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.
Whilst game week 8 wasn’t a classic, sometimes you just have to grind the results out to make progress. 45 points isn’t our best haul of the season, but it was enough to drag FC Fakin’ Run Aboutabit to a season’s high point of 1,646,953rd.
The average for the game week was 41 points, enabling us to chip away at the table. Captain Kane again struggled in front of his own fans, but thankfully KdB, Dave Silva and Manolo Gabbiadini were on hand to take up the slack.
It wasn’t brilliant, but it was enough. It was also enough to have me pondering a route forward. A couple of the lads haven’t been pulling their weight. I’m willing to give Alli, Maguire and Butland another crack of the whip, but they need to shape up fast.
Cedric Soares, however, has gone. I was hunched over my laptop all day Tuesday, crunching the numbers and looking for alternatives. Jamaal Lascelles, Kyle Naughton, Joe Gomez and Ahmed Hegazi all caught my eye.
“Gary, it’s Miles – how you’ve been?”
“Yeah, alright thanks mate, bit of ducking of diving but I’m getting there, I’m glad you called – got a couple of players you might want to consider.”
Gary has been suspiciously quiet of late, the probing into his business affairs seeing him drop off the face of the planet for a couple of weeks. I’m glad he’s back now, though, as I need to make changes. He sounds suspiciously happy, though. He’s usually a bit surly and he’s never called me ‘mate’ before. Dare I ask? Probably best not…
“That’s great, but I’ve got some specific business in mind and I want to get rid of Cedric, he’s leaving us a bit exposed and I was to bolster the defences,” I say.
“Perfect,” he replies. “I’ve got Joe Gomez on hand and he’s keen as mustard to sign. Should be a guaranteed starter, should you get you a few points in the bag.”
“I’ve been thinking about him as an option,” I reply. Gomez fits the flexibility bill as he can operate at full back and at centre back. “Let’s talk numbers.”
“I’ll give you £5.0m for Cedric for starters,” says Gary. “Then I can relieve you of £4.5m of that for Joe. What do you reckon?”
It’s a good deal. One misfiring full back gone, £0.5m freed up and a bit of budget to address the impending crises elsewhere in the squad. It’s a no-brainer.
“Done deal, Gary. Bring the documents over and we’ll get it sorted.”
There was no great melancholy in the ranks at Cedric’s departure and Gomez is familiar to a few of the lads already. He’s fitted in well, but he won’t be starting this week.
In the search for tactical flexibility, Ryan Bertrand is getting a freer role from left wing back. John Stones will be switching to the right side of defence, but pulling into a back three alongside Maguire and the debutant, Phil Jones when Bertrand pushes forward.
Xhaka retains his place at the base of the midfield, with KdB and Alli playing just in advance of him, with Silva dropping into the space behind Kane. Gabbiadini will drift wide of the right to offer the team an asymmetrical shape. It’s a slight tweak, but one that hopefully gets the best out of the players available.
Butland – Stones, Jones, Maguire, Bertrand – Xhaka – Alli, KdB – Silva – Kane (C), Gabbiadini
Grant, Gomez, Kante, Rodriguez