Here’s regular commenter and contributor to the site Stephen Toumi with another article in the series of thinking differently in FPL. He’s continued his focus on the 5-2-3 formation
Thinking differently in FPL – wildcard failure
After Gameweek 4 I had finally crept inside 980k with 47 points and a second consecutive green arrow. Morale remained high, as confidence was returning after Harry Kane scored a brace away to Everton. Looking ahead I didn’t feel there were many immediate changes that would warrant the activation of my first wild card. While my overall rank was still low, it appeared I had many of the “favorites” in my starting XI.
Last Wednesday, in what I consider a “knee jerk” moment I activated my wild card. Was it necessary? Did I really need to overhaul my squad? The answers to these and other questions were factored in. While activation wasn’t in my pre-season plans until after the second international break, I spent the next 2 days restructuring my five starting defenders, goalkeeper and those pesky, £4.5m midfielders that won’t see any regular pitch time.
There are two ways to look at the wild card, short term success and long term viability. Last season, I activated the wild card in Gameweek 4, which paid dividends with 3 green arrows through Gameweek 6. That period was followed by 15 of the next 20 weeks seeing that big, fat red arrow.
Starting the season in a 5-2-3 formation has been very successful early. Riding the clean sheet potential of Southampton and Manchester United saw my #5mandefence setting the pace for my squad.
Unfortunately, poor captaincy selections through Gameweek 5 has seen just 18 points for those players wearing the armband, resulting in 261 overall points.
The wildcard team selection process and points
Here’s my 55 points from gameweek 5:
As fantasy managers looked forward to the prospects of GW5, I was working on rebuilding a 5-man defense that wasn’t broken. Consider it a momentary weakness when I activated the wild card. There were defenders on my want list that I didn’t have in my starting XI. With £27.1m spent on defenders, I had a £1.9m ITB, for player upgrades. It came as no surprise that Ben Davies topped the group after last week’s performance (2 A, CS, 2 BP). Marcos Alonso and Sead Kolasinac were also prospects I wanted to add with their upcoming fixtures.
After spending time, shuffling players around, I realized outside of Gabriel Jesus, I didn’t own a Manchester City defender, shipping injured Vincent Kompany after GW3 in favor of Phil Jones, as I doubled up on Manchester United defenders. With the propensity for goals and stalwart defending, this was a solid pairing defensively, but left puzzled trying to fit Kyle Walker or Ben Mendy into the starting XI.
As Thursday approached I was formulating my plan through Gameweek 11 to capitalize on defensive players who had favourable fixtures. At So’ton, the addition of Wesley Hoedt and the resigning of Virgil Van Dijk did two things. First, it put Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens into a questionable status as starters. Second it could potentially make the Saints backline stronger, defensively. Their good run of fixtures to start the season continues through Gameweek 11, with Manchester United being the only top team they would play. Having 3 So’ton defenders started to concern me, yet in GW5, they played a toothless Crystal Palace squad that still hasn’t found the back of the net. It was the hiring of Roy Hodgson that had me a bit concerned Palace would find a goal. As we know now, that didn’t happen and that So’ton three scored 20 points!
Manchester United, as they had all season, saved it for late, after an early Antonio Valencia goal. A 4-0 drumming of Everton showcased why they are top of the EPL. However, Jones and Valencia coupled for 21 points, of which I received just 6 points, as 4 of the 5 defenders were transferred out on the wild card.
It wasn’t a complete hash of the situation, as I brought in Marcos Alonso, Sead Kolasinac, Ben Davies and Aaron Cresswell (on a punt). It didn’t start off well, as Ben Davies was benched but the four starters totaled 26 points on the day, led my Cresswell’s 9-point return! Overall, it was a loss of 15 points on the gameweek.
Other transfers for the week included Lukasz Fabianski (11 points) for Ben Foster (5 points), unfortunately I started Rob Elliot and came up short with just a 3-point return. No one could have foreseen a Swansea clean sheet away to Spurs. I also changed up the Jacks, bringing in Cork for Colback.
So, was the wild card necessary? Probably not, as I look back as none of my starting XI offensive players were changed. Not even Harry Kane, who I continue to back, even as he struggles to find the back of the net. At £12.5, he does offer a plethora of options IF it was decided his services are no longer required. It has not come to that point yet, as I continue to show restraint and patience before hooking any of my 5 starting attackers.
The ineffectiveness of Spurs at Wembley Stadium has started to creep into the back of my mind. If their home form doesn’t improve, I could be forced to make a change to improve the viability of the 5-2-3 formation. Thankfully there are some strong options available; Mo Salah, Sadio Mane (when he returns), Paul Pogba (when he returns), Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, just to name a few. I haven’t even brought up the impending return of Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez, who are back in form and on the verge playing 90 minutes.
There is one certainty, I will continue with the 5-2-3 formation, as I keep a close eye on Spurs. After their two away fixtures (whu/hud), they return to Wembley for three of the next four fixtures (BOU/LIV/mnu/CRY). This run of fixtures could set the stage for what’s next come when playing a 5-man defense.
The team for this week
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