Sky GW24 – 19th February
With the £50,000 out of sight, a push to win my five cash mini-leagues and break into the top 1k has become my focus. Currently sitting in 2nd/3rd place in all five mini-leagues with £852 up for grabs, a small red arrow last week saw me drop 20 places in the overall rankings; I now find myself just outside the top 1k at rank #1191. Cezar Azpilicueta (£9.0m) did the business for me again last Monday with a 20-point captaincy but didn’t even get close to his Passing Tier Bonus which is slightly alarming considering Chelsea were at home to Newcastle. In other news, Matty Cash (£6.5m) looks set for a spell on the sidelines after sustaining a hamstring injury in the 61st minute against Brighton. Luckily for me, he stayed on the pitch long enough to claim his Clean Sheet Bonus. This leaves me with two options, bring in Ben White (£6.3m) to cover captaincy for Monday night or bring in Jannik Vestergaard (£6.4m) for a Double Game Week and a great run of fixtures coming up.
Friday (4 Points)
Captain – Patrick Bamford (£8.2m) – 4 Points
Patrick Bamford (£8.2m) was my only player on Friday night and so he took the captaincy. It wasn’t until late in the second half when he was slipped through on goal, smashing the ball past Rui Patricio (£6.9m) into the roof of the net, only to be adjudged offside. A disappointing 4 points. Anyone who captained Illan Meslier (£6.1m) was left frustrated as the Leeds Keeper looked on course for a monster-haul after hitting Saves Tier 2 Bonus before half time and with a clean sheet on the horizon, before Adama Traore (£8.7m) decided to embark on a brilliant solo run and unleash a rocket towards the top corner which hit the frame of the goal, only to bounce back off the keeper and into his own net. Own Goal and Clean Sheet Bonus wiped out at the same time, nightmare. Another notable performer in this game was Nelson Semedo (£7.8m) who managed Shots Tier 2 Bonus after just 45 minutes on top of his Clean Sheet Bonus, a great differential for the 1 owner in the top 1k.
Saturday (13 Points)
Captain – Mohamed Salah (£12m) – 4 Points
I decided to bring in Jannik Vestergaard (£6.4m) for the injured Matty Cash (£6.5m) after seeing the line-up on Saturday morning. The transfer was made with an eye on a good run of future fixtures in mind rather than the immediate ones and whilst I didn’t expect Southampton to stop Chelsea from scoring, they almost did, and a late header from the defender rattled the crossbar which had me jumping off my seat and almost made me a very happy bunny. Another disappointing 2 points. Cezar Azpilicueta (£9.0m) also failed to keep a clean sheet but he did manage to hit Passes Tier 2 this time out and my other player in this game, James Ward-Prowse (£8.0m) failed to return as Chelsea dominated the ball throughout. Those who went for Jorginho (£8.4m) to cover last Monday’s captaincy saw him dropped for N’Golo Kante (£8.1m) and to rub salt in the wounds, Chelsea were awarded a penalty which he surely would have taken had he been on the pitch, instead it was Mason Mount (£8.6m) who stepped up to the spot and confidently slotted away for his 4th goal of the season. Takumi Minamino (£7.2m) also continued to impress with a calm and composed finish for his 2nd goal in 3 starts since joining Southampton on loan.
As a Liverpool fan, of course there was only one player I was going to give the captaincy on Saturday, the premier league’s top goal scorer, Mohamed Salah (£12m). I had high hopes for this game, the Merseyside Derby, a perfect chance for Liverpool to build on their victory midweek against RB Leipzig. I was expecting lots of goals, and the game looked like that might be the case after Richarlison (£10.3m) opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. However, both teams struggled to create any clear-cut chances until late on in the second half when a long ball over the top set Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£9.3m) on his way and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£10.6m) brought him down in the area. It was Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.3m) who stepped up and confirmed the victory. Yet another disappointing captain return of just 4 points. Elsewhere, both Burnley and Fulham continued their fantastic recent defensive form, rewarding those who entrusted their faith in enablers such as Tosin Adarabioyo (£5.2m) and Matthew Lowton (£6.4m).
Sunday (62 Points)
Captain – Bruno Fernandes (£10.9m) – 20 Points
After a low scoring start to the Game Week with just 17 Points from 5 players, I did not expect to wake up to a green arrow, albeit only 20 places, at least it was a rise. More good news came my way in the early kick off when opting to wait until next week to transfer in Harry Kane (£11.7m) paid off as despite his wave of efforts on goal, he ended the match with just 2 points. My luck didn’t stop there as for the first time since the second overhaul, all 5 of my Manchester City assets were named in the starting line-up. With 3 defensive assets and a Clean Sheet, including man of the match Ruben Dias (£9.1m) and also the only goal scorer Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) in my team, it was a great result. As expected, I decided to go with the 99.9% of teams in the top 1k and captain Bruno Fernandes (£10.9m) who managed to return a goal and an assist, despite looking off the boil for the majority of the match.
Monday (8 Points)
Captain – Lewis Dunk (£8.0m) – 8 Points
Another rise on Monday morning, this time it was a significant push as I moved up 79 places into rank #1092. At the overhaul, I decided not to bring in a Brighton player to cover Monday night’s fixture against Crystal Palace. However, with the new set of fixtures being released this weekend, a second single captaincy day for Brighton with a 6 for 4 with favourable fixtures over Chelsea, I chose to replace Cezar Azpilicueta (£9.0m) with the man everyone is speaking about at the minute, Lewis Dunk (£8.0m). Although Brighton have conceded just 1 goal in their last 6 games, I was not confident that were guaranteed a Clean Sheet. That turned out to be the case on Monday night as against the run of play Jean-Philippe Mateta (£8.0m) executed a fancy flick through the legs of goalkeeper Robert Sanchez (£6.0m) and Christian Benteke (£8.3m) scored a 95th minute injury time winner. This was disappointing as Brighton dominated the entire game, but one of the reasons I decided on the transfer was the potential for passing bonus, my new arrival exceed expectations by completing 66 successful passes by the halfway point and safely secured Passing Tier 2 Bonus.
Monday (19 Points)
Captain – Patrick Bamford (£8.2m) – 18 Points
Tuesday morning saw me move up to just 46 places of the top 1k. I had to make a conflicting decision, with two Southampton players including a defender and one Leeds striker, there was no way all my players could maximise their points potential. Considering Southampton have had poor form lately at the back, I decided to stick with the majority again and place my faith in Patrick Bamford (£8.2m) which looked like it could be the wrong decision at half time as Leeds did not look like their usual self and James Ward-Prowse (£8.0m) looked set to take a penalty kick, only for VAR to decide against it. In the end, it was the correct decision, and one worth 10 points in the end as Patrick Bamford (£8.2m) did manage 18 points and Jannik Vestergaard (£6.4m) ended up on -1 which would have been -2 if I had captained him, due to conceding another 2 late goals from popular players, Stuart Dallas (£6.4m) and Raphina (£6.8m).
There must have been a lot of Stuart Dallas (£6.4m) owners who capitalised with a 34-point captaincy, or Leeds fans with multiple players, because despite gaining 19 points I dropped 56 places into rank #1102. So, I finished the Game Week on 106 points with an overall rise of 89 places from last Game Week and I gained between 10-20 points on each of the leaders in my mini leagues. Result.
Patrick Bamford (£8.2m) > Harvey Barnes (£8.2m)
Raheem Sterling (£11.1m) > Harry Kane (£11.7m)