Miles Reucroft is undertaking a different way of playing the ever popular Fantasy Football this season. To understand his methodology, read part one here. The Week 1 review is here, Week 2 transfers & preview here, Week 3 preview here, Week 4 preview here, Week 5 preview here, Week 6 preview here, Week 7 preview here, Week 8 preview here, Week 9 preview here, Week 10 preview here, Week 11 preview here. Week 12 preview here.
Things went south last week. Glittering performances from Oumar Niasse, KdB and Dave Silva were offset by a load of rubbish from everyone else. It meant a 35 point game week, 21 points below average, and a slide down the league table to 2,028,767th the lowest we’ve been this season. To think we were in the top one million two weeks ago!
To compound my misery, we’ve had a spate of injuries and suspensions. John Stones was crocked along with Phil Jones. Then the FA have gone and charged Niasse over simulation. Now, I didn’t see the incident, but for me, he’s been hard done by. Hard done by because I only have one transfer this week and he’s unavailable for FC Fakin’ Run Aboutabit now.
It was a tough transfer decision to make, but all factors had to be considered. Jones is likely to be back in action next week, as is Niasse. I’ll have to stand by them for now.
Stones, however, is set for a lengthier absence, so he had to be replaced.
But with whom? He’s been a rock at the back for us, keeping things tight and providing excellent distribution into the midfield. I needed something similar; someone cut from the same cloth.
In order to achieve that, it was back to the Pep Guardiola finishing school. Gary managed to get me £5.6m for Stones on a no questions asked basis. Who am I to ask questions of a fantastic deal for myself?
In return, I handed him £5.8m for Nicolas Otamendi. His passing stats have been exceptional this season and he’s flourishing into the centre back he threatened to become during his time at Valencia. I was impressed by his work on a visit to the Mestalla a few years ago, so it’s great to be finally be working with him.
I did consider jazzing the entire budget on Cesar Azpilicueta. He’s a solid defender and more of an attacking threat, but with a busy Christmas schedule fast approaching, I considered it prudent to keep my powder dry for now and see what happens. A couple of injuries this week and we’re right up against it.
Given the injuries, team selection was easy, if not comfortable, this week. A couple of the lads are being pulled out of position, but they all understand that they need to muck in and knuckle down now. We can’t afford to carry any passengers.
Kasper Schmeichel comes in for his debut and will be protected by a back three of Harry Maguire, Nicolas Otamendi and Ryan Bertrand. In a four man midfield ahead of them, Manolo Gabbiadini will have to play at right midfield (I know), with Dave Silva on the left, protected in the middle by Tiemoue Bakayoko and Granit Xhaka.
In the attacking trident, KdB and Delle Alli will play in behind Harry Kane.
I’m expecting Gabbiadini’s attacking instinct to get the better of him at times, so KdB will operate in right centre attacking midfield role with a view to dropping in as and when required. I have no such qualms over Silva’s tactical discipline.
We’ll need a bit of luck this week, but I think it’s due to us.
Schmeichel – Maguire, Otamendi, Bertrand – Gabbiadini, Bakayoko, Xhaka, Silva – KdB, Alli – Kane
Grant, Gomez (Jones is injured and Niasse suspended, so we have a bench of one. Great.)