Raw eggs stream down my face. Following my GW 16 and 17 bonanza, I abandoned my more conservative nature in favor of a far riskier GW 18 strategy that was about as successful as the charge of the Light Brigade (although my suggestion to Get Siggy Wit It wasn’t a bad one at all!). Needing a quick substitute to cover for an unexpectedly benched defender, I reached for Watford’s Dutch Troll King (Daryl Janmaat), who did what Dutch troll kings do (get me -8.25 following the consecutive games of 13 and 16.75 when I didn’t pick him). Thanks Dutch Troll King!
Once more we go into a very busy portion of the season, with GW 19 on Friday and Saturday (the halfway mark!), followed by GW 20, which will run from Tuesday through Thursday.
In pure Bill Belichick curt fashion, we’re onto the GW 19 and 20 Togga PXI picks.
GW 19: David de Gea (@Leicester)
GW 20: David de Gea (Burnley)
Easy! There aren’t many keepers I trust, and the Red Devils’ stopper has favorable matchups against teams that will shoot on target. There is also decent chances for clean sheets. The Leicester matchup scares me a little, so I may opt for a last-minute switch to West Bromwich Albion’s Ben Foster away at Stoke (or Stoke’s Jack Butland home to the Baggies). Butland could also come into consideration for GW 20 as he travels to a Huddersfield squad that will attack but lack a fearsome striker.
GW 19 is one of those frustrating ones when the scheduled matches betray no standout picks. When in doubt, I tend to go for 2-3 of the big names (Alonso and Otamendi), go with one that I think is due for some positive regression (Vertonghen), and pick a total wildcard (Shawcross). There is something that interests me about Shawcross (famous last words): Even though Stoke have been, um, horrific at defending, the Stoke captain has not had a negative score on Togga yet! True, much of this owes to luck (he missed the Manchester City 7-goal capitulation, and he scored a goal in the Tottenham 5-goal capitulation), but still!
I’m playing it very similar for GW 20, with Kyle Walker picking up for Shawcross. Others who could come into consideration during these slates include West Ham’s Angelo Ogbonna and Jonjoe Kenny (if he starts at West Brom on Tuesday).
GW 19: Kevin De Bruyne (Bournemouth); Leroy Sane (Bournemouth); Paul Pogba (@ Leicester); Philippe Coutinho (@Arsenal)
GW 20: Kevin De Bruyne (@Newcastle); Eden Hazard (Brighton); Paul Pogba (Burnley); Philippe Coutinho (Swansea)
When in doubt, vote KDB. Sane (or David Silva) is also a good selection for the game against the injury-ravaged Cherries. Pogba is finally back from suspension and will resume his normal role as one of my four PXI midfielders. Coutinho could do some damage against an Arsenal defensive corps that always feels just this side of untrustworthy.
I’ll be relying a bit less on City’s murderers row for GW 20, opting to bring in The Duke of Hazard for his match hosting the Seagulls. Other considerations include Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha at the Swans on GW 19, and Manuel Lanzini, fresh off a likely suspension at The Cherries on Tuesday (“Cherries on Tuesday” sounds kind of cool, what can we do with this moniker?)
GW 19: Raheem Sterling (Bournemouth); Romelu Lukaku (@ Leicester City)
GW 20: Mohamed Salah (Swansea); Jamie Vardy (@Watford)
I can’t say I love any of my picks, other than Salah. But I can say that I can at least live with these, and that’s good enough. For as much hype as there was in the preseason about absolutely needing to stockpile on the premium forwards because of positional scarcity and blah, blah, blah they’ve been at least a little disappointing, no? Thank goodness Togga classifies Mo Salah as a forward!
Others who will come into consideration include Gabriel Jesus/Sergio Aguero and Dominic Calvert-Lewin/Wayne Rooney. If Captain Failure (David Moyes) restores the splendid horridness that is Arrgh, Joe Hart, Arrgh in goal, then I’m 100% starting the opposing striker. Captain Failure wouldn’t bench Adrian, would he?
Did I miss an obvious candidate or nominate an obvious dud? Are you playing it conservative or risky during the festive period? Do you think Arrgh, Joe Hart, Arrgh ever plays another minute in the EPL? Will you join me in praying for that to never happen ever again? Tell us in the comments below!