With several highly-owned players missing out this gameweek, many managers found themselves relying on their substitutes. The importance of investing in a quality bench was revealed, with those who spread their money throughout the squad receiving the greater rewards.
Gameweek Seven provided us with the first real test of manager’s squad strength in the League of Gentlemen, with the third-highest owned defender, Romain Saiss, and the third-highest owned midfielder, James Rodriguez, both failing to play a single minute of the gameweek. With other players such as Digne, Maupay, Mitchell and Castagne also missing out, the managers that profited the most this week were those who invested in their substitute’s bench, as opposed to pumping their finances into the first eleven.
Nobody reaped the benefits more this week than Sirloin Sean, who saw Grealish rise off his bench to fire in fifteen points and fire the Magicmen back to the top of the table. It marks the second time Sirloin has finished a gameweek at the division’s apex; remarkably, both times he has done so by being level on points with another Gentleman. This week, it was Slick Rick who has the same amount of points, though Sirloin holds the edge in transfers made, meaning he tops the table outright as opposed to sharing first place, like he did in Gameweek One with Ginger Ben.
Another manager who saw great success from their substitutes was Dan the Dragon. Earmarked as a skilled operator flying under the radar somewhat last week, the Dragon ensured nobody will take him lightly going forward after Lamptey rose from the dugout to secure not just an extra nine points, but with it October’s Manager of the Month award. It is a deserved success for the Dragon, whom many expected, based on his previous seasons, to be satisfied with merely challenging his brother, the Hitman, for family supremacy. Seven weeks in, and the Dragon can aim his sights far higher, having pulled a massive 86 points clear of his familial rival. With the momentum on his side and with a good set of fixtures next weekend, it would take a brave man to bet against the Dragon making up the six points to first place and entering the International break as the Man Who Would Be King.
The gameweek was less kind for other managers. The Masterchef underwent a mass overhaul, rebranding his team from Yorke-Hunt Burns to Watts Ganon-Thrappa and playing his Wildcard in the process. It did not work out to his benefit, however, with a fall in the rankings and an injury to key man Ings, one of the few players to keep his squad place post-Wildcard. Another who struggled this week was Jockin’ Jeeves, and you have to wonder if the tiredness that comes with being a new dad could serve to hinder his decision-making going forward. Ironically, while he was one of the few managers who didn’t need to use their subs, he desperately wanted to, with new signing Kilman and his six points ready to come on and boost the Juggernauts. Disastrously for the two-time champ, Foden made a nine-minute, one-point cameo that left the Juggernauts in dire straits.
For us in the Lords, it was a good week. We managed to score 62 points which, while not a great total, it was one which outperformed most of the division, and which we hope can turn our momentum around. The squad rallied around after last week’s explosive altercation with Jez Messing, who sent us a grovelling apology letter claiming that he knew he got carried away, and will work to be less sensationalist in his coverage in the future. As of now, he is still banned from covering Lords matches, but we are impressed with his humility. The big decision we face coming out of Gameweek Seven is whether to persist with the Trent – Robertson double-up; the fear is that, should one be sold, they are inevitable to bang. The conflicting view is that they have yet to get going this season, van Dijk’s injury hits their points potential hard, and there are several far cheaper alternatives – the likes of Zouma, Mings, Castagne (should he recover from his injury) and Cresswell who are scoring more points and have kinder fixtures. It’s a massive call, one which could go right to Friday’s 4pm transfer deadline. Whatever decision is made, we’re working hard in our attempts to climb the table before the international break, with ten points needed to catch All-Star Vogt and 24 required to rise three places. It’ll be tough, but we’ll give it our best.
All-in-all, it was an interesting week in the League of Gentlemen, one which scrutinised our decisions and put our squad make-ups to the test. While the league was exciting enough, the Gentlemen’s Classic and the Eliminator brought the unrivalled drama that makes ours the greatest mini-league in all of FPL. Without any further ado, let’s see what happened on Matchday Five of the Gentlemen’s Classic.
The Cup Chronicles
There was plenty of drama in the Gentlemen’s Classic this week, which saw Matchday Five end with five of the eight qualifiers for Stage Two determined. In Group A, Sirloin Sean continued his incredible 100% record in the competition with a comfortable 75 – 55 victory over All-Star Vogt, who now has just one game left to avoid a complete whitewash in the competition. Flash Funk’s 62 – 42 victory over Big Steve ensured his qualification, with his superior head-to-head record meaning that, even if Big Steve beats Sirloin Sean to tie with Flash on points, Flash will still qualify. Group B saw the competition’s biggest shock, with Big-Time Birkett’s 76 – 55 win over King Ding consigning the back-to-back league champion to elimination, while also ensuring he finishes bottom of the group.
The Group C qualifiers were already settled last week, but Lord Geord handing Slick Rick his first defeat of the season leaves the seeding issue wide open. Should Deadly Daz, who swatted aside Private Parvesh this week, be victorious over the Slickster on Matchday Six, Deadly Daz will emerge as Group C’s Top Seed, while any other result gives it to Slick Rick. Group D is presently in a three-way tie at the top, with Who Horner’s 60 – 35 victory over Jockin’ Jeeves sending him top on tiebreakers. The Ox’s narrow 57 – 53 win against the Masterchef means that his fate remains in his own hands, with a win over Jeeves on Matchday Six all that is needed to send him through, and consign Jeeves to elimination.
Gentlemen’s Classic, Matchday Five results:
Flash Funk 62 – 42 Big Steve
Sirloin Sean 75 – 55 All-Star Vogt
Big-Time Birkett 76 – 55 King Ding
Ginger Ben 48 – 42 Hitman Hodgson
Private Parvesh 35 – 55 Deadly Daz
Slick Rick 53 – 62 Lord Geord
Who Horner 60 – 35 Jockin’ Jeeves
The Ox 57 – 53 The Masterchef
Matchday Six Permutations:
Group A is settled, with Sirloin Sean the winner and Flash Funk second based on his superior head-to-head over Big Steve. Both managers make it through to Stage Two, with Sirloin Sean the Top Seed and Flash Funk the Second Seed.
Group B sees Hitman Hodgson vs Big-Time Birkett in Matchday Six. If Big-Time Birkett wins, he qualifies for Stage Two. Any other result sees the Hitman progress. Ginger Ben has already qualified for Stage Two; his result determines his seeding. A win or a draw against King Ding sees him top the table; a King Ding victory will still see Ginger Ben as Top Seed should Big-Time Birkett avoid defeat against Hitman Hodgson.
Group C sees Slick Rick and Deadly Daz advance to Stage Two. For Deadly Daz to be the Top Seed, he needs to beat Slick Rick this weekend.
Group D presently has a three-way tie in the race to qualify. Who Horner holds three wins from four matches, which puts him top this week. Jockin’ Jeeves and The Ox have both achieved one win from three matches, but Jeeves defeated the Ox 58 – 29 on Matchday One, placing him second in the group. The Ox and Jockin’ Jeeves meet this weekend in Matchday Six. While Who Horner holds the three-way advantage, should Jockin’ Jeeves and the Masterchef be victorious this weekend, it will revert to a straight head-to-head for second between Who Horner and The Ox. In that eventuality, The Ox holds the edge 135 – 128, meaning Who Horner will be eliminated from the competition. Should The Ox and The Masterchef win this weekend, Who Horner has two wins from two matches with Jockin’ Jeeves, meaning Jockin’ Jeeves will be eliminated. Should Jockin’ Jeeves vs The Ox end in a draw, it is dependent upon the Who Horner vs The Masterchef result. Should The Masterchef win, both Jockin’ Jeeves and The Ox advance. If Who Horner wins, Jockin’ Jeeves will pip The Ox for second based on their head-to-head record.
In the Eliminator, another big name looked on the verge of elimination heading into the gameweek’s final match. Jockin’ Jeeves was just five points ahead of Mad Mikey P, with no players left to play. Mad Mikey had Bamford take the field, while Private Parvesh, two points behind Jeeves, was represented by Helder Costa. The situation was simple: both his rivals had the edge over Jeeves on goals scored, meaning that, should Costa complete sixty minutes with no card, Parvesh would be safe, while Mad Mikey needed just a Bamford goal to progress. Costa completed sixty minutes without incident, meaning it all came down to Bamford. Leeds as a team suffered a real thrashing from Leicester, but in the dying moments the ball broke to Bamford. Could this be the end of Jockin’ Jeeves, with just seconds to go? Both Mad Mikey and the Rap Rob Roy held their breath … and saw the chance go begging, and with it, saw Mad Mikey P become the latest victim of the Eliminator.
Currently Eliminated: Metal Marc, Mack Daddy McMahon, Red Hot Rob, Mad Mikey P.
The League of Gentlemen:
A drop back to the bottom for Mad Mikey, with his sixteen-point hit blowing up in his face like it so often does. He’s now 25 points adrift of the also-dropping Private Parvesh, while Metal Marc’s 64 points saw him rise two places in the table. He’s now nine points behind Wildman Whitfield on 307 points, with Red Hot Rob a further ten points ahead. In nineteenth is Lord Geord, who made no positional advances despite his highest gameweek ranking of the season. With only four of eighteen teams ahead of him outscoring him this week, however, it is a good sign of progress, which Lord Geord will hope to build on this week as he hunts down All-Star Vogt, ten points ahead, the Masterchef and Mack Daddy McMahon, both of whom are within 24 points, which can be made up with one great captaincy decision. Twelfth to fifteenth are separated by just six points, with Hitman Hodgson in fifteenth needing three points to catch King Ding, four to equal Big-Time Birkett - who got the gameweek’s highest score of 76 points - and six to draw level with Jockin’ Jeeves, who currently has 368 points. Deadly Daz and Big Steve both finish the gameweek on 380 points, the Butcher holding the advantage on transfers made, while Who Horner rounds off the Irrelevants, eleven points clear on 391.
The Chasing Pack
Holding onto eighth place for another week is Wooden Spoon Helling, who not only maintained the gap over the Irrelevants, but also closed the gap on the Ox ahead of him by three points. Even more impressively, Helling managed this despite having two Leeds defenders who both scored zero points. Mount, Harrison and de Bruyne all contributed a solid six points with Calvert-Lewin adding eight, while the contributions of Grealish and captain Kane, with 27 points between them, proving crucial to his retention of eighth position. The Ox still retains a fourteen-point cushion, with Salah, Coady and Leno adding to the four goals scored by his three strikers. What cost The Ox was putting the armband on Son, who added nothing extra to his basic appearance points. Despite seeing Helling make up a little ground, The Ox’s sole focus will be on rising in the table, with Helling not really a long-term threat.
The first of those teams is managed by Flash Funk, who moved ahead of the Ox into sixth place by just one point. The Funkmaster’s success was built on his double-Chelsea defence, with Chilwell and Zouma contributing twenty of Flash’s 62 points. He will be especially pleased with the fourteen points scored by Zouma, his new signing, though Martinez, his second free transfer, will be causing a few moments of regret after conceding four goals. Salah, Wilson and captain Kane secured a further 32 points, leaving Flash in a decent position to push on next week. The gap to Iceman Newton grew further, however, with the Iceman’s 69 points strengthening his hold on fifth position while slashing the gap to the Title Contenders to just five points. The Iceman, who was devastated with his team’s underperformance last week, made no changes and trusted his team to re-prove themselves. Rodriguez’s knock meant the Iceman had just ten players this week, but those ten players justified their manager’s faith, with ten returns from those ten players. With Digne and Rodriguez most likely taking the field this weekend, transfers are not essential, but the Iceman would be well-served in using his two free transfers to replace his injured players. Castagne and Mitchell could become Kilman and a Chelsea defender, strengthening the team for the push ahead. Whether the Iceman deems any changes necessary, however, remains to be seen, with some critics speculating this could be the start of his traditional disengaging from FPL in the face of slight underperformance.
The Title Contenders
Knocked off top spot last week for the first time, the situation took a further turn for the worse for Ginger Ben this week, with a dismal 48 points seeing him drop to fourth and lucky to avoid leaving the Title Contenders altogether. Only four players secured returns this week, and Ginger Ben will be grateful one of them was Kane, with his doubled-up six points the reason he survives in the Title Contenders by the skin of his teeth. Seeing last-sub Lamptey score nine points will be a kick in the teeth, and the big question is whether the Ginger One perseveres with his Alexander-Arnold – Robertson double-up. On paper, it’s a secure avenue to 400 points over the course of the season, but with both players being vastly outperformed by much cheaper alternatives, with van Dijk out for the season and with an away-day at Manchester City this weekend, both Liverpool fullbacks must be at risk of being sold. There will be a sense of panic for Ginger Ben at the moment, but he needs to keep his head – there are twenty other teams in the division who would kill to be where he is right now.
Backing up the dark-horse status discussed in last week’s review is Dan the Dragon, who moves into third place following the third-highest score of the gameweek and secures October’s Manager of the Month award. Thirty-two points from his three strikers proved the foundations, with Salah, Lamptey and Grealish matching that total between them. The Dragon underlined the importance of having decent substitutes, with Lamptey’s nine points coming off the bench in place of the dropped Saiss, and the question facing the Dragon this week is whether to give Saiss time or to trade him for the bargain Kilman or the plundering wing-back Ait-Nouri, both offering an avenue into the very solid Wolves defence. Zaha’s one point was a disappointment, but with Leeds, Burnley, Newcastle and West Brom in the next four weeks, he can be expected to pick up a tidy total over that period. Indeed, the biggest issue with his second transfer may well prove to be whether to stick with Robertson or not; we may even see the Dragon roll his second transfer again to give himself two frees to use over the international week.
Six points ahead is Slick Rick, who drops a place based on transfers made having topped the table following Gameweek Six. The Slickster scored dead-on the gameweek average of 53 points, with Patricio, Reguilon, Grealish, Kane and Ings the men who got the extra points. Just outside the top-89k in the overall rankings, the worry for Slick Rick as we leave Gameweek Seven is that he only has nine outfield players available for the weekend, with Ings confirmed to be out for up to six weeks and Reguilon struck down with a virus. He’s rode his luck with Onomah and Douglas in his squad, neither of whom are eligible for the Premier League this season, and he will now be forced to make some moves. With 0.8m in the bank, the shrewd move would be to replace Douglas with Kilman and Onomah with Soucek, given they would cost just half of that banked money. However, waiting a week to replace an £8.5m striker the calibre of Ings may prove impossible, especially with Bamford and Wilson both tearing up the league and over £2m cheaper. It will be very interesting to see how the Slickster rebuilds ahead of Gameweek Eight, especially with him retaining a supremely strong position despite his squad issues.
The Man Who Would Be King
After six weeks of hard work, Sirloin Sean has regained the top spot he shared in Gameweek One, following a fantastic 75-point score this gameweek. Four double-figure hauls, from captain Kane, Wilson, Grealish and Zouma, provided the sizzle to his steak, with Coady and Salah also scoring extra points for the Magicmen. There was a touch of fortuity to his gameweek, with Grealish beginning the weekend as Sirloin’s second substitute, only to rise from the bench after Saiss was dropped. Some will dismiss that result as luck, but the reality is in FPL you have to make the choice between having quality subs that can do the job, sacrificing the strength of the first team, or filling the bench with budget players to get more big names in the first XI. Sirloin chose the strong bench approach, and deserves all the success he has received as a result of that choice. It could have been even better, too, had he not brought in two-point Allison for six-point Patricio, a decision that looks even more baffling with Liverpool facing Manchester City and Leicester in their next two games; nevertheless, Sirloin will look at this as a job well done, and will enter Gameweek Eight with the aspiration of, finally, ending a gameweek with a points cushion at the top of the league.
That concludes our review of Gameweek Seven in the League of Gentlemen, which saw substitute strength prove vital to success, which saw King Ding eliminated from the Gentlemen’s Classic, which saw Dan the Dragon named October’s Manager of the Month and which saw Sirloin Sean climb back to the top of the table. With an international break following Gameweek Eight, it will be vital for the Gentlemen to have a good gameweek to avoid a fortnight of regret. In pursuit of that goal, may all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.
Gentlemen's Classic Fixtures, Gameweek Eight
Sirloin Sean vs Big Steve
Flash Funk vs All-Star Vogt
Ginger Ben vs King Ding
Big-Time Birkett vs Hitman Hodgson
Deadly Daz vs Slick Rick
Private Parvesh vs Lord Geord
The Ox vs Jockin’ Jeeves
The Masterchef vs Who Horner
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