A rather half hearted Gameweek 29 arrives on our doorstep, Chelsea – Spurs aside. With 5 Premier league sides making up the last 8 of the FA Cup, we have a depleted fixture list with 10 teams in action this weekend. I’ll talk later about concerns over limited player coverage in Gameweek 29 but also look ahead to Gameweek 31 where we have 15 fixtures and double Gameweek heaven. But first a recap of last week.
A score of 60 last time out saw Switchblade maintain the equilibrium – up 2k places from 48,874 to 46,743. It could have been so much better. Up until fairly late in the afternoon on Saturday, Adrian, Cahill and Mertesacker all had clean sheets to their name, only for a goal to be conceded in the last 20 minutes for each. Luis Suarez returned to goal scoring form but unfortunately wasn’t captain, that responsibility fell to Emanuel Adebayor who could only manage an assist against relegation struggler’s Cardiff City. Eden Hazrd and Raheem Sterling both put in notable performances bagging 10 and 6 points respectively, the latter from only 34 minutes of action.
Looking ahead to prospective transfer activity for this week, the first observation is that I have 6 players currently represented. The two schools of thought here are: 1. I want to adopt a long term strategy with players who have potential, this selection doesn’t offer that. 2. I want to get as many players out there from this selection of teams – perhaps to win a fixture I have in my head to head league. Both are valid depending on your circumstances. I have a head-to-head fixture with an opponent who will have a minimum of 7 players featured and potentially 9 if he uses his 2 free transfers. I’m looking to make 1 transfer but where?
Obviously I’m not going to transfer out anyone who has a fixture in Gameweek 29 so: Emanuel Adebayor, Adam Lallana, Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill, Jose Fonte, Joel Ward are safe for this week. I don’t want to touch Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling or Yaya Toure. Jack Colback, Adrian and Vito Mannone offer decent double gameweek exposure in the coming weeks which leaves Seamus Coleman and Per Mertesacker. Both have been outstanding so far this season. Coincidently they face each other this weekend in the FA Cup. Looking ahead at the fixtures on the horizon, Arsenal face a difficult spell with Spurs, Chelsea, Man City and Everton providing the opposition in their next 4 games – their defeat at Stoke hardly inspires confidence and for these reasons it’s Auf Wiedersehen to the big German.
His replacement is not an easy decision to make. First instincts draw you to Man Utd who have an away fixture at West Brom and then a double gameweek in 2 weeks time. Even over looking Utd’s poor form, it’s not obvious who to select. Yes, Patrice Evra is a solid choice but at £6.5m and few clean sheets to speak of late, in my view this is not value for money. Chris Smalling is tempting at £5.1m but with players returning from injury, his place is by no means assured. Instead I’m turning to Norwich City. Strange choice you might think after their capitulation away at Aston Villa at the weekend. They certainly struggle to score but their count of 10 clean sheets so far this season is admirable and they welcome misfiring away specialists Stoke City to Carrow Road for Gameweek 29. In terms of who to go for, if 100% fit, Martin Olsson (£4.3m) would have been the choice but this shoulder surgery required in the summer was just enough to put me off. Instead I’m looking at Sebastien Bassong (£4.7m). Looking at his 2012/13 record, he scored 3 goals and 2 assists. None so far this season, maybe, just maybe there’s one on the way. Captain for the week is Eden Hazard.
With just 2 weeks to go to the mammoth double gameweek where there are 15 fixtures, I have player coverage of 18. Of course that doesn’t mean that all of those 7 players with 2 games will play 180 minutes, something to be wary of in double gameweeks. At the time of writing I plan to save 2 free transfers for this gameweek to further increase my player coverage, with half an eye on Man City players to perhaps fill at least one of these spots. More thoughts and information on the Double gameweek in next week’s post.