Fantasy Football Shambles

Welcome to another week of FPL tinkering! The season only kicked off last week but I’m pleased to say I got off to a decent start, my score of 85 comfortably beat the average of 53 to leave me sitting 138,391st out of just over 5 million hopefuls. Believe me, that stat will get less relevant as the season goes on. Dead teams everywhere. How do we ensure this is the norm and not a flash in the pan? That is a serious question. Answers welcome.

What’s in store this week?

The Dilemma

We actually learned relatively little last weekend. Let’s start with Man City. The Champions are still really really good. They have, however, lost Kevin De Bruyne this week for what looks fairly long term – a couple of months seem to be the best estimate. That might lock in Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) for the foreseeable. He scored last week, though as is the case with any Man City players they are liable to be rotated at some point you just don’t know when. However, with David Silva absent last weekend, Bernardo should be around for the next few at least, starting with Huddersfield at home this weekend. It’s obviously a fixture that favours the champions and Aguero will be licking his lips – unfortunately, so will Gabriel Jesus. It remains to be seen whether Pep rotates his forwards.

Liverpool also looked handy last weekend, dismantling West Ham 4-0 with FPL favourites Mane and Salah amongst the goals and points. They’re off to Crystal Palace for Monday Night Football, which has been the scene of some forgettable times for Liverpool. You’d expect Liverpool to win but it will not be comfortable. Palace themselves scored an impressive win at Fulham with Zaha (£7m) justifying his selection along with budget defender Wan-Bissaka. All eyes on Monday night.

There were less fireworks from Man Utd, who just about deserved their win over Leicester. It wasn’t pretty at times with so many players being rusty but they can only get better. They’re off to Brighton this week, who were resolute defenders last season but were very poor at Watford last weekend. I’m still not entirely sure about Man Utd from an FPL point of view. They don’t attack as freely as some other teams which makes their defenders more appealing. Especially Luke Shaw if he continues his goalscoring form.

Tottenham have been in the news this week as their stadium isn’t ready. They’re at Wembley this weekend to host Fulham and this is really causing a problem in my mind. Fulham are short of defenders whilst Spurs managed to win last week despite most of their squad not having a pre-season. Harry Kane doesn’t like August but I still think that is a coincidence rather than something to hang your hat on. They are at Man Utd next weekend though so there may be better options long term. Christian Eriksen is always on my mind from an FPL point of view and I haven’t ruled out bringing him in.

The demise of Chelsea seems to have been greatly exaggerated as they eased to a win over Huddersfield. The main talking points are N’golo Kante playing a lot further forward (£5m) whilst Jorginho’s cheeky pen is probably not going to be the norm once Hazard is back from the start. Pedro (£6.5m) justified his pre-season hype with a goal but as Hazard and Willian return to the fold I suspect his days will be numbered as a regular starter. They host Arsenal this week in the Saturday teatime slot and I’m happy to just take a watching brief on their progress. They looked unconvincing against Man City – as most do – so I want to see more of them before paying the big money on Aubameyang.

Bargain Bin

Burnley had to go through extra time on Thursday but with a much-changed team, they should still be relatively fresh for Watford’s visit to Turf Moor on Sunday. Joe Hart is just £4.5m, a bargain really despite his detractors he has been in fine form since settling in behind that well drilled Burnley defence. As I mentioned last week, Everton have a fine set of fixtures to start the season and if you took the punt on Richarlison, which I did at the 11th hour, you must be delighted. He’s only £6.5m but it’s Cenk Tosun at £7m who I think could be where the money is this week. Everton host Southampton and I have very little respect for Mark Hughes. It’s hard to really identify bargains based on one week, especially as everybody who played at home will be away this week. Watch this space.

Captain

All logic points to a Man City captain this week but the rotation worries me a lot. Aguero has my armband at the moment but if you have Raheem Sterling I’d be tempted to go with him. Pep made comments that they rely on him and he just has the knack of scoring for Man City. He’s £11m though which is pricier than most.

You can, of course, go with Salah or Mane, with Salah probably set to retain the armband of many who set up GW1 teams. What can I say? He’s reliable, he’ll probably score. You could probably have left him as captain for every week last season and done pretty well.

My final choice is Harry Kane. With Fulham short of defenders, if nothing else Spurs could get a penalty which as we saw in the summer, he is not likely to miss. I don’t buy into the whole August curse thing as I mentioned in the main blurb, I really think it will end on Saturday.

My Team

After a solid first week I don’t want to make loads of changes but at the moment I’m looking at shifting Sanchez. He was very lucky to get me an assist last week and after I initially picked him on the basis that I thought he’d play up front, it seems that won’t be the case. Eriksen or Bernardo seem the likely replacements at the moment.

Fabianski, Keane, Shaw, Alexander-Arnold, Salah, Sanchez?, Neves, Richarlison, Aguero, Firmino, Zaha. Subs: Fraser, Wan-Bissaka, Bednarek, Begovic.

I had both Neves and Wan-Bissaka on the bench last week. 24 points I won’t see, but considering only Aguero failed to contribute anything, I can’t be too mad.

That’s it for this week, whatever you decide to do I wish you all good luck and may all your arrows be green. Keep an eye on the press conferences and I’ll be back next week. Toodles!