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Episode 39 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Thursday, May 16, 2019 Season Ender Bender
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Hello and welcome to Episode 39 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
Before I get started on the “season ender bender”, I need to crack open that first beer of the podcast.
Today I’m drinking a flight of five beers that are considered “craft beer” that can be found in the UK. One of the biggest complaints I hear about the beers I feature, drink and review. No one in the UK, can get them.
Then again, there are probably many in the states who can’t get them either, but they can fend for themselves.
The starting lineup for today’s show will feature a double up starting with Stone Go To IPA, a 4.8%, 65 IBU India pale ale. This session IPA delivers all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA.
We will follow this up with the Stone IPA, a 6.9%, 71 IBU India pale ale. This golden beauty explodes with tropical, citrusy, piney hop flavors and aromas, all perfectly balanced by a subtle malt character. This crisp, extra hoppy brew is hugely refreshing on a hot day.
We move up north, staying in California and will check out Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA. This hoppy IPA is a full-bodied beer brewed with malted barley, wheat, and crystal malts. The malt base is designed to highlight the unique floral qualities including Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, and Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest.
Our final California beer, a flagship offering, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s a beer that defined the early years of craft beer.
Heavy on hops, that was always the brewery plan. So, in 1980, they loaded a Pale Ale up with Cascade—a new hop at the time named after the mountain range—and the intense aromas of pine and citrus sparked the American craft beer revolution.
Our final beer of the day comes from Founders, out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s their All Day IPA, a 4.7%, 42 IBU, session IPA.
It’s the beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish.
Now, as the lads in the FPL Beer Club know, these are not craft beers I usually favor but Sierra, Stone, Founders and Bear Republic, while still within the definition of craft beer are much bigger then your typical brewery, ranked 3rd, 9th, 14th and 49th based on sales volume in the US.
Then again, remember I am a bit of a craft beer snob when it comes to MY definition of craft beer and what I drink. That said, this should be fun and look forward to this flight today in honor of US craft in the UK.
Now, Stone, along with Ballast Point were my go to breweries when got going hot and heavy into craft beer. Two of the best out of San Diego, arguably the mecca of craft beer in the US.
Their Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido is a class place, was there a few years back and in a pinch, with nothing else around, I will drink a Stone.
Defined by a big bitter and hoppy characteristic, you can’t mistake a Stone.
BEER REVIEW – STONE GO TO IPA (03:12)
Their Go To IPA is their session offering that does offer some bitterness, as it pours a slightly cloud golden yellow with a big 2-3 finger rocky and soapy looking head that fades rather slowly.
The smell is dank and hop forward from the Cascade hops, with hints of stone fruit, citrus and a lemon zest with grapefruit and floral notes, along with a bit of malt sweetness.
Let’s see how it goes down…rather smooth across the palette with a medium mouthfeel. You get a nice dose of pithy citrus up front with some tropical fruits with a good pine bite. The sweet malt follows with a bit of prickly carbonation. As it finishes quite dry.
Overall, it’s not a bad beer. First time I’ve had this offering from Stone.
Our first beer poured, let’s get into the season ender bender!
PRESEASON HYPE (03:30)
This season was interrupted by the 2018 World Cup and some Premier League players coming back to their club teams fatigued and questionable to start the season.
For me, the World Cup in Russia was ruined by VAR or video assistant referee. I still agree with Morocco and former Watford man, Nordin Amrabat, “VAR is bullshit.” I don’t feel implementation is ready for the Premier League. There will still be problems that arise, but they will be deflected elsewhere then the on-pitch officials.
I won’t rant on VAR, it was just one of the first articles I posted ahead of the FPL season, as I can’t fucking wait as VAR will debut in the 2019/20 Premier League. Milivojevic. Kane. Anyone?
My season officially started on July 6, when I registered for the game, posting my Keys to Success article the day prior, where I listed “patience”, “make your own decisions”, “social media”, “have a plan” and “be flexible” as my keys to a successful season.
Still not sure why I felt the need to produce my own podcast, but the show debuted on July 12 and over the course of the next 10-15 pods would take shape, now 39 episodes in.
With any luck, there will be a second season, but do have another project that could be shaping up in the next few months with a few other FPL managers.
It was no surprise to see managers quickly start building their teams and posting fuck knows how many RMTs on Twitter and forums, to the point they got really tiring to look at and assess.
As I did the previous year, look at the feasibility of a 5-man defense to start the season, but unlike Troy Deeney, didn’t have the cajones to follow through. After this year, I am going to put even more thought into pay a premium for defenders.
The play of the Liverpool defenders has been outstanding this season, Andrew Robertson (213), Virgil van Dijk (208) outscored ALL forwards in the game. Trent Alexander-Arnold (185) finished just behind Aubameyang and Aguero.
Depending on early season fixtures, with little investment in bench players, FPL managers might consider this strategy to get a jump on the competition. However, remaining flexible and spotting trends in players will continue to play an important role in the fantasy game.
For much of the preseason, I drew up plans for 6 different formations, but in all honestly, they all started to look the same with similar players.
Maybe that stands to reason, but ahead of next season, I think I need to expand on the player pool I am looking at. For example, it’s interesting to see I was considering the likes of Leroy Sane, probably because he didn’t feature in the Germany World Cup squad, but not Raheem Sterling or Kevin De Bruyne.
Defensively, I was banking on Crystal Palace being better then what they showed this season, as many of the preseason formations featured the likes of Sakho and van Aanholt, while Robertson was the only featured defender from Liverpool.
I was introduced to a new key metric this season, while I am not a big proponent of xG and xA I found some information on Reddit that combined points per 90 (PP90), points scored per match (PPM) and points scored per match per million (PPMM) that was called VAPM or value adder per million.
This metric uses points scored per match, minus two, divided by price to give you a value for each player.
So the example used says, based on scoring 2000 points a season, divide it by 40, not 38 game weeks to take into account double game weeks and chip usage.
That gives you a total of 50 points per week. Your starters typical score you 22 points playing 60 minutes, so subtracting that from 50 gives your 28, which is how many points your players need to score.
The average squad has 18 million on the bench, so your starting XI needs to return around 0.35 PPM invested.
Now that the season is over, the question is, how successful was this metric in measuring the success of a season?
GOALS FOR THE SEASON (07:40)
Along with VAPM, I used data from Fantasy Football Fix on player ownership of the top 1000 managers. Now, some would say I could use that same data of the top 10k, but to be successful, you gotta think successful, so I selected the top 1000 to follow.
My main goal on the season, to finish in the top 10k and score at least 60 points per week. A figure that isn’t that easy to maintain but will allow you to be very competitive over the course of the season and in many years, see you with a top 10k finish.
This year, like Liverpool scoring 97 points, an average of 61 PPG wasn’t good enough for a top 10k or 20k finish.
This year was the first time in 6 years I’ve finally achieved a season in which I scored 60 PPG. After 38 weeks I finished the season on 2333 points an average of 61.39 PPG!
I also wanted to last a minimum of 4 rounds in the FPL Cup, which lasted all of one week, experiencing my second worst week of the season, just 40 points in GW17.
Final goal this season, win the FPL Beer League. I got close with just a few weeks to go, but the wild card in GW34 killed, followed by 3 out of 4 red arrows.
All that said this was still a very successful year and my best I’ve put in since playing the fantasy game. I have no complaints on the season. It will be a goal to come back next year, stronger and armed with some new information and experiences from this season.
Time to crack open beer number two from the US Craft to UK flight.
BEER REVIEW – STONE IPA (09:11)
From Stone Brewing, this is Stone IPA, their trademark beer that defines the West Coast IPA style.
If there is one thing Stone does right, is brew a big, hoppy beer. Defined by resin, bitterness and hops. The Stone IPA pours a clear orange copper color with a one finger, taut, off-white head with some good retention and a spider web type lacing on the glass.
The aroma, as expected is dominated by a resiny pine with bright and fruity tropicals including pineapple and mango with citrus notes from orange and grapefruit.
Let’s see how it goes down. It’s solid and definitive West Coast style with a bold hop presence with a bang of bitterness, some grapefruit zest with a floral note over a nice malt base.
If a pinch I can and will do Stone, that said there is much good craft beer out there by smaller breweries. Living in California, Stone is like that ex-girlfriend you keep going back to. It’s good and you know what you are going to get.
Something that wasn’t good this last weekend, the Watford performance
WATFORD VS WEST HAM REVIEW (10:15)
Gotta be honest I didn’t watch the game; just got the extended highlights and I am glad I didn’t waste time on this game. Watford ended the season on three straight losses dropping from 7th to 11th, picking up a single point in the last 3 weeks.
Much like last season, the Golden Boys struggled to close out the year. After the game, Javi Gracia said, “I’m proud of my players, I’m proud to belong in this club. It’s not only the position we’re going to finish, it’s not only the final we are going to play. It’s the way we’ve done it.”
It’s the first time since 1984 that Watford will play in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on May 18 against Premier League Champions, Man City.
Watford started well on Sunday, outplaying the Hammers and putting shots on target, an aspect of our game we struggled with throughout the season. Gerard Deulofeu was on target the most, as he would end up picking up the lone goal just 1 minute into the season half.
A poorly played ball by Pablo Zabaleta was picked up by Deulofeu, who pushed it around Fabianski to score, to bring Watford back to a goal down, 2-1.
Defensively, Christian Kabasele was a huge liability this weekend. He was caught ball watching twice inside the box. Not sure why Gracia didn’t run out Adriann Mariappa, who had played very well on the season. Kabasele hasn’t looked good in his spot starts after returning from injury in December.
Two goals from two chances put the Hammers up going into half time, but out of the break it was a great moment to see the resilience of the Golden Boys, but in the 48th minutes, a poor decision put the Hornets down a man.
Jose Holebas in a foot race with Michail Antonio, caught the forward just outside the 18-yard box.
Gracia said, “I’ve kept the same attitude all the season and I don’t want to change for the last one of being respectful with refereeing decisions and in this moment, I prefer not to say what I’m thinking about that, only to say in my opinion I can’t believe one player can miss the final for that contact. Maybe it’s a light foul, soft foul, but I can’t agree with that decision.”
Having said “for sure” the club would appeal against the red card, the head coach continued: “That contact with one player like Antonio is a foul then there were a lot of fouls in the game.
“It was a similar action with Troy with Torreira, in the next games there was the same situations and it wasn’t a foul, it wasn’t a yellow card, it wasn’t for sure a red card.”
A mishap on the part of Kiko Femenia, turn and stumbling into Antonio caught the forward in the box that set Mark Noble up for his second goal from the spot.
If there has been any game in which we have looked bad, the second 45 minutes sums up our season. Strong through the first half, but not able to finish.
Still it’s been an amazing season. We are one of two team in English football playing for the FA Cup. That’s something to be said about a team outside the top six.
On the season, we dropped the last 3 games, finish on 50 points with a 14-8-17 record and a -2 goal difference.
Now let’s get into the FPL opinions.
FPL OPINIONS (13:03)
Of the 15 starters that graced my squad in GW1, I finished with just one of them that remained in my team all season long, that being Andrew Robertson.
Looking back on the team, it wasn’t an impressive looking squad, so I am not sure what the draw to it was. I started GW1 on 67 points and an opening GW rank of 834k. GW2 was 66, dropping my to 970k, which led into activating my first wild card ahead of GW3.
Sanchez was a mistake from the word GO this season and sadly, he was a late add to my squad, as I thought he could play a differential role, partnered with the highly owned Mo Salah.
While Sanchez never really got going, Salah would have an “off season” scoring just 22 goals and 12 assists to lead all players with 259 points, second time in two years he wins the Golden Boot.
My squad was built around defense, running out de Gea, Mendy, Robertson and Luiz to start the season with Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the bench.
The early wild card is somewhat of a controversial move. Other managers may have opted for hits or holding some of those non-producing players for an extra week or two.
My big worry was no premium forward, this after watching Aguero hit for a hat trick in GW2 against Huddersfield. Needless to say, he was brought it on the WC and proceeded to score no goals in the next 3 games, thankfully he contributed with 3 assists.
Early defensive success was via the RAM or Robertson, Alonso and Mendy. Early on, these three defenders were unstoppable!
Mendy picked up 5 assists in the first 4 games, Robertson, 2 assists and 3 CS, while Alonso scored 11, 13, 11, and 9 in his first 4 games.
For me an early turning point was adding Richarlison, after starting the season with with 3 goals, he looked excellent for Everton. I owned him for exactly 40 minutes before he turned cunt on me, picked up a red card and was transferred out the following week for another failure of a player, Theo Walcott.
Just 57 points after the wild card but I wouldn’t just the success or the failure in just a week or two. Over the next 12 weeks, I would score 8 green arrows and start that climb up the OR hitting 81k in GW15.
This would be my highest rank since finishing the 2015/16 season at 75k! Overall the wild card early in GW3 was successful.
GW16-20 would represent the third part of my season that saw that overall rank of 81k slide, losing another 81k before coming to rest at 162k, which would represent the lowest rank from GW20 onward.
Back to back scores of 45 and 40 in GW16 and 17 would be scores in which I didn’t finish at or above the weekly average. It cost me in points and rank.
As I mentioned earlier, the failure in my midfield frustrated all season. I moved Salah in GW15, a week before he hit for a hat trick and going on his best run of the season through GW23, scoring 9 goals and 3 assists. So it was no surprised I brought him back in for GW23.
Defensively I was still very strong, as I had double up on Liverpool with van Dijk but was still struggling with the likes of Alonso and Laporte, who was my Mendy replacement.
Every week it was a case of “just one more week” for Alonso, who was seemingly hitting the woodwork each week.
After GW11, Alonso would fail to register an attacking return until GW32, at Cardiff picking up an assist, before finally scoring in GW36.
Laporte, Ederson and the City defense recorded 8 CS in the first 13 weeks, but then went 11 weeks with just 1 CS, giving up just one goal in 8 of those games!
They played very well at the end of the season as well scoring 6 CS in the last 8 game weeks.
GW16 I shifted most of my budget out of the midfield and brought in Aubameyang and Kane. This move did pay off over a 6-week period, where both forwards played very well. Aubameyang scored 50, while Kane scored 57 points.
When my midfield hit, it was usually Fraser getting in. While he had a good year, you look at his game by game stats and it looked very inconsistent. Still 181 points on the season, for a player who started at 5.5 is excellent value, depending on where you bought in.
For my team, it was all about defense and premium forwards, the midfielders were still missing. I did jump in on Fraser for GW6 and was late to the Pogba show in GW20, picking up his best showing of the year with 18 points, but that was his third double digit score in 3 weeks.
GW21-33 would define my season, as I moved from 142k up to 11k over a 7-week period. At one point, it was 6 out of 7 green arrows helped along by 84 points in GW30.
GW31 was a blank week, but scored 39, which was 13 over the weekly average. It would be GW32 and the Free Hit that would score 120 points on a weekly average of 73 that saw my OR rank soar!
That week 7 players would score in double digits as I tripled up on Chelsea with Luiz, Azpilicueta and Hazard. I brought in Sterling and Aguero, as well as van Aanholt and Milivojevic. Ederson and Jimenez would be my other big scorers that week.
It would be on my only century score of the season and little did I know I would have one more great week in BGW33, scoring 76 points before Vardy and Hazard before things came tumbling down.
11k! It felt great to be that high in the overall rank. All the moves I was making were scoring points, green arrows were plentiful. I was a happy FPL manager! It’s the stuff we dream of.
The wheels came off ahead of GW34, when I activated my second wild card. This was my strategy that I planned starting GW26. At this point, I really had no reason not to play it, as I was attempting to set my team up for the coming doubles.
Now, I’ve talked about it at lengths on previous episodes and on 6thgoal.com. Maybe I should have stayed the course with the players I had because my team was in form, on the back of 4 green arrows.
Instead I decided to break it up and continue with the next stage of my plan by playing the wild card. It was a disaster! Just 45 points a weekly rank or 4.3 million and my downfall had started.
In an attempt regain control and make up points, I did something uncharacteristic of my style of play this season. I took a 16-point hit.
Up to GW34 I had taken just 2 hits for 8 points. But a 16-point hit on the back of a wild card? It was a sign of desperation on my part. I scored 94 but a net of 78 wasn’t good enough for a green, as I had dropped nearly 9k in 2 weeks.
GW36 would provide a bit of a reprieve with 90 points, granted Salah was a third of him with his 38-point performance as my defenders continued to kick ass.
The final weeks of the season were uninteresting and uninspiring, as I took a -4 hit in the final week of the season. It failed and I finished the season at 31k.
Some interesting notes based on how I broke my season down. GW16-20 I averaged 54.5, but when things turned for the good, I averaged 65.5 PPG from 21-33, which really helped me to my 60 PPG goal I set.
1-2 66.5 PPG (133)
3-15 60.2 PPG (783)
16-20 54.5 PPG (218)
21-33 65.61 PPG (853)
34-38 64.8 PPG (324)
Let’s break for a bit and grab our third beer of the day, from Bear Republic out of Cloverdale, CA comes Racer 5.
BEER REVIEW – RACER 5 (20:20)
While Racer 5 from Bear Republic does stand the test of time, it’s got passed up by many new beers and breweries. It’s a beer that has won numerous awards.
2009 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – GOLD
2009 Colorado State Fair – Best of Show
2006 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
2005 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
1999 Great American Beer Festival® India Pale Ale – GOLD
It’s a solid American IPA with pale and crystal malts, heavily hopped with the “C” hops; Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial. This is what makes it a definitive West Coast style IPA.
Much like Stone and Sierra, they were one of the early California craft brewers to come into the craft scene, before it was a scene.
I’ve had a single Racer 5 in the last 3 years before this bottle today. Much like the other beers I’ve had, there is just so much better beer out there, these classics get passed up.
Pouring this beer, it’s a clear and dark golden color with a small white head that doesn’t hang around long with wispy lacing.
The smell is old school hops, the “C” hops shine through with a hefty piney/earthy aroma along with a sweet malt and fruity citrus. Very fragment on the nose.
Let’s see how it goes down. At 7.5% it drinks bigger then the previous Stone offerings with a bit bigger of a hop bite up front. The taste is West Coast IPA as the hops define this beer with the piney, evergreen flavor up front with a sweet pale and toasted malts to help balance it out. The citrus bangs through with grapefruit with a bit of orange zest and a hint of floral.
Overall, it’s a good California representation of how IPA were in the late 90s and early 2000s. I think many breweries have moved off the classic style, but in a pinch, this beer does deliver time and time again.
Now, some thoughts on the season that just ended, but let’s look forward with players, scores and prices fresh on our mind, to what next season might offer.
FPL PLAYERS TO CONSIDER FOR NEXT YEAR (22:24)
Before looking back, we as FPL managers are always looking ahead to next season. I know I did this last year, compiling a list of players, who were compelling this season, but just had not really broken in as full time FPL players.
None of the Arsenal midfielders or team in general were overly impressive this season, they will lose Ramsey during the off season. This could be time for Alex Iwobi to finally step up, was 5.4 this year finishing on 99 points. He’s got the skills but his playing time was quite inconsistent. Finish on 3 goals, 8 assists.
At Bournemouth we keep eyes on David Brooks, came out of nowhere, finishing at 5.0, scoring 123 points with 7 goals and 6 assists but he did miss 6 games due to injury. With Ryan Fraser going up in price next season, Brooks could be the one to watch.
Burnley bounced back after a horrific start to the season, after inclusion in the Europa League. Just 5 games in they were 20th in the league. This after their defenders were vital the previous season to many FPL teams.
We got bite this season by Burnley with their GKs and defenders. The team did improve with Tom Heaton back in the starting XI. While I think we watch all their defenders for next season, we need to note a few midfielders who got it done this year.
Budget buy, Ashley Westwood, 4.6 with 111 points scored 2 goals and 8 assists. Played well and played his way into a full-time role for Sean Dyche. His teammate, Dwight McNeil, at 4.4 finished on 75 points putting a full 90 minutes in starting GW20! 3 goals and 4 assists on the season and could help you build your team next year, especially if they keep Barnes and Wood up front.
Chelsea. What do we say about Sarri? Many were over him all season long, but the Blues finish third. They might lose Hazard and bring in who? An unproven American in the Chelsea midfield. Without seeing him play in a top league, I am not sold on Christian Pulisic. Sorry America.
I do feel it could be time for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to step into a bigger role. He finished at 5.2 and 79 points on the season but never really became a full-time starter on the season. Finished the season strong with 3 attacking returns to give him 2 goals and 5 assists on the season.
If Chelsea lose Higuain in June, that could put Giroud (7.7) in the driver’s seat to start, but Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham could be recalled.
Looking at Crystal Palace, many FPL managers were happy with the budget performance of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, AWB, coming in at 4.0 to start the season, ending at 4.5 and scoring 120 points on the back of 12 CS and 3 assists. He outplayed the more expensive PvA option all season.
Jeffrey Schlupp finished at 4.3, but was a defender playing OOP as a midfielder, he too was excellent value, until his injury. Could be a good option next year.
I think no matter what the price, Milivojevic will be highly regarded because of VAR coming in. I still believe it’s going to ruin the game and there will be considerably more PKs awarded then not. Finished last season at 5.2 and this season at 6.5. Easily a 7-7.5 option next year.
Everton. Still fucking hate Marco Silva and it pains me to see how Everton ended the season and finished ahead of Watford. Still, I am happy this guy is no longer the manager of the Hornets.
Going to start up top with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he finished at 5.4 scoring 94 points, picking up 6 goals and 5 assists. I could see him double those season ending stats next year. If he wins the full time gig up front.
Still not a big fan of the Silva defense, but it did put up 13 CS this season and many will be watching Luca Digne. Started the year at 5.0 and finished at 5.4, could easily be 6.0 next season, as he finished on 154 points. 4 goals, 5 assists, 13 CS and 22 BPS.
Seamus Coleman should be the cheaper option, 5.2 to finish the season with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Leicester City really played well the second half of the season behind Vardy, but if Rodgers gets this team to the next level, they could potentially compete for a top 6 spot.
Some great talent to watch, James Maddison, always felt he was too expensive this season and never wanted to buy into him as I thought he was too inconsistent. Finished at 6.6, 137 points on 7 goals and assists.
Harvey Barnes was more exciting to watch. At 5.5 he offers attacking potential and speed down that left flank. He should start the season as a 90-minute player.
If Leicester can nail down Youri Tielemans, he looked the real deal, more then Maddison or Barnes, but that midfield combined could be very dangerous, especially if they can get Vardy more opportunities. Tielemans came in at 6.0 in GW25 and stayed there with 3 goals and 5 assists.
Not sure Liverpool will have any budget players, depending on where Robertson and van Dijk come in at price, Alexander-Arnold will still be cheaper. It could be Joe Gomez as the real budget option. Finished the season at 4.8, got a few run outs early in the season before injury, but was a starter through GW14.
James Milner, 5.6 scored 5 goals and 5 assists this season, playing as a midfielder, but also as a defender. Another VAR player to watch, especially if he nails down a role in the midfield. Might be too early to seriously consider him a starter, but one to watch.
Now Man City much like Liverpool are the class of the league. They will both be vying for the top spot next season, but I do see some changes in Pep’s team next season.
Oleksandr Zinchenko started the season at 5.0, finished at 4.7 with 3 assists and 9 clean sheets. Depending on what happens with ben Mendy, Zinchenko could nail down that left wing back spot. Finished the season starting 10 out of 12 games.
An injury plagued season for KDB, ended at 9.6 I could see him dropping from his starting price of 10.0. Maybe 9.5? We know what he can do, but anything below 10 is a steal for his abilities.
BEER REVIEW – SIERRA NEVADA PALE ALE (29:00)
Time to crack open the 4th of our 5-beer flight. Today from Sierra Nevada Brewing. It’s a story that started back in 1969, when I was born, but when Ken Grossman bought his first home brewing kit as a teenager.
In 1980, Sierra took its first crack at its Pale Ale. Just 10 batches later…PERFECTION with a new on the scene, Cascade hops that gives Sierra Nevada Pale Ale big intense pine and citrus aroma. This craft beer would help spark the craft beer revolution.
This is one of those craft beers I remember buying in my younger days, something off the beaten path of all the mass-produced lagers out there I drank growing up.
For me, this beer falls in line with the other “classic” beers I’ve talked about today. They helped define the craft beer scene in California, but rarely do I give these bottles a second look.
Let’s get cracking on this Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
This beer pours a golden amber from a 12 oz bottle with a thick and soft while head, which lingers leaving some good lacing.
The nose is alive on this one with a combination of citrusy grapefruit and sweet, caramel malts with a light, resiny pine and floral notes.
Let’s see how this one compares. The sweet malt shines through up front with with the citrus coming in before the hoppy notes take over. Overall this pale ale finishes quite dry with a bit of a spiciness.
Much like the Stone beers and the Racer 5, this is a definitive West Coast style pale ale. No mistaking it.
Again, it’s a timeless classic, but not a go to favorite and honestly one I never drink when I am out, unless it’s the only thing on the bar menu. If it is, then I am at the wrong fucking bar.
Call it four out of four for the lads in the UK. You can’t go wrong with any of these California offerings, but there is much better craft out there.
For those in the FPL Beer Club that have already received their Tree House, you have a sampled some of the best the US has to offer.
Let’s finish off the last half of the league and some players I am looking at based off their performance this season.
FPL PLAYERS TO CONSIDER FOR NEXT YEAR – CONT (30:11)
Man United, no disrespect to Garf, FPL Shark, but United! They need a complete rebuilding, which could be good for FPL as there might be some options available. Ask me right now, they are a team to avoid.
Old Gunner has a shitload of work to do and player issues to work out.
Lots of dead weight on this team. That said, I did like the look of Scott McTominay, 4.2 just 38 points, but always seemed to put in a good shift. Not a player you can build a team around but could be an option.
Defensively, maybe Viktor Lindelof, the form Jose product was 4.9 and scored 85 points. He is more of the future than the past for the Red Devils.
Newcastle finished the season strong, 3 out of 5 wins taking points from 4 matches. Rafa has some players who will be interesting to watch.
While Matt Ritchie’s numbers were down this year from the previous 2 years, he’s a full-time starter and on set pieces. Versatile players from RW to LW and LWB. Finished the season on 110 points at 5.8.
I think we also watch Miguel Almiron, came in from the MLS overpriced at 6.0 and never really lived up to his potential. Then again, he did come from the MLS. I think a full preseason and he might bring some excitement to that Toon midfield.
Sean Longstaff and Fabian Schar at 4.5 are both players to watch. Both players were exciting to watch this season. Longstaff’s season was cut short by a knee injury.
Schar scored 4 goals with an assist and 7 CS this season. He had a most memorable rocket against Burnley from 25 yards out this season.
Depending on what players are reclassified from midfielder to forward this upcoming season, I think Ayoze Perez will be one to watch. However, his success could be contingent on the fate of West Brom, as Salomon Rondon is still on loan from the Baggies to Newcastle.
Perez, 6.1 finished as the top goal scorer with 12 goals and 2 assists at 6.1 this season, finishing with 7 attacking returns in the last 5 games.
The Church of Rondon, priced at 5.9, as he was called on the FPL Roundtable had his best Premier League season, 11 goals and 8 assists.
Lots of budget options to look at with Southampton, I got suckered into them this year with a whopping 1.8 PPG. Can’t say I was overly impressed with their team.
Obviously JWP, 5.1 and 94 points will get some looks. Could see him popping up to 5.5, on set pieces, but didn’t get the starts until Hassenhuttl got there.
Redmond will be an option, unless he goes about 6.0. Ended the season strong with 6 goals and 5 assists for 137 points. Lots of potential but just a shit team.
Defensively, I was praising Angus Gunn, but the Saints need to step up their defense. At 4.3, he will start next season, but the likes of Bertrand, Valery, Vestergaard, Bednarek and Yoshida don’t breed much confidence in that defense, but all should be sub-5.0 options.
For Spurs, it was Lucas Moura (6.9) playing well to end the season, but realistically with all those midfielders healthy, will he get a real run out like he did this season? He finished with Son type numbers, 10 goals and 2 assists.
Kyle Walker-Peters, 4.2 might be one to watch, depending on if any of their defenders move on. Just don’t see many budget options for Spurs, who might be in the market for some new talent.
Oh, my club, Watford, a team loaded with budget options, but none of them that really performed on a regular basis. Gerard Deulofeu at 5.7 and 133 points, leading scorer with 10 goals and 5 assists won’t come in at much more than 6.0 million next seasons If he continues to play OOP, I like him as an option.
Ben Foster, 4.6 had a good season, but the Hornets weren’t impressive defensively. Just 7 clean sheets and 127 saves. Jose Holebas 4.8, yellow and red cards aside and Kiko Femenia 4.2 will be ones to watch headed into next season.
Final team, West Ham. Their defense didn’t shine for much of this season, but they show some promise for next season. Two out of 3 CS to end the season, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena, both 4.2 could be key next season. Balbuena lost 14 weeks to injury, but Diop ended up being their best defender.
Many Hammers are high on Declan Rice, 4.4 if he isn’t reclassified. He scored 92 points as a defender but played as a defensive midfielder. Just 2 goals on the season with 6 CS. He’s highly regarded by West Ham but the youngster is being courted by some of the top English clubs including United.
Ryan Fredericks, 4.5 was exciting to watch down the right flank, but I am holding out hope that Aaron Cresswell returns to fitness. At 5.0 he’s got good attacking potential posting seasons of 9, 10 and 11 assists.
That’s it, some I will be watching headed into next season. Of course, all decisions will be contingent on the prices that many players will come into the start of the season with.
I can’t even speculate on those players who will either change position, increase or decrease price or in some cases even be regular starters.
I’ve haven’t any idea on the three teams coming up to the Premier League including Norwich City and Sheffield United.
We won’t know until May 27th the identity of the third promoted team, as Aston Villa, West Brom and Derby County are all looking to get promoted.
BEST PLAYERS – VAPM & TOP 1K OWNERSHIP (35:23)
Looking back on the season, there were two statistics I used throughout the season. Now I am not saying either of these are the right or wrong way to go about the season.
Hell, some FPL manager trust and promote xG and xA. I don’t favor them or use those stats when it comes to player selection. Using the top 1000 manager ownership from Fantasy Football Fix, I combined that with the metric data from VAPM or “value added per million” something I spoke about at that top of the show.
Looking at the VAPM figure, TAA finished with a 0.76 or 6.4PPG the best of any player in the Premier League with 1000 minutes or more this season.
Of the top 10 players, again based on VAPM, 8 were defenders including, Robertson, Alonso, van Dijk, Laporte, Guaita and Etheridge.
The only non-defenders to make the list, Callum Wilson, #3 and Ryan Babel coming in 7th.
Even if we look at the top 20 players, it becomes 16 of the top 20 are defenders or GKs, while adding Ryan Fraser and Salomon Rondon to the list.
It really gets you to think about how to set up for next season when you see defenders and how they rank when you break down the statistics.
I know stats can be broken down to support any opinion out there. Using VAPM isn’t common. Many FPL managers look at PPG or PPMM when it comes to looking for value in their selections.
Based on VAPM, Mo Salah, our 2018/19 points leaders finished 40th! That due to his huge price tag and decreased output, which was down from last season. The second highest scorer, Eden Hazard finished 29th. Not as expensive as Salah, but still 11.0 he didn’t perform at that level all season. Hazard finished with a VAPM of 0.40, while Salah was a 0.36.
You can see the full list at fplstats.io for more numbers on all players in FPL this season.
In a lead up to my team review for the last week, I thought I would take a look at my season long squad using FPL Statistico.
This is a great tool through out the year to get what else, MORE stats on your team, captain selection, how your players faired and rankings. Really a great tool to use.
It’s interesting to note I had just 2 players score over 200 points this season. Based on games played, Andrew Robertson (35) scored 205, while Mo Salah (29) scored 303, which includes captain points.
Based on tenure it was van Dijk, 26 games, 162 points. Fraser, 24 games, 100 points and Alonso 22 games played, 108 points on the season.
Aubameyang with 13 games and Aguero 12 games each broke the century mark with 103 and 101 respectively.
Can this information be useful when building your squad ahead of next season?
It’s quite disappointing to see the lack of production, especially where FPL managers need it most, in the midfield. Salah’s base score for me was 178 points, as I captained him 14 times scoring an additional 125 points. No other player even came close to Salah for the armband. Aubameyang was second, captained six times.
Defensively, this is the season I was pleased with my selections. The addition of van Dijk did wonders to my back line, combined with Robertson. Even need to give Alonso some credit, as he started the season on fire. Can’t forget the flash in the pan that was Ben Mendy, however he lasted just 8 games and 52 points for an average of 6.5 PPG.
Behind Salah and his 29 games was Fraser with 24. I was a bit late to the Fraser party, but still picked up 100 points (a 4.2 PPG). It’s evident that Pogba was good when hot and shite when not, 14 games, 79 points, a 5.6 PPG average.
Looking at all the players I used over the course of the season I used 139 defenders, scoring 764 points for an average of 5.5 PPG! It showed too, as I scored 86 CS on the season!
The midfielders were unimpressive all season. Maybe that was ineffectiveness of Salah, as I missed his big midseason haul, which hurt. Using 148 midfielders, I scored 667 points, a 4.51 average.
The forwards struggled without a premium, but based on the premiums I played, I never settled on one. Aubameyang 13 games, Aguero 12 games, Kane 8 games. None of them were overly impressive in the time I owned them.
I used 96 forwards for 508 points, a 5.29 average. On the season I scored just 96 goals and 84 assists.
While the results won’t be known until the end of next season, I would like to improve on hitting on the right mid to high priced midfielders at the start of the season.
That was one reason why I activated my wild card so soon, this season. I knew Sanchez was a mistake when I made the transfer ahead of the start of the season, but fuck me, I stayed on him when it didn’t feel right.
It was interesting to note, when I was big into fantasy NFL football, a successful season would mean I had position players who would score more than 100 points in our league. Scoring was not as high based on how players performed but if you had 4 players score at least 100 points, you were going to do well that season.
I think a similar conclusion can be drawn. It takes just 2.6 PPG for a player to score 100 points. The top 20 defenders scored 2970 points or 148.5 this season. You break that number down and it’s 3.9 PPG! Not even a CS a game! What you wouldn’t give to have 3-4 defenders scoring 148 points a season!
Based on the numbers, you could argue this would be an easy game to be good at. However, starting my 7th season next year, I know that, not to be the case. The stats can only take you so far. But it is interesting when you start breaking down the numbers.
The top 20 midfielders scored 3432 points, averaging 171.6 points this season. That breaks down to 4.51 PPG, which is oddly what my midfielders averaged this season.
Forwards had a very off season, not sure if this is going to be a trend for the premiums next season, but FPL managers saw what non-premiums could do. Look at Raul Ji-menez, 6.9 and 181 or Callum Wilson, 6.9 and 169 points.
The top 20 forwards scored a combined 2980 points or 149 points this season, which is 3.9 PPG.
The goal for next season, to find better consistency early in the season, then continuously jumping on and off players based on a single or even a few games.
For example, I never really considered Gylfi Sigurdsson, yet he was 7.5 and finished the season with 182 points! He was the 5th best midfielder this season!
I don’t’ think many FPL managers thought Fraser would have the barn burner he had this season, scoring 181 points, starting the season at 5.5 million.
My point being, based on this season, it might be more worth it to stick rather then twist when it comes to players, as that law of averages seems to work itself out in the end.
The most important part to this equation is to find the right players to start the season.
Let’s crack open the final beer of the flight and the only one brewed outside of California. Not sure what to make of that, as if I look at beer from Michigan, I look no further then Bell’s Brewery.
However, today’s its one that I’ve never had. Founder’s All Day IPA.
BEER REVIEW – FOUNDERS ALL DAY IPA (42:56)
Canal Street Brewing Company was organized in 1996 as John Pannell Brewing Company by Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, who began operation and changed the company’s name to Canal Street Brewing Co. in 1997.
Stevens and Engbers were homebrewing enthusiasts who had recently graduated from college. The brewery got its name from a part of Grand Rapids where, in the 19th century, several breweries were located on Canal Street (Monroe Avenue). The beer bottle’s label originally included an old black and white photo of the original Canal Street breweries with the word “Founders” above it. Thus, the company became known as Founders Brewing Company.
Described on their website as. “The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.”
Now, let me preface this review by saying, I usually don’t prefer session ales. Previous sessions I have come across light, weak and watery. At 42 IBU and 4.7 ABV, this comes in on the softer side of the IPA spectrum.
All Day IPA pours dark, burnt orange color with a soapy or frothy finger or so of white head that deposits some spotty lacing.
The smell is a fresh cut grass and pine with grapefruit rind and a hint of floral notes.
Let’s see how this goes down. As expected, it’s light and clean with a medium mouthfeel. Taste is fresh citrus with orange and grapefruit and a resiny pine across the palette but not bitter by any means.
Not really one I would recommend across because I expect a bigger hop bite, like the Stone Go TO IPA, which is also low ABV but much higher IBUs.
Again, not really my speed, compare this to the four out of 5 red arrows I got to round out the season. You’ll take it, but it could have been so much better.
So there they are, a flight of 5 US craft beers those in the UK can get. Four of them from California including Stone Go To IPA, the Stone IPA, Bear Republic’s Racer 5, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and finally Founder’s All Day IPA.
Cheers to all! Now back to the FPL, as I look back on my team in GW38
TEAM REVIEW (45:15)
My fantasy results over the last 5 weeks look as bad as Watford’s final 4 games. One big shit show! Not sure how I can go from being spot to downright awful. That’s the game, you take the good with the bad.
What started in GW21 as my best run of the season, scoring 9 greens over 13 weeks, which featured 6 out of 7, moving from 145k to 11k!
Looking back, it was the GW34 wild card that sealed my fate this season, followed by a 16-point hit in GW35.
For GW38 I took a 4-point hit to bring in Sigurddson and Perez, tossing the armband on the Newcastle front man. They combined for 19 points! That was probably the highlight of the day.
Defensively, as I had done all season, got it done with Robertson, van Dijk and Laporte scoring a combined 20!
It’s been a struggle all season with midfield selection and that was the case to finish out the season. Salah had been hot with 6 in 6 games but couldn’t get it done on Sunday. In fact, Sterling would be the only other midfielder to returning an assist. Pogba, fucking bust!
A weekly score of 53 points, which was 2 over the weekly average, but with the minus four, left me seeing red all around. I didn’t win any mini leagues
Overall, it was a disappointing end to the FPL season, but I’ve got lots to be excited about.
I exceeded my expectation of 60 PPG, scoring 61 PPG. Most years that would see you inside the top 10k, as I mentioned before this was just an odd year with lots of points.
While I still dropped some 20k, from my high of 11k this season, I still finished at 31k on the season, my best in 6 seasons with 2333 points.
FPL BEER CLUB LEAGUE STANDINGS (46:58)
If you’ve been around Twitter the end of last year and this year, there have been some #FPLBeerClub tags tossed around when we posted images of beer. Because FPL is always better with beer.
This season was the first that we took it to a league to see who the best of the bunch was.
There were 26 teams and I would say at least 20 were active all year in the DM chat, as well as on the leaderboard.
I do want to give a quick shout of thanks to Paul Aitken, as he provided some weekly reviews early in the season for the pod.
As for the winner this season Paddy Fullerton on Twitter @PadFul, scored 2405 points and held off Mr WP, Simon Walker-Porter with 2387 points.
Rounding out the top 5 spots, Owen Fitzgerald, The Dude Abides was 3rd, @FPL CHEF, Dale Henderson with Dirk Digglers Dong was fourth and I came in 5th.
Congrats to Pad and a quick thank you to all the lads in the beer club, it was the most fun in the 6 years I’ve participated in FPL.
Before I wrap things up, let’s look at the FA Cup Final that features Watford hosting Man City at Wembley Stadium on May 18.
FA CUP PREVIEW: WATFORD VS MAN CITY (48:10)
Not sure there are many people or pundits outside of Watford giving the Golden Boys a chance at winning the FA Cup. I think the same could have been said ahead of Liverpool vs Barcelona, where the Reds needed 4 goals to move into the Champions League final.
Let’s not forget the 96 minutes stunner that gave Lucas Moura his third goal on the day as Spurs came from behind to ax Ajax in the dying moments.
For supporters, we can go back to the semifinal and Watford’s effort to come from 2 goals down to beat Nuno Espirito Santo and Wolves, 3-2. Miracles can and do happen!
Now looking back on the Hornets season, it was a great start! Running with the big dogs at 4-0 to start the season, made many people stop and take a second look at this club, after shit canning Marco Silva and bringing in Javi Gracia, he loves sangria, you know.
Watford played some of the big six tough this season; Arsenal, Liverpool twice, Spurs, twice coming from behind to win in GW4, Man City and Chelsea.
What do all these games, outside of come from behind victory have in common? Late second half goals.
In 5 of these games the Hornets went into half time 0-0 with their opponent. I think this proves that a mid-table team, like the Hornets, with Javi at the helm can put together a strong lineup with a smart strategy, to stem the sky-blue tide.
City lost four games this season, three of them to Crystal Palace, 3-2, Leicester City, 2-1 and Newcastle, 2-1. There is a chance, as Watford finished better then Palace and Newcastle, just 2 points behind Leicester City in the table this season.
City has won 14-straight to finish this season, their last loss, late January 2-1 to Newcastle. A team in form, after taking care of business to win the league with 98 points, just one more then Liverpool.
They finish as the highest scoring offensive team this season with 95 goals, and second to Liverpool with 23 goals conceded and 20 clean sheets.
To say Pep’s squad is loaded with world class talent is an understatement, you don’t see many weaknesses in the starting XI. City has already won the Community Shield, the Carabao Cup and now the Premier League.
The only blemish on this otherwise impressive season, the aggregate loss to Spurs in the Champions League quarterfinals.
While I had hoped the final game of the season against West Ham would be a tune up for the FA Cup, I am very concerned about the Hornets getting run off the pitch in a lopsided game.
Watford was successful in overturning Jose Holebas’s red card and he will feature in the game, which is a big plus for the Hornets. Not a fan of his replacement, Adam Masina.
Last week, Deulofeu played in the midfield three, just behind Deeney and looked livelier in the highlights I saw. That’s a change in the standard 4-4-2 we’ve been playing much of the season to go 4-2-3-1.
However, I think we will see 5 at the back, possibly with 2 wing backs, as they played City when they last visited Vicarage Road.
Being realistic, I don’t see Watford winning the game, especially with the lack of form we have shown and how poorly we’ve played out of the break.
If we have one strength, it’s our center midfield paring of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue. They were back to back Watford, players of the year and have been the best part of our team this season.
Their job this coming weekend will be to slow down the likes of KDB, if he starts. He featured 12 minutes against Brighton in the final game of the season.
He’s not been the only piece of the City attack, as Sterling and Aguero have been on target much of the season as they finished 3rd and 2nd at their respective positions.
Defensively, City ended, how they started playing a stout defense, recording 6 CS in the final 8 games, conceding just 2 goals over that period.
Conversely, Watford have scored just 4 goals in their last 5 games and conceded 11 goals. It was not the finest part of their season and the 4-1 loss to West Ham, really didn’t highlight all the positives the team achieved this season.
While I had hoped that would be a tune up game, it didn’t turn out as such. The Golden Boys will have their hands full this weekend after City won the league last weekend.
<queue Saturday Night’s Alright>
In the words of Elton John,
“Don’t give us none of your aggravation
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night’s alright for fighting
Get a little action in”
That said, ANYTHING can happen. We’ve played very well in this competition to make the finals. Best of luck to Javi and the lads as we head into our first FA Cup Final since 1984 and Graham Taylor.
<fade Saturday Night’s Alright>
<queue Spanish Flea>
That’s it for Episode 39, thanks for listening.
I’ve appreciated all the listeners and downloads that I gained this, the inaugural season to the Pitch & Pint Podcast. It’s been a great year in FPL and I have no complaints, even though red dominated the end of the season.
Look for the pod to return next season, as well as a new project called the FPL Roundtable with FPL Tornado, FPL Lens and FPL Shark.
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.
With all the other quality podcasts out there, hopefully you will continue to support the show.
If you like what you hear, tell your friends, if you don’t, tell me.
Follow me on Twitter @6thGoal providing FPL opinions, as well as craft beer content, posted using the hashtag 30SecondBeerReview.
For all my weekly FPL content head over to 6thgoal.com, as I always have something to say.
Have a great off season, as we look to next season!
Thanks for listening to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.