Stag’s Take – Gameweek 11
Gameweek 10… was that the golden opportunity for people to make gains in their mini-leagues this season? High scores from Aguero, Sanchez, Costa, Hazard and Lukaku among others meant that many of you would have scored into the 80s or 90s point range. However, if you (like me) decided that last week was a tough week to make captaincy choices and took a slight risk on let’s say Troy Deeney or in my case Dele Alli, then it was an extended period of pain. I ended up watching none of the games on Sunday or the Monday night kick-off, such was my pain. I dropped from my perch just inside the top 1% at 34,000 ish all the way down to 94k. However, the gameweek should teach you that all is never lost in FPL, one high point captaincy pick can result in a meteoric rise.
Another thing you should have learnt is that Sergio Aguero is 110% undroppable. The Argentine’s two stunning finishes against West Brom banished any fears that his time at the top of world football was drawing to a close. His assist to supplement one of Gundogan’s goal also creates an interesting cheap midfield option. Having averaged about a goal every ten games in his time at Dortmund, Gundogan has suddenly scored five goals in ten appearances in Sky Blue. He is certainly a huge FPL prospect now as is the returning Kevin De Bruyne. Both scored in the win over Barca in midweek to hammer home their credentials and exacerbate the headache which Hazard has created by scoring in three consecutive games. You also can’t forget Sanchez, who shone in front of goal without Theo ahead of him over the weekend. Will he be as threatening when Walcott is back this weekend? I’m unsure. Hence, he is lower priority than say KdB or Hazard in terms of getting them into my squad. It should also be pointed out that The Gunners face Spurs and Man Utd in their next two league matches. Spurs are the best defence in the league hands-down (forget their poor showing at the back I midweek Champions League action) and Jose Mourinho loves parking the bus and frustrating everybody. I’ll probably be selling Walcott and reduce my Arsenal coverage to just Koscielny for these two games before then trying to get an Arsenal player in again. Maybe even Giroud will be the best option and hit a hotstreak after his two touch and two goal salvo in GW10 and his well taken header against Ludogorets. Mesut Ozil has also put his head above the parapet with goals in recent weeks. A very tough choice.
Indeed, the midfield musical chairs game which has suddenly started is what I believe will define the next ten gameweeks as a broadly agreed template is settled upon by the active community. Being lucky and well planned enough to have the correct premium players in your midfield will be what sets green arrows apart from the rabble. KdB or Sanchez, Payet or Hazard, sacrifice a striker to get three of those options? What about Liverpool mids (I discussed this at length in a recent column here)?
Aye, Christopher Reeve had it right when he said “pain is inevitable, misery is a choice”. You’ll never pick the right midfielders every gameweek. Odds are the week you have Coutinho, Mané will get a brace. However, failure to plan out your moves and doing your homework on transfers will lead to Fantasy Premier League misery.
Aguerooooooooooo (v ‘Boro)
Yep it’s that customary piece where I lavish praise on Manchester City’s golden goose. Aguero is one of the few players talented enough for people to start assuming he is “out of form” or “past it” when he hasn’t scored for three league games. Alas, now that he has “proven” to us that is indeed Sergio Aguero, he will retake his throne. Middlesborough have been relatively solid at home but away from home they have been far less convincing on the road with a three draws and a loss in their last four away matches. However, their defence hasn’t been the issue, they’ve only conceded five goals on the road. That said, ‘Boro face City who have finally got their big guns all fit and healthy again. They also have the benefit of boosted morale after their enormous victory over Barca in the Champions League. Aguero is the safe option this weekend, for certain.
Callum Wilson (v Sunderland)
Sadly for David Moyes, his tactics just aren’t working with this bedraggled Sunderland squad and hence anybody playing against them has to be considered. Wilson is the spearhead of all Bournemouth’s attacks this season, and while his goal numbers don’t show this, he has been dangerous. He has 3 goals, averaging two shots per game. Behind him is the resurgent Jack Wilshere who is among the most creative players in the league right now. He was actually second for chances created last weekend on six even though Bournemouth struggled against Watford. Sunderland on the other hand have three defeats in the league on the trot and conceded seven times in their away games. Bournemouth on the other hand have been prolific in front of their own fans scoring nine. This stat is of course soothed by the demolition of Hull but it does highlight how clinical they can be against demoralised and poor defences.
Charlie Austin (v Hull)
Chaz, Chaz, Chaz…. The rich vein of form which sent us running to the Englishman hasn’t been quite as fixture-proof as we had hoped. Having scored what seemed like every day of the week for three weeks, Austin hasn’t found the net for two league games. Granted, these matches were Man City and Chelsea, hence I have held on to our hero. This weekend, Austin and The Saints visit Hull, who have broken club records with their recent poor form. They have lost six league games in a row and have conceded ten times in five home matches. Their coaching staff have been poaches, their squad is suffering with key injuries and their morale has hit the floor. Austin is a specialist in finding a yard in the box, a poor man’s Aguero if you will. This is the perfect scenario for him to get back on track. A good indicator of his game time will be Thursday’s Europa League clash against Inter. Southampton need that victory to keep their qualification hope in Europe’s second tier competition alive. Hopefully Austin scores while playing about an hour or is subbed on to rescue things after half time (as has been custom of late). This would mean he wouldn’t be too fatigued on Sunday and we wouldn’t have to worry about his game time.