PITCH & PINT – EPISODE 15: Official Disappointment
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Episode 16 of Pitch & Pint Podcast being recorded Thursday, November 15, Official Disappointment
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Hello and welcome to episode 16 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast. My name is Stephen, you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter. It was a week in which I was elated with my fantasy team but officially disappointed with Watford’s draw on the South Coast to So’ton.
(1:08) WATFORD RECAP
As a Watford supporter I am overjoyed with how well our club has started this Premier League season. Through 12 game weeks we sit on 20 points, which has us 7th in the league table. That’s our best start to a Premier League season ever!
Props to the Pozzo family for bringing in Javi Gracia and shit canning Marco Silva, sending his ass off to frustrate Everton fans.
Gracia has been a godsend to the Hornets this season. When Gracia took over, the team was struggling with just one win in the previous 11 games, this after starting the season much like we did this season, 8 points through 4 weeks, good for 4th place in the league table.
Then the squad was beset by injury, especially to our defenders. While Gracia early tenue was rough finishing out the year, we saw a few things that showed promise for the upcoming season.
While I have no expectation for the Golden Boys to finish in the Champions League spot, we do have an outside shot, like Burnley this season, at a Eruopa League birth. Do I want that to happen? Not really, as we see just how much Burnley have struggled this season. Can that be attributed to the UEL inclusion this season and not having depth to compete?
I do think Watford is good enough to finish in the top 10 this season. Much of our play falls under the radar as being “just another mid-table team,” which I am fine with.
We have players, when talked about in FPL circles, don’t usually make the cut. I will be the first not to promote Hornets because none of them have really put together consistency performances to be talked about as viable FPL options.
The last two weeks have been frustrating, as Watford outplayed both Newcastle and Southampton, but return to Vicarage Road with just a single point. These are teams with 13 combined loses and just 17 goals on the season, wallowing in the lower part of the table.
One part of Watford’s game that has continued to frustrate is finishing. Over the last 2 weeks, they’ve had 28 goal attempts, just 7 shots on target, scoring just twice.
Their shot accuracy at 25% is 4th worst over the last two weeks, as their goal conversion is just 3.6%. That is NOT how you maintain a top 10 position in the league table.
While Watford played well at St. Marys’ they came away with a 1-1 draw, as Jose Holebas equalized late, as the ball deflected off a Saints defender past Alex McCarthy.
Can’t argue with their stats, 12 goal attempts, 8 inside the box and 6 shots on target. But just a single goal.
Who’s the answer up top for the Hornets? Gerard Deulofeu upon his return to the starting XI has being playing out of position the last 3 games, partnering with Issac Success.
Over that period, Deulofeu has looked very good. We know he has excellent ball control skills and pace with creativity to frustrate defenses. His goal against Huddersfield was nothing short of spectacular.
He’s been Watford’s biggest attacking threat with 17 penalty touches, 11 goal attempts, 10 inside the box with 3 big chances taken and 3 shots on target. Roberto Pereyra has 4 shots on target.
Troy Deeney, Andre Gray and Success have 4 combined shots on target over that period. Might not be a fair comparison, as Deeney was sidelined and Gray only made some cameo appearances.
No matter how you look at it, the Hornets are struggling to convert chances into goals.
As for the game at St. Marys’, you can’t overlook the poor officiating by Simon Hooper, involved in just his fourth Premier League game of his career. Two questionable decisions affected both teams.
By now I am sure many have already seen Charlie Austin’s scathing video saying “It’s ridiculous, they shouldn’t be in the game. We scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside. The officials cost us two points. They said it was offside, that is a joke.”
He continued, “Sure there are many positives, we worked hard, we deserved three points and we would have got that had we not been let down by the official.”
Yet, go back 9 minutes before this incident, in which Maya Yoshida allegedly, in an offside position touched the ball on the way into the goal.
Watford was on the attack, as Deeney played a ball into Nathaniel Chalobah at the top of the 18 with a clear goal scoring opportunity before he was cut down, as Ryan Bertrand came across, clearly taking the legs out from under the Watford player.
All eyes turned to Hooper, who waved play on under protest from the Watford players. That incident could have potentially been game changing if Bertrand were whistled for the foul and given his second yellow card.
It could have made Austin’s goal or opportunity irrelevant, pending the penalty kick. Pundits agree it was a clear foul, but Hooper.
Former referee, Dermot Gallagher on Sky Sports said, “I think it’s a penalty. I think Chalobah is taken down – when Bertrand makes a tackle like that he’s got to get the ball and he doesn’t. It’s a case then of whether the referee deems it as careless or reckless.
“Many would say careless, many would say reckless – I think the fact that he’s on a yellow card, he’ll think ‘I’ve given a penalty, am I going to send him off?’ – but he didn’t give it so that’s immaterial.”
Gallagher also commented on Austin’s disallowed goal, “I think Simon Hooper incorrectly thinks the ball strikes Yoshida on the chest and because Yoshida is in an offside position he’s asked the assistant Harry Leonard, and he’s said that Yoshida is in an offside position, that’s all he knows.”
While this is all water under the bridge at this point, each team picking up a single point. I am still a staunch advocate against VAR.
I do agree with Austin in the Premier League being the most watched league and the officials should be of top caliber, but VAR will end up focusing opinions elsewhere as to IF the VAR call was correct. The controversy will continue.
As for Watford out of the break, they host Liverpool, travel to Leicester City and come back home to Man City.
Looking two games beyond that. Watford will face their former manager, Marco Silva and Richarlison at Goodison.
It’s going to be a challenging run out of the international break.
Look for my Watford information on PlanetFPL.com
Before I get too deep into the FPL talk, let’s check out our International Break, Beer of the Week.
(6:36) IB BEER OF THE WEEK
This week our beer review is spawned by a question asked by Marco of the FPL Dive Podcast, you can follow him and Jake at @DiveFPL on Twitter and listen each week to their take on FPL.
His question, “Favorite brewery overall. I know it’s a hard ask because people like different breweries for different types but, just overall. For me it’s Bell’s. No doubt.”
Wow! What a loaded question.
Much like beer styles, I don’t think there is one clear cut answer. As a member of the American Homebrewers Assciation or AHA, they publish their yearly survey, now into its 16th year and the results are posted online and, in their magazine, Zymurgy.
For those seeking knowledge, zymology or zymurgy is Greek meaning “the workings of fermentation.” It’s an applied science which studies the biochemical process of fermentation and practical uses.
Anyway, their magazine listed the results this year and topping the list of Best Brewery in America is Bell’s Brewery out of Comstock, Michigan.
Now all of these results are subjective, since many listeners worldwide will probably never have a Bell’s.
The website thedrinksbusiness.com wrote any article with information gleaned from Ratebeer.com that listed arm Hillstead Brewery out of Greensboro Bend, Vermont, best in the world. For those in the UK, Cloudwater Brew Company from Manchester, England was listed as #2.
For me, right now and please ignore FPL_Sauce in the corner, Tree House Brewing Company out of Charlton, Massachusetts has some amazing craft beer.
Everything from that brewery has been nothing short of incredible, from how it pours to the color, aroma and the tastes associated with their beers.
Thankfully I have an open pipeline to Tree House, thanks to a “friend” I met on Twitter who heads to the brewery every week to 10 days to wait in line. I pay him through Venmo and he ships them to California. Talk about lucky?
I’ve been drinking more Tree House beer than I have beer brewed in California. That’s saying a helluvalot, as there are MANY good breweries in the state.
Two others that top my list, Russian River, the brewery behind Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig and their once a year release, Pliny the Younger.
The other, Mike Hess Brewing Company out of San Diego. Much like Tree House, I have yet to have a bad beer from MHB. Unlike the east coast brewery, Hess delivers lots of highly rated West Coast ale style beers, but does venture into wheats, kolsches, hazys, Belgian strongs, stouts, Marzens and Alt-beers, in limited production.
As for his Bell’s answer, I don’t disagree. They rate very highly with me. Unfortunately, here in NoCal, it’s not very easy to get more than Two-Hearted Ale and Oracle. This year I was thankful to get my hands on a 6-pack of Hop Slam, courtesy of Richard, @RT9Y on Twitter, another hashtag FPL Beer Club member. I also picked up a can of their American Wheat Ale, Oberon, earlier this summer.
[Read printed out beer review of Julius from Tree House]
If you have an opinion on the best brewery in America or in the world? Let me know, hit me with feedback @6thGoal on Twitter and thanks for the beer related question Marco.
Now let’s get into some FPL opinions.
(10:21) FPL OPINIONS
This weekend was an ass kicker, as I was up at 4AM to watch Cardiff vs Brighton. Really? While I can’t remember what FPL manager it was on Twitter, the only real take away from this fixture was Callum Paterson who scored his third goal in 4 weeks! He also picked up an assist for 12 points on the weekend.
Now I have no intentions of taking a Cardiff player, but at 5.2 he could represent good value as he’s a midfielder playing out of position up front. He’s only averaging 3.9 PPG but carries a 0.37 VAPM or value added per million
If you have missed previous discussions on this, refer to the show notes. I will post a link called FPL Key Metrics. (https://6thgoal.com/?p=14485)
West Ham have secured 5 points in their last 3 games but continue with a sea of green that takes them into January. Out of the break, it’s Man City, their only top six match up that should cause them problems.
While Marko Arnautovic continues to get the popular vote, owned by 22.7% manager across the FPL, it’s been Felipe Anderson at 6.9 with 3 goals in the last 2 weeks.
Both Anderson and Arnie are on 52 points for the season and 0.1 separating them. However, Anderson is owned by just 5.3% of manager, potentially making him a big difference, if his form keeps out.
Out of the break, I would consider him against City but if I don’t own Arnie or need a midfield replacement for non-performers like James Maddison or injury concerns like Richarlison, Anderson could be the way to go as a long term buy.
While I would like to look in his direction because of form and fixtures, I don’t get that warm, fuzzy feeling starting 2 West Ham attackers. Don’t feel there are enough goals upcoming to justify this move.
Based on the numbers and IF healthy, Richarlison at this point has the best numbers of the group.
Newcastle has frustrated this year, right? Let that frustration continue with Salamon Rondon, who hit for a brace last weekend in a 2-1 win against BOU. Do you really need to consider the forward?
While I like how he plays, he’s a big body, plays wearing his heart on his shirt but Newcastle just isn’t good offensive.
Their fixtures, like that of West Ham look excellent through late December, as they have Burnley out of the break. He could make an interesting differential.
Compared to Danny Ings, at 5.5 with 4 goals and 1 assist, Rondon has 2 goals, 1 assist and costs 5.7. Looking at So’ton’s fixtures, they face United, Spurs and Arsenal in three of the next 5 fixtures.
Rondon could be a viable replacement, but the statistics still favor Ings. At just 0.1 more, you could buy in on Raul Jimenez at 5.8, who looks the best out of this 5.somthing forward bunch.
Jimenez sits on 59 points for the season and picked up his 5th assist on the season to go with 3 goals, with returns in the last two games against Spurs and Arsenal.
So far this season, Wolves have played the top 6 teams very tough. Draws with United and City, a 3-2 loss to Spurs and now a 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Even with a competitive schedule though December, I have no doubts Jimenez will continue to be the most consistent performance in this price range. Out of the break its home to Huddersfield and away to Cardiff.
For Bournemouth, it took me until game week 6 to buy into Ryan Fraser. In all honesty, I didn’t think he’s fast start would last, and he would fade into mid-priced obscurity.
Yet the little Scot continues to return, now priced at 6.2, he continues to gain owners and price, as he started at 5.5. He’s now owned by 25.8% of managers.
A look at their schedule through 2018 isn’t pretty, Arsenal, man City, Liverpool, Spurs and United over the remaining 8 games this year. Not an easy run, but he’s been that solid of a performer, depending on where you bought him at, and could potentially be a season keeper.
It won’t be until game week 30 that the schedule lets up for the Cherries, by that time we are into the DGWs and BGWs. Thankfully Eddie Howe is attacking minded, so it could be either Fraser or Wilson going forward.
Right now, I have both but not sure I will hold both assets.
Already had my say about Watford players and I am sure before the break is over there will be more coming. Right now, I can’t comfortably recommend any Hornets. I do own Hughes, who’s flagged due to a hip, but looking back on the move, I think Deulofeu would have been the proper move.
While Hughes is highly involved, Deulofeu has looked more lethal inside the box. If he continues to get the OOP starts at forward, he could be set for some returns.
I still don’t like their fixtures out of the break, home to Liverpool and Man City, sandwiched between a trip to Leicester.
What do we make of Spurs? Spurs have won 6 out of 7 with their only loss to City. They haven’t looked like the Spurs we saw last year with Harry Kane filling the net, with Dele Alli and Christian Ericksen.
This year it’s been Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Kane getting the business done for Spurs, who continue to tick on, but not in impressive fashion.
Starting in game week 15, there is a big fixture swing in favor of Spurs. Could Harry Kane become viable at 12.4? Alli played 90 minutes for the first time since game week 4, while Eriksen continues to play himself back to match fitness.
At this point in time, Alli is a player I am watching but been stuck on Moura, who continues to disappoint. I have started him every week since bringing him in during game week 7 except for gameweek 11, when he scored against Wolves. His first returned since game week 3.
Lamela has been one of the more consist performers and has looked very good in the absence of Alli, Eriksen and Son. At 6.5 he could be a nice differential, but I think there are some question marks surrounding his time when players like Son and Alli start to regain their place in the starting XI.
As for Kane, there is no way I can drop 12.4 for him right now. Let’s see what he does in the next two against Chelsea and Arsenal, but it’s game week15 to keep an eye on and watch the form of Spurs and see where they are with their midfield.
Liverpool assets are interesting, as I have decided to move James Milner from my squad. It was great to receive attacking points from him 2 weeks ago, he was a reliable 4th midfielder, but felt I could get more out doubling up on the Reds defense.
While I don’t like the rotation around Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, I decided to double up with Robertson and Virgil van Dijk. I make no bones about it, I am quite heavily invested in defensive assets.
Last week’s 4-man defense and keeper were priced at 30.8 million! With another 8.1 in Wan-Bissaka and Hamer, on the bench. At this point I am even considering moving AWB to Matt Doherty, purely due to his attacking prowess.
Doing so would force me into a 5-man defense. More on that later. Since I mentioned Wolves, Raul Jimenez, continues to pique my interest. At 5.8, he’s the 6th highest scoring forward with 56 points, averaging 4.7 per game and a VAPM of 0.47.
IF and that is a very big if, I were to move off the Aguero, I would downgrade all the way to Jimenez, to partner with Arnautovic and Wilson.
The other scenario, which is more likely, would be to move Wilson when he goes cold for Jimenez. He continues to look like a season keeper. Has very little competition up top, but Traore and Cavaleiro provide pace down the wings as midfielders, making Jimenez more valued, as seen by his 5 assists on the season.
I’ve already touched on Wolves schedule through December, while not great they have already proven they can play with the top six. While their attacking options, like Jimenez might warrant a closer look than the defensive ones, I don’t believe we should shy away from the value they offer. Lots of good games for all their players to feature in.
There could be an argument made for the next two games to start your Wolves defenders. Home to Huddersfield, away to Cardiff. Some managers have floated the idea to double up. Viable? Yes, but I won’t be chasing this 2-game block.
While their defense has been above average, we saw last week that just 4 minutes from the whistle, Ross Geller…err…Henrikh Mkhitaryan score to wipe out the Wolves clean sheet. That’s 4 games without a CS.
Now they haven’t been the only ones to be poor defensively, but that leads us to Arsenal. A team that as conceded 15 goals, that’s 2 more than Wolves.
We’ve been watching Arsenal all season and under Unai Emery, it’s still hard to get a read on this team. Is it a team that hasn’t found a groove, as Emery shuffles personnel or one that is underachieving? Maybe it’s still a personnel issue.
Last week at home they showed a bit of heart and picked up that late goal to draw with Wolves. That 10 games without a loss. Emery is doing SOMETHING right, just not sure what it is.
With fixtures turning in GW16, it’s possible Lacazette, Aubameyang and maybe a defender will come into play.
While we don’t like to see ANY injury, the Cech injury has given Bernd Leno a chance to shine and I do think he’s played very well. At 4.8 he is priced well, but their defense hasn’t been good, just 2 cleans on the season. That could change over the upcoming period and bring the likes of Holding at 4.4 or Bellerin at 5.4 into consideration. At those prices, I do feel they are better options.
At 10.9, I can’t bring myself to look at Aubameyang. At 11.4 and based on the numbers Aguero is still a better buy. He’s getting more minutes, has a higher PPG and VAPM. The big number for me, ownership, 52.1%.
Aguero hits as a captain option, he could sink a team in any given week. The same can’t be Aubameyang at just 16.1%
Lacazette would be another possibility if I were to move off Aguero but wanted to remain with a premium player and not a budget option. Lacazette is priced at 9.7 with a 13.7% ownership but plays like Aguero. He’s got 5 goals and 4 assists on the season, compare that Aguero’s 8 goals and 6 assists. Aubameyang, 7 goals and 2 assists.
Hazard has gone missing. Again. He did this last year and lo and behold he has done it again this year. However, Ross Barkley ISN’T any option!
I can’t serious consider him viable in my starting XI, even with a good run of games forthcoming. Never saw him with much potential at Everton and at best, he is a rotation option with Chelsea. Just too much better talent on that team that to rely on Barkley to produce at any consistent level.
As for Hazard, well, he is still missing. Someone who isn’t missing, Marcos Alonso. He’s been a consistent topic on Twitter, as managers feel his price isn’t worth points.
Lest I remind you, into the international break, he leds ALL of FPL in total points with 86! Now priced at 7.1, I can see some managers being turned off by his price, but if you bought into him from the start at 6.5 or at 6.6 in GW3, he’s been all value!
Right now, he’s been the cornerstone of my defense and like Aguero, he could kill your week, as he’s owned by 47.5% across FPL.
Last week he came very close to hitting for a brace against Everton. Cutting in from the left, his first shot was saved by Jordan Pickford and his second hit the cross bar. Didn’t pick up any attacking points but finished with a CS and 2 bonus points.
He’s averaging 7.2 PPG, carrying a VAPM of 0.73! And doing what Alonso does down the right flank.
Since we’re still on Chelsea, let’s look in on Hazard again. While he is still missing, he was the talk of the town back in GW7 and 8 off the back of 24 points, the last 4 games combined, just 8. This is Hazard.
Starting in game week14 though, it could very hard to ignore Hazard and Chelsea assets. Between 14 and 22, they have just City and next to West Ham a great run of fixtures.
With Sterling being in form and playing on the highest scoring team in the Premier League, it’s going to be tough to consider Hazard. Separated by 0.1 and just 3 points, both players have potential to post massive returns.
The difference Sterling is owned by just 8.9%, while Hazard approaches that essential mark at 43.9%. Chances are, if I owned Sterling and Salah, I rarely would consider captaining Sterling. Toss in Aguero and Sterling becomes a distance third option every week. The same isn’t true with Hazard, who is the talisman of Chelsea.
He’s the centerpiece of the offense but there is plenty of quality talent surrounding him to have the Blues tick on, if he is injured or not playing to expected levels.
Willian and Pedro are the other options I would consider but playing time for both players are questionable. Willian has been the stronger of the two, as Pedro has been limited since game week 8.
With William priced at 7.4 there are a few stronger options to consider. While it kills me to say this, Richarlison tops the list, priced at 6.9 with 59 points on the season, besting both Chelsea options.
He’s more highly owned as well, nearly 72% of managers in the top 1000 have the Everton midfielder, while 25.2% over all of FPL.
As FPL Tornado noted in a DM, Richarlison is home to Cardiff, Newcastle and away to Watford in three of four out of the break. Toss in there the Merseyside Derby at Anfield. Recent history is on the side of Liverpool, which isn’t surprising.
Everton didn’t impress to start the season, which I feel calls into question their upcoming run of fixtures starting in gameweek 19. Now with 18 weeks under their belt, maybe there will be more consistency on defense and creativity at the attacking end.
I still don’t feel Richarlison is a forward, but then again, I am no Marco Silva. Bernard has failed to impress on the right flank and Walcott, well he’s just shit. Sigurdsson will always continue to show promise, but at 0.5 more and just 3 more points, Richarlison is still more dynamic and further up the pitch. Maybe the equaling factor is Gylfi is on PKs and set pieces.
Lucas Digne has been very impressive, at 4.8 the Frenchman has brought excitement back to the attacking defenders we have seen in previous years at Goodison Park.
He’s become a mainstay in the defense, but when you figure in clean sheets, Everton doesn’t shoot to mind. Just 3 on the season, as the Toffees come off a surprise one in game week 12 vs Chelsea.
Let’s break from the FPL for some beer news, this week, spawned by a question from FPL Shark, he asks, “Should a veer be chilled or served at room temperature?” So, let’s check into just how cold your beer needs to be.
(25:20) BEER NEWS
In my younger days, I am now 49, I thought ALL beer needed to be served cold. Mind you, these were the days when I was young, dumb and drinking Bud Light, MGD, the Silver Bullet.
You go to a sporting event and they are shouting out “ice cold beer.” You watch TV and the implication is for beer to be cold filter or brewed in the Rockies, which implies snow and cold. Packaged and stored cold. You get the picture.
Now that have more experience in beer, I know that cold can hide the fact that these big beers taste like shit. Ever have one of these warm? It’s like drinking piss! Okay, I’ve never really drank piss.
But it begs the question, when it comes to beer how should it be served?
As a rule, the lighter the flavor, the cooler the beer may be served. So, it’s no surprise that the Bud Lights, MGD and Silver Bullets seem to be “refreshing” on a hot, summer day.
When it comes to my beer drinking experiences, the flavor created by hops can get lost if the beer is too cold. Usually, as an IPA warms, you can detect more flavors. From the sweetness of the malt to the citrus and tropical fruits to the dank and resin pine flavors.
One thing that I have noticed, the warmer a beer gets the more pronounced the alcohol can get. Many of the IPAs and DIPAs I drink start about 7% and can quickly jump, more than 11%!
Alcohol can be “hot” when it hits your palette and you swallow. This is usually the case in big dark beers, like stouts, which typically contain a large volume of alcohol.
Many of my recent experiences the past few years, as I have moved away from big beer, into a small niche that includes craft beer. But just not any craft. It needs to be independent craft. Meaning the company, in my opinion accepts no outside capital or investment.
The best example, Stone Brewing. I no longer drink Stone because they accepted 90 million from a private equity firm in 2016. Often, it a craft company, like Ballast Point out of San Diego, being bought by big beer, in this case Constellation Brands for 1 billion dollars.
Now back to the question at hand. When I was at Mikkeller SF, in the bay area you read their beer menu and they list the temperature at which different types of beers are served. 40, 45, 50, 55 degrees
The 40-degree beers are your lagers and pilsners. At this temperature they taste smooth and refreshing, which is their hallmark trademark. When they warm, well they taste like shit.
At 45-degrees you move into a wide range of ales that aren’t cold crashed but fermented warm. They produce a wide variety deep and complex flavors, which are brought out at a higher drinking temperature. Sometimes as these beers warm you can detect more flavors then when it was first tapped or poured.
Beers at 50-55 degrees will be Belgian ales, sours, saisons, stouts and Barleywines. Can’t disagree with some who say stouts can be poured colder, but really come into their own as they warm. Consider these to be “strong beers” that improve providing your palette with deep flavors.
Mikkeller also serves beers from casks at temperatures of 55 degrees.
So, there isn’t one right answer when it comes to how cold should my beer be. For me, with a palette in tune with IPAs, I love pulling it from the mini-fridge directly into a pint glass.
Yet, as I have seen from the guys in hashtag FPL Beer Club, who generally favor the darker beers; porters and stouts, I have new found respect for the complexity these beers carry and while I won’t be cracking on a warm, summer day in California I do enjoy a proper stout.
You can watch the 30 Second Beer Review at 6thgoal.com, listed under hastag FPL Beer Club.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. You can find my beer related material on 6thgoal.com under FPL Beer Club.
Now back to FPL.
(26:51) FPL OPINIONS (continued)
I intend to put together a piece during the international break looking back on the first 12 game weeks and why I’ve been successful and where I could have potentially made just a few decisions differently.
A perfect example, game week 11 and captaining Salah away to Arsenal over Aguero home to Southampton, a difference of scoring 4 points versus 26 points.
As for the last game week I finished on 67 points, second highest point total this season, for the second time. This pushed my overall rank to 114k, an increase of nearly 55k.
On the season, I am averaging 61.58/PPW, as it’s been a slow and consistent climb up the ladder. Where will it stop? I don’t know. But arrows have been consistently green with just 4 red arrows on the season.
Decisions don’t seem to get any easier though, know that an incorrect decision could spell disaster, resulting in turn for the worst.
My squad is still built around defense, which got stronger ahead of game week 12 as I stuck to my original plan and bought in Virgil van Dijk for the foreseeable future, as I now have a Liverpool double on defense with Andrew Robertson. They combined for 19 points last weekend.
On a poor decision made by Ederson, cutting down Romelu Lukaku without touching the ball, Man City defense lost out on the clean sheet. This was the second week in a row that City have conceded from PK spot. That was a swing of 8 points losing the CS this weekend owning Ederson and Mendy.
Marcos Alonso continues to get it done in the attacking end, but you wouldn’t know it on Twitter. While he didn’t return any attacking points this week, he looked dangerous in two excellent shots on goal, one saved by Jordan Pickford, the other that careened off the crossbar.
Mo Salah was given the armband and a return, posting 16 points, while Ryan Fraser picked up an assist for 6 points. Only Lucas Moura failed, as I opted to keep the unproductive midfielder after a false sense of security, after scoring a goal last weekend.
Up front it’s a popular trio of forward with Sergio Aguero, Marko Arnautovic and Callum Wilson. These three players are owned by 35.8% of managers in the top 1000! But only 3.5% across all FPL.
This week, only Aguero returned a goal and 1 bonus point but he continues to show consistency, with 7 attacking returns over 7 weeks. His minutes still are being managers, but at 52.0% owned, I just can’t see NOT owning him.
While I am not overly concerned, I do have three players carrying caution flags and one red into the break, Ben Mendy, Will Hughes, Johan Berg Gudmundsson and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. I have no doubt those will work themselves out before game week 13.
(31:35) GW13 – A Look Ahead
Due to multiple moves ahead of game week 12, I was unable to carry over a free transfer to the international break.
As I said, at this point I am not overly concerned about Mendy, Hughes, Gudmundsson or Wan-Bissaka, all flagged with injures. Mendy being the only regular starter.
However, if rumors of him being in Barcelona to undergo a minor knee procedure is true, then chances are he could spend some time, sidelined.
With 0.4 ITB, I could easily move Mendy for Walker or Laporte and enter GW13 full of confidence.
Looking at the FDR out of the break I do have teams and players in mind moving forward. Looking at a 5-week block of games, Wolves, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Newcastle and Cardiff are the teams with the best attack.
Defensively Newcastle, Wolves, Brighton, West Ham and Cardiff. Can’t say any of these teams really put a smile on my face.
I really can’t back the likes of Newcastle. They haven’t been impressive, yeah, I know they beat Watford. I still don’t seem them score many goals over this favorable period nor do I see many clean sheets.
Brighton have two home games, which I feel could favor Glenn Murray, who seems to have difficulty scoring away from home. Defensively, Duffy, Dunk and Mat Ryan are the only other assets that warrant consideration.
Palace, after their GW13 trip to Old Trafford head back into a run of good fixtures. But I can’t see Zaha being a real option, now priced at 6.8. Just 2 assists since game week 5, as he continues to see his ownership decrease.
That said, we could see a reemergence of the Palace defense that kept 3 out of 6 CS to start the season but haven’t kept any since. Both AWB and James Tomkins are flagged, but rest assured they will start out of the international break.
Games, home to Burnley, away to Brighton and West Ham and home to Leicester could see defensive assets return to our starting XI.
After the Hammers host Man City out of the break, they are sailing a sea of green. No team has better fixtures than West Ham but I don’t think it’s clear cut as the FDR suggests.
Outside of Lukasz Fabianski, I am not a proponent of their defensive assets. Fabian Balbuena has slowly been seeing managers since GW9 when he scored.
As I continue to say, defenders need to be selected based on clean sheets they will keep, not attacking returns. Sure, many mangers own Alonso, Mendy, Robertson and Doherty.
But looking at West Ham, I don’t see them keeping more than 2-3 cleans over their run through game week 21. I’ll give them Fulham, Southampton and maybe Newcastle. Outside of those games, I just feel they are a leaky defense.
There’s a reason why Fabianski is #2 in saves with 51, second only to Hart. Both West Ham and Burnley are at and near the bottom of the table for total shots conceded and shots on target.
Burnley, dead last with 253 shots conceded and 78 on target, while West Ham has conceded 165 shots and 66 on target.
Conversely, my goalkeeper, Ederson is a clean sheet machine, but City have only conceded 78 total shots, just 24 on target. For me, I would rather put my trust in securing the clean over potential attacking returns with the likes of Balbuena over this favorable run.
Felipe Anderson is another attacking consideration, but do we want to double up in the Hammers attack?
Marko Arnautovic is currently owned by 22.1% of managers, compare that to just 5.3% for Anderson. Just 1.8% of managers across FPL own both, compared to 5.4% in the top 1000.
I know I keep referring to the top 1000 mangers and how they are set up with the “template” players. I currently own 10 of top 15 most owned players owned by this group of managers.
This is an important piece the higher you get in the OR, while I am just outside the top 100k, it’s going to get tougher to improve my rank. That’s when we our 2-3 differentials come into play.
One of these highly owned players hits wearing the armband that you don’t own, it’s going to result in a red arrow.
Wolves are interesting, as none of the top 1000 mangers have a starting player, but Ryan Bennett is owned by 29.6%, on the bench. Make weight for higher priced players in the midfield. Has anyone see Hazard recently? No? Still missing. That motherfucker!
Wolves attack looks tasty from 13-17, with a home game against Chelsea. I see goals in all 5 of these games, which makes me concerned I don’t own Jimenez.
Chef Dale mentioned that worst decision he’s made all season was dropped Jimmy Nez from his squad. Now, I think I want a piece of the Mexican but at what cost?
Callum Wilson? Marko and his trick knee? The 60-minute man, Aguero? It’s a tough decision to make, especially if itconcerns Aguero, a consistent performer on the highest scoring team in the Premier League.
I’d had a thought about Matt Doherty, the Irish lad is 4th best in the FPL for penalty touches, second in goal attempts and shots inside the box.
He’s the poor man’s Alonso, a defender that looks as good as any in the Premier League. However, adding him to my starting XI would push me into starting 5 defenders. Don’t think that will benefit me at this point in the season.
Now that Mendy is gone under the knife, he could be the player I move out during the IB. But moving directly to Laporte or Walker, isn’t so clear.
I also need dump Lucas Moura, I still own him, and I no longer want him. He hasn’t produced and with Spurs midfielders on the mend, his playing time could be diminished.
Based on his potential, because it sure as hell hasn’t been his consistency, Richarlison is the logical choice to replace Moura.
Marco Silva is playing him OOP at forward, which seems the Brazilian besting his goal output from last season, now on 6 for the season.
His 71.8% ownership across the top 1000, unlike that of Martial at 8.6% speaks volumes. Yet in the last 5 weeks, those managers who’ve been on Martial as a midfield differential as a #3 or #4 could potentially have seen green.
If I don’t replace Mendy with a City defender, downgrading him and Moura give me 13.9 ITB, which could mean a move to a budget defender, like Bennett, while adding Martial and Richarlison to my starting XI.
(38:35) 6THGOAL MAILBAG
Let’s open the 6th Goal Mail Bag. Thanks to those who provided questions this week.
While two out of three questions asked this week pertained to beer, Garf asked, “How long can FPL managers go without David Silva?”
Good question, thanks for asking. I don’t believe there is a straight, simple answer. At 8.5 million, he’s owned by just 8.3% of FPL managers across FPL and just 4.4 in the top 1000. Interesting numbers, all things considered.
At 32, Silva has been very impressive since arriving at the Etihad. One of the most consistent performers average nearly 6 goals and 11 assists over the last 8 seasons and current on 4 goals, 2 assists for the season.
This year, he’s missed just 2 games, averaging 83.2 minutes in a rotation heavy midfield managed by Pep.
His price makes him very attractive, the fact that KDB is still out injured, Silva is the maestro in the middle that makes City move. While Aguero, Sterling and Sane might grab more accolades, Silva is common denominator.
In my case, I’ve gone with a double City defense, in Mendy and Ederson with Aguero up top. For me, Silva isn’t an option.
Again, using Fantasy Football Fix, 14% of the top 1000 managers have these 3 City players. I think David Silva will continue to fly under the radar, if players like Fraser, Richarlison, Martial, Sigurdsson and the like continue to produce similar results.
[queue outro music]
That’s it for episode 16, thanks for listening. Gameweek 12 was a real struggle because of a single decision but pleased with my green arrow.
Looking ahead to this week, I like where I am sitting and like the options as they present them. Looking to get back on track with a nice green arrow.
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Time to sit back and relax for the next 7 days and take a weekend off. It feels well deserved.
Thanks for listening.