Teams to Pick/Avoid – Wildcard GW4

Wildcard is a chip that gives the maximum potential for variance and creativity. Most Managers play wildcard at a different time, and even when Managers use the popular options for activating the wildcard, teams can vary a lot and therefore the ultimate difference between the wildcard of two managers is huge.

Note: If you still haven’t decided on when to activate the wildcard – kindly read our comparison of the best options

But if you have already decided that you are wildcarding in the gameweek 4, or have already activated your wildcard – look no further for discussion on the best teams and player options for your wildcard.

We shall compare the fixtures runs of different teams to gauge which teams are to be targeted, and which teams are to be avoided. It is fair to expect that the wildcard team will contain most players from the teams to be targeted and players need to be transferred out from your current pre-wildcard team if the team falls in the ‘avoid’ category.

Short term (GW4 to GW7)

Since a wildcard enables you to make a fresh team, a couple of high risk short term options can be gambled with. Since we are discussing the short term options for a set of 3/4 gameweeks, up to 3 players can be taken in this category.

i. Everton

Everton have had a lively start to the season, whereby the team has desirable performances at both ends of the pitch. A clean sheet in the latest game against Brighton brought back some trust in the Defence, after an individual error cost them a clean sheet in the first game against Southampton, and an average performance against Leeds led them conceding two. With a collective xGA of 2.25, Everton have been attempting to keeping it clean at the back.

In the attacking front, Everton have been lively with seven (7) goals scored, ranking third in the Premier League, only behind Man City and West Ham. Further, on an analysis of xG, whereby Everton rank 3rd in the league, it is fair to say that Everton are deservedly scoring goals. They are similarly leading in other relevant attacking stats like Shots, Crosses, Corners, Shot-Creation Actions etc.

Their short term fixtures are very attractive and having up to two players from Everton for the next few fixtures should not be a problem. Most team should/would have at least one Everton player by now in their team already and depending on that – Managers may pick an additional player, or the first Everton asset for their team accordingly.

ii. Wolves

The Premier League has proved to be Premier League for Wolves too, but in a different manner than Watford. Wolves put in three commendable performances, only to lose three matches.

Recording the 7th best xG and 8th best xGA; Wolves could not score a single goal, while lost all three matches by a single goal, against Man United, Tottenham and Leicester City.

Yes, the quality of opposition also did make a difference. De Gea made give (5) saves; Lloris made six (6) and Schmeichel made three (3). All three top keepers in their own right, accompanied by prudent defences.

Wolves are a fruit ripe and ready to be taken. A short term bet on them could help the Mangers be ready if Wolves turn up for the good. Whereas, it will also be easy to escape if Wolves don’t. One, or ever two Wolves players can fit in most Wildcard teams. They have good options across the board at attractive prices.

iii. Watford

Watford have had a very Premier League start to their Premier League season. Connotation of that sentence can be understood by analysing their results. Scoring thrice and beating an Aston Villa team that was formidable last season and has re-enforced with multiple quality transfers; then being comprehensively beaten by a Brighton team and then by Tottenham in a cagey match, where they lost 1-0 to a goal keeping error.

Now despite poor attacking numbers, Watford has scored thrice and despite above average defensive numbers, they have conceded in every game. If such uncertainty doesn’t define Premier League, then nothing else does.

With that level of volatility, Watford can only be considered for a short term gamble. Watford do have good long term fixtures as well, but it is only advisable to pick them for the short term, and carry on with them, if the performances improve and attain some level of stability. Therefore, at maximum, pick one Watford option in the wildcard, preferably in defence.

iv. Arsenal

Arsenal like Wolves, have been handed a tough start. The two are the only teams yet to score in the Premier League. Having faced a buoyant Brentford who had a one off match, followed by Champions of Europe and later, the Champions of Premier League (also finalists in the UCL).

Losing to the formidable Chelsea and Man City teams would anyway not be a surprise outcome for any team in England or even Europe. However, the manner of the defeat did leave a lot to be desired. However, given the level of quality available within the Arsenal roster, it will be expected out of the Mikel Arteta to bounce back soon and gain some momentum. The easy fixtures will certainly help this revival, and may also help FPL managers in catching a player or two.

Mid to Long term (GW4 to GW12)

i. Chelsea

In the short run, Chelsea’s fixtures may not look very appealing, but as they ease into the season, the level of opposition they face becomes considerably easier. It is from the turn of fixtures in GW7, that Chelsea start a run of, what looks like, an incredibly tasty run.

Chelsea has a very astute defensive line. The whole gameplay revolves around being tidy at the back, which is how T. Tuchel has achieved record number of clean sheets in his time at Chelsea. That makes a Chelsea defensive pick mandatory, and even two picks as a smart decision.

ii. Leeds

Heros of the last season. Every football fans favourite neutral team. Leeds were fun to watch in their 1st season back in the Premier League. Marcelo Bielsa forged his Leeds team into a side that can score a goal (and many more) against any and every opposition.

That attacking flair does come at the cost of a leaky defence. But even that was sorted to a great extent in the second half of last season. Although, the cracks have become apparent again this season as Norwich and Arsenal have conceded more goals (both have faced Manchester City already)

Betting on Leeds to turn up and score a few goals in the long run can rarely prove to be a bad call. Therefore, getting a Leeds midfielder or attacker from the Wildcard and then taking the game as it moves will be a smart decision.

CONCLUSION

In summary, there are a few teams that have favourable runs apt for small bets. Further, Leeds and Chelsea are good teams for the wildcard in the long run. Moreover, the fixtures for Chelsea arrive perfectly for the short term fixture teams run to end. (Short term teams at GW4 – transfer out all for Chelsea players in GW7)

Note – Liverpool and Manchester City have moderate fixtures and therefore may not necessarily need the boot.

TEAMS TO AVOID

There are certain teams that have a hard fixture run going forward, unless a player from the below mentioned teams is absolutely integral to your team, they can be dropped for players from the teams discussed above.

i. West Ham

Though West Ham have a couple of decent fixtures in the next four (4) matches, the general outlook from their team does not look very favourable.

West Ham are a decent team, but they haven’t yet reached a level where they can be expected to surely beat teams like Leeds, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool.

Moreover, West Ham will be playing Europa League from this month onwards, and therefore, will face heavy load during the next run. There will be heavy rotation going forward coupled by the fact that West Ham players are not essentially ‘differentials’ anymore.

ii. Man Utd

After the Newcastle fixture, the fixture list looks like a sight to miss for Man Utd. Further, like West Ham, Man United will also be involved in Europe. There shall be visible rotation going forward.

Moreover, the renewed team dynamics after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, R. Varane and J. Sancho need to be assessed before a conclusive decision on Man Utd can be taken.

iii. Aston Villa

Villa were the short term team that everyone bet on at the start of the season given their easy fixtures at the start. The expectations were not entirely fulfilled, but Villa turned out be a moderate FPL side with a clean sheet on offer and multiple Danny Ings goals.

However, the performances have left a lot to be desired. The fixture run also does not seem to be kind to Villa and therefore, all Villa players can be abandoned with the Wildcard.

iv. Tottenham

Spurs have had a decent start to the season. However, their victories have been far from impressive, with Spurs sitting back deep against all sides, regardless of the quality of opposition.

Spurs too, see European participation with the third tier tournament seeing them travel to far flung places in Europe. Their fixture run too does not seem to generate any confidence. Although keeping a Spurs defender as a rotational option might not be a bad call given the rare juicy fixtures in between the run of hard matches.

CONCLUSION

Avoid these teams going forward, however, a player or two can be maintained from these teams as a rotational option depending on the price and budget of each FPL Manager.

TLDR –

  1. Take a couple of player from Everton, Wolves, Arsenal and Watford for the short term and then decide based on performance.
  2. Take a couple of players from Chelsea and Leeds each for the decent long runs.
  3. Avoid players from Tottenham, West Ham and Man United based on fixtures and European participation.
  4. Avoid Villa players based on below par performances and fixtures.