The International break if finally over, and we can happily kiss goodbye to similar interruptions until March next year. This break couldn’t have come at a worse time for me after a pretty disastrous gameweek, where my indecision over a certain diminutive Brazillian cost me dearly.

Saturday 3pm KOs were something of a non-event with the much-captained Sergio Aguero returning a disappointing 1 point. Elsewhere clean sheets were nowhere to be seen and even Tom Heaton returned a big fat zero pointer. The 5.30pm game proved to be more fruitful though, and an incredible display by Chelsea brought a boatload of points for many. Eden Hazard again delivering, with 2 goals, an assist and another MoM most welcome. Well done to anybody who dared to captain him over Aguero!

Spirits were high heading into Sunday and I was faced with a dilemma before the Arsenal v Spurs match. Having seen the lineups I decided to stick with Theo Walcott rather than bring in Phillip Coutinho, and thus captained Alexis Sanchez (would have been Coutinho otherwise!). It was probably about 30 minutes into the early game that I realised I’d probably made a terrible mistake. Both Arsenal and Spurs were concentrating on spoiling each others games and neither were prepared to attack their opponents – not a good time to have 2 Arsenal forwards inc captain! To be fair to Sanchez he had a couple of good chances himself and laid on at least 3 great chances but still failed to bring in any attacking points.

Having decided against bringing in Coutinho I decided to watch the Liverpool v Watford match from behind the sofa, with an eye mask on. In a performance to rival Chelsea’s from Saturday, Liverpool absolutely ripped through Watford. Coutinho got his goal in early and then added an assist – not the end of the world, especially as I had Firmino chip in with a goal and 2 x assists. Though he was brought off early Coutinho was a little fortunate to bag the MoM in my opinion, Firmino & Mane could’ve easily been awarded it but it’s hard to argue against Coutinho winning it every week at the moment. So 16 points for Coutinho, 32 as captain……woops! My indecision cost me a net of 28 points and a 100+ place drop in rank.

I think it’s fairly obvious now that 2 x Liverpool mids are the way to go, which 2 to have will vary by week but at the moment it looks like Coutinho + Mane or Firmino, with Henderson & Lallana (though now an injury doubt), both delivering consistently too.


Season Points: 833
Position: 393 (down)
Transfers Remaining: 26

My Team

Where to start!? Every time I think I’m settled on my midfield something or somebody throws a gigantic spanner into the works. As discussed above, my decision to trust Theo Walcott in lieu of getting Coutinho in proved disastrous. I’ve now got the same dilemma again this week. At present there is a doubt over Coutinho’s fitness, with widespread reports that he has had to have a scan on his hamstring. He’s rated as a ‘doubt’ – the worst possible situation for a fantasy manager! Those who have him will keep him, but I’m now in a position where I have to consider selling Theo Walcott, who will almost certainly start on Saturday for Coutinho who may well be given more time to recover. At least I will get to see the Arsenal team news..if Walcott doesn’t start I’ll make the move, if/when he does who knows! I know I want Coutinho going forward, he’s the in-form player in the league and is hoovering up Man of the Match awards but it’s whether I wait a week or not.

Jose Holebas is definitely out but I have no plans to shift him, I’m hoping my ultra-cheap backline will stay as is right through to the new year. After another blank I’ve certainly got designs on getting rid of Tadic, he’s simply not delivering on his promise, add a broken nose into the equation and his days are numbered.  One of the options I’m considering is:

Tadic —> Coutinho
Gueye —-> Romeu or Arter

This would allow me to squeeze in Hazard, Walcott, Coutinho, Firmino, Aguero & Sanchez, certainly enticing.

For those of you who haven’t seen it already, Disable posted an excellent article (http://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/2016/11/14/sky-sports-stock-check/) which suggests that anyone with 20+ transfers and a half decent rank should be sitting comfortably, with the average number of transfers remaining in the top 1k at just 13.7. Plenty of room for improvement for those of us who’ve been a bit more conservative. I’m still looking at having 20 left on January 1st.

Captain Plan

Sergio Aguero’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday makes him a prime choice for captaincy, he had a nice rest over the international period, only featuring for 45 of a possible 180 minutes. He should be fit & raring to go then and looks the standout option to me.
Sunday is a no-brainer for me, Eden Hazard gets the captaincy given he’s my only player in the 1 fixture on Sunday. At this stage we’re awaiting confirmation of his fitness but the general consensus seems to be that he will be fine to play at 4pm on Sunday.
Monday night football brings us the exhilarating fixture of WBA v Burnley. I can’t imagine many people will have an attacking asset from either side, so we’ll be looking for a drab 0-0 to deliver some captain returns. I have Craig Dawson & Tom Heaton and will captain Dawson hoping he can pick up a clean sheet against a Burnley side who struggle to create anything away from home.  It looks like a fixture to duck a captaincy if you haven’t got a player in already – not worth spending a precious transfer.

How’s your team looking this week? Are you looking at spending transfers after a tough international break?


8 thoughts on “Hamstrings

  1. hutman November 18, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    thanks, great piece

    im thinking of getting kun.

    antonio & alexis > chadli (inj) & kun??

    I also have KDB, and no Hazard – the latter i have doubts about. Sure his bandwagon is getting bigger but Boro have stifled a few big hitters this season. If you add the international lag into the equation I wouldn’t be surprised if hazard returns nothing. Added to that, his fixtures get harder.


    • Lewis Nicklen November 18, 2016 / 1:18 pm

      Hmm, yes Hazard has a couple of tough fixtures but he will be essential over Xmas period with Chelsea’s fixtures. He’s also proven in past few weeks he can score against anyone.

      I’d rather lose KDB than Sanchez, especially if you’re getting Aguero in


  2. Paul J November 18, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    Good article again Lewis.

    Could use your advice.

    Holebas (suspended), Smith (Suspended), Friend (Doubt)
    Walcott, Mane, KdB, Gueye
    Aguero, Lukaku, Sanchez

    28 transfers remaining

    Had initially earmarked Hazard in for Lukaku on Sunday but the defence has complicated things with the possibility of none playing.

    Like you, I was hoping to keep my uber cheap setup for another few weeks yet but can I really go without any for the gameweek?!

    Any suggestions?



    • Lewis Nicklen November 18, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      Lukaku to Hazard move is solid, Eve fixtures take a definite turn for the worse after this week.
      Tricky one on the defence, unsure on bringing in a cheapie for a cheapie for the sake of one week. And you don’t want to be increasing your def £ value either. If it was me, as disgusting as it is I may just leave it & hope Friend plays. Although if he doesn’t maybe look at Dawson on Monday


  3. footynutty November 19, 2016 / 10:40 am

    My team will look better once I’ve brought in Coutinho, Romeu and Alonso today I believe. Have to do these transfers, from what I’ve found over the international break they are by far worth it!


  4. ianp1970 November 19, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Cook S
    de Bruyne

    Points: 821
    Position: 572
    ITB: 1.0M
    Transfers: 28

    Aguero captain Saturday

    Thinking of Sterling/Gueye to Hazard(c)/Forshaw tomorrow. This leave me enough cash to upgrade Mane to Coutinho next week, plus some left over for Sanchez to Kane when required.


    • ianp1970 November 20, 2016 / 10:56 am

      Sanchez to Kane on December 11th?


      • Lewis Nicklen November 20, 2016 / 11:05 am

        Yep. Like the Hazard combo move & Kane is looking back in business. Looks a great option in Dec


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