I finally did it. Activated my wildcard almost 2 weeks ago as we rolled into the international break. Had initially wanted to save it but a combination of itchy fingers, a couple of non-performers, a dire defensive line and an immediate bad luck of having Lallana get injured 24minutes into owning him moved my hand to go for the Wildcard.

Over this international break, not much price rises happened. Lots of price drops happenes, so if anything my Wildcard was used to sort of preserve team value and try to get nice price rises. Not very successful.

However, the team has changed radically. So here it goes:


Let me go through some of the significant changes.

Defensive Purge

Yup, I’ve cleared up most of my defensive line-up. There were a lot of deadwood, non-performers and long-term injuries. It badly needed a shake up. So I did. Initially, I went for uber cheapies. 4 defenders worth 4.5 + 1 Jordi Amat worth 4.1. Dirt cheap and planned to pump everything into attack and midfield. That was last week.

This week, I’ve had a change of heart. Surely defences will stiffen up as we move to mid-season. Surely, at least for the title challengers, teams realise that competition is so stiff, the best strategy would be to keep things tight at the back to knick the 3 points rather than go all gung-ho. Lastly, 2 title challengers seem to be having a good run of fixtures lined up: Spurs and Arsenal.

So I decided to radically move away from the uber cheapies to my usual 2 premium + 3 rotating cheapies. Enter Vertonghen from Spurs and Koscielny from Arsenal. Kosc seems to be a goal threat and BAPS magnet. Vertonghen is simply the cheapest route into a Spurs defence that seem to be the tightest among the top teams. I am hopeful for good defensive hauls from both of them. Fingers crossed the cleansheets will come through. As for the cheapies, I’ve gone for Holebas, playing in a Watford team with good fixtures and with great attacking and set-piece potential. I’ve also gone for Robertson of Hull, another cheapie but playing for a Hull team who’s fixtures are looking good. Lastly I have bench fodder Amat who is playing for a Swansea with a new manager and is the cheapest playing defender in the game.

In Wally We Trust Over Sanchez

One of my biggest gamble in this wildcard is to drop Alexis Sanchez. This is because he is too expensive for me have my 2 premium defenders and keep good options in midfield and attack. I had to sacrifice either him or Kun or Costa. The fact that he is coming back from a long-haul flight plus the red-hot form of Walcott gives me the confidence to make this gamble. The odds are against me. Sanchez is very likely to get his double-digit hauls and make my OR plummet like nobody’s business, but I figured I’d get more points from Walcott + Koscielny compared to Sanchez + some 4.5 defender. I hope I am right.

Prodigal Sons Return

I can’t ignore the form of Spurs’ Son, who is playing upfront and out of position due to Harry Kane’s injury. His stock has certainly risen and he is a cheap route into a title-chasing Spurs attack. A no-brainer for now.

The other prodigal son is in the form of hot-and-cold, highly unpredictable Coutinho. Picking a Liverpool midfielder feels like picking lottery tickets. I have so far failed to get anything from Firmino when I owned him and he keeps scoring hauls when I don’t have him. When I got Lallana, he got injured. I am hoping third time’s gonna be charm. I am hoping Coutinho gains some consistency and proves to be the right Liverpool midfielder to back.

Strikeforce Powerhouse

This season, striking options are aplenty. Kun is a no-brainer. Super essential and untouchable when fit. I was very tempted to downgrade Costa to Lukaku. However, with an international break injury scare and the fact that Costa has been delivering the goods for Chelsea and for me for the past few weeks, I am thinking there will be goals against Leicester. Costa is a risk, with 4 yellow cards making him perilously close to a 1-match ban if he gets another yellow, but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Costa stays for now…I think.

The only other mover is Negredo out for Deeney. A no-brainer to ship the out of form Negredo out. However, under budget options, I had a choice between Benteke, Deeney, Austin and Defoe. I picked Deeney because of fixtures, penalties and his importance to the team. Benteke seems the most explosive and proven EPL goal-poacher, but Crystal Palace fixtures are mixed and they are unpredictable. Defoe is another prolific scorer but Sunderland aren’t creating enough chances. As for Austin, he is a natural goalscorer but Saints fixtures are pretty tough. It is a tough call, and one which may be the deciding factor since everyone has Aguero and either one of Costa or Lukaku. Here’s hoping Deeney goes on one of his runs.

Well, that’s all for now. I may still make changes but the feeling I have is that the team is sort of sorted. Let’s hope this will be a good platform for me to launch a steady and great climb up the ladder until at least the next wildcard.

Get in, lads!