Premier League: GW30 Retrospect

There was a point Saturday morning, watching the 3pm kick offs that I could not keep up with all the scoring. I just happen to have all five games streaming on my PC, as I am switching back and forth on Slack from Art of the Dive to Always Cheating, as discussion was coming fast and furious. With goals flying in, I was comparing OR in Fantasy Football Fix with livefpl.net and Premier League Tools. It all told the same story a big green arrow was in the making. However, that is not how it was for many FPL managers come to find out later.

There’s an underlying Catch-22 to FPL, the balance between being a skillful manager and being lucky to score points with the players on your squad. This week, it was virtually all luck, which probably won’t sit well with many who seem to favor statistics, match ups and those damn “x” numbers (xG, xA). This week the xL (or expected luck) was very high and it resulted in a final weekly score of 84 points!

Heading into GW30, I made the decision to roll my FT, to give me two into the first big, blank game week. This week was the first in which my total score shined, compared to the weekly average that came in 48 points. I made excellent strides in mini-leagues and more importantly, the OR, climbing 43k to an overall rank of 41k! Never in my six years of playing FPL has my total score put me this high, needless to say, it makes this article and the upcoming Pitch & Pint Podcast much easier to get through on a positive note.

One thing that was discusses in a DM chat with Casey (FPL_Tornado) and Gabe (FPLLens), as the fact that I’ve made up over 100k in the last month, as my starting XI continues to be consistent, having patience with players like Salomon Rondon and Ryan Fraser, two that had excellent games last week. The plan for these players go back further than game week 26, when I launched my double and blank plan. The key at this point to maintain and improve my OR and squad going into a key game week as the business end is now here.

If there is one thing I’ve struggled with all season is consistent in my starting XI, this week was more of the same. Defensively I didn’t expect Brighton or Burnley to show much offense, both away from home they have struggled to find goals. As I’ve done most of the season, the defense was anchored by Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka got a spot start after a 5-point performance in GW29. It was my standard 3-4-3 formation, as Neil Etheridge got his final start in goal. He also started as my top defensive player, as Cardiff City shocked West Ham, 2-0 as Etheridge finished with 7 points. A shocking clean sheet! The Reds conceded a single goal and Palace went on to lose 2-1, all one point performances.

That was the bad news, the defense not playing up to their potential and after Saturday, I had hopes to break the century mark for the first time all season with three Liverpool assets and Paul “bad attitude” Pogba. Speaking of this alleged world class player, he tanked as did his Man United team, losing to Arsenal, 2-0, as you knew it was coming, he picked up a yellow card and just one point. Not sure this guy will feature in my team from this point on. Sadly, when things aren’t going his way, his attitude is terrible. I am sure myopic United fan doesn’t see it, but he is poor when he’s not getting the ball or when United is losing. Feel there are better options out there. It will be curious to see how this Red Devils team rebounds now that “Old Gunnar” has suffered his first loss.

I’d picked up Raheem Sterling two weeks ago and was very disappointed last week, as a first time owner when I gave him the captain’s armband with no return. Made me wonder if I made the right decision, instead of bringing in Eden Hazard, who was in my original plans. This week Sterling repaid his new owners, picking up a hat trick (21 pts) against my beloved Watford. I won’t get into the bad call by Paul Tierney, who overruled the linesman, turning the momentum of the game from Watford to City. Out of FOMO, the captain was on Mo Salah, who picked up just 10 points with one assist, but could or should (?) of had three assists. He looked sharp again with some excellent chances, but couldn’t capitalize. Ryan Fraser appeared back in form as Bournemouth doubled up Huddersfield, 2-0 as Fraser picked up a goal and assist for 13 points.

Up front, I had no plans of transferring in Callum Wilson, who was still flagged, but got the start for Eddie Howe. Josh King remained in my starting XI. Some key stats show that King had more penalty touches(7 vs 6), goal attempts (3 vs 1) and big chances (3 vs 1) than Wilson, who had two shots on target to King’s one shot.  Based on a comparison, Wilson has the statistical advantage, but not sure it’s as big as it’s portrayed. King was my only forward not to return points this week.

In that flurry of activity I spoke about to start the article, Jamie Vardy and Salomon Rondon were the two beneficiaries. Vardy almost looked like the Vardy of old, picking up two goals, which COULD have been three if he would not have laid off a pass for Youri Tielemans, who scored. On the day, it was 16 points ahead of a prime BGW31 fixture. Rondon and Ayoze Perez (not owned) keyed a big second half comeback. It would be his second double digit return (11 pts) in four weeks, as he netted and assisted, picking up two bonus points.

Now, with 2 FTs in the bank we look forward to BGW31. Much like this week, I commented on “expectations are to be right around this mark for GW29,” which I hit and passed, finishing with a season high, 84 points. Now it will be can I keep this roll going? While my team has been consistent much of year, pateience playing a key roll, it’s been en ebb and flow of red and green over the last 10 weeks with six green arrows, however things are looking up, as it’s been just one red arrow in the last four weeks.

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