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Season 2, Episode 50 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Monday, September 23, 2019, Out to the Woodshed
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Hello and welcome to Episode 50 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
Hooray! Episode 50, consider it a small milestone as I get to episode.
It was my intention to bring on a co-host and a guest, but as things would have it, my schedule and 8-hour time difference from the UK doesn’t really work out for many I want to bring on the pod.
I hit up a buddy on the East Coast but his schedule is a bit hectic and wouldn’t have left enough time to get the pod recorded, edited and produced, so I decided I will continue to run as a sole pod for this episode
I do want to thank those who have found their way to the pod.
It’s not the biggest or the best, but I do what I can to keep it on point and give you information you can use.
It’s a combination of opinions and statistics to back what I see going on in FPL.
It’s also a way to couple a game I enjoy, in FPL with a hobby I like to partake in, beer.
I’ve been very pleased with the numbers from the 30 Second Beer Reviews, which are posted on Twitter.
As those who tune into the Pitch & Pint Pod know, every week it’s a different beer review and some sort of beer related news.
So, I look forward to the next 50 episodes!
I raise my pint glass and say thank you to those who have got the pod to where it is now, 15 months later.
Now with business out of the way, let’s get started.
Nod your head if it was a bad weekend, as I know I am not the only one to struggle.
I know FPL Chef is struggling as his FPL account was hacked and FPL basically said, “ah fuck off Chef, nothing we can do.”
However, a bit later two FPL managers in that “magical inner circle” were hacked and suddenly FPL takes notice.
Some shit housery taking place but it’s called into question the security that FPL is or isn’t using for their game.
As of the writing for this show, there has still been no outcome for those accounts that were hacked, causing managers to lose their team and some faith in FPL Towers.
What else are we, well I, losing faith in? Watford.
If a 6-0 FA Cup Final wasn’t enough, Pep and the lads were back for more and pissed off.
WATFORD REVIEW (02:09)
I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to what I saw and what the Hornets experienced last Saturday against Man City at the Eithad.
Gutted and sorely disappointed on how the season have started for Watford.
We can point fingers at ownership, management and players but each players their part in the failure we are currently seeing at Vicarage Road.
The 8-0 loss on Satuday summed our season. Failure. While that might be too strong of a word to use, I look over the upcoming schedule and I don’t see any wins in the next 6 weeks.
If we are lucky, we pick up a point, maybe two but even that I feel is optimistic when looking forward.
As it stands now, the future for Watford will be written in the Championship League.
It’s been a great run since the 2015/16 Premier League season, but at this point I don’t anything on the pitch that tells me we will climb out of the relegation zone and hit that coveted 40 point mark.
Over the summer it appeared we did some good business in the transfer market, fill needed holes on defense, while securing a wide player and another forward.
To date, none of these players have made a positive impact to the Hornets, as we continue to struggle at both ends.
Supporters backed Javi Gracia, a manager who was given a 4.5 year contract after seeing Watford to their best Premier League season, an 11th place finished on 50 points.
It was the second time Watford made it to the FA Cup Finals, the last under Graham Taylor in 1984.
While both games were losses, Watford showed they could put together a good run and make positive things happen at the club.
This was also seen to start last season, as the Golden Boys shined, starting the season 4-0-0 and running with the “big dogs.”
The feeling was incredible as a supporter, even though we knew it wouldn’t last, many pundits had the team tabbed for relegation last season.
Now, maybe they were a year too early on their punditry, as Watford look a shade of their formal self.
After 7 weeks, the Hornets are in 20th place on 2 points with an 0-5-2 record. We’ve scored just 4 goals and conceded 18 though 6 games.
Up next, Wolves. While excelling in the Europa League, they too have struggled but should have more than enough to knock the Hornets off next weekend.
The loss against City was bad, honestly, I didn’t think it could be worse than the FA Cup Final, but Man City was pissed off after their 3-2 loss at Carrow Road in GW6.
It showed too! Ahead of GW6, they were 5 points adrift of Liverpool and not playing their best football.
Defensive injuries called into question Pep’s ability to keep clean sheets, something we’ve seen in FPL since the start of the season. Ben Mendy starting the season unavailable. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte both picking up injuries, which caused a bit of concern.
Last weekend, City didn’t need a defense as Watford struggled from the first 54 seconds of the game.
If you headed to your seat or walking back to the couch, like I was I missed that spot pass from Kevin De Bruyne to David Silva that got the Sky Blues rolling.
It was a statement goal by City. One in which Watford had no answer for.
Watford had no answer for the City attack going forward. Empty tanks and blank stares as the goals kept on coming as players and supporters alike knew it was going to be a long afternoon.
Blame needs to assigned, so let’s start with the owner, Gino Pozzo and technical director, Fillipo Giraldi for bringing back Quique Sanchez Flores.
While QSF did well when he took over as Watford gained promotion, pushing the team to 13th in the league and a semi-final appearancein the FA Cup.
While he was a piece of the puzzle in the past, it’s not trying to fit a square peg through a round hole, it doesn’t fit.
His philiosophy hasn’t worked through two games and I honestly need to call into question his personnel decisions that last 2 weeks.
Looking back at the Arsenal match, the fact Watford had 31 total shots was more failure on the part of the Gunners defense then Watford actually manufactuering chances.
It was an anamoly, something we won’t see again this season from the Golden Boys.
All things equal, those 31 shots should have lead to more than just 2 goals and our first win.
Against City, Dimitri Foulquier got his first start for Watford, OOP on the right flank of a midfield three.
What the fuck? How is this personnel move justified by QSF?
We have last year’s champions and you give a kid his first start, when you have more capable players; Ismaila Sarr, Gerard Deulofey, Roberto Pereyra, Daryl Janmaat or Kiko Femenia.
The logic escapes me as to what he was thinking when this 4-2-3-1 formation was posted.
As expected Deulofeu was the lone starter, which doesn’t work, neither does with work with Andre Gray playing without a partner.
We saw this with Marco Silva and his short reign at Watford, as he was insistent NOT to play two up front.
Javi Gracia’s 4-2-2-2 system showed real promise last year, but as the season rolled on, managers started to break it down, which lead to failures and consequently losses.
The loss of Troy Deeney has had an impact on the players, as we’ve lost our inspiration leader and team captain on the pitch.
This has led to some makeshift 2-man formations more recently with a formation change to a 1-man forward line with 3 midfieders since the arrival of Sanchez Flores.
Please explain why Will Hughes continus to be played on the flanks, never finding his true central position, like he had when he was at Derby County and his early games with the Hornets.
He is NOT a wide player! Never has been and needs to be in a central role to be our catalyst and creator on the ball when going forward.
Tom Cleverley, now fit played well against Arsenal, but for me, needs to next to or playing in place of Hughes.
At this point I would rather have Hughes starting in that #10 behind Deulofeu, not Cleverley.
QSF continued to shake the starting XI by leaving Roberto Pereyra on the bench but when he came on, it was in place of Foulquier on the right.
Pereyra has played across the entire midfielder this season, left to right and in the 10 role. Maybe he is more accustom to playing on the right as a right footed player, as opposed to the left, where he has made it a trademark to cut the ball back inside aiming for the far post.
Then there is the youngster, Ismaila Sarr. From France to England and a new speed at which the game is played.
I’ll admit he didn’t look great when he played against Arsenal 2 weeks ago. Maybe that’s a bit of rust being knocked off, but will only get better given time on the pitch.
He brings two aspects the Hornets need, speed and width to a team that struggles stretching and widening the pitch.
QSF wanted players who were “fit” against Arsenal. Right now, we need change. Something positive needs to be seen on the pitch.
Sarr is an exciting players, much like the more experienced, former England international, Danny Welbeck.
His status, who the fuck knows! All we’re heard from the talking head, he isn’t fit and stugggling with something.
Would not be surprised it’s his knee, which is what saw him injured for more than a year.
Both of these players were highly anticipated ahead of the season, but we haven’t seen either on a regular basis, just a few cameo appearance, yet not enough to factor.
Defensively, this team is playing like a relegated club at the back.
Somewhat disappointing to see Ben Foster struggling as badly as he is.
Now all the problems cannot be pinned on Foster, as his defenders have been bad.
No way to sugar coat their play they have sucked ass!
The addition of Craig Dawson should have strengthened the defense. He played with Foster at West Brom, but the partnership with Craig Cathcart hasn’t been stalwart at all.
No combination of central defenders has made much of a difference. Drop in Adrian Mariappa or Christian Kabasele and it’s much more of the same.
There are no answers at the center back position right now.
Out wide, I am ready to bench Jose Holebas. I know he’s been a mainstay in the defense but he’s looking like a 35-year-old to start this season.
No longer is a box to box defender, feel Watford made a mistake in extending his contract this season.
One thing I did hope he would bring to the sqaud was experience, as a known quantity, but knowing his former relationship with QSF I don’t see him last long as a starter.
Not a bid fan of Adam Masina, why the hell not give him a start on the left. Like last week, when Holebas was substituted, give Daryl Janmaat another shot on the left with Kiko Femenia on the right.
Janmaat is the stronger of the two defensively, but feel he should be starting over Holebas.
So where does that put the Golden Boys after 7 game weeks?
In a world of shit, there is nothing positive I saw coming out of the City game and looking ahead I think we will continue to struggle.
Should we go into the international break winless, I think we honestly need to look for another manager, who CAN make an impact.
We won’t get that impact with QSF, this second time around. We know what he’s about and while he may have a better group of players than 2015, it doesn’t appear he can motivate them to turn things around at Watford.
At this point, I am preparing for Watford to be relegated, relieving me of all writing responsibilities for next season in the Premier League.
Yeah, it’s really THAT bad.
Now with that painful game out of the way, we need to knock back a beer review.
BEER REVIEW – BROKEN SKULL (13:10)
When I moved out of San Diego and got hired by United Airlines, I live in Torrance and Redondo Beach, as well as the parking lot under the approach end to LAX for a brief period of time.
This area, south of Los Angeles airport has become a hot bed of craft beer.
One of those breweries, that of El Segundo Brewing Company, located just south of LAX in the industrial city of El Segundo.
El Segundo Brewing Company was founded over a love of hops and a desire to brew beer as delicious as what was being done down in San Diego… because they just couldn’t find it close enough to home.
In a garage, behind the Blue House, Rob Croxall cut his teeth on his home-brew kit for a decade.
In 2010 ESBC leased the space they now occupy at 140 Main St.
It was a meager start with just the capacity to make 60 bbls a month.
Now they make over 400.
Focusing on hops was always the plan, but as they obtained access to the hops they wanted, they found our customers just couldn’t get enough.
This week, thanks to Mark Turner, aka Triple Captain comes a recommendation for a beer he wanted to sample.
The problem, he lives in Wales. That’s 5300 miles or 85 kilometers.
As luck would have it, Mark is part of the FPL Beer Club and I just happened to road trip south a few weeks ago and my second stop, El Segundo Brewing Company.
Now it might take some time to pack the FPL Beer Mule and send her on her way to the UK, but rest assured, there will come a time that Triple Captain will be cracking open a Steve Austin’s Broken Skull IPA.
While I’ve never seen that beer in NoCal, it’s readily available in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
From the can, it reads, “A bad-ass 6.7% IPA designed by Steve Austin and ESBC for the working man & woman. It features Citra, Cascade, and Chinook hops to deliver big flavor with an easy finish. Now stop reading and start enjoying this awesome beer! Cheers! Steve”
Let’s pop the top on this 16 oz can…
Broken Skull pours a West Coast, crystal clear and golden color with a healthy 1.5 fingers worth of off white head that lingers before dissipating, leaving some light lacing.
The smell…there’s a bitter hop sensation coupled with sweet malts, some citrus zest and a floral hint.
Let’s see how it goes down…not bad, but I think I expected a bit more, especially as a West Coast IPA.
It’s bit a mild, for me, bitterness up front that isn’t overwhelming, but does stay with your and lingers once you swallow.
It’s got a light malt backbone with fruit including pineapple, grapefruit, lemon and the aforementioned orange zest.
It’s crisp and clean as the bitterness bites back, just a bit, but is well balanced and smooth over the palette.
You can never go wrong with a craft IPA from California, not my favorite, but I would keep a 4-pack in the mini fridge as a go to IPA.
Now with out beer of the week poured, it’s time to whip your ass…
WHERE TO GO (16:22)
In the words of Axl Rose from Sweet Child ‘O Mine, “where do we go, where do we go now?”
It’s been a very ugly season after 6 weeks.
Hell, it might have been better to have my FPL account hacked, as many decisions continue to go the wrong way.
Captain and starting XI selections have been terrible. Okay, average. Player selection and decision making, questionable at best.
Maybe another manger I quoted in a previous podcast was right, and I am paraphrasing, maybe a GW3 wild card was a failure ahead of the season, not bringing in the right players initially.
Easier to say after the fact I know, but looking back on my GW1 team, there were a few players I didn’t buy into or left out.
Raheem Sterling was the reason I activated my GW3 wild card, I didn’t own the City midfielder and based on early numbers and ownership, he was a must own.
Is that the same as essential? Fucking hate that word!
Now 7 weeks later, I am looking at a few premiums and questioning, are they really season keepers?
That was one of my goals this season, was to hold my premiums through thick and thin, as in the end they are usually found in the top 5 when it comes to their final score.
The last 2 weeks, Pep has done a number on owners of Sterling and De Bruyne. Last week KDB did not start but got 33 minutes.
This hurt as I captained him for 2 points.
This week Sterling is benched and…you guessed it I captained Sterling.
Back to back weeks and just 2 points from my captain.
Now I could have been saved, had I been more confident in my VC this week, giving it to Teemu Pukki who failed to return an attacking return, that’s now twice in 3 weeks.
Maybe that was my failure to give it to a premium, like Salah or KDB, even after his failure last week.
What’s that hashtag? #AlwaysCaptainSalah?
Sterling is dropping like a rock, as managers continue to move him out.
He’s already lost 0.1 and I would be surprised the sell off continues and he’s down to 12.1 come Friday.
That said, one good game and the faith in Sterling and Pep is restored and FPL managers will be looking to buy back in on the City midfielder.
However, the last 3 weeks his results have fallen well short, just 5 points in 180 minutes.
So which Sterling do we back? Is Son a better option? What about David or Bernardo Silva?
At this point, there are more questions then answers when looking for options.
My initial thought was to move Salah after Sheffield United, as I don’t really favor Liverpool’s run over the next 5 weeks; LEI/mun/TOT/avl/MCI.
Going Son also comes back to get me, as Spurs are away to City in GW10, while Salah is home to Spurs, followed by Villa.
Let me finish my thought on adding Son. The second part of this move would allow me 3.7 ITB, which means I could drop Haller and pick up Aubameyang.
After GW7 Arsenal go off arguably their best run of the year from GW8-GW16.
With Lacazette still nursing an injury, Auba will play through the middle for the gunners, starting at home Bournemouth in GW8.
Another midfielder I am keeping my eye on, Andriy Yarmolenko, now on 24 points, picked up his second goal in 3 weeks and looked livelier then Haller did. At 5.9, his price is right, as is his 0.6% ownership.
Hammers still have a good run of fixtures, but I wouldn’t double up.
John McGinn, like that of Todd Cantwell has started the season with a flurry of points.
McGinn picked up his second goal this weekend and at 5.6 looks to be a modest option, even though Villa has scored just 4 goals on the season.
Speaking of Bournemouth, the most consistent forward so far, Callum Wilson.
Priced at 7.8, he’s on 40 points for the season, as he picked up his 7th attacking return, giving him 4 goals and 3 assists on the season.
The Cherries fixtures are somewhat mixed but feel he could be a difference going forward through GW15.
Other possibly options Harry Wilson, 6.1 on 23 points, who is outplaying Ryan Fraser, at 7.1 on 19 points.
Fraser has played just 33 and 27 minutes in the last 2 games.
I touted Burnley last week and they came through picking up a CS against Norwich and their run of good fixtures continue.
They travel to Villa Park next week, to face a Villians team that has score just 6 goals on the season, second worst in the Premier League.
Still have Lowton at 4.5 heading the list, won’t pay the extra 0.2 for Pieters and 0.5 for Mee or Tarkowski.
Still not buying into West Ham’s sudden clean sheet ability, now 3 in a row with Bournemouth this coming week.
However, Fabianski is continuing to pick up save points, now 20 on the season.
Issa Diop is their top defender on 24 points, followed by Ryan Fredericks at 23.
If I knew he was going to get more playing time on a regular basis, I would give a serious look at Aaron Cresswell, 4.9 got just his second start of the season and picked up a goal.
Finally a player I will talk more about when I look at my team, Fikayo Tomori, the Canadian scored a screamer for Chelsea 2 weeks ago and picked up consecutive starters in the last 3 for the Blues.
He could have found a new home as a Chelsea center back, paired with Kurt Zouma, now that Christensen is out, injured. Again!
At 4.5 with an excellent run of games until GW12, he could be a cheap way in the Chelsea defense that SHOULD secure 3-4 clean sheets over that period.
If you want to gamble, Marcus Alonso might be worth a look, the out of favor left back could see a reprieve, as Emerson left the game injured.
He is still expensive, but if he gets hot, he is one of the best going forward on the attack, at witnessed by his last 3 years with scores of 161, 165 and 177 points.
He’s still the most expensive Chelsea defender, but not the most solid when it comes to starting.
Time to look at what my team did this weekend, as I decided to roll my FT to GW7.
TEAM REVIEW (22:32)
Much like last week, this week was a real struggle. Last week I was very fortunate to pick up a relatively small green arrow.
This week, I wasn’t so fortunate, as I score 54 points, which was 2 points over the weekly average of 52, but couldn’t grab that important green arrow, as I slide backwards to 968k.
On the season it’s 343 points over 6 weeks, which equates to a 57.1 PPW average, just about 3 points off my goal of 60.
As was discussed on the previous episode of the FPL Roundtable, last year Gabe, FPL Lens scored 100 points 5 times, but conversely had some relatively low scoring weeks.
By way of comparison, I did not break 100 points over 38 weeks, but remained very consistent in my weekly scores all season long, which I feel helped me achieve my final rank and top points.
60 PPW was my goal, if I could hit that number with some success on choosing captains, the rest would work itself out and I would finish in and around the top 1% of FPL.
That same philosophy is how I started this season, looking for that consistency over 38 weeks and I feel I’ve been successful to a point.
As I said the first WC was already activated and I feel it’s served me well the last 3 weeks, as I was able to pick up some price increases, as well as get a few players into my starting XI I know I would have been chasing had I not activated it.
Out of the break, I made my first 2 transfers, which tells me I was quite confident in my starting XI, more over more confident with my team out of the break that I didn’t need to use transfers.
And why should I, using a transfer one week after a WC? That would have been a manager failure when considering personnel.
Out of the break I decided to shift my budget into the attack, as I have not seen any consistency when it comes to defenses.
I am not going to hedge my bet or budget on defenders who MIGHT get attacking returns, like we saw this last weekend with TAA and Otamendi.
When was the last time Otamendi was relevant in FPL? 2 years ago? More on him later.
I won’t buy in Liverpool until Alisson is back in goal, which means defenders can all be budget for all I care.
It appears I will be moving away from Oleksandr Zinchenko, as he missed out this weekend, as Mendy was welcomed back and Otamendi played in a central role.
Thankfully I had John Lundstram off the bench for 12 important points on the weekend. That was one bullet dodged in GW6.
He outperformed both Wan-Bissaka (2) and Michael Keane (2) in my back three and doubled up the CS by Nick Pope.
Neither player are long for squad as they tie up 1-2 million, depending on what I decide to do at the back.
I am looking at Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomari, the 4.5 defender has started and played 90 the last 3 games, picked up a goal in GW.
He’s got report with Frank Lampard, playing 44 games for him last year at Derby County.
Chelsea start off on an excellent run through GW12, which means I would head into GW7 with treble Chelsea, if Tomori is a go.
There are some CS happening, but I just don’t feel I can back a team like West Ham, as I don’t believe them to be a top 6 team this season.
I had a feel Everton would make good after how they finished last season, but they have struggled defensively.
Then again, that’s a Marco Silva trait, not playing defense, so Keane could be gone before long.
The midfield, as I mentioned in the Watford Review was a mixed bag, as Sterling was benched, which meant Mason Mount started with a no attacking return.
I had placed Mount on the bench, as he was potentially going to miss the Liverpool game due to injury. Thankfully he started but didn’t return.
Sterling was also tagged as my captain, which was a double whammy and for the second week in a row that I had a captain not start.
What made matter worse, I didn’t put much thought into the vice captain, giving it to Teemu Pukki, which wasn’t a bad shout, but he didn’t return, so another poor captain return.
That now makes it 4 captain failures in the first 6 weeks, which has cost me quite a few points this season.
Much like 2 years ago when I had Kane, I jumped on and off and never was able to see consistent returns from the Spurs front man that really cost me big points until I moved off him.
It’s just been case of bad luck and the Pep Roulette coming back to bite me, reminding me NEVER TO GAMBLE!
De Bruyne had his best game of the season, which could have been even better if it were not for misses from his teammates.
It was another 17 point performance with a goal and 2 assists, a CS and 3 bonus points.
Of all the players this season, KDB has been the best player on the season, a steal at 9.5 for managers who started the season with him.
Mo Salah continues to tick on, somewhat unimpressive with an assist in Liverpool’s 2-0 win.
He has returned points every week but GW2.
At 12.5 I am having second thoughts on the Egyptian again. Last year when I dropped him it came back to ruin my season, which makes me hesitant to follow the same course of action this season.
IF and that’s quite a big if, I dropped Salah the funds I free up will potentially go towards funding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front, while adding Son to the midfielder.
Seb Haller, who has done nothing but frustrate since buying him out of the international break hasn’t shown me anything.
Not quite sure what other FPL mangers see in him, but his play was quite disappointing against United on Sunday.
As mentioned, Pukki blanked for the second time in 3 weeks, but will stick with the Finn, feel he’s like Ji-menez from last year and for his cost, may as well stay on him.
Tammy Abraham crashed back to earth, after 7 goals in 3 games, now some of that could be knocked off to the fact Chelsea played Liverpool.
Abraham still had some good shots and looked lively up front for the Blues, which means I will continue stick with Abraham and Mount as the double moving forward with a great fixture run.
I still have some thought for Wilson, as the Cherries forward has been the most consistent this year.
He’s priced nice at 7.8, on 40 points with returns every week.
He fixtures might scare me off just a bit, as they play ARS, MUN, TOT, LIV and CHE between GW7 and GW17.
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That’s it for Episode 50, thanks for listening.
As I mentioned in the intro, thank you so much for all the support since I kicked off this little project.
I’ve had a great time being engaged and filling a niche in FPL on Twitter.
Lots to look forward to moving ahead in the FPL season.
Rest assured I will be around to bring my spin on FPL and beer reviews.
As I have said too much already this year, looking to rebound in GW7, as I have two transfer headed into the game week.
It will be a late decision this week, which means I might miss out on a price rise, but do we really need to pick up that 0.1?
Maybe we do.
Regardless, good luck this weekend.
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Thanks for listening to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.