“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” (George Bernard Shaw)
Preseason brings us bundles of information, some of which can change our thinking. This has been the case with my FPL team, and undoubtedly for most of you reading this. The majority of my squad has changed since I did a first draft, so today let’s have a look at my second (hopefully my final) draft squad.
The plan to set and forget has been abandoned. I wanted to have the most selected goalkeeper (Alisson at 33%) plus £4.0 bench fodder. That plan has gone out the window for now. In its place I’ve chosen my usual strategy of rotating two £4.5 shot-stoppers. Former teammates Nick Pope and Tom Heaton now occupy the gloves. Burnley and Aston Villa have a decent rotation of games between them, and while they may combine for fewer clean sheets than Liverpool, points will accrue from saves.
One defender survives from the initial draft: Lewis Dunk, the Brighton man I spoke highly of in the Defenders article. Gone are Virgil van Dijk, Ben Davies, Seamus Coleman, and Matt Targett.
Incoming to the team are two players mentioned in my Top Defenders article, Craig Cathcart and Andrew Robertson. Joining them are Nathan Ake and John Lundstram. You can see I’ve gone for more budget type defenders, to fund a big upgrade in midfield. It is still my plan to go with more premium defenders this season based on how well such performed last year, but I felt these budget players had good enough fixtures to get me to a wildcard. Cathcart has Brighton, West Ham and Newcastle in his first four fixtures. Ake has only two difficult fixtures in the first ten game-weeks. Lundstram is not expected to be a starter, but he has gotten minutes in the Sheffield United midfield during preseason and enables me to afford some great assets further up the field. Robertson is pretty much the safest defensive player to own.
Two midfielders remain from the original draft, Mo Salah and Ryan Fraser. There is a strong possibility these players stay in my team for the entire season. Out of the team went Roberto Pereyra, Richarlison, and Anwar El Ghazi. Preseason minutes was my concern with these players; I decided to go for those guaranteed early season minutes along with two budget starters for me to rotate.
Raheem Sterling was the main signing I made. With Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero just back from Copa America duty, he might even start the season at striker. Sterling is expensive but worth it for me due to the previously mentioned uncertainty surrounding Richarlison and others. Joining him is Callum Robinson of Sheffield priced at a friendly £5.5. Robinson had an injury hit season in the Championship but still managed twelve goals and three assists. He will operate in midfield or as a second striker. My plan is to start him regularly but he can also be rotated with my fifth midfielder or fourth defender. Speaking of a fifth midfielder, Leander Dedoncker is the man I’ve selected. The Wolves midfielder is priced cheaply yet he is the likely member of the midfield three along with Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho to get forward and support the attack.
Nothing has changed up front surprisingly. Harry Kane, Joshua King, and Billy Sharp still occupy the attack.
I don’t imagine Kane or King will leave my team before the deadline on Friday. Sharp is the player amongst my squad least likely to remain, with the £0.5 I have in the bank allowing for a possible switch to Gerard Deulofeu / Troy Deeney or Chris Wood who has been prolific in preseason.
There you have it, six players made it from the first to the second draft. At present I’m unlikely to make further changes before the deadline other than the previously mentioned Sharp or some reaction to big news. How are you feeling about your team ahead of the season? Do you still have tinkering to do?