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No Kane, no problem, for FPL's world Number 1

The Scout 26 Mar 2017
Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Uwais Ahmed explains how he toppled long-term FPL leader, Knut Hebaek, without picking Spurs striker

With just nine Gameweeks of the season remaining, Uwais Ahmed has timed his run perfectly to the top of the Fantasy Premier League standings.

Knut Hebaek spent the past 15 Gameweeks at the summit, but the Norwegian was toppled as Uwais’s line-up produced 74 points in Gameweek 29 to go into the international break with a one-point advantage over the former number one.

A veteran FPL manager, Uwais is in his ninth campaign, having claimed a career-high 5,768th position in 2011/12.

Yet, as the Blackburn-based man explains, his tactical approach has not wavered this time around.

Uwais Ahmed, FPL's No 1
Uwais Ahmed, FPL's No 1

“I’ve stuck to the same decision-making process as I would every year," he says. "The key is to look at fixtures and form and chop and change accordingly.

"It helps to look at statistics, trends and information to establish the best picks for your respective squad."

Although his rise to the top has taken time, Uwais’s pre-season planning ensured the foundations to his success were built from the back.

Seamus Coleman (£6.1m), Kyle Walker (£6.4m) and Gareth McAuley (£5.2m) – three of the top six scoring FPL defenders – have been in his squad from the opening weekend.

Fahad's XI, the No 1 FPL team in the world
Three of the defenders in Fahad's XI, the No 1 FPL team in the world, have been in the team since the opening weekend

“Having a productive, settled defence right from the outset has meant I can constantly tweak the midfield and attack.”

Uwais has climbed to the top despite never owning Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane (£11.2m), whose average of 6.9 points per match is ranked top among forwards.

Indeed, having transferred out Everton’s Romelu Lukaku (£10.5m) in Gameweek 13, he only reacquired the top-scoring FPL forward in time for Gameweek 28.

Although he missed out on 11 of the Belgian’s goals over that spell, including a 21-point haul against AFC Bournemouth in Gameweek 24, Uwais remains philosophical.

Romelu Lukaku, Everton
Uwais missed out on 11 of Romelu Lukaku’s goals after ditching him in Matchweek 13

“You can’t hope to have all of the good players all of the time. On occasions, I've had to watch through my fingers when an explosive player goes up against ‘inferior’ opposition.”

Instead, the captain selection has been key to Uwais’s campaign, with 511 of his 1,878 points – more than a quarter – arriving from this single player alone.

Alexis Sanchez (£11.6m) has been a particular favourite, with the Arsenal midfielder – and FPL's top-scoring player – sporting the armband on nine occasions.

Having produced five double-digit hauls on the road (16, 10, 13, 23 and 11 points), scoring 12 of 18 goals, the Chilean’s habit of producing explosive returns away from home fits perfectly with one of Uwais’s key theories.

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal
Captaining Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, particularly away from home, has proven to be a profitable policy

“Lower-placed teams will come out and play at home, and it makes more sense to select captains from bigger teams in certain away matches.”

Despite claiming top spot, Uwais is taking nothing for granted.

He still has both his Bench Boost Chip and second Wildcard for a run-in that affords Manchester United, Arsenal and Southampton 11 matches in the remaining nine Gameweeks.

With eight other teams facing 10 fixtures in this period, the new FPL leader has no doubt on the importance of a busy season run-in.

“Double Gameweeks make it imperative to plan well ahead and maximise your opportunities. It hugely benefits those FPL managers willing to take the time to devise the most efficient strategy.

"As they say: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Uwais's own plans for the season's climax are already under way, as he bids to stay ahead of the chasing pack.

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