First things first, I’d like to encourage everyone to join our very own Togga Perfect XI (PXI) Never Manage Alone league!
For those who may not be familiar with the Togga PXI game, managers are simply asked to choose 11 players to fill a 4-4-2 formation without having to worry about budget, team or transfer limits.
To play, follow this link on your mobile device (sorry, PXI is not playable on desktop) to download the free Togga app. Once downloaded, you’ll be automatically entered into the NMA PXI private league!
Now, let’s see how I did in week 4 and what I’m thinking ahead of week 5.
Recapping my GW4 PXI
G: Tom Heaton (0 points)
Not a bad pick as Burnley shut out Crystal Palace. Unfortunately Heaton collected no points because he exited the game before halftime with a nasty-looking shoulder injury. Heaton, by the way, could be out months with what looked like a dislocated shoulder. Nick Pope looked a solid replacement in net, with a composed showing against Christian Benteke and a desperate Eagles squad.
D: Craig Dawson (11), Sead Kolasinac (25), Marcos Alonso (9.25), Daley Blind (0)
Kolasinac was clearly the best pick, but Dawson and Alonso were both solid choices. The big mistake was Blind. I failed to see that he was benched in favor of Matteo Darmian and failed to act ahead of lineup locks (5 minutes before a player’s game starts).
M: Robbie Brady (-1), Paul Pogba (21), Christian Eriksen (17.5), Aaron Mooy (8)
Pogba and Eriksen will always be good choices in the Togga PXI format, and they did not disappoint in GW4. Mooy was a solid if ultimately uninspired choice (I am being diplomatic here, Mooy’s 8-point showing is best referred to as “meh.”) Robbie Brady was a disaster, however, doing nothing of note save for “earning” a yellow card (-3) and “earning” a clean sheet bonus point (1).
F: Alexandre Lacazette (18), Harry Kane (30.5)
Both players were among the goals in GW4, so both proved to be good choices. No way of knowing that Lacazette would be the junior partner to Danny Welbeck, who collected an astounding 36!
Game Week 5 Fixtures
Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove Albion (Friday)
Crystal Palace v Southampton (Saturday)
Watford v Manchester City (Saturday)
Liverpool v Burnley (Saturday)
Huddersfield Town v Leicester City (Saturday)
Game Week 5 PXI Picks
G: Asmir Begovic, Bournemouth (6 points GW4; 30.25 season)
The Bosnia & Herzegovina international has been rocked so far this season, through no fault of his own. He’s been a saves machine, and against a Brighton team that features weak strikers such as Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray, I don’t expect his net to be breached more than once. Meanwhile, Brighton’s lively trio of Solly March, Pascal Gross and Anthony Knockaert will create and fire enough shots on target to help Begovic collect those saves points the way Mario collects those magic gold coins.
If you don’t fancy a Bournemouth keeper and you prefer a safer bet, Saints keeper Fraser Forster going up against toothless Crystal Palace is a good decision.
D: Benjamin Mendy, Manchester City (22.5; 30.75)
Mendy is an offensive machine and one of the finest crossers of the ball in the world from the left side of the pitch. Going up against Watford right-back Daryl Janmaat — about as defensively clueless a customer as you will ever find -- would be a dream matchup for Mendy, should Marco Silva opt to start the Dutch author of a stunning GW4 strike in place of injured starter Kiko Femenia. I’m expecting Mendy to manhandle Janmaat (or whatever poor soul patrols the defensive right lane for Watford) the way Chuck Norris manhandles hapless ninja sentries.
D: Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur (37.5, 80)
With a goal and two assists through four games, it is safe to say that Davies has been the most valuable Togga player so far this season. His 80 season points rank second only to Paul Pogba’s 84, a full 18.75 more than second-place defender Marcos Alonso. Going up against Swansea, expect clean sheet bonus points and a host of offensive points even without goals or assists. Keep Davies in your PXI until further notice!
D: Kieran Trippier, Tottenham Hotspur (22.5; 24.75)
After two horrific and demoralizing performances in weeks 2 and 3 (1 and 1.25 points respectively), GW4 showcased the kind of Trippier performance we all expected! Doubling up on defenders from one team can be a risky proposition, but given that Spurs play Swans, methinks you’re allowed the indulgence!
D: Marcos Alonso, Chelsea (9.25; 61.25)
While I don’t necessarily expect a clean sheet for Chelsea versus Arsenal, I do expect Alonso to have a field day against the Gunners’ lax defensive scheme. Arsenal can also foul with the best of them (ahem, Granit Xhaka), so there may well be a tasty free kick or two for Alonso to take. Quick, let’s come up with funny ways to describe Marcos Alonso’s physical appearance! I heard a great one the other day: Marcos Alonso looks like a Cro-magnon Orlando Bloom. Funny!
Other good options for your PXI defense include Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia; Stoke City’s Kurt Zouma; and Leicester City’s “Show me the money!” Harry Maguire.
M: Christian Eriksen, Tottenham Hotspur (17.5; 68)
As the founding member of the “Christian Eriksen is a Fantasy God Forever and Ever and Ever” fan club, I’m 100% sticking with Eriksen against the Swans.
M: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (25.5; 56)
KDB looked wonderful against Liverpool with two wonderful assists, and I expect KDB to look wonderful against Watford in GW5. Wonderful hair, wonderful defense-splitting passing, simply wonderful!
M: Paul Pogba, Manchester United (21; 84) - yes, I know he’s injured but hear me out!
With two goals and three assists through four games, Pogba is officially an offensive force. There is some risk with Pogba this year, however, as he’s become a bit too goal-and-assist dependent. Last year he accumulated a ton of phantom points given his more defensive role. This year, those phantoms have mostly disappeared (as things that are categorized as “phantoms” tend to do). Following an apparent hamstring injury during the Champions League game versus Basel, it appears that Pogba himself will pull a phantom and disappear from our fantasy lineups for at least a few weeks. So, who replaces my original pick Pogba you ask?
M: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (4.5; 4.5) - replaces my original pick Pogba!
The Duke of Hazard is coming back from a severe injury himself. He did manage to play 12 GW4 minutes versus Leicester and looked lively, creating two chances. He again came off the bench in the 58th minute of Champions League duty versus Qarabag, and played a nice pass to Willian who proceeded to hit the post. If he starts versus Arsenal on Sunday, play him! If he doesn’t start, I plan to spot start a Togga midfield-eligible Chelsea player such as Willian, Cesc Fabregas or, if neither gets the nod, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil.
M: Anthony Knockaert, Brighton and Hove Albion (11.5; 31)
I always like a bit of a differential pick/gamble with my MID-4 slot; last week I picked Brady and it was a very bad decision. I’m hoping for far better this week from Knockaert against Bournemouth’s suspect midfield and fullbacks. While I don’t necessarily expect 30 points, I do expect Knockaert to produce in the 15-20 point range. If he doesn’t produce the goods and I get a second week of crappy MID-4 production, I’m calling Ivan Drago to knock-out Knockaert.
If any of the midfielders I’ve nominated have offended you in some way, may I suggest Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri against Newcastle, or (cheeky, cheeky!) Philippe Coutinho if he gets the call against Burnley?
F: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool (2; 59)
Firmino, like all of his teammates, was horrendous against City. But the good thing about eggs-in-the-face is that they wash off easy. And there is no better cleansing soap than “At home, against Burnley, without Tom Heaton”.
F: Harry Kane, Tottenham (30.5; 53.5)
Gooooooooooool! Golazo-azo-azoooo! Harry Kane! Goooooool!!!!
Romelu Lukaku, in a revenge game against Everton, about as slow and uninspired a “good” team as I’ve seen in a long time is a really tempting matchup. I’ll have to make the final call on which of these three players will earn the two F slots in my PXI closer to the weekend... but in the meantime, did I just hear you say “what a wonderful poll question this conundrum has presented us with”? I did hear you say that, I did!
Who is the best bet to have a monster game in GW5?
This poll is closed
Good luck out there! Do you have better GW5 suggestions? Can you think of a ‘sure bet’ that I overlooked? Crying about the loss of Pogba? Tell us with a comment below!