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Season 3, Episode 58 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast recorded Sunday, August 23, Back in the Saddle.
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Hello and welcome to Episode 58 of the Pitch & Pint podcast, my name is Stephen and you can find me / @6thGoal on Twitter.
Honestly / I did not plan on returning with the Pitch & Pint Podcast / but as it happens, the show will continue in a similar vein with fantasy Premier League content as well as beer, brewery reviews and / the FPL Beer Club.
No doubt there will be some future changes to the flow of the show, but as much as I wanted to get out / I just cannot drop the show on the cutting room floor and walk away. Wish it were that easy.
As I have said in the past, this show is mine / the opinions are mine. I podcast because it provides me an outlet, much like Twitter, Instagram, and my website.
For me, its not about numbers or how big or popular the podcast is. / I consider myself a small fish in a very crowded pond that only gets more crowded each year because new FPL pods want to be heard.
Now that the 2020/21 Premier League season is just a few weeks away, the FPL game gone live. It is time to get some perspective as we look forward to the season
Now with business out of the way, / let us get started.
I am excited to be at the mic bringing another Pitch & Pint Podcast to the FPL community. Before I get into the real content of the show, let me introduce myself for those who have not listened before.
I am not new to online shout casting, as it was once call or “podding” as the cool kids call it today. / I produced my first show in 2001 called Radio Oz, as I took listeners back to the 1980s, playing tunes ahead of a Friday night show called Anything Goes, hosted by Blankz.
After taking a position on an amateur development team, I was involved with a Quake 3 mod called Urban Terror and over the next 7 years I provided public relations and community coverage through my weekly radio show, Urban Radio.
During those years I worked for a few online radio stations, covering eSports, such as TSN, / the Team Sportscast Network and Radio iTG or Inside the Game.
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I was the voice for eSports coverage in Europe on Clanbase for Urban Terror and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, as well as for many U.S. based leagues.
In 2005 I returned to the 80s with a show I wrote and produced called Just Push Play, / a 2-hour show dedicated to music, movies, television, and video games from the 1980s.
If you desire to hear any of these podcasts, visit the6thfloor.com, they are all listed under Online Shoutcasting.
So that is a bit of my backstory as I look forward to my 8th season playing in the FPL game.
My best finish came during the 2018/2019 season, scoring 2333 points and finishing in the top 31k.
I am a Watford supporter, but with the Hornets relegation after a piss poor 2019/2020 Premier League season that featured three managers, / all fired there will be no coverage from their play in the EFL Championship. I am excited at their prospects with new manager, Serbian, Vladimir Ivic who posted back to back championship seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier League.
In the past I’ve written articles for Fantasy Football Geek, 90 Minutes at A Time and Planet FPL, with hopefully some contribution to FPL Analysis starting this season.
As for expectations / I am planning to host a total of 40 shows, one for each week of the FPL season, time permitting, as well a preview show, which is what we are doing today and a review show when the season ends.
But, / enough about me and the show let us get into our first segmen.
FPL BEER CLUB (03:49)
The Pitch & Pint Podcast would not be what it is / without the FPL Beer Club and loads of craft beer. This group was formed on Twitter in January 2018, the hashtag, #fplbeerclub, started by FPL_Loon posting an image of his latest beer haul. The post was met with a rousing response / and the FPL Beer Club / was born.
While anyone can use the hashtag, as beer seems to accompany FPL perfectly / a group of FPL managers came together in a Twitter DM and started sharing thoughts on craft beer and the FPL game.
Since those humble beginnings, / the group has flourished and we have grown, / not only as individuals, sharing good times and bad as a group too. If it were not for this pandemic, we would have attempted to come together in Leeds already for a beer frenzy. For now, / that gathering is postponed to 2021.
While the members of the group are quite diverse, the commonalities we share have made us a tight knit bunch of cunts. / And I say that lovingly too. We have shared beers across the Atlantic, as most of the members are based in the UK, with a German and some, / like me from the United States.
While the Pitch & Pint Podcast is my show, / we are trying to transition to include these blokes on a weekly basis, eventually turning the podcast into the FPL Beer Club Show.
For now, details are still being worked out, but you can expect to hear some of these lads each week discussing craft beer, FPL and life.
Before we talk any FPL, / it is time to pour that first beer of the new season.
BEER REVIEW (05:24)
Going to start this show / and the new season off with a favorite brewery of mine that I have fallen out of favor with the past few months. But that happens from time to time. No idea what happened to their beer, / maybe nothing, but my palate was not getting the same great taste I expected from a number of their beers that ended up as a drain pours rather than in my belly.
This week though, I return to one of my favorite beers from Alvarado Street out of Monterey, California. / I experienced this beer on tap in October 2019 at The Hop Asylum, my local pub and bottle shop.
The beer, from their sour series is called Daiquiri Island: Banana, / a 5.5% kettle sour. Describe by Alvarado Street saying, “We’re obsessed with Daiquiris, and have been wanting to make a banana beer for years. So here it is! A frozen daiquiri-inspired kettle sour ale series brewed with lime and milk sugar to balance the acidity. / Add a few thousand pounds of banana puree to mix and you get a runt-like candy expression with soft tartness and the creamy texture of banana taffy. Unlike anything we’ve ever made!”
Just last week, I picked up a can of Daiquiri Island: Sunset Edition, which is more of your typical daiquiri, but this banana flavor is outstanding! And banana is not a flavor you typically associate with craft beer, as it is usually an off flavor known / as isoamyl acetate, the compound that smells and tastes / like bananas.
I was unfortunate to smell this ester in one of the first batches of home brew I bottled. While disappointing, I now understand why I got that off flavor and how to correct it. Since then, I have never had a home brew taste or smell like banana, unless I want it to.
Enough talking let us crack this 16-ounce can, time to pour this banana edition / of Daiquiri Island…
This beer pours a surprisingly clear and bright golden yellow, unlike what I’ve seen with this sour in the past.
The smell, / oh its loaded with sweet banana with just a slight hint of tartness.
How this kettle sour goes down / mmm, so damn good and refreshing. The milk sugar helps to balance this kettle sour, keeping the tartness in check. That said, it has a smooth demeanor over the palate with a big banana flavor and some sweetness to it, making this a favorite to drink.
Many compare this beer to drinking a glass of Banana Runts candy. However, this version of the sour has a vastly different look it than it did in 2019, / gone is the hazy and muted banana yellow, replaced by a clean and bright golden yellow. But the taste is still banging!
So, cheers to this beer and a great way to kick off this show. / Now let’s get into the show and discuss some fantasy Premier League
KEY METRIC – VAPM (08:21)
If you follow me on Twitter, I released a 6-part series called / Think Different. This was like a piece I wrote for Fantasy Football Geek a few years back, discussing the 5-at the back feasibility, / as I attempted to think different, in search of big results. There were small victories, but more defeats and after just a few weeks I moved off that strategy.
This season, like last, I am using two teams. / Yeah, fuck you FPL I have two teams. The second team is under my son’s name and email, but it is going to focus on a 5-man defense all season long. / As the season rolls on, I will touch on it each week to discuss the team and thoughts / as we move forward.
However, / this season I am backing one key metric over all the others. No, it is not xG, which does not stand for expected goals, but expected gulps, since I am in the FPL Beer Club.
To be honest, I do not support xG or xA, / but not here to defend or argue my position on those metrics. As I wrote in my article, / use whatever metrics / work for you.
I have been banging VAPM since 2018, finding this nugget of information on Reddit. Like any metric, take from it what YOU want, not what I say. It could be like xG and xA, two metrics I do not use. If this does not work for you, / then move on and find some metrics or statistics that do.
VAPM or value added per million is not my metric / I found it on Reddit ahead of the 2018/2019 Premier League season. The metric was interesting, as it provided a bit more than points per match or points per million and even points per 90 minutes. But like any metric it is not without its shortcomings.
That might not be a bad thing / especially if you use VAPM or any metric in conjunction with other statistics to help you prepare for a season or plan during the season when you look to transfers players.
So, what is VAPM? After calculating the points per match or PPM, by dividing total points by matches played you get a number.
In this example, let us use Liverpool’s Mo Salah. He has been mainstay in the Reds starting XI and usually near the top of the leaderboard in total points and as always, / a captain option.
In the asterisk season of 2019/2020, Salah played in 34 games or 2876 minutes. His total points on the season were 233, well off his previous season of 259 and 303. But were not looking at that / yet.
If we calculate Salah’s points per match, we come up with 6.85 or 233 points divided by 34 games. Using VAPM does diminish the substitute appearance, / instead of picking up 2 points, substituted players receive just one point. For our example, Salah started 33 of the 34 games he played.
Now that we have the points per match, we subtract 2 points, / which is equal to the appearance points for all players who are on the pitch for 60 minutes. That means Salah had a 4.85 points per match minus his appearance points. We take 4.85 and divide that by his season ending price, which was his starting price, / 12.5 million. The result is 0.388 or rounding up to 0.39 value added per million.
I can see you listening, / okay so what the fuck does that mean? Here is where it gets interesting. / Ahead of each season all FPL manager set their personal goals. How many managers want to finish in the top 10k?! It is probably a rhetorical question / because we read it all the time on Twitter.
Last few seasons 2500+ points have won the competition. But let us be realistic, if you can score between 2300-2400 points, you would be pushing that top 1% in the game. So, / for arguments sake let us use 2300 points as our goal ahead of the season.
Now / let us predict how many points our captains will score over 38 weeks. It is realistic to say 300 points, if not more. Let us subtract 300 from 2300, / we are left with 2000 points.
Now there are 38 weeks in the FPL season, but / we need to consider double and blank game weeks, as well as chip activation / so we use a control number of 40.
Now we divide 2000 by 40 and we are left with 50 points per week we need to score. / We are not done yet! Subtract 22 points (appearance points from out starting XI) from 50 and we have just 28 points. This 28 is an important number, as it represents the additional points our team needs to score.
Based on using as much budget as we can for our starting XI, we are left with between 17 and 18 million pounds with on our bench. This means our starters need to score 0.35 points per £1M invested.
You can refer to the 6-part article at 6thgoal.com to read all the details about using VAPM ahead of the season / to help build your 15-man squad. I won’t go any deeper on this today.
Time to continue thinking different as I discuss strategy as planning continues towards game week one.
BEER REVIEW (13:40)
Believe it or not, that kettle sour went down way too easy. So it is time to crack open our second craft beer of the show.
At this point in the show, I would usually review one of the breweries I frequent in the United States, / quite likely in California but I’ve been known to dabble in beer from Massachusetts, Maine and even New York. This segment will start with GW1, for now it is time to reach into the mini fridge / and pull another craft brew.
What a surprise! After polishing off this Alvarado Street beer, it’s time to head east to Tree House Brewing Company out of Charlton, Massachusetts. Next to California, this craft brewery releases some excellent beer lead by their flagship, Julius. However, / I can’t discount Haze or Green, all three make up a start studded lineup that gets better when you start tasting what they offer.
Today, / fresh in from a 48-can order comes a plethora of options from Julius, Hurricane and Force of Will to Juice Machine, Summer and On the Fly.
But today it’s Julius, / a beer I first discovered nearly two years ago to the day. On Untappd, I wrote, “World class! An outstanding IPA! Pours a murky orange juice color and a full head. Smell is tangerine, mango and very juicy with a mild malt and slight spicy finish.” This beer has yet to let me down anytime I pop the top.
Described as “Bursting with pungent American hops! Julius – our flagship American IPA – is a bright, juicy beer filled with flavors and aromas of mango, peach, passionfruit, and a mélange of citrus juice. A soft, pillowy mouthfeel and rounded bitterness ensure Julius will never tire the palate – a true joy to drink!”
Julius comes in at just 6.8% ABV, I would guess there is Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops used in brewing this beer to get that “hop saturated nirvana.”
So, let us pop the top on this 16-ounce can of Julius!
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This beer pours a thick, milk shake like, cloudy orange juice color, / forming a 1-finger, off-white creamy and rocky crown. The smell / is luscious citrus with creamy orange peel, mango and passion fruit with a hint of pine.
Let me see how it goes down / oh this always hits the spot, so juicy with a creamy, zesty orange and stone fruit flavor, / a medium mouthfeel and very little hop bitterness.
Second to none! when it comes to the NEIPA style, such a class beer! Now with my second beer poured, let me see if I can slur my way through a discuss of a 5-man defensive strategy I am using this season.
STRATEGY – 5-MAN DEFENSE (16:30)
As mentioned, / I am managing two teams this season. Yeah, fuck you FPL Towers. Obviously, I don’t plan on winning or making racist comments to be dethroned IF the stars aligned and I did win.
A few years back I used my son’s email address to enter a zombie team into WGTA’s zombie league. / Last year that same team was used to field a Liverpool defense and Manchester City offense. Both provided points at their positions, / but I really learned nothing from this exercise. Chalk it up to another failed attempt to make much of this second team.
This season though, the FPL Beer Mule team returns and my intention to go all 38 weeks with a 5-man defense. This formation was used less than 3% last season by FPL managers and probably for good reason.
This is a topic and strategy I am passionate about, starting 5 at the back a few years ago with treble So’ton defense. Talk about scary! Can it be successful being so infrequently used? I think it can, / so this season I will keep this strategy alive, showing patience with, what I hope are a set group of starters.
You can read about how I plan on setting up in part six of an article I titled Think Different – 5-Man Defense on 6thgoal.com. It’s quite a long read, / but it delves into my thought process as to the “buy big” at the back but / have patience with this core group of defenders over the course of the season.
As we saw last season any combination of the big three Liverpool defenders would have scored over 380+ points! Not bad to anchor your defense, / considering my defenders struggled to 457 points on the season as I had four Pool defenders included at some point in time but failed to buy into the defense wholeheartedly last season.
Can this strategy be successful? / Based on the numbers we saw from defenders last season, it could. / I think it would help to look back on last season for a moment. The defensive unit of TAA, Robertson, Doherty, Chilwell and Egan scored a combined 805 points, averaging 21.2 PPW or 4.23 per player each game. / Is it a reach to think these players couldn’t duplicate their total points from last season?
For Egan, it was Sheffield United’s first year back in the Premier League last year and to some degree I think they punched above their weight for much of the season. You can’t take away their success.
He averaged just 3.7 PPM, it is conceivable he could come close, but I think the Blades success at the back could depend on the play of Aaron Ramsdale / returning to Brammell Lane, as loanee, Dean Henderson moved back to Manchester United.
Ben Chilwell / currently flagged with an injury has been the subject of transfer rumors for weeks with a link to Chelsea. Regardless of which club he plays for, I think Chilwell could improve on his 114-point performance last season, which is 4 points short of his total in the 2018/19 season of 118 points. He did miss three games to injury last season.
Matt Doherty statistically improved in Wolves second consecutive season in the Premier League with 4 goals and 8 assists, as their defense posted 12 clean sheets, an improvement from their first year back with just eight. Interesting to note that Doherty posted better / statistics playing nearly 300 minutes less, possibly due to Europa League. I don’t see Wolves going backwards, so 150 points isn’t out of the question.
Priced at 7.5 and 7.0 million, TAA and Robbo will anchor this expensive defense, but their combined 391 points, doesn’t cause me to question their ability / or that of Liverpool to push for 18 to 20 clean sheets on the season. Together with Manchester City these top clubs have recorded 83 clean sheets the last three years combined with City having a slight advantage 55 compared to Liverpool’s 53. A difference of 1 CS average (18 vs 17) in favor of City.
Yet, / looking at City I just cannot back their defenders this season. Ederson was flop between the sticks last season and Kyle Walker was their top defender based on VAPM (0.34), scoring 114. His worst season since 2015/2016 while still at Spurs.
Let’s get back on track with the Liverpool lads by asking this question. / “Have we seen the best from TAA and Robbo yet?” A combined 27 assists between these lads last season following up a convincing 2018/2019 season combining for 25 assists. My opinion, / no we haven’t seen the best from these players as individual or as a defense yet. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they improve this season, as they start defense of their asterisk studded championship season.
Projecting somewhat / conservatively, 750 points for this group combined is close to a 4.0 PPM average over 38 weeks. Count me in!
We can’t talk defense without including the men between the posts, / our goalkeepers. This season, after walking away disappointed in the premium options last season of Ederson and Alisson, I have decided to go with the best budget option on paper. Mat Ryan, Brighton is the only 4.5 million goalkeeper who I project to finished with a 0.35 VAPM.
His 2019/2020 Premier League season saw him come up short of the value I am looking for as I prepare my team. The other option could be Alex McCarthy, who logged 2500 minutes last season, taking over from Angus Gunn. However, looking at the ownership numbers Ryan is owned by twice as many FPL managers than McCarthy. Regardless of the 4.5 option, David Button is the second keeper because of his 4.0 price.
The downside to a 5-man defense, / especially as I have it planned, investing 31.0 over five players knowing you want to splurge in the midfield to maximize point potential.
Currently, / plans have my starting the season with a 5-3-2 formation but that could roll to a 5-4-1, depending on how I build the midfield and what my bench looks like.
If I want to maximize the midfield, I could start with Salah, De Bruyne and Fernandes in the middle, / a combined 34 million leaving me two 4.5 midfielders who would be non-playing.
Another option / to give my squad some flexibility in the midfield would to pass on Salah, Mane and Aubameyang and budget 17.5 to 18.5 on the remaining three midfielders. Those decision could hinge on the players you want to spearhead your attack.
For now, / I’ve gone with Martial and Antonio, along with new boy, Patrick Bamford as the third. This means I could add Matt Ritchie, John Lundstram and a 7.0 million or less midfielder as my starting third. Currently / that player is Harvey Barnes, in 2000 minutes scored 133 points. While his VAPM is in the toilet at 0.24 VAPM, I feel Leicester are stronger going forward than a one-man Villa team guided by Jack Grealish, who finished on 149 points and a 0.31 VAPM. But, as I said, / I’ve got options between 7.0 and 6.0 million. It would not be out of the question to use a rotating third midfielder based on FDR.
The point of this exercise / to have fun with a team this season. One that I can set and not worry about my defense, leaving transfers available for the attacking players. One key that I’ve not been able to master is getting off to a banger of a start. Not uncommon to see me languishing about 800-900k to start the season, / already down and out, trying to play catch up because I didn’t start the season with strong players only to activate the first wild card by GW3.
We will track this team all season long to see how they compare to my other team and the other 8 million managers who will play the fantasy game.
What a busy show today! Had some great American craft beer and it feels great to be back behind the mic recording.
This might be the only preseason show I record. I am not going to sit her for 60 minutes talking through options at each position, their price or potential. I will leave that to the experts who know more than I do.
I do want to introduce the FPL Beer Club, so look for that pod in a few weeks, ahead of game week one, as we get together and talk on a few different topics.
I did, however, introduce two concepts I want to play by this season and you probably will not hear on any other pod. As the season rolls on I do plan on diving deeper into VAPM / discussing transfers and how to approach them using this key metric, as well as follow the 5-man defense, as I push my patience to the limit, not wanting to make any defensive moves. The exception being blank game weeks. Stay tuned for more information in future shows
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That’s it for Episode 58, thanks for listening.
I know I said I wouldn’t be back, but podcasting and FPL are like a car wreck I just can’t turn my head and look away. Like many of you I am preparing for an enjoyable FPL season of football and beer. Good luck on your season!
All episodes of the Pitch & Pint Podcast are available at 6thgoal.com. You can also find them on Soundcloud.
With all the other quality podcasts out there, hopefully you will continue to support the show.
If you like what you hear, / tell your friends, if you don’t, / tell me.
Follow me on Twitter @6thGoal / providing FPL opinions, as well as craft beer content, / posted using the hashtag 30SecondBeerReview.
For all my weekly FPL content head over to 6thgoal.com, as I always have something to say.
Thanks for listening! to The Pitch & Pint Podcast, FPL from inside the six.