GW08 – Sports View

Hurri-Kane Turns Out To Be Hot Air

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I thought I’d cracked the code a couple of gameweeks ago with my decision to bring in Harry Kane for a hit. Anybody who has read my previous articles will know how little I think of Huddersfield and Cardiff. So my plan was I’d have him for the Huddersfield game to see how it went, then I’d captain him for the plum home match against Cardiff- before shipping him out on a wildcard to accommodate Liverpool assets. After his 13 point haul against the Terriers, followed by a midweek goal against Barcelona, it seemed like Kane was back to his best. Widely tipped by many respected FPL players and pundits alike, thousands flocked to bring him in for the Cardiff game, many of whom stuck their captaincy on him.

But of course, football is sometimes unpredictable. Without Alli or Eriksen, Kane seemed starved of the supply he thrived upon, dropping far too deep throughout the match and was booked in frustration, delivering a measly one point. To make matters worse, the vast majority of those who didn’t select Kane decided to captain Eden Hazard, gifting them a healthy 13 point advantage. I think back to my original decision and wonder if I missed a trick. In retrospect, perhaps more consideration should have been given to the fact Kane’s shot frequency had decreased. But at the same time, Kane had played well against Brighton, Huddersfield and Barcelona, scoring in all 3 matches. There is enough evidence to suggest that, while the 1 point return could have been foreseen, on another day he could have delivered massive returns. In isolation, and at such an early stage of the season, decisions like this don’t harm players too much- there is plenty of time to recover.

The lesson to be learned here is that no matter how much football you watch or statistical data you consume, there are no guarantees.

Too Mane Fixtures Tire Mo & Co

FPL Claret said it most succinctly over the weekend on Twitter:

‘Salah is making it really hard to justify his price tag when Mane is £3m less & just as useless.’

In the last 5 gameweeks, Salah and Mane have only delivered one return each. Even Roberto Firmino, a player that should be a useful asset with a reduced price, is only the 12th highest scoring forward in FPL. So what’s happened to Liverpool’s power front 3 to make them go off the boil?

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Perhaps the answer lies in Liverpool’s increased fixture difficulty since the international break, which (as well as a game with Southampton) saw them play Tottenham, PSG, Napoli, Man City and two games with Chelsea over a 23 day period. Klopp’s famed ‘Gegenpress’ tactic requires an intense level of stamina. To maintain this against successive difficult opponents is physically difficult- and it appears to have taken its toll. A lacklustre loss against Napoli that saw the Reds fail to record a shot on target preceeded a cagey game with Man City where they were fortunate to get away with a draw.

However, an international break will mean that Liverpool’s star assets will have a chance to remove themselves from the monotony of club football and perhaps recover somewhat from a tough month. While most of the squad will probably feature in international matches, my feeling is that when gameweek 9 comes around, most of Liverpool’s squad will be refreshed from a lighter 2-week schedule. Within the next 4 gameweeks the Reds have fixtures against Huddersfield, Cardiff and Fulham- the three teams who have conceded more goals than any other team. We know that Liverpool’s attacking assets can explode with points at any moment. To go without them over these fixtures is either brave, or foolish. Potentially both.

And finally…

I alluded to it earlier in the article, but I’ve finally deployed my wildcard this week! Some people feel relief once it’s been used- but I always regarded my chip as being a willing safety net to pick me up if my side needed it. Looking at my previous squad, I possibly could have persevered with the players I had. But for the past few weeks my rank has slowly been ebbing away by players who have been savvy and used their own wildcard to bring in the likes of Hazard, Trippier, Maddison and Doherty.

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But Gameweek 9 is a pivotal point for many in the game. Aside from the international break gap, it offers a significant fixture shift for many teams. The likes of Liverpool, Brighton, Newcastle and Fulham suddenly find themselves with a fantastic run of fixtures, with Leicester’s improving in the near future too. With this comes the chance to pick up some great players that aren’t on the immediate radar of those who have already used their wildcard- whilst offloading some that are generally out of favour.

There are no guarantees in FPL, and your wildcard might fall flat on its face. But if you’re playing catch-up in your mini-leagues, this gameweek is the perfect opportunity to claw back the defecit. Likewise, if you’re higher up the ranks a wildcard combined with this fixture shift may set you apart from those who used theirs too soon. Even if it’s just for my own sake, I’ll convince myself all the above is the case!

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