The gameweek following an international break is often a frustrating affair, and Gameweek 30 proved to be just so. For our FPL teams, the average score this week was a measly 28 points, while for the Top 50 of the FFUK league the average score sits at a very average 52 points. In fact, 27 of the Top 50 scored between 45 and 55 points, so at least, if it was a frustrating week, most of had similar stories.
The weekend started with Liverpool making Everton look poor. As a team that often look good without really challenging, I’m sure we all feel a bit sorry for Everton when things don’t go well, and after an international break full of injuries I suspect they may be in for a bit of a difficult time. Mane (6) went off injured after an early goal, frustrating his owners, while Coutinho (13) offered relief to those who had held on to him (although more than a few, including Steve Cronin (69th) and James Page-Chatton (77th) had transferred the Brazilian out this week).
As the 3pms began to roll in the injuries and rotations began. No Kyle Walker, Troy Deeney and no Daley Blind for United!?! Llorente would also sit out on Sunday meaning that benches were called upon up and down the league. Fortunately there were clean sheets to come from unexpected teams meaning most got a few points in. Among those clean sheets were West Brom, away to United at the Theatre of Draws, with Macauley (6), Dawson (6), Brunt (8), Evans (9) and Nyom (5) alighting from many benches to aid our average scores. Watford, Southampton, Bournemouth, Swansea and Bournemouth all came up with cheeky cleanies in a week where explosive attacking scores were difficult to come by. A few were lucky enough to own Zaha (11) who managed to score and assist to beat Chelsea 1-2 at Stamford Bridge, while Costa (2) captains, Chelsea owners, and Chelsea fans were left frustrated.
On Sunday only one man could save the day. Was it Sigurdsson? Was it Sanchez? Was it Aguero? Whoever it was it didn’t really happen. Aguero (7) looked lively in an odd Sunday 4pm top of the table clash that could have been so much more. In the end Aguero was robbed of 2 bonus by Jesus Navas (4) of all people, very handy for Aguero non-owners though. That bonus switch was due to Navas’ all round performance, earning bps points for tackles, crosses, and chances created and in some ways, that just about sums up the match. You guessed it, frustrating.
I might be biased but for me it was Sanchez (2) who looked the most frustrated of all this weekend, stuck out on the left, often coming very deep to get involved, left to rely on Ozil (5), Walcott (7) and Giroud (1). Apparently Wenger has said that he didn’t notice Sanchez’s negative body language yesterday, but Arsene’s not a manager with league position to worry about, so why would he!
So how did this affect the FFUK Top 50?
Well in the main, the low scores simply served to tighten up those points gaps, and now as we enter what’s sure to be a riotous set of midweek fixtures, the snakes and ladders effect will prove a dangerous game for all of us.
Lord of the Dance this week was Neil Stewart (17th), worrying those of us around him who have seen this kind of thing before (and especially those of us with sidebets with Neil). Neil never fails to inspire with some seemingly leftfield player picks, this week a case in point. Neil kept hold of Coutinho despite a rough patch, and brought in Theo Walcott this week, (that’s right, this was a deliberate move), for West Brom’s Morrison. An inspired choice, coupled with bringing in Vardy for Kane, and sticking the armband on him. 67 points for Neil and up nine places in the league.
Elsewhere, the best score this week was Alex Thomas (30th) with 69 points who was very happy to see Andy Robertson’s first Premier League goal. This meant that Alex jumped 17 places in the league from 47th, underlining the competitiveness of our league. And on that note it’s worth mentioning Nick Johns (1st), who took a solid 58 points this week. Nick also brought in and captained Vardy, although it’s Holebas that caught my eye. NJ has been holding Holebas since GW6, and it has to be said that earning a clean sheet from him at this stage is the stuff of champions. Coolers (2nd), I am 100% behind you and I assure you I’m not going on about our leader week after week to wind you up, the guy just keeps on pulling the rabbit out week after week. I’ll also remind you of your 87 point lead over Matt Reid (3rd) and suggest that although you’re 23 points off Nick, it’s not a bad problem to have!
Honorable mention this week goes to Lester Deeble (18th), another who seems to be coming up with the goods at the moment. As last season’s FFUK runner up, Lester scored a decent 59 points this gameweek and is certainly someone to keep an eye on for the run in.
Not so bon for Jason Beal (46th) with 36 points, or the trio of Top 20 teams who failed to hit the 40 mark and therefore dropped down the league. David Pegg (8th), James Amar (21st), and James Prebble (26th), all scored 37 points, but if you’re going to have a bad week, that was probably a good week to have it.
Well that’s it for this week, or that gameweek at least, when does the new gameweek start? No one tell Lester Deeble, but the new gameweek starts Tuesday, quick flannel wash and we’re straight back out again, so don’t worry if you’re still a bit dirty.