After what seems like an eternity, the international fixtures are ALMOST over and FPL is back this weekend (though there is another international break in four weeks). Throughout the last two weeks, players appear to have been split into three distinct categories...
Those who played their wildcard early to ‘gain value’:
#FPL Wildcarders: How’s the Team Value building going this International Break?— FPL_Fly🔻 (@FPL_Fly) September 11, 2018
Or did you forget that for the 5th year running it is absolutely the worst time to attempt to do this?
The week before the IB or the week after is the time to surf the rise and fall... pic.twitter.com/g3mFVqGa9k
Those who did not and are subsequently obsessing wildly over their team in the hope everyone comes back from the break still intact:
And those who just sat back, relaxed and switched off from it all:
No idea but here’s a friendly piece of advice: Stay away from #fpl for the next week and worry only after the pre-match pressers are conducted.— Sar 🎯 (@Bosscielny6) September 7, 2018
Overthinking and overanalyzing during an international break won’t help one bit. Try relaxing man!
Many will envy those in the third group! For the managers who have played their wildcard to gain value, thoughts must now be turning to who will make up their squad for the foreseeable future. Given a £100.0m budget, the optimum squad based on points totals so far this season is given below – and it looks pretty impressive.
The squad as a whole costs just £99.4m (Sadio Mané is now £10.0m) and has scored an incredible 448 points between them so far this season. However, with a fantasy team only consisting of 11 players, the optimum team so far this season is slightly different.
The 11 players assembled above would cost £81.0m, leaving £19.0m for a reserve GK, a fifth DEF, a fifth MID and a third FW. If this 11 had been selected and played since GW1, with no rotation and not including captains, it would have scored 355 points – good enough for 4th place in the overall standings.
GW4’s projected optimum team performed well in what was a particularly low scoring week. The team scored 60 points, which included injuries to both Theo Walcott (£6.8m) and Wilfred Zaha (£7.0m). Six of the projected 11 players were within two points of their projected totals with Raheem Sterling (£11.0m) scoring the most points of the team – as he was projected to do.
Following the international break, GW5’s projected squad is as follows:
Our projected line-up suggests a 5-2-3 formation where the backline consists of players exclusively from Chelsea, who play Cardiff, and Crystal Palace, who play Huddersfield. Cardiff have only scored in one game so far this season and have yet to find the net away from home. Owners of Cesar Azpilicueta
(£6.5m), Marcos Alonso (£6.8m) and David Luiz (£5.5m) can be optimistic another clean sheet is on the cards. As for Huddersfield, they have yet to find the net at home so far this season. Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m) is a solid choice in net, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.1m) offers a cheap way into the Palace backline. Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.5m) represents an interesting differential and as his heat map shows, he’s been playing more as a left-winger so far.
Looking further forward, Raheem Sterling (£11.0m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) make the team as City host Fulham. Manchester United travel to Watford looking to break the Hornets' 100% record. If they are to come away from Vicarage Road with the points, Paul Pogba (£8.2m) and Romelu Lukaku (£11.0m) will need to perform. Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) rounds out our front five as he returns from his suspension against an in-form Bournemouth team who have picked up six points but have only kept one clean sheet so far this season.
Our last line of defence starts with Ederson (£5.6m) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5m) with Manchester City and Chelsea expected to keep clean sheets. Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m), Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) and Ben Foster (£4.5m) take the remaining spots based on their save potential.
The defensive five consists almost entirely of Manchester City defenders with Kyle Walker (£6.5m) and Benjamin Mendy
(£6.4m) predicted slightly higher than John Stones (£5.5m) and Aymeric Laporte
(£5.5m) due to their attacking potential. Breaking up the blue wall is Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) who has a good chance of a clean sheet vs Huddersfield along with attacking returns.
Eden Hazard (£10.7m) has looked money since his return from the World Cup and it is no surprise he tops our projected midfielder best of the rest list. Luka Milivojevic (£6.3m) is there for those who like to go penalty hunting. Theo Walcott (£6.8m) has been the form Everton player this season, though his health will need monitoring after going off with a rib injury before the international break. Mohamed Salah (13.0m) again makes his customary appearance. In fact, gameweek 4 represents only the sixth time in his Liverpool career that he has scored two or less points in a single GW. Rounding off the five is Pedro (£6.8m), who has scored in three of the four matches played this season.
Up top it’s Harry Kane (£12.5m) who should be fresh after getting rested for England’s friendly against Switzerland. Alvaro Morata (£9.0m), if selected, should get ample opportunity to get his confidence up against Cardiff, while the same is true for Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) as Manchester City play Fulham. If West Ham are to break their points duck, Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) will most likely be the one firing the goals in against an Everton team that have looked shaky at the back. Our final spot goes to Josh King (£6.4m), who has a home tie against Leicester.