So, the last part of my master plan is set to hopefully continue the momentum following a relatively successful Free Hit in GW31+.
Having now gained a couple of GWs worth of information, I feel a little more at ease setting up a team for the rest of the season however, I would have liked perhaps one more GW but my team, with the injuries of Aguero and Leno as well as having triple Sheff Utd and some other players I really don’t want, I think the Wildcard now, makes sense for me.
If however, your team is well set for GW32+ with a transfer or two, then I would try to hold back one more GW as I think at this stage, the more info you can get before Wildcarding, the better.
I was initially going to go without Salah, which would have meant more money into attack and a 343, but after seeing their dismantling of Palace, I think it would be far too risky to go without. It’s simply a case of losing as and when and it’s an easy downgrade, should Klopp decide to rotate to the extent that we need to lose him.
So with that, I’ve made a formation change for the time being to 442 as, since the return of the PL, we’ve seen 19 clean sheets out of a possible 40.
I think Saiss in this Wolves side right now, with the fixtures they have remaining, is far too good value to ignore and given the question marks surrounding Richarlison and Son currently. He is on 9 bookings, but it would only be 1 game out and I’m happy with the bench players coming on to cover.
I would rather spend way less £ on a player who’s part of a very well organised Wolves team with great fixtures, than spend almost twice as much on somewhat of an unknown in Son/Richarlison right now.
I have gone with Emi Martinez (£4.2m) and Ben Foster (£4.9m) as a rotation until the end of the season.
The reason for these two, is because in GWs 34/35/36 for Arsenal, they play:
- GW34+ – Leicester (H)
- GW35+ – Tottenham (A)
- GW36+ – Liverpool (H)
Games in which Arsenal are extremely unlikely to keep a clean sheet and Watford, in those 3 GWs, have:
- GW34+ – Norwich (H)
- GW35+ – Newcastle (H)
- GW36+ – West Ham (A)
Games in which I do think Watford, under Nigel Pearson, could keep clean sheets in.
Again, I’ve no need to justify owning Trent Alexander-Arnold, as he proved once again last night with the expertly dispatched free kick, clean sheet and 2 bonus against Palace.
Yes you could argue about what will Klopp do after they win the title, and we know there is a possibility of some rotation with him likely to try out some of the young guns, but it’s probably the case that it’s far too risky to lose him and we just downgrade if he begins to be benched often/have a good back up off the bench.
Another marauding right back that doesn’t need justification is Matt Doherty. The guy has scored 58pts in his last 7 GWs, an average of 8.29pts a game! With no sign of Wolves letting up on their the hunt for a European spot, and great fixtures for the run in, it really is a no-brainer – enough said.
Serge Aurier completes the hat-trick of marauding right backs. After Mourinho announcing that he has no cover for this position, and having watched just how high up and attacking he was against West Ham, he looks a fantastic option, his occasional flaring temperament aside.
The vast majority of his touches came inside the opponents half, with him getting into the area on 4 occasions and providing a big chance, as well as an attempted assist that was inches away from a Kane tap in.
At £4.9m, with the fixtures he has left, I don’t think you can go wrong with this choice, expect if he loses his cool of course, but it’s a risk worth taking.
The last spot goes to Roman Saiss. He has a decent attacking threat (2 goals and 2 assists) and seems to get on well with the bonus. Wolves have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 7 PL games, and although it’s quite unlikely to be sustained to this degree, I wouldn’t bet against it with the fixtures remaining.
Mason Holgate is the back up. I don’t expect Everton to keep too many clean sheets, but they’ve got the odd one in them and £4.3m is a good price for a starting defender in a fairly decent side.
Kevin de Bruyne is a must have for the run in, in my opinion. There’s really no justification required for the ginger prince.
Mo Salah and Sadio Mané is where it becomes interesting. Both them and Liverpool in general, were excellent against Palace last night, scoring 11 and 9pts respectively.
Now I say interesting, because a lot of money is tied up in those two players, and as with my GW30+ key decision (which I got lucky with it has to be said), I could have chosen Salah, Saka and Targett, or Bruno, Mahrez and PVA.
The latter outscored the former by 28pts. Now I know that’s an unfair comparison as Salah didn’t play, but I’m simply using it to illustrate what the extra money, in terms of value and balance, could give you.
So for example, in the above side, I could get a Son and DCL up front, instead of a Salah and Nketiah. In terms of points per million, the first option is hands down the better choice, as Calvert-Lewin has returned more points per million spent on him (17.7) than Salah (15.5) has on his own.
With questions surrounding what Klopp might do after they win the title added in, it makes it a tough choice as, if Salah does start to lose minutes, then it definitely doesn’t make him worth it at his price.
Losing one of them however is certainly very risky because of the high ownership and the fact that you’re shipping a captain-able candidate out, so the safer play is definitely to hold and then lose as and when, as mentioned above, but I don’t think it’s a terrible move to lose Salah/Mané as it opens up a lot of other credible avenues.
Some Manchester United attack is looking to be almost essential for the run in, given the impact of Bruno Fernandes, the return of Pogba, recent form and the nice fixtures for the remainder of the season.
Any of them are looking to be great value but for me, I think Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial represent the best value. It was a poor decision from me to go with Richarlison over Anthony Martial on my free hit, but I figured Everton would get more joy against Norwichs’ defence than United would against Sheffield United’s – oh how wrong was I!
With Tony being the OOP midfielder playing as a striker and £1m less than Rashford, I think it makes more sense to go with him. The other thing I like about Martial more than Rashford, is that he’s more composed in front of goal. The last game was a perfect illustration of that, with Rashford fluffing 2 great chances and Martial taking all of his, including a delightful ice cool chip finish over the keeper for his hat-trick.
Attack and the planned exciting punt…
Now I know what you’re thinking… these are all very safe but solid picks so far, where’s the risk? Where’s the differential?
Well, I have a gut feeling about something and I’m likely to follow it through, although there are several ways I can go should I decide to bottle it.
So, I have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in currently, but it is simply for the captaincy against Norwich, as it’s a stand out fixture for me and Norwich are so poor. It’s a case of not overthinking. Yes you can argue about the FA Cup and the rest each team will get but he’s one of the best strikers in the league, going for the golden boot, at home, to a very very poor Norwich side AND, he’s the 90 minute man – no need to overthink.
I plan to move him on however, in GW33+ which in itself, is risky, as planning transfers can always backfire with GWs throwing up unexpected suspensions/injuries but as I said, I have a couple of ways I can go.
But right now, I have a strong feeling that Harry Kane is going to finish this season very well. He’s typically done so every year in the PL with the exception of last year, and has good fixtures left to do it.
He’s obviously working back to full match fitness after a long time out with no football and isn’t 100% yet, but the guy is a born and talented finisher, with 137 goals in 200 PL appearances – a world-class goalscoring record in a top flight league. That sort of talent doesn’t simply disappear.
I noticed in his last game against West Ham, that he looked much better, producing an xG of 1.77. He looked back to his dangerous self and was close to getting a couple of goals, getting into great positions and took his main chance well.
I will observe him again against Sheffield United and make my final decision. If I decide against it, I can downgrade Auba to Gabriel Jesus or Marcus Rashford who both I think will be good assets for the run in.
The last pick is Raul Jimenez, who should be in everyone’s team. The guy is a consistent performer at a great price and with his pal Adama Traore feeding him, doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
This definitely doesn’t feel like the best time to wildcard admittedly, with us not knowing how Liverpool and City line-up now the title is officially over, and if you can get through with a reasonable enough side in GW32+ then I think it’s wise to do so, as I state at the beginning of the article, but for me personally, I felt I needed the wildcard.
I very much wanted to include my GW30+ punts Christian Pulisic (who had a brilliant game against Man City and was an incredible Kyle Walker goal line clearance away from a brace) and Riyad Mahrez, but in order to do that, Mo Salah would need to make way to give me the funds to afford it and at this stage, I feel it’s too risky.
The other thing I wanted to mention, was the triple United attack. Now, in isolation, all 3 of Fernandes, Martial and Rashford are brilliant value for the run in, but I feel picking all 3 might be overkill. This is simply because, you’d need United to be scoring about 3 goals every game and them to be involved in each, to really pay off, and whilst it looks good on paper with the fixtures, it’s just risky having all your eggs in one attacking basket.
So I have gone with the above as it allows me to pivot easily, should we get the information that Klopp is going to rest/rotate the likes of Salah/Mane and it gives me an exciting punt in Harry Kane – at the end of the day, it’s a game and we need to enjoy it and I’ll enjoy it much more if I have a potentially explosive punt to watch each GW.