Pitch & Pint Podcast Ep 23 Show Notes

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Episode 23 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast being recorded Wednesday January 23, 2019 – Green with Envy

INTRODUCTION – Episode 23

Hello and welcome to episode 23 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast. My name is Stephen, you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.

While this isn’t one of the more popular podcasts promoted on Twitter, it’s one I take pride in. Last week, I had the outline and show ready to go, but work and life did not allow me time to get the show in.

Now, all that information is irrelevant since GW23 is in the books and we enter a week off from FPL action as the FA Cup takes center stage this weekend.

It’s a time to sit back, grab a beer, relax and contemplate where we are and what we need going forward as the BGWs and DGWs are on the horizon.

If you already don’t, given @BenCrellin a follow for the most comprehensive coverage on blank and double game week information.

You can also go back and listen to the Planet #FPL Podcast, as James gives you a great explanation and possible chip usage, Suj is there too.

Let’s get started with a look back on Watford’s 0-0 draw with Burnley last weekend.

Watford Review

In game week 2, Watford visited Turf Moor, got off to a quick start and went on to win, 3-1 as part of their early season winning streak.

Last weekend, the Hornets paid tribute to Graham Taylor, but the team failed to live up to the expectations that we saw last time they faced the Clarets.

Just two minutes into the game, it appeared Watford was going for a repeat performance, as Troy Deeney lofted a ball forward that put Gerard Deulofeu clear. Tom Heaton came up with a beautiful foot save to stonewall Deulofeu.

Watford was strong to start and end the half, but seemed to lose momentum between those two periods, as they were muscled off the ball continually by Burnley.

Ashley Barnes wasted two big chances, as Burnley played a very direct game, taking a physical approach to batter the Hornets.

In the beginning we created a clear chance with Gerard, in the first half with (Ken) Sema and with Troy we created two or three more chances, but it wasn’t enough to score. It was an equal game, very close, we got a point and we continue,” said Javi Gracia.

After Saturday’s draw, Watford have lost just one of their last 8 games, posting 13 points on the bounce, as they retain their 7th spot in the league table, on 33 points, one point better than Wolves, now 11 points behind Manchester United.

It was great to see defender Christian Kabasele back into the starting XI after missing the last 3 games to injury.

Javi Gracia was without Will Hughes, and Abdoulaye Doucoure, replaced by Ken Sema in the attacking role, while Tom Cleverley partnered with Etienne Capoue.

It was the play of Ben Foster who kept it scoreless, as Barnes had a second chance, on a nice cross from Ashley Westwood that was directed on target and saved by Foster. Kabasele, was just a step behind in both opportunities by Barnes. Kabasele, seemed a bit short of game fitness.

Moments later, a ball in came off Adrian Mariappa and fell to Barnes, who missed wide, wasting a clear-cut chance from 6 yards out.

Deulofeu had a chance at redemption just before half on a ball in from Kiko Femenia that was met on the run by Deulofeu, who sent a half volley toward goal that was parried away by Heaton.

Burnley continued to create chances, as Foster was there to turn away Jeff Hendrick in the 53rd minute on a ball in from Chris Wood. Foster would go on to make 3 saves, to Heaton’s 4 on the day as Burnley outshot the Hornets, 12 to 9.

Watford’s best chance in the second half came from the head of Troy Deeney on another pinpoint cross from Femenia, that sent Heaton sprawling to make another kick save to his right.

A Chris Wood goal was disallowed at 90+4 for offside, as the game ended scoreless.

On paper it was another good performance from Watford, but on the pitch, it was a different story.

There was some discussion that Watford missed the power and control that comes with Doucoure in the middle of the pitch.

Maybe with other options, with other qualities, the game could be different, but all my players are important for me and I prefer to speak about the players who have played and in this case those players, in my opinion, have played well,” said Gracia

For Watford the schedule becomes challenging the rest of the season, with 6 games against top six opposition.

It kicks off on January 30 as the Hornets travel to Wembley to take on Spurs, who should be without Son and Kane.

If you are looking to buy into Watford options, I look at Ben Foster, 4.5 who has 4, 4 and 8 in his last three games. He continues to see save points and could fit into a rotation with Brighton, for those FPL managers who already own David Button.

At 4.8, it’s not out of the question to look at Jose Holebas as a cheaper option that Luca Digne. The Watford man continues to shine as an attacking defender.

Since it seems many FPL managers base defensive decisions on attacking returns, Holebas should be near the top. Nine attacking returns, 3 goals, 6 assists and 3 clean sheets on the season for 77 points.

Offensively, I continue to give Deulofeu (5.5) a look, but his finishing hasn’t been good. Since GW8, he’s had 27 goal attempts, 19 inside the box and 7 shots on target returning just 3 goals and 3 assists. Total of 57 points.

Compare that to David Brooks, 5.1 on 5 goals and 3 assists for 82 points. Callum Paterson at Cardiff was, possibly still is an option, as is his playing partner, Victor Camarasa at 4.6.

Before we get into the FPL opinion I must pour myself the Gameweek 24 Beer of the Week.

Beer of the Week – Gameweek 24

I am always on the look out for a new lactose beer, sometimes termed milkshake IPA or milk stout, for the use of this lactose sugar. This can be added to any beer as an unfermentable sugar that is added to boil. This adds body and sweetness to sweet tasting beers.

Until now, I have sampled just three lactose beers. The first was from Fieldwork Brewing, out of Berkeley, CA termed a kettle sour ale, my first sour as well, had a creamy base of oasts and milk sugar. It was excellent

The next was recently, in fact I might have reviewed it in a previous show, but was from Belching Beaver out of Vista, CA called Beavers Milk Stout Nitro. It was a sweet milk stout that had a chocolate and roasted coffee flavor and silky smooth, made for easy drinking at 5.3 ABV

Just a few weeks ago I found Fall of Troy, another Belching Beaver offering, described as an orange vanilla milkshake DIPA. It was like an adult orange vanilla creamsicle in a pint glass. It was sweet on the nose and palette, easy drinking. So I continue to search this beers out.

As for today, it’s Illa Vanilla from Full Circle Brewing out of Fresno, CA. Now Fresno is like the armpit of California, compare it the New Jersey being the armpit of the US. Just one of those cities I have no desire to visit. However, Full Circle is the oldest running brewery in the Central Valley and it’s under new owners. They are literally at the center of the California craft beer boom.

It’s about passion, commitment and experience in every glass and can. In a rather dumpy city they are breathing new life into an old brewery in the historic Chinatown. Never knew Fresno had a Chinatown to be honest. It’s about all about the love of beer, live entertainment and the love for Fresno.

Before Full Circle opened in 2016, the previous 8 years it was known as Audie’s Olympic Tavern and Olympic Tavern or simply as Oly’s and it helped define the Fresno music scene, hosting bands and serving as a hub and home for local musicians.

Today it’s Illa Vanilla a 6.5 milkshake IPA that weighs in at 6.5 ABV and a light 40 IBU. This is the second iteration of this Full Circle offering that was originally known as Ken & Ernie’s Illa Vanilla

Let’s pop the top on this 16 ounce can.

This milkshake IPA pours a thick, muted and cloudy yellow with a 2 finger head with some minimal lacing

The smell is a big warm waffle cone with vanilla ice cream. There does seem to be just a hint of fruit, possibly orange.

The taste, like previous lactose beers is thick, smooth and creamy on the palette as the taste follows the aroma. There is more orange in the taste, along with the vanilla cream notes. I can’t even consider this beer mildly hoppy, but it’s where the orange flavor is coming from

Easy drinking and refreshing, it’s a great beer to get us started this week on the Pitch & Pint Pod.

Now let’s get into some FPL opinions

FPL OPINIONS (8:52)

Sorry Sarri

Some harsh words from Maurizio Sarri as he attacked his players for their 2-0 loss at the Emirates on Satuday.

“I have to say that I am extremely angry. Very angry indeed. This defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else. We played against a team which mentally was far more determined than we were. This is something I cannot accept.”

“It seems to me that, as a group of players, they are not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view,” Sarri said. “They do not have that ferocity in their mentality.”

So what does this mean from a fantasy perspective? While the transfer window is still open, there have been only rumors and speculation the Blues will replace the never in form, Alvaro Morata. Olivier Giroud continues to be a spectator from the bench, picking up just 100 minutes in the last 5 games.

Gonzalo Higuain is the frontrunner and will be in London for a physical. However, Chelsea could be offsetting the move by selling Emerson to Juventus.

Higuain is now 31 and for AC Milan has played 15 games, scoring 6 goals and 1 assist. While not well past his best year, Higuain scored 16 goals and 7 assists last season for Juve in 35 games.

Eden Hazard continues to feature in a false 9 but can’t be relied upon to do everything in the attacking end.

In the last four games, Hazard has posted just a single assist. He’s fourth in penalty touches with 25 over that period but just 8 shots, 2 on target, well off the pace of Paul Pogba with 21.

Will the real Arsenal, please stand up?

The Gunners have struggled since GW17, posting three losses over the last 7 weeks, but have maintained their position of 5th in the league table.

While they lost 1-0 at West Ham two weeks ago, they stymied Chelsea and picked up an important 2-0 win.

Lacazette and Aubameyang set the tone, which they usually do going forward. They pressed the Chelsea defense, as Jorginho struggled getting the ball forward to set up the Chelsea attack.

Going forward it was Willian, Pedro and Hazard, as Arsenal was able to repel the attacks on the day, as Chelsea mustered a single shot on goal from 13 attempts. Give credit to Sokratis and Koscielny in the heart of the Gunners defense.

Arsenal should be kept in our plays, as they have just 3 games against the top 6; City in GW26, then Spurs and United back to back in GW29 and GW30.

Could be Unai Emery has set his squad and that Mesut Ozil won’t be part of it. He’s missed the last 4 games and with the partnership between Lazacette and Aubameyang, its going to be hard for the German to slot back in.

Matteo Guendouzi hasn’t been all that impressive, but at 19 years old there will be growing pains. Ainsley Maitland-Niles at 4.4 and Aaron Ramsey 7.2 are ones to keep an eye on in the Arsenal midfielder going forward.

Reds suspect at the back

It’s taken 23 weeks, but it seems bad luck has finally caught up to Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.

Defensive injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez has Klopp shuffling players in a defensive role.

This week it was James Milner filling in at right back, while Joel Matip got the start in a central role.

Two weeks ago in their 1-0 win at Brighton, Fabinho started in a central role with Virgil van Dijk.

Lovren started against City in a 2-1 loss as it appears Klopp has about run out of options until he gets a few defenders healthy.

That said, Liverpool has conceded just 13 goals on the season, 4 less than City. But it appears they could be running on empty as they conceded 3 goals to Crystal Palace. The same Palace that took City down, 3-2 in game week 18.

The good news for Reds fan, they need only concentrate on the league, as they are out of both domestic cups, which could be good news for Klopp, in an attempt to get the defenders healthy.

So’ton so good?

Ralph Hasenhuttl has been impressive since coming into a Saints team that had one win on the season. In his GW17 debut, he knocked off Arsenal 3-2 and picked up another a week later going 3-1 on Huddersfield.

The last two weeks, Southampton have put six more points on the board with 2-1 wins at home to Leicester City and this week at Goodison against Everton.

They dominated Marco Silva’s Toffees and should have netted a few more that went off the post.

Hasenhuttl has carried the team away from the relegation zone, now on 22 points, just three more than 18th place Cardiff, but based on how the Saints are playing, its unlike they will see relegation.

Hasenhuttl said, “we have built something up here and I hope we can carry on like this.”

They have a good run of potentially 5 games, CRY/bur/CAR/ars/FUL before the schedule becomes more difficult.

Tough to look at Saints options. James Ward-Prowse, 5.0 has 25 crosses in the last 4 weeks creating 10 chances. But seems a bit expensive.

Looking over their starting XI, not sure there are any recommendations. Going forward, Nathan Redmond was in form, for two games, but has gone back into obscurity, no returns in 4 games.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, has a goal in the last 4 and is an enabler at 4.4 also plays all 90 minutes.

Ole Gunnar, top four?

Since Man United changed directions, saying adios to Jose, Ole Gunnar has done everything asked of him. Since taking the reins of United on December 19, he’s won all 7 games, 6 in the Premier League and their FA Cup fixture against Reading.

Are the Red Devils in contention for a top four finish? They are now tied with Arsenal on 44 points, separated only by goal difference and 3 points behind Chelsea, as Sarri was very disappointed with their 2-0 loss to Arsenal.

FPL managers have seen a rebirth of midfielder, Paul Pogba and forward Marcus Rashford since Solskjaer has taken over. No surprise to notes these two players continue to be the most transferred in.

Defensively, I am still not sold on this team. No surprise United fans feels “Dave Saves” is still the best in the world based on his 19 saves and two clean sheets in the last 4 games.

However, had United a real defense in front of De Gea, chances are his saves would be a fraction of that total of 19. Compare that to Liverpool and Alisson who made just 4 saves or Ederson, who posted 8 saves.

So, while United is playing well, I still see very little value in their defenders, in front of an overpriced goalkeeper at 5.7 in De Gea.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing

A sending off in 90+4 of Nuno Espirito Santo was the final piece of an exciting 4-3 game involved Wolves and Leicester at the Molineux.

Before we get to Wolves, Leicester is a tough one to figure out. I do think Claude Puel, face in hands as Wolves scored their fourth goals sums up their season.

Recent wins over Chelsea and Man City, but losses to Cardiff City and Southampton, as well as Newport County in FA Cup action.

It’s no surprise the Puel isn’t the answer for the Foxes and will most likely be he next bossed sacked in the Premier League.

Leonardo Jardim, the top candidate is of duel descent, Portugese and Venezuelan and was last at Monaco from 2014 until a sacking of his own last October, but did win Ligue 1 in 2016/17, the same season he was manager of the year.

Highly rated as a tactician in European football, he could bring excitement back to the KP Stadium.

After the loss to Wolves, Puel said, “I think the most important thing is I want my players to have a rest, to recover physically and in their minds, and to come back with a smile, with the right intensity, hard-working in training sessions to correct things,” Puel said. “We need to manage our next game to have a fantastic challenge to create another upset.”

Beer News – Where is craft beer headed now?

Posted on Beer Advocate was a forum thread that asked just The question is posed by CaveDave and opens with, “Where do we go from here?It’s really hard to say, but since I have experience with being in the vanguard of at least four movements that went on to experience huge popularity similar to that of craft beer, and it’s the start of a new year, I’m gonna frame and ask these question(s).

Craft beer has in common with the hippy movement, the marijuana movement, the grateful deadhead movement, and the mountain bike movement certain things that make comparison seem kinda fair, though very far from perfect.

All these movements started with rebellion. With craft beer it was rebellion against a standardization of beer that led to there being far fewer breweries in the whole country, and AAL being the overwhelming, almost only, domestic beer of choice. You can still see residue of this when you hear people say things like, “This doesn’t taste like beer,” in reference to newer style offerings.

In craft beer we’ve seen quite a change over the years and CaveDave says, “The big money hipsters jump aboard, looking to cash in and move things to their own liking/advantage, and things change.”

He finishes with, “There is no doubt things are evolving in our “movement” (it once didn’t seem silly to say craft beer movement/revolution).

Where are things going? Will craft beer end up like grateful deadheads, becoming a small group of wealthy dilettantes who so alienate the first guard that most of them “jump off the bus”?

Will it end up like the hippie movement, so changed by late to the movement folks that it dies a slow death? Will it end up so crowded and dominated with wealthy devotees that it no longer seems any fun for many of the folks who started the hobby, like mountain biking.

Will it end up so controlled by the bigger is better folks that everything needs to be created to the highest amount of everything, where excess is worshipped, like the marijuana movement? Or are all of these things not applicable, or just plain wrong? What other factors do you see directing craft beer’s future?”

I am connected through craft beer by what I drink and the principles I have when it comes to what I choose to drink. Continually tired of “big beer” flashing “big money” to buy good breweries. Ballast Point being one of those.

These days, big beer is continuing to infiltrate and offer more “crafty” brands by way of buying out smaller companies. Can’t say I wouldn’t sell out, if a billion dollars were flashed in front of me.

We continue to see growth in craft beer. While that number has tailed off in the past few years.

From the Brewers Association, US beer volume sales were down 1% in 2017, while craft beer sales grew at 5% reaching 12.7% of the US beer market.

Is craft beer mainstream? Some will argue it is, but at just over 12% I feel it’s still an offshoot of all that shitty big beer out there.

There will always be new brewers and breweries vying for your attention, either locally or nationally. Craft gives beer drinkers, like me choice. Something not really offered in the US with the likes of AB InBev and MillerCoors.

Going forward, I still see craft beer being sought after, how highly? Think that will depend on those who drink it. We’re all different when it comes to beer, but that golden nectar does bring people together.

Now let’s get back into some more FPL related opinions.

FPL Opinions (continued) (19:46)

There were some impressive performances this past weekend from Diogo Jota’s last-minute thriller to give him the hat trick and win over Leicester City.

Then there was Fabian Schar, still irrelevant as a fantasy option, but scored twice, picked up a CS and 3 bonus points for 21 in Newcastle’s 3-0 win over Cardiff. He’s been brought in by just over 10k managers

I bought back in on Mo Salah ahead of the game week, giving him the captain’s armband and Salah returned a brace and 3 bonus. Second straight week he’s scored maximum bonus. Against Palace, it was 30 points, which powered MANY teams to a green arrow this weekend.

Leroy Sane (9.7) continues in good form, picked up a goal and assist, finishing on 12 points. Sane’s viability could be limited with the impending return of Ben Mendy, who we could see as early as GW24 when City travels to St. James’.

More likely, it could be GW25, the first week of February as City host Arsenal.

Mendy played 90 minutes in all 9 games in and around his injuries, posting 6 assists and 4 clean sheets

In the first 3 weeks of the season, Sane recorded 1 assist on just 30 minutes played. Mendy 270 minutes and 4 assists. Mendy added a 5th assist in GW4, a game in which Sane didn’t play.

From GW5 to GW7, as Mendy was out, injured Sane had a nice run, 21 points on a goal and 2 assists missing just 20 minutes.

From GW8 thru GW12, they were close, Sane on 23 points, Mendy on 25, each getting it done at opposite ends of the pitch. Sane with 2 goals, 2 assists and Mendy with 3 clean sheets.

Can they coexist? Yes. Will they start and play together? Hard to say. With the form Sane has been in, it’s going to be difficult to sit him on the bench.

Since GW13, he’s scored 77 points on 5 goals and 6 assists, averaged 73 minutes and finish 90 minutes, six times.

Raheem Sterling, 11.3 saw his fourth consecutive return, 2 bonus and clean sheet for 12 on the day.

Three Arsenal defenders finished the week in double figures, Koscielny, Bellerin and Sokratis. Bellerin played just 71 minutes and carries a flag for a knee injury.

What to make of Aubameyang? Brought in by nearly 50k managers, but also dropped by 51k, difficult to get a read on him. He blanked this past weekend but has Cardiff at home and Huddersfield away in two of the next 3 games. Oh yeah and a trip to the Eithad.

I think if you own him, you hold him through GW28

Many moving off TAA and going to Kolasinac at 4.9. How quickly we forget just how bad this Arsenal defense was. Against FPL managers favoring attacking return potential over clean sheets. Kolasinac has one assist in his last 4 games.

Bigger news on the weekend, Hazard, now just one assist in the last 4 games as they travel to BOU, and host HUD in the next two games.

Can’t see myself wanting the Chelsea midfielder, especially after their loss to Arsenal. Still can’t argue with 146 point on the season, but it’s been slim pickings recently.

Speak of thin, Marcos Alonso, hit the post again! Now 6 times on the season. Maybe that sums up the weekend for Chelsea.

Liverpool, as I mentioned in the opening, isn’t looking that resolute and stout defense it was in the first half of the season. Injuries have plagued the Reds defense as they conceded 3 goals on the day.

I plan on holding both Robertson and van Dijk in my starting XI over the next 3 games; LEI/whu/BOU. It’s United in GW27.

Saw quite a bit of discussion regarding Wolves. If you have Raul Jimenez, do your double up on the attack with Jota? Can’t see doing that. Feel it comes down to an either or. If you have Jimenez, you stick with him.

Will still have to wait and see if Jota is for real. In the opinion of FPL Fly, he’s a confidence player and against Leicester, he made a statement on the pitch. He’s got 5 goals and 3 assists on the season.

Wolves also have the best schedule through GW29. More detail on this in a few minutes.

Top 1000 Managers

Now let’s look at some numbers from the top 1000 managers. Do we have a new template?

Amazing to see Mo Salah is now owned by 96.5% of the to 1000 managers, Rashford at 88.5%, Aaron Wan-Bissaka at 84.1%. and Paul Pogba at 81.6%.

Rashford has gained over 1 million managers the last 2 weeks and the run for the Red Devils forward is still on. Pogba up 1.6 million managers.

Salah went through a patch earlier in the year in which he lost 1.3 million managers, but since that time, he, like his performances has been ticking on returning attacking points.

He’s now owned by 2.9 million managers in the game. You don’t want to be without at this point.

While I put quite a bit into the top 1000 managers, I don’t think it comes as a surprise that Marcos Alonso has lost managers in 8 out of the last 9 weeks, losing 202k last week.

He’s got 10 penalty touches, 5th best over the last 4 weeks behind Kolasinac, Maguire, Pereira, Steve Cook and Sean Morrison.

He’s on par with Robertson with 10 touches but has 7 goal attempts. Second only to Pereira, who’s got 9 total attempts.

Based on the numbers, Alonso has had 82 passes in the final third, second to Danilo with 88. A telling stat is crosses, as he’s 5th with 20 crosses attempt, off the pace of Digne with 37 and Trippier with 30. He’s only created one chance compared to 10 from Pereira, 8 from Yedlin, Kolasinac with 7, Digne, Trippier and Maguire each with 6.

Based on his numbers, an argument could be made to keep the Spaniard in your team. Again, 6 shots have hit the woodwork. We talk about luck in FPL, those could be nothing more than that. I know I’ve said it before, just 2-3 of those shots go in, we are not discussing Marcos Alonso, nor do we see all these transfers being made off the Chelsea defender.

Defensive managers are making the move off Alonso and TAA in favor of Kolasinac, now owned by 5.6% across all FPL, but more impressively 12.2% of the top 1000.

I am still not a Digne fan, even though the defender is owned by 79.6% of the top 1000, for every double-digit return, you are likely to get a 1 or 2 point stinker. This week, it was another -1, second time in 6 weeks.

That seems to be what you get with the Frenchman. 10 points in GW16, followed by a 3 and a -1. GW19, he scored 17, followed by a 2 and 1 point performance. Most recently 12 points in GW22 and a -1 this week. Be ready for another no return in GW24 at Huddersfield. It could be a case of the “new manager bump” and Everton losing.

The Toffees are coming to end the of their good run and it gets very tough. I don’t see their defenders worthy of a start after GW26, as they don’t keep clean sheets and there seems to be some complacency in the team under Silva.

I am more inclined to stay on the double Liverpool with Robertson at 69.7% owned and Virgil van Dijk, owned by just 14.9% and avoid the potential big attacking returns from Digne, with little chance for clean sheet points.

Couple that with the change in Everton’s fixtures come GW27.

As I mentioned on last week’s Academica Vertex podcast, I am done with Richarlison. Owned by 27.4 across FPL and 62.3% in the top 1000. Don’t care how many shots inside the box he has, but he’s scoreless in the last four games and could be experiencing another second half let down, like we witnessed at Watford last season.

That’s not to say he won’t turn it around next week against Huddersfield. Many will say he’s been unlucky not score. His 11 attempts are bested only by Pogba with 13.

More importantly, it’s his shot accuracy that continues to slide, now down to 18.2 over the last 4 games week and 34.6 on the season. As a reminder, he finished last season on 23.2 shot accuracy and a 5.3 goal conversion.

Last year his 95 goal attempts were third best behind Eriksen (97) and Salah, 144. His 74 attempts inside the box was second only to Salah, with 113.

Felipe Anderson has been disappointing as well, now without an attacking return over the last 4 games.

Anderson and Richarlison are still good value for their price. Both midfielders are averaging 4.8 PPG. Bested only by Fraser and Martial at 5.0 PPG.

I can’t see moving to the highly inconsistent Roberto Pereyra at 6.3. Might there be some value in looking at Palace again? Luca Milivojevic at 6.1, averaging 4.0 PPG and on pens.

Leroy Sane continues to tick on, owned by 34.7 in the top 1k, but only 15.7% across FPL. He’s posted 30 points in his last 3 games, after coming off a 3-game stretch in which he didn’t post attacking returns.

At 9.7 he’s the fourth best midfielder, however as mentioned Ben Mendy could be returning. We will have to wait and see just what Pep does on that left side. If I had the budget, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy in on Sane.

Hazard at 11.0 and a 59.5% ownership in the top 1k is curious, as he’s been sold by over 108k ahead of Bournemouth? Now owned by 35.5%. I guess FPL managers dropping him ahead of GW24 are going to havehimbite them in the ass when he returns big against the Cherries.

I gotta think the Blues, after being called out by Sarri will respond during the League and FA Cup. That could give us an indication as to the type of Chelsea we will see when GW24 returns on January 30.

This week it’s “The Curious Case of Diogo Jota.” Last season the Wolves hitman scored 17 goals and 6 assists in the Championship.

This season he hasn’t been as lucky, with just 2 goals and an assist before last weekend’s hat trick. This coming off the back of missing four games due to a hamstring.

At 5.9, he could potentially see a price increase in the coming days. Does he fit into our starting XI?

While you want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to a differential becoming a “template player” and I use that them loosely. Jota is owned by just 1.6, brought in by over 53k managers this week.

Undoubtedly, we will see that number move even higher as we approach GW24. I do see him as a direct replacement for Ryan Fraser. I say that because Callum Wilson appears to be injured again, this time it’s a knee. We know the Norwegian, Josh King can get it done.

However, the Cherries have a difficult spell, worst in the Premier League through GW29.

They are home to CHE, away to CAR and LIV. Home to Wolves, away to Arsenal and home to City. Four of their next 6 against top teams.

Wolves on paper look good, home to WHU, away to EVE, home to Newcastle, away to BOU and HUD, finishing up home to Cardiff.

Most of these games are ones they should win, but they were just 2-1-3 against these teams earlier in the year, keeping 2 CS and scoring just 7 goals. Their losses coming at the hands of Newcastle, Huddersfield and Cardiff.

My thoughts, give it a week, see what Jota does at home against West Ham. If you don’t own Jimenez, which I don’t, Jota could be an option through GW29.

Ian FPL Strategic posted some interesting numbers on the Fraser v. Jota comparison

Fraser vs Jota

Average PPG Season: 5.0 vs 3.8

Since GW15:

Average: 4.4 vs 8.6

Played: 9 vs 5

Average Opponent table position: 8.8 vs 16.2

Average Opponent table position, next 5: 7.2 vs 14

(note: the drop in Jota’s PPM is due to missing 4 games. Current last five played is 8.6).

Players to watch

While I have a tentative plan in place moving forward, one thing I want to do is roll a transfer ahead of GW25. Unless I have missed some news, there is an outside possibility of a small DGW in 25. Can’t hurt to roll and I’ve had good luck rolling a FT.

While So’ton have the best fixture run through GW28, there are not many options I am looking. Already own Hojbjerg but he’s bench fodder, their defense isn’t impressive and Shane Long, off a brace can’t be trusted.

Wolves could get back into a good run. While Matt Doherty is still highly owned, Wolves have kept just one CS since game week 8 against BOU, a team they will play again in GW27.

I continue to look at Raul Jimenez as a Callum Wilson replacement. It would cost me 0.1 more to get the Mexican in, but I am holding out hope that the knee is nothing serious that will keep him from missing games.

For those not on Jimenez, the Jota could be an option. I am watching him, but won’t wait 3-4 weeks to jump on him at 5.9 if he starts to show some consistency on attack.

Spurs have a run of 4 games; home to WAT, NEW and LEI and away to Burnley. Not sure these four games are as straight forward as they should be with a bevy of problem; Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Moussa Sissoko all injured and Son playing in the AFC Asia Cup. Moura is flagged, but should be available in GW24.

Moura only 6% owned, Lamela, 0.7% owned and Winks 0.1% owned. Let’s not forget that Christian Eriksen carried Denmark on his back, maybe he will do that with Spurs with all the adversity they are facing.

While over 2 million other FPL managers own Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it might be worthwhile to pay attention to Patrick van Aanholt. At 5.4, he’s owned by just 3.9% of managers across FPL, but carries CS possibilities combined with attacking potential.

In the last 6 weeks, 10 attempts on goals on 12 penalty touches, 5 shots inside the box and 3 on target. He’s had 54 final third touches with just 8 crosses, but all of those creating a chance, including 2 big chances, third best behind Pereira, Yedlin and Kolasinac.

Games at So’ton, home to Fulham and West Ham and away to Leicester could be worthwhile for Palace defensive assets.

Already an Aubameyang owner, I am keeping any eye on Jamir Vardy as Leicester has a good run starting in GW27. While Vardy hasn’t been all that prolific, he’s made the most of his 11 attempts, all coming from inside the box with 5 on target but only 2 goals.

On the season he’s taken 17 big chances, that tied with Kane for 3rd in the Premier League. He’s scored 6 big chances with 7 goals on the season. At 8.9 he’s compared to Lazazette at 9.3, but doesn’t offer the assist like the Gunners front man. Still could be a vital piece going forward, depending on what happens to Puel.

Time to look back on my game week 24

 

TEAM NEWS

Review Gameweek 24

It’s been a tough run but was able to post a second green arrow in the last 3 weeks on the back of 74 points. After Saturday I had 71 points with Alonso and Aubameyang to play and thoughts of grandeur ran through my head.

It couldn’t have gone any worse, as neither player returned points. Aubs played well for Arsenal and it was another ball off the woodwork for Alonso. As I’ve already said, just bad luck for the Spaniard.

74 points was enough to see me climb the OR by 29k as I made back most of what I lost in GW23 when I scored 50 points. Now at 116k, I am hoping to put some consistent returns together.

This week it was Salah, captained for 30 points, while Rashford and Pogba each picked up 8. Wilson, although injured returned 9 points, while the Liverpool dup of Robertson and VVD combined for 9 points.

Strategy

I’ve just started getting interested in what the double and blank game weeks will bring. While I listed intently to James and Suj at Planet #FPL, I can’t recall shit. I know GW27, 31 and 33 are slated to be blanks, while GW32 and 35 will be the doubles.

Chip strategy could be WC or free hit in 32 or free hit in 33 and wild card 34, setting yourself up for 35, when you can bench boost.

The only chip remaining, the triple captain. At this point, I could see dropping it on Salah, home to Bournemouth. Not that I will.

I’ve got players highlighted to move off of, including Hojbjerg in 29, potentially Pogba and Rashford in 30 and Felipe Anderson in 33.

While I just brought in Neil Etheridge 2 weeks ago, I will move both him and Hamer for the DGW, looking to start two goalkeepers.

I don’t have any other players noted on my spreadsheet. I’ve already mentioned a few in previous sections. Many of my decisions hinge on the results of the domestic cup games.

Transfer

While Sane is on a very short list, I have 1.5 ITB but no midfielder, other than Salah or Pogba to come off of to fund Sane. Salah is untouchable since I just brought him in, that leaves Pogba. But BUR/lei/ful are three games that are favorable, while Sane has new/ARS/CHE. You see the problem.

Most likely, if I don’t replace Fraser, I will roll the transfer this week and go with any unchanged squad. Based on match up, AWB could get the start and possibly Jonny, but the big question, who to captain

Captain

The popular choice will undoubtedly be Mo Salah. While I don’t own him, Hazard could be a candidate, if managers aren’t completely off and frustrated with him. However, my bus team right now has Aubameyang with the armband, home to Cardiff.

On the season Aubs has 14 goals, 8 of which have come at the Emirates. He also has 12 goals against non-top 6 teams.

He picked up 8 points away to Cardiff back in GW4, while Salah played 70 minutes in GW4 and didn’t return at the KP Stadium.

Hard to say not #AlwaysCaptainSalah. The Reds play Leicester City, but which defense will show up?

Will it be the defense that didn’t concede against Chelsea and gave up just one to City? Or will it be the Foxes defense that gave up 4 to Bournemouth, 3 to Arsenal and last week 4, including the injury time winner to Wolves?

Salah wasn’t on the scoresheet back in game week 4, when they beat Leicester 2-1, at Anfield, it could be a completely different game.

Conclusion [queue outro music]

That’s it for episode 24, thanks for listening. The podcast will hopefully return next week, as we look at GW24 in more detail. Everything said today, will most likely be irrelevant tomorrow. Seems to be how things happen in FPL.

All episodes of Pitch & Pint are available at 6thgoal.com. You can also find them on your favorite podcast client include Apple iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify.

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Good luck this weekend, may your arrows be green!

Thanks for listening to the Pitch & Pint Podcast – FPL from inside the Six

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