Season 2, Episode 51 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Tuesday, October 01, Possession Without Performance.
Hello and welcome to Episode 51 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
Last week was one of those weekends in which I didn’t catch any Premier League games because I was teaching a group of Boy Scout about my other passion, radio!
While it was a long day teaching two sessions of this merit badge, it was quite fulfilling, unlike looking at just how piss poor my FPL team was doing.
However, keeping it real, my life isn’t dictated by this or any other fantasy game I participate in.
After 36 years of playing fantasy sports, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and excitement that we experience playing the game.
The last calendar year, inthe 7 years I’ve played has been the most enjoyable with people I’ve connected with, the beer shared, and friendships made.
Now, I’ll jump off my soapbox, let’s get started.
It’s been another crushing and frustrating game week for MANY managers. For me, it was another captain armband failure.
That makes 3 in row for me and only 2 successful captain returns in the last 7 weeks.
However, that is better than Watford, another 2-0 loss at Molineux and the Hornets have lost 11 game in the Premier League dating back to last season.
Not that I want to, but we will look back on another ass kicking.
If anyone has suggestions, I will be looking for something to do come December when we are relegated to the Championship.
Much like summer rolling into fall, there are some fixture swing for a few teams, could it be time to buy in on their players?
Speaking of players, what the hell do we do with Sebastian Haller or Teemu Pukki?
We will look at forwards, discuss defense and master the midfield this week.
Time permitting, we will check the numbers from the top 1000 managers, and I will go over my weekly score.
None of this podcast is possible without beer!
I will review another UK selection, this time from Northern Monk and pass on some bad news that comes my way October 31.
All that and more today on the Pitch & Pint Podcast.
WATFORD REVIEW (02:17)
Let’s start with expectations moving forward. I don’t expect Watford to beat Sheffield United next week at Vicarage Road.
Through 7 Premier League games, I’ve not seen much to think we will win any games this season.
A bit harsh? Too critical? Possibly, but I won’t look back on the second half of the Arsenal game as how the Hornets usually play.
It’s not, I knock off that 45-minute performance on the Arsenal defense being in disarray.
Since the second half of that Watford have looked like the team, we have we come to expect starting the season 0-2-5, just 2 points on the year and nothing to really look forward to.
Again, that’s some harsh criticism from a team that over performed through the early part of the season.
This is the SAME team we saw last year, with upgrades at three positions; defense, the flank and up front, yet the results have been toilet all year long!
Danny Welbeck and Ismaila Sarr both got their first Premier League starts at Molineux on Saturday.
Watching a replay of the game, Welbeck looked good, probably the best attacking going forward, but much like Deulofeu, he didn’t have much support up front.
This was the first game that Quique Sanchez Flores started a 4-3-3 formation with Deulofeu wide left and Sarr, wide right.
However, Watford still played without a midfield maestro, as Tom Cleveley played the right of a midfield three with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue.
As I wrote in a few reviews, the Watford performance can be summed up as “possession without performance.”
The Hornets posted 61% time of possession but couldn’t do anything with it.
As we saw earlier this season, Watford was hit by defenders late to react and continued mistakes that led to both goals.
Ben Foster’s got to be frustrated. Two goals this week that weren’t his fault, as he was left flat footed when Daryl Janmaat netted an own goal giving the Wolves their seconds goal late in the game.
Sanchez Flores and Jose Holebas have history, in his first time around at Watford, but after Saturday’s performance, I don’t want to see the Greek on the pitch next weekend at the Vic.
Holebas was caught out of position, as Matt Doherty came bombing into the attacking end, leaving the Greek trailing the play, as Pedro Neto found Doherty, who slotted the ball past Foster.
Not that Janmaat had his best game, but at this point, I would rather see Janmaat on the left side of the defense and Kiko Femenia on the right side.
Hell, at this point I would take Adam Masina in the starting XI.
There must be some combination that will slow down the opposing teams, as the Hornets have given up a league worst, 20 goals on the season.
Okay, I’m done beating a dead horse.
As mentioned in the intro, I might have a lot of free time come December, as I expect the Golden Boys to be relegated by that point of the season.
Bring on the Championship League!
BEER REVIEW – NORTHERN MONK (05:04)
My intake of liquid gold has tailed off the past few weeks.
I even gave away a box of about 30 beers and damned if my mini fridge is still full!
One group of cans I did not give away are those that were gifted to me from the FPL Beer Club or others who shipped me beer.
I am a bit backlogged on getting reviews out.
Today it’s time to travel back over The Pond to Holbeck, Leeds in the UK and Northern Monk Brew Company.
They are an independent brewery, inspired by the surroundings and history of monastic brewing practiced across the region for thousands of years.
They commit to creating the highest quality beers, combining the best of traditional monastic brewing with a progressive approach to ingredients and techniques.
Community and collaboration are at the core of their business, as they focus on working with anyone who shares their passion and values.
Today in the North they carry a torch for all that beer was and all that beer can be. On a quest to create the best beer possible, giving back where they can.
Today’s beer review, Faith, a modern pale ale that comes in at 5.4% ABV and just 30 IBU.
So let’s pop the top on this 16 ounce can.
Faith pours a bright and hazy amber color with a big, egg shell colored rocky capped head with providing some excellent lacing retention
The smell…incredibly fruity with citrus zest, including pineapple, tangerine, orange and some mango. Just a hint of wet grass or hay.
Let’s see how it goes down…it’s got a mild hop bite with hints of grapefruit and orange peel, some tropical fruit and an earthy grass with a light malt character.
Another nice beer from the lads in the FPL Beer Club.
Now with our beer poured, let’s get into the FPL discussion.
FLASH FORWARDS (06:57)
At the time of GW4, it appeared to be where the smart money was going, up front with a 3-man forward line.
Since that game week, I’ve sent out a 3-4-3 formation, running out three moderately prices forwards.
I jumped on Pukki ahead of GW3 when I wild carded, to date he’s returned 29 points, an average of 5.8 PPG.
Out of the first international break I looked past the premium forwards and decided on Sebastien Haller and Tammy Abraham.
Haller has been nothing short of a bust, just 9 points over 3 games, but his underlying numbers have been strong, but watching the Hammers, he’s not getting much service without Manuel Lanzini on the pitch, who didn’t feature in GW6 and saw just 23 minutes last week.
Abraham hit for a hat trick out of the break, in GW5 boosting his season total to 7, leading the league at the time.
Since then, two games without attacking returns.
Where do we look for reliable forwards?
Staying on Abraham, the run Chelsea have, I feel he needs to be considered.
He was the most transferred in player last week and indications are he could near the top again, ahead of GW8.
Over the last few weeks, he’s second in total attempts with 8, with 7 coming from inside the box, while he’s had 4 big chances taken.
He’s only got 10 penalty touches in those 2 games, which is less than expected when you see players like Maupay, Calvert-Lewin and Ings ahead of him.
He’s still the dominate force in the middle for Chelsea and their run is one of the best through GW12.
If you can, invest 7.6 million in Abraham.
Teemu Pukki on the other hand, we’re starting to see a trend.
He can score at Carrow Road, but not away from it, the first game Anfield, the lone exception.
Pukki, much like Raul Ji-menez last season is still a great bargain buy, even at 7.2.
Three of his next 5 games are at home against Villa, United and Watford with away trips to Bournemouth and Brighton.
He’s still in the top 4 for penalty touches, goal, total attempts, attempts inside the box and big chances taken.
You could live dangerously and play him only at home, if you have a player to rotate with.
Until he proves himself away from Carrow Road on a more regular basis, it could be love hate relationship with him.
Over 525k managers moved away from Callum Wilson between GW2 and GW5.
Over that period Wilson score 28 points (avg 4.0).
Since the start of the season, he’s played like KDB with a consistency that has been unmatched at the position.
Currently on 46 points with attacking returns in EVERY game, picking up 5 goals in the last 4 games to go along with 3 assists.
Still owned by only 11.7% of FPL managers, it makes me wonder what it will take before we see Wilson moved in for one of the higher own forwards currently.
I still feel is a great buy at 7.9 and a good run for the Cherries through GW16.
The next 3 games: ars/NOR/wat, none of which known for a solid defense.
It’s time to throw back some beer and get into a little bit of beer news.
BEER NEWS – BARLEY FORGE BREWIN COMPANY (10:11)
First, I need to thank Marco at The Art of the Dive.
I meant to do this on last week’s show and it never made it into the show notes.
I’ve sent Marco a few beer care packages, one last year or maybe earlier this season, I can’t remember but it was all Tree House.
Then a few weeks ago I hit him with a second care package.
Because it’s what I do and it makes me feel good that people in the FPL community are getting good, craft beer.
He ended up returning the package, as I got an Art of the Dive t-shirt and 4 cans, two from Untitled Arts, another from Sketch book and finally The Brewing Projekt.
Looking forward to knocking these back, but I am a bit backlogged with beer.
That and I still own Tommo, FPL_Blade a box, just been too lazy to get it back, but rest assured it coming Tommo, maybe not as quick as that first win for Watford, but it’s coming.
I read some disappointing news last week that after 5 years in Costa Mesa, California.
That’s about midway between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Barley Forge Brewing is preparing to close by the end of October.
For those outside the region, this probably doesn’t mean much, as I am guessing their distribution isn’t wide spread, but their beer has been excellent!
The brewery opened in 2014 but due to rising lease factors and a significant increase in rent, the brewery isn’t in agreement with the landlord.
Another factor is the fact the area in which Barley Forge is situated is in transition, once an industrial use area has been transformed into a retail hub.
However, information from behind the scenes tell me there is more to the closing that just lease issues.
There was an employee walk out a few months back, as rumors of treating their employees badly.
While Kevin Buckley is a solid brewer Barley Forge never really experimented before their initial launch of beers.
The best being The Patsy, released back in 2014.
This is a Coconut Rye Stout that is easily my go to stout.
So sad days in the near future for a great stout, I really enjoy.
I will be on the look out for a new go to stout.
Let’s look at some of the numbers of the top 1000 managers.
TOP 1000 MANAGERS (12:34)
Someone please tell me why the hell is Diego Rico owned 26.5% of managers in the top 1k?
Since when has Bournemouth ever considered a team, we would buy into for clean sheet potential?
Oh wait, I forgot. That’s right, he picked up 2 assists in his last 2 games ahead of West Ham.
Even at 4.1 million, not sure he would be a glimmer in my eye, if he was, it was purely for bench fodder.
Rico is now more highly owned by the top 1k than Virgil van Dijk.
Something screwing in the top 1k. So, let’s look past this defensive powerhouse and onto the midfield.
No surprises that KDB continues be very highly owned, now 88% in the top 1k and 42.3% over FPL.
He continues to be one of the best, most consistent players this season.
Mo Salah still carries a big threat with his dynamic play, as he came into the weekend owned by 67.4% of the top 1000.
Against Sheffield United, it was his second no return of the season, as he was captained by 24.1 of the top 1k and 20.1% across FPL.
Aguero was a close second for both groups, but 17.9% of the top 1k captained Abraham, where all of FPL was Sterling for the third captain.
Mount saw 335k new managers last week, owned by 48% in the top 1k and 28% over FPL.
The consensus forward line feature Aguero, Abraham and Pukki, all very heavily owned in the top 1k, as Pukki still has ownership over 72%!
71.6% of the top 1k started in a 3-4-3 formation compared to 39.3% across FPL as 33.1% are on a 4-4-2.
Enough numbers, they are starting to hurt my head, thank God, I don’t go into xA and xG.
Let’s turn our attention to some midfield madness
MIDFIELD MADNESS (14:26)
Midfielders I feel are more set than the forwards, as we’ve seen KDB, Salah, Mount and Cantwell settling into MANY midfields across FPL.
Salah still expensive, but worth it in my opinion, as the Egyptian continues to tick on, owned by 42.5% across FPL, just 0.2% higher than ownership in KDB.
Speaking of consistency, he’s another who’s already increased by 0.5 over the season, leading all players with 63 points this season.
However, look at City, can you really go wrong with any City midfielder?
Sterling, 46 points, Mahrez, 45 points, David Silva, 37 points and Bernardo Silva, 34 points.
I suspect Sadio Mane is overdue, as he’s not returned the last two weeks, but it’s hard to justify his 11.6 price tag on the back of two blanks.
I am not playing the Salah Mane game this year, feeling there is more value to be had in the City attack, as I am doubled up on KDB and Sterling and that’s where I plan on staying.
As I’ve stated in the past, City will lead the league again in scoring and wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit for 100 goals this season.
I wonder if Mahrez has finally found a spot in this City offense, 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 2 games, both in which he’s played 90 minutes.
Yet, we still can’t trust Pep and that rotation, which no one seem exempt from, not even the heavy hitter: Aguero, Sterling and KDB.
Buy with risk and a playable bench if you look at them.
As for those lesser priced options, I am all in on Andriy Yarmolenko, 6 million, has 3 goals in his last 4 games and it looks like his form last season before he went down with injury.
The Hammers have a nice run through GW12 and Palace headed into the break, he could be a nice differential, owned by 3% to the likes of Mount (28%) or McGinn (8.2%).
Heung-min Son has seen 440k new managers over the last few weeks as the South Korean has returned points in his last 4 games.
That’s similar to Kane, but at a 1.5 million savings.
It might time to look at Emiliano Buendia, Norwich have the next 3 out of 5 games at home, away fixtures at Bournemouth and Brighton.
Buendia has 4 assists on the season, owned by just 2%.
Finally, a few thoughts on the dismal defenders we’ve seen since the start of the season.
DISMAL DEFENDERS (16:36)
Three teams have 3 clean sheets, Palace, City and West Ham.
Ask me now players I want from those teams, City comes out on top, probably every time.
Palace we’ve seen in the past post good numbers, 12 last season.
West Ham conceded twice last week, breaking their string of 3 CS in a row.
Now Fabianski is injured and in steps Roberto Jimenez Gago.
What do you make of their defenders?
They have a good run, CRY/eve/SHU/NEW/bur through GW12.
The ONLY player I would look at Aaron Cresswell.
He’s look in from back to 2014 and 2015, years in which he scored 129 and 133 points and he’s coming off back to back goals.
A bit pricey at 4.9, but for those managers after attacking defenders, he should be mentioned with the likes of Pereira, PvA, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Doherty.
He’s started just 3 games, the first of the season and the last 2, but that could have been due to the red card to Arthur Masuaku.
Still I feel he warrants some consideration, possibly a watch list.
City is frustrating. I started with Stone and Zinchenko in GW1, dropped Stones due to injury and now we’ve seen Ben Mendy come back into the starting XI, starting against Watford a few weeks ago.
He picked up just 45 minutes, as Pep is slowly working him back into the starting XI, but how concerned do FPL owners need to be about Zinchenko?
I can only surmise his days are numbered, which dulls his luster somewhat.
We know City can go on these CS runs, saw it last year when I moved off Laporte and Ederson and they picked up 6, 7, 8 CS in a row.
The next 4 games, on paper are good for City, 3 at the Eithad: WOL/cry/AVL/SOU.
Niclas Otamendi seems to be the consensus favorite, now own by 7.2% across FPL and 23.2% in the top 1k.
He’s prone to yellow cards, as I mentioned last week, and he picked up his second at Everton.
He’s the third highest defender owned behind Walker (17.2) and Zinchenko (9.4%), priced at 5.5.
For those on Liverpool, they finally reaped the rewards as they picked up their second CS on the season.
I had van Dijk and Gomez to start the season but moved off both when I wild carded ahead of GW3.
It was ahead of GW7 that I bought back into Liverpool with TAA, he’s the only one I will be on for the near future.
Just not sold on the defense at this point without Alisson, but do like Liverpool starting in GW11 at Villa through GW21, one of the strongest runs of the season.
Eyes are not on Ricardo Pereira at 6.1, much like Cresswell picked up his second goal in 2 weeks and a clean sheet.
After Pool, I do like Leicester, in fact I decided on Soyuncu over Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori last week. Both defenders picked up a CS.
And speaking of good runs, Chelsea started off with a CS, their first on the season and a great run through the next international break after GW12.
Still looking at adding Tomori to my starting XI and I feel Chelsea have 3-4 CS in them over the next 5 weeks.
Just some thoughts on players for the next blocks of game, nothing revolutionary but some I will be considering for my starting XI.
TEAM REVIEW (10:10)
Ahead of the game week, things look promising on paper, but don’t they always?
As I wrote in my starting XI article on Friday, I expected 75-85 points, figured my forwards would each have strong games and I would pick up a minimum of 3 clean sheets.
As luck would have it, none of that happened and my starting XI struggled but not as badly as thought they would.
It was another weekend, where I did not catch any of the early games, as I was busy teaching, probably a blessing in disguise, as I saw Watford loss and many players failing across the board.
Ahead of the game week I had placed the captain’s armband on KDB but moved it to Salah on Friday and then late Friday night, I dropped it on Tammy Abraham.
Should have left it where it was, as Abraham failed for the second week in a row, after that amazing 3-game run which bagged him a league leading 7 goals.
Teemu Pukki? Has anyone see the flying Finn? He too has gone missing, but that usually any game the Canaries play away from Carrow Road.
These were two of the most wanted forwards in the game recently, as Abraham was the most transferred in ahead of GW7.
Chelsea has an excellent run and as it stands, I have no intentions of moving off him.
Haller might have saved himself in my front 3 with an assist last week, his first return in the last 3 weeks but I am still not high on him and given another rise this week in my TV, I might reallocate funds or look in the direction of Callum Wilson.
The defense saw an improvement this week as I added TAA and Soyuncu, who made an impact, picking up 12 points on the weekend.
City, as they have been prone to do all season conceded a single goal in their 3-1 win at Goodison Park. Zinchenko’s time is running out, as I will look to move off City defense.
I had tabbed Nick Pope for a clean sheet against a weak Villa team, unfortunately my prognostication was off and the game ended 2-2, Pope another no return.
Not sure I want to shake up my midfield 4 with KDB, Sterling, Salah and Mount, guess you could toss in Cantwell when he plays, but the last few weeks it’s been a 3-4-3 and he’s been relegated to the bench.
All those managers who sold off Sterling were dinged, as he picked up a goal and 7 points on the day.
However, KDB did him two points better finishing on 9 with 2 assists and a bonus point.
No reason to move off any City attacking assets at this point, still the best offensive team in the premier league.
Mason Mount, much like KDB has been a great pick up. While I started with De Bruyen, Mount was added during the wild card ahead of GW3.
Mount picked up an assist and clean sheet last weekend against Brighton for 6 points, as he continues to play very well for Frank Lampard’s Blues.
For the week it was a disappointing 51 points, which is equal to the game week average.
That resulted in a second consecutive red arrow that pushed me on the wrong side of 1 million for the first time since GW2.
That said, my team is still playing very consistent, averaging 56.3 PPG, but I am sliding slowing off that 60 PPG pace.
Based on the 394 points I have, I am only 34 points off the top 150k.
Josh and Brandon asked last week, where do you want to be after GW10, set a goal now.
For me, it’s not about OR, it’s about weekly average.
I want to boost my PPG from 56.3 to 60.0, that’s a change of 3.7 PPG.
And the biggest factor that has contributed to a poor start not hitting my captains.
To date, I’ve scored 62 points from 7 captains with returns of 6, 2, 4 and 4 over the last 4 weeks, that’s an average of 8.9 PPG.
That’s just 15.7% of my total points.
If I could have averaged just 10 points from my captains, I would have another 15 points, which would put me around 500k.
Still small margins separate MANY managers and it could take just one week to change my standing.
Still waiting for that good week with a strong weekly score on the back of a successful captain.
Looking ahead to GW8, I am going to make every attempt to roll the FT in order to come out of the break with 2 FTs.
KDB is flagged, but I have Cantwell and Lundstram on the bench.
Most likely, it will be Lundstram at Vicarage Road against a poor Watford club, who’ve conceded 8 goals at home in 3 games.
That said, Cantwell is home against Villa, where they have scored 8 goals over 3 games.
Both seem like excellent starts this week, depending on what direction I go with KDB.
Captain the premium! That means I give Salah strong consideration at home against Leicester or tempt faith and back Pukki at Carrow Road against Villa.
That’s it for Episode 51, thanks for listening.
Again, thank you so much for all the support lobbied my way for the pod, it’s appreciated.
Not the biggest or the best, but really enjoy the time I bring my opinions and thoughts to the FPL community, as well as some excellent craft beer.
It’s time to pray to the God of Green Arrows, in hope I can stop the bleeding and turn my luck around.
As a reminder, join Casey, Gabe and myself, as we have a seat for you reserved at the FPL Roundtable, which was released Tuesday evening.
It’s news and notes and possible late changes ahead of the weekend games.
You can find us on Twitter @FPLroundtable.
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