#FPL OCD – Gameweek 9: Dear Arsene Wenger… I want my points back!
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Well, I guess there was only one way to go from a 116 point week, and that was down. It is odd that one can halve their previous score, and still be content, but that is what I have done. 58 points (62 with a -4) is decent. Nothing more, nothing less, but when an injury crisis took hold of the Premier League during the international break, it all looked like it could have been so much worse.
My transfers effectively picked themselves. My dear, dear Sergio, the man I swooned over in my previous article, is now out for a lengthy spell. It was inevitable, we all knew it would happen at some point, but the timing was cruel and, paradoxically, almost beautiful. There he is, Sergio Aguero, reminding us all just what an exceptional player he is, banishing all FPL doubts, then getting injured and riding off into the sunset on a stretcher. The game feels different without him, it opens up new avenues and requirements that are otherwise closed in a Sergio world. Anyway, Aguero and Kolarov were ruled out, and when I assessed replacements, two stood out from the rest. Kolarov and Aguero -> Bellerin and Pelle, in itself, looks a decent move in hindsight. Pelle disappointingly blanked, though he did hit the post in the run up to Van Dijk’s goal, and Bellerin romped home with 10 points, while my substitutes, who would have replaced the injured players, delivered nothing. However, I am left with a hint of frustration at my Pelle pick, not for the selection in itself, but for its part in a costly decision.
From Monday until Thursday, the armband was firmly fixed to the arm of Alexis Sanchez. I had very few doubts in my mind; Sanchez was in blistering form, and I fancied Arsenal to put a few past Watford. Then, on Thursday, Arsene Wenger stated: “He came off, as you have seen, against Manchester United with a hip problem. He wanted to go. We will have to see how he comes back. Of course, it is always a tricky situation because they [Chile] play official qualifiers for the World Cup and he is an important player for them”. In hindsight, it was always very unlikely that Wenger would rest Sanchez, and at the time I was 70-80% sure that he would play, but there was enough doubt. “We will have to see how he comes back”. It was just sufficient to dissuade me from captaining Sanchez, fearing a brief cameo, or even recurrence of an injury, and I was left with a choice of Pelle and De Bruyne (I would be lying if I said I really considered Vardy – something I may address this week…). After much deliberation, I opted for Pelle, and with that, Wenger’s words cost me 8 points.
These are the fine margins with which we FPL managers work. Had I missed Wenger’s comments, I would now be sat at 20k, but instead I ended with a red arrow and a 33k rank. Again, my team is not looking too bad, but I feel one step behind. With that in mind, I am currently of the mindset that I will save my FT. I have issues – Huth, Francis and Martial are concerns, but I feel that they can wait at least a week. Just today, Kolarov has been confirmed back in training and almost certainly fit for the weekend. Managers’ comments are not my friend this week, as Pellegrini stated that Kolarov would be out for a fortnight at least. Huth/Francis to Bellerin (my planned transfer), while keeping Kolarov, would have left me in a nicer position, but now I have problems. However, I like the flexibility that comes with 2FTs, and there are no outstanding replacements that I can currently spot. I am able to bench Francis this week, and Martial probably deserves at least one more week. I am eyeing up Lukaku, but with a tough fixture this week, and a poor performance last, this may not be the best week for that move.
The captaincy is, yet again, my biggest dilemma. Sanchez is again looking the obvious contender, at the top of his game at home to an Everton side that are shaky defensively, but I am generally averse to captaining players against my side. If Sanchez does run riot, as an Evertonian I will be sad, and I don’t like being sad about a captaincy success. Maybe this partisan hope should be dispelled when playing FPL. Another factor is, as mentioned, the form of Jamie Vardy. The league’s top scorer, with a plum home fixture, is not something that can be ignored. These two will battle it out in my mind, as I try to avoid another mistake.
I end this week, by and large, in a similar position to last. The euphoria is absent, but here I am, with a platform on which to build. I just hope I have the right tools.
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.