GW28💉: I went into this gameweek thinking-forward. Continuing the repositioning of my squad. Pope 🔄 Mendy. That would’ve been it, but, I was lured into the Bale trap, for Raphinha no less! To add insult to injury, I capped Bale for 2pts! Raphina bagged 3pts at home vs Chelsea. 5pts in-the-mud. Still would have had a captain fail though, Kane & Son blanked too! 1.31M.
BGW29💉: Son got injured, so I took a punt which doubled as repositioning to take advantage of a great fixture run. Ødegaard. Cancelo had no fixture, so a one-week punt on Aina fell flat on it’s face. Captain Dunk was not a total disaster for 12pts, but captaining Lingard for 24pts would’ve seen me fly! I went for safety, balancing out the mental Aina pick! I must remember to go fully mental at all times! -3 Net 😂1.34M.
GW30💉💉: The beginning of my triple Chelsea defence adventure. I capped Azpilicuetafor “nil pwa” 😆. They lost 2-5 to WBA! Hits taken for Bale 🔄 Jota & Dunk 🔄 Rüdiger. The latter of these being an unnecessary transfer really, but I was fully convinced by Chelsea’s recent form and upcoming fixtures, thus a great differential, at least in my head 🤪. The gameweek, in the end, was way more about my captain fail than taking the hits, without Jota, I’d still have had a red arrow. 3 assets in my side returned double-figures! Highlighting the importantance of captaincy choice. Obviously. 😆 +3pts Net. 1.378M.
After all of that, I’m 6pts to the good! A lot of hits for just 6pts! I do have a better squad though. 🤪😂 As I’ve always known, and have stated in previous blogs, captaincy choice is my real weakness. So, a renewed attempt to improve and achieve a run of good captain picks is imperative for the rest of the season. Starting with…
European Super League. I half expect that Levy sacked Mourihno now because he knew it would be a footnote on the BIG news of the week! 😂
The thing is though, when you get past the romantic🌹rose-petal🌹view of the league system we’ve become accustom to over the years, something stinks. 💩 In every major league in Europe, the simple fact is, hegemony rules. In France, who’s gonna win the league besides PSG?7 out of the last 10 seasons. The Budesliga, Bayern München, 8 from 10 with Borrussia Dortmund winning the other two. In Spain’s La Liga, only thrice during the last 20yrs has the title been won by a team which was not either of Barcelona (10) or Real Madrid (7). England, only due to the creation of the Premier League (that the whole world loves as it is by far the most viewed football league in the world) and the money pumped in by licensing, Oligarchs, Oil rich states and American sports moguls are we afforded a sort of competitiveness. Yet in the last 20 years only once (Leicester) has the dominance of the Big 6, Man Utd (6), Chelsea (5), Man City (4, soon to be 5), Arsenal (2), Liverpool (1) not held sway (“unluckeeey” Spurs!🤣), and let’s be honest if not for the big money injections I referred to just a second ago, United & Liverpool would be well on course to create La Liga 2.0 in England. As much as we may hate to admit it, in many ways our league was saved from predictable monotony because of big money. Also, let’s not forget that the Premier League came into existence on pretty much the exact same arguments being stated by the “..founding members…” of the proposed Super League! Serie A, if you’re not Juventus, 9 consecutive titles to date, or one of the Milan clubs, you’ll never win the title!
The money from domestic TV rights and/or Champions League involvement has created a skewered playing field, where the rich clubs will, and are, slowly become richer, especially those who have cajoled the system in their favour due to historically being a big club and/or belonging to an elite cabal of domestic european leagues. For example, a lower tier team, let’s say Eredivisie’s Ajax or PSV, make it to the semi-finals of the CL. The revenue generated and the cut they receive from UEFA will be dwarfed by the sum received by the likes of Barcelona if they were knocked out of the competition at the same stage! Even though Ajax & PSV dominate their leagues much in the same way Real Madrid and Barcelona dominate theirs, who outside of the Netherlands watches the Eridivisie?! And thus, this is how the money is distributed between the clubs and whether you like it or not, commercially, the clubs with the most “pull” have a right to demand more of the spoils. I know I would. If many of you reading this, had a product that was the bomb you’d want a larger slice of the cake because it’s your specific ingredient that draws the crowds. You see, we’ve all created the monster. We all want to have that star player in our teams (who comes with an astronomical price tag and associated wages), we all want the dream of playing the European Elite via a top 4 finish, and so on, and so on. We seem to forget the aspirations and subsequent conformity of reality telling the fans of “the other” 14 teams in the PL, every season, to know their place! Imagine being the fan of a club who will NEVER win the Premier League, how do you even get excited about a new season?! Everton, West Ham, Aston Villa, clubs with rich history, do you think they’ll ever win the Premier League as it stands, much less the Champions League, should they qualify?! And then even ifthey won, or qualified, would they receive the same sized slice as a Man U, City or Liverpool in the same position? No. The Elephant has been in the room for the past 20yrs, inconspicous only because of the rose-petal view I mentioned at the start.
UEFA & FIFA, the FA & Premier League, Sky & BT, along with other domestic national football associations & broadcasters, all in their own ways, have fed the elephant increasing amounts of the muscle-inducing protein rich peanuts over the decades and now not even rose coloured glasses can hide the behemoth it has become! Yet, their commercial mismanagement and subsequent distribution of said peanuts has not been enough to satiate the hunger. They’ve sorely underestimated the voracity of The Elephant’s appetite and the strength of the chains they assume bound it!
The harsh reality is, maybe, just maybe, putting all these elite clubs into their own sandpit will in someway level the playing field across the board. You see, I believe that in one way or another, the creation of an arena where the elite get to truly pit their wits against each other on a regular basis, is the potentially unwanted, yet inevitable evolution of the football pyramid. You see, #MoneyTalks. However, in the name of hope, aspiration and at least an attempt to seem fair, this cannot and must notbe a closed shop, AND, the solidarity payment structure must be overhauled to truly benefit grassroots football across all of Europe! There has to be a way for fans, players, chairpersons and all involved in any club… to dream! To dream of one day joining that Elite league! Also, for the love of ever increasing standards and competitiveness, there has to be a way for even an Elite club, to fall from grace and suffer for any complacencies on their part!
The David & Goliath stories. The rags to riches stories. This is the pyramid of football! This is the very essence of the game! This is where the real romance lies!
For context, I should probably tell you that I write my blogs over a collective number of days, or hours (which ever comes first), never in one single flowing moment… that’s not how my inspiration works. The tap comes on, I write until the water runs dry, then I stop… and reconvene when the tap starts flowing again…
It finally happened! A green arrow after taking a -8! Achievement unlocked!! So now I’m going for consecutive green arrows after a -8💉💉. Mind you, with Son playing a double, is that even a hit?! 🤔 I didn’t need to make the Dallas move, but with 3 of my defenders starting in their UCL matches midweek and Cresswell with a hamstring injury, I could see the possibility of not being able to field 3 defenders. I’ve bought Son in purely because of Spurs’s DGW. His demeanour is not the best, I reckon The Special One is having the same affect on Son that the 💀Dementors💀 had on Harry!! Who in that squad will wield a Patronus? 🧙🏿♂️ Or will their 2 star players simply hand in transfer requests this summer and leave Tottenham at the mercy of Death Eaters? 💀 I’ll be paying close attention to the nuances of the player/manager interaction over their next 2 matches, as being 2-deep in Spurs assets is making me uneasy, I want to have an immediate extraction plan in my back pocket! #abortmission#breakthetemplate
So here’s a thing. I’ve owned Lingard since GW29 and he now has 3 consecutive double figure returns! Why have I not considered captaining him? I’ve been talking – in Hangouts – about the “Lingard Effect” for weeks, even before I bought him into my squad. When I think about it, how many times have I heard content providers wax lyrical about an asset and yet not own the asset, not even bring the asset in, and then bemoan the fact that they didn’t, in their subsequent stream?! This is now something I’ve made a mental note of. I’m injecting it into my subconscious. Act on and embellish my intuition! Sometimes a player is just hot, and when that happens, get them and abuse them, while they are!! Whilst on the subject of Lingardinho, there’s been enough muttering in the FPL environment for me to notice this xG/xA/xwhatthefuckareyoutalkingabout discussion that is making the rounds, where JLingZ will eventually stop over-achieving and revert to the norm, which I believe is being used as an argument to not get him in! Excuse me, but that’s the most ludicrous argument I’ve ever heard! We’re talking about the points we want to gain right now, in the immediate gameweek, not a few gameweeks down the road! Owning JLingZ these past 3 gameweeks has kept me afloat – Yes, I’m still at 1.3xM in OR, since GW25!!! – and I’m hearing people debating bringing him in!? Talking about consecutive reoccurrences, Arsenal have scored 3 or more goals for their third match in a row – in 4 of the last 5 matches for that matter – and Aubame-blooclaart-yang has only played 170mins and provided a solitary assist during this run, Malaria notwithstanding. This is why I own Lacazette, because when Arsenal score, he’s usually involved! Laca has been consistently appearing in the p90 stats for sometime now, it’s a stat that carries some weight in my scouting process…
Staying afloat, treading water. I know this is partly because of hits – although those hits have in some gameweeks prevented huge rank drops – but, it’s mostly because my captaincy calls of late have been dire! In fact, worse than dire, total utter shite! It’s been my achilles 🦶🏿 all season! I did have a little run of getting them right, but overall, this is the worst part of my game. Not really sure how I improve this, at the moment. It’s a work in progress! I’m quite sure it was Mark Sutherns who mentioned in FPL Blackbox, how managers can put more weighting onto the defence their potential captain choice is playing against, as opposed to simply giving that attacking choice of captain the most weighting. When I heard him say this, the penny kind of dropped, as it’s exactly what I’ve been doing, ALL season!!! 😒
One of the things that has influenced my watchlist, gaining a little more weight as the season has progressed, ultimately culminating into a reason why players that make my squad – something that I have to credit Blonde with planting the seed which has grown to become relevant in my scouting process – I always initially looked at the process of eye-testing a player as simply watching their skill on and off the ball, how hungry they look in play/the effort they put into it, and that was the end of it. However, I came to believe that these elements can be interpreted quite subjectively, especially by someone like me who really has no technical knowledge in assessing whether a player is gifted in a true football sense. These interpretations can also be awash with bias, consciously or not! What I am intune with though, is emotional expression. To be fair, it’s something that we’re all intune with really, it is inbuilt, it is primal, and for me a much clearer and uncontaminated barometer. The look on a players face, a primal roar, clenched fists, spontaneous uncontrollable expressions of pure elation for a personal achievement which initiates a release of tension! These little inflections combined with how the rest of the team react to said player and/or even how the manager reacts to a player in the moment. These are things we’ve been discussing in Discord Hangouts for weeks now and they all (in our opinions) can be very telling indicators of a player who is about to hit, or is in form! When a player is (and it’s obvious when you say it out loud) seeing the benefits of their hard work – a goal goes in after too many minutes of trying, or their assist ends in a goal (finally!), or the manager starts to put them in the starting 11, or brings them on, they score and the player runs straight to said manager and celebrates with them… – this player is more likely to defy the stats, they’re likely to hit a #purplepatch and it’s self-perpetuating! It’s time to own this player, the planets are aligned, forget about stats and the like! The latest player to catch my eye in this context, is Cavani, something in his eyes when he was celebrating his goal against Tottenham struck a chord with me! I’ll be keeping a weather-eye on him! 👀
A player doesn’t necessarily have to be topping or even appearing in the higher echelons of the stat tables to be an asset worthy of a place in your squad. Knowing this can help you to #beatthetemplate and get those early hauls before the herd catch on!
If you had asked me even a week ago, I wouldn’t have thought this way, but now that my vision is no longer blurred by the assets I covet – as I’ve already transferred them in now, the blinkered, tunnel-vision of my squad members is removed. A detriment that I must correct! 😁 – Bruno Fernandes. What’s to be done with him?! Not that money is a problem as overall my squad value plus £itb equals £109.3M, but, Bruno is not carrying his weight in the squad. I have no faith or reason to captain him, and cheaper assets may well be worth taking a punt on! He’s gone the standard 4 gameweeks in my squad without decent returns, which is always a red-flag for me! I may bring this down to 3 gameweeks in future! The issue is, who do I want to get rid of him for!? Bowen? Pereira? Raphinha? Who knows… Safe to say, Bruno is on thin ice. (I’m now listening to FPL BlackBox, and it seems I’m not the only one! And, yes @1lifesoccer, I know we crucified you for mentioning this a week ago in our “FPL experiment” meeting! 👌🏿 You were ahead of the curve! 😂 #BrunoOut. A few things I’ve referred to in this blog have also occurred toAz & Mark, they’re systematically dismantling my blog!I’m not re-writing it!). The crazy in me, has been whispering Pereira in my ear for a week now and it’s growing like some eerie spectre in my mind! If Allardyce has really got his lads believing, it wouldn’t be the craziest punt! Well, he has been outscoring Bruno, quite easily in fact and his xGI is equally crazy! If WBA do anything, he’s pretty much always involved! Plus, the fun and xJoy (credit again to FMLFPL where I first heard this term, easily over a year ago!) would be incalculable!
Ah! I have a confession to make… I’m gonna Captain Kane… I don’t know why I was originally leaning towards Son, but I’ve come to my senses. I’m not going to attempt to get a differential captain in this particular gameweek. It’s a step beyond. I’m not feeling it, not this week. I feel that I have enough differentials in my team to not gamble on a potential Kane haul. Thoughts change.
My rule breaking rebellious approach to the end of this season continues apace and I’m revelling in each and every astonishing decision, based on the xJoy of freedom I receive from each one. 😁
Even if the Captain Kane decision is more shield 🛡 than sword 🗡.
I’ve been laid out on my back most of the week. Not due to indulgence of dopamine inducing activity 😉, but due to inadvertently straining my lower back on Bank Holiday Monday and subsequently ruining my week off of work! What you gonna do?! 😂 Not much, really! 😆 You just have to put it down to one of those things, change tact and work within the new parameters to the best of your ability! #simplez 😸
Insouciance: a relaxed and calm state : a feeling of not worrying about anything
Much like many, many other FPLers, I want to have a brilliant gameweek, EVERY week. Now, although this is possible, the probability of this happening week in, week out, is highly unlikely. I make my peace with that #acceptance. I allow, or maybe even prompt myself to recognise, reinforce, remember and accept this fact as each gameweek deadline approaches. I consciously started doing this earlier in the season, it’s now a default subconscious setting #braintraining, which attributes to my recently newfound insouciance. Way back in XII. Calm Before The Storm, I referenced the feeling of bravado that I came to recognise as a reoccurring phenomenon, going into EVERY gameweek deadline! I’d set my team, confident that it would amass >80pts, EVERY week! Really?!!! 😂 This would obviously and inevitably set me up psychologically for the “Helloooo!” of reality 😂, long before the final whistle was blown on a closing gameweek, where you enjoy the disappointment of the rapidly disappearing achievement of obtaining +100pts that gameweek! 🤣
I have pre-gameday bravado again, really optimistically caught up in my own cognitive justification. Woe is me! 🤣
DreadFPL – XII. Calm Before The Storm
Self-punishment. Priming your psyche to be continously disappointed by setting unrealistic targets, or just simply weighting too much happiness on an expected outcome. It’s a fallacy.
What I’m saying is, you reduce your probability of doing well at this game, when you continously sabotage yourself!
There are managers out there with really good and even consistent season ranks. I hazard a guess that these managers, although not infallible (I mean, we are all human right!), most likely do not continously align and thus view the inevitable ups and downs of their FPL results through an emotional prism, but instead view their gameweek totals through a prism of logical cognition, thus providing the very basis of their continued fortune, because as everybody knows, you’re more likely to make erroneous decisions when you’re emotionally tilted! It would be like crying over spilt milk, then proceeding to spill more, right?!! 😂 #neverendingcycle
So, I put my back out, Ødegaard out and #LacaCap, out. No way I’m captaining Laca without their creative maestro on the pitch! As you can probably tell, it’s Friday, it’s roughly lunchtime, and I woke up to Ødegaard being red flagged. The sensible option would be to just bench him, but, I’ve taken leave of my senses, or have I?! I review my watchlist: Mahrez, Son, Salah & Raphina…. Then I decided on Maddison. I’ve refrained from captaining him. 😁
I’m breaking all the best practice rules as the season draws to a close. Not only is this fun, it’s an experiment on many levels. I can indulge in focused wanton lust of who I think may be the next best new thing, whilst also transitioning my squad (as I have no WC). My instinctual strategy, a thought of many gameweeks now, is that of a continual transition, like the inner workings of a timepiece, I must continously harmonise a number of moving pieces, rising or falling form, fixture swings, price swings, purple-patches… amongst other elements that do not readily come to mind. Thing is, it’s really not at all complicated. Fluidity.
I’m also adamant that I’ll get one -8 to work!! 🤣 I essentially did get one to work last gameweek, even though the arrow was red, I just want a green one! #biteme 🤣 Seriously though, I want to see if the really bold strategy can be sporadically employed, decipher when it works and in which scenarios, as I believe that there’s a time for everything! #belikewater The outside bet, like the Ødergaard punt in a sporadically performing team taken in GW29, well, I got scuppered by injury on that one. The shoots of returning form for a previously class asset in an equally previously class team now with improving stats & form… TAA? The return of a talismanic player in Maddison, right as he’s about to play his first returning match after injury in a side currently displaying good form? These and other nuances of my Endgame will form a terms of reference for more focused opening strategy of play for next season. The method in my madness, if you will. Style. There you were, thinking this was all off the cuff?! Shame on you!! 🤣
It’s been a slow burn, but, I just might get a green arrow as long as DCL doesn’t pull a blinder tonight! Jota cap, a change on Saturday when Ødergaard was confirmed out, if I hadn’t changed, I’d be celebrating #LacaCap this Monday morning! How was I to know that Martinelli would start in place of a not even on the bench Auba?!! I assumed they’d be devoid of creativity! 👀Maddo, he broke lockdown rules, so he too didn’t even make the bench! There was no way I could account for that in my deliberations! Another #sodslaw episode this gameweek, what you gonna do huh!? 😂 #ontothenext
The one true miscalculation was not putting DCL as 1st sub?! 🤔 #captainhindsight 😒#boreoff!! 🤣 Rüdiger had a header cleared off the line, so no, bench line up was sound (it’s ok Vince, you can come out of hiding 😂 #playyourowngame, right?!), plus, I’ve been waiting to drop DCL for weeks! Nah, my squad is ream mate!! 😈🤣
I must admit, stats weigh heavy in my decision making, especially when those stats are consistent for a sustained period of time. With this on mind, I went into this gameweek feeling a bit pompous about my Triple Chelsea Defence: Mendy – Azpilicueta – Rüdiger. I could already see the 18pts they’d give me. I was so confident, I put the armband on Azpilicueta! I was expecting to go into the 2nd match of GW30 already on a haul!
“A dead cert.” Is something that is definitely going to happen, like taxes, death, and WBA not putting 5 goals past a defence I’m still waiting to get points from! Rüdiger was rested, luckily. Typically, after 9 clean sheets in their previous 12 PL matches, they decide to concede 5 goals in the 13th match of this run, when I start 3 in defence for the 1st time, (actually any Chelsea defensive asset for that matter!). #sodslaw 😈 I’ll be starting all 3, again, in GW31 away to Crystal Palace. #GoBigOrGoHome 😁
So, 1st match of the gameweek and I’m on a hiding to nothing! 😄 No assets in the #LEESHU match, but I’m glad there’s no CS for either team, as this helps soften the rank drop! #LEIMCI I check my phone to realise that neither Stones nor Gündogan started! So, no points in that match either!! 3 no shows + 2 nil pois returns from 5!! It’s been a good afternoon rehearsing with the band though. 😎🔊🎶🎙🎹🥁🎸🎸 On the way home, TalkSport informs me that Jota hasn’t started – I took a hit to drop Bale for him! Can things get any worse for my starting 11?! 🤔😏🤭 I’m currently on 1 for 5 (-8)!!! 😳😂
Jota comes on in the 61st minute, 2 goals later, he’s delivered 12pts! Glad I took that hit, as Bale made a 5 minute cameo appearance! Odegaard, there was a reason he was 3rd bench, has 2pts pending for me on auto-sub. 14 (-8) for 6. The rank drop is in the hundreds… of thousands. 😐 ☀️Easter Sunday☀️, the weather is sweet and “eggs” are hidden, found, then hidden again, because it’s fun!! 😁 During all this sun & laughter, followed by a hearty Easter Sunday dinner, Kane has returned 13pts and Watkins has 7 bench points waiting to be tallied! Bruno returns me 5pts in the evening match, and I’m starting to see chances, however faint, of miraculously achieving a green arrow! 🤞🏿
So, Matchday 3. This is it. 2 games, 3 assets. DCL does nothing, there’s a reason why he’s 1st bench, and that’s more because of my non-belief in the Palace defence than faith in DCL returns! He’s on the chopping block anyway, I’ve held him for far too long! Since my WC in GW20, 43 for 12. Just not good enough. Only JLingZ & Cresswell can save me! 1 CS in their last 6 now, I’m gonna have to keep an eye on this, Cresswell’s spot in my squad could be vulnerable. JLingZ though, season keeper! They combine to deliver 13pts, only 1 of which is from the defender! Only a clean sheet would’ve truly saved me from…
I got away with a 35k red arrow! Luck, decent squad, bit of both… whatever, I’ll take it! The bigger problem is, I got to 1.3xM OR in GW25… and I’m hovering… the red arrows have been more common of late, as well as the hits. 7 in 6 GWs, it could be 9 in 7 the way my plans are going! 🤭
GW30 Closing Rank: 1.37M – Not the best start to my Endgame, but, it could’ve been worse! On to the next.
GW31, forging ahead with the planned ethos. 😁 #LETSGO!!!
“Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time! I’m having a Ball!”
Impromptu. I never planned to pen an entry this week. I had a break. Not saying I didn’t think about FPL at all, considering I’m now on a -8! There may be trouble ahead… 😈
I’ve been a bit bored really. I just want GW30 to start so I can gauge the initiation of my Endgame. In my head, I’ll be ending this season, the way I plan to start the next… Fixturecentric, albeit closing out with far more aggression as I look to corner the remaining points on the board.Cheque, mate! 😆 I’m also planning out my transfers until the end of the season, much like I’ll plan out my first 10 gameweeks as a single block at the start of the next (using smaller blocks as the middle game begins), except for December, as this season I treated the whole month and New Year fixtures as a single block. December & the Festive fixtures was a decent spell for me.
So, I’m here again, going into a gameweek on a -8. Aina – Dunk – Bale 🔄 Azpilicueta – Rüdiger – Jota. Will 3rd time be a charm? My previous two -8s ended with a red arrow. It’s the second attempt this season at targeting assets in games where I think they’ll get decent returns, combined with them also being long-term assets. Pretty much every transfer from now on is a season-keeper, not enough games left now to get an asset in, only to get them out again, not the way I’m approaching the end of the season anyway.
This change has been building over the last few gameweeks. I’ve been reset by the cumulative experiences & results of the season to date. The international break was the final step in this metamorphosis. The cognitive process is new. There’s no deliberation. The action either feels good and is executed. Or, it feels bad, is dismissed, then on to the next. Liberated. I actually feel free! 😃🤘🏿
The anticipated results of my cognitive processing exhilarate me more than the potential accumulation of FPL points!
Let’s GO with the remaining gameweeks already!!! 😁