Another dramatic gameweek in the League of Gentlemen, one which saw one team become the inaugural winners of the League of Gentlemen cup, which saw Aguero and Mahrez run riot, and which saw King Ding slash the lead at the top in sensational fashion.
To look at the league table, with the only red and green arrows involving a minor shuffling of the Chasing Pack, you’d think this was a pretty standard, as-you-were gameweek in the League of Gentlemen. Oh, how wrong you’d be. When you scratch beneath the surface, you see that this could be the gameweek where the whole division is blown wide open. Big Steve, so long untouchable at the start, is now on the precipice of destruction, the ultimate FPL Nightmare so close to reality, and it’s all down to one man. The King, Dinga Bell, at one stage well over a hundred points behind the league leader, is now just 34 points from displacing him at the top of the division. Last weekend, in Gameweek 22, King Ding beat Big Steve by 35 points.
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 League of Gentlemen:
Little to report, again, in the Also-Rans, with every team bar one scoring within seven points of each other. One thing of note is that Mikey P showed restraint in the transfer market, limiting himself to just three transfers and, as a result, Suicide Squad closed the gap on second-bottom Farcselona to 35 points. With Farcselona exposed as a zombie team, one so vulnerable to injuries, suspension and rotation, Mikey P has a great opportunity to avoid the ignominy of the Wooden Spoon in his debut season. If he can exercise restraint over the coming weeks, minimising his hits and choosing his captain wisely, we could see him start to climb the table – especially as Farcselona have Sterling as captain. In the weeks he is rotated, they are forced to play without a captain due to their vice-captaincy being placed on the long-term injury-victim Kane. Rodallega Bombs look set to finish in nineteenth; too far ahead of Farcselona to be caught, too far behind Wooden Spoon Helling to catch up.
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.
The Lower Mid-Table review starts with the heartbreak of The Ox, who went out of the cup in dramatic fashion, handing the trophy to Jeeves in the process. It was the key choices that cost The Ox, the first one being placing the captaincy on de Bruyne, rather than Rashford. That one change would’ve seen Oxsmorons progress to the next round via goals scored, but that decision was compounded by his choice to name Douglas Luiz as first-choice sub, rather than Lundstram. That four-point difference, combined with captaincy of Rashford, would’ve ensured progression without the need to count-back the goals from each team. What made it worse was the red card to Aubameyang. Indeed, had Aubameyang stayed on the field and Lundstram been first sub, the captaincy wouldn’t have come into consideration. A foolish move by The Ox, leaving his team in a position where they had double-Villa attack against Manchester City, and a choice that was rightly punished by the FPL Gods. Making matters even worse, Jie extended the gap to fifteenth by a further six points, thanks to returns from all of his five defensive players, Ings, Vardy and captain de Bruyne. A good week for Jie, although it did come at the cost of his Wildcard, which means the Scotsman’s only remaining chip is his Bench Boost. The Ox, with every chip in hand, will hope to capitalise on those advantages in the coming weeks.
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.
The Chasing Pack
Another disappointing week for Big-Time Birkett, who saw Flash replace him in ninth place after Cows Arse Shovel beat Really by twelve points. Having brought in Felipe Anderson for Zaha, he saw the Brazilian pick up an injury amidst a dismal West Ham performance, leaving him with a decision to make over gambling on an injured, underperforming player or replacing him a gameweek after bringing him in. While all three of his strikers secured returns, Lacazette is now without his main provider for three matches, Abraham has a nightmare run of fixtures and Firmino faces a tough game against Manchester United. His captaincy of de Bruyne paid off, with the Belgian being the highest-scorer for Really this week, and while Alexander-Arnold provided a further return, it combined to produce a below-average 54 points. With his team facing some tough fixtures, and both his Wildcard and Free Hit having been used, this is a big week in the transfer market for Big-Time, who may be forced to take a hit to strengthen his team. Flash showed how they can work out, taking a four-pointer to bring in Vardy and David Silva for Kane and Mount, and seeing both players return for a net-positive score. Further returns from Henderson, Lundstram, Robertson, de Bruyne, Abraham and Rashford gave Cows Arse Shovel a very good 66 points, though it could’ve been even better had Rashford had the armband over Vardy and if ten-point Dendoncker had started. Indeed, if the Wolves midfielder had been first-sub, rather than last, Flash would’ve reaped the rewards, but he’ll be happy enough to climb the table, and will look to push on this weekend.
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 Title Contenders
It’s not quite so close among the Title Contenders, with crucial points differences opening up between each position. In fifth place is Private Parvesh, nineteen points behind the Masterchef in fourth. While a 63-point gameweek – secured through returns from Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Lundstram, de Bruyne, Vardy, Ings and Abraham - looks solid on the surface, this could prove to be the week that Parvesh threw away his chances. Not only did Boom Xhakalaka close the gap behind PKG FC, meaning Parvesh is closer to sixth than fourth, Parvesh also deployed his Bench Boost chip this weekend, a move which brought in only nine additional points and no further returns. His two signings, Cantwell and McCarthy, brought in no additional points, and with the advantage of the Bench Boost now gone, it could well be that the gap between Parvesh and the top four widens as the weeks go on. Indeed, given the players at his disposal, there’s every chance he finds himself falling down the table in the coming weeks. A transfer masterstroke from the Masterchef saw him bring in Aguero for Kane, the only manager to replace the England captain with the Argie Assassin. Alas, that’s where the masterstroke ended, with the baffling decision to place the captain’s armband on Maddison instead of his superstar signing costing Hugh G. Rection XI eighteen crucial points, leaving the Masterchef 23 points off Jockin’ Jeeves in third, rather than just five. Had he also started Henderson over Patricio, he’d be just a point off the Juggernauts. It’s a mistake the Masterchef is unlikely to make again and, while sixty points is a good, if disappointing score for him, he’ll know that sixty points when only five non-captained players return is a good result. With some favourable fixtures in Gameweek 23, the Masterchef will be looking to turn up the heat on those ahead of him.
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.
The Man Who Would Be King
However, the Butcher will not give up without a fight. For all of the King’s incredible run of form, Dumb and Dummett remain 34 points clear at the top and at 25,340 in the overall rankings, a position any team would’ve snatched your hand off for if offered in pre-season. Despite the lowest gameweek score in the top eleven and being beaten by King Ding five weeks on the bounce, Big Steve will expect his luck to change very soon. Indeed, his squad remains strong, even if a double-Wolves attack is a bit of a gamble, and he has been a victim of fortune as much as skill in recent weeks. That being said, the decision to replace Rashford with Calvert-Lewin backfired horribly this week, with the Everton man being outscored by eleven points. While Martial outscored Shelvey comfortably, these are the sorts of decisions Big Steve was nailing in the opening months, and they are starting to go against him. However, Rashford’s injury and Calvert-Lewin’s run of games do mean that, potentially, the transfer could work out in the long-term. Following so shortly after his decision to sell Alexander-Arnold ahead of a 24-point gameweek, however, could knock the confidence of the big man in the market. With that in mind, and how much King Ding has closed the gap, this gameweek could be the most important one in the Butcher’s season. Get it right, and the last few weeks can be dismissed as an inevitable dip in form, one that happens to any manager. Get it wrong, however, and the pressure will rise to unbearable levels.
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.
FPL/League of Gentlemen Cup Results
Oxsmorons 57-63 Neversea United
The Juggernauts 64-62 El Bandito
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