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. Week 13 preview here. Week 14 preview here. Week 15 here. Week 16 here.
I was tempted to cancel Christmas this week. A couple of good game weeks had seen us shoot up the table, only to throw away our advances with a limp week. 38 points came against a weekly average of 52 and we slipped to 1,152,320th. I was seething.
No one stepped up to support Bobby Firmino and KdB. They were out there alone, carrying their teammates as far as they could. Captain Kane was lucky to finish with two points. Tackling isn’t his strong point but he isn’t that sort of player, there was no malice in it. A yellow card was punishment enough…
I’ve had a word, though. He needs to start delivering on a more consistent basis. He’s been a bit boom or bust so far this season, but there’s no danger of getting shot of him. Yet. We’ve had a fair bit of chopping and changing this season, but Kane has been one of four ever presents up to Christmas.
There has been some transfer activity, though. Gary, our player agent, has been at the darts all week so he wasn’t overly happy when I disturbed him to discuss some business.
“How urgent is this?” he barked down the phone. I could tell he was well oiled having taken in the glory of Paul Lim rolling back the years at the Alexandra Palace.
“It’s urgent,” I reply. “Call me tomorrow, but I need a buyer for Oumar Niasse. He’s done nothing for me and I need some fresh impetus up top.”
Sure enough, a groggy Gary was on the blower the following day with some positive news. “I’ve got you £4.8m for Niasse. I know it’s not a lot, but there just isn’t the demand for non-playing strikers at the moment.”
“Fair enough, it’s better than a kick in the knackers,” I reply. “That leaves us £6.3m to throw around – who have you got for me?”
“It’s a challenging market at the moment, Miles, there’s a not lot happening in the run up to Christmas, you know how it is. But, if you act fast I can get you Charlie Austin for £6.2m. It’s that or Laurent Depoitre.”
Charlie turned up later that day. I have concerns about his fitness and the fact that he’s quite a one dimensional striker. But, we need a goal scorer and Charlie knows where the onion bag is. If he upsets the balance of our attack, I can always ship him out again and Kane can play a bit wider if needs must. He won’t be happy with that, but then I’m not happy with him right now so he can swivel.
I’m looking play a 3-5-2 this week, although Dave Silva is a doubt. I’m leaving the space open for him; he can come back when he’s ready and he needs to know how important he is to us.
Hurelho Gomes comes in for a debut. He’ll have Maguire, Otamendi and Jones in front of him.
Richarlison starts on the right, with Silva open to play on the left, with Bakayoko and Xhaka anchoring the midfield with KdB as a roaming playmaker.
He’ll be looking to link up with Bobby, who’ll be playing off Kane.
In the event Dave’s not ready to play, we’ll switch to a 3-4-3 with Charlie Austin coming in. KdB will have to play a wide left playmaker role for one week only, with Firmino dropping a bit deeper still. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but we have contingency plans in place. As always…
Gomes – Maguire, Otamendi, Jones – Richarlison, Bakayoko, KdB, Xhaka, Silva – Firmino, Kane
Schmeichel, Austin, Gomez, Bertrand