Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – Keeping a Level Head


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Here’s FFGeek contributor Paul Williams with his bi-weekly ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series. This week, Paul reflects on two costly GWs and the importance of remaining level-headed. Paul is one of the Top 10 FPL Managers I follow and finished with an overall rank of 412 last season, 1,382 in 16/17 and 7,164 in 15/16.

Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – Keeping a Level Head

You can read more from Paul in his ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series on his Facebook blog using this link.



Introduction

After putting a nice string of small green arrows together and finally getting somewhere this season (just outside the top 5,000), I was one of the many people who suffered at the hands of Pep’s rotation and Aguero’s back to back hat-tricks.

In this post, I am going to reflect on what a nightmare February has been so far and try to emphasise the importance of remaining pragmatic and not making rash decisions on-tilt.

Gameweek Twenty-five

In GW24, I made a transfer and was immediately conscious that I had made an error. I brought in Aubameyang and then subsequently cursed when the DGW was announced. Instantly, I wished that I had brought in Raheem Sterling instead. As we now know, over the course of DGW25 and GW26, that one decision proved extremely costly. I have to make it clear though that I can’t claim to be unfortunate regarding Sergio Aguero, as I really didn’t expect him to play in both games. I had the chance to bring him in and I made the decision not to… twice!

In GW25, captaining Leroy Sane and not owning Sterling and Aguero was agony. Everywhere I turned, everything I seemed to read suggested that everyone had at least captained Aguero if they had not backed him with their triple captain chip.

However, what really rubbed salt into the wounds was Pep deciding to bench Sane in the first match and then taking him off in the 59th minute of the second match. I’m not sure how aware Guardiola is of FPL and the significance that decision had on Sane backers in terms of points and their emotions, but it sure felt at the time as though he knew exactly what he was doing! Before the Arsenal game, Sane had started (and starred) in eleven of City’s previous twelve PL games.

Although it was painful, I was in a good place going into GW26 – I had Aubameyang ready to face up against a lowly Huddersfield team who are starting to be cut adrift at the bottom of the league…

Gameweek Twenty-six

Of course, the horrors didn’t stop there for those of us without Aguero and Sterling. A snap decision, and I still believe the wrong decision, would have been to burn a transfer on getting rid of Aubameyang as soon as he was diagnosed with the sniffles to bring in Aguero. However, still trying to think logically having taken a beating the previous GW, the fixtures dictated that it was a big no-no. Aguero was up against Chelsea followed by a blank. Plus, there was no confirmation that Aubameyang was definitely out… it could still all be okay!

It couldn’t have gone worse! Aubameyang missed out (alongside Rashford) and Aguero helped himself to another treble. Even worse for me personally, Sterling ran riot too – bagging two goals and an assist. As a result, my OR from two GWs ago more than doubled and I tumbled out of the top 10,000.



Gameweek Twenty-seven

Ahead of this GW, I can find solace in the fact that Aguero cannot hurt those of us who don’t own him. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped over 200,000 people bringing him in, which is unbelievable!

Those managers who hung onto Aubameyang have to hope that he steps up this GW and delivers. I have to imagine that most people who know what they’re doing now intend to reverse their Aubameyang to Aguero trade which they made prior to the DGW. For my own interests, I really hope that they don’t so those, like me, who kept Aubameyang and captained Sane in DGW25, can make up a fraction of the ground that they lost during that absolutely awful period.

Conclusion

Throughout the unfortunate events of February, I have tried to maintain a level head as much as possible. There’s no doubt the recent mini-break has helped as it gave me an opportunity to forget about FPL for a bit. I could have taken hits to get rid of various players and jumped on the latest bandwagons, but I didn’t and I haven’t. I have tried to stick to a plan.

I just have to accept that I ended up on the wrong side of a strange set of circumstances. Favourable fixtures and covering the recent double led me to hold on to out of form or absent players: Richarlison being a prime example. On the flip side, blank GWs and undervaluing Aguero meant that I ignored players that inflicted more damage on my OR than I could ever have imagined.

The best thing to do though is to continue looking forward and not to chase points. I have to forget about what could have been if I did bring Sterling in.

Finally, I have to think carefully as to whether setting up for GW31 and ignoring City assets after GW27 is the right thing to do – my next article will be about how I intend to use my chips.

You can read more from Paul in his ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series on his Facebook blog using this link.

See also Andrew Ferguson’s team plans who finished 715 overall last season

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