Last Gameweek was a riot yeah?
Not really. In fact, on a week that saw Kolarov and Kevin de Bruyne rested for Man City, virtually every squad in the Top 20 was tested. It seems that increasingly, and especially through busy December, team selection is going to make or break a gameweek, if not a month, or even a season. Coincidentally, while benches were being tested and the players were left with either a big fat zero for Kolarov or a handy goal coming off the bench from the likes of Dier, Dawson or Cabaye, 12 teams in the league had activated a chip too.
All three chips were activated in the league, Triple Captain, Bench Boost and All Out Attack to varying success, and three of them in the Top Ten too. So I’d thought I’d have a look at how those chips fared on a troubling gameweek. In the build up there was some talk of using chips as there were some great fixtures. In those ‘great’ fixtures City scraped a win against Swansea and United lost to Bournemouth. Chelsea lost (again) to Leicester and Spurs lost to Newcastle. Norwich v Everton ended in a 1-1 draw and only Arsenal came out ok, with a 0-2 win over an atrocious Villa side. This was one of the weeks penned for a great return on chips, or was it…
(Check out those stunned faces!)
A few things were highly important this week, primarily KDB and Kolarov being rested by Pellegrini, which hurt nearly every team in the league. Kane’s poor performance was a breaker for many, including me who captained him. Random goals and no clean sheets where they should have been also messed up what should have been a high scoring week. Ultimately though, the average points scored was 51.
In total, 12 teams used a chip last gameweek, so let’s have a look.
Yabah Turnbull (6th) shrewdly activated his AOA chip to relative success with a 71 point week. My own opinion is that a profitable AOA chip defies reasonable probability. I’m deeming Yabah’s success as having plenty of points in midfield, none left on the bench, plus earning the points for Bellerin’s clean sheet (as one of his two playing defenders). It’s difficult to judge the AOA chip. To profit a team would effectively need all five midfield and all three forwards all scoring more points than each individual defender. Duncan Hannigan (10th) also used AOA with Kolarov and KDB on the pitch ending up with a painful 49 points. In fact he was let down by not just those two but Kane, Barkley, Coutinho, Alderwiereld and Clyne as well. In fact Clyne came off the bench to replace Kolarov but last in the pecking order was Dann, who earned another clean sheet last week, left sat on Duncan’s bench. Frustrating I’m sure.
Also in the Top Ten, Loz Kelly (9th) used the Bench Boost chip. Arguably, considering his reserve keeper doesn’t play, it was going to be difficult to make points on this once Kolarov and KDB were left out of the starting line up. But the Bench Boost still meant he had a strong gameweek with 75 points, though it’s just worth mentioning that Loz has now used all three of his chips with just a wildcard to come in January.
Jonathan Britcher (15th) was another to activate the AOA chip. It wasn’t profitable per se but his defence produced minimal points so not having to pick the midfielder to bench was rightly covered.
James Cowpat (31st) had a selection struggle too so also activated the AOA chip and came out with 48 points. He was a player, like me and the likes of Hannigan, entirely let down by our squads; the midfield did ok, Kane failed again, and the defence did nothing. Ironically then, this was a good use of the chip. It was either that or bench one of Barkley, Coutinho, KDB or Kane. And it would be bonkers to do that right?
Alastair McNeil’s team (40th) highlights the bench headache problem many of us have been having and his solution was to go with the AOA chip as well. It worked out quite well as he got 74 points overall, an excellent week. But he had Dier on the bench too. He should have benched Barkley or Coutinho just like Jay Cowpat, but would any of us have done that? Pretty unlucky really as Alastair played Alderweireld for Spurs, it just happened that Dier fancied a goal!
The real cream last week though came not in the Top 50 but on Page 2 between 50 and 100 in the league. Two players on the third page activated chips but sorry Grant (105th) and Chris (106th), they didn’t really work. Kane’s blank was annoying enough for me but I’m sure it was more annoying for Grant who put the triple captain armband on him! Chris played bench boost but only came out with 50 points, and his bench was worth 15. I’d be gutted.
Back to Page 2 and there were similar stories for Matt Judd (57th) and Damien O’Neill (58th). Matt’s defence would have earned him next to nothing so playing the AOA chip wasn’t necessarily inappropriate, Matt came out with 52 points, another casualty of KDB and Kane. Damien’s AOA chip fared much the same, he totalled 56 points but he had Dier on the bench as well, and was let down by a myriad of seemingly reliable picks.
That leaves Andy MacDonald (52nd) who came out with an 83 point return with his Ozil Triple Captain. Not the greatest use of the chip maybe but when the rest of your team performs and you get a return on that chip I’m not going to argue. He profited from a front line of Lukaku, Vardy and Ighalo all scoring with midfield points from Mahrez and his triple captain. Surprisingly for last week he also had the ‘clean sweep of clean sheets’ from Gomez, Cathcart, Dann and Monreal. Nice work.
Finally, a score to contend with my Gameweek 10, one hundred point smasher was from Aaron Barringer (76th). Aaron totalled 99 points by utilising the bench boost chip. It worked. My thinking is still that if anywhere around 10 points is earned from the Triple Captain chip it’s been used well. AOA is impossible to profit from so any midfield over defence success on a good scoring week is well played. Bench boost would be nice to get 20-25 points from so on a week when the average was 51, Aaron did well. His bench was worth 17 points which is more than enough when his playing team earned him 82 points. That 82 on its own would have been 31 points above average so respect is due. He did get Dier’s goal as well as clean sheets from Butland and Monreal plus Nyom’s clean sheet and assist off the bench. Elsewhere Aaron profited from Mahrez, Cabaye and Vardy as well as a sensible captain choice of Lukaku.
So what does this all tell us? Chris would probably say something profound but I think a lot of success this season is down to one classic idiom, guts not glory.
Have a good Christmas everyone, and please don’t make any silly transfers!
Note – I have seriously looked at a load of teams in the league over the past couple of weeks and still haven’t yet seen a single team that has got any points-scoring Bournemouth players… Now shall I bring one in???