The Fantasy Football Blog week 19 - new year, new worries

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. Week 17 here. Week 18 here.

FC Fakin’ Run Aboutabit head into 2018 in reasonable shape. The squad is looking settled and our position in the table is entirely acceptable, even if there was the slightest of wobbles amongst the frantic festive scheduling. We now sit 1,090,404thhaving been 865,712th heading into the New Year.

The two games that were crammed in saw us bring in 47 and 37 points respectively. This wasn’t a disaster against the game week average of 45 for both sets of fixtures, but in the rarefied air of the top one million, such slip ups will see you chewed up and spat out.

I had a meeting with the board this week and they’re happy with the season so far. We agreed that a top one million finish would represent a good season and they said that they’re happy with my managerial methods, despite some early doubts.

I wasn’t aware that there were any doubts so that made me feel slightly uneasy, but at least we’re on the right track now. They were also pleased that the storm surrounding our player agent, Gary, has passed. Gary’s finances were investigated by HMRC but no discrepancies were found.

I must admit I was slightly surprised by this. Gary is always decked out in gaudy gold watches and jewellery and drives a 10 year old Range Rover Sport that was clearly a paper purchase. He’s got dirty cash written all over him, but I won’t be mentioning that to him. He has, after all, secured us some good transfers thus far and I’d be entirely stuck without him.

“Happy New Year, squire,” he says chirpily down the phone. “I’ll leave the pleasantries there because I’ve got some business to discuss with you. I’ve got a client sniffing around Joe Gomez and they’re will to part with £4.6m for him; final offer, no questions.”

I let the line pause for a moment. “You know he ain’t going to be getting as much game time this year, it’s a good offer,” presses Gary.

He’s right. I like Joe, as much for his flexibility as a right back/centre back combo, but he just won’t be getting as much game time.

“It depends who I can replace him with,” I reply. “This is a tricky period of the season so it’s difficult to take a long term, holistic view of the team right no…”

“Cut the bollocks,” interrupts Gary. “It’s a good deal and I can bag you a short-term replacement today, for £4.5m, in the shape of Ahmed El-Sayed Hegazi. Get him in, see how he does – if it doesn’t work out, I’ll offload him for you.”

Is our defence ready for a bit of wild-haired Egyptian flair? You bet it is. “Okay, okay,” I reply. “The deal makes sense. Let’s get it done.”

Gary hangs up and the next day, Hegazi strolls in for training. He looked sharp, too, so will be starting this weekend.

I’m concerned about the toll that the festive period has taken on the boys and I’m nervous about this, the first game week of 2018. I’d dearly love to hit the ground running and I’m placing a lot of faith in the squad.

The racism storm surrounding Bobby Firmino isn’t ideal, either. I’d like to leave him out this weekend, to let the dust settle and the evidence emerge, but we need the points. There were enough people on hand to hear what he said too, but I fear selling myself short morally on this one. This is Premier League football, though, the place where morality goes to die. I shall be opting for greed, instead. He’s better than Shinji Okazaki.

We’re going for a 3-5-2 this week, in a more conventional sense. Heurelho Gomes starts in goal, with Phil Jones, Nicolas Otamendi and Hegazi in front of him. Aaron Creswell starts on the left wing, with Richarlison a more adventurous option on the right. With Jones on the right of the back three, Creswell can tuck back in to form a back four when Richarlison finds himself out of position owing to his attacking duties. Creswell will not be so adventurous.

Tiemoue Bakyoko will be anchoring the midfield as its pivot, with KdB and Dave Silva playing more advanced roles in front of him. Bobby will be playing just off our inspirational leader, Harry Kane.

Here’s to a flying start to 2018…

3-5-2

Gomes – Jones, Otamendi, Hegazi – Richarlison, KdB, Bakayoko, Dave, Creswell – Firmino, Kane

Subs

Schmeichel, Xhaka, Maguire, Okazaki

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