This had drastic implications for the managers in the League of Gentlemen. Lord Geord was delighted, his prayers answered, with nineteen-point Harvey Barnes rising from the bench to replace the fit-again de Bruyne, sure to feature in the Wednesday night clash. All-Star Vogt, however, was devastated, his eight-point hit to load up on two-match players rendered a huge mistake. The remaining managers hovered between those two extremes, with Jockin’ Jeeves’ use of his Bench Boost giving him the week’s highest score, yet one that was tempered with the hint of his own FPL Nightmare.
Round Two of the Gentlemen’s Trophy got under way in Gameweek 29, with the first leg of the eight ties producing some tantalising prospects for next week. The top two in the division, The Butcher and King Ding, both stand on the precipice of defeat, though both remain within four points of success and remain the favourites to progress. Six of the eight matches ended the first leg with a difference of five points or less, with only Jockin’ Jeeves and Lord Geord having any sort of a cushion for the return tie. While Lord Geord’s massive forty-point lead over Slick Rick should be insurmountable, Jockin’ Jeeves’ thirteen point cushion is still a little precarious – indeed, without the use of his Bench Boost, the two-time League of Gentlemen winner would be behind in the tie, and he will be aware Lord Geord nearly threw away a fifteen-point lead in Round One.
The Round Two, First Leg results in full:
Jockin’ Jeeves 83 - 70 Private Parvesh
Ginger Ben 51 - 47 Big-Time Birkett
Tits-Up Thompson 47 - 44 The Butcher
King Ding 55 - 59 Iceman Newton
The Masterchef 45 - 46 Wooden Spoon Helling
Jie 48 - 46 Mikey P
Slick Rick 33 - 73 Lord Geord
Deadly Daz 46 - 41 All-Star Vogt
As we approach Gameweek Thirty, there is lots to think about for managers. De Bruyne’s injury remains a concern, with Aguero also picking up a knock. Leicester look back to their free-flowing best, with talisman Vardy back in the goals. Liverpool’s rock-solid defence looks shaky now Allison is out, while Newcastle’s cheap options look less appealing following Dubravka’s injury. Manchester United’s impressive run of form continues, with Bruno raising the standards of all around him, while Chelsea continue to prove effective, bringing to an end the good run of Everton with a thumping 4-0 victory. Spurs, meanwhile, look in complete disarray, with Mourinho seemingly entering his third-season meltdown after less than four months. With Blank Gameweek 31 on the horizon and the Coronavirus Cancellations having begun, the transfer market becomes even more complex, with those managers who retain their chips having a distinct advantage.
Exciting times in Fantasy Premier League, with Gameweek 29 throwing things right up in the air. Let’s take a look in more detail at this week’s winners and losers in the League of Gentlemen.
Overtaking them into thirteenth were Oxsmorons, despite the continued absence of The Ox in the dugout. They overcame their lack of a goalkeeper with an impressive defensive display, securing 29 points from four players. A further eighteen points from captain Salah ensured a 55-point total, though questions remain as to whether The Ox will ever return to management. If he does, he has a great opportunity to catch Flash, who is now just seven points ahead following a below-average gameweek. Lack of substitute options meant Cows Arse Shovel fielded just nine players this week, and transfer decisions meant this week was a true FPL Nightmare. The sales of Vardy and Willian for de Bruyne and Jesus backfired, with the Manchester City duo securing zero points, while the sold players scored twenty-four. Factoring in the four-point hit and that’s a massive twenty-eight point swing, plus the massive loss of squad value from the one-week sale of de Bruyne last week. While Henderson, Pereira, Ayew and captain Salah secured returns for Flash, it wasn’t enough to prevent Iceman Newton climbing above him into eleventh. A limitation of only having ten players proved little hindrance to Madelaine Milan, with Patricio and Van Dijk’s returns complementing the double-figure hauls of Lundstram, Mane and Vardy to end the week with 59 points, a green arrow and a four-point lead over King Ding heading into the second leg next week.
Moving two points ahead of him, following a stunning gameweek, was Lord Geord, who had a true dream weekend in FPL. On Saturday morning, torn as to who to start between Saint-Maximin and Harvey Barnes, the Lord prayed to the FPL Gods for guidance. As he undertook his mid-morning nap, he had a dream of Saint-Maximin slotting it into the bottom corner at the far post. He awoke just twenty minutes before the deadline. Is this a dream, he thought, or is this a vision? Is this divine intervention from the normally-bastardic FPL Gods? Having prayed for a sign, he felt obliged to answer the call, and promoted Saint-Maximin into his starting XI. He could not believe his eyes when, with the minutes ticking away, The Saint harried the defence, stole the ball and slotted it into the bottom corner at the far post. The dream was a vision, and Saint-Magicman’s goal was a reality. Even then, it threatened to turn into an FPL Nightmare, when Harvey Barnes secured nineteen points on Monday night. Awakening to the news of the Corona Cancellation and the realisation that Barnes would be promoted to his starting XI, the Lord understood that the FPL Gods had intervened again, rewarding him further for his faith. Further returns from Henderson, Stevens, Bruno and double-figures Mane gave the Lord a massive 73-point total, propelling him two places up the table and giving him a forty-point advantage over Slick Rick in the cup. It’s been a 680k overall ranking rise in the three weeks since the Lord used his Wildcard, and it could have been even better, had he started Boly and Lascelles over Alexander-Arnold and Gomez. Rather than ponder what might have been, this week Lord Geord is just grateful for the blessings he has received. His next task is overcoming the sixth-place Masterchef, who lies 28 points ahead. The triple-Sheffield United defence of Henderson, Lundstram and Baldock gave Hugh G. Rection XI a 25-point platform to build from, yet the only further return came from van Dijk, leaving the Masterchef with just 45 points this week. It’s been a marvellous debut season from the Masterchef, who outperformed all expectations by being right among the Title Contenders for large spells. The fear is that the form of Hugh G. Rection XI has plateaued, with 55 points being their best score for six gameweeks now. While still a very good debut season, if the Masterchef can work his transfer magic and help his team push on in the final weeks, it could go from very good to great. Only 29 points off the Title Contenders and just one point behind Wooden Spoon Helling in the Gentlemen’s Trophy, next week could prove the most pivotal in the Masterchef’s season.
Both teams will have to be at their very best to catch the Juggernauts, who are now 32 and 35 points ahead of fourth and fifth respectively. Jockin' Jeeves used his Bench Boost to gain that advantage, gambling that the fixtures were kinder for his players this week than they would be in the double-gameweeks to come. A massive 83 net points were secured through returns from Henderson, Doherty, Saiss, Salah and double-figure hauls from McCarthy and vice-captain Mane, promoted to the captaincy after the Corona Cancellation rendered de Bruyne absent. Yet, despite the highest score in the division, Jockin' Jeeves will be disappointed. Missing out on two games of de Bruyne meant the Bench Boost's power was limited, with only nineteen points scored off his bench. In a double-gameweek, four substitutes playing sixty minutes twice produces a score of sixteen points, meaning only a three-point benefit from the base score in a double-gameweek. Making it worse was the reactionary signing of Ismaila Sarr costing him 21 points, with the nineteen points of Harvey Barnes sold for a four point hit. Were that transfer not made, the Juggernauts would've become the first League of Gentlemen team to make the 100 club. As it is, they have to settle for a very good gameweek, a thirteen-point advantage in the cup, and the fear of what King Ding and The Butcher might produce with their Wildcards and Bench Boosts.
The King's week was much more tepid, returns from Webster, Bruno, Salah and double-figure hauls from McCarthy and Lundstram resulting in 55 points secured. The Corona Cancellation punished him in the sense that captain Aubameyang only played one fixture, though with the Butcher also captaining the Arsenal hitman, that damage was mitigated. De Bruyne's absence did result in six-point Webster rising from his bench, however, keeping him in the cup tie with the Iceman and helping close the gap on the Butcher. Before this gameweek, the King needed to make up an average of 7.2 points a week to retain his title; this week, he outscored his rival by eleven points, bringing the average points per week required down to 6.8. A few more weeks of this, and the Butcher will start to feel the King breathing down his neck. The King will need to exercise caution, however, with Jockin' Jeeves now only 34 points behind. Given King Ding's chip advantage, his focus will not be on his former nemesis; his energy will be fully concentrated on first beating Iceman Newton, then hauling back the Butcher. Given his title-winning experience, fans of the Ringers have every reason to believe in their King.
That concludes another thrilling week in the League of Gentlemen, one that saw some big-hitters left on the verge of elimination from the Gentlemen's Trophy, one that saw the Corona Cancellation cause utter chaos, and one that saw the FPL Gods blessing the Lord with a vision of the future. As we approach Gameweek 30, may all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.