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Episode 36 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Double Delight
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Hello and welcome to Episode 36 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
This podcast is being recorded before the end of DGW35, as Wolves host Arsenal and the Manchester Derby are yet to play.
I’m not the only podcast to have taken this route, I’ve listened to Always Cheating, Planet #FPL and The Art of the Dive. Today’ show will only scratch the surface as it relates to DGW35, but most likely go off tangent as I look at GW36
If you look at my overall score of 71, you would think I am having a very good DGW35, 22 points above the weekly average and all appears to be going well. Yet, lots can be done with smoke and mirrors.
More on my team later in the show, as I did something very uncharacteristic ahead of DGW35, when looking back on how I have played over the course of 34 game weeks.
This was also the first weekend I have not been able to watch many games. I lied in bed on Saturday morning at 430 watching City vs Spurs, unlike their UCL showdown, this first match was less than exciting.
I also watched the replay of the Huddersfield vs Watford, Saturday night, of course I will talk about that, as I received a few nasty direct messages regarding Gerard Deulofeu.
As has been said for 35 weeks this season, MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS. I don’t claim to have any inside information when it comes to Watford. They are my team and I support them the best I can.
Information I receive and pass on doesn’t come from a super-secret Twitter account or any Watford player or former employee. I don’t have Javi’s direct line, so I can’t call him. At last check, Elton John hadn’t friended me on Twitter.
Like the other 19 team correspondents who write for Planet #FPL and 90MAAT, I am just a supporter, who’s decided to pass on game previews, reviews and Watford information as best I can. Sometimes, it’s not always right. Sometimes, I’ve put my opinion into the articles.
This last week was a real flurry of questions regarding the Hornets. First question that had a lot of @6thGoal tagged to it, “Will Gerard Deulofeu play?” “Should I bring in Andre Gray or Issac Success?” The other question, “Which Watford defender should I own?”
It was all I could do, sitting in bed, laughing my ass off as Huddersfield scored a 90+3 minute goal. It was my opinion ahead of the game week not to trust any defender, as the Hornets have struggled all season to keep clean sheets.
That’s not to say they have looked bad as a defensive unit, but only 7 CS on the season it’s much to write home about. This season, they have gotten it done on the attacking end, which leads me to Deulofeu.
After the Thursday presser, I scoured the Internet going to Reddit, Twitter and different outlets to see if there was any more concrete news on the ankle injury of Deulofeu.
Javi’s press conference was a bit indifferent on the Spaniard, saying,
“Both trained [for the first time] with the team [on Thursday] and we’ll see tomorrow how they are to play. We’ll decide tomorrow.”
He was talking about Deulofeu and Pereyra.
I know I haven’t been the only FPL manager bitten by comments from a manager, only to watch that player miss out. In a vital DGW, I was not about to take that chance, something I attribute as a mistake, when I built my wild card team ahead of DGW34.
With what little information I had on Deulofeu, being flagged, based purely on Javi’s comments, I recommended FPL mangers not go near the Watford midfielder, which would have left their top three goal scorers out of the game (Deeney suspended, Pereyra injured).
As we saw, Deulofeu hit for a brace, bringing his season total to 9 goals, to go with 5 assists. It was a 50/50 call, I got it wrong. Oh well, not the end of the world, unfortunately some thought differently and let verbalized it on Twitter.
Again, it’s your team, not mine. Make YOUR decisions on the information YOU have available. Like other pundits and podcasters, I attempt to give the facts with some interjection of opinion, but ask YOU make the call, it’s YOUR team, not mine.
Let’s stay on Watford and their 2-1 victory at John Smith’s Stadium over Huddersfield.
HUDDERSFIELD VS WATFORD REVIEW
No game in the Premier League is every considered easy. Look at the problems Fulham have caused Everton and Bouremouth the last 2 weeks. The same Bournemouth that put 5 goals past Brighton or the Everton team that defeated Chelsea and Arsenal.
This away game against the Terriers was one, not to take lightly. In fact, in my preview for 90MAAT.com, I said, “Injuries and suspension could prove too much for Watford this weekend, even with much at stake. The Terriers have nothing to lose, but pride to gain, as they defeated the Hornets last April, 1-0. I see just a single goal in this game as the six game losing streak ends for Huddersfield Town.”
Thankfully my opinion was wrong, but I do feel this game would have ended differently if it were not for Deulofeu starting.
Just 5 minutes into the game Lossl gave the ball away on a clearance that was picked up by Will Hughes, sending a pass to Abdoulaye Doucoure for the shot.
Blocked by Huddersfield, Deulofeu collected a loose ball and calmly found the far back corner, reminiscent of the Wolves game.
In the 80th minute, Deulofeu was in the right spot, as a cross by Sema deflected to Doucoure, who fired a shot from 12 yards out, as Lossl made an excellent save, only to end up at the foot of Deulofeu who doubled Watford’s lead.
I am sure all FPL managers, especially those who doubled down on the Hornets defense, looking for gold were left frustrated as a defensive lapse in front of Craig Cathcart saw substitute, Karlan Grant head the ball, past a late diving, Ben Foster, to ruin the clean sheet for the Golden Boys.
The game would finish 2-1 and Watford picked up 3 points moving to 49 on the season and 8th place, with a game in hand, looking up at our nemesis, Marco Silva.
Sorry Everton fan, I won’t give that snake ANY credit for the success the Toffees are having this season, but they have played well recently. However, I still feel it’s important for the Hornets to finish about Everton for obvious reasons.
On Tuesday, Watford hosted Southampton and ahead of this game week, appeared to have the best double game week of any team. Knowing better, I had no Watford assets for either game.
It took just 7 seconds for Watford to lose their clean sheet. Not even enough time to grab a beer a settle in and was asking myself, “WTF what that?”
A ball played back to Craig Cathcart, who’s touch wasn’t good and attempted clearance was right into the path of a jumping Shane Long, who happened to end up with a break away, chipping Ben Foster to give the Saints the 1-0 lead.
The score by half time should have been 3-0, as Ryan Bertrand and Long missed big chances, clanging balls off the post, in a “missed it by that much” moment.
Watford didn’t look bad but was a shade of their former self without Troy Deeney up front. Gray started with Deulofeu up top, as Pereyra attempted to reestablish himself on the left flank.
I didn’t promote Gray this week, as I don’t feel he is quality enough to be a starter for Watford. I feel he’s a bit lazy and doesn’t pair well with Deulofeu or Deeney. Unfortunately, he’s a bit better then Success, who’s been on a milk carton for months!
Gray had his moments, but he’s not a big, physical presence or a leader like Deeney on the pitch. Sure, he picked up the injury time goal to draw the Hornets level, but just haven’t been impressed with him as a starter.
He’s more of an impact player off the bench, becoming Javi’s “super sub” coming in to spell Deulofeu and giving the Golden Boys a combination of speed and power in a single package.
Watford looked the more dangerous team in the second half, controlling the tempo and the ball, creating more opportunities. Angus Gunn came up with a few big saves to hang onto the clean sheets, but Gray’s tight angle, near post shot was just too much.
It was a well worked goal that the Hornets deserved. They walk away from the double game week with 4 points and take sole possession of 7th place, taking it away from Marco Silva.
Couldn’t be fucking sweeter!
Before we get into some of the GW36 discussion, it’s time to pour myself the GW36 Beer of the Week.
GW36 BEER OF THE WEEK
Ahead of GW37, I will be reviewing the US craft beers found in the UK, but this week I head to the heartland of the United States and one damn amazing brewery in Munster, Indiana.
Welcome to 3 Floyds Brewing! This isn’t the first time I have talked about this brew pub, discussing it in Episode 2, The Head of FPL.
When you talk about breweries that define craft and carry a bit of mystic, much like Russian River, here in Northern California, 3 Floyds is that brewery.
When I started down the independent craft road, I knew nothing about Bell’s, 3 Floyds, Tree House or the Alchemist, to name a few.
In fact, before I started drinking craft beer, I didn’t even know of Russian River, nor their Pliny the Younger, released once a year in conjunction with San Francisco Beer Week.
Amazing how things change and the lure of small towns I now want to visit like Munster, Indiana, Charlton, Massachusetts or Stowe, Vermont.
The trip to Munster wasn’t planned when I boarded a late plane to Chicago in May 2017. Thankfully arriving late to Chicago was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed my friend and I the opportunity to “take the road less traveled” as written by Robert Frost.
Our detour took us to 3 Floyds, the day before Dark Lord Day. If you don’t know about this one-day release, look it up on darklordday.com, a one-day beer event that sells out every year.
Up to know my knowledge and sampling of 3 Floyds had been very limit. The only beer I had tasted was Zombie Dust, a single hopped pale ale using all Citra.
Filled with excitement to be at one of the best breweries in the Midwest, I could not wait to get inside and sample some independent craft beer.
At 9:45PM, the brew pub was still hoppin, quite a few people, but not full. We took at seat at table in the bar and were greeted by our waiter and placed our drink orders, I started with an Alpha King, followed by a Zombie Dust, both pale ales.
Dinner was incredible! Not have any real vegan options on the menu, the chef made be a vegan pizza that was out of this world! Great, menu offerings, quite diverse, not your run of the mill brew pub food.
On the way out, I bought two cases of beer, without knowledge of how I was going to get these beauties back to California. At that point, I didn’t care. I was just excited to have these cases in my possession; a case of Zombie Dust and a case of Permanent Funeral, their Imperial IPA.
Just a few ago, on my SCUBA trip to Monterrey, I contacted my buddy in South Bend, who’s wedding I went to back in 2017, hence my trip to Chicago.
After exchanging pleasantries, I hit him up, “So what’s the possibility of two 6-packs of Zombie Dust?” Right, if you have people, or friends in the US, where there is good beer, why not use your resources?
I’d be more then happy to help anyone get a beer, such as Russian River’s, Pliny the Elder for example.
He followed through, was excited to hear from me, as we caught up after a few years. He also sent me, at his cost 12 bottles of Zombie Dust. Not being an asshole, I gave a 6-pack to my beer buddy that I work with, then shared two with a co-worker who went to the wedding with me, 2 years ago and gave two more to a few other co-workers, who like beer. That left me with 2 bottles out of the 12.
Today, it’s the final bottle of Zombie Dust brewed by 3 Floyds out of Munster, Indiana.
Sometimes, it’s the thrill of the hunt when it comes to acquiring craft beer, outside your local area. Again, I compare this to Pliny the Elder for many beer enthusiasts outside of Northern California.
Yeah, we’re fucking spoiled with EXCELLENT beer in this part of the US.
Described on the 3 Floyd’s site, “This intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse. Created with our marvelous friends in the comic industry.”
If you’ve listened to triple P over the course of this FPL season, you might remember I brewed a beer called Lessons Learned last June, it was a single hopped pale ale that was also dry hopped using Citra and was based off Zombie Dust.
Today though, it’s the real thing. So, without further ado, let’s crack the cap on this 12 oz bottle of Zombie Dust.
This pale ale pours a dark, burnt amber color with modest finger and a half of soapy, rocky head that quick dissipates.
The smell is a potpourri of floral notes, as well as citrus from tangerine and an orange juice quality to grapefruit and pineapple with a hint of papaya and mango. A touch of pine on the nose from the Citra, as well as a malty, cake batter or light vanilla sweetness to it.
Let’s see how it goes down.
Up front, it’s earth and green with a mild hop dankness to it. The beer opens up with bready and caramel body with a slight tropical fruit note of pineapple and mango.
Zombie Dust as a clean and crisp mouthfeel to it, with a resiny and bitter, but dry finish to it. Could drink this beer all day long.
It’s no wonder Beer Advocates rates this as one of the best pale ales in the US.
Now with our beer our poured, let’s get into the FPL opinions.
Looking back at last season and the DGWs, they weren’t good. It appears this season is falling in line as it’s going to be another DGW failure, which will hurt the green arrow and the overall rank.
I am beginning to think I’ve put too much time in sorting through strategies and potential chip activation. While I am sure there will be efforts made during the blanks and doubles next season, though it might not fall under the heading of “conventional.”
I activated my second wild card as the start of BGW33, to give me an entire week to shuffle players in and out of my starting XI, while looking through GW36, as well as planning each move to the end of the season.
Planning is an important part of this game, as well as ANY fantasy game, but as I said at the start of the season, you must remain flexible, as an injury, see KDB or suspension, see Troy Deeney, can ruin any well thought out plan.
Unfortunately, owning both players, I consider myself to be in the “fucked” camp, having to decide on Deeney and knowing I would get no more then 1 point for De Bruyne’s 37-minute performance against Spurs.
Looking back at DGW34, the wild card cost me 14 points for that week! Enough that would have seen that eventual red arrow turn green, as Brooks would have come off the bench with his 12-point performance for Kolasinac, who didn’t start.
While I don’t want to say the second wild card has failed, I am not sure how to say a 16-point hit was worth taking, just a week after playing the wild card.
I do think the UCL game between City and Spurs, showed many FPL managers the offensive potential of both squads. We know both teams have excellent attacks and that evening had some managers, like myself reconsidering how I wanted to use my wild card.
In the end, I drop KDB, kept Salah and only had Laporte as my lone City asset. I remained doubled up on the Reds defense with Son and Eriksen as my Spurs attacking players, since there was no Harry Kane, due to injury.
A lot of trust, in what has turned out to be a false hope, based on the first game in DGW35.
Maybe I am jumping to conclusions with my opinions today. I don’t feel I made good decisions with my second wild card activated and now, I am paying the price.
No one in their right mind takes a 16-point hit coming off their wild card the prior week. That tells me I failed in my planning.
Ahead of the remaining games, I am down 18 points, from where I would have been, had I not taken a 16-point hit. That said, I still have 4 players to play their second game with the captain armband on Sterling. So, anything is still possible.
But getting back to my point, as I touched on last week and one of the keys to success I talked about last July. Patience.
It’s a hard trait to display and even more difficult to improve upon. Accessing Twitter regularly, doesn’t help as we get into the herd mentality, as Marco from The Art of the Dive called it.
I know this is going to sound like Captain Hindsight bullshit, but if I would have kept to my season plan, things would have played out differently. Had I not got that that itch, that refused to be scratched, maybe I would not have given away 16 points ahead of this game week.
Patience this year for me, has led to consistency, as I’ve averaged a solid 61/PPG this season.
That patience has taken a 180 degree turn the last 2 weeks. While I am currently 7 points (56) over the weekly average of 49, but still on a massive red arrow, not keeping up with the top 1k.
Using Fantasy Football Fix, I need to make up an addition 17 points or any thought of a green arrow is in jeopardy. The top 1000 managers are coming in at 71 points, I am 2 points under that before factoring in the massive hit.
Compared to last season, I can’t say I am paying closer attention to the FPL game, given my current rank of 20k, that’s down 9k this week from the start of the game week.
However, I am going to keep running through my numbers and reconsider how I used my wild cards next season. As it stands now, I will have failed on the second wild and triple captain, with the bench boost pending, but looking a bit more than average with 24 points.
As we do with players and clubs, we look at two factors on a regular basis. No, not xG and xA but form and fixtures. Which you choose, is up to you, but I’ve favored fixtures much of this season and I feel it’s paid off.
Not to say I haven’t held a few players because of their form, or lack of…right Ederson? Right Laporte? Of course, when I came off, they decided to go on a nice defensive run, picking up 4 CS in 6 games.
Thinking back over 34 weeks, I can’t recall another week, where I thought, “I need to use my second wild card.” The Christmas fixtures were tough, picking up 5 red arrows in 7 game weeks, there could have been a compelling argument made to play it ahead of this congested period.
Really, is it that much different from a DGW? It’s all about many fixtures over a short period and lots of rotation.
As we have seen from 34 and 35, even players we feel are “nailed” aren’t. We put so much time and effort into a double that sometimes we miss the obvious options (form vs fixture) for the lure of two games in a week and the potential it carries.
Look no further then Mat Ryan or Shane Duffy! I’ll consider myself lucky I carried both over the DGW35 and was rewarded.
Maybe this season has been different then previous years, but it doesn’t appear the doubles are playing out as many FPL managers expected. The use of the triple captain chip was below-average at best. Sometimes a double may not be the best use of this chip, as we’ve seen some excellent single game week performances this season and in years past. It’s something to seriously consider next season.
Maybe I am still reeling in self-pity, after two very poor weeks.
That said, I couldn’t be happier with how the season has turned out, with still 3 weeks to play. Inside the top 20k and will surpass my all-time best score of 2170 points. No matter how things play out, I will view this season as a success.
What to do with the final 3 weeks of the season? Looking at the current fixture difficulty ratings for 36-38 Palace, So’ton, Arsenal, Spurs and Fulham…surprising Fulham have the best attacking fixtures to finish out this season.
Defensively, it’s Liverpool, Fulham, again, Arsenal, City and So’ton to round out the top 5 teams.
I’ll tell you right now, the Gooners aren’t in my thoughts, especially defensively. Don’t care if Sokratis is back, they are still poor and playing 2 of 3 away from the Emirates.
No surprise to say I will remain doubled up on the Reds defense. I know many are more inclined to buy into two attacking assets, between, Salah, Mane and Firmino.
I’ve had too much success with Robertson and van Dijk to come off now. It could be a guaranteed 72 points with cleans sheets, before any further attacking returns or bonus points. Might be reaching on that, but’s its quite possible, remember how Liverpool started the season? Three CS in a row.
It’s fair to stay on City as well, either Ederson or Laporte. If you have the budget to splash, then Mendy might be an interesting option, as he’s owned by 0.6% across all of FPL.
The injury to KDB opens the door to adding another big City asset, for me, it could mean introducing or reintroducing Aguero to my starting XI. Already on Sterling with my hit, Aguero makes the most sense; bur/LEI/bha.
Fulham interest me from an attacking perspective, more then a defensive one. Ryan Babel has posted 8 attacking returns, since joining the Cottagers, red hair and all. There are worse gambles in FPL, Seagulls anyone?
I could even be talked into a Mitrovic punt to finish the season, 2 returns in his last 2 games. He’s a beast who could be quite hungry to finish the season on a high note. He’s 8th in the last 6 weeks with 30 penalty touches and tops the Premier League with 23 total shots.
Another team who were in my thoughts before I changed my plan were Crystal Palace. After 35 I was planning on move Jota and Deeney to Milivojevic and Zaha. Mili picked up 5 points and Zaha 6, with his 9th goal of the season. Great fixtures to finish the season!
Not sure I am going to hold my attacking assets from the Saints, currently on Ings, who got just 75 minutes in one game in DGW35. They just don’t offer much on the attack, if you feel saintly, then go with the hot foot of Redmond at 5.4.
The KDB injury has be rethinking Christian Eriksen, who fell by the wayside because of the hits this week. It would be a straight swap, saving me 0.4 as the Spurs finishing the season home to West Ham, away to Bournemouth and home to Everton.
I knew better then to go Fernando Llorente, which now leaves him on the bench as my third forward. I see very little value in what he offers. Again, the lure of the double game week, calling like a siren.
The final thought, this is the first time all season I have felt I am chasing points, a step behind every week, which is how I got in trouble last season. This late in the season, I need to stop the bleeding, regain some composure and see out the end of the season.
The chance at the top 10k still exists, but it’s going to be very tough.
We still have 2 games to go today, recording ahead of them, their outcomes will be unknown. Not sure that makes much difference going forward
Let’s break for a bit of beer news, before I finish up the opinions and look back on my team from GW36.
Last week I talked about bottling my latest home brew, named by FPL_Fly called Nuno’s Bearded Stout. You can find a First Sip I posted a few days ago using the hashtag #firstsip.
I cracked open a bottle last Friday, just 6 days bottle conditioned. I had some doubts out this beer would turn out, after a small mistake during the mashing process. While the ABV came out a bit lower, that isn’t always a bad thing. Makes this stout very drinkable.
From the hiss of the carbonation to the sweet chocolate and coffee aroma, Nuno’s hits the spot, as seen on the First Sip video. I’m very excited as how this beer turned out.
I’ve already talked to Josh and Brandon and will use them as an outlet to get them a few bottles, maybe they will sample it before the end of the season, if I can get them out by this weekend.
The color is a deep, dark brown with a well-formed tan head that lingers with some spotty lacing. The aroma, again a nice mix of coffee, chocolate with a caramel, maybe toffee sweetness.
The first sip is a bit coffee forward with dark chocolates, not as much sweetness as I smelled, but very easy drinking. Not viscous or thick, it reminds me of some of the stouts I currently favor, like Patsy from Barley Forge and even Bacon & Eggs from Pizza Port.
So batch #5 is a smashing success! I cannot wait to get some feedback and will look at distributing some bottles. Marco at The Art of the Dive is already on the list, as well as a few guys from the FPL Beer Club. Interested and in the US? All I ask is you offset the cost of shipping which is probably less then $5. Contact me via DM on Twitter.
Let’s change the subject and talk strategy for a minute.
With 3 weeks to go in the season, how do we manage the the run in?
I thought I had it all worked out until injury and suspension got the best of me and those hits…oh those hits. They killed what has been an otherwise great year for me.
Can I rebound with just 3 weeks? I think so, there will be a bit of luck involved, when it comes to captain points and the remaining 3 transfers.
KDB is the biggest problem I need to deal with, as 9.7 has me looking at how to move to Aguero. Llorente or Ings will be the final players dropped, as I couldn’t get Aguero in until GW37 as I refuse to take any more hits this season.
With Salah’s ownership continued decline in ownership, one can only hope that worldly goal last week against Cardiff is the beginning of great 3 game run.
One can dream, right? That’s my dream. Three weeks of captaincy and big returns to give me that differential boost.
That leads me to my team and the failure that was GW35.
On the week I’ve score 71 points, before that 16 point hit, leaving me at 55 on the week, six points over the average in a very poor double game week.
I’ve already dropping 9k this week calling to 20k and really struggling because of my decision to roll out such a large hit.
To this point of the season, I’d taken just 2 hits but it appears this risky move isn’t going to pay off as I had hoped.
It’s the last roll of the dice today with Laporte, Sterling and Ji-menez, as KDB watches from the sideline again, injured.
Really I am unimpressed with my starting XI, which did include double CS from Robertson and VVD and 6 from Salah. Son picked up the late assist for 6 and Laporte on the for the CS.
Sterling, so far a bust as captain and expectations for a big game against United, might be dwindling.
Big points this week from Ryan and Duffy, who combined for 20 and nearly picked up double clean sheet, losing on a late Eriksen goal yesterday.
It was my hope the KDB injury would allow me enough budget to get Aguero. That move looks to be impossible, leaving me just 3.6 for a fifth midfielder.
I might fall back to my previous play, grab Milivojevic this week and Zaha next week.
That would mean I roll out a 5-4-1 or a 4-5-1. The only two forward option I would have would to bring Ings or Llorente in. Again, I don’t see any value in either of them.
Ings is home to Bournemouth and Spurs visit host West Ham.
That leaves one decision left for the week, who do we captain?
Huddersfield will sit all XI behind the ball, but the lure and ceiling of captain Salah is all I have on my mind. There are no other captain options for me. It’s Mo at Anfield.
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That’s it for Episode 36, thanks for listening.
Remain positive, success can be based on many factors. While I have hit a rough patch this last 2 weeks, there is still much to celebrate on the season. With that said, get your best out there and remember #AlwaysCaptainSalah!
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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.