In the latest instalment of the ‘Simon Says’ series, I’ll be having my say on the key themes that have emerged out of the Fantasy Premier League community helping FPL managers decide what to do before Gameweek 3
Pogba v MkhitaryanEmbed from Getty Images
The battle of the Red Devils midfield.
Both starting at a very healthy price of £8.0m, having these two from the off would have seen you bag a lovely 44 points combined.
Very unlikely FPL managers would have gone for both, but a fair few picked at least one, but for the rest of us that haven’t got either, the question is, which one do we get?
With KDB wavering at City (we’ll come onto this later), people aren’t standing for a £10.0m priced midfielder playing as deep as he’s done in the last 2 games (granted the second was mostly down to the red card) and are shipping him out with no remorse, with one of these two Man United midfielders being the replacement.
There’s plenty of information out there already on this, but I felt compelled to state my case as United fan who watches every game that’s live, very closely and I feel like some people are overlooking a few things.
On the pure basic face of it, Mkhitaryan looks the better option, simply because he plays in a more advanced role that the French powerhouse.
This is true and whilst the Armenian playmaker continues to play behind the striker, he will continue to be a more consistent goal threat from open play than Pogba will, who plays in the pivot with Matic.
The key differences I feel people are overlooking are;
- How nailed Pogba is in comparison to Mkhitaryan and
- How Pogba is a goal threat from corners and a goal threat from direct free kicks.
For example, Pogba registered an assist for Bailly’s goal with a bullet header from a corner, that was very unfortunate not to go in without the aid of Bailly’s final touch. He’s a big, powerful player and we know if the service is right, he can get goals from corners.
Mkhitaryan doesn’t have this threat.
Pogba also has the majority of direct free kicks and although he hasn’t put one in yet, he’s come extremely close each time he’s taken them and as evidenced by Alonso last season, if you’re getting close on a regular basis, it won’t be long before they start going in.
Pogba cracked the woodwork with them a few times last season and took one against Swansea that wasn’t far away at all – again, another goal threat that Mkhitaryan doesn’t posses.
Pogba played 49 games for Man United last year, the most of any of their players.
Because of the number of options Mourinho has for the CAM or RW role, that Mkhitaryan will play, over the season in Lingard, Mata, Martial, Rashford and Pogba, Mourinho will begin to use his squad as the schedule gets more demanding and I can see reduced game time for Mkhitaryan.
Whether that be rotation or just going off earlier in games I can’t say for sure, but what I do think is that either way, Mkhitaryan will see his minutes reduced by Mourinho once UCL kicks in.
That being said, I don’t think FPL managers should stress over this decision, as much like Alli and Eriksen last year, I expect they’ll end up pretty similar in terms of overall points come the end of the season.
Time to say goodbye to City assets?
So, Sally can wait, but can FPL managers wait any longer before pulling the trigger on their City players?Embed from Getty Images
The main issue here, is Kevin de Bruyne.
He appears to have a deeper role in Pep’s new 3-5-2 system. It’s difficult to truly judge his performance against Everton because of the red card, but in the game against Brighton, he certainly operated a little deeper than I would have liked.
I still think that he’ll go on to score around 200 points this year, but right now, it’s difficult to justify a premium priced player when there’s options all around scoring better and looking more dangerous, for a much cheaper price.
For £10.0m you want someone that you can trust with the armband, can you honestly say you trust him with the captaincy? I don’t think anyone can definitively say they can.
Having said that, I would be wary of taking him out this week before they play a Bournemouth side that they’ve hammered on 3 of the last 4 occasions they’ve played them, with KDB scoring 2 and assisting 2 in those games.
So, maybe not this week, but I’ll certainly be looking to move him on after Bournemouth as I just don’t feel like he represents good value at his current price.
Gabriel Jesus is the other potential problem.Embed from Getty Images
Having looked very lively in the opening fixture, a fixture where he should have scored at least 1, I and other owners of the young Brazilian were probably very happy with what they saw, albeit without the attacking return – the signs were promising.
But he was virtually anonymous in the game against Everton and was the chosen sacrifice at half time when City went down to ten men, over Agüero who stayed on the field.
This was slightly worrying.
But again, I wouldn’t be taking him out before the game against a Bournemouth side that have started very poorly, as that is a game City could go nuclear in and you’ll want someone from that game just in case they do, because we know they can and it’s surely coming.
Wanting to Wildcard?
I have a combined total of just 74 points – a miserable and pathetic total.
I was extremely tempted, Monday night, to Wildcard after seeing my City representation fail me again, but it would have been a decision born out of frustration (emotion).
The premise I put forward that, owning City attackers over United attackers from the off would be more rewarding based on Mourinho’s style of play at United last year, backfired and now I face a difficult decision as to whether I stick, or twist.
If you don’t have any United attacking assets, have City attackers over them and there are 3/4 other problems you need to change in your squad, I don’t see a major issue with Wildcarding this week.
The notion that players are more likely to get injured during an international break, is a myth.
However, the 2 week break does give you a chance to really build team value and this can go a long way to aiding success in FPL.
The other side of this is the fact that the transfer window hasn’t closed yet, nor has Sanchez or Hazard returned – these are key assets that, when in form, we’re going to want to own at some point and that means significant restructuring of our teams to fit them in.
This is difficult to do without a wildcard and will probably mean numerous hits.
Moreover, the earlier you Wildcard, the less information you have at hand to make the best decisions to bring the best players in.
Things can change vastly week on week in FPL and whilst City attacking assets might be blanking now, they could win 5-0 this weekend and the likes of KDB/Jesus/Agüero could fire big points – it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility – and how would you feel about them then?
If you don’t NEED to make 5+ changes, then I would hold off.
Take a hit or two if you need to, to get those form players in, but there is more upside to holding the Wildcard this week than playing it in my opinion.
Saying that, there is NO one right way of using the Wildcard, no magic formula.
It’s a tool that is utterly dependent on the situation each FPL manager faces for example, where one FPL manager might need to make a lot of changes, then it’s completely justified, but in another case, their team might actually be fine and their desire to Wildcard is dictated by emotion and it’s clouding their judgement.
Just ensure your decision isn’t coming from emotion and that it’s justified to YOU and make the decision yourself, that way you can live with whatever happens rather than hating someone else who’s convinced you to go one way over the other.
I myself will be resisting the temptation to Wildcard this week, as I know my team is good and my City players have a great fixture this weekend in which they could easily score very well, but good luck to you all for the upcoming GW and I hope this has helped in some way.
Just remember, we only get 2 Wildcards over the course of the FPL season – use them wisely!