It all started with Romelu Lukaku, and with him not starting. It went wrong from there. We activated our wildcard on the InsideFPL team this week. We'd like to put on a straight face and say it's been down to bad luck but whilst fortune has and always will play a part we've made some mistakes too.
In this post we'd like to deconstruct what happened, what has not happened, and our reasons for wildcarding.We'll be sharing our shiny WC team in our free newsletter this week. You sign up for that right here or from the sidebar of this blog.
Can We Blame Lukaku?
It's easy to point the finger at Lukaku not starting for Chelsea but we can't really regret that pick. A lot of FPL managers had him in their teams. Literally every single newspaper and website had him in their predicted line-ups on day one and media pundits are still shocked by his omission and loan move to Everton. With Lukaku and Hazard and our desire to limit to just two Chelsea players we omitted Ivanovic and missed his 15pts in GW1. More importantly though our first transfer was pretty much made for us and put us on the back-foot from the off.
Check Out Our Hindsight
Picking up Van Persie has to be key to the failure of our GW1 team. We talked already about how much he's really costing your FPL team and we believe he's cost us too. We still think he'll be the top for points this season, and he's still the bookies favourite for the golden boot, but in FPL terms he's simply too expensive. With RVP in our team we were forced to compromise the balance of our team and overlook elite options in defence in favour of value players. At the time it seemed a good idea but we all know how important defenders are turning out to be. We did suspect the bonus point system would throw defenders some love this season but not to the extent it has with the considerable lack of goals so far.
Defence Goes AWOL
We actually thought we'd done some shrewd business with our defence, getting good defenders like Toure, Koscielny and Shaw on the cheap. Cue a red card for Kocielny and injuries to Shaw and Toure.
The Ones That Got Away
It's all too easy to say this now but the list of top players so far this season reads like a who's who of players who just missed the cut on our team. Coleman was in and out the team instead of Koscielny. We decided that Kolo Toure was better Liverpool coverage than Mignolet. We simply love Giroud but Van Persie's price blocked that move.
He Shoots, He Misses...
A hefty chuck of our budget went on Walcott, Hazard and Mirallas. Three players who have all had more than their fair chances to score this season but have yet to find the net. Our replacement for Lukaku, Ricky Lambert, also lost his shooting boots once we signed him. Between the four of them they've had an incredible 42 shots on goal, 18 on target. created 30 chances, and have just 3 assists to show for it.
As mentioned we had to use our first transfer to offload Lukaku for Lambert. That wasn't a bad transfer per se, and was actually the one we had planned should Lukaku not start.
Our transfer ahead of GW3 was to get Silva in instead of Hazard, the former playing Hull at home and in form with a goal and assist already, the latter not playing at all. Price changes played a part too, but in retrospect this was a poor transfer. Far too reactive to a couple of bad weeks and the buzz around Silva. We knew Hazard would miss GW3 but had hoped his DGW score would have seen us through and could have relied on our bench as planned. Of course Silva is now out injured too.
Our third transfer shows that we were starting to get into a bit of a muddle. Unsure of Shaw's starting role and not wanting to have double Southampton defence versus Liverpool in GW5 we swapped him out for Dawson, in a vacuum not a bad move. We made the transfer early to avoid Dawson's price rise, despite having 4 players yellow flagged for what we thought were minor injuries (Toure, Silva, Sturridge, Morrison). In the end Shaw played and got a clean sheet, only Sturridge of our four injuries started the game, and on the outside all the players we wished we had were in the points again.
After this there was only one thing for it. Not even Ross Barkley could have saved us.
Well, we've bemoaned our luck here but the crux of it all come down to two risks we took with our team that didn't pay off. Firstly Lukaku not starting forced our hand early and cost a transfer at a time of the season when transfers are arguably of the most value.
Our second risk was not whether Van Persie would score, but whether the extra ~£4M premium over other options could be better spent elsewhere. We got that one wrong too.
Our decision was not solely based on what has gone wrong though, but equally the opportunities we now have at this stage of the season with the transfer window closed and the effect of the new BPS apparent.
Sign up for our free newsletter to see what we have planned for our wildcard team this week. Hint - it doesn't have Van Persie in it ;)