For the first time this season, I achieved an above average points total. Finally, I am able to boast that I did not have a fantasy football disaster. And just as well, as I had to use my wildcard in order to facilitate eleven transfers. Although my tally of 53 points was only eleven points above the average, I am taking it for a sign that my season is back on track. I now sit inside the top 1.5 million players and, while I still want to improve on that, this week has put me back in the top half of the overall table.
My main problem in the first two gameweeks was that I didn’t have Zlatan Ibrahimović, something that put me at a huge disadvantage when he was scoring points for almost everybody else. This is something I corrected with my wildcard, and now boast the front three of Ibrahimović, Agüero, and Diego Costa; arguably the three best strikers in the league.
It is somewhat typical, then, that none of the three strikers scored a goal this week, meaning my points came from my midfield in the most part. One of the biggest weaknesses of my team is that, in order to free up funds for my strikers, I now have budget defenders and goalkeepers. My only expensive defender is Antonio Valencia, one of the few players I have kept faith with since the beginning of the season, and he justified my selection by bringing home a haul of nine points.
Here is my team in full from this week:
Jordan Pickford – The injury to Vito Mannone has paved the way for £4 million Pickford to get some games under his belt and, due to my lack of funds for the defence as a whole, I jumped at the chance to get the two cheapest playing goalkeepers in my team. Pickford came very close to keeping a clean sheet, but a late blunder brought his points haul down from eight to four.
Pape Souaré – Souaré is another budget option, and I was hoping that Palace would be able to achieve a shut-out against Bournemouth, but a Josh King goal robbed me of the opportunity. This was made even more frustrating seeing as Mason Holgate was sat on my bench with seven points!
Antonio Valencia – Manchester United will always be relatively tight at the back under José Mourinho, which is why I thought it was worth breaking my £4.5 million limit on defenders in order to bring in Valencia. His attacking prowess will get him a few assists, while United will pick up clean sheets. He took all three bonus points against Hull, making him one of my highest scoring players.
Matt Targett – Sunderland managed to find a way past the Southampton defence, robbing me of the clean sheet points. However, I am hopeful that Targett will be a valuable asset until Ryan Bertrand returns from injury.
Erik Lamela – Lamela was one of my luckier selections, as he was meant to be on my bench but was brought on when Jonas Olsson was dropped my West Brom. An assist against Liverpool saw him pick up two bonus points, so I was very glad he came in. I will have to address the Olsson problem at some point, as it seems he has been replaced in the lineup by Brendan Galloway.
Ross Barkley – Barkley is a player who has been a regular in my fantasy teams over the last couple of seasons, and after his good start to the season I did not hesitate to transfer him in. His points return was slightly disappointing this week against Stoke, but I’m sure he will justify his price in the coming weeks.
Raheem Sterling – Having been given a very advanced role under Pep Guardiola, Sterling has seemed a player reborn so far this season. He seems to have put his abysmal Euros behind him and had moved on from a disappointing debut season at the Etihad. He scored a brace this week against West Ham, making him my highest points scorer and moving me right up the league tables.
Nathan Redmond – Redmond is still being played as a striker under Claude Puel, but he has failed to register since his goal on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. On Saturday he picked up a yellow card, earning me a one point deduction. For his price, I am hoping that he can still be an important member of my team.
Zlatan Ibrahimović – I captained the Swedish striker this week, hoping that he would continue his scoring form for Manchester United and rack up some points. However, he drew a blank against newly-promoted Hull City. A shame, as my other option for captain was Raheem Sterling…honest!
Diego Costa – Although Costa didn’t score this week, he chipped in with a valuable three points for assisting Willian’s goal. He even went as far as not to get booked this week – for dissent or otherwise! I was hoping that he might earn a lot of points against Burnley, but five points is still a commendable effort.
Sergio Agüero – The Argentine was another slightly disappointing member of my squad, but it doesn’t really matter as so many people have him. In fact, I was actually pleased that he only got two points as I thought he was going to make me rue my decision to captain Ibrahimović over him. A more pressing matter is his elbow on Winston Reid, which is likely to earn him a ban. If that is the case, I will have to transfer him out and invest my £13 million elsewhere.
We now head into an international break, so next week there will be no Premier League football so no fantasy football. This will give me plenty of time to mull over what to do about Jonas Olsson who has fallen out of favour, Eldin Jakupović who looks set to lose his place after Hull have had a bid accepted for Cardiff’s David Marshall, and Sergio Agüero whose 53.1% ownership will be praying that he doesn’t get suspended.
That means there will be no Final Fantasy next week, but here is my team for gameweek four as it stands: