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Season 2, Episode 43 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Tuesday, June 16, VAR from Perfect
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Hello and welcome to Episode 43 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since my last episode, which allowed me to get some anger out of the way early in the season.
It just feels FPL opened this season with an incomplete game. Prices came in high, for many players and the game, relatively unchanged.
The bonus point system is still broken and there will be mad chip strategies again when the blanks and doubles are confirmed.
And now we have VAR to contend with.
If you have time, listen to From the Rookery End @watfordpodcast
Join Jon, Mike, Jason, Jordi and DCS as they make sense of the new rules and the clowns…err…officials in the replay booth.
It’s a good, non-Watford discussion on VAR. I highly recommend it. That said, it still doesn’t change my opinion of the use of this technology.
I will post the link in the show notes. (https://t.co/dzdYNgOwZL)
Now with business out of the way, let’s get started.
We are a bit closer to the start of the season and I had a chance to sit down with FPL Shark, FPL Tornado and FPL Lens last week and discuss the upcoming season.
While there was nothing officially released on You Tube or as a podcast, but just getting some thoughts down on what we think the upcoming season will bring.
No surprise that talk centered around Everton, Watford and United. Think we even got a quick shot to Real Madrid for Gabe.
As mentioned in a previous podcast, we are working to bring the FPL Roundtable to fruition.
Last season, we podcasted under Academica Vertex, but went on to do our own thing near the end of the season.
We are working on rolling out the FPL Roundtable later this month and are excited to get together on a weekly basis to provide our insight into FPL.
The website is under development and Twitter account can be found at FPL_Roundtable
This week, I promise the pod will not be dotted with anger like episode 42 was.
I’ve spent a bit of time working on a series of different starting XIs, depending on formation.
The only certainty at this point, the budget options I will carry as non-starters. So that’s a 4.0 keeper and defender, as well as the 4.5 midfielder and forward.
This gives me 83 million to divvy on the remaining 11 players.
I won’t dive into this too deep but will have some thoughts coupled with players I’ve got on my watch list, based on a few key metrics.
I will also dive into VAR. Again, the lads at From the Rookery End, present it in a clear and easy to understand manner, not sure I can top it but it’s fair to give you my opinion on why I am against it.
No Pitch & Pint episode is complete with beer and this week I have a great offering that isn’t from Tree House.
I know surprising, huh?
Finally, as I’ve done the past few years, I’ve got a few keys to success ahead of the 2019/20 season. These will vary a bit from what I wrote last season.
By no means are managers limited to these few, there are MANY keys we turn to when we want to be success. These will help guide me this season.
STARTING STRONG (03:48)
For me, it’s still early in the FPL and I really haven’t put much time or thought into my starting XI and 15-man squad for the season.
As I said a few minutes ago, depending on the formation I start with, I’m not planning on owning playing substitutes on the bench to start the season.
I’ve seen one FPL manager saying he’s saving 2.5 million to be used to upgrade and change his team. To me, that sounds like you are setting up for failure, if you feel you need to stash some budget away, rather than roll a transfer.
That is one of those things you shouldn’t have to do after a week or two of Premier League action.
Just don’t mind that fact I activated my wild card ahead of GW3 last season, something I am hoping to avoid next month.
Last year I judged my patience on the number of hits I took on the season. That number totaled one though 34 weeks.
At that point, on the back of a failed wild card, I took a -16 to right the wrong.
Unfortunately, two wrongs didn’t make a right and I just found myself digging a deep hole, one that I couldn’t recover from.
Still, on the season, just 6 hits with 5 of those in the final 4 weeks.
Mentioned in a previous show, one goal I have is to start the season strong. Can’t remember any of the previous seasons which I have had a good start.
I would like to change that this year and one of the ways I am hoping to avoid early transfers, chasing points and price rises is to start with a strong XI in GW1.
Now that sounds easy enough, right?
We ALL want to have that and be near our final goal of the top 10k, right?
However, I look at my starting XI from last season and it begs the question, “WTF was I thinking?”
Hopefully this season as we roll into GW38, I won’t be questioning my actions and intentions from the start of season.
Last year, one player was on my squad the entire season. Andrew Robertson.
I am looking to increase that to 3-4 players this season and not chase premium players.
As I’ve mentioned before, when I played fantasy NFL football, there was a paper written by a talk show host and pundit called the Fantasy Football Law of Averages.
In short it says, “The Fantasy Football Law of Averages is a theory dictates you need to recognize the fact that every player will have “spikes” (commonly referred to as peaks and valleys) in their fantasy production from week to week throughout the course of an entire season.”
This concept is nothing new and good FPL managers will be able to use statistics, FDR and the eye test to make good decisions that will provide positive results.
The best examples I have last season is Mo Salah. There is no reason I should have come off the Liverpool midfielder. Over 2-3 weeks, it appeared to be a good transfer, but when he for a hit trick, I knew I was buried and my decision, poor.
Over that 8-week period, he posted 9 goals and 3 assists, arguably his best run of the season.
Yet players like Mo Salah or his teammate Sadio Mane are those sorts of premium players we should keep in our team all season long.
Looking back over my season, I moved off players like David Luiz and Christian Eriksen, with Wilfred Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to a lesser degree.
Luiz and Eriksen were those premiums I should have had more patience with. While I haven’t broken down the numbers, looking at their replacements, they struggled, as did my midfielders all season long.
It was my Achilles heel in my starting XI.
This season I am hoping it becomes one of “set and forget” in the midfield and throughout my starting XI.
I’ve seen it mentioned the other way, you set your budget and mid-priced players and shuffle your premiums, depending on fixture. It’s an interesting concept but I also think it defeats the underlying theme of this section, when my intent is to hold premiums all season.
BEER REVIEW – ASLIN BEER: INTERLOPERS (07:28)
Before I dive head first into more keys to the season, let’s crack open the beer of the week on The Pitch & Pint Podcast.
While I still await the mule’s arrival from Dublin, the mule being my sister, who is a flight attendant. The Dude Abides was kind enough to send me 6 cans, the most anticipated, Lervig’s 3 Bean Stout!
Until then, it’s time to look at the East Coast of the US and center in on Herndon, Virginia and Aslin Beer Company.
This brewery was brought to my attention by Chris Klein, aka fpl_sauce, an FPL Beer Club member.
Thankfully when Richard, RTY9A visiting last month, he came bearing gifts. One of those was a can of Interlopers from Aslin Beer Company.
Since the inception of Aslin Beer Company, Andrew, Kai, & Richard wanted to create a company that they all would want to work for.
They have strived to create a culture that celebrates beer with a passion and depth of knowledge that can’t help but be contagious to their customers.
They realize that their beer is not the only product they provide, but a long-lasting relationship between their company, employees, and customers.
Aslin Beer Company doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Beer is fun. It’s for kicking back: vacations, parties, hangouts.
Along with the fun and humorous atmosphere, the founders’ have a passion and dedication to create a good product and have a commitment to provide the best beer to all passionate beer drinkers alike.
Aslin Beer will craft only the highest quality ales, lagers and variants that will help redefine American beer culture, re-educate the consumer palate and revive people’s passion, while using the highest quality ingredients from around the world as well as sourced locally.
Today, a BFS! That’s short for big fucking stout, called Interlopers this American Imperial Stout comes in at 15% conditioned on blueberry, almond, toasted coconut, vanilla and maple.
So let’s crack the the top on this 16 ounce can…
Interlopers pours a very thick and rich dark brown that turns motor oil black in the glass.
The head a very inviting, deep and dark tan that lingers before completely dissipating leaving no lacing.
The smell…Wow! This is big and very complex, as the blueberry shines through with some booziness.
This subsides giving way to a sweet vanilla and maple with a nice rich, toasted coconut.
Let’s see how it goes down…Now, this is a meal! Holy shit!
It’s big, there is no way around it. Big Blueberry up front which fades opening up the toasted coconut with hint of maple. As it warms, you welcome in a nice smooth chocolate flavor with the nuttiness of the almonds and a slight sweetness from the vanilla.
Truly a fantastic stout! Big thanks to Richard for sharing this beast of a stout. Now with our beer poured, let’s continue.
HERD MENTALITY (10:21)
While I am not new to using Twitter, last year was my first, full season using the social media tool for FPL.
Successful? That’s debatable, as the prior season have focus on websites and podcasts.
However, there are some limitations to using social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or Reddit, to name a few.
The lure of news at our fingertips on Twitter can be a blessing, as we saw with @AnfieldExpress a few years ago leaking the starting lineup for Liverpool.
It can also be a guise intended to illicit a response from the community that may or may not be true or cited from a reliable source.
I now turn to Twitter for most of the information I use to make decisions related to FPL.
The big problem I have with Twitter or Reddit, they are both such small cross sections of the FPL community.
Last year over six million were registered in the game!
Last year was an improvement, as patience helped me avoid the “herd mentality” as I worked to make my own decisions and not those I read over on Twitter.
There are some excellent accounts on Twitter that provide team news, insight and news to help raise your FPL game to a new level.
Just be weary of falling into that herd mentality mindset that could leave you hunched over and defeated knowing you would have prospered had you made your own decision.
Don’t be a sheep and part of the herd.
HAVE A PLAN, BUT REMAIN FLEXIBLE (11:38)
Now this key to success gets carried over from last season, as planning and strategy provide FPL managers a “road map” to the season ahead, one that is quite dynamic as we start the season without knowing vital information that will cause changes to our plans and strategy.
Every season FPL managers sit down and spend long hours putting together a plan for their upcoming season.
We see more pundits creating a “Beautiful Mind” (thanks Art of the Dive for that nugget) when it comes to fixture difficulty, rotation and weekly transfers for the FPL season.
I’ve got my own spreadsheet that works for me, laid out in simple format that helps me plan my season.
While it’s unrealistic to plan for the entire season, this season, like last is broken into 4-week intervals through the first 13 weeks of the season with the international breaks providing time away from the game.
This makes planning more manageable but must always consider unknown variables; rotation, suspension, injuries.
Without getting too deep into planning, an FPL manager much remain flexible with their plan.
One unknown could potentially throw off your entire plan, as I speak from experience.
Last year, after weeks of planning and tinkering, I made a Friday afternoon decision, ahead of GW1 to bring Alexis Sanchez into my starting XI.
Why? To this day, it was just a poor decision, based on the information I had. That said, I thought he could be a differential.
While I didn’t have any intentions of playing my WC early, after just 2 weeks I didn’t like my OR and I felt I needed to cash in on those players making an impact and drop the dead weight. This after just 2 weeks.
So much for that early season planning, even though 4 weeks, it was out the window and I went back into a planning stage for my post GW2 wild card.
In the end, the early wild card panned out over 10 weeks. Immediately, it was letdown but as we know, you can’t judge a wild card on just one game week.
Probably the most important aspect of the game that has nothing to do with following social media trends, listening to podcasts and crunching the stats and data.
Patience. This is an attribute we could all work on. Hell, I know I could. Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
We’ve all looked back on a game week and played the “what if…” game. “What if I hadn’t moved Salah out?” This said the week before he hits for a hat trick?
Usually FPL managers have very little patience when it comes to players who don’t post a return.
We keep premium players on a short leash but are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and hold them if they don’t perform.
Eden Hazard was a prime example of patience last season, some big returns, but quite a few stinkers. Based on fixtures, his performance tested our patience.
Right or wrong, I’ve attributed patience to the number of hits I take. Last season I went 34 game weeks taking just two hits.
Was there any correlation? Heading into GW34 I was still just inside 11k after an excellent run of green arrows that saw my OR move from 145k.
Unfortunately, that patience was tested and instead of running with an in-form team I decided to stick to my strategy that started in GW26.
I failed to “remain flexible” and played the wild card that saw my season take a turn for the worst. Posted my second worst score on the season, just 45 points.
It was a nasty downward spiral, as I followed that up with a 16-point hit the following week.
No longer flexible, I had lost my patience and the result 4 red arrows in five weeks, a drop of over 20k, finishing at 31k.
LOOKING AHEAD – PLAYERS (15:22)
The season kicks off August 9, there is still a lot of tinkering time to be had with our teams.
I’ve recently settled on a 15-man squad that is unconventional, if nothing else.
In an article I wrote titled Defensively Red, Offensively Blue, decided to treble up on Liverpool and City.
This isn’t a unique move. Many FPL managers had been discussing this sort of strategy, but which six players do you go with?
In my team, I moved on Robertson, van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold from Liverpool and Sterling, KDB and Bernado Silva from City.
Now there could be some play in the attacking City players, I could move Sterling out for Aguero
Some commenting on the team said, “Salah is a must.” One Twitter account went so far to say, “If you don’t own Salah, you a fucking idiot.”
Now that wasn’t directed at my team, but there are strong convictions when it comes to players we support.
Salah is no difference, but I think it’s possible to go all season with the Egyptian. Sterling is just 0.5 cheaper.
A big part of this “plan” if I can call it that, the fact that City will score over 100 goals in the Premier League.
Over the last 2 seasons, they have scored 95 and 106 goals. Liverpool was a distant second with 89 and 84.
Both defenses were good, Liverpool recorded 21 clean sheets, conceding 22 goals, City 20 clean sheets and 23 goals.
So defensively, City could be just as viable, but the statistics that swing the Reds defense, their attacking prowess.
We are all aware of it. Robertson and TAA combined for 25 assists, compared to City’s entire defense with just 14. Out of that total Mendy had 6 in just 900 minutes.
So, 6 players in my squad, where did I put the remaining budget?
No surprised I went with two budget buys at 4.0m, Ben Gibson and Martin Kelly to round out the defense.
I don’t plan on needing any bench players to start the season. Why should I? It’s not a part of the year we need to have a playing bench. It hasn’t helped me in the past, so why not put as much money as I can into my starting XI to get me the best squad money can buy?
In the midfield, there could be some play, depending on what I do up front. As it currently stands, I have Youri Tielemans and Wil Zaha to round out a 5-man midfield.
Up front based solely on the first two games, I’ve gone with Lacazette. Many who commented feel the Arsenal forward isn’t a good option and believe I should downgrade to Vardy, saving 0.5 to be used to upgrade one of the midfielders.
My second starting forward, Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Now his success is dependent on Everton buying a new forward. Cenk Tosun wasn’t the answer and DCL post some excellent numbers last season in in nearly 1800 minutes; 6 goals and 5 assists.
If he could get near 3000 minutes, he could easily double those numbers, 12 goals, 10 assists? Even 10 and 10? That would be an outstanding season for nearly ANY forward.
Those numbers are similar to what Firmino has posted the last 4 years or Lacazette and Jimenez, last season.
It’s a risky move, but their FDR is very kind to start the season. Not that I am a big fan of Marco Silva, but another year under him and depending on who comes into the Toffees, such as Fabian Delph could make this Toffees team turn head.
Now DCL isn’t the best fantasy option when we look at Everton with Sigurdsson and Richarlison possibly playing a bigger part of the offense this season.
However, at 8.0 million I am having a hard time looking at Richarlison for that price, knowing he goes missing on the side of a milk carton.
As he has done the last 2 years. Last year, he made up for that shortcoming, by finishing the season with 13 goals and 153 points, 28 points and 8 goals better then his previous season at Watford.
But 8 million? In talking with Casey, FPL_Tornado, that price could be justified, as he has the ability and players around him at Everton to score 20 goals. That 8 million price is suddenly looking like a bargain.
Never thought you would hear me talking through Richarlison did you?
Sigurdsson is the higher owned player currently with 16.0% TSB to Richarlison’s 10.4%. Sigurdsson checks a few other boxes, on set pieces, usually on penalties.
Richarlison, being Brazilian goes down quite easy, which means VAR will bring more opportunities for Sigurdsson to capitalize from the spot.
Sigurdsson is also the playmaker we turn to when we look for a player to take over a game.
As I said the fourth and fifth midfielders aren’t set, much like Lacazette.
With all the off season moves Leicester have made, adding Tielemans and bringing in Perez, Vardy could be primed for a very big season that could see him return to his 2015/16 season form when he scored 24 goals.
Still lots of time to tinker, so nothing is set in my starting XI, but I am seriously considering a red defense of Liverpool and blue offense of City.
There are other players I am considering Ji-menez makes that short list, but I don’t like their schedule, participating in Europe this season.
Many are comparing to how Burnley fell flat last season, but let’s remember that Wovles didn’t have a strong defense last year and it showed.
Could more games burn out their star players? Also remember Santo doesn’t have a deep, viable bench. One reason they lost in the FA Cup semifinals.
At Bournemouth, I continue to look at Wilson, King, Fraser and Brooks. All of them except for King are overpriced in my opinion.
King has been in and out of my starting XI, but at 6.5 he could be the most viable forward of the bunch when comparing him to Deulofeu and Jota, both who were reclassified this season by FPL.
King, if he is on the pitch will take penalties, based on what we saw last season.
The emergence of Brooks, partnering with Fraser could mean great things for Wilson, if he can stay healthy and King.
Is it viable to double up on the Cherries? Early fixtures, outside of GW3, home to City look good through GW10.
In a final piece I wrote last season, I said I wanted to add more players into my thinking when it comes to my starting XI.
I got into a bad position in the preplanning, where I was literally shuffling 2-3 players in an out of formations and seeing what looked best.
Up to this point, I feel I’ve pigdeon holed myself into that same spot, not willing to look at other players for various reasons. Call it shortsidedness, hopefully I can work past this in the coming week to give myself the best opportunity to start strong.
Let’s finish up with VAR. The lads at From the Rookery End had a great podcast on this impending technology cracking the Premier League for the first time ever.
Since 2018 and the World Cup in Russia, I have not wanted or welcomed the technology.
I’ve said it in past pods, VAR ruined the World Cup for me, to the point I quit watching. Officials aren’t supposed to the be the center of attention in any sport, however that is what could happen this season in the beautiful game.
I had no desire or interest in watch the women’s World Cup, but I also heard there were some pretty poor officiating decisions, even with VAR.
Does the technology work? In some cases I feel it’s worthwhile. The goal line technology is excellent and is easily implemented to improve the game allowing to see the position of the entire ball over the goal line or not.
I would like to see VAR used extensively for offside calls, but let’s not fucking spend 3 minutes making a call as to if the player was off.
We all know offsides are sometimes delayed calls, but with the human factor, in some studio, with three I believe the number was, replay officials, how quickly can they really provide an accurate decision?
One thing replay will never show to any reliability, intent. How do you decide, on the pitch or in a replay booth of intent?
You can’t, and intent is something we hear on a regular basis in the game. We see it with hand balls on a regular basis, was there an intent to contact the ball? Was the defender’s hand in a natural position?
Saw a play last year, it might have been Sadio Mane, who appeared to lift ball deliberately into the hand of the defense. The official bought it and a penalty was awarded.
Is that part of the game now? That’s just as bad as diving!
My concern over VAR is the time factor. Stopping a game to review a play when it has concluded will cause a delay, which means we will see more injury time added to the game.
I believe the guys on the pod talked about VAR getting the decision made within 90 seconds. Good luck. There are going to be some serious growing pains with an imperfect technology.
For every 10 they get right, there will always be that one that will be discussed as to why VAR doesn’t work. For now, I am willing to be anti-VAR. Will my opinion change?
Time will tell. I feel it’s ruined NFL football, but feel it adds to the game of Australian Rules Football when it comes to making the correct goal or behind decision.
There are some positive aspects, but it’s going to be years or working on to get it to a respectable level of reliability.
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That’s it for Episode 43, thanks for listening.
We are still more then 3 weeks away from the opening night fixture, so there is plenty of time to get your thoughts organized and get your starting XI primed for game week one.
While I’m red on defense and blue in attack, who’s to say I am going to stay there. As I move forward, I will start putting players and data together in an attempt to field the strongest starting XI.
Then again, isn’t that what we ALL try to do, every year to start the season?
On a final note, I want to mention a posted by @StatOnScout and what it means to average 60 PPGW.
The results are quite staggering. I averaged 61.3 last season and finished well off the pace at 31k.
It’s summerized like this:
…if you had started playing FPL since its inception [02/03] and averaged 60 points per GW, your record would be: 4 x champion At least 8 x Top 10K finishes (possibly 9 or 10) But in each of the last 3 seasons, you would have finished outside of the Top 10K.
So if there is ONE thing all FPL managers should strive for, it should be a minimum of 60 PPGW.
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Thanks for listening to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.