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Season 2, Episode 55 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Tuesday November 05, Dead and Bloated
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Hello and welcome to Episode 55 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me @6thGoal on Twitter.
I’ve got to apologize to The Hop Asylum and the listeners, as I had hoped to make this a Periscope podcast, live today.
Unfortunately, there were a few events that didn’t work out as I anticipated, so I had to back out of that live stream this week.
As for the pod, maybe I shouldn’t even be recording a new pod this week, as the struggle is real.
Maybe not as bad as Stu Lord, who’s in a run of 9-straight red arrows, but it’s still not a place I thought I would be after 11 weeks into the Premier League season.
With my FPL team struggling, I figured I would be able to take some solace in Watford, but just 5 points on the season from a possible 33 points and looking up at 19 other Premier League teams, the season is feeling hopeless.
It’s a season that looks like it requires an unconventional approach.
Not sure if it’s taken me that long to figure it out or the “fear of missing out” continues to control my decision-making process.
I don’t feel ALL my decisions have been bad, but I talk about the law of fantasy football averages regularly and right now I am nowhere near average, which tells me the pendulum has got to ready to swing in the other direction.
Exactly when? Who knows?
Now with business out of the way, let’s get through this
I feel like Zaza, ahead of his calamity of a PK in Euro 2016, all run up…and run up…and up, then a huge miss.
I’ve mentioned on Twitter a few times; my FPL team is playing much like Watford.
Summed up in a single word.
I know it’s been said, countless time in the community, by one account, that maybe I selected the wrong players to start the season, especially if I activated a WC ahead of GW3.
While there could be some truth in that, I do feel it could fall into the category of strategy.
Last year after the GW3 WC, I recorded 6 green arrows through GW11 that saw my OR go from 970 to 163k, which would eventually top out at 81k by GW15.
Was the wild card successful? I feel it was and it justified activating it early in the season.
This season, that decision has not worked to my benefit as I’ve picked up 5 red arrows and dropped from 415k to 1.3 million.
The numbers don’t tell the entire story, as I’ve made 7 transfers and gained 50 points! Not too bad, just over a 7-point average.
Captain selections has been the major factor in this season, hitting just 3 out of 11.
Today’s topic, a quick review of my GW11 team, a look at where I intend on going in the short term and ahead of the festive period.
I’ll give my opinion on the dismal performance at Vicarage Road last weekend, as Watford lose again.
It’s still #QSFout in my opinion.
The big topic this week, are FPL managers putting too much on premium players?
Will review another beer selection from the UK, thanks to Paul Aitken, as the FPL Beer Mule FINALLY shipped his beer to the West Coast.
WATFORD REVIEW (03:11)
If asked what is on the Watford badge, could you answer correctly?
It’s a hart, spelled h-a-r-t, which is an adult male deer and short of Hertfordshire, home to Watford.
This is a Hornets team that is playing with h-e-a-r-t.
So maybe there is some rational behind the quest to find a new badge to represent the soon-to-be Championship Club, Watford.
Another week, another loss.
The results, unimpressive. The performance, uninspiring.
Based on how Quique Sanchez Flores continues to game plan, I don’t see Watford winning a game all season.
Now that might sound like an exaggeration, but watching 11 games now, there are no leaders on the pitch and the attack is dismal!
I don’t understand how we continue to set up in a 5-2-3 formation, force our wing back forwards, but are willing to suck up the opposition holding 60-70% of the possession.
I will fault Ben Foster on occasion, as he’s made a few mistakes this season that have led to goals, such as the goal Watford conceded 2 weeks ago against Spurs.
Against Chelsea, he was outstanding! His defense, not so.
Craig Dawson was left standing still by Tammy Abraham on the first goal, that left Foster in a 1-on-1 situation, which saw the Chelsea man, lob it over the Watford keeper for the first goal.
This didn’t get better in the second half, as Christian Pulisic was unmarked, between Christian Kabasele and Craig Dawson, on a sharp cross by Abraham in the 55th minutes to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead.
There is a HUGE difference between the losses we saw last season under Javi Gracia and those this year under Sanchez Flores.
“They’re completely different…But the most important in football right now is the character, the mood and the spirit.
It’s more important than the technique and the skills and everything and what I found four years ago is a squad full of confidence because they were just promoted, they felt completely happy, completely brave, no fears of anything so it was perfect.
Now we have probably a better squad, but they are full of fears, they are full of doubts, all these kind of things, so it’s completely different,” said Sanchez Flores
Last year, there was team unity, a comradery amongst the players. Troy Deeney, while outspoken and hated by some IS the leader of Watford.
His leadership and inspiration have been lacking, sidelined after the GW2, 1-0 loss at Goodison Park.
I have yet to see any other Watford players step up to role of captain, regardless of which players wears the armband.
I thought it might be Ben Foster, but his play and that of the defense in front of him have been suspect all season.
I thought Gerard Deulofeu might grow a set of cajones and take up the challenge, but he doesn’t appear that sort of player.
Unhappy when he doesn’t have the ball or isn’t on the pitch because the lack of confidence and poor shot selection in front of goal.
Stay with me, it’s really this bad.
Abdoulaye Doucoure SHOULD have been the player to nut up and knock some sense into his fellow teammates.
He’s taken on a bigger role this season at Watford, after signing his new contract.
He’s already admitted he wants to be more important on the pitch but said his performance had not been up to his standards, which has seen Watford go winless in 14 Premier League, dating back to last season.
He’s proven his importance to the team, picking up the Graham Taylor OBE Player of the Season for Watford in 2018.
He’s put together two very good season, exceeding 3000 minutes with 12 goals and 11 assists over those 2 seasons.
He’s the sort of player you can build a team around and his partnership with Etienne Capoue has been instrumental in Watford’s success.
This season has been unlike the last two, as witnessed by the 2-0 Chelsea loss.
An early goal and the Golden Boys are attempting to play from behind.
That QSF strategy of defending first has been beneficial, but it leaves the Hornets will short on attacking options going forward.
Too many times we see Roberto Pereyra or Deulofeu up top, but acting like players in the #10 role looking for that forward who will finish.
Not that Deeney has any 20 goals seasons left in him but he’s a big, bruising body that can get into the box, knock some fucking heads around and pick up goals.
No doubt Issac Success could do the same thing, yet to date they have combined for just 4 partial appearances and no goals.
When we look at confidence, Andre Gray has none, not sure why we continue to see Sanchez Flores starting him.
He’s a 30-minute super sub, but has no confidence in his game, which has become a detriment to the Hornets.
QSF started to use the physio’s list as an “excuse” for the Hornets performance, listing the mounting causalities as “really weird.”
As reported by Anthony Mattrews, “The Watford head coach reiterated his view that the current spate of injury problems may be related to the pressure the players are feeling after Craig Cathcart became the latest to suffer a fitness setback during the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.”
Sorry QSF, I call bullshit.
Either do your job or the Pozzo’s and Duxbury will find another replacement.
Think we can bring back Javi?
GW12, Watford travel to Carrow Road to take on a team who have conceded more than they have.
This is probably our BEST chance to pick up our first win of the season.
All this Watford talk makes me thirsty, time to check out our beer review of the week from Wander Beyond Brewing out of Manchester, UK.
BEER REVIEW – MOLLUSCA (08:29)
I am very thankful to be part of the FPL Beer Club.
Never did I think there would be lads in the UK or Ireland who would want to send me beer.
That’s why, no matter how shitty of an FPL season I am having, there are always bangers being poured by this club.
Thankfully the FPL Beer Mule, FINALLY got around to packing up a box of beer from Scotland, thanks to Paul Aitken (I Paul Am on Twitter).
Let’s just say it was a little delayed getting from the east coast to the west coast, once it hit the shores of the United States, but I won’t complain, as I will be drinking craft beer from outside the US, something that isn’t common, here in NoCal.
While the Cannonball from Magic Rock disappointed, sorry FPL Chef, I am going to knock it off to an old can from April, his next selection more than made up for it.
Today, it’s Mollusca from Wander Beyond Brewing out of Manchester, UK.
What is a mollusca? It’s one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, with at least 50,000 living speciees that include snails, which is what is on this 16 ounce can.
Sadly, there isn’t much I could find on the brewery, but I do understand, they don’t have a tap room, which means many of these offering are can drops at retail establishments or events.
Now, thanks to the FPL Beer Club, I have started to think of myself as a bit more of a stout aficionado, thanks to those who like it “big and black.”
Those are the main characteristics of MANY stouts, with a high ABV and a color that is jet black when you pour.
I’ve had some good stouts and this Wander Beyond offering is one of just two Imperial milk stouts I’ve had, the other, not surprisingly from Treehouse Brewing out of Charlton, Mass.
While the Mollusca falls just a few points short of where I rated Impermanence from Treehouse, the Wander Beyond offering is excellent.
So, let’s pop the top on this 16 ounce can.
Mollusca is an 11% Imperial Milk Stout that was brewed with 11 different malts and re-fermented on oranges.
Once finished, orange peel, cacao nibs and vanilla, for a sweet and chocolatey experience were added.
Mollusca pours thick and very dark brown with with finger’s worth of khaki tan head that lingers bit then dissipated leaving no lacing but a light tan ring around the glass.
The smell…it’s alive with orange peel up front, against the dark bittersweet chocolate, cacao nibs and a hint of vanilla, as described from the website.
Orange rind injects a bit of tang up front with a deep and complex dark chocolate from the cacao nibs with a bit of vanilla sweetness.
Thick and rich and very nice without a hint of alcohol burn.
This is what a stout is supposed to taste like and Wander Beyond has done a fantastic job.
No wonder the lads in the FPL Beer Club love this offering.
Now with our stout poured, I can’t drink it fast enough to get though this episode, as I look back on the weekend that was, or in my case, wasn’t.
GW11 REVIEW (11:29)
Am I the last FPL manager waiting for the season to begin?
As I said in the intro, I feel like fucking Watford, looking forward to the next game and the possibility of a win…or atleast a goal, but after 11 weeks I am left shaking my head.
As I mentioned on Twitter, my FPL team IS Watford.
Last week’s transfer of Soyuncu out for AWB didn’t pay off, as Leicester picked up a CS and this week didn’t get any better, as the Foxes centerback picked up a goal AND clean sheet.
Talk about a shit show, that’s my team.
I had my reasons for moving off Leicester defense and I honestly don’t believe in them as a quality defensive unit.
Maybe I will have to reconsider as they kick on a great run of games after Arsenal in GW12.
AWB was a disappointment, as was Ryan Fredericks, Nick Pope and even Alexander-Arnold to some degree.
Liverpool failed to pick up a CS, as it’s now 2 in 11 games, but TAA did return his 4th assist on the season.
But fuck me, is he really worth the price when this Reds team can’t keep a CS, especially to one of the worst teams in the Premier League?
Sorry Villa fan, your team isn’t good and could face relegation this season.
Last season that would have been a CS for Liverpool.
So 12 points from 4 defenders and my keeper, isn’t impressive at all, this after I moved away from premiums at the back, but it might be that doubling up on Liverpool for the upcoming festive period IS a big mistake.
Manchester United, fuck them, not sure why I thought it would be different when I bought in on their defense.
Maybe the FDR lied and I should have held steady with a Leicester defender and no worried about their lack at the back.
Then again, maybe all my FPL decisions have been shit this year, that’s how low I have sunk.
On paper, that’s like saying, “when I was a kid…” but on paper, where the game isn’t played my midfielder is as strong as many in the FPL community. KDB, Sterling, Salah and Mount but a piss poor and I can’t emphasis that enough, PISS POOR, 7 points.
To make matters worse, I fucking captain Sterling…again!
After all the failures, I still feel the need to fall back on a premium, in an attempt to get points.
The captain selection has been the downfall to my season after 11 weeks.
Up front, all three forwards FINALLY returned points, which was good because the midfield was terrible.
Haller, who won’t make it past this week picked up an assist, Jimenez, his second goal in 3 weeks and Abraham a goal and assist against a bad Watford team.
All totaled, 26 points from my forwards as a group, which was excellent.
The bad news, that cunt who was #1 on my bench, my perennial #1 bench player, John Lundstram with 21 fucking points.
It was a 50/50 decision, Fredericks home to a bad Newcastle team or Lundstram home to a sorta bad, sorta good, Burnley team.
Well, I chose poorly and lost 21 points, which would have been a big different in my final score, bumping me from a below average 45 to 10 points over the 53 point average for the week or 63 points and guaranteed green arrow.
That left me with a fat, fucking red arrow that now exceeds 1.3 million.
This, the worst rank of the season for me, much like winless Watford, maybe I am playing way too conservative, aiming for those 1-point draws and not taking some chances going forward.
Still, I am not as bad off as Stu Lord with 9 reds in a row, not that I will call that a silver lining, but things could be worse.
All is not lost, I still feel with some good decisions and planning I could make up some point over the festive period, but something will need to change starting next week.
I will talk about that a bit later in the transfers and captain selection for GW11.
Time to have some of this Wander Beyond Mollusca stout before we get into a little bit of the top 1k managers.
TOP 1000 MANAGERS (15:34)
This has been a group I have followed religiously the last few years in order to gain some understand as to how this group finds success.
To date, I haven’t had that success, not even a sniff of the top 10k, let alone the top 1k.
It’s not without trying, as I currently have 7 players owned by the top 1000 managers.
Now some FPL experts and I use that term very loosely, would say this is not the way to go about the game that I am copying others, not doing my own analysis and drawing my own conclusions.
This season I’ve registered two teams, my team, which is struggling at 1.3 million and one for my son, which started the season red on defense with treble Liverpool and blue in the midfield with Man City.
Interesting to note that Robertson and TAA were both included in the top 1k this week owned by 27.1% and 36.1% respectively.
After this GW11 fixture at Anfield against Man City, Liverpool have an excellent run through GW32, when they travel to Eithad!
However, just 2 CS in 11 games, can we trust this defense to score point for their defensive work?
I know, I know that’s not why we buy these two marauding defenders that have attempted 84 crosses in the last 4 weeks!
TAA with 61 alone, creating a league leading 17 chances for defenders, while Robertson hasn’t been as prolific, he’s still put in 23 crosses creating 6 chances.
Through all those crosses and chances, just 2 assists between these two that cost 14.2 million.
Not sure I can justify one or both in my defense, as the underlying stats are there, but the results are not.
No surprise that John Lundstram continues to garner a 68.2% of ownership in the top 1k.
I still haven’t bought into him as a starter. Maybe his 21-point performance will knock some sense into me this, as I continue to use him as my perennial first bench player.
That came back to bite me in the ass big this week, as his 21 was the difference between red and green this week.
I do feel Ben Chilwell was a bandwagon pick after his GW10 performance scoring a goal and picking up 2 assists.
That said, Leicester did keep their second CS in a row, which makes 3 for the season.
So, I feel justified their defense isn’t as good as we might make it out to be keeping a 10-man Southampton and low scoring (10 goals, second worst in the league) Palace team at bay.
Know for damn sure Arsenal will hit them for at least 3 goals this upcoming weekend.
All the midfield talk as recently surrounded Christian Pulisic’s hat trick and goal last week against Watford.
Then again EVERYONE scores against Watford.
I am not sold on the American and would continue to back Mason Mount, owned by 64.1%!
Mount is 0.4 cheaper and his numbers are good, if not better then the American, I also feel Mount has been more consistent, when it comes to playing time and performance on the pitch.
One game for Pulisic is skewing the results, one that I won’t buy into. Then again, I don’t buy Americans in the FPL game.
To partner with Mount in the top 1k team is Sterling and KDB, owned by 57.9% and 77.2%, yet both continue to frustrate.
I finally moved off Sterling ahead of GW12, sadly he was the reason I wild carded ahead of GW3, feeling the City midfielder was a necessity.
Sadly, I was wrong, and he wasn’t all he was cracked up to be with just 4 attacking returns between GW3 and GW11.
KDB will continue to hold a place for many managers, his performance to date has been excellent, even though his prices hasn’t shot quickly as some would have anticipated.
He’s third in the league with 74 total points, chasing Vardy (80) and Mane (76).
Up front, it’s interesting to see 16.5% of the top 1k still backing Pukki, but 28.1% across FPL continue to back this early season bandwagon.
It’s been 6 attacking failures since his 12-point performance that sunk Man City back in GW5.
Realistically, I could see the next 2 weeks as the final stand for Pukki, home to Watford and away to Everton.
No surprise to see Vardy as the most owned GW11 asset at 81.2%, now I had no intention of brining him in against Palace and one reason why.
He had just 2 attempts on goal and 5 penalty touches, not very telling stats and in all honestly a bit of a lucky goal.
Not to sound like a jealous non-owner but Palace played well to shut down that Leicester counter attack for much of the game.
I do feel he is a must own starting this week against a poor Arsenal team.
Finally, Tammy Abraham, a 72.4% ownership and he played very well against Watford with a goal and assist.
It’s Palace this weekend at Stamford Bridge, which could test that Palace defense a bit more than the Foxes did.
Looking at my starting XI and comparing it to the top 1k, I still like the look and feel of my team, but it’s just been a case of bad luck this season, the red arrows and the lack of returns.
Maybe it’s time to stop looking at typical strategy and start to consider a more unconventional approach.
WHEN THE USUAL, ISN’T WORKING (21:29)
Like many FPL managers, I read articles, discussed players, formations and strategies ahead of the season.
I wrote articles, posted podcasts and attempted to build a 15-man squad that would be competitive.
To date, I’ve failed on that front, as I wallow, like Watford on the wrong side of 1 million.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, alternating between red and green arrows on a weekly basis, with the drop being more pronounced than the rise, all season long.
The answer to this ongoing problem? I have no idea, but I’ve decided to move away from that conventional thought that I started with, desiring to hold my premiums.
The thought being, at some point during the season, all the down games with no returns would turn and we would see those attacking returns bump us up the OR.
That right there is the basis of the law of fantasy football averages, but after 11 weeks, I am not sure I can wait any longer, languishing in a position I don’t want to be in.
This is the first, of a few weeks, in which I will be moving out some of those highly owned or captain worthy players.
Raheem Sterling is now the first casualty since my GW3 wild card
That was a 3-week run that included a hat trick to open the season, followed by goals in the next two games, since GW3, just 2 goals.
Losing a major player, like Sterling allows me to diversify and spread that 12.1 million through my team.
During the festive period, I am looking to have a full 15-man squad to help sort out the rotation woes we will all fee.
It’s no surprise that I continue to eye Mo Salah very cautiously.
It was about this time last season, when I moved off Salah and he buried me over a 7-8 week run, so while hesitant, Salah combined with Sterling could allow to make moves based off the upcoming FDR for GW14-21, which represents the festive period.
I did buy back in on Anthony Martial, at 7.6, owned by just 6.5% he’s gained OGS’s confidence and is playing OOP as a lone forward.
He failed to return last week, but has a good run through GW`5, with just MCI to contend with in GW16.
He’s a confidence player, so will need to see the stats in the coming weeks to continue to hold him as a viable midfield option.
No surprise that FPL managers are jumping on the Leicester midfielders.
No surprise, the overpriced James Maddison has the highest ownership, 16.8% but Youri Tielemans has outplayed him this season to date (53 to 51), owned by 8.2% and priuce at 6.5, a 0.9 savings.
Ayoze Perez at 6.1 or Harvey Barnes at 5.9 are also excellent options.
Perez has been a bit quiet this season but did pick up that hat tick in GW10 to go with 2 assists on the season.
Barnes has been excitable down the left, much like we saw from him last season and has picked up 5 assists since GW7.
His price could make him a viable 5th midfielder, along the lines of a John McGinn (5.8) or Jack Grealish (5.9), depending on your formation.
Chelsea mids, which I touched on a bit earlier are interesting to watch, I do like the look of Willan (7.1), but can’t see going in on him or Pulisic (7.3) if already on Mount, at 6.9.
There was that mad rush to buy in on Hudson-Odoi after 3 assists in 3 games that culminated with FPL mangers jumping off a week later to the tune of a 36k drop in ownership.
Turn our attention to Crystal Palace, I do feel that Milivojevic and Zaha will turn around their seasons and could hit stride over this festive run.
Big risk, but as we saw last year, that could result in a big reward. Both are 6.7 and under 10% ownership.
Everton have been shit this year, I think we will all agree on that.
Toffee fan is FINALLY seeing the REAL Marco Silva, who doesn’t like change and doesn’t know shit about defense.
That said, I have warmed to Richarlison at 7.9 he’s on 46 points for the season with an ownership of 6.5%
Are the fixtures as bad as they appear? I don’t think so.
Liverpool in GW15 and MCI in GW21, but all the other games, could see goals, especially if Silva continues to play him OOP up front.
While I wasn’t a huge proponent of that, I think if he gets service, he will score in bunches, something we have seen the last few years from the Brazilian.
Premium forwards I am not going to concern myself with, Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane or Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
Spurs are a mess, Kane, 1 goal in his last 4 games at 10.8 and 55 points on the season.
Mixed fixtures for Spurs, but it will be interesting to see how they ride out this rough patch as they have dropped to 11th in the table and are winless in 4 games.
With all the competitions City are involved in, we know there will be rotation with Pep. Always has been and it won’t stop this season.
Aguero, 12.0 has 9 goals, which is solid, 68 points, third best forward but one goal in his last 5 games and just 14 minutes over 2 games against Palace and Villa.
As for Auba, it might depend on how Arsenal set up, if they continue to play 2 forwards, I like the price of Alexandre Lacazette at 9.3 to provide more for his price.
It’s a great run for the Gunners starting this week with Leicester away, followed by SOU/nor/BHA/whu.
Lacazette owned by just 1.7% compared to 26.5% of Aubameyang.
Vardy has seen a huge uptick in ownership, gaining over 1.1 million new managers since GW9.
At 9.4, I still don’t like how few attempts be gets, but you can’t argue with the see of green in Leicester FDR through GW17.
I mentioned Marital when talking midfielders, but not sold on Rashford and maybe I limit myself by not considering a player of his caliber.
He’s been pushed back out to the left, costs 8.5 and ownership that is twice that of Martial.
Two players that have caught my attention thanks to a few managers I talk to, Jordan Ayew and Lys Mousset.
Ayew and Palace hit a great run starting GW14 away to Burnley, if you need that third forward, who can start or come off the bench, I think the investment of 5.1 is viable.
Mousset as an option was a punt that Tommo, FPL_Blade took on his club, Sheffield United.
It has worked out for him the last 3 weeks, as he’s picked up 26 points, including 3 assists last weekend.
More realistically he is a third, as he’s only picked up limited minutes all season long but has made the most of those opportunities recently.
Finally, a few words on defenders, as the debate will continue to rage on premium or budget but to date, it’s been John Lundstram, who started the season at 4.0 leading the league with 68 points, outplaying the likes of the Liverpool duo, the City lads and Pereira.
Impressive to say the least.
Sadly, I still haven’t come to depend on him as a regular starter, but as FPL Blade said, you could potentially double up on their defense with Stevens, O’Connell, Baldock or Egan, the last 3 at the price of 4.5.
Managers continue to promote Diego Rico at 4.3 from Bournemouth with set piece duties, I still can’t buy into him but is a cheaper option.
As mentioned earlier, the Palace run might be too good to ignore, if you can’t back PvA due to his 5.6 price, Joel Ward at 4.6 is a great option.
Now only because I saw this discussed by FPL Partridge, he was considering Daryl Janmaat in a rotation.
Janmaat price at 4.3 had scored 9, 12 and 6 before Chelsea last week, that included an assist and 2 CS.
Watford have a viable 3-game run and Janmaat will start and could return, IF the Hornets have anyone who knows where the goal is.
TRANSFERS & CAPTAINS (29:44)
<queue Spanish Flea>
That’s it for Episode 55, thanks for listening.
The struggles are real, but thankfully there is good beer in order to drown our sorrows.
Honestly, now 11 weeks in, I have no expectations.
It might be a bit of damage control and risk taking as I head into the festive period.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Sterling post an attacking return, now that I dumped the chump.
Mo Salah watch out! You could be next.
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