WELCOME TO THE GW8 REVIEW
BLACK AND WHITE TOWN
Here comes the action
Here it comes at last
Lord give me a reaction
Lord give me a chance
I don’t know if an opening verse could better sum up my anticipation of FPL’s return after an international break.
As is usually the case, this international break didn’t arouse me much. Scotland strolled to a couple of comfortable victories (never in doubt!) to put themselves in with a real shout of qualifying for their first World Cup since 1998. England tried out a new, more attacking formation – it didn’t work and they could only muster a draw against an average Hungarian outfit. And Wales kept themselves in the race for a play-off spot.
But for most football fans it was a pretty boring fortnight. Unless you’re a Geordie!!
After at least 18 months of negotiations, Mike Ashley finally flogged NUFC to a consortium that is 80% funded by the Saudi state’s Public Investment Fund. Controversial for many reasons, but I won’t get into the politics here (or in the Whatsapp group!) 😉
Instead, I’ll pay homage to the Toon Army and dedicate this week’s GW review track to the brilliant city of Newcastle – the “Black and White Town”. And what a track. Classic Doves.
Before we get onto GW8’s action, I’d just like to spare a thought for poor old Steve Bruce. In January 2019 Bruce was appointed manager of Sheffield Wednesday, but only with effect from February as he wanted to sun himself in the Caribbean for a few more weeks. Five months later he jumped ship to NUFC. But, like Toon winger Jacob Murphy, us Wednesday fans aren’t bitter!!
In fairness to Bruce, some may say he’s outperformed expectations up in Tyneside and perhaps doesn’t deserve to get the chop. But it’s clear that the new guys want a bigger name to kick-start their journey into a brave new world. Bruce lost his head with the journos in Friday’s presser, and was given a stay of execution to manage his 1,000th game on Sunday. But he’s not as stupid as he looks and would have been fully expecting his P45 this week. Not sure about his human rights, but he will definitely have contractual rights to a pay-out – a Brucie Bonus as it were. Actually, he was probably singing along to the GW review track all weekend… “gotta get out to get compensation…”.
Anyway, let’s crack on with the actual football and we’ll come back to the Black and Whites later…
Lunchtime kick-offs aren’t always the best of spectacles and many of us are wary of captaining someone in the early game. Not this week though – a whopping 206 of us gave Salah the armband and Rackers went one further by Triple-Captaining him.
Mo didn’t disappoint. Bobby bagged a hattrick and Mane notched his 100th Premier League goal, but the Egyptian King grabbed the headlines yet again with a sublime assist and a jaw-dropping individual goal to return 13 points (26 for most of us, and 39 for Rackers).
In fact, we were treated to an array of excellent goals this weekend. Greenwood and Tielemans traded a couple of beauties as Leicester ended Man United’s 29-away game unbeaten record with a comprehensive 4-2 win. Having watched the highlights back I reckon it could easily have been worse for United.
McGinn smashed one in from 25 yards (albeit with the help of a deflection) to put Villa 2-0 up against Wolves. But then the Villains lived up to their nickname and capitulated, allowing Wolves to walk away with the points. BTW, I may well be a biased Scot, but the more I see of John McGinn the more I’m impressed.
KDB reminded us why people are starting to talk about him as a real differential option (only 3.1% ownership) with a delicious left-footed ping as City eased past Burnley 2-0. That’s two in two for the Ginger Prince. And talking of sweet left-footed strikes, Chilwell’s 17-yarder to sink a very spirited (and dare I say unlucky?) Brentford side in the Saturday evening game was also pretty tasty. Although Chilwell’s recent form is leaving us Alonso owners with rather a sour taste in our proverbial mouths.
Into Sunday, and after West Ham beat Everton 1-0, the focus was back on Newcastle. Sky Sports must have been in the know about the takeover a few weeks earlier to schedule NUFC as the big game this weekend. The pre-game atmosphere at the Sports Direct Arena was electric, and Wilson knew the script, putting his head on the line to put the Black and Whites in front after just two minutes. The mood in the stands was reflected on the pitch and the Newcastle players were flying while Spurs looked stoned. What a start for the new owners.
Fast forward a couple of hours and the script had been ripped up. Spurs dominated the last 75 minutes of the game, with Ndombele, Kane and Son playing the parts of judge, jury and executioner. To add insult to fatal injury, Steve Bruce sent Jonjo Shelvey on in the 60th minute, only to see him sent off in the 83rd. Bruce looked like a dead man walking in the post-match interview, and it was no surprise at all that he was bumped off the NUFC payroll this morning (Wednesday). Whoever is in charge by January, the transfer window just can’t come soon enough for NUFC. But I do wonder whether the team might be so deep in the relegation mire by then that top players just won’t want to take a chance on them.
Anyway… the GW concluded on Monday night, with Arsenal hosting Palace. The Gunners started well and Auba netted early doors with a lovely reactive finish. But then Arsenal faded and Palace scored a couple of nice goals themselves, before Lacazette rescued a point late into injury time.
Right, let’s have a look at the Kings of Gameweek. With the exception of Ogbonna, and potentially Bernardo, there are no real leftfielders there. Bobby F top-scored thanks to his hattrick. And could Kane be back on the goal trail just as Ronaldo is drying up and United’s fixtures take a turn for the worse?
On to the FFUK league now… and we’ve got a new leader! James Downie (last week’s table topper) scored a more-than-respectable 69 points, but he took an 8-point hit, and Chris Brophy came in with a very impressive 74 points and now tops the table. ‘Dangerous’ Daron Russell is still flying high in third despite being pulled up by the jobsworths at FPL Towers for an inappropriate team name.
Top scorer in the FFUK league this GW was Stu Newton (113th) with 78 points. Stu utilised his wildcard very effectively this week, bringing in Bernardo (11), Mane (8), Ings (7) and even Steffen (7), as well as the obligatory Salah captain (13 x 2 = 26).
Here’s the Top 20 in full:
Two had to go again this week and there were plenty of FFUKers at risk going into MNF. A sweat-drenched Mark Tarbox ultimately survived by a solitary point, with the unfortunate evictees being Phil Redgrave and Jason Beal. Tough luck fellas.
Two to go again in GW9 before the ‘Halloween Horror Show’ in GW10 where 10 (TEN!) FFUKers will be kiboshed. That’s a girthy 16% of everyone remaining. Bring it on!!
Fun fact (for DJ Pete): Doves were formerly 90s dance act Sub Sub, famous for “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)”. When a fire destroyed Sub Sub’s recording studio they started afresh as indie outfit Doves. Every day’s a school day!!
That’s that for this week FFUKers!!
Jamie Stewart, Rice Said Fred (80th)