Hello and welcome back to our FPL bunker. It’s been 84 years since we last spoke, or two weeks for those less dramatic than I, but boy didn’t we all enjoy the International break? The good news is, there’s no more of that until March. You and I are about to go on a journey that involves 8 gameweeks between now and the end of the year. It’s November 23rd. That’s a lot of FPL.

As is tradition, let’s start with a review of the last game week. My score of 65 beat the average of 48. Week 12 should consider itself smashed. That moved my rank up to 49,317th. Top 50k! We all know it won’t last so I’m just clinging onto the success whilst my rank is still 5 figures. With that, let’s see who is ruining things this weekend.

The Dilemma

Top 4 clash alert! Saturday evening will see Tottenham and Chelsea meet in an always feisty London affair. I actually have no idea if you would say this is always feisty but we’ll go with it. Spurs are the biggest mystery this year. They’ve gone under the radar and everybody keeps saying Harry Kane is on the wane (rhyming bonus) but he’s still integral for club and country. There’s somewhat of a defensive crisis afoot as Trippier, Sanchez and Rose are ruled out of this one and Jan Vertonghen is making his way back after a long-term absence. The combination of Alli/Eriksen/Son/Lamela/Moura can’t all partner Harry Kane but frankly, good luck solving that puzzle. Chelsea meanwhile have no such problems, with the much-owned Hazard and Alonso set to play, though Barkley owners will be sweating after his surprise benching last time out. It’s a tough match to call and therefore, I’d probably avoid hanging any of your hats on this one.

The weekend starts with Man Utd vs Crystal Palace, which looks a bit easier to predict. Man Utd still haven’t hit their free-flowing best but they are like Brazil in the 1970s compared to Crystal Palace. Anthony Martial has 6 goals in his last 5 league games so he’s obviously the form man. Will Lukaku be recalled? I’d say probably. The problem is Man Utd have been dreadful all season from an FPL point of view so I’d put forward Martial and nobody else. If Zaha is in the mood, he might enjoy himself on the counter but Palace confidence must be at rock bottom.

Liverpool are off to Watford and I expect goals here. This fixture finished 3-3 on the opening day of last season and Watford don’t seem particularly suited to shutting up shop so that’s got to be good news for Salah/Mane/Firmino owners. Firmino just hasn’t got going in terms of goalscoring but his work is obviously beneficial to those around him. The fixture list is not lovely this week and at the moment, I’m leaning towards putting the armband on Salah, but we’ll come on to that.

Man City are at West Ham, a game we all expect them to win and the main talking point is that Benjamin Mendy is out for 6 weeks or so. Whether it’s Delph or Zinchenko who gets the nod to replace him remains to be seen, or maybe we’ll see another of Pep’s mixups where Laporte ends up kind of at left-back but Leroy Sane runs around a lot. You know my thoughts about Man City, Aguero and Sterling are very reliable and don’t get rotated that often but the wheel of rotation could stop on anybody at any time. I hope you understand the risks.

Our final top sixers up for debate at Arsenal. Again it’s not a nice fixture as they’re off to Bournemouth, who are only one place below them in the table. Lacazette and Aubameyang both look to have recovered from injury for this one and it’s another game where I expect goals from both sides. From an FPL standpoint, I’d say if you have them, hold them, but I wouldn’t invest on the strength of this fixture alone.

Bargain Bin

Richarlison is the name on everybody’s lips this week. The £6.9m rated midfielder has been playing up front for Everton in recent weeks and a return of 33 points in 5 games would suggest he is quite good at it. Everton are at home to Cardiff which means the promise of points is high. Also, consider Siggy stardust who has done a good job of supplying the bullets.

Elsewhere, Wolves are at home to Huddersfield. I’d written Wolves’ honeymoon period off as being over but a draw at the Emirates would suggest that was premature. Jonny has been ruled out for a while which brings Vinagre into the fold, he’s only £4.3m or Doherty is £4.9m. With Cardiff away to come next week, there’s plenty of possibilities in that old gold.

Fulham have a new manager! How will Claudio Ranieri shake things up? I expect them to beat Southampton with that new manager bounce feeling which makes Mitrovic an enticing option but I’ll be holding fire until I see what the game plan is.

Captain

I’m between two Mersey stools this week. Salah is my boring choice, I think Liverpool will probably score at Watford and it could well be him. Richarlison though…you’ve got to fancy Everton to beat Cardiff and if they do, the chances are he’ll have a lot to do with it. He’s a bit of a differential captain choice and decisions are always a pain. Always captain Aguero? There’s a chance West Ham can pull out a defensive masterclass like they did against Chelsea but the problem is Man City are better than Chelsea and Aguero is better than Morata. Those are the 3 options in my eyes. Others are available.

My Team

I’ll be looking for a Benjamin Mendy replacement this week. He’s out for a while.

Begovic, Robertson, Alonso, NEW, Duffy, Salah, Hazard, Richarlison, Jimenez, Aguero, Wilson. Subs: Fabianski, Neves, Hughes, Wan-Bissaka.

The contenders to join my backline are Coleman, Keane, Doherty, Coady or Laporte. I’m favouring a cheaper option so then I can use the proceeds to upgrade elsewhere. That’ll be my Friday night thinking.

That brings me to the end of another crisis meeting. Whatever you decide to do with your teams, I wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green. Toodles!