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Season 2, Episode 54 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Monday, October 28, Amazingly Average
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Hello and welcome to Episode 54 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
*sigh* What the hell is going on this season? Does anyone have this game or season sorted yet?
I sure the hell don’t, and my FPL team is rolling along, much below average like my Watford team is playing.
Another below average performance for the Hornets that seems to be the Quique Sanchez Flores way since he’s taken the reins.
An honest assessment, 28 games remaining, Watford on 5 points, the math doesn’t work out.
While the Premier League games were shit this weekend, yes even Leicester’s dismantling of Southampton, beer flowed with great regularity, so much so I earned the “Regular” badge on Untappd for visiting my local pub so often the last 4 days.
I guess I will toss some FPL opinions in today’s show as well.
Now with business out of the way, let’s get started.
Welcome to the show and the first live stream of the Pitch & Pint Podcast.
I am excited to be stream living from the Hop Asylum today, located in Brentwood California, about 5 miles from where I live.
This is my local pub, sadly I am unable to watch football, as I am 8 hours difference from the UK, so the lunch time kickoffs mean a 430am start for me and the late kickoffs are still 3 hours from the opening of the pub.
It doesn’t really matter, I find plenty of time to get to the Hop Asylum and drop a few pints.
Carlos and Mason are usually the bartenders, both great guys and knowledgeable when it comes to the craft scene.
Hell Saturday night, I got a lesson in craft, as I sampled 5 different beers including a farmhouse ale, saison, a collab impy stout, and a brut, my first.
This on top of my sour and pasty stout I ordered while there.
There are always 18 taps, with a moderate cold selection that run the gamut from saisons to sours to stouts and everything in between.
Just a great place to come, hang out, knock back a few pints and have fun.
We will get into what I am drinking shortly, but let’s head to Hertfordshire and Vicarage Road.
Not sure if I am more disappointed or frustrated with Watford.
After the season we experience last year, anticipated was high, and rightly so after finishing 11th on 50 points, both season bests.
The 6-0 thrashing in the FA Cup Final, I don’t feel was indicative to how our season really went.
I do believe Javi and the lads were so focused on the cup that our Premier League performance suffered, as witnessed by losing our last 3 games of the season.
Still, I wouldn’t give up an FA Cup final for anything, our first appearance since 1984, even though we suffered the biggest defeat ever.
We achieved greatness last year, in a year when we were to be relegated by some pundits at the start of the season.
However, maybe their punditry was a bit premature, as it seems Watford is emerging from behind the curtain, ala the great and powerful Oz.
Our performance this season hasn’t even been lackluster.
There have been flashes of brilliance and flair on the season, it’s been few and far between on a season that sees the Hornets on 5 points after 10 games.
No more can we fall back on the “it’s still early” in the season.
It’s not and if QSF doesn’t get his shit sorted, we can kiss our Premier League run goodbye.
GW10 was another failed attempt, which resulted in another 1-point performance against a Bournemouth team that should have taken all 3 points.
In hindsight, I feel the game was summed up with a clear chance by Abdoulaye Doucoure in the first minute that was miss hit and sent over Ramsdale’s goal.
Had that been last season, Doucoure would have buried that ball, much like he did last weekend on Janmaat’s cross.
Defensively, Watford have been much better, conceding just 3 goals over that period.
That’s Sanchez Flores, known for setting up defensively and boring football.
Now he can’t be responsible for the plethora of injuries we’ve seen in the midfield with Capoue, Cleverley and Sarr, while we continue to miss Success, Welbeck and the leadership of Deeney on the pitch.
That’s 8 injuries, well 7 as Holebas was suspended due to yellow card accumulation, we knew that was coming too.
But here’s a club that has scored as many goals as they have points. Just 5. 5!
Where the fuck are our goals going to come from?
Deulofeu and Pereyra aren’t true forwards and as the lads on the podcast, From The Rookery End said, they both were playing #10 roles with no one getting into the 6-yard box or on the end of crosses from Janmaat and Masina.
So, as I said a moment ago, the Doucoure miss was huge and summed up the game.
Sanchez Flores believes the Golden Boys are creating chances.
“At the moment we are creating, it’s okay. At the moment we stop creating attempts we should be worried.”
Watford had 7 shots on Saturday, compared to 15 from Bournemouth, yet Watford put just 3 shots on target.
Neither number is inherent of good creativity.
I continue to be frustrated with the possession number.
Against Bournemouth, we had just 40% possession, which is also a QSF trait, let the opposition continue to run at us, while we look for those counter-attack opportunities.
Again, with no real forward, I feel we are going to struggle with our offensive numbers.
After the games, Sanchez Flores said, “We are more mature defending but sometimes we are not making good decisions in the final third. That is part of the process but that is normal in this situation because the players don’t feel completely relaxed to take the decisions, but I want to think in a positive way, and we are creating a good base for the future.”
One buzzword we continue to hear, “confidence.” QSF has mentioned it, pundits, players. It’s no real surprise when you look at their swagger on the pitch that confidence is low.
Maybe comments from defender, Christian Kabasele are being made with a hint of cojones and leadership in the absence of Deeney.
“It’s] only ten games played so I think if somebody doesn’t believe, he can leave now. We believe in ourself, we believe in our quality and I’m sure we’ll turn this around,” said the Belgian.
The Hornets have no equaled their longest winless streak to start a campaign with Chelsea and Norwich City to come before heading into the third international break.
I will finish the Watford review with this.
This is a solid Watford team, we saw their play last year, confident, possession based.
Yeah, we had some good spells, but as has been customary of the Hornets, we had that nasty slide on the year that saw us struggle.
This doesn’t feel like that sort of struggle.
I still don’t see where we are going to get goals from.
It’s funny, you look at the numbers and Watford has more total attempts (127) than half of the Premier League teams.
They are 7th in goal attempts inside the box but shot accuracy (29.1%) and goal conversion (3.9%) are near and at the bottom of the league.
Going to be a very long if we continue to see games like we have the last 4 games, where we give away 60-70% of possession and can’t do anything to speak of in the attacking end.
This is why I follow Watford talk with a beer review, because it puts a smile on my face, and I can forget about the previous Watford game and get into something is exciting and tasty.
BEER REVIEW – ON TAP
Today, is a different beer review, as this pint was just poured for me, here at the Hop Asylum.
Its my local pub, I frequent as much as possible
It was another fucking shit show!
Okay, it contained a lot of shit, but I did come out of the weekend on 54 total points, a gameweek rank of 2.3 million and a small green of 6k.
6 fucking k! Now up to 867k.
I continue to spin my wheels and go NOWHERE!
That’s now 8 weeks at or below 810k, I know I am not the only whiny FPL manager when it comes to how my starting XI is performing.
54 points was my highest score in the last 5 weeks.
More important, this was my first captain return since GW4, scoring 22 points, as I put the armband on Raheem Sterling.
While it didn’t make a world of difference, without I would have seen red…again.
However, my transferred failed, as I moved Soyuncu for Wan-Bissaka, netted me a -5, as he picked up a CS in the 9-0 dismantling of So’ton.
However, the move for AWB is a long term move and I have more confidence in United keeping clean sheets over Leicester.
Defensively, the nightmare continues as John Lundstram, off the bench for Ryan Fredericks was my top scorer with all of 2 points. Pope, AWB and TAA combined for 3 points.
The midfield finally clicked, led by Sterling and his 22 points, Salah finish with 7 points and a flag for an ankle injury, KDB on 6 points and Mount with 5 points.
Up front, the move for Jimenez paid off last week, but the Wolves forward couldn’t pull the trigger and posted a no return, as did Seb Haller, who’s time is now up.
Tammy Abraham picked up an assist but his second attacking return in the last 3 games.
Now 10 weeks in and I am well off my goal of 60 PPG.
For the season I’ve scored just 527 points, now 83 points off where I was after 10 weeks last season.
Not sure I am going to draw any conclusions between this year and last, then again, I haven’t spent much time look at how my team played last season, as it won’t change a thing moving forward.
BEER NEWS – HOP ASYLUM (XXXXX)
As I said today is the first time, I’ve streamed the Pitch & Pint Podcast live and on location.
Not sure it will turn into a regular part of the show, but its been great fun and glad to know the owner and bartenders are down with it.
This is one of three craft beer establishments in my local area, as the former owner of this pub, previously called Imperiale, sold and decided to open the first craft beer brewery in Brentwood.
It’s slated to open next year.
Maybe I could be considered a regular, at least that is what Untappd rewarded me with.
The Regular badge last week, as I posted some 6 or 7 beers last Saturday, while sampling beers with Carlos, Mason and a guy I met named Sal.
As I might have mentioned earlier, the area I live in it’s that big, however we do have three craft beer establishments to frequent.
Hop Asylum is top on my list.
They might not have the extensive tap selection of that at Mannheim Social Club or bottle selection, it’s the smallness of the pub that makes it a frequent favorite.
The third place we have is Brentwood Craft and Cider, which is just down the road from the Social Club.
Never been there, but I haven’t been too impressed with their tap selection.
Now Mannheim is cool because their tap selection rotates 64 beers!
Many of the craft variety and a regular for Pliny or Blind Pig on tap. They also have a large bottle section, but I’ve not some, not so fresh.
All three local pubs tend to favor local area craft.
It was awesome during San Francisco Beer Week that Hop Asylum features Monkish, out of Torrance and Bissell Brothers out of Portland, Maine.
So regardless of where you live, support your local craft beer or craft beer pubs.
I know my mini-fridge has so much beer I had to start putting it in the refrigerator, but I won’t pass up a chance to hit the pub and take in a pint or two and talk craft.
Time to grab another beer before we look forward to the upcoming festive period.
Last week, I made mention I had started to plan out a festive strategy for GWs 14-21, where the fixtures will be fast and furious.
I am still looking at a handful teams, based off their FDR or fixture difficulty rating.
Last week didn’t really change my outlook on who or what teams.
I still feel the biggest surprise was the Leicester game, 9-0.
Good to know Southampton took away the biggest defeat in Premier League history from Watford.
Although I could see City dropping 10 goals on them, they’ve got 2 chances.
However, I don’t think Leicester is as good as that 9-0 score.
Their fixtures are excellent.
I still favor their attack more than defense and might not even consider a defender from the Foxes.
Pereira at 6.3 feels a bit expensive, even though he does get forward, won’t provide as many attacks as someone like Tielemans, but will get the odd CS.
Chilwell hits MANY managers watch lists after his 19-point performance on a goal and 2 assists.
Like Ricardo he does get forward and as we saw can provide some offensive pop.
Another week in the books and we now have 10 weeks of data to go on.
The list I put together last week is like what I’ll share this week, but I do start to look at some individual players.
Let’s start with Leicester, outstanding fixtures from GW11-17, ARS in GW12 and would consider holding past 17.
They do play MCI and LIV back to back in GW18 and 19.
Wolves are the next team that interest me, but they also hold a big question mark because of their Europa League games.
Their offensive stats are terrible, last in total attempts, second to last with attempts in the box, third from last with just 29 shots on target.
Through those stats, they have scored 13 goals, capitalizing on 10 big chances scored.
Defensive, they took a hit, as Wily Boly went down with a fractured ankle that will keep him sidelined.
He was an asset I was considering, but now would favor Matt Doherty to make a turn around.
6.0 million in price but offers the best chances at both ends.
Jonny, 5.4 and Saiss, 4.4 could be options, but just 1 CS on the season doesn’t give me much confidence in any of their defenders.
Up front, I had been planning getting Jimenez back into my team, he didn’t start the season well, no returns in the first two, but then I shipped him on my GW3 WC.
He returned the following two weeks.
Jimenez went back on my radar starting GW9 as Wolves have some very favorable fixtures.
Of course, he goes out and drops 2 assists against MCI and scored the following week.
Great fixtures through GW18, but his MCI and LIV in GW19 and 20.
The Salah flag has me concerned, as Klopp fucked with us a few weeks ago and Salah didn’t play.
The Reds host MCI in GW12, but honestly, their fixtures are good through March, when they get MCI in GW32.
Salah continues to lose managers, down over 700k the last 2 weeks, but you can play the Salah/Mane game all season.
I won’t, but then again, I am not considering Mane, even though his ownership has increased over 600k the last 2 weeks.
I feel his returns are too inconsistent, would rather have consistency in my team, but I do think you can run without either midfielder, based on the 10 weeks of data we have.
Defensively, Alisson returning to the starting XI only strengthen them at the back, which is what MANY managers are hoping for.
Last week, they did concede an early goal to Spurs, but realistically I could see doubling down on their defense through GW21.
It will be interesting to see who fills the void left by the injury to Matip.
Gomez, 5.2 or the world’s best defender in Lovren.
As we said ahead of the season, this could be a great route into the Liverpool defense.
Let me preface the Chelsea option by saying, I don’t support American players, so Pulisic is not an option for me, think its buyer beware if you roll the dice on him.
Now with that out of the way, I’ve already bought into the Blues when I activated my WC ahead of GW3.
Currently, like 44.4% of the top 1k, I am doubled up on Mason Mount, at 6.9 and Tammy Abraham, at 7.8.
Mount has returned in 6 of 10 this season and is the midfield maestro going forward.
Frank loves him and I think he will continue to get massive minutes.
Abraham has really surprised, hell 7 goals in the first 5 weeks turned the eyes of many FPL managers.
Since GW6, it’s been just 2 returns, as he has tailed off, but gotten a bit unlucky.
Starting GW7 many managers were quick to jump on CHO or Callum Hudson-Odoi after posting 3 assists in as many games.
Owned by just 3.7% across FPL, but a surprising 14.1% in the top 1k, he picked up just 18 minutes last week, playing in the shadow of that American.
Still feel he offers more than Pulisic at a better price.
Defensively, I was going to back a Blues defender, namely Fikayo Tomori, but since that worldly goal in GW5, I just haven’t been sold on their on how they look.
They’ve conceded goalss to Norwich, Sheffield United, Southampton and Burnley, not big offensive teams.
But would back them to get a CS this week at Vicarage Road.
Tomori, is priced right at 4.8 but feel Azpicueta is too expensive, Alsono at 6.3, probably won’t keep his starting spot when Emerson at 5.5 is healthy.
So Chelsea is hit and miss at the back.
Guess I was another manager who had a misconception about Newcastle.
They are just a point above the relegation zone but they, along with Palace and Leicester have conceded just 3 goals at home in 5 games.
That’s a goal better then City and 2 better than Liverpool.
Last week I mentioned Jetro Willems, but I head on the telecast last week, he’s just a placeholder until Matt Ritchie returns from an ankle injury that’s kept him out since GW4.
Now I would look at Jamaal Lascelles, just 4.4, damn near the cheapest option next to Kieran Clark at 4.3, who’s started the last 3 games.
However, you are safer going with the captain, in Lascelles, maybe in a rotation, giving him the starts, at home.
Not impressed with the offense, feel Almiron is way over rated, Saint-Maximin plays a bit greedy with a big ego.
I do like Joelinton, but he just can’t get much service as the lone forward.
Oh yeah and Andy Carroll is injured again. Defender or nothing from Newcastle.
Could Crystal Palace be a sleeper team starting GW14?
I think they could, as they have quietly gone about their business and sit 6th in the league table, with the 4th lowest goal total in the Premier League behind Watford, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Southampton.
Palace has posted 3 CS to date, all three at home.
They look a shade of their former self a few years back, when Scott Dann was scoring back in 2015/16.
Manadou Sakho would really take this defense to the next level, but there is no time table on his return. So where do we look?
Martin Kelly, 4.1 is the cheap option, if Sakho continues to rehab, I feel he is a viable option.
Joel Ward, 4.4 is a safer option, he’s played 900 minutes on the season with a single assist.
If you can afford him, then PvA is where to look. At 5.6, I feel he’s the best bet at Palace and at the price could reward his managers.
He’s posted 41 points, good for 7th among all defenders with 2 goals and 3 CS.
Surely with the favorable fixtures he’s going to pick up more attacking returns.
Jordan Ayew was mentioned to me by Gabe, FPL LENS on the last FPL Roundtable we hosted.
Priced at 5.1, he’s affordable, posted 4 returns in 9 games and has been getting 80-90 minutes a game.
He’s the best option going forward.
Okay, that really isn’t true. Wil Zaha and Milivojevic are, but both are priced at 6.7 and not performing like they did last season.
I think at some point their luck will improve, but at that price point there are better options. Both picked up just their second attack return on the season last week.
Dem Blades continue to put up some good performances, which has really surprised me.
Currently 8th in the league table Sheffield United have posted 4 clean sheets, just one off the league best, City with 5.
Many FPL managers took FPL_Blade’s opinion and bought in on John Lundstram, who started the season at 4.0 and is now 4.7!
He’s this year’s AWB without as much attacking potential, a goal and assist on the season.
Enda Stevens at 5.0 is more expensive with just 2 assists, but the Blades set up defensively and haven’t concede more then 2 goals in any match to date.
I do feel a double up is warranted against some of their opponents starting GW15, as they play home to NEW/nor/AVL/bha/WAT.
They also have budget options in Jack O’Connell, George Baldock and John Egan, both have played every minute of every game.
It’s a very settled defense, beyond this group not sure I put much thought into their attack, which has posted 9 goals, third worst in the league.
Lys Mousset, 4.9, over from Bouremouth has been the bright spot the last 2 weeks, but his minutes only total 197 on the season, missing the first 3 games.
Could be a third, in a 2-forward set, can only assume he will get more time if he continues to show his attacking prowess.
My final team I am watching, Aston Villa starting GW17.
Many are already away of John McGinn, who’s scored 3 goals and an assist on the season.
At 5.8 he’s owned by 11.4% and priced at 5.8.
Recent talk on Twitter has been in the direction of Jack Grealish, 5.9 on 43 points, like McGinn, but the midfielder picked up a calf injury, he’s currently being assessed and there is no return date.
Across 10 games, they are even from overall stats to key stats to their touch heatmap.
So, FPL managers, you still have time before he becomes a legit option in your starting XI.
Looking at the last 4 weeks, Grealish has dominated the stats, hopefully he returns fit and ready for this 5-week run.
Defensively the Villains don’t impress. Looking at the numbers Tyronne Mings at 4.6 is second in the league with a CBI of 103 behind Steve Cook.
He’s also near the top in BPS and base BPS, beyond those numbers, not too much to get excited for.
Just think there are better options at that price.
So those are teams and some players I am targeting between now and GW21.
As I said, I’ve already started planning for the festive period, which kicked off last week for me.
While the decision I made was wrong, moving Soyuncu out for Wan-Bissaka in, I do plan on holding the United assist for some time.
Speaking of Man United…I made this comment last week saying Anthony Martial would potentially be an option.
He was a hot property early in the season with 3 attacking returns to start the season but fell to injury.
He returned last week and OGS put him OOP as the lone forward, a role I feel he relishes in.
He picked up a goal in 74 minutes against Norwich City.
His priced has dropped back to what it opened the season at, 7.5, I think he’s the best priced attacking option for City.
United have a good stretch from GW11-14, away to bou/BHA/shu/AVL.
Then starting GW17 it’s home to EVE/wat/NEW/bur.
I’ll take my chances that AWB puts up some cleans during that time.
Hoping he can provide like he did last year for Palace at both ends, while he can be compared to the likes of Chilwell or Pereira at Leicester, who’s fixtures are also excellent.
There you have it!
My take moving forward, rest assured after GW11 there could be more played making their way into this list.
I didn’t include everyone and knowingly left out some key players for a variety of reasons, not because I forgot.
TRANSFERS & CAPTAINS (XXXXX)
As much as I didn’t want to make a transfer last week, I do feel I forced it, moving off Soyuncu a week too early and buying back in on a more expensive AWB.
Let’s just call it strategy…okay I won’t bullshit you, it was a bad decision.
That’s in the past looking ahead to GW11, I am planning on rolling my FT to set up buying in on double Leicester ahead of the visit from Arsenal.
A game that is usually known for goals.
While I will talk about it more next week, Raheem Sterling and Seb Haller will make way, which frees up budget for upcoming festive moves.
However, with nothing ITB there are no moves I can make until next week.
For a 6th week I will feature a 3-4-3 formation with Pope in goal.
A back three of Alexander-Arnold, Fredericks and Wan-Bissaka.
A midfield of Salah, Sterling, KDB and Mount.
Up front, Abraham, Jimenez and Haller
On the bench Lundstram, Cantwell and Kelly, in that order.
Now, against Burnley, a strong case could be made to start Lundstram at home.
But for who? Fredericks at home against Newcastle?
Maybe Haller, home to Newcastle?
I really can’t see dropping AWB away or TAA at Villa.
None of the midfielders are bench material, unless of course Pep gets that wild hair up his ass to bench Sterling or KDB again.
Salah, nope. Unless the ankle is a legitimate injury.
Captain, think is a consensus, that Sterling is probably the best option at home against Southampton, who just conceded 9 goals to So’ton
If any team to could score more against the Saints, that team would be City, agreed?
Mount could be a good differential at Watford, but QSF seems to have sorted out the defense in the last three games.
The VC goes to KDB, can’t see both being benched.
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That’s it for Episode 54, thanks for listening.
I do want to thank Hop Asylum for allowing me to live stream from their establishment.
Great beer. Great people. Rest assured I will try to do this again in the future.
It’s time to step up and get ready for another week in FPL that we hope will turn around our season.
It’s been since GW1 that I had a good solid return and how I would love to slide into the festive period on a string of green arrows.
All it takes is one week and maybe after that very average 54-point green last week I can build on it and not give away any more positions in the OR.
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Thanks for listening to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.