Another game week another headache in a suitcase.

A dramatic stoppage-time goal during the Manchester United smash-and-grab 3-2 at Brighton. Man City imploding at home losing 2-5 to Leicester. The Hammers keeping a cleanie and putting 4 past ‘who’s got triple’ Wolves. Chelsea conceding 3 in less than 30 minutes against West Brom

If this season is not going to follow the normal pattern, not settle down, if we are to perpetually face one drama after another, how should we tackle it ?

Why is it so erratic ?

Why are we drawn to going against logic ?

Why are we breaking the most basic FPL commandments ?

Why do we assume we can wild card ourselves out of this ?

XXXXX Yesterday at 8:22 PM
well my wildcards been a fraud
YYYYY Yesterday at 8:31 PM
I’m regretting using my wildcard ngl
[8:31 PM]
Hasn’t really made a difference
ZZZZZZ Yesterday at 8:33 PM
It’s made mine worse
[8:33 PM]
Soucek scoring is just fpl laughing at me
FPLxxxx Yesterday at 8:35 PM 
RIP to those whose used there wildcard this weekend 

Ever the optimist I am going to embrace chaos and actively look for opportunity, learn about what’s changed this season and apply it to my strategy and team tactics. Here’s my take.

Change 1

The effect of no crowds; Is Anfield less daunting ? Are defences under less pressure to perform? Is there any home advantage at all ?

The first couple of games, seeing stadiums completely empty and full of banners it felt eerie. But I asked players how they found it and some enjoyed the fact that there was no crowd getting on their back. Some thrive off that.

Chris Jauncey, Ukad doping control officer

You feel the energy coming off the crowd at a normal game, you feed off that and it encourages you to put even more in…But ultimately it just isn’t the same. There’s no element of football that is as good without fans as it is with them.

Mike Rankine, Crystal Palace stadium announcer

Conclusion : inconclusive for FPL. After 13 weeks of silent terraces and piped crowd noise the players are most likely adjusted. The home team no longer has a 12th man, the away team no longer has to scrape eggs and rotten veg off the team bus and be in fear of their lives – advantage even.

Change 2

The uneven playing field created by the staggered end of last seasons commitments and for some delayed start of this campaign, peppered with sporadic Covid illness, and dubious levels of fitness.

Conclusion : FPL is more of a lottery than ever.

Change 3

The increased penalties resulting from the new handball rules

…it’s not new and it wasn’t designed by outsider to wreck what makes English football great.

The law was modified by FIFA’s International Board (IFAB), a body that is 50% made up of the Welsh, English, Northern Irish and Scottish FAs and whose technical director, David Elleray, is English and an experienced former referee. The “guardians of the game,” in other words.

All the handball law does is clarify that the ball touching the arm/hand is punishable if it makes the body “unnaturally bigger,” or if the arm/hand is “above or beyond” shoulder level when it hits the arm/hand. It’s up to the referee to judge this.

Gabriele Marcotti Senior Writer, ESPN FC

So that’s cleared that up.

Jurgen you want to say something ? “Eric Dier didn’t do anything wrong and it’s a penalty. The only option is to cut our arms off!”

Conclusion : Finally something I can act on, add more penalty takers to the team and start only 3 at the back – lessens the risk surely ? (dream on)

Change 4

Fixture congestion means more matches and more televised matches (UK relevancy only) means more eye test time, which results in better player selection, subject to fitness/injury/transfer upgrade/Covid/warm up injury/randomness…help me somebody please

Conclusion : I am right out of optimism. Can this season get any worse ? Probably. Why can’t it just go back to normal ?

And tilt, I have stressed out just writing this stuff.

It’s all about control and more importantly the anxiety caused by the lack of it.

Is it selfish to want things to be the way we want them ? To want people to behave the way we think they should act, to score with regularity for example. We want control over things. That we can’t actually have these things doesn’t often matter. We want them nonetheless.

Is there any joy in chaos and disorder? They don’t live up to our ideals, so seeing the beauty/opportunity in them is foreign. They cause mental fatigue and embarrassment in our mini leagues. We need to open up to them (I’ve read this, experts implore me to tell you this, so it is under duress I do so) but we’re not used to it.

Dear reader, I offer you a choice, we can drown our sorrows over a bottle of vodka or take in a virtual Zen retreat.

In case you opted for the latter…

The bottom line is this season is out of control and out of OUR control. Learn to live with it. Everyone loses out sometime.

Lord Varys: ‘…Chaos? A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.’

Littlefinger: ‘Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.’

Taken from Game of Thrones season 3, episode 6.

Chaos may well be a ladder but this is the FPL ladder, tread carefully, some rungs are under review by VAR.


I don’t think I can go toe to toe against chaos, chaos cannot beat chaos, calmness and consolidation must. I will proceed with caution, making tried and trusted small steps.

Great work by @Sugeee_FPL on penalty takers’ stats


VIII. Check Yo’ Self

In preseason I made a few mental notes of patterns and assets I should avoid.  Yet, I sit here with 89pts from the first two gameweeks and Meslier as my GK, brought in on my WC.  Why is that?  What was the thought process at the time which convinced me to go from Ryan – a perfectly ok option – to Meslier, considering that they’d had 4 put past them at Anfield in the opener?!  Seriously, for the life of me, I cannot comprehend the thought process!  It’s now a transfer waiting to happen!  What a tool! 😜

I really should have made a written list of “not to dos” for continued reference!

We as humans are a community based species.  We like to be accepted, even those who are more introverted and reside at the “I hate people” end of the spectrum, still cannot shake their desire for connections, no matter what form that may take.  How does this innate attribute affect our decision making?  That desire to be part of the tribe.  It’s almost as if we’re pre-conditioned to herd mentality (we actually are, it’s primal survival instinct programming developed ever since we were either molded from dust or evolved from our pre-historic orgins).

How do I balance out “I’ve made my decision” tunnel vision, with the subconscious suggestions implanted by herd mentality?  How do I know that my logic was not contaminated at source?!  It runs contradictory to my default setting, as this means that once I’ve made my unshakable decision, I then need to second-guess myself to ensure that I truly have weighed up all the parameters, which in turn switches on another bug-bear of mine, indecisiveness.  I mean, FFS, how long does it take to decide between A & B anyway! 

Simply, I need to be aware that, despite my assumed total diligence, I’m pre-programmed to sabotage myself, and then compensate for it.  Continuation of this awareness will eventually result in a change to my default setting.  The development of  a “good habit” if you will.  

At the very least, I can own all the decisions made, as ultimately, I’ve made my own judgements – flawed as they may be – so I only have myself to laugh at!  Once the hysterics are done, I’m straight back to the analysis of what drove me to making these decisions and deciphering how to improve my cognitive processes in order to amass the points I should be getting.

Ha! You’re so full of it! 🤣

I’m not the type who beats myself up when things do not go according to my wishes.  I mean, I know from the start that a less than optimum result is always a possibility, and once the event is past, there’s really nothing to be gained from crying about it.  That is not to say that emotions can be ignored, but, do you control your emotions, or, do your emotions control you?!  I believe that in the moment, you make a decision (conscious or not) on how you’re going to react to any given situation.  My default is to release my frustrations, which range from a simple “Oh well” to walking away and doing something completely different  with no thought of the issue, returning to it later, by which point, my head is clear and the immediate emotions are gone.   It’s never good to address an issue when your thoughts are clouded by emotions, that’s a recipe for disaster!

Inevitably, FPL social media has stories of managers who like myself have not had the best opening two weeks, the voices in some of their heads questioning whether they should disembark from the ride. 

The question that came to me is, if you permanently walk away from a situation that is not going your way, as opposed to enduring, pushing through and turning said situation around, how will you improve your knowledge of self? 

I know that in the grand scheme of things, the game is trivial, but, it’s about building good habits and attacking even the little things, with the same ethos.  I guess it’s just the way I’m wired.  I see failure as a challenge, and I refuse to lose!  I mean even if I end up in excess of 1M OR, at least I’ve stayed the course to the bitter end.  There’s a triumph in that.  

Maybe I’m just sadistic! 😈

It helps that I have another innate trait.  I care not for the opinions of others.  I mean, we’re all molded by our experiences, from the time we become aware of ourselves, to this present moment as I type or you read this, and beyond.   Will all those experiences count for so little, that a passing comment from an essential stranger would carry enough weight to dismantle all those years of development which brought you to the person you are right now?!  

Like Fuck!  

In all of this pursuit to be better than those in your immediate social circle, leagues and ultimately, the world, what if your level is pre-ordained?

 Luck or not, can one really develop the skill required to beat them all?!

Bullish about my team, the deadline passes.  On the first day of games, only Digne (6pts, no CS) out of my 11 is scheduled to play.  It’s a good start.  

I’m away from the scores, enjoying the day.  Well into the afternoon, I quickly check-in. Chelsea are 3-1 down to WBA. 😂  I’m in tears, much to the confusion of the heathen around me.  This friend group do not follow football and are quite bemused at my joy! Unfortunately, said xJoy is tempered by FT.  Chelsea managed to achieve the draw.  Werner has blanked! My instinct to stay away from Chelsea assets, for now, paying off.

Yeah, and getting burnt by triple Chelsea in GW1 was not a factor, asshole?! 🤣

Anyway. Day 2, it’s Sunday morning, I’m up early, despite last evening’s frivolities with a slight head and full of anticipation! 8 assets play today, their results will define my gameweek. I’ve set my team for GW4.  The 1st game of today will see my 3 Leeds assets away to SHU at midday. 

You know earlier when I was praising my decision to get Meslier?!  Yeah, 10pts! 

Go me! 😅

Bamford scored & Klich got 1pt for the CS. Son was substituted at half-time.  Slightly annoying, but, I was really only ever in it for the money, to catch a rise, which I now have.  So my plans for Barnes and his b2b home games will happen.   Mahrez scores a screamer, at home vs LEI, in the 4th minute!  He won’t be 1.8% TSB for long, or will he?  Plans to roll the transfer if Son performed was a consideration, but it turns out Son has a hammy. Son 🔄 Barnes is done before 02:30hrs, just in case.  £0.1M banked.  My 💷 itb a healthy £2.0M, TV £99.0M.

Since when do WHU beat WOL 4-0?! Never expected Saiss/Jimenez to let me down!  I chalk it down to just a bad day for Wolves, both they and City (who lost 2-5 to Leicester) will both bounce back in their next respective matches for sure!

The third and final matchday of GW3 and I’m currently 9pts (accounting for the hit💉) above the average with Salah ©️ & Robbo to play.  It’s good, but there was room for much more.  The FPL Gods are a fickle bunch.  Bastards! The news of late fitness tests for Alisson & Thiago don’t help either! I love it though, being a Red on matchday with Salah ©️ 🤗. It’s what dreams are made of right?! 😅

An assist from my captain and a goal from Robbo.  No CS, but 62 (-4) to take me to a total of 147pts in a week where the average is 41pts!

I need to increase my average.

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FPL; random and chaos. The mighty highs of hauls, the fear of missing out, the typicality of low blows just when we thought we were safe.

Two weeks in and triggering the Wildcard is the new hope.

Here I sit 2 points below average on 57, (thanks Mr -2 Egan). My OR 2.5m, not ideal, but not a deal breaker.

My plan was to mini WC this week, and that’s what I have done, I am currently on -4, that might become a -8 by deadline.

I had intended the following

  • Auba to MCI asset (fixtures toughen, he is consistent but not explosive)
  • Salah to MUN asset (releasing funds)
  • upgrade Bamford

Here is where I am at

I have swapped up my midfield, the best source of points.

Havertz leaves for some EVE coverage, rotation risk Saka becomes rotation risk Podence (eye test endorsed), but most important of all Auba makes way for the paragon of FPL Kevin De Bruyne.

Salah stays, after his incredible GW1 statistics. Shots (9), shots on target (3), shots inside the box (8), expected goals (1.87 xG) and, of course, 3 goals scored ( 2 of which were penalties). He also had a massive 88 touches of the ball, 21 of which were inside the box.

The arrival of Thiago and his ability to both provide for and free up TAA & Robbo, should further benefit Salah.

Bamford ? what to do ? 21 points in 2 weeks, points which have saved me to be honest. Value, nailed, rising in price. Keep.

and yes I have considered captaincy

Addressing the weakest link. Egan’s red card means he is ineligible GW3 & comes back to face ARS LIV MCI CHE in the next five games, he can wait until next week rather than cost me -4 this.

Strategy going forward – cautious consolidation

“If you cover your feet, you have your head cold…”

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benítez famously describes football as a “short blanket”. You can’t cover everything, so sacrifices have to be made along the way.

I am comfortable sacrificing my defence. At least my cheap defenders are letting me down for less money. This season more than ever I am feeling the unpredictability of defenders, lets face it, last game week 44 goals were scored, surpassing the record 43 from February 2011. I am going to allow myself some grace on fixing my defence.

Captaincy is so important and must be high priority.

My returns so far, 14 points and 10 points. Steady and here’s that word again average. Owning Salah & Kevin means I have two excellent captaincy candidates (or a choice dilemma ) .

‘Always captain Salah at home’ makes sense, I am now considering ‘always captain Salah’ full stop.

Kevin has reportedly moved into a number 10 role and is on penalties, and this season more than ever feels like reliable source of points.

A pair of comfort blankets.

I am feeling the need to be cautious in these early weeks, going with reliable captains over explosive ones. Along with opponent form I will be checking captaincy polls before I make my decision, most likely going with the crowd, safety in numbers.

Formation, well I have somewhat cornered myself here, but at this stage of the season, 3 at the back is not a bad strategy. In the coming weeks defences will gel, get stronger and be worth spending money on.

These past two weeks there have been some amazing attacking hauls, I am hoping this continues and of course, benefits my team. A hattie from Mr Bamford against a weakened SHU defence would be an ideal differential.

I eagerly await the pressers, potentially I may still -8.

This blog was inspired by the Rudyard Kipling poem IF, as used by one of my favourite managers of all time, Mike Bassett.

VII. Money, Mane! Money.

It’s almost deadline for GW2.  The rush of excitement which is immediately tinged with apprehension once the countdown ends.  Jason reveals his WC on the live stream – then tinkers with it – in discussions with other managers.

A lesson in what not to do?

Whilst watching #BRICHE last week, I noted Lamptey, so now that I have Salah… 😍  I make a last minute change to my captaincy. 

Willian was my logical pick looking at stats and his points haul vs Fulham, but my heart wins out as Salah vs Alonso & Kepa is hilariously exciting!  Plus, can I really judge a captain pick on their display vs Fulham?! 😅

Discord watch-alongs are fun.  The emotions of FPL managers in real-time.  The banter.  The elation.  The resignation.  The wind-ups are my favorite though, closely  followed by the subliminal sabotage, they are competitors after all! 😁😇

On return from the skate-park (I’ll be feeling that fall tomorrow!) and the lad on “screen-time”, I check-out #LEEWBA with the crew in Discord “Hangouts”.  Klich – LEE £5.5M (9pts) is the hero of my afternoon!  Those of us who have him, revel in our shared elation.  Those who don’t, don’t! 😁 

Didn’t Jason tinker Klich out LIVE this morning?! 😆

Out of the 4 assets on my WC playing today.  There’s only a single return, yet, I’m more than happy with my team ☮✌🏿.  I know this is paramount in my management style.   When I’m not happy with my team, hits occur and historically, they’re mostly not to my benefit.

With the WC gone, brace yourself for the times when you won’t be! 😈

I’m in penultimate place in The Elite Invitational mini-league, Firetog being the one arse out of 76 others that I’m not staring at above me! 😄  I’ve asked him a few times this past week as to when he’ll play his WC.  You know, just looking out for his best interests.  Not that it matters much, his triple Liverpool defense got a CS today!  He’s left me floundering at League’s Bottom.

I’ve gotten rid of Wilson for Bamford as his price will rise tonight.  If you’d told me pre-season that I’d have triple Leeds in GW3, I’d have asked you for your dealer’s number! 

I was surprised to find out that Son had already gone down to £8.9.  He scored 4 goals today and is now also due a rise.  A tactical -4 Willian 🔄 Son has just been taken. I always planned to TF Willian out after WHU, just thought it would’ve been for Rodriguez or a Chelsea midfielder.  That said I don’t think Chelsea mids will  be a feasible option just yet.  CHE 0 – 2 LIV 😁!! Typically, Mane got both goals. 

I started GW1 with him.  It’s funny how FOMANE is not a thing.

Take note!


A known trait of my style is that I definitely pay attention to Team Value (or is it Squad Value?).  My GW38 TV last season was £108.5M!  In the latter stages of the season, good TV becomes a healthy advantage!  I need to be smarter with my speculating this season and find the correct balance between accumulating points & TV.  As of this morning, my TV is already £100.9M!  The price market is full-on this week and I don’t see it calming down anytime soon! My current squad is unachievable to many now, so overall, my squad is a differential in itself! Personally, this is a very important part of my season strategy, it’s something I realised early on in my still fledgling FPL management career. Building team value, especially in the opening weeks of the season, will have a lasting impact throughout the whole season, hence my -4 move for Son. That’s how much importance I feel is attached to it. £0.1M for a -4 hit. Sounds like madness, but I’m convinced of it’s worth in the long run. It’s a calculated gamble. Worst case scenario, I sell Son at purchase price. More likely however, with his upcoming fixtures, he’s purchased in droves by the multitudes and I jump off of him at his peak, banking at least £0.2M in the process.

The Monday Night Football got me returns from KDB & Jimenez, but, Mahrez didn’t move from the bench, so Saiss comes in with a 1 pointer in the #WOLMNC game.  Foden scored! I’m not worried, even though the last minute captain switch ended up a net zero difference as both Willian & Salah blanked! 54pts is an improvement on last weeks haul 😄 and I have a small green arrow. Also, I beat Aman Dhillon in the Elite FPL H2H League! Aman is a very good manager, I’m pleased, I’m 1 and 1, and…  I’m now directly below Firetog! It’s a funny old game.


His spot is waiting.

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VI. Wondrous Calamity

Ok, what now?!

I dunno, come back to it later.

Those two Steve-O streams.  Fucking wonderful!  We as people, why are we so quick to judge, yet so slow to understand, or even attempt to??  

I’ve slept.  I can see GW1 starting it’s slow fade into rearview.  My starting 11 have never seen Lady Luck.  That, or they did see her, didn’t acknowledge and were subjected to her scorn.  

Oh well. Shit happens.

It’s bad though, I’m gonna be playing catch-up for a while, my plans to focus on feathering my team with City & Utd assets are not going to address the smouldering ashes.  Willian is sitting all shiny in the middle of the screen, while I ponder a -4 for either of Havertz or Werner.  I’m gonna have to wait for the pressers to see which to move.

Martial sounds interesting.


He looked so good, despite only scoring 1 of his hat-trick in open play.  Reminds me of when he joined us in 2018.  The Egyptian King!  Penalties, didn’t expect those to become a thing so soon!  

Damn!  Look at those fixtures!

Everton, who would’ve guessed?!  

Someone who plays this game a damn sight better than you! 😂

I never equated for the possibility of teams doing better than I assumed and what I’d do if I want to jump on them.  I was quite blinkered in the assets I considered.  Duly noted.  Double Southampton, KWP & JWP.  Not great, but I can deal.  Werner is 75%, the Belisha beacon as the focal point of my #Power5 midfield.  Mane is due for a price drop and my plan required every ounce of the £100M war chest.  My bench is a conspicuous horse of Troy devoid of any gifts to assist my dilemma. 

With that point haul, all I want to do is push on and start the claw-back.  It is a marathon after all, I have time.  

I still want to get back into the pack asap!

I’m looking at the planner, forging options.  None of them meet my “I now like my team” turn around window.   I’m keeping an eye on the fplstatistics site in disbelief, more mental than last season!   Mane is going to drop, tonight!  The visions of my GW4 team are becoming doubtful, quite a few of those assets may cost just that bit more, which will mean sacrifices.


With all of that, could I go for it and get a head start on the rest, with assets & team value?  It could kick-start the claw-back… 🤔  I put a team together, look at it side by side with my current squad… 


I’m still watching that delta, contemplating a -8.  King Kun put together a break-down of my team and the potential price swings, it’s not fantastic reading.  After dinner – I always think more clearly on a full stomach, or when I’m emptying it 🙂 – I take another stab at a WC team.  This one has potential, it catches the price rise on a few assets too.  

I’ve tweaked the price-points of the defense, I like it much more than the former and I’ve still managed to keep the rest of the price-points intact. 

Ok, let’s do this!

Beating the price drops and poised to benefit from the rises instead, I’m immediately positive of a way forward.  Activate & confirm!  Now the only thing I’m left to do is decide which asset to take a 1-week punt on from LEE in their home fixture against FUL. 


Realising that it’s time to go back to the drawing board, not caring about opinions on when you should or should not do something.  Deliberating without obstinacy then taking decisive action and enhancing that decision to the best of your ability with the extra knowledge you have from your previous failed plans, is always to your benefit and strength of character.  

Not to mention the satisfaction of sticking two fingers up at the world!


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