The League of Gentlemen finally resumed after a hundred-day break. In an unscriptable gameweek, four managers joined the Hundred Club, while the Gentlemen’s Trophy continued its unrivalled drama with some sensational second legs.
You wait so long for the game to resume. At some point, you convince yourself the season will be cancelled, that you have played your last gameweek. When the return of football is announced, without the fans in the stadiums, you believe it won’t be the same, that it’ll be like watching training matches, there’s no reason to care. You set up your team anyway, just out of habit, because everyone else is.
Then, FPL returns with the most dramatic week of the season, and you realise you were lying to yourself all along.
In the highest-scoring gameweek of the season, four managers broke into the Hundred Club, with King Ding finishing just six points off having the highest gameweek total in the entire world. If he’d gone with Ritchie instead of Bellerin, he would’ve been the first League of Gentlemen manager to ever break into the Hundred and Fifty Club, a feat achieved by few managers in the world ever. His still-stunning gameweek total slashes the gap to the Butcher, igniting a fire under the title race as we enter the business end of the season.
The Butcher was another entry to the Hundred Club, joined there by Hitman Hodgson and All Star Vogt, rising into the top 5,000 in the world in the process. The Hitman’s massive 120 points saw him leapfrog Jockin’ Jeeves into third position, and with three chips still to play, he is in a strong position to attack those above him, while furthering the distance to those behind him. For All Star Vogt, however, his Hundred Club entry led to the biggest FPL Nightmare of the restarted competition, and it’s all because of the greatest FPL competition in the land: The Gentlemen’s Trophy.
Entering his second leg four points behind Deadly Daz, he was boosted by the younger Lawes forgetting to authorise his Bench Boost, which had been his plan. This was not a mistake echoed by Vogt, who saw his bench players secure twenty points, giving him a seven-point advantage heading into the final match of the gameweek. His advantage was further pressed home when the Dazzler’s captain, de Bruyne, was benched, whereas Boom Xhakalaka’s leader, the Argie Assassin himself, Sergio Aguero, started the match. Despite his defender, Laporte, also being benched, there was no doubt the advantage lay with the superstar DJ, an advantage that was pressed home further when Aguero secured an assist, cancelling out Bernardo Silva’s assist for Deadly Daz by virtue of counting double for Vogt. As the match entered half-time, Vogt sat back in his chair, confident the job was done. When Aguero failed to make the second half, however, the doubt started rising in his mind, reaching critical levels with the introduction of Dazzlers’ captain de Bruyne. Deadly Daz only needed seven points to win; against a fading Burnley team, if Bernardo Silva received an extra point for lasting sixty minutes, de Bruyne needed just one goal to send Vogt crashing out.
Laporte’s introduction eased Vogt’s tension, extending the gap to eight points needed for the Dazzlers to win. The Belgian Beardsley had secured one point through entering the field, and as Deadly Daz’s captain, the gap was cut by one due to that point doubling. Seven points needed to win. Bernardo Silva lasted sixty minutes. Six points needed to win. He bagged himself a second assist. Three points needed to win. He was subbed off without Manchester City conceding. Two points needed to win. All Deadly Daz needed was a goal, an assist, even a yellow card for Laporte would help. Anything to cut the gap. Bernardo Silva was on for a bonus point, but he was tied with David Silva, and he knew he couldn’t rely on the bonus point system after seeing Who Horner receive an extra bonus point an hour after the game in Round One of the Gentlemen’s Trophy. No goal came. The full-time whistle blew, with All Star Vogt one point ahead.
An hour after the full time whistle, the bonus points were confirmed. Bernardo Silva had secured a bonus point. The tie had ended in a draw. It would be settled by the Substitute’s Shoot Out, and because Vogt had used his Bench Boost, all his players scored zero points. All Deadly Daz needed was one outfield substitute to secure a point, and it was the Arsenal man, Matteo Guendozi, who stepped up to fire the Dazzlers into Round Two, leaving Deadly Daz in raptures, while All Star Vogt slumped in his chair, eliminated because twenty-five minutes of madness from David Luiz resulted in a minus-three, opening the door for the ol’ razzle-Dazzle. The Hundred Club was no consolation, not in comparison to elimination from the Gentlemen’s Trophy.
The drama did not stop there. While Jockin’ Jeeves, Big-Time Birkett, The Butcher, King Ding and Lord Geord qualified with relative ease, Mikey P was eliminated only after Jie’s substitutes came off the bench. In the biggest shock of them all, however, Wooden Spoon Helling eliminated the Masterchef, winning by just two points following Mahrez’s 21-point haul, faith in his long-term captaincy of Ings despite a double-gameweek, and the benching of Alderweireld and Snodgrass seeing Lundstram and Sharp come off his bench.
The draw for the Quarter Finals of the Gentlemen’s Trophy has been made, given us some epic battles. The draw, in full:
Jockin’ Jeeves vs Lord Geord
Deadly Daz vs Wooden Spoon Helling
Big Time Birkett vs King Ding
Jie vs The Butcher, Big Steve
With these ties to be decided over two legs, in Gameweeks 31 and 32, we are sure to see even more exciting twists and turns. In many ways, the Gentlemen’s Trophy has become even more must-see than the league itself. Only time will tell if we get another result turned on a bonus point in the final match; everyone will be hoping we do, while praying it is not their team.
In its big return, the drama FPL provided reminded us why we love – and hate – the game so much. Now, let’s see how that drama affected things in the League of Gentlemen.
The League of Gentlemen:
No changes in the bottom section of the league and, with 268 points separating Jie in sixteenth from Mikey P at the bottom and large points gaps between each ranking, that looks unlikely to change before the end of the season. The only possibility for that to realistically happen is if Mikey P can reign in his mass-transfer madness; with him only needing to outscore Metal Marc by 40 points in eight weeks to rise off the bottom, that has to be his goal. Jie managed to briefly escape into Lower Mid-Table, before Aguero’s assist condemned him to another week, at least, in the depths of the division. While the Butcher ultimately proved too strong for Tits Up Thompson in the Gentlemen’s Trophy, the real story is Wooden Spoon Helling’s remarkable run to the Quarter Finals. His 91-point gameweek with an unaltered team shows that he remains a threat to anyone; with a bit of luck, he could cap a woeful season with a remarkable success. The Also-Rans may be the division’s worst teams, but between Jie and Wooden Spoon Helling, they comprise 25% of the Quarter Final draw. What this shows is that, while consistency is the key to FPL, every manager in the League of Gentlemen has the ability to produce a stunning one-off performance.
A rough week for Ginger Ben, who was only saved from relegation to the Also-Rans by Aguero being promoted from vice-captain to captain. A promising start to the campaign has degenerated into a real struggle, yet with a good run-in, he could still make it a respectable first season in the division. His first target is making up the thirteen-point gap to Who Horner, who took advantage of the unlimited transfers on offer but only selected three double-gameweek players. His total of 55 points saw his lead over 66-point scoring Ginger Ben slip by eleven, and he will need some shrewd management to avoid that gap falling further in gameweek 31. Slick Rick took full advantage of Who Horner’s poor week, outscoring him by forty points to overtake him and create a 22-point cushion. Despite scoring 91 points, there will be real frustration that his Bench Boost yielded just six points, with two players scoring zero, and the 40-point deficit to Lord Geord in the Gentlemen’s Trophy proved just too much to overcome. He will, however, be hoping this week is just the start for the Tiptoppers. With Iceman Newton AWOL and now just five points ahead, Slick Rick will be looking to make thirteenth position his come Thursday night. Unless Iceman Newton can rediscover his passion for the game, it appears the only way for him is down.
At the upper end of Lower Mid-Table sit The Ox and Flash, both striving with everything they have to break into the Chasing Pack. It is Flash who ends Gameweek 30 with the upper hand, extending his gap over The Ox by seven points following a score of 93. While that sounds good at first, the reality is that it took a 23-point Bench Boost for Flash to find that gap, and The Ox retains that particular chip for a later date, an advantage that could be crucial in determine this particular battle in the coming weeks. With a raft of injured and out-of-favour players in his squad, Flash faces the prospect of a very tough Gameweek 31, something that The Ox will look to take full advantage of.
The Chasing Pack
A desperately disappointing week for Private Parvesh who, despite re-engaging in the game after abandoning his post for several weeks, saw Flash and The Ox close the gap from Lower Mid-Table, while every team above him pulled further away. In most weeks, eighty points would be a great result, but this was not most weeks. Big-Time Birkett dropped into ninth position, though he created a cushion over Parvesh with 87 points and made it into the Gentlemen’s Trophy Quarter Finals. Only one point ahead in eighth is All Star Vogt, following the most devastating Hundred Club entry in League of Gentlemen history. He would’ve been in seventh had it not been for the final-match heroics of Mahrez launching Lord Geord back ahead by six points. How Vogt rebounds from this disappointment will be one of the more interesting stories in Gameweek 31.
A solid gameweek score of 94 for Lord Geord saw him maintain seventh position, close the gap on sixth position and qualify for the cup Quarter Finals, though disappointment resides after using his Free Hit. Not only is the chip now gone, but the original line-up he had would’ve outscored his Free Hit squad by six points, and even more if the Bench Boost had been deployed. Nevertheless, that Bench Boost could prove crucial in the Gentlemen’s Trophy heavyweight clash with Jockin’ Jeeves. Twenty-four points comprise the distance to sixth position, held by the Masterchef. It was a true FPL Nightmare for the Masterchef, who saw the team behind him close the gap, the team ahead pull away and who was eliminated by Wooden Spoon Helling in the shock of the Second Round. With both his Free Hit and Bench Boost in his back pocket, the Masterchef will look to leave this disappointment behind as he pushes to finish in the Title Contenders in his debut season.
The Title Contenders
To do that, he will need to haul back Deadly Daz, who pulled six points further away following his 96-point score. The failure to ensure Bench Boost was activated saw him miss out on the Hundred Club, but more important was knowing he is in the final eight of the cup and has that to get him out of a jam. There is no doubt this was a successful week for the Dazzlers, given he also slashed the distance to Jockin’ Jeeves in fourth by thirteen points. The gap is now just eighteen points, and Jeeves’ revelation he has taken a hit for Gameweek 31 means it will be fourteen points once the Gameweek begins. The Free Hit was a disaster for Jeeves, who secured the lowest score in the top nine. A season that started so promisingly for the Juggernauts is in danger of becoming Jeeves’ worst finish in the league ever; the pressure is on to retain his composure against the backdrop of a two-legged tie against one of his closest comrades.
Flying into third place is Hitman Hodgson, no longer in the trophy and soaring with the liberation of being able to focus solely on the league. The Hitman took full advantage of the unlimited free transfers, bringing in fourteen new players and using Bench Boost in a one week blast before an expected Wildcard. Securing the second-highest score in the league with 120 points saw him establish a nine-point cushion over Jockin’ Jeeves, giving him a great platform to push on knowing he has a Wildcard and Jeeves does not. It would’ve been even greater, too, had King Ding not smashed home 138 points, just six off the highest in the world. With 84 points between him and the team behind him, King Ding can focus solely on success, as he continues to battle on two fronts to secure not just the inaugural Gentlemen’s Trophy, but what would be his greatest title success ever. In a normal season, he’d be running away with the league. It is a testament to the quality of Big Steve that King Ding’s 16,465 Overall Ranking is only good enough to be 34 points off top spot. With the Big Two avoiding each other in the cup draw, their rivalry promises to tantalise across two fronts right to the final day.
The Man Who Would Be King
It may have been fourteen weeks and two days since Dumb and Dummett last took the field, but the break did not blunt Big Steve’s ability in the slightest. A gameweek score of 111 rose him to 4,665 in the world and negated any risk of a shock upset in the Gentlemen’s Trophy. With eight weeks to go, all he needs to do to secure both the title and the greatest season in League of Gentlemen history is maintain his form. That challenge, however, will be harder than ever, with rotation, injuries and five permitted substitutes all eating into player’s game-time. That being said, if anyone is positioned to emerge through those challenges victorious, it is the Butcher. King Ding may have closed the gap to 34 points, but the last time the gap was this low, Big Steve smashed in one of the highest scores in the division to extend it right back out. If he can do that again, they’ll be carving his name in the trophy early.
That sums up a spectacular return to FPL, which saw heartbreak and heroism in the Gentlemen’s Trophy, which saw four managers enter the Hundred Club, and saw King Ding light a fire under the title chase with the highest gameweek score in League of Gentlemen history. With Gameweek 31 starting the day after Gameweek 30 finishes, the drama promises to intensify as the days go by. As ever, may all your transfers be successful, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.
The Gentlemen's Trophy, Round Two Results
Jockin’ Jeeves 166 - 150 Private Parvesh
Ginger Ben 117 - 136 Big-Time Birkett
Tits-Up Thompson 81 - 155 The Butcher
King Ding 193 - 127 Iceman Newton
The Masterchef 135 - 137 Wooden Spoon Helling
Jie 113-110 Mikey P
Slick Rick 128 - 167 Lord Geord
Deadly Daz 142 - 142 All-Star Vogt (Deadly Daz wins 2-0 in the Substitute’s Shoot Out).
Reminder of the Tiebreaker rules, as stated in The Gentlemen’s Trophy: What Happens Next:
“The tiebreakers will be as follows:
First tiebreak: the Substitute's Shoot-Out.
Second tiebreak: Goals Scored.
Third tiebreak: Goals Conceded.
Fourth tiebreak: Coin of Destiny
The Substitute's Shoot-Out works as follows:
In a two-legged tie, only the substitutes in the second leg are counted. If one team has used a Bench Boost, they officially have fifteen starting players, so all their substitutes are classified as having scored zero points, irrespective of how many the players that occupy the substitute players score that gameweek.
Whoever scores the most between the first outfield substitute of each team scores one point.
Whoever scores the most between the second outfield substitute of each team scores one point.
Whoever scores the most between the third outfield substitute of each team scores one point.
If there is a winner, 2-1 or 3-0, after the outfield substitutes, that team wins. If, however, there is a tie in one or three of the outfield substitutes, leaving the score at 0-0 or 1-1, whoever's substitute goalkeeper scores the highest will be declared the winner. If the substitute goalkeepers score the same, then - and only then - we will turn to the Coin of Destiny to determine the winner of the match.”
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