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Episode 35 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Wednesday, April 17, 2019, Wild Card Woes
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Hello and welcomes to Episode 35 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
Yes, new bumper music, as Watford have changed their match day from Z-Cars to Still Standing, selected by Elton John himself. This is the first time since 1964 that the music has changed.
It’s Wednesday afternoon and it’s been a long fantasy week as Brighton and Cardiff have played out their game yesterday and finished off the small DGW34.
Today we saw a fucking crazy Champions League match, which ended 4-4 on a late VAR call that said, sorry Pep not winning all 4 this season. Spurs advance, as does Liverpool.
We need to keep a few things in mind as we look back.
First, as I stated in Episode 34 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast, “Brighton have kept 2 clean sheets in 21 games. So, the chances are they won’t keep a CS in either game. Because of the DGW for Brighton, I would be compelled to roll out a GK and/or defender.”
At no point did I feel a Shane Duffy was a worthwhile captain based purely on what we’ve seen of Brighton this season. That said, Duffy was captained by 2.3% of managers across FPL and shocking 28% of the top 1000 managers.
Saying what I did last week on the show, I did bring in Mat Ryan and Shane Duffy for two reasons. First, they were cheap, second, they had two games. At the least, I figured 8 points would be the break even.
It was a very unimpressive 2 points in four games played for the duo. The Seagulls conceded 5 goals at home to Bournemouth on Saturday and 2 goals on Tuesday home to Cardiff City.
It’s no surprise FPL managers are looking to jettison their Brighton assets quickly and even considering hits for it. Seem a few on Twitter ready to drop a -12 ahead of DHW34.
Not sure I am willing to do that…yet, as I’ve taken pride in my hits this season, taking only 2 for a -8 point hit. That said, FPL Tornado, by way of comparison has taken 10 hit, but ahead of DGW34, we were separated by just 2 points.
So hits can work to your advantage, if you want to try your luck, no better week to plan a hit then ahead of a double game week. More on the DGW later in the show.
The second thing to remember relates to the wild card, which was activated by just 6.6% of FPL managers across the game and 71.7% of the top 1000 managers.
Again, I refer to this group, because this top 1000 can potentially affect your overall score being a red or green arrow. I could probably look at the top 10k and see similar results.
Maybe that is something I do next season, but all season long the mindset has been to keep pace with the average score of the top 1000.
With just a large sampling size of the top 1000 playing their wild card, we need to keep it all in perspective. Twitter would have led many managers to believe many more had activated their second wild card, which wasn’t really the case.
That brings me to my second point. I activated my wild card at the start of BGW33, to allow for the most time I could get to make my decision on how to approach this all-important chip.
This was the first time in 6 years I’d held my second wild card to be used in conjunction with the doubles and blanks. Did it work? I don’t know and that leads me to my second point.
As Marco from the Art of the Dive mentioned on Twitter on Monday, “Reminder that your WC doesn’t often produce amazing results the first week. You likely picked your players for the run in so don’t freak out if GW34 isn’t perfect. There are tons of land mines this week.”
His words are spot on to my opinion about the wild card. I started planning for the blanks and doubles in GW26, over the next few weeks, I had time to move chips around until I found a strategy that worked for me. I built for the blanks in GW31 and GW33 using free transfers, decided to FH in GW32, wild card in DGW34 and BB in DGW35.
On paper it made sense. One thing I won’t do is judge the success of failure of my wild card based on a single game week. You can’t. Okay, you can but you are being very short sided if you do.
In GW3, I activated my first wild card. Based on just 2 weeks of play, I felt there was enough information and players I wanted to activate the wild card. At the end of GW3, I scored 57 points and saw a 239k green arrow.
However, a week later team faltered scoring a season low, 45 points and dropped 55k. Over the next 6 weeks, it would 5 green arrows and I wrote an article about the success I had on my first wild card.
I saw my OR jump from 786k to 114k, where I was for much of the season.
Maybe history dictates you let the wild card slide if you are in the middle of a good run. This year is a strong case in point and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, as I saw many on Twitter second guessing themselves and moves they made ahead of DGW34.
If I used my BGW34 team, I transferred out both Fraser and Brooks based on their recent form. Bouremouth hadn’t played well or scored like they did earlier in the season, when many FPL managers talked highly of their attacking assets.
Had I used the BGW33 team for DGW34, I would have score 56 points with 12 coming off the bench since Kolasinac didn’t play. A total of 68 and a big green arrow inside the top 10k!
Ahead of wild card activation I had posted 6 green arrows out of 7 weeks improving from 80k to inside 11k! It’s been the best run of the season to date for me.
All that hard work was derailed, based on the poor results seen in DGW34. Could I have changed my strategy and held the wild card for another week, possibly two?
Maybe. Should I have continued in the same vein that my squad was playing. We always talk form vs fixture and my starting XI was in excellent form, but the lure of the wild card can be likened to great fixtures upcoming.
Since I could play Captain Hindsight the rest of this of this show, let me finish by say thing.
I will reevaluate the success of my wild card at the end of GW36, a 3-week period, as I planned on roll the FT in DGW35. More on that later in the show.
Let’s shift gears and look back on Watford loss at Vicarage Road against the Gooners.
WATFORD VS ARSENAL REVIEW (06:29)
Losing sucks! Just ask Pep after his UCL lose. Regardless of what team you support, none of us ever like seeing our team lose a Premier League game.
Now, I’ll probably sound like a homer when I say, Watford lost, but no thanks to Craig Pawson, who never say the Troy Deeney infraction…alleged infraction against Lucas Torreira.
I won’t disagree with anyone, there WAS contact. Elbow? Forearm? Maybe it doesn’t matter. Where the officials and Arsenal out to get Deeney? I won’t become a conspiracy theorist
But Deeney’s 2017 “cajones” comments continues to come to life when these two clubs play. Arsenal using it in their favor, while Deeney, not one to back down doesn’t regret saying it.
According to the rag that is the Daily Mirror, Deeney called the decision to send him off a “fucking embarrassment” before appearing to talk to the diminutive midfielder.
Leaving the pitch, he first had words with the fourth official before venting to Unai Emery on the touchline. Pointing back towards the field, the Watford captain shouted, “He’s a fucking pussy! I’ve ran past him.”
While the game turned on that red card, just 3 minutes prior Daryl Janmaat made an ill-advised turn into the pitch, instead of out, passing the ball back to Ben Foster.
The Watford keeper took a second too long, which allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to break towards the keeper and get a foot in deflecting the ball backwards, ending up in the Hornets goal, as Foster stood, dumbfounded.
Bernd Leno, about 5 minutes in played a ball out to his defender, which nearly caught him off guard when he had a faux pas, as Andre Gray close him down. Leno sent the ball out for a throw in.
Aside from two Watford mistakes, their 10-men were better then a full Arsenal squad. Arsenal only had one real chance from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, in the second half that forced him into a big save to keep the game at 1-0.
While the statistics don’t back the Golden Boys, they let numerous chances fall by the wayside to get the equalizer. On the day, I still feel they outplayed the Gunners, even with 10-men. Unfortunately, the Hornets couldn’t capitalize late in the game and picked up the loss, 1-0.
In the post-game interview, Javi Gracia said, “When we win and one player scores a goal, every player is happy and all the team is happy.”
“We are a team. We enjoy together and suffer together, it’s not only about one player, it’s about the team and we are not waiting for the moment to point to one player.
Gracia also commented on Craig Pawson’s decision, “It was an early goal in that moment and it was important for the development of the game, but we had time to play and to score goals in that moment.
“It was not a mistake at the end of the game, we had time. But after that goal, the sending off was very, very tough for us.
“Today if someone has to explain what happened it’s the referee, with that decision.”
Watford still in contention for that all important, 7th spot in the league will travel to Huddersfield on Saturday and host Southampton next Tuesday in DGW34.
Before we get into some of the DGW35 discussion, it’s time to pour myself the DGW35 Beer of the Week.
DGW35 BEER OF THE WEEK (09:28)
I want to preface this section by saying that one of the biggest complaints I get about this beer section of the show is the fact that MANY listeners in the UK won’t ever get the opportunity to taste 90% of the beers I review.
Unfortunate as it is, I will hopefully make amends in the coming week as I plan on reviewing a flight of US craft beers that ARE readily available in the UK.
Now being the cunt, I am when it comes to craft beer, many of these beers I no longer favor. Now that doesn’t make me a fucking hipster or craft beer snob.
I favor independent craft beer, not beer that is backed by BIG BEER, considered a “crafty brand,” like Sculpin from Ballast Point. Good beer? Probably, but independent craft, it isn’t.
No longer do I drink beer from breweries like Stone, as I don’t consider them independent craft any longer, as they’ve taken a shit load of money (to the tune of 90 million) in the past.
I’ve favored their beer in the past for a distinctive West Coast style, clear ales with a big hop bite and sizeable ABV. But they brew so much beer, I’ve lost interest in what they distribute.
Their recent offering of their Enjoy By series seemed to head downhill and wasn’t as good as in previous years. That said, Stone is one that many in the UK can sample.
In Episode 36 or Episode 37 I will review a flight, from the US to the UK that will feature Stone IPA, Stone Go To IPA, Bear Republic, Racer 5, Founders All Day IPA and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
I won’t drink full 12-ounce cans, but enough to give you, my thoughts on how these beers stack up compared to some of the craft beer I favor on a regular basis.
As many listeners know, I have an affinity for Tree House Brewing out of Charlton, Mass, but nearly any beer out of the state of Maine has been excellent as well.
So today, in honor of Maine and out of Portland and Foundation Brewing comes Spiffy, an 8% NEIPA brewed to celebrate in honor of Epiphany’s 4th birthday. Affectionately referred to as their “Extra Maine IPA” because of the extra dry hops.
Spiffy is a DIPA with the same malt bill and hop varieties as Epiphany. Kicking it up several notches, Spiffy is triple dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops and brewed with Cascade, Columbus, Citra, Ella and Mosaic.
Epiphany is a beer I’ve experienced twice, the last time on August 11, 2018 thanks in part to the Untapped app. I scored it a 4.5 both times. This is the base beer that Spiffy was brewed off.
From their website, “Until you find your calling, you don’t know what you’re missing. And from the moment you do, it’s hard to think of anything else.
Foundation Brewing Company is the story of what can happen when you follow that calling, pushing past the easy appeal of everything safe, solid and sure to pursue the promise and perils of passion.
That’s not to say we threw caution to the wind. We didn’t. We started down this path with decades of home brewing experience, and the unyielding drive of brewing geeks captivated by the science of beer, intent on the pursuit of distinct flavors and disciplined in efforts to document what we learned.
Since we took the plunge and created Foundation, we’ve grown carefully, focusing more on getting better than getting bigger. We’ve opened our tasting room doors to growing crowds of curious beer-o-philes, taking the time to listen, to share new recipes, to gain new insights, and to test new ideas in our perpetual pursuit of the next great recipe.
At Foundation, beer is more than a business. It’s more than a pastime. It’s our calling. And we’ll never grow tired of looking for the perfect answer.
Without further ado, let’s crack the top on this 16 oz can of Spiffy from Foundation Brewing
Spiffy pours a deep, hazy yellow with a full and thick one finger head. Depositing some spotty lacing.
The smell is juicy citrus with orange and grapefruit and a well pronounced hop presence.
Let’s see how it goes down…
It’s dank and delicious, if it weren’t for the haze, it could be mistaken as a West Coast DIPA. Big and juicy on the palette with orange and grapefruit, this is an excellent beer.
Now with our beer our poured, let’s get into the FPL opinions.
FPL OPINIONS (13:32)
Where shall we start? Liverpool? Man City?
Both teams won their weekend fixtures, that sees the Reds remain atop the league, but City have a game in hand. Which team had the more impressive win?
Raheem Sterling’s brace and KDB’s two assists stave off a stingy Crystal Palace, as Luca Milivojevic hit for 12th goal from a set piece, making it 4 out or games with a goal. Seem to recall he played well at the end of last season as well.
While I never considered Sterling for my starting XI, because of being price prohibitive, I had KDB in the last 4 or 5 drafts ahead of DGW34 before removing him. Was I wrong?
Too early to say moving off the ginger is a mistake, he looked excellent in City’s win and will play an important part for City the rest of this season.
The only City asset I brought in, Aymeric Laporte, hoping the City defense would remain in good form and secure some more clean sheets as the season winds down.
That didn’t go as planned, but I still feel confident he was the right choice. As for attacking options, they appear to be “set and forget” as they have been much of the season.
City still involved in the FA Cup final on May 18, and neck and are neck with Liverpool, rotation should improve as City are now out of the Champions League.
I’ve heard some managers going triple City attack with KDB, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero. Risky? Sure is. Depending on how you look at it, this big investment could pay off.
I had KDB slotting for a starting spot in my XI, but felt Salah had a higher ceiling, better fixtures and a lessened chance at rotation. We will have to see what decision was right in a month or so.
That said, I still have 1.2 ITB and after transferring out Deeney COULD taking a hit to replace Christian Eriksen with Raheem Sterling, if I think Sterling is a better option.
As for Liverpool, I continue to stay tripled up on them with both Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk. At this point of the season, they offer the best chance at a CS and are both very attacking, Robertson more so, but I feel VVD still has a few goals left in him this season.
It was a great cross from van Dijk that found Mo Salah for that “worldly” goal, as some were describing it. Don’t get me wrong, it was an outstanding shot and there did seem to be something special about it. Maybe it was just an “in the moment” thing, I don’t know.
Sadio Mane also picked up a goal, so both midfielder options benefited in their 2-0 victory over Chelsea. Going forward I have opted for Salah as my lone attacking.
In my initial plan I wanted to transfer Jamie Vardy out and bring in Roberto Firmino as my premium forward, but in an effort to limit or take no hits I felt Salah was a stronger options, again based on his underlying stats.
I know we’ve tossed that term around way too much this season, but the last 6 game weeks, Salah will has the most penalty touches (61), most goal attempts (24) and most attempts inside the box (16). Why wouldn’t I want him?
It comes down to Salah will either make or break my season at this point. I’ve already lost out on big points earlier in the season when I moved him out and he had that great run, maybe at this late stage I am trying to make up for lost points and Mane will be the player we want.
Who’s to say?
What to make of Spurs, they defeat Man City, 1-0 in the Champions League game, at home and then lose 4-3 at City, but move on based on aggregate in the UCL. Lose Harry Kane and fucking A they keep on winning! A testament to something, just not sure what. They players? Poch? Daniel Levy? A new stadium?
Maybe it’s a bit of each that have the Spurs playing some of the best football of the season. Lucas Moura was on no one’s radar. Why should he have been?
Just 1 goal over the last 14 before his hatty against Huddersfield. Now, let’s remember it WAS Huddersfield. One can speculate, that if Heung-min Son were playing, those three goals could have been his, right?
I have no doubt Son would have torn that defense apart. Moura, being a part time player seemed to make it look very easy on the day. As for Son, the rumor mill on Twitter was correct and Poch rested him, giving him a 3 minute cameo, in which he pocketed an assist. How’s that for a quick and efficient 4 point performance?
Christian Eriksen isn’t a bad shout, on the day he did have 5 shots, 3 of which were inside the box, unfortunately came away empty handed. At 9.2 he is costly but feel he will come good for Spurs without Kane on the pitch.
Not feeling Fernando Llorente, at 5.1, he’s currently flagged but feel Son is a much stronger option played up top. Not that Poch will agree, I don’t see much value in him.
Defensively, remember it was Huddersfield, so don’t get overly excited Spurs kept their 12 CS of the season. Hugo Lloris hasn’t been flashing and at 5.4 was picked up by 56k new managers on the back of his second clean sheet in as many games.
Many managers came off Paul Pogba, who turned around, said “fuck you” and netted 2 PK goals. Yet, their defense still can’t get it done on a regular basis, as they gave up a goal to the beach dwellers, West Ham. Another has-been this season, Felipe Anderson had some good stats this week and netted for the Hammers.
At this point, I am still off United. Everton away, the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford followed by Chelsea, the fixtures just don’t lend themselves to points. That said, players like Pogba are big time players and seem to come through in the big games. Those 2 goals were his first in 6 games. No wonder many FPL managers had come off the Red Devils midfielder.
Romelu Lukaku was all the talk back in GW26 though GW29, with 6 attacking returns that included 4 goals. Since that time, he’s gone missing…we’re talking side of a milk carton shit.
He’s played in all but one (home to Watford) game and hasn’t posted any attacking returns. Marcus Rashford has done with one better, with a single goal in the last 8 weeks. Any reason to own them? Nope.
Could be a case of, wait until the last few weeks of the season, but even then, it could be tricky.
Not sold on their defense at this point either, fat Luke Shaw is suspended, Eric Bailly injured, Antonion Valencia out, Asley Young, is old. Phil Jones? Nope, Chris Smalling? Uh uh. Viktor Lindelof? Can’t do it. Nothing says go Unired defense at this point. Again, the last 2 games could prove to be worthwhile.
Before this point of the season, we were looking forward to Arsenal’s run to the finish. But, it’s yet to really materialize. A very unimpressive 1-0 win against Watford with an excuse me, look what I found goal by Aubameyang and one good chance from Mkhitaryan, otherwise that offense looked like shit.
Then again, Emery might like it that way, as the Gooners are still involved in Europa League activity with an eye on making the finals. They are 2-0 up on Napoli as they head to Italy on Thursday.
Yet Emery hasn’t made it easy on FPL managers. Rarely do we see Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette start together. That means we see an additional midfielder, in Ramsey, Ozil or Mkhitaryan. There is just no rhyme or reason to the starting XI he puts on the pitch.
Defensively, even though they are coming off a clean sheet, they are an avoid in my book. Even at home. Sead Kolasinac was slated to come into the WC team, but when he didn’t get a start in BGW33, his services were no longer needed on my team. Sorry Sead. Their defensive showing against Watford was pretty poor, even though Watford was down to 10-men. I don’t fancy any of their assets.
Chelsea. Sorry Sarri. Eden Hazard was good for 2 weeks and seems to have dropped off again. I moved him on the WC ahead of 34 and based on their fixtures, I don’t think I will buy back into them. BUR/mun/WAT/lei.
Four tricky fixtures, but it’s really nothing more then an extended audition for Hazard ahead of a potential move. The only excitement could be watching the play of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, as they play for a spot in the starting XI next season.
As for the rest of the league, let’s take a quick beer break and take home brewing before we continue on with the FPL banter. Well, is it really banter, if I don’t have anyone I am talking to?
BEER NEWS – HOME BREWING (21:22)
Last Saturday, I bottled my latest batch of homebrew, which was named by FPL Fly called Nuno’s Bearded Stout. This was my first attempt at all grain brewing.
What does that mean? As I described in a previous episode, all grain is where I take crushed barley, drop it in a mash lauter tun, which in reality is a fancy name for a 10-gallon cooler, add hot water as the mixture becomes what is known as a mash and the starches are broken down into sugars that become wort.
That’s the skinny of it, there is more to it, but I won’t bore you with more home brewing jargon today. Because today, it’s all about Nuno’s Bearded Stout.
This home brew was mashed and brewed on March 17 using 12 pounds of 2-Row pale malt, 2 pounds of light DME (or dry malt extract), 1 pound of Crystal 120L, 1 pound of Carastan, 8 oz. of English Brown Malt and Chocolate Malt and finally 4 o.z of roasted barley.
There wasn’t supposed to be a big hop presence in this stout, so I boiled with 1 oz. of Apollo hops for 60 minutes, 1 oz. Northern Brewer for 45 minutes and 1 oz. Willamette hops for the final 15 minutes.
Once the boil was complete and the wort cooled down and aerated, I pitched the yeast, Wyeast 1098 British #1.
The brew day complete I put the fermentation bucket in the hall closet for 2 weeks. Due to work and other responsibilities, 2 weeks turned into 3 weeks, which isn’t really a problem. By then all the yeast had dropped out and there was no more fermentation happening.
However, left too long in the vessel, it could develop phenolic flavors. These are usually considered an off flavor and not desired at high levels and possibly welcomed in some styles of beers. However, not in a stout. In my case tannins could manifest themselves into an astringent or bitter flavor in the finished beer.
Tasting the batch after I racked it into the bottling bucket and before I filled the bottles, the flavor tasted pretty good for a stout.
This recipe was a clone for the Fort Bragg based, North Coast Brewing and their Russian Imperial Stout, Old Rasputin. As it’s described on their website,
“Produced in the tradition of 18th Century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin seems to develop a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big complex flavors and a warming finish.
The Old Rasputin brand image is a drawing of Rasputin with a phrase in Russian encircling it — A sincere friend is not born instantly.”
While this stout was supposed come in at 8.5% to 9% ABV, I fell really short of this because of a mistake I made when mashing. A mistake in home brewing is bound to happen.
Thankfully, it was one, if caught before I brewed, I would have been able to fix. Unfortunately it was nearly 5 hours after I finished did I realize what I did wrong. Live and learn, as they say.
Still from the numbers, this beer is coming in between 6% and 7.5% ABV. I can’t be sure since I failed to note the temperature when I took the readings off the hydrometer.
Much like my job, home brewing is attention to details, such as times and temperatures. Very important if you want to brew good beer for your friends.
After measuring the alcohol content, I had a taste of the what resulted after fermentation. It was coffee forward with a roasty note that wasn’t overpowering with a hint of dark chocolate and dark fruits.
So I have faith this stout will turn out to be my best batch yet since I did not use a malt extract and was able to get more flavors with the malt and specialty grains used.
Hopefully I will have a First Sip video post on Friday to show my latest batch, Nuno’s Bearded Stout.
Now let’s get back to the FPL opinions
FPL OPINIONS – CONTINUED (25:05)
So we are down to the “best of the rest” and I don’t buy the fact that Marco Silva’s Everton squad has more points then Watford. Sorry FPL Tornado, I still believe he’s a horrible, classless manager, who just happened to hit a spell of good luck and some clean sheets.
I do think Everton could play spoilers to man United at Goodison in GW35. Many FPL managers aren’t looking in this direction and miss out on Luca Digne at 5.3 or Glyfi Sigurdsson at 7.4. Dominic Calvert-Lewin at 5.4 could be a punt after the DGW, at 5.4 he’s a perfect Deeney replacement. I don’t buy the fact that Andre Gray and/or Issac Success will be starting.
That’s a perfect transition to my club, Watford. There’s been many questions directed at me about Watford defenders. Which budget option do I take? Is there going to be rotation? What’s up with Jose Holebas or Adrian Mariappa?
My take on Watford defenders. AVOID THEM ALL! It’s like Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi, “It’s a trap!” Just 7 cleans on the season and more rotation in the last month then we have seen all season has me steering clean of Javi Gracia’s backline. The price is right, but the players are not.
Roberto Pereyra? He featured in the 3-2 win in the FA Cup semifinal, got 45 minutes at Fulham and then missed the Gunners. Now, he’s flagged with a thigh injury. He wasn’t a player in form, he’s another avoid.
Gerard Deulofeu is flagged as well and Watford could be a but thin up top. I don’t think they will rush Geri D back into the starting XI quickly, as we want to have a good FA Cup showing. Because in that competition, ANYTHING can happen.
That leaves Abdoulaye Doucoure as the only healthy option in the midfield at 5.9. Not sure I would consider him if we don’t have quality up top to finish.
I am not an Andre Gray fan, he’s been a terrible starter this season, much better off the bench. Unfortunately Javi gave him the start ahead of Deulofeu in the FA Cup because of how he played at Fulham. Again, I don’t buy it or accept it, but it’s his decision.
With the Deeney red card, I think Watford are going to struggle in front of the goal and wouldn’t be surprised if we lose one of these upcoming 2 games. Huddersfield did us last year and Southampton are the 5th highest scoring team (9) in the last 6 weeks. Two loses? I hope not, but I don’t think their fixtures are as clear cut as may are making them out to be.
Wolves, are they or aren’t they on the beach? Are they still reeling in the FA Cup lose, in which they gave away a 2 goal lead? Many FPL managers are banking on Diogo Jota and Raul Ji-menez to play an important role in the final weeks of the season.
I’ve placed my faith in both players, neither of which I have owned until BGW33, when I picked up Ji-menez on the FH.
Outside of the final game of the season at Anfield, I like the Wolves run in, as long as they put forth a better effect then what we say last weekend, in their 3-1 thrashing at St. Mary’s.
I know So’ton has improved, but not to the Wolves level. So there is some concern they are on the beach or trying to reignite the mojo they had when they were slaying top 6 clubs and running over everyone to the 7th spot in the table.
They still have a place to play for in Europe, so the 7th spot is still where they need to be in order to have a chance. That is if Man City win the FA Cup.
Speaking of attack minded teams, what the fuck got into Bournemouth? And who popped their cherry? This is the team Eddie Howe has been yearning for now for months!
They had 5 in the last 6 and picked up another 5 against a lackluster Brighton. Have the Cherries found the key that was so successful in the first half of the season, when they scored 27 goals in 19 games. Since then, productivity has dropped off with 22 goals in 15 games.
Callum Wilson, with a double could become a viable target, to replace the now suspended Troy Deeney, a cost difference of 0.7. Wilson is home to Fulham, a game in which he scored 13 points during GW13. Ryan Fraser also picked up 16 points this week and had another 11 against Fulham in GW13. David Brooks, relevant again with 12 points.
However, one game doesn’t make us forget the struggles the Cherries put us through for a few months. They have FUL/sou/TOT/cry to finish out the season.
Leicester City’s run is coming to an end, as they travel to West ham and are home to Arsenal before you don’t want them any longer. Do you trust them to get it done over that 2-week span? They looked like shit this past weekend as there was no Vardy Party to speak of, broken up by Newcastle.
They have been better of late, but without a double, many aren’t looking at Barnes, Tielemans, Maddison or Vardy. I say ride them for 1 more week against the hapless Hammers defense.
The last team to consider, Southampton, as they are suddenly relevant in FPL, a place they haven’t been all season long.
Are they an option? Yes, because they have 2 games in 34, but I compare them to Brighton, not a great option, as their defense has conceded 8 in the last 5 games and they’ve scored 9 over that same period.
Defensive options, many were looking at Yan Valery at 4.1 because of his one goal they all remember or even Jan Bednarek, priced at 4.0. I favor Maya Yoshida at 4.1. In fact, I brought him in on the WC and lo and behold, he picked up an assist and 5 points last week. Valery, well he picked up an injury and Bednarek finished with 2 points.
I think he’s the best combination of attacking potential and bonus points. I don’t however consider their defense all that viable, outside of the final game of the season, home to Huddersfield.
Much has been made about James Ward-Prowse, he’s a cheapie, good for the bench boost, but I wouldn’t be starting him on a regular basis. He gone 3 games with an attacking return after returning in 6 out of 9 games.
No love for Redmond either. The balding offspring of Nuno Espirito Santo picked up his first two goals in 9 weeks. Then again, that’s the Wolves woeful defense, coming into play with a wide player with speed, able to get in behind the defense.
If I didn’t talk about a team, it’s because I don’t feel they have any viable assets. Just my take, no offense.
Let’s change the subject and talk strategy for a minute.
CHIP STRATEGY (31:05)
Ahead of GW26 when I put my plan into action, it was with the intention of bench boosting in DGW35. As it looks, I don’t like the fixtures.
We are coming off a poor DGW34, one in which many trusted a shitty Brighton team to get some points. They failed not once, but twice and now have many mangers dropping -4, -8 or -12 points to get “better players in place for the double.
My best players this week are single gamers, Liverpool away at Cardiff. So’ton probably have the best fixtures, away to Newcastle and Watford. Wolves have Brighton away and Arsenal at home. Spurs are away to City and home to Brighton. City, home to Spurs and away to United.
So, the fixtures, while tempting are tempting me to reconsider GW36. Let’s take a quick look.
Liverpool host Huddersfield. Spurs home to West Ham. City are at Burnley, while United host Chelsea. Watford and Wolves for the third time this season and Bournemouth travel to St. Marys. Palace host Everton and Arsenal visit the KP. The other games, irrelevant, featuring Cardiff, Fulham, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton.
Maybe after the shit show that was DGW34 I am hesitant to be burned twice in two weeks.
I know I am playing Captain Hindsight here but looking back at the 6 out of 7 green arrows ahead of DGW34, maybe I should have let my team run. Had I done that I would have finished the week on 58 points, which would have been 4 over the weekly average.
I know that does no good now, but why change your team when they are playing well? It goes back to selecting players. Do we pick them on form or fixture?
BHA had no form and their fixtures were average, at best? I said this ahead of the double, but still made the wrong decision and bought in on the hype (Thanks Twitter) to get Ryan and Duffy. Both failures this week.
Now it’s trying to fix a broke team because of the Seagulls, an injury to Deulofeu and a suspension to Deeney.
That leads me to my team and the failure that was DGW34.
TEAM REVIEW (33:06)
By far my worst performance when compared to the weekly average. Down 9 points, as I finished on just 45 points. That saw a 2.5k drop down to 14k. Maybe I should quit FPL?
Fuck that…those attention seeking whores who quit because of a red. Suck it up buttercup and make some moves!
I am still well ahead of where I wanted to be now and have a legitimate shot at the top 10k, depending on how DGW35 and GW36 play out.
VVD was my top player, 12 points on a CS and assist and all three bonus points. Robertson picked up 6 on the CS.
Their teammate, Mo Salah scored that worldly for 8 points, as Son and Eriksen finished on 8 and 6 respectively.
No else did shit. Ji-menez, Vardy blanked, Duffy, Laporte and Ryan, garbage.
Was pleased to see my punt, Maya Yoshida pick up 5 points with an assist for So’ton. Said he was the cheap defender to own.
On the season, I am still on 61/PPG, which is stunning, firmly above my 60-point goal. This is more important then where I finish in the OR, as I have been very consistent all season. This 45-point performance hurts but feel I can recover over the next 2 weeks, which is what I will base the success of my wild card on.
So, what is my plan over with a FT and 3 players who need to be transferred?
I talked about hits and giving away points earlier in the show. On the season, I’ve taken a -8, just 2 hits on the season. With the Brighton lads failing and now on the chopping block, Deulofeu still nursing the ankle injury and Deeney suspended, could it be time to drop another -8?
I don’t want to give away points, but with my replacements I feel there are points to be gained off players that might not have been highly considered ahead of the WC or DGW34, since they only play one time.
That said, there will be single game week players that outscore many double game week players.
Top on the list to be replaced, Troy Deeney, it hurts to move the captain, but he won’t return until May 4, which means I move Wilfried Zaha up a week to replace the Watford man.
With the sketchy, makeshift defense Arsenal has, I can see Zaha going to ground and winning a PK.
Defensively, I could hold Duffy, he won’t start another game the remainder of the season in my starting XI, as their fixtures are shit but I might as well try to recoup some points from his DGW34 failure. I don’t see DGW35 providing many returns.
It would be Duffy out for Martin Kelly in, at 3.9 the former Liverpool man has started the last 2 games at CB for Palace, as their defense has been beset with injury.
I went Kelly over Bednerak, as I don’t want to double up on So’ton and feel Palace, after Arsenal have a strong run; EVE/car/BOU.
That leaves Deulofeu, if I move him for a -4, he was a wasted selection ahead of the GW34 wild card, but I don’t see any options. He’s day to day with a slight possibility of playing this weekend, away at Huddersfield, a game in which he picked up his first goal of the season, returning 8 points.
In fact, I think this is the second time this season I’ve owned him, and he’s come up lame. Might have to take the approach next year NOT to own any players from the club I support. It hasn’t worked out for shit this season.
I will wait until Friday to make any changes, not that I will have a change in heart of moving Duffy or Deulofeu, but if there a glimmer of hope the Watford midfielder will play, then I will hold him.
If not, the Luca Milivojevic will return to my team. I love the Palace fixtures to finish the season, even this week at the Emirates, feel they are going to give the Gooners a very hard time with this shitty defense.
That leaves one decision left for the week, who do we captain?
Looking over a few captain polls online and Raul Ji-menez seems to be the odds-on favorite. Beach life for the Mexican after last week’s poor showing?
I think its more of the fact Brighton was THAT bad in their DGW fixtures, especially conceding 2 goals to Cardiff City.
Right now, the bus team has Mo Salah wearing the armband, as I continue to force the issue and believe Salah will make good after many weeks of mediocrity.
Our final segment and it’s time to dig into the Pitch & Pint mailbag
This week FPL CHEF checking with two questions for this double game week.
He asks, “I want into Arsenal attack, who should I get?”
Get fuck all! I am avoiding, as they were very uninspiring last week at Vicarage Road. Laca started on the bench and aside from the Aubameyand “extra effort” on the Ben Foster mistake, he didn’t look like a 23-goal scorer.
There is too much bullshit happening in the midfield, as Emery can’t figure it the fuck out. Who does he start regularly? We don’t know, he chops and changes that it’s literally a crapshoot each week.
Defensively, this team is a mess, how this team is in the top four beats the fuck out of me. Maybe there’s still a bit of linger anger from the red card last weekend. Kolasinac, IF he were nailed would be an option, but he’s not, so he isn’t.
All that said, if you can afford to splash out the cash, then I would punt on Lacazette at 9.4. He’s currently owned by 14.6% across FPL and 15% by the top 1k.
Dale’s second question, “Out of all the beers us UK boys post which ones would you want to try the most?”
Now that’s a question I’ve thought about at some length for some time now. You guys are always posting pictures of beer when I get to work by 5AM my time, which makes me yearn for a tall, cold pint.
I would say Cloudwater and Verdant probably top my list with DEYA and Wander Beyond being honorable mentions. I continually see you lads in the FPL Beer Club talk highly of these and a few others.
Would like to check out Bloom and Pulp from Verdant. Chubbles and Three’s Company, a collaboration with Magic Rock and JW Lees. Finally, Into the Haze and Saturated in Simcoe from DEYA.
Sadly, none of these seem to make their way across the Pond and I am stuck with some shit offerings from the UK that honestly, I won’t favor.
However, I have nothing to compare the quality of UK craft to that of US craft. I see what limited stock many of you lads get from the US, outside of Pad, who seems to come up with some top offerings from Alchemist and Tree House.
Many of those from brewers like Stone, Bear Republic, Founders and Sierra Nevada I no longer favor. Not saying it not good craft beer, I think the industry has progressed so much there is better craft out there then what we see from this limited cross section.
So cheers Chef and the FPL Beer Club, thanks for the question.
<queue outro music>
That’s it for Episode 35, thanks for listening.
Haven’t hit that Bench Boost yet, as we still have a few days before we need to make that final decision on our transfers and starting XI. It was a rough DGW34 and many managers are looking to bounce back in DGW35 as they go in search of that all elusive, green arrow.
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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.