Eleven days is a long time in football, even more so in FPL. With so much football in so little time, the risk of injury becomes even more pertinent, as fatigue and cold conditions affect players. Experienced managers with strong benches use the festive period to push on, enhancing their positions in the table through the quality of their substitutes. Those who have invested everything in the first team, however, are hostages to fate and captaincy choices. Teams can see huge rises and falls between now and the FA Cup; indeed, this is when the season gets very interesting.
For the likes of Jeeves, Masterchef and King Ding, they see this period as an opportunity, knowing they can make massive gains on Big Steve at the top in a short space of time. With King Ding still to deploy his Wildcard, he has one advantage over his rivals, though he is running the risk of leaving it so late as to be wasted. Masterchef and Jeeves have the greater advantage, though, of having the points in the bag. All three will be hoping to use this period to attack Big Steve, though it can’t be denied that, without Jeeves being 45 points behind, he would have a near-100 point gap on his closest rival. Indeed, should Big Steve have a superior festive period to his closest rivals, his lead at the top could become impregnable.
There is great potential for those teams lower down the table, too. Everyone from Ginger Ben, at the apex of the Also-Rans, to All-Star Vogt, who broke into the Title Contenders this week, will know that getting it right over these next four gameweeks could define their season. Conversely, getting it wrong could destroy their season, and that is the challenge ahead for every competitor in the League of Gentlemen.
In addition to the competition of the greatest league in FPL, one other thing happened in Gameweek Seventeen: The FPL Cup kicked off. While not every team in the division qualified for it – you needed to finish in the top 4,194,304 in the world in Gameweek Sixteen to be entered – the vast majority did. As we continue through the season, we will be keeping track of every team still in the competition; the team that lasts the longest in the FPL Cup, much like the Intertoto Cup of years gone by, will be crowned the winner of the League of Gentlemen Cup. Should it end with the final two teams being eliminated in the same gameweek, then, the following gameweek, they will compete in a Head-To-Head challenge to determine the League of Gentlemen Cup winner. Should the final three or more League of Gentlemen teams all be eliminated from the FPL Cup in the same gameweek, a draw will be made, and we will pit teams head-to-head over successive gameweeks until only one manager remains – if necessary, a three-way dance will occur in one of the ties, to get it back to even numbers. Should it be the last three teams that are eliminated from the FPL Cup at the same time, the LoG Cup will be decided the following gameweek, in a three-way showdown. While not as coveted as being crowned the King of the League of Gentlemen, the LoG Cup will keep things a bit spicier in the coming weeks.
Of course, the League of Gentlemen itself remains the primary focus of the managers. With that in mind, let’s analyse how fortunes changed in Gameweek Seventeen, and also see how each team got on in the FPL Cup.
Ahead of them all, Ginger Ben is doing his level best to escape the Also-Rans, but finds himself marooned on the Isle of Shite for at least another week. The twenty-six point gap to The Ox shrunk by eight points, by virtue of a stonking 70-point score secured through double-figure returns from de Bruyne, Lundstram, Sterling and captain Vardy, supplemented by further returns from Mane and Jimenez. Despite securing the second-highest gameweek score in the League of Gentlemen, the damage was done for Cuthben87 last week, with their previous score of 32 meaning a failure to qualify for the FPL Cup. Heartbreaking for the debutante, but with his focus now solely on climbing the table, he should find himself free of the Also-Rans by FA Cup weekend.
Tiptoppers themselves had a strong gameweek, with the transfer of de Bruyne in for Sterling boosting their score by nine points. Further returns from Lundstram, Henderson, Vardy and fifteen-point Fleck secured a 68-point gameweek, which was achieved with their attacking Spurs triumvirate of Son, Alli and captain Kane getting just six points between them. Progression in the FPL Cup was secured comfortably, with the scores of Fleck, Lundstram and de Bruyne themselves enough to vanquish his opponent. With no Liverpool or West Ham representation in his squad, Slick Rick enters Gameweek Eighteen from a position of strength, though the suspension of Fleck is a blow. Only four points ahead and looking vulnerable in thirteenth, the White Warriors reached a half-century of points, enough to win their FPL Cup tie by a single point, but poor in the context of the League of Gentlemen. Who Horner was tipped to be a strong upper-half contender this season, but has seen a promising start fade away, and is now in real danger of being overtaken by Slick Rick and Jie in the coming weeks. Returns from Pope, Lundstram, Mane, James and captain Vardy ensured the week wasn’t a complete disaster, but with Mane missing this weekend, it will be a challenge for Who Horner to make any advances. A strong week in the transfer market and the correct captaincy choices are vital for the White Warriors this weekend.
Gameweek Seventeen was a true FPL Nightmare for Hitman Hodgson. Not only were the ten points of Traore left on the bench, his decision to bring in Son and Ings for Jimenez and de Bruyne proved disastrous, costing Does It Mata twenty points, a rise in the table and their FPL Cup tie. The gamble of Zaha finally reaped rewards, with the Palace man securing eight points, supplemented by returns from Lundstram, Pope, Mane and captain Vardy, but it was not enough to avoid falling to within striking range of Who Horner, Jie and Slick Rick, whilst losing further ground on Lord Geord. The signing of Guaita proved fruitful for the Lords, with the conceding of a goal not enough to stop three bonus points being awarded, following nine saves, for an overall total of eight points. Further returns from Alexander-Arnold, de Bruyne, Mane, Jimenez and captain Vardy secured a 68-point total and safe passage into the next round of the FPL Cup, but the selection of Kelly over Lundstram cost Geord’s Lords nine points and a two-position rise in the table. With both Mane and Alexander-Arnold absent in Gameweek Eighteen, Lord Geord will be left with only Hayden as a substitute option, which leaves him with big decisions to make in the transfer market. Get the decisions and captaincy right, and he could easily be in the Chasing Pack for Christmas. Get it wrong, and Hitman Hodgson is there to pounce. Still, another successful week for the Lords, who have been very consistent since the start of November. If only they could have found their form sooner.
One man praying Flash doesn’t find the answer is Big-Time Birkett, only four points ahead in joint-seventh and with problems of his own. With Yarmolenko and Mane guaranteed to be absent and Tomori unlikely to be involved, Big-Time has only one free transfer and £1.4m to improve his squad. If he doesn’t change one of his absent players, all it takes is one of his bare-minimum eleven starters to be rotated and he’ll enter the gameweek without a full team. Complicating matters further are the rumours of Aguero’s return to fitness; with Jesus proving underwhelming so far, it won’t be long until the Argie Assassin is back in the team. It isn’t all negative for Big-Time Birkett though; Really remain only seven points off the Title Contenders, and just sixteen off King Ding in fourth, both gaps that can be bridged over a single gameweek. With all that in mind, taking a hit could prove fruitful, but the shrewder move might be to make just the one transfer, using the money in the bank to finally replace Yarmolenko with someone worth having. Birkett doesn’t have the complication of the FPL Cup to factor into his decisions, however, having been eliminated by just three points. Level with him in points and transfers, Private Parvesh bounced back from his failure to qualify for the FPL Cup with a solid 60-point gameweek to rise two places in the table. Returns from Lundstram, de Bruyne, Mane and captain Vardy proved enough to ensure progression in the table, though he too faces the prospect of entering Gameweek Eighteen with zero subs, with Mane, Robertson and Yarmolenko guaranteed to not play. With £3m in the bank, upgrading Yarmolenko seems an absolute no-brainer, as PKG FC look to make the breakthrough into the Title Contenders.
To get there, they’ll need to overcome Iceman Newton, another who exited the FPL Cup after scoring just 49 points. Returns from Lundstram, van Dijk, Mane and captain Vardy prevented the week from being a complete washout, but he saw All-Star Vogt replace him in the Title Contenders, with Private Parvesh, Big-Time Birkett, Flash, Deadly Daz and Lord Geord all now within seventeen points. He’ll be wary of the tale of Hitman Hodgson, who dropped from the Title Contenders to Lower Mid-Table in just one gameweek, and will be nervous that he’ll spend his Christmas in the bottom half – especially with only one free transfer and £400k with which to improve his team. If ever there was a time for Madelaine Milan to use their Wildcard, it’s now, though if anyone can handle the heat, it’s the Iceman.
All-Star Vogt will be hoping more than anyone that this isn’t the week in which King Ding deploys his Wildcard. The Ringers remain nine points clear in fourth, with returns from Lundstram, Alexander-Arnold, Sterling and captain Mane ensuring the score of their nearest challengers was matched. There will be minor frustration at the eight points of Greenwood remaining on his bench, but it would have been an incredible risk to award the Manchester United youngster his second start for the Ringers ahead of a local derby. After a strong Gameweek Fifteen, the Ringers have plateaued over the last fortnight, failing to qualify for the FPL Cup. With just eleven days left to use his first Wildcard of the season, fans are speculating that this will be the week King Ding shows his hand and starts to make a move on those above him, knowing most of his highest-potential points scorers are currently shared with his rivals, and their ability to react to his changes would be severely limited. He needs to move fast, with the Masterchef retaining his 24-point lead over the King, and both Jeeves and Big Steve pulling further away. Should King Ding become the first man to retain the League of Gentlemen from here, 119 points off the top, it will go down as his greatest achievement. First, he needs to overhaul Masterchef, who is showing no signs of feeling the strain in his debut campaign, and secured progression in the FPL Cup after a 54-50 victory. Matching the score of the two teams behind him through returns from Lundstram, van Dijk and de Bruyne, the frustration will lie in the gamble on captaining Maddison not paying off, and both Tarkowski and Maupay scoring six points on his bench. With only van Dijk absent this weekend, the strength of Hugh G. Rection comes into its own, with the Masterchef having a strong selection of players to choose from. With the gap to Jeeves extended to fifty points, he needs this to be the week that squad depth really pays dividends.
Jeeves secured his role in the next round of the FPL Cup following a 69-61 victory, but his role as the buffer between third and first was further cemented this week; too far ahead of third to be caught, too far off top to threaten. Returns from Henderson, Lundstram, Alexander-Arnold, Mane, de Bruyne and captain Vardy secured a strong 69-point week, but the lack of gambles taken meant that he made only two points on Big Steve in first. Had he gambled on de Bruyne as captain, he would’ve made up fourteen points, but by continuing with the obvious choices, Jeeves is making it too easy for big Steve to defend his lead at the top. With the make-up of their squads so similar, Jeeves is dependent on his goalkeeper, Maddison, Abraham and his captaincy choice to close the 45-point gap to the top; with big Steve’s Jimenez and Moutinho outscoring the Juggernauts’ Abraham and Maddison over the last five weeks, and Pope outscoring Henderson over the same period, the Juggernauts are just not making inroads. The issue Jeeves has is that he is into the top 83k overall. Having never achieved a top-100k finish, that was Jeeves’ primary aim at the start of the season, and he is on course to achieve it. However, it could very well come at the expense of his third League of Gentlemen title, given the unforeseeable excellence of the Butcher. While he is likely to continue as he is for now, in the hope that Big Steve will make a mistake, sooner or later Jeeves is going to have to decide which is the most important to him – being the best second-placers in history, like Liverpool last season, or going for glory, like the great Kevin Keegan would’ve done.
That concludes another exciting gameweek in the League of Gentlemen, one that saw the start of the FPL Cup, one that saw All-Star Vogt rise into the Title Contenders, and one which saw the gap between the Chasing Pack and the Title Contenders close to its smallest in weeks. With nine teams still fighting for the LoG Cup, and so many teams still jockeying for position, Gameweek Eighteen is promising to be one of the most crucial of the season. As always, may all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.
Suicide Squad 30-43 Jaymoney FC
Farcselona – Did not qualify
Rodallega Bombs 34-66 SofaekspertenFC
Walney Utd 54-58 wcTan
Cuthben87 – Did not qualify
Oxsmorons 62-46 Shed House Football
Micky Quinnaj 71-59 Rowie’s 11”ers
Tiptoppers 68-44 Waigz
White Warriors 50-49 Radwan FC
Does It Mata 52-71 Europeanchamps
Geord’s Lords 64-46 YE FC
Dazzlers 55-54 BattsFC
Cows Arse Shovel 46-54 The Tigers
Really 50-53 Wear The Fox Hat
PKG FC – Did not qualify
Madelaine Milan 49-65 Veeru United
Boom Xhakalaka 54-57 In Need Of A Beer FC
Dinga’s Ringers – Did not qualify
Hugh G. Rection XI 54-50 Red Star Bellend
The Juggernauts 69-61 Cantona2019
Dumb and Dummett 67-50 Earth Wind Maguire
Still competing in the League of Gentlemen Cup:
The Ox: will play KasihKu (GW17 score: 64)
Jie: will play ahmed ali mahren (GW17 score: 76)
Slick Rick: will play Man ridhu (GW17 score: 54)
Who Horner: will play gla laksen (GW17 score: 54)
Lord Geord: will play Nation of Zombies (GW17 score: 68)
Deadly Daz: will play CHANGE NAME (GW17 score: 34)
Masterchef: will play @fpl_2k19 (GW17 score: 73)
Jeeves: will play BRIGHT FC (GW17 score: 60)
Big Steve: will play Tcha7wit Fc (GW17 score: 62)