I reveal my FPL team and provide the reasoning behind it after hitting the Wildcard button ahead of Gameweek 6
So, after feeling quite comfortable with my team and my start (143k Overall Rank), I’ve decided to hit the Wildcard button after 5 Gameweeks.
Now I know what you’re thinking; “That team definitely doesn’t need a wildcard”, and you’re right, my team didn’t NEED a wildcard, but using your wildcard isn’t just about when you need to, it’s about when you WANT to and I really wanted to wildcard this week – let me tell you why.
Big at the back simply hasn’t paid dividendsEmbed from Getty Images
I, like a lot of others, went big at the back, with the attacking prowess of full backs Andrew Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, combined with both Liverpool and Manchester City’s ability to keep clean sheets last year, it was hard to look past it.
So I opted for Van Dijk, and Robertson over TAA, as I reasoned that despite TAA probably having the higher attacking threat, Robertson would play more games over the course of the year and I didn’t anticipate having to take him out.
But as it turns out, taking Liverpool defenders out is exactly what I’m thinking, and whilst it is risky to go completely without given their ownership, they simply don’t look as solid at the back as they did last year and it’s ahead of some difficult fixtures.
Of course, TAA’s incredible attacking threat isn’t to be ignored and I would like to fit him in however, I simply can’t work him in without downgrading someone I really want so I’m personally looking to go without completely and I believe the upgrades in attack will be worth it.
Shifting funds to the attackEmbed from Getty Images
Last year, there wasn’t a great deal to choose from in attack, but premium forwards Agüero and Aubameyang have started extremely well, with 8 and 6 attacking returns respectively in their first 5 games.
In addition to the premium forwards, we have a plethora of brilliant value options in the £6m-8m price bracket, with the revelation that is Teemu Pukki bringing his party to the Premier League in some style, scoring 6 goals and providing 2 assists despite playing champions Man City and runners up Liverpool in the opening 5 games.Embed from Getty Images
There’s also Tammy Abraham in inspired form, scoring 7 in his last 3 PL games, Ashley Barnes who’s notched 4 in his first 5, Callum Wilson who has returned in every game so far and Sebastien Haller who’s got great fixtures and has 3 goals in his first 4 PL games.
Being adaptable and attacking my rank
Every season is different, and just because certain things occurred last year, doesn’t mean they will happen again this year and I feel you can’t be too stubborn to changing circumstances, otherwise you’ll get left behind.
The temptation is to stick with our 5/6 assets from City and Liverpool, given how impressive they were last year, but we have to take the data as we currently see it, not how it was last season with different variables.
The data we have so far suggests that not much has changed from last to this in terms of attacking when it comes to Man City and Liverpool.
Both of these teams are top for goals scored and big chances created again by some distance.
However, defensively, things are different…
Last year, Liverpool kept 21 clean sheets and Man City kept 20 clean sheets but so far, Liverpool have only kept 1 clean sheet, despite playing opposition they should have done much better against defensively. City have done slightly better, keeping 2, but don’t look anywhere near as solid, evidenced in their 3-2 defeat to Norwich last GW.
In addition to this, we were quite limited in choice last year in terms of the forwards and as a result, a lot of FPL managers opted to go with formation structures that included 4-man defences and 5-man midfields, but the options up front, as I’ve mentioned earlier, are plentiful and are providing great value.
Now of course, things are likely to get better in terms of premium defence, both City and Liverpool are going to keep clean sheets as they are still limiting their opposition to very few chances, but the question we need to be asking ourselves is; how likely are they to keep them to the level they did last year?
Well Liverpool are already way behind and City are behind too, though admittedly, it is a small sample size.
Now, given that Liverpool are heading into a tough fixture period that is lasting a significant amount of time and you can cover City’s defence with Otamendi who’s only £5.4m, I see this as a great opportunity to move away from Liverpool defence and put the money into the attack where the points are coming in thick and fast.
I’m at 143k, and had a team full of players highly selected by FPL managers. I could easily have used my transfers to make simple moves and kept my team more or less as is, and it would have protected my rank and I would have either moved up slowly or moved down slowly – but where’s the fun in that?
I see an opportunity that’s routed in logic and I want to take it.
It may seem risky… well, that’s because it is, but if you want to move up in rank, you’ve got to seize opportunities and be proactive rather than reactive, and that’s what I’m hoping to do with my Wildcard.
The Wildcard team…
I really wanted Aubameyang in my team, but I simply couldn’t look past Pukki and Abraham for value and then it came down to a straight shoot between Agüero and Aubameyang and as you can see, I’ve opted for Agüero.
Agüero was fully rested for their UCL tie against Shakhtar last night, meaning he will be fully rested for this weekend’s clash against Watford and given Raheem played 90minutes and blanked again, I’d be uneasy about captaining Raheem in this one and consider Agüero the best captain option this weekend.
Having Agüero there means I can easily move to Aubameyang if I want to, but given Agüero’s form and the good fixtures coming, I can’t see past him and Manchester City’s attack over Aubameyang and Arsenal’s attack for now.
The Midfield and a shift from 352 to 343
I have retained the services of the in-form Kevin de Bruyne and Todd Cantwell and lost Salah, the injured Mount and Raheem Sterling.
Losing Raheem Sterling isn’t ideal and wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but his form is putting me off and I slightly prefer the combination of Mané and Agüero to Sterling and Aubameyang.
I’ve opted for Sadio Mané, as I believe he’ll offer better value than Salah, as he has been doing so far, in the coming weeks and over the course of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Son-Heung Min is the exciting pick at just 5.8% ownership. Son is just so explosive and attacking that it’s hard to ignore him when he becomes available.
Despite having only played 3 games, Son is averaging just under 9 penalty area touches a game, just over 4 goal attempts a game and bagged a brace in his last match – he always has a patch when he’s on fire and I’m looking at getting on this South-Korean train early.
Guendouzi comes in to fund the move for Agüero up front and a shift in formation from 352 to 343.
GK and the defence
Pope keeps his place with good fixtures in the medium term and the fact he produces a good amount of save points in tougher games. Button comes in to fund other areas of the squad.
Both VVD and Robertson make way because of the reasons stated earlier in the article, as well as the injured Montoya. Digne and Rico keep their spots.
TAA would have come in if I could have afforded him and kept everything else, but unfortunately, I simply couldn’t work it to get TAA, so instead, Otamendi comes in to get that City defensive cover as well as offering some attacking threat from KDB’s pinpoint set-pieces. With Laporte out the picture, Otamendi should be safe until his return and should replace him as the prime aerial threat from those set-pieces.
Elsewhere, Söyüncü comes in with Leicester looking quite solid defensively ahead of a good fixture run, and Chelsea’s Tomori also comes in.Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea admittedly, have been poor in defence, but with a shift in formation to a 3 centre back and wing back formation, and N’golo Kante closing in on a return, as well as amazing fixtures on the horizon, Tomori at £4.5m, is definitely worth a shot.
Overall, I’m very pleased with where I’m sat and I’m pleased with the decision to Wildcard.
I was far too reactive at times last year and I feel this strikes a nice balance between being aggressive and playing safe.
Of course, it could bite me on the arse big time, with me losing a number of high ownership players like Sterling, Van Dijk, Robertson, Salah, but coming in, are powerful players like Agüero, Mané, Son who all have pedigree in this league and can be equally as explosive as those going out.
The main gamble is going without Liverpool defence and I’m happy to go against this for the next 7 GWs given their current form at the back and the fixtures to come. I feel, whilst risky, this is a calculated and worthwhile risk to take.
At the end of the day, we have to remain adaptable, and I’m hoping with this move, I’ve adapted to the rigours of the new season a little quicker than the FPL managers around me which I’m hoping will propel me into the higher echelons of the FPL overall rankings.