It was utter chaos in the League of Gentlemen this weekend, with the blank gameweek causing carnage among the managers. Some took advantage to improve their lot, while others suffered the harshest of falls. Round One of the Gentlemen’s Trophy also reached a dramatic conclusion.
It had been long known that Gameweek 28 would be a blank gameweek, yet in the League of Gentlemen, some managers failed to prepare adequately, and were suitably punished. With the second leg of Round One of the Gentlemen’s Trophy also a factor, there was more at stake than ever before. The Gentlemen’s Trophy had promised to be the most dramatic competition of the season, and it delivered in stunning fashion.
Really had the most comfortable passage into Round Two, running out 102-69 winners over Cows Arse Shovel, while Micky Quinnaj edged out the Oxsmorons in an underwhelming tie, the final score being just 56-51. The return of Metal Marc to the managerial fray proved too little to overcome the challenge of PKG FC, who recorded a 64-48 win. So far, so mundane. The other two ties, however, provided unrivalled drama.
First, making his first managerial appearance since submitting his team a week late in Gameweek Two, Tits-Up Thompson returned to the competition, utilising the Free Hit chip to give the Rodallega Bombs the best opportunity of taking out the high-flying Hitman Hodgson. The maverick move paid off well, with his team taking a 51-42 advantage into the second leg. The Hitman was stunned. Having prayed to draw Tits-Up during the live draw, he now found himself on the verge of being Ronnie Radforded by someone who had only been lured back to management by the Gentlemen’s Trophy. Heading into the Second Leg, the Hitman’s hopes were raised when Tits-Up elected to go with the team he started the season with; he began the gameweek with the injured Kane as captain, no goalkeeper in his team and the out-of-favour Kepa as vice-captain, and with Vardy, Kante and Aguero absent. With a load of players in form, his opponent having no captain and missing all his stars and Liverpool having a comfortable game against Watford, the Hitman was confident of progressing. Oh, how that confidence was misplaced. First, van Aanholt secured eight points for Tits-Up. Then, on Sunday, Matic produced his first return of the season. The real killer, though, was Ismaila Sarr inspiring Watford to a sensational 3-0 victory over Liverpool. Not only did he consign the Hitman’s three Liverpool stars and captain to a combined seven points, he also rose of the Rodallega Bombs substitute’s bench to fire them into Round Two. The Hitman was stunned, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but the final score was cemented: Does It Mata 82-96 Rodallega Bombs.
That would’ve been enough drama for any competition, yet it wasn’t even the most drama in Round One of the Gentlemen’s Trophy. Having Wildcarded ahead of Leg One, Geord’s Lords took a fifteen-point advantage into Leg Two against the White Warriors. Taking a hit to replace the injured Martial with Fernandes, Lord Geord’s advantage reduced to eleven points. Heading into Sunday, the Lords’ advantage remained, with only a few players who could possibly make a difference. Both teams had Fernandes, both had a Wolves defender – the Lords, Boly; White Warriors, Doherty – the White Warriors had Calvert-Lewin and Williams, the Lords had Jimenez and an eleven point lead. The advantage swung further in the Lords favour when Williams was relegated to the bench, meaning it was a straight shootout: Boly and Jimenez vs Calvert-Lewin and Doherty.
Lord Geord was confident, but then, disaster struck! De Gea kicks the ball off Calvert-Lewin’s foot, it ricochets into the net, and the advantage is decimated. Lord Geord needed something, this was too close to comfort, and he got it when Calvert-Lewin received a booking, resulting in the loss of a point and a drop in the bonus points rankings. Alas, every silver lining has a cloud, and that came in the form of a Doherty goal! Six points secured, top of the bonus points rankings, not only had the advantage been eradicated, the White Warriors were in the lead. The Lord was beside himself, throwing himself at the mercy of the FPL Gods. Please, he prayed, please send me a saviour. Please help me get through this competition. Oh, how the FPL Gods laughed. A refreshing of the bonus points rankings saw Jota had overtaken Doherty following his goal, an extra point clawed back. But wait! What’s this? A Doherty assist! Lord Geord was devastated. What kind of sick joke is this, he thought. Lord Geord’s calculations had the White Warriors six points ahead, with the Lords needed a miracle. It looked like they got one, when Jimenez struck, giving them four points plus an extra bonus point. Still, it wasn’t enough, they needed something else. Then, it happened. Calvert-Lewin dropped from two bonus points to one! Geord’s Lords and White Warriors were level! Oh, the drama. A quick check on the potential tiebreaker revealed the Lords would advance on goals scored! Then, it happened. Calvert-Lewin scored again! Game over. Devastation. Heartbreak. Wait a minute … VAR overrules the goal! Full-time! Full-time at Spurs! A hundred for the Lords, a hundred for the Warriors! The Lords have done it on a tiebreaker!
An hour after the match, Lord Geord went to check his calculations. A quick refresh, check check check, made it through … hang on. What’s this? An hour after the game, sixty minutes after the full-time whistle, Calvert-Lewin had been upgraded from one bonus point to two. The White Warriors advance by a single point, a solitary point awarded arbitrarily after the match, for no obvious reason. How can this be the case, screamed Lord Geord? Is the official bonus points adjudicator an Everton fan with Calvert-Lewin as captain? He refreshed, he refreshed, he refreshed again, pleading for a miracle that would not come. The Lords, eliminated, by virtue of an inexplicable post-game decision. An hour later, one more refresh was applied, just in case. The situation was worse than Lord Geord feared: in his internal calculations, he’d omitted Fernandes’ score from the equation, as both he and Who Horner had him. The problem was, he’d factored Fernandes’ bonus points into his own score, but not that of Who Horner. The White Warriors actually finished with 104 points. As devastating as it was, Lord Geord found this easier to accept – at least he’d been beaten outright, not by some dodgy post-game bonus point situation. After a few hours of recovery, allowing his broken heart to mend, Lord Geord returned to the website to collate the first round results. Coming to his own match, he worked it out. White Warriors, one hundred and four. Geord’s Lords, one hundred … and four. Where on earth had the ‘and four’ come from, he thought? Then, he realised. In formulating the permutations in his head, he’d deducted his minus four from his original figure, and also from his final total! His prayers to the FPL Gods had been answered! Geord’s Lords qualify on goals scored!
The drama in the Gentlemen’s Trophy will only be ramped up as we enter Round Two, with every team still in the competition in action. Here is the Round Two draw, in full:
Jockin’ Jeeves vs Private Parvesh
Ginger Ben vs Big-Time Birkett
Tits-Up Thompson vs The Butcher, Big Steve
King Ding vs Iceman Newton
The Masterchef vs Wooden Spoon Helling
Jie vs Mikey P
Slick Rick vs Lord Geord
Deadly Daz vs All-Star Vogt
We can only imagine the drama that will play out over the next two gameweeks, as we whittle it down to the final eight. Amidst all the excitement, the League of Gentlemen itself continued, with some sensational happenings. Let’s look at the league itself, and how the Blank Gameweek Blowout affected each manager in the division.
The League of Gentlemen:
Absolute madness from Mikey P, who made six transfers for a minus-twenty, including signing the non-playing Aubameyang and de Bruyne, before captaining Ben Johnson, a West Ham defender who has played zero minutes all season. Predictably enough, it all went wrong, with his net score equal to that of Metal Marc above him. Only 33 points behind, the Suicide Squad can still avoid the Wooden Spoon, if only they can stop with the insane transfer policy. Tits-Up Thompson and Wooden Spoon Helling remain in 19th and 18th respectively, with Tits-Up’s focus fully on the Gentlemen’s Trophy, and his remarkable elimination of Hitman Hodgson thanks to nineteen-point Sarr. In 17th, joining the Also-Rans for the first time in months, is Jie. Despite having a full team available plus a sub, Micky Quinnaj failed to secure any returns whatsoever, consigning them to the basement section of the division. With all his chips used, Jie now faces the fight of his life to climb back into Lower Mid-Table.
Ginger Ben’s multi-month quest to escape the Also-Rans finally bore fruit, with returns from Pope, Taylor, Jimenez and Calvert-Lewin enough to dump Jie into the depths of the division. It caps a fine run of form for Cuthben87, who have used their GW 24 Wildcard to maximum effect. The possible problem for them is, having used their Free Hit this week, how they will negotiate Blank Gameweek 31, though it’s nothing that some clever transfer dealings can’t cover. Their next target is to make up the 24-point difference to fifteenth-place Oxsmorons, who are in absolute freefall. The Ox’s failure to manage his team this week left Oxsmorons with only eight players on the field, with only Jimenez securing a return for a disastrous score of twenty points – incredibly, not the lowest in the division. That result means they fall below the Tiptoppers, who used their Wildcard this week. Returns from Pope, Bergwijn and Calvert-Lewin gave Slick Rick a score of 36 points, the decision to leave Ward on the bench costing them a two-position rise in the table. It remains to be seen how their triple-Spurs midfield will impact their scores, with Spurs far from free-scoring with Kane and Son both absent.
Just one point ahead in thirteenth, the White Warriors were left devastated by their tiebreak defeat in the Gentlemen’s Trophy, but found consolation in a two-position rise in the table. Pope, Doherty, Hanley, Fernandes and Calvert-Lewin gave them a division-high score of 53 points, more than double the FPL average. Out of the cup, their focus now turns to league position and overtaking Iceman Newton, only one point ahead in twelfth. The Iceman has now failed to make a transfer in five gameweeks, sparking rumours he has walked out on Madelaine Milan. Tarkowski and Calvert-Lewin picked up returns, but the rest of the team struggled without their controversial manager, scoring just 27 points this gameweek after fielding only ten players. Still very much fighting to improve his position is Flash, thirteen points ahead in eleventh. Signing two Leicester players for a minus-four in the hope of capitalising on their game against Norwich, Flash was devastated to see them bring in just four points. While that resulted in a net four-point loss on the transfers, wider repercussions could arise from the decision to sell de Bruyne to fund those transfers. With the Manchester City maestro having two games next week, Cows Arse Shovel now face the prospect of bringing him straight back in, at the cost of a massive loss of funds. The question is whether they can afford to go without him, and the answer is surely no.
The Chasing Pack
Remaining in tenth are PKG FC, whose decision to make no transfers led to a true FPL Nightmare. Only seven players took the field and, with only Bergwijn getting a return, those players returned a division-low gameweek total of just eighteen points. Since Gameweek 22, the only sign of interest from Private Parvesh has been a Gameweek 26 Wildcard. If he doesn’t get his head back in the game, Flash will surely make up the three-point gap in short order. Consolidating in ninth, and with a comfortable 24-point gap now, are Geord’s Lords. Returns from Pope, Fernandes, Lascelles and Jimenez gave them a gameweek score of 42 points, which also was just enough to progress in the Gentlemen’s Trophy. Nineteen points off eighth spot, they will be hoping to close, if not overcome, that gap next time out.
Boom Xhakalaka are the present occupiers of eighth position, having extended their cushion by a single point. Returns from Foster, Lascelles, Aurier and Fernandes were enough to overcome taking the field with just nine players, and All-Star Vogt will feel like he’s played a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. He’ll be hoping the return of his big-hitters this week will be enough to make up the five-point gap to seventh place Really. Returns from Pope, Fernandes and Jimenez were all Big-Time Birkett needed to pull four points further away, while also closing the gap to sixth place by a single point. In order to haul back the Masterchef, however, Big-Time Birkett needs much more from his team. The Masterchef will use the 32-point cushion to focus his attention purely on those above him, as he seeks to return to the Title Contenders. Returns from Pope, Tarkowski, Calvert-Lewin and Jimenez were enough to keep him in the hunt, and he’ll see ending a gameweek twelve points off fifth as a success, especially when Hugh G. Rection could only field nine players.
The Title Contenders
Another FPL Nightmare for Hitman Hodgson who, despite a solid score of 44 points, exited the Gentlemen’s Trophy in the shock of the competition. Returns from Pope, Lascelles, Jimenez and Calvert-Lewin were not enough to overcome the sensational Sarr performance in the cup, but in the bigger picture, they were enough to close the gap to fourth position, the difference now being just fourteen points. The biggest FPL Nightmare of all, however, was suffered by the team that now occupies fourth place, The Juggernauts. Panic has well and truly set in for Jockin’ Jeeves, who made a bizarre four transfers just one week after using his Wildcard. Between them, those four signings secured just eleven points, through the absolute fluke goal of Calvert-Lewin. With Jimenez the only other player to secure a return, the Juggernauts ended the gameweek with a net score of a division-low eighteen points, a drop of 82.6k in the Overall Rankings and, most importantly, they were overtaken in the League of Gentlemen by the Dazzlers. It’s the second time this season Jockin’ Jeeves has followed a Wildcard with a red arrow, suggesting when there are too many choices, the big man struggles to get the decisions right.
Moving into third place, despite a transfer disaster of bringing Aubameyang in for a minus-four, then realising he didn’t have a game and immediately selling him for another minus-four, are the Dazzlers. Returns from Foster, Lascelles, Fernandes and Calvert-Lewin were enough to secure a net score of 41 points, the 23-point victory over Jockin’ Jeeves enough to move Deadly Daz two points ahead. It’s a fitting reward for Deadly Daz, who has risen from tenth at the start of December to third place and the top-300k. Many would suggest this is the highest they are likely to rise, given King Ding is 60 points ahead, but on gameweek scores that don’t include hits, Deadly Daz has outscored the King by 46 points over the last six gameweeks. With ten gameweeks to go, he’ll believe his first real season in the League of Gentlemen can end with a stunning second place. The King, however, will not relinquish his spot lightly. He has the advantage of a Free Hit and a Wildcard over Deadly Daz, though Jockin’ Jeeves has demonstrated that, sometimes, wholesale changes can lead to poor performances. Lascelles, Fernandes and Jimenez got the returns in a 40-point week, one that moved the King into the top-60k overall. Frustratingly, it wasn’t enough to make any gains on the Butcher, meaning the King now needs to make up an average of 7.2 points a week over the last ten weeks. Not impossible, but very difficult. Should the King pull it off, he’ll thoroughly deserve to be the League of Gentlemen’s first back-to-back champion.
The Man Who Would Be King
Still at the apex of the division is the Butcher, Big Steve. As the weeks go by, he feels more and more secure in his position, though he will know there can be massive swings in blank-and-double gameweek season. Returns from Pope, Jimenez and Calvert-Lewin were enough to maintain the 72-point gap at the top and, in a low-scoring week by FPL standards, his forty points saw him rise to 3,726 in the overall rankings. It could’ve been even better, had Kabasele and Taylor started over Alexander-Arnold and Snodgrass, which would have resulted in an extra 11 points and being just 16 points off the top-1,000. Nevertheless, his score was enough to secure an eleven-point victory over Deadly Daz in the February Manager of the Month race. With his Free Hit, Wildcard and Bench Boost intact, the question is just how far the Butcher can rise. Whatever happens from now, he has produced the most incredible season in League of Gentlemen history and, with being drawn against Tits-Up Thompson in the Gentlemen’s Trophy, he could even go on to secure a remarkable double. What a season. What a manager.
That concludes our round-up of Gameweek 28 in the League of Gentlemen, one that saw incredible drama in the Gentlemen’s Trophy, saw Ginger Ben move out of the Also-Rans, saw Deadly Daz displace Jockin’ Jeeves in third and saw Big Steve move one step closer to glory. With Manchester City and Arsenal playing twice, the March Manager of the Month competition starting and Round Two of the Gentlemen’s Trophy getting under way, Gameweek 29 promises to turn the heat up even further. May all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green and, as ever, may the FPL Gods be as in your favour as they were for me this week. Heaven-sent Jimenez, what a hero.
Gentlemen’s Trophy, Round One results:
Really 102 - 69 Cows Arse Shovel
Micky Quinnaj 56 – 51 Oxsmorons
Farcselona 48 - 64 PKG FC
Does It Mata 82 – 96 Rodallega Bombs
White Warriors 104 – 104 Geord’s Lords – Geord’s Lords win 8-6 on goals scored.
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