Double game-weeks are always tricky. How much surgery should we perform on our squads in order to load up on players who will (probably) play twice? Is the short-term gain worth the potential longer-term consequences?
To help you sort your plans, I’ll share mine.
I’ve made no moves yet this week, but I have two free transfers available. Here’s how I currently look, with £2.7 in the bank.
As you can see, I’ve got some problems. James Justin, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Michail Antonio are all flagged as doubts.
I think Antonio will start after being granted a rest for West Ham’s mid-week FA Cup match, so I won’t worry about his “yellow”.
I don’t expect Justin to play this week, but he has been amazing this season, and Brendan Rodgers says his injury may not be as bad as initially suspected. So I’ll park him on my bench to await further news, dropping Ben Chilwell instead. The Chelsea fullback has not found regular pitch time under Thomas Tuchel, so it’s time for him to go. In his place I’ll bring in João Cancelo, who offers returns on both sides of the ball for Manchester City’s double game-week.
There’s nothing wrong with Mohamed Salah, but this week Raheem Sterling’s two bites at the apple makes him a more attractive fantasy asset than the Egyptian. So out goes Mo, and in comes the Englishman.
I also want Nick Pope for Burnley’s double, even though Alex McCarthy and Robert Sanchez have decent fixtures (Brighton hosts Aston Villa, and Southampton entertains Wolves). Facing Crystal Palace and Fulham, Pope’s potential is just too strong for me to ignore. I’m seriously considering absorbing a paid transfer to swap out McCarthy for him.
My squad would then look like this, with £2.6 in the bank:
I’d start Pope, Cancelo, Robertson, Coufal, Grealish, Sterling, Gundogan, Fernandes, Bamford, and Antonio as a nearly-certain ten, with a decision between DCL and Soucek as my eleventh based on team news.
My early work here consisted of barn-dooring Ruben Dias, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Gabriel Jesus. I sold Cedric Soares, Jack Grealish, Jesse Lingard, James Maddison, and Tomas Soucek to make room — Soucek largely because of the three-game suspension he had been facing.
But Soucek’s red card was rescinded, reinstating him for the juicy home tie with Sheffield United. Meanwhile, in mid-week FA Cup news, DCL was withdrawn with a hamstring niggle in the second half of his match, and Ruben Dias missed out altogether with a stomach bug. Both men are now doubts for at least the first match of their DGWs. So I dropped a guy who will play, and picked up two who might not. Sweet.
I’ve made no moves since the barn door, so currently my team looks like this, with $0.13 left in the bank:
Depending on team news, I may dump DCL for Josh King. For someone likely to play twice, King is a steal at $1.00.
I’m betting Dias recovers in time to play both matches, but if it sounds like he won’t, I’ll move him out for James Tarkowski or Lucas Digne.
Here I barn-doored Ruben Dias, Phil Foden, Ademola Lookman, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, and Raheem Sterling, moving out Cedric Soares, Jesse Lingard, Tomas Soucek, James Maddison, Jack Grealish, and Willian Jose to make room.
Here’s how I look, with $0.85 in the bank:
I probably won’t tinker too much with this squad. Dias has cover in my 17-man team, so I’m fine holding him despite the fact that he’s not sure to start this weekend (which of Pep’s players are?).
If DCL is confirmed out for even just the first match of the DGW, I’ll swap him out for Josh King. Everton’s second match is vs Manchester City, so it’s not worth holding DCL if you know he’s going to miss the Fulham game.
Have injuries ravaged your squads they way they’ve ravaged mine? What changes, forced and otherwise, are you contemplating this week? Do you have your eyes on any sneaky differentials? Any popular double-gamers you’re avoiding? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments, and rate my teams!