#FPL OCD – Gameweek 7: I was anticipating a return to disappointment, but thankfully, it didn’t really materialise.
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It wasn’t a complete fluke then. As the shock of a good week subsided, so did the initial optimism. After the first couple of weeks of the season, it seemed that normal service would, nay must, resume, but as it stretched to 4-5 weeks, it began to feel that failure was the norm. Thus, when a good week reared its head, it was accompanied by the thought that perhaps this was the anomaly. I was anticipating a return to disappointment, but thankfully, it didn’t really materialise.
My season best score has been followed up with 55 points, and now the year really does feel in full swing. Again, it is by no means a fantastic score, but that has become almost a side issue. What gives me great heart, and a sensation that perhaps things are returning to the ways of previous seasons, is that I have regained a semblance of coherence amidst the chaos. 58, 55 – these are the scores that a serious FPL player should be posting week in, week out. Last year, a score of 40-45 would have been extremely disappointing; this season, it had become almost a reason for celebration. Now, expectations will begin to be recalibrated, but for the time being, it is a start, it is a sign of stability from which I can build.
However, this is not the primary source of rationalisation, even comfort, that I have taken from this GW. No, the main point that makes me feel that, finally, I have gained a foothold in the season, is the hat trick of Alexis Sanchez. The immediate positive is, of course, that Sanchez has been sat in my team since gameweek 2, and has finally stepped up to his reputation. This is a player that I had from the very start last season, a player that catapulted me almost single-handedly up the rankings, nestled in my team for early hauls before his ownership rocketed. He has been something of a security blanket for over a year, and he has come to the fore once again.
Most importantly, in a season dominated so far by players like Mahrez, Ayew, Gomis and Payet, a season in which Hazard, Aguero, Rooney and co. have been crushing disappointments, a heavy hitter has exploded. Sanchez’s hat trick is a reminder of what these players can do. Crucially, it provides hope for FPL players like me, players who follow stats and trust those key men to come good. Sanchez has sat atop the tables for attacking threat practically every gameweek, and I have had faith, clinging to the fact that those underlying stats would reap rewards. Suddenly, a proven FPL asset springs into life, and it changes the whole complexion of the game.
It is this thought that may complicate the huge elephant in the FPL room: Sergio Aguero. Since his arrival in England, Aguero has been one of the most dependable figures in the game. Explosive, yet not unpredictable, prior to this season he boasted a hugely impressive Premier League record of 78 goals in 120 games. His injury record has been a big problem, but when fit, it has often been a case of give him the armband, in any game, and rest easy. Now, we are facing a £13.2m man with 1 goal in 7 games. Ok, he played less than 30 minutes in 2 of those games, but that will always be a factor with Kun, and he needs to do enough in the other matches to compensate. As it stands, he is the most expensive player in the game, and is nothing more than deadweight. Those who have seen his form and been brave enough to go without have been rewarded, and the rest of us are trying to catch up while effectively starting every week with 10 men (often 10 men with no captaincy).
Yet…yet…the fear. The fear of Aguero does not linger at the back of the mind, it barges its way to the front, screaming and screaming and screaming. Every time he blanks, the thought “I need to ditch him” returns, but can we do it? He has Newcastle at home next; it would take a much braver man than 100 of me to get shot of him prior to that.
As with Sanchez, Aguero’s attacking threat is largely undiminished; it is his finishing that is the big problem. Usually the most lethal frontman in the league, if not the world, the Argentinian has temporarily become some kind of Heskey/Chelsea-era Torres hybrid. What is happening? Has a rival manager blasted our Superstriker with Kryptonite? What is making me stick is the fact that he is getting the chances. When his finishing clicks, as Sanchez’s did last weekend, we could see the same result. There is even a good chance that, having given it to Martial last gameweek, my sacred armband will return to Kun this time. Is there a chance that I will be sat here in a week bemoaning the fact that I fell into the trap once again? Certainly. But what if this is the week that Aguero finally rips the 2015/16 season apart? We all know that it will happen at some point this year, he will rediscover his touch and all hell will break loose. It’s the fear…
I have already pulled the trigger on my moves for this week. Wilson’s terrible, saddening injury has forced my hand, and with Vardy rising and decisions to be made, I went ahead with Mertesacker and Wilson to Dawson and Vardy (-4). I was 0.1 off a straight swap to Vardy, and though there were options (Ighalo, Berahino, Bojan), I did not trust them to maintain any real level of consistency. Not only is Vardy scoring, he is right up there on the key stats, playing in an attacking team, and he felt like an option that I could not afford to risk missing. A hit is never ideal, but before Wilson’s injury I had planned to ditch Mertesacker. He may play this week, he may even play for the next 3-4 weeks, but there will always be doubt, and that is not what I want from a 5m+ defender. West Brom, despite their capitulation (much to my delight) against my side Everton, are usually very solid, and I would expect them to tighten up even further following that defeat. I expect them to provide excellent value, and I believe the hit should pay off long-term.
My season is truly underway, and I am happy with my squad. Butland, Ruddy, Kolarov, Dawson, Francis, Nyom, Huth, Sanchez, De Bruyne, Mane, Mahrez, Westwood, Aguero, Martial and Vardy. There are areas that could be altered – the keepers and Huth are struggling, and Westwood is purely bench fodder, but with my WC intact, I am starting to feel positive again. I am into the top 300k for the first time this season (even breaking into the top 200k before Monday’s game), and I am confident that some who had a blistering start will begin to fade. It will almost certainly come crashing back down around me.
Written by @JohnOC1991
John went to University, finished his degree, and got a good job in the City of London. He is now in the process of throwing it all away in favour of FPL, a game with no notable rewards for success. He firmly believes this to be the correct decision.