#FPL OCD – Gameweek 14: I may be being unnecessarily pessimistic – it would not be the first time
Give John a follow on twitter at @JohnOC1991
“I’ve made a huge mistake”. Those were the words of Gob Bluth in the wonderful Arrested Development, the words that I shared on my Twitter page within moments of hitting the wildcard button last weekend. I tried to put a brave face on it in last week’s article, tried to cover it up as a masterful stroke of foresight, but you know it and I know it…it was a stupid drunken mistake. There was some logic behind it, but the wine cut off the patience and sense with which I try to play this game. It was a rushed decision, a clear panic button, and it’s already started to cost me.
Let’s run through some of the highlights of that wildcard. The big gambles: sell Jamie Vardy, sell Kevin De Bruyne, keep the underperforming Alexis Sanchez, and buy injury prone 13m man Sergio Aguero. My planned transfer, prior to Aguero’s goal against Liverpool, was Mane to Ozil. If I had gone through with that, my pre-WC team would have scored in the mid-60s. My wildcard team ended up on 56.
It’s not a terrible score in isolation, but it feels like a crushing disaster. I now have an expensive doubt leading the line, and a crocked star midfielder. Most importantly, I no longer have my wildcard. The wildcard that I have been cherishing for so long, gone in an instant, and for what? A loss of 10 points and fitness uncertainties. Aguero should be fine for the weekend, but it is a stark reminder of his fragility. How long will it be until another knock, another pulled hamstring, another day of sweating on his availability? It is not what we want over the hectic festive season, and it casts a shadow that was not present prior to this week. He could, of course, run riot as he has so often done, but with other, cheaper, certain starter strikers scoring with impressive frequency and consistency, it already feels like an error. There are certain factors out of one’s control in FPL, but I sense that I have walked into a trap with this decision.
This raises questions about the use of the wildcard, and whether it may in fact be better to even avoid it at times. Where I have previously saved my wildcard until the end of the season, the rule change meant I felt forced into using it, and made changes when I really did not need to. Certainly, I could have used it to tweak my side slightly, perhaps brought in a couple of solid defenders, but is that appealing when you have a free run at your team? The unlimited transfers stare you in the face, and you feel compelled to revolutionise the page, to bring in all manner of new, exciting options, to get the edge on opponents who have already used their wildcard. It can cause one to damage a good thing, to throw the baby out with the bath water. De Bruyne and, in particular, Vardy have been scoring heavily, but the wildcard allows one to plot what the next “big thing” will be. Perhaps I tried to be too clever, perhaps it wasn’t broken and I tried to fix it.
I may be being unnecessarily pessimistic – it would not be the first time. My rank took a hit, but I still nestle just inside the top 20k, and my team is by no means bad. My captain, Lukaku, delivered a goal, and if Aguero goes on another scoring spree at the weekend, I may be sat here smugly celebrating the fact that I got him in early. The issue is that I cannot honestly say I would back Aguero to outscore Vardy or Ighalo, and do I think my 4th midfielder, Lanzini, bought in a necessary compromise to afford Sergio, will outscore De Bruyne, or Barkley, or Silva? I cannot say that I do.
I must now cope with the hand that I have dealt myself. I have created problems, and I must solve them. This week, presuming Sanchez’s injury is as bad as feared, I will have to decide on a midfielder. There is a possibility that I will swallow my pride and bring De Bruyne back in immediately, but his goal threat over the last 4 weeks is almost non-existent, he has scored from 1 of 2 shots he has had over that period. While his chance creation is exceptional, I am not sure he justifies the outlay. Barkley is an obvious option, but at the forefront of my mind right now is Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho has a very high goal threat this season, and with Liverpool looking impressive under the exceptional Jurgen Klopp, he looks a good bet. I may even captain him, it is another terrifying 50/50 with the man across Stanley Park, Romelu Lukaku.
Prior to Aguero’s injury, I wrote on here that I would give him the armband and trust him unconditionally. I live in hope that, over the next week or two, he will remind me of just what he can do. Come on Sergio, don’t you remember how it was before? Dazzle me like you used to Sergio, dazzle 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.