Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – Focus on the Changes at Manchester United


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Here’s FFGeek contributor Paul Williams with his bi-weekly ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series. This week, Paul turns his attention to the changes at Manchester United. 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’ – Focus on the Changes at Manchester United

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




INTRODUCTION:

As my articles for Fantasy Football Geek focus on current FPL issues, there could really only be one topic for me to address this week: MANCHESTER UNITED.

The departure of Jose Mourinho and their subsequent 5-1 drubbing of Cardiff City in GW18 saw hundreds of thousands of FPL Managers snapping up an array of different United players before the Gameweek had even finished. The speed at which people are currently buying United’s players threatens to drastically alter the look of the ‘template’ squad. However, it’s never a surprise to see United’s players being heavily bought when they do hit form because the club are so well supported all over the world.

Personally – and I write this knowing that a lot of Man United fans won’t like it – I’m really not a fan of this group of players. I’m quite shocked at their attitude considering the privileged position they find themselves in as Manchester United players. Some of them, based on their own efforts, are certainly not in a position to argue with their manager and celebrate when he leaves.

If I was them, I would be embarrassed that as a professional player, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, I wasn’t giving my all – and the stats from the Cardiff game back that up:

* United had been outrun in 16 of their first 17 PL games this season – against Cardiff, they covered over 5km more than their opponents.

* United players had made less sprints than their opponents in 15 out of their first 17 PL games this season – against Cardiff, they made 119 compared to Cardiff’s 99.

As a result, the United players have put themselves in a position where they have got what they clearly wanted (Mourinho sacked) and they now have to perform to show that they were not the problem themselves. What is more, they have a kind run of fixtures in order to prove it – ideal for FPL Managers.

From this point, I will briefly look at some of United’s players that may be of interest to FPL Managers in the near future.

LUKE SHAW

I have owned Luke Shaw since my Gameweek Five Wildcard and it has been an absolute nightmare watching Matt Doherty rack up the points whilst Shaw has faltered. If you have read any of my posts on my squad, you will know my feelings towards Luke Shaw and how something always seems to come up which prevents me from selling him. I didn’t realise how disastrous his signing had been until I looked today – 11 points in 14 GWs!

However, given United’s fixtures, his return to the team and the dismissal of Mourinho, it looks as though Luke Shaw will be lingering in my team, like a bad smell, for a while longer.

My view on United’s defenders at the moment would be: if you have been unfortunate enough to own a United defender, now is not the time to sell. On the flip side, I wouldn’t be rushing to buy one of their defenders until they show signs of improvement.

PAUL POGBA

Obviously, I can see that Pogba is a very talented footballer – but I really don’t like him. As quite a reserved person myself, I don’t get all of his attention-seeking nonsense. For me, he has the potential to be a great player, but right now his inflated ego is getting in the way. However, now that Mourinho is gone, at 7.9m, he could potentially be FPL gold. Suddenly, from being out of the team, he is arguably the most secure attacking player with the whole United team perhaps being built around him. If I was to bring him in, it will certainly test my objectivity of playing FPL as preferably I’d rather not have him at all.

ANTHONY MARTIAL

Martial has probably been United’s best player this season. Before his slight injury and Mourinho’s sacking, he was already attracting attention from FPL Managers with his ownership peaking in GW14 at over 900,000. I am a fan of Martial as a player. Although it feels like he has been around for a while, he’s still only 23 and could improve more given a sustained run in the side.




JESSE LINGARD

Lingard feels like a bit of a trap to me and I’m pretty confident that I won’t be owning him in the near future – although never say never! For me, he would have more appeal if Pogba, Martial and Rashford were significantly higher in price than him, but they’re not.

MARCUS RASHFORD

Due to the lack of forward options this season, Rashford is someone that I have been looking at for a while. I’ve never owned him before as I’ve never felt his place in the team was secure enough. If he can nail down a place, at 7.0m, my head would definitely be turned by the young England international.

CONCLUSION:

All of the players that I have briefly looked at above (aside from Shaw), are quickly rising in price. As I have stated, in my opinion, the safest (and most secure) choice is Paul Pogba. For the other players, the flies in the ointment are: Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Big Rom will be back soon and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanchez miraculously recover from his injury, which would place a question mark over Martial’s and Rashford’s place in the team. Nevertheless, they currently hold the starting positions and if they continue to play like they did against Cardiff than Lukaku and Sanchez have got it all to do to get back into the team.

Given the price points of all of United’s primary transfer targets, it is going to make for an interesting Christmas period as people sell long-held assets in order to make room for one or two of United’s reinvigorated players.

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

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9 thoughts on “Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – Focus on the Changes at Manchester United”

  1. When Lukaku is back and ultimately Sanchez too, who would inherit the rotation risk out of the four listed forwards? I feel Pogba is the one most nailed and worth the extra cash based on that unknown. The last thing you want is to waste a transfer on someone that all of a sudden is not even playing every game right?

    • In my opinion, Pogba is definitely the most secure starter of those being bought at the moment. However, they’ve all got their plus points being affordable options from a top-six side.

  2. Paul, I am a Man Utd supporter and I feel the same way about the players. Some of them should be ashamed of themselves and don’t deserve to wear that jersey. If Ferguson was still in charge then the likes of Pogba and Lingard wouldnt last a season.
    Mourinho was certainly a problem and needed to go, but you play for the club and jersey, not the manager
    Having said all that… Martial is coming into my team this week. For me, his place is totally secure, Sanchez or no Sanchez

    • To be fair to Martial – 8 goals in his last 8 PL starts, he’s regularly been producing the goods this season. At 7.4m, his ownership and price is going to soar.

    • I would probably avoid. If United really click, he takes up one of your United spots. Just my opinion though.

  3. Fair assessment. I bought Rash, could be a trap but it seems he plays hard and dynamically. Multiple positions and not a prima Donna like Sánchez … so I hope he nails a spot and scores tons of goals

    Could be a trap though. Sánchez, Lukaku and Martial could be Solskjaer’s chosen front three

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