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The wildcard grenade has finally been tossed. Will it hit or miss?

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Finally, he has returned!
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The fixtures have been coming at us rapidly of late. No matter how gargantuan our recent fortunes, the time for celebration is limited as we brace for the coming avalanche of festive fixtures. I've decided to shake things up during this period by activating my wildcard with the main intent to improve my current ranking of 248 in the "Beat The Bloggers" league.

For those wondering why it's taken me until now to use this chip, it has to do with my governing transfer strategy thus far. For better or worse I've taken a four point hit every game-week of the 2017-2018 season save for one. By making two transfers each week I am usually able to make the changes I want without dipping for the chip.

Let's take a look at my team for game week 17 and the thought process involved in selecting a team for gameweek 18 onwards. This was my GW17 squad:

  • GK: L. Fabianski
  • DEF: J. Vertonghen / N. Otamendi / A. Christensen
  • MID: H-M. Son /M. Salah / S. Davis / W. Zaha
  • FWD: H. Kane / R. Firmino / A. Morata
  • Bench: B. Foster / R. Loftus-Cheek / D. Yedlin / S. Duffy

This team featured eight of my eleven starters from the "big 6", these are the teams we expect to win the most games and get the best results over time, so I had the majority of my roster built with that in mind. Morata was in my lineup although we knew ahead time he would be out, I had already made two transfers before that news.

Now let's have a look at what I have for the upcoming week, with the caveat that I'm waiting for updates on a couple players. The GW18 squad:

  • GK: M. Ryan (BHA)
  • DEF: C. Kabasele (WAT) / A. Christensen (CHE) / N. Otamendi (MCI)
  • MID: Richarlison (WAT) / M. Salah (LIV) /K. De Bruyne (MCI) / D. Silva (MCI)
  • FWD: W. Rooney (EVE) / A. Morata (CHE) / J. Vardy (LEI)
  • Bench: J. Lossl (HUD) / C. Smalling (MUN) / R. Loftus-Cheek (CRY) / A. Masuaku (WHU)

You can see that five players have survived the changes. Let's take a quick look at the current team.

I did not want to spend more than £9.0 on goalkeepers, therefore Mathew Ryan gets the nod due to home fixtures against Burnley and Watford in the next two game weeks. Jonas Lossl will relieve Ryan for gameweeks 20 and 21 with home fixtures against Stoke and Burnley. Budget-friendly and great fixtures makes for good fantasy football business.

I have removed players such as Vertonghen because he travels to the face Manchester City, and Duffy because he has four yellow cards, one away from falling off the suspension tightrope. Two in-form defenders in Nicolas Otamendi and Andreas Christensen keep their places in my team. They are joined this week by Kabasele who has three of his next four at home. The next member of the defensive unit is Smalling- it's never a bad idea to have a Manchester United defender because Jose Mourinho loves clean sheets. Completing the backline is Arthur Masuaku. The West Ham man has been included in the starting lineup the last 5 games and is doing well under Moyes. The Hammers have good fixtures and a double week in gameweek 22.

Mohamed Salah and Loftus-Cheek keep their places in my midfield, while I waved goodbye to Son and Zaha. In come the City duo of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. They are the second and third highest point scorers in FPL after the Egyptian. City are on an incredible and historic win streak, and I trust that these players great level of consistency will continue. The final new member of my midfield is Richarlison. He is a slight doubt for the weekend which means this is a pick that may change.

Up front it's the man who missed out this past gameweek: Alvaro Morata, who is the only striker to keep his place. Harry Kane is brilliant, but I took him out away to City despite the fact that City tends to concede at home. He will return very soon, especially with a double week on the horizon. The new strikers in the team are Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy. I'll admit I've not been impressed by Rooney in any Everton game that I've watched, but he has been scoring through it all, and I back him against Swansea.

That's my team friends, I've left out popular players like Eden Hazard because it would mean having to flip a coin for Jesus or Aguero. So I've stuck with Morata, who is more assured of his starts. Romelu Lukaku has also not made it into my current side. I'll monitor him for a little longer before bringing him back.

Do you think I've used my wildcard wisely, or would you have gone in a different direction? Let me know and tell me how your team is shaping up for the busy festive period.