XLVI. Carnage

I’m all for making a point. Having endured The Shit Show of Statler & Waldorf (aka Hicks & Gillet) who where well on their way to bankrupting our club, I feel a camaraderie with United supporters in respect of The Glazers. That said, breaking into the ground immediately undermines the point being made.

Flipping it again however, the fact that in the end, the game was postponed, has played havoc with the fixture schedule, (probably not what Utd need right now) and must’ve also affected the revenue stream, at least temporarily, for all of the leeches involved! So a message has been delivered! Much like the two muppets pictured directly above were, the Glazers are also parasites!

To my delight though, as I’ve said before, I revel in Chaos!! It turned into carnage for many FPL managers who own Man Utd or Liverpool, not to mention City and Chelsea assets! 🤣

I’ve seen squads up to 6 assets deep for this game and I’m sure they’ll be an avalanche of hard luck stories come the end of the GW34 Blackout. To accompany this, Rüdiger was injured, with Pep & Tuchel rotating nigh all their defensive options! This has left managers with anything up to 8 assets, not returning a single point! “UNLUCKEEEY!!” 😁

But, that’s not all!! Kane blanked! In a match where Bale scored a hat-trick, and Son got a goal and an assist (with another goal marginally called offside)! If you capped an option from ManU/Liverpool?! #InTheMud!! 🤘🏿🤣

Now all of this may have added up to working in my favour, as my “break all the rules” uninhibited closing strategy continues. Naturally, going into the now BGW34 😯, a single hit 💉 (-4) was never going to cut it! 🤣

Instinct warned me I’d have a defensive headache, even before the Rüdiger injury news, so when that particular news greeted me on Friday morning, well… another hit 💉 and Welcome! Castangne (2pts. Net -2)! 😄 It could’ve been Stones 🔄 Cancelo, but, City don’t have a double-gameweek and the triple Chelsea defence has run its course.

Leicester held the clean-sheet until the 61st minute. Which is a minute beyond when the clean-sheet points get added, right?! You couldn’t make it up! 🤣 The way the gameweek had gone up till now, it was no surprise when my cap choice, Matheus Pereira, blanked. Alas, Wolves huffed & puffed in the Black Country derby, yet Pereira returned less than my bus team captain choice of Iheanacho (he just keeps delivering!). I’ve ended up with a 60k rank drop to 1.29M.

At least I’m not back at the 1.3xM mark! 😁 I’m going to console myself with double Liverpool defence and pop my BB Chip to reinvigorate my xJoy!

Like, why the hell not! #fastandloose with the now obligatory double-hit! #norules 💉💉😁

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XLV. Black Out

So, yeah, I get it, honestly I do. The game (well at least in the EPL) will boycott all social media for the duration of gameweek 34. From 3pm on Friday 30th April to 11.59pm on Monday 3rd May . This step, although commendable, is for me, tinged by despair.

Despair that there is no unified groundswell of unanimous and spontaneous tribalism of the final straw kind, like that which we saw develop within hours of the supposed and now “dead” European Super League. That happened literally in hours!!!

Bamford sums it up succinctly…

So don’t tell me that we as fans, clubs, managers and governing bodies, et-al, don’t have the power to change the game!? I just witnessed it!

I saw Chelsea, Spurs & Arsenal fans… Liverpool, United & City fans, immediately coordinating a common-purpose approach to defy Big-Money!! It was done with a fervent passion, by tribes that usually wouldn’t dream about coming together!

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You see for those of the initial generations born in the UK, whose parents or grandparents were not, we were conditioned to the extent that generally, we shrugged our shoulders and moved on, accepting the undercurrents of the status-quo, in the main.

However, when faced with the Super League response, you can understand why initially, many see it as a right smack in the face. The young ‘uns are not conditioned to the extent of older generations, if at all! They’re the new breed and they’re not having it! Their response is anger & frustration, which is also where many of us oldies eventually arrive!

WE want action now!! (and rightly so!)

This is pissing the fuck out of the old guard who are used to the response of us oldies who used to generally, take it on the chin.

I genuinely put my hands up to these young ‘uns, quietly disappointed in my own acceptance ofWell, that’s just the way it is…“.

I mean, why should the younger generations conform the way previous generations have?! I’m sure as hell not teaching my son to turn the other cheek!

We all need to keep society moving, right?!!!

Chelsea 'alerted to racist fan in 2014' | Sport | The Sunday Times

It’s never been acceptable, and after ALL this time, as a 70s baby, our offspring are still ripe to receive this shit entering the 6th following decade?! And, still I hear people complaining more about players taking the knee, over and above the issue they’re highlighting?!

Nah, fuck that shit!

As the late and great Bunny Wailer said… “Rise…“!

#NoRoomForRacism ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻

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XLIV. Meh.

Jenny Lord Deep Dive

Another -8, another green arrow. Bored of it now. Been there, done that. 😁 I am now in the process of achieving a rather unwanted yet possibly 🤔 mind-bogglingly genius 🤓 level-up! I’ve manage to maintain an OR of 1.3xM for the past 8 consecutive gameweeks! #treadingwater #skillunlocked 😆 This achievement commenced immediately after arriving at my highest rank of the season, yet. GW24, no hits. Gündogan ©️ 38pts. 1.1M.

Fuck it, grab a tank, goggles & flippers! Let’s go deep!

GW25💉💉: Hudson-Odoi 🔄 Raphina©️ 24pts! Antonio (out for Kane) miraculously recovered from his GW24 injury to nab 7pts away to Tottenham! I still can’t fault the cognition at the time, them’s just the breaks. +10pts Net.1.37M. 🙄😏

DGW26: I made a conscious decision to take no hits in this gameweek. At least I maximised my Bruno triple-captain fail of 18pts! 😆 1.36M.

DGW27💉: I said goodbye to Salah for what may still turn out to be the final time this season, after he’d hoodwinked me into getting him back just 3 gameweeks earlier! Son returned 5pts. Salah’s 2pts vs Fulham @ Anfield means, -1 Net.1.34M. Gündogan©️ 20pts.

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 Azpilicueta for “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.

GW31💉💉: Watkins & Ødergaard 🔄 Lacazette & Maddison. Laca was always coming in for an Arsenal double-up, but Ødergaard picked up an injury, so out he went for Maddo. However, Maddo broke social-distancing rules and didn’t feature. -3 Net (Watkins got 8pts away to Liverpool) despite the 13pts gained from Laca. 1.370M. Jota©️ 4pts. Overthinking may have cost me rank, I had the ©️ on Laca up until hours within the Saturday morning deadline! 😄

DGW32💉💉: Gündogan & Cresswell 🔄 Son & Dallas. Long story, short. +5pts Net. Kane©️ 24pts. 1.34M.

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…

BGW33💉: Fernandes 🔄 Greenwood. Iheanaco 24pts! 😁 HUZZAH!! 🍻 -3pts Net. 1.23M!!

That went well!

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XLIII. Elephant

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!

r/soccer - List of Top 5 Leagues' winners since the turn of the century

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 if they 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.

This chart shows the revenue of the big five european league clubs

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 not be 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!

Without it, football dies.

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XLII. Ramblings

Old face black man with a cigarette Top quality wallpapers 960x1264

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

GündoganDCLCresswell 🔄 SonIheanachoDallas

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 afloatYes, 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!!! 😒

g help GIF

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 to Az & 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 🗡.

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