if you want to go on the attack and have a spare midfield spot, it’s time to give Pulisic a whirl – and maybe even the captaincy.

Captaincy wise – I’m genuinely spoiled for choice.

Here are the options:

Vardy – Everton (H)

Pulisic – West Ham (H)

Mane – Brighton (H)

Son – Bournemouth (H)

All home games, all have a great chance to haul.

Pulisic is the maverick pick. With his ownership, it could really make a difference if he does smash it.

Mane and Vardy are safer picks but I’m chasing a mini league monthly prize – 5 points behind Tom and I’m pretty sure he’s on Vardy (or is he? – Ed.) so do I stick or twist? (I’d take a -8 if I were you – Ed.)  The gloves are off and the mind games have started.

When Tammy is fit again I’ll have a tough decision on which of those to bench.  Hopefully most weeks, one of them will have a tough looking fixture and it will be obvious.

*

Goops’ Unexpected Star of the Week

Did you know that the Man City vs Chelsea game was the first time in 380 games Pep has managed across his career where his team had less than 50% share of possession? The smart money wouldn’t have been for this to happen during a home game where City are normally so dominant.

So, the credit this week goes to a whole midfield 3 – Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic – playing in tandem for the first time for Chelsea and indeed specifically chosen to nullify City’s high possession game and with great success.

The standout for me, based on eye test alone, was Kovacic.  Often seen as the spare part, losing out to Mason Mount, he played with guile and great intelligence and was unlucky not to have helped Chelsea to a creditable draw at the Etihad.

Plus…he’s just scored his first Chelsea goal in the UCL – wow that was well timed!

*

Goops’ Weekly Pick

I was so convinced Richarlison would be a good one week pick last time out I backed up the hunch by putting him in my Sky team.  A 2-0 defeat to Norwich was most unexpected.

This week I’m picking a player whose still tender years belie his importance and development over the past few seasons, but has suffered from lack of fitness and form – Deli Alli.

Mourinho is partial to a no 10 (think Deco and Hazard over the years) and you could see in his first game in charge that Alli was thriving. Even in the European game – despite a sluggish start – really came into his own second half once he’d got Spurs back in the game on the stroke of half time.

I’ve picked Son for my FPL team, but I do think Alli is one to watch during this bounce.

*

Gameweek Lessons Learned

I’m compiling a list of my personal key learnings each week (nb I ran out of space quickly, so just shows the last 5 Gameweeks):

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.

Gameweek 13 – When you rediscover your form, don’t dither. Go for the jugular!

*

Very excited about my team for both GW14 and 15 – hope it’s realized with further green arrows and a climb up the ranks.

My season feels different right now, hope many of you feel the same.

Enjoy!

Goops