Goops’ Blog: Wildcard Fires (GW25 Review/GW26 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.

 

I’ve emerged from a topsy turvy few weeks in credit but with 2 chips used.

The TC chip during the Liverdouble was always my plan and I was fortunate that I held firm with Captain Mo even though I had the choice having gambled on the ‘Malah’ plan. After a lackluster first outing vs Wolves it was all on that West Ham game and Mo didn’t disappoint. 

I also decided it was time to play my second wildcard. Did my team need major surgery? Perhaps not as much as in previous seasons but there were enough fires to put out and enough players out of form or at risk of being benched that I felt a refresh was in order.

 

Gameweek 25 Review

The gameweek itself was particularly bizarre with defensive assets on top and a whole wasteland of 2 pointers in midfield and attack – except for Captain Salah.  He’s definitely back!

By virtue of captaining Mo across DGW 24 and 25 I have now climbed up to 170k rank – my highest rank of the season. I’m in pretty good shape to push forward into top 100k. It feels a while since I was actually happy with my FPL performance.

The main prompt for my wildcard was to bring in Kun Aguero having missed out on his recent hauls by upgrading the misfiring Vardy.

Let’s work backwards. Ings was already in place and my final striker slot was a toss up between Firmino and Jimmy.  Bobby is one of those mercurial FPL players who I’ve owned with varying degrees of success over the years. You need to catch him at the right time or just set and forget – but trying to predict when he will fire has proved difficult.

Jimmy on the other hand is a brilliant FPL asset.  I certainly regret selling him recently and failing to recognise he is genuinely fixture proof. As my wildcard plan unfolded it became abundantly clear I should buy him back and use my 3rd Liverpool slot on their watertight defence. 

 

In midfield, Salah and KdB were going nowhere. Grealish has been a great talisman for Villa at a really decent price point but Villa are struggling and they face a GW28 blank so he was potentially on the chopping block but I held firm.  I’ve persisted with Cantwell all season but with an opportunity to refresh, I decided to mix that up and Aaron Mooy at £4.8m has emerged as a decent bargain option – I would have no hesitation starting him.

 

My final midfield slot was my wildcard punt option.  Wildcarding at the end of a January transfer window gives you the luxury of getting ahead of the curve with a new signing you hope will prove a brilliant differential from the template.

The signing of Bruno Fernandes offered exactly that.  Tom and Nick’s Prospecting the Prospects would surely have Bruno right up there given his goal and assist record in the last few seasons.  He was Sporting’s talisman. He’s creative, tenacious and he takes penalties. He has been bought to finally dispel any lingering question marks on whether Pogba can be replaced.  FPL Towers have been relatively kind pricing him at £8m which makes him a genuine option.

 

We can surmise all this but we have to see it for real.  As a United fan, I’m excited by him as a player and the influence he will bring to our dreadful midfield but I think I need convincing from an FPL standpoint.  It’s not so much whether I trust him. I just don’t trust the players around him.

The other end of this conundrum is this: Does Bruno actually make Martial (priced at £7.9m) better and a more viable FPL asset.  What a frustrating player Tony is. He can be brilliant and he can be lazy – all at the same time! There’s an argument that whilst he still isn’t at no 9, playing with a decent creator behind him will help him to finally fulfil his undoubted promise. Or maybe not.

One more player sits at that price point and is a known (if not also frustrating) entity in FPL – a certain young Brazilian named Richarlison.  With games against a wobbling Watford (his former club don’t forget) and Palace, he’s the one I believed would be a great interim placeholder at that price point to assess whether the United boys are worth bringing in and he’s also a good price point for an upgrade to the likes of Son.  

 

In defence, TAA is the lynchpin.  In order to afford the front 8 I had to compromise on Gomez as my 2nd Liverpool defender (I’d prefer VVD) and then the Sheffield United double up is for me a no brainer with Henderson and Stevens getting the nod from now til the blank GW.  Lascelles feels a good upgrade from Rico and Tanganga, my 5th defender, will get gametime with Rose moving to Newcastle. McCarthy is my back up keeper for the BB.

 

Here’s my wildcard team:

Doodle Corner – Mou’s still got it

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

Ah Jose Mourinho – the ultimate party pooper.  He’s done it again. Handing Pep a chastening 2-0 defeat that now leaves Liverpool JUST 6 WINS from the title and a hugely unassailable 22 point lead.  Mourinho was at his loveable worst and wonderfully captured in doodle format.

GW26 planning

Having wildcarded I will of course hold my FT so there’s little to report in planning terms except the captain conundrum.

 

Aguero was brought in partly on form and partly because of THIS WEST HAM FIXTURE.

He loves playing West Ham.  City love playing West Ham. The Hammers are awful.  This could be a battering.

Yet City’s form is patchy. I can perhaps take heart from the fact that when City lost at Norwich they bounced back immediately with an 8-0 dismantling of Watford.  Pep will be smarting after that Spurs defeat and whilst he will concede the title has gone he needs his team to start functioning effectively as a unit as he launches his main assault on the Champions League.

 

The Kun captaincy is enticing despite the fact he is off pens (or is he?) and remains a Pep rotation risk.   When the alternative is Salah away at bottom placed Norwich with back to back braces it feels mad to even consider anyone else. 

It really is a 50:50 call for me.  The ‘winter break’ presenting us with a staggered gameweek and the return of the UCL (Liverpool go to Madrid to play Atleti just days after that Norwich game) make this decision awkward – I’m leaning towards Kun.  I just think home advantage and fire in their belly from a Pep dressing down will suit City.

Goops’ Unexpected Star of the Week

We’ve spent all season waxing lyrical about Leicester’s attacking options with Vardy and Maddison in particular gaining the plaudits.  The stats show they’ve tailed off and a new option has emerged. And no it’s not Ayoze Perez, despite the odd haul, but Harvey Barnes now has 3 in 3 and a very realistic option for anyone who is not quite ready to dispense with Leicester assets altogether.

 

Goops’ Weekly Pick

I’m going back to an old fave this week – Lucas Digne..  Last season this guy delivered brilliantly for me in the last quarter of the season when everyone else jumped off.

Slowly but surely he has started to pick up that form again and is delivering regular assists for Ancelotti’s new look team.  He used to get the odd 17 pointer and I wonder if one is just around the corner vs Palace.

 

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:

Gameweeks 14-16 When the games come thick and fast, acting decisively on impulse can be the best way to navigate the period

Gameweek 17 – Keeping faith with your expensive FPL assets is one of the toughest decisions but often patience is rewarded

Gameweek 18-21 – However Christmas went for you, put it out of your mind and start to think ahead.  Still plenty of time to go

Gameweek 22 – Target the weaker defences.  Villa’s capitulation was extreme but perhaps not surprising given their troubles.  Target them and the Cherries over the next few

Gameweek 24/25 –  FoMO is real – Salah has shown in the last 2 gameweeks that he’s the FPL GOAT. He’s worth every penny.  Don’t overmanage. If you don’t have him and think you can cover elsewhere, it’s at your peril

 

The staggered gameweek is new for us.  It will be strange, especially as we can’t react to adverse team news.  Praying for green arrows all round 

Good luck!

Goops