Eight and one. That’s eight wins and one loss including a seven match winning streak. I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but it’s fair to say I’m doing alright.
Two titles in my own league (I’m currently second to last in that one but we won’t talk about that) lead to an invite from the Fantasy Gaffer himself John Wallin to join The “League of Champions League”, meaning I’m pitting my wits against fellow champions for the season.
It’s going a little better than expected as I currently sit top of the pile with a healthy six point cushion over The Gaffer himself.
This week I was up against Ari Jons, a champion from Iceland, who was the league’s top scorer going into Gameweek 9 so it promised to be a tough, high-scoring battle. Luckily for me, Ari got well and truly Pepped as 2pm on Saturday brought the news that Guardiola opted to rest Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, both of which were at the forefront of Ari’s great scoring. Cue massive sighs of relief.
Unlike that infamous night in Euro 2016, England triumphed over Iceland and I claimed the three points thanks to a healthy 117.25-70.25 victory.
Here’s a quick run down of the dream team that did the business:
Mathew Ryan (Brighton) – 13 Pts
Like many others, I didn’t foresee the pathetically limp performance that West Ham turned in at home against Brighton on Friday Night Football. My money would have been on a narrow victory for the Hammers, meaning a small return from Mat Ryan through a few saves would have been acceptable. Thankfully, West Ham were awful meaning a comfortable clean sheet for the Australian shot stopper. In fact, he only had two shots to stop and claimed one cross during a night where he probably could have got away with tinkering with his own fantasy football line-up ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) – 0 Pts
A disappointing doughnut for the French aerial winning battering ram. Two goal concessions and a booking meant a decent return was very unlikely but after a good run of scores recently I can let him off this one. Could have claimed himself an unlikely assist had Aaron Ramsey not blazed his perfect cutback miles over the bar. The most disappointing part of his performance is that he actually allowed Wayne Rooney to score a goal. Oops.
Christian Fuchs (Leicester) – 6.5 Pts
I love owning Christian Fuchs in Togga. While has value is limited in the official game, his interceptions, potential for winning aerial duels and his crossing ability make him a very valuable asset in this format. A very early booking meant Fuchs was playing catch up for most of the gameweek but he got the job done in the end. Without the yellow card and goal concession, the Austrian would have recorded a more than acceptable 17.5 point haul. Ifs and buts…
Cedric Soares (Southampton) – 13.75 Pts
Southampton’s dependable defence has been less than solid in recent weeks, despite the return of Virgil Van Dijk, but they won’t come up against many attacks as blunt as West Brom’s. Cedric (or Soares) put in a comfortable display with a very nice return of 13.75, with just 1.75 of them coming from defensive contributions. The Portuguese full-back did whip in a couple of dangerous crosses resulting in two chances created and his stamina, pace and crossing accuracy mean he is a clinical striker away from being a very good attacking full back. If only Southampton had someone like Charlie Austin…
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – 2 Pts
On his day, Wilf is Togga gold. This was not one of those days. He was back with a bang last week, making up for his extended absence with an impressive and totally unexpected haul of 24.5 against the reigning champions. With that in mind, a similar glut of points was expected this week against Newcastle United. Looks like Rafa the gaffer had a gameplan to nullify the Zaha effect this week and the Ivorian wing wizard managed just two successful dribbles, almost cancelled out completely by two dispossessions. A two point return from someone of Zaha’s quality is pretty ugly. Normal service will be resumed against a woeful West Ham this week, surely.
Leroy Sane (Manchester City) – 23.5 Pts
It’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions with Leroy Sane and I this year. Unplayable towards the end of last season, Sane was high on my draft watchlist this summer and I was delighted to secure his services in the third round. Therefore, you can imagine my disappointment when Pep did a Pep and he was deployed at left wing back or, even worse, the bench. Annoyed with my wasted pick, Sane was offered to every man and his dog in trades designed to salvage a bit of pride before I dumped him on the waiver wire. That incredible cameo against Liverpool changed everything and the German is now my best player and probably my favourite German ahead of Jurgen Klopp and Boris Becker. Another huge contribution including a goal and assist all but sealed this win for me. And yet I’m still looking to trade him away and he’s become the ultimate sell high option. I just don’t trust Pep…
Tom Carroll (Swansea City) – 5 Pts
To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m persisting with Tom Carroll. His assist against Huddersfield last week bought him another week in the team but now it’s probably time to go after yet another sub standard single figure showing. His set pieces and advanced position in the team make him an attractive proposition. Sadly, he does play for Swansea. Time to go.
Anthony Knockaert (Brighton) – 8.5 Pts
Last year’s Championship Player of the season has been a slight disappointment for me so far. I drafted Knockaert with the promise that he’d be the centre of everything Brighton do, including taking every set piece but that honour seems to have been stripped away by the emergence of Pascal Gross. Still, the Frenchman is a very good player and last week’s goal against Everton could be the first of many (I hope). As for GW9, not being directly involved in any of Brighton’s three goals was incredibly annoying for me. I’m expecting a big haul against Southampton next week.
Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) – 6.5 Pts
I like to have one or two spots on my team that I rotate every week, either by picking someone up on the waivers who has a decent looking match up or snapping up an unexpected starter at the last minute. <Read our article on this Transfer Tactic here> This was the latter and I was really pleased to get Lingard, playing for an in form Manchester United due a glut of goals against a poor Huddersfield. This particularly experiment wasn’t exactly a roaring success but he did outscore Anthony Martial who was hooked at half time. His contribution to my fantasy team wasn’t great but as a Liverpool fan I was more than happy to see United beaten by a fired up promoted team. This is before a certain match at Wembley of course.
Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United) – 3 Pts
See previous player. But worse. Ayoze Perez will not be part of any of my fantasy football teams from this day forward.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – 35.5 Pts
Alexis Sanchez baby! Alexis Sanchez Ohhhh! I love the guy so much. My first round pick in this draft was a slightly sentimental one as it was Sanchez who inspired my second consecutive Togga league title in 2016/17 and apart from the points he brings the guy is a joy to watch. Was I cacking my pants towards the end of the summer transfer window? Yes. Am I dreading January? Definitely. But until then I’m going to enjoy watching the little Chilean dance around defences like he did at Goodison on Sunday. His assist for Ozil was sublime (if he can score a header the cross must be good) and the goal downright disrespectful. Four key passes and six successful dribbles contributed to the highest individual score of the week. Last year’s top scoring player could easily do it again this time around. If you’re reading this (you never know), please stay. I need you.
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