If Gameweek 22 is repeated next time out, Big Steve’s near four-month reign at the apex of the League of Gentlemen is over.
Behind the King, both Jockin’ Jeeves and the Masterchef also outscored the Butcher, closing their own gaps to the point that, for the first time in forever, there are three teams within double-figures of the top of the table. In the process, Jockin’ Jeeves also became the only man to remain in the FPL Cup, meaning he is the winner of the inaugural League of Gentlemen Cup. Like a wolf smelling the piss of a feisty bitch, Jeeves has caught the scent of silverware, a flavour sure to drive him forward in the coming weeks. As close as King Ding is to the top, Jeeves is closer to regaining second position, and the morale boost of the League of Gentlemen Cup win will inspire his team ahead of what is sure to be a pivotal Gameweek 23. The Masterchef, meanwhile, will look at how King Ding has taken 85 points off Big Steve’s lead in just five gameweeks, and will know that he, at 88 points off the top, still has the opportunity to win the League of Gentlemen in his debut season.
Indeed, every team should look at what the King has achieved, and know that, if he can slash the gap to the top by 85 points in five weeks, they too can do the same in the sixteen gameweeks that remain this season. Over the last five weeks, the King has cut the gap by an average of seventeen points per gameweek. If any team from the Ringers down to Cuthben87 down in seventeenth were able to replicate that over the last sixteen gameweeks, they would finish the season as champions. An almighty task, that can’t be denied, but something to cling to when fighting for motivation in the weeks to come. The King has exposed the Butcher’s vulnerabilities; the challenge now is for him, or for another contender, to finally knock him off that top spot.
Exciting times in the League of Gentlemen, even with minimal positional changes this week. With no further ado, let’s explore how things changed for each team in Gameweek 22.
The real drama of the Also-Rans is how Helling has slashed the gap to Ginger Ben in seventeenth to just eight points. Mr. Permanently-Bottom is having the season of his life, thanks to an inspired captaincy of Ings before losing interest in the game. With the Southampton hitman securing returns almost every week, the pressure is really mounting on the ginger debutante. While Cuthben87 will have to use this season as a learning curve in the arts of FPL, they will want to finish as high in the table as possible. At 61 points off Lower Mid-Table, ending the season at the top of the bottom section could be their limit, though if they could somehow achieve the ‘Dinga Average’ of beating the leader by seventeen points a week, mathematically they can still win the league. Whatever happens, they will want to finish above Walney Utd, and will have to be at their best to fend off the nonentity in the coming weeks. They certainly can ill-afford to leave ten-point players on their bench going forward.
In fourteenth and thirteenth are the White Warriors and Tiptoppers respectively, separated by a single point from each other and five points ahead of Jie. A strong gameweek for Who Horner saw him replace Kane with Rashford and immediately hand him the captaincy, which resulted in a 24-point haul. The Manchester United ace’s haul was supplemented by further returns from Baldock, Lundstram, de Bruyne, Ings and Vardy, giving the White Warriors a gameweek score of 65 points and leaving them with £1.9m in the bank to strengthen further. The bad news for Who Horner, and the rest of his owners, was Rashford picking up an injury, leaving him as a major doubt for this weekend. While some managers may be tempted to rely on their subs to cover him if he doesn’t play, Who Horner doesn’t have the strength in depth to do so, leaving him with a major decision to make. The Tiptoppers had a mixed bag in the transfer market, bringing in Jimenez and Ings for Kane and Greenwood. While Ings did secure a goal, the Tiptoppers left him on the bench, and also saw Jimenez blank for a third-successive week. While returns from Henderson, Lundstram, Alexander-Arnold, Fleck, de Bruyne and Vardy secured a decent score, Slick Rick will be wary of how Who Horner has closed the gap, and will need to get his transfers and selections right this weekend.
The race to escape Lower Mid-Table is heating up, with Iceman Newton seventeen points from the Chasing Pack in twelfth, and Geord’s Lords just four away in eleventh. Yet, this gameweek will go down as a missed opportunity for both teams, with both managers scoring below-average totals and failing to make up any ground on Big-Time Birkett above them. The Iceman chose to take a hit in the wake of Kane’s injury, replacing him and Mount with Calvert-Lewin and de Bruyne at a cost of four points. Unfortunately for Madelaine Milan, Calvert-Lewin was unable to reproduce the form of a fortnight ago, scoring just one point. While there were returns from Lundstram, van Dijk, de Bruyne, Ings and captain Vardy, there were no major hauls, leaving the Iceman, after the hit, with a gameweek score of just 43 points. In a week where the FPL average was 57, this has to go down as a bit of a disaster, if not quite an FPL Nightmare. While Geord’s Lords performed marginally better, they too failed to beat the FPL average score. Using their two free transfers to bring in Salah and Stephens for Sterling and Aurier paid off, with the six points of Salah exceeding the transferred-out players single-handedly. Further returns from Alexander-Arnold, Lundstram, de Bruyne, Ings and captain Vardy gave them a gameweek score of 54, maintaining touching distance on the Chasing Pack without cutting the gap. The decision to transfer out Rashford instead of Jimenez three weeks ago has proven to be a massive mistake, with wayward Wolves striker scoring eighteen points less than his rival since, and the Lords falling five places in the meantime. The gamble has clearly not come off, and it remains to be seen how Lord Geord rectifies things ahead of Gameweek 23. With his penchant for the early transfer, there is a real possibility he has brought in an injured player – a move which would have devastating consequences in his fight to climb the table.
Fourteen points ahead is Hitman Hodgson in eighth, just five points off All-Star Vogt at the top of the Chasing Pack. This three-way battle for position, also involving Deadly Daz in seventh, is the most volatile in the League of Gentlemen, with the three teams swapping positions on a weekly basis. This week, it was the turn of Boom Xhakalaka to come out on top, though it was a marginal outcome. What cost the Hitman was his decision to bring in Fredericks early in the week, before removing him again before the deadline for a four-point penalty. While it appears to have happened to facilitate the signing of Salah over Mane, the three points gained by having the Egyptian over his teammate were negated by the four points lost. Despite that, further returns from Robertson, Lundstram, Martial, de Bruyne, Rashford, Ings and captain Vardy secured a strong net gameweek total of 64 points. The Hitman will look to get back in the green arrows this week, but faces a tough challenge to overhaul Deadly Daz. Another who took a hit this week, Deadly Daz’s paid off well, with his signings of Salah and Abraham comfortably outscoring the removed Alli and Kane. Further returns from all three of his defenders, de Bruyne, Vardy and Rashford secured a net gameweek score of 63 points, though there will be frustration at leaving six-point Lundstram on the bench over one-point Grealish. Had the Sheffield United defender been preferred, the Dazzlers would be three points ahead of Boom Xhakalaka in sixth. It will be interesting to see where Deadly Daz invests his transfer this week, with his substitute’s bench still looking ill-equipped for the weeks ahead. With a little bit of money in the bank, upgrading Heise looks a good move for this week, though Rashford’s injury may force him into an alternative move.
Looking to fend off both Hitman Hodgson and Deadly Daz while challenging the Title Contenders is All-Star Vogt, who saw six players get returns for a gameweek total of seventy points, the second-highest in the division and the only manager aside from the King who achieved the ‘Dinga Average’ over Big Steve. It all came down to a transfer masterclass, with the superstar DJ finally investing some of his transfer reserves, bringing in Mahrez and Traore for Alli and not-so-Marvelous Nakamba. Mahrez alone justified the decision, securing a massive 17 points for Boom Xhakalaka, and putting them in the driving seat to challenge Private Parvesh in fifth place. Despite leaving the goal of Ings on his bench, this was a very strong week to continue a good run of form, though fans of Boom Xhakalaka will be worried that Vogt’s visit to the Emirates stadium will see him return flaky, inconsistent and not up for the fight, infected with the Arsenal averageness. If Boom Xhakalaka show even just a hint of weakness, they can forget about looking up the table, because they’ll be overtaken by the hungry young rivals directly behind them.
The Juggernauts will know they had a lucky escape from the Masterchef’s miscalculations, but will be consumed with the frustrations of their own mistakes, despite becoming the first team to win the League of Gentlemen Cup following a 64-62 win over El Banditos. Having taken a hit to bring in Greenwood, Mane and Holgate for Abraham, Alli and Rico, Jockin’ Jeeves then left Greenwood on the bench, and was distraught when the young hotshot scored despite playing only 19 minutes. Of bigger frustration was starting Soyuncu over Dendoncker, then seeing the Wolves midfielder outscore Leicester’s Lord Farquaad by nine points. The Juggernauts did manage to secure returns from eight players, but knowing it could’ve been ten with different choices will grate away at the highly-strung perfectionist Jeeves. Making matters worse was seeing King Ding extend the gap to second by 23 points, leaving Jeeves with a smorgasbord of emotions when reviewing his team’s performance. Cup winners, cutting the gap on Big Steve, extending the gap over the Masterchef, yet falling further behind to his biggest rival while leaving fifteen points wasting away on the bench, and having captained a five-point player over a twelve-pointer. How crucial those nineteen lost points could prove to be remains to be seen, but Jeeves can ill-afford a repeat as he chases his twin goals of a top-100k finish and the League of Gentlemen Championship.
King Ding is well within reach of achieving both of Jeeves’ goals, having smashed into the top-100k this week following a simply stunning 87 point-gameweek. Both Aguero and captain Rashford secured twenty points or more, though the King would much prefer to have secured an extra eight points through captaining the Argie Assassin. His huge total was completed with further returns from Alexander-Arnold, Lundstram, Holgate, de Bruyne and Ings, giving him a massive 35-point victory over Big Steve – a victory that, if repeated in Gameweek 23, would see the King ascend back into his throne. With Lucas Moura and Cantwell on his bench, and last-sub Lascelles making his return from injury in midweek, the King has a very strong squad, showing the benefits of saving his first Wildcard until as late as possible. While repeating such a stunning gameweek is unlikely, his 85-points-in-five-gameweeks success over Big Steve could very well continue. All momentum is with the King, who has the experience needed as we enter the final months of the season. While that momentum could all go with one bad week, and 35 points is still a sizeable cushion, the bookmakers have moved to install the King as the new favourite to take the trophy. Given this form, it would take a brave man to bet against the Ringers becoming the first team to win back-to-back League of Gentlemen titles.
That concludes our round-up of Gameweek 22 of the League of Gentlemen, one which saw the Ringers cut the gap to the top to just 34 points, one which saw Big Steve suffer another damaging gameweek, and one which saw the Juggernauts win the League of Gentlemen Cup. Gameweek 23, for so many reasons, promises to be absolutely pivotal to the fortunes of the competing Gentlemen. May all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.
Oxsmorons 57-63 Neversea United
The Juggernauts 64-62 El Bandito