Yep, that expression says it all for me at the moment. Do I gamble on Sanchez and Aguero even if they may not play?! Is Sinclair fools gold? Here is my team and the thoughts behind its structure…
I initially wanted to run with just one 4.5 keeping option, however that was too risky. If something went wrong there is no back-up plan! I’m never a fan of keeper rotation so picking one of the 5.0 options was an easy decision for me. One of the top keepers always lies in this bracket. Pantilimon was unbelievable last season, and his first 4 fixtures gives me the perfect reason to pick him. He can always go after that, it also gives me a look at the 4.5 options to see if there’s another bargain lying around…
Initially I had tested a 4 man defence, however that was to make sure I owned both Koscielny and Azpilicueta. I couldn’t make a serious team without those 2 guys in it, they’re points per game ratios are far better than any other options at that price. You know what they will deliver. It also saves me worrying about rotation as they are fixture proof.
This allowed me to rotate 2 cheaper options through just the one position, saving me some headaches. Norwich and Bournemouth both have kind opening schedules, thus the selection of Bassong and Francis. At 4.5 I’m hoping they can provide decent enough returns for at least the first couple of months, but it’s obviously a risk. They will likely go when we get a good look at who are the best cheap options. AVL, sun, STO, LEI, BOU, SUN, whm, WAT would be the rotating fixtures, I like!
Taylor is a throwaway position, although if he stays fit he could become a cheeky option. Don’t plan for that though… If you’re playing 3 defenders it’s unlikely you’ll need that 5th spot often.
Once Aguero and Sanchez are back I’m likely to operate with a 5 man midfield. However I didn’t like any of the options under 9.5 so Kane got the nod for the first couple of GW’s.
Hazard was a no brainer for me. No need for explanations there. Sterling is another that hasn’t left my squad. I had him in my team 3 minutes into Man City’s first pre-season friendly. Unfortunately his pre-season form has lead to most of the competition doing the same, I think he will be fantastic.
I had to pick Walcott, he has the potential to be this seasons top scoring midfielder if all goes well. It can go one of two ways. Either he’s a success up front and he remains in my team, or he fails and Sanchez comes straight in. Either way it’s a headache sorted.
My final spot for gameweek 1 goes to Ritchie. I was going to pick him after a few gameweeks when I chase Aguero, however we all learnt our lesson with Sigurdsson last season. I’d actually learnt my own lesson with Michu 3 seasons ago. He had sat in my team all pre-season, but I dropped him with a plan to bring him in during GW2. He went out and scored 16… Starting Gylfi gave me a head start last year, so I’m backing in Ritchie. Hopefully I don’t have to find an extra 0.5 to get to the 6.5 bracket if he fails…
Finally Sinclair gets a gig on my bench, with an eye on making him a starter in my team. He looks to have locked himself in Villa’s best team during pre-season, capped off by bagging a hat-trick in their second last friendly. This is the position where I was going to have my 4th defender, I’m not totally confident Sinclair will be that special. However he’s probably a better bet than a 4.5 defender! Owning him will allow me to get the big guns…
It’s hard sitting here and justifying my selections, when this isn’t my preferred team! Sanchez and Aguero’s late arrival in pre-seasons means they are unlikely to take to the field in GW1. I’d love to still pick them, but you can’t have players worth that much not on the park. Aguero had made himself into my squad, however his stomach bug was the final straw. Surely he will be rested for Chelsea, I’m happy to look at getting him GW3. That will be in place of Rooney. I can definitely see the merit in selecting him. United will score plenty of goals, and he finally looks to have his favoured striker role back. However it seems that Mata is on penalty duties now. Depay will also take his fair share of free kick duties. That leaves me with questions, which I don’t have the answers to. He should be great, but I’m not convinced he can reach the level of the ‘big 3’. I’ll be gladly proved wrong! His great history against United’s early opponents and his high ownership made him a safe selection to start with…
Kane makes it into my GW1 team as I believe he’s the best option in midfield and attack for his 9.5 price tag. He is a goalscorer and will be the focal point for Spurs all season. I’m one of the few who seem to believe he is capable of another 20+ goal season.
Deeney has been in my team all pre-season, and it will stay that way. Over the past few seasons we’ve had guys like Rickie Lambert step up, and last season Austin’s heroics were just as good. Certain players these days are capable of making the transition from the Championship to the PL, and they all have similar builds. They need to be strong, which is exactly what Deeney is. I see Wilson in the Ings mould, pacey and a good finisher but he may get bullied at times. Just like Austin and Lambert, Deeney is well built and knows where the net is, but most importantly he is also capable of assisting. He is Watford’s most important player, so even if he only scores 12 or so goals, he is capable of 6+ assists as well! Penalty duties is the final tick for me, he’s in!
So, that’s my likely (*Pending late change… So unlikely) GW1 line-up. I’m not completely comfortable with it though. I had planned to start with Silva, but this stomach bug is causing me headaches! The biggest frustration is not being able to select Aguero and Sanchez. I wanted both in my team, my plan all along is to have the 3 big hitters (Hazard, Aguero, Sanchez) and structure around them.
I’m going with a ‘guns and rooks’ set-up. There 5 ‘big hitters’ in that above line-up, however I’m likely to run with 4 once the big boys return. The idea is that these guys won’t let me down, they’re match winners. If one of them gets injured, I can always trade down to my favourite pick of the bunch below them. If a midpricer starts firing, it’s easy to downgrade to them if they become must haves. Being stuck in midprice obscurity with no great options is the last thing you want.
I’m a big fan of quality over quantity. You can fit 6 or 7 big names in this season, but I’m happy to stick with the blokes I can confidently say will score 200+. Finding the best value picks will be the most important job. If Ritchie doesn’t succeed, I will need to quickly find the mid priced midfielder who will. I’m really relying on Deeney being a success, but no matter how slow he starts I’m confident he can be a great pick. That fifth midfield spot is interesting. Whether I choose a Walcott/Sterling over Sanchez/Hazard and upgrade Sinclair to a Payet/Sigurdsson type is my only question mark.
At this stage the plan is to drop Kane to Ighalo, upgrade Rooney to Aguero and upgrade Sterling or Walcott to Sanchez. Being able to rotate Ighalo and Sinclair may just work…
So, there’s my team! Feel free to abuse it, this is the structure I’m sticking with! I like being slightly different, and if owning the 3 best players in the game is different them I’m ok with that! Good luck with your players around 8-8.5, I’m happy to be without that risk. Until one starts the season on fire of course…
That concludes our pre-season! I should hope you all know that lockout is at 11:45am GMT (So 8:45pm EST in Australia). Then we can sit back, relax and enjoy an awesome season. We have plenty of articles lined up for you next week, let’s make this season our best yet!