In what proved a slightly lacklustre double-gameweek, Silky Ilkay was the League of Gentlemen’s key man. The Ginger Goliath’s reign at the top was brought to an end, while Grinchy Vogt faced a tough challenge to keep his FPL Cup run alive and Lord Geord sought to atone for his woeful Wildcard.
A tense week in the League of Gentlemen, with the double-gameweek giving managers a chance to bag some extra points if they had the right players. The key man for ownership was Ilkay Gundogan who, despite only playing 68 minutes of the 180 expected, managed to put up nineteen points in that time. For most of the top ten, this was wonderful news, with seven of them giving him the armband, including Lord Geord entrusting him with the Triple Captain chip. Red Hot Rob and Hitman Hodgson tried to be too cute, giving the armband instead to Sterling and losing ground as a result, though they at least had Gundogan in the team. For Ginger Ben, it was a complete disaster, with his armband on Sterling and his gamble to continue without Gundogan blowing up in his face in spectacular fashion. Having continued without Bruno for far longer than was sensible, the Ginger One is repeating the mistake with Silky Ilkay, and was punished by being displaced at the top of the table.
Towards the foot of the division, it was a momentous gameweek for Maverick Mikey, who has reined in his transfer excesses in recent weeks and now climbed to the heady heights of third-bottom after smashing Wooden Spoon Helling all over the park. With Private Parvesh also making up 49 points on Helling, there’s every chance Mr. Set-Forget will still contrive to finish in his spiritual home of dead last. Maverick Mikey now lies just fifteen points away from the top twenty, an achievement that looked beyond him just a few short gameweeks ago. With his recent form and his conservative transfer moves, Maverick Mikey looks like being the dark horse in the upcoming Gentlemen’s Trophy, set to commence in Gameweek 27.
Double-gameweeks always bring Hundred Club potential with them, and it was a case of so near, yet so far for Dan the Dragon and the Masterchef, both of whom scored in excess of a hundred points but were taking back below the fabled figure by virtue of taking a transfer hit. In the end, only Lord Geord managed to break into the Hundred Club, his Triple Captaincy of Gundogan making it a near-inevitability. The only sadness with this achievement is Gundogan’s early injury; his scintillating form and nineteen already-secured points left a very real possibility that, due to the Triple Captain chip, Gundogan could have been the first-ever League of Gentlemen player to break a hundred points by himself. Denied the glory by his groin going, managers elsewhere in the division will be hoping for him to be fit by Double Gameweek 26, in order for him to take another stab at that very unique honour. Nevertheless, fifty-seven points is the highest Lord Geord has ever scored with his Triple Captain chip, and the memories of the one-point Mitrovic disaster from several years ago move ever-further from his memories.
All told, it was a gameweek filled with drama that somehow flattered to deceive. With Leeds and Southampton having two matches in Gameweek 25, a lot will depend on how many of their assets the Gentlemen deem worth having. With neither team in great form, expect Dallas, Raphinha, Bamford and Ings to feature heavily in manager’s minds; the more maverick Gentlemen will know these are the four big targets this week, and will seek alternative signings to gain an edge. From Southampton, new signing Minamino is showing potential, with a great goal against Newcastle fresh in the memory, while Armstrong and Ward-Prowse offer threat and creativity from midfield. For Leeds, Meslier will feature for some Gentlemen, due to already being in their squad, while the scouts will also be noting the form of Harrison, who has three goals in his last five matches. Some may even be tempted by Struijk, a £3.9m defender who scored in his last match, and who could comfortably serve as a third substitute for the remainder of the season. Some managers, on the other hand, may look at the paucity of options on the table and elect not to bother going big on either team, knowing they would want rid of their assets sooner, rather than later. Big decisions, ones that will have big impacts on a season that is already threatening to go right down to the wire.
Interesting times in the League of Gentlemen. Before we do our weekly round-up, let us go to the Cup Chronicles, for news on both the Eliminator and Grinchy Vogt’s FPL Cup odyssey.
The Cup Chronicles
With Gundogan as captain, neither Flash Funk nor Grinchy Vogt were ever under threat this week, both comfortably progressing to the Eliminator semi-final. Who would join them was a close-run affair, with neither Who Horner nor Ginger Ben owning Gundogan at all, leaving it wide open. Both men’s goalkeepers secured double-figures hauls, both their captains brought home fourteen points, while both had another outfielder hitting double-figures as well. In the end, it came down to a stroke of fortune, with Antonio’s injury meaning Maddison’s eight points rose from the bench to secure safe passage to the semis for Ginger Ben. With the competition now down to three men and with just two gameweeks to go, Flash Funk, Grinchy Vogt and Ginger Ben simply must judge the risks of their transfer decisions this week effectively. For Who Horner, however, it’s going to be several months of reflection before he gets another chance, after he became the latest victim of the Eliminator.
In the FPL Cup, Grinchy Vogt put himself under immense pressure after taking an eight-point hit before a ball had been kicked. With opponent Max Ryan flying high in the overall rankings, Vogt knew he needed a stroke of fortune to progress, and he got it, with his captain Gundogan outscoring Ryan’s captain Bruno by eighteen points. It was a spirited fightback from Ryan, but those eighteen points proved too much to overcome, leaving Grinchy Vogt celebrating another victory in the competition. His remarkable run has taken him to Round Nine, where he goes head-to-head with the formidable Ojas Sharma, who finished 4,072 in the world in season 2017/18 and who finished higher in the overall rankings than Vogt last season. Without doubt his toughest test to date, Vogt simply must get the big calls right this weekend. Failure to do so, and this wonderful adventure will come to a devastating end.
The League of Gentlemen:
Another week at the bottom for Private Parvesh, who lies 152 points adrift on 1,035 points despite making up 49 points on the falling Wooden Spoon Helling. Maverick Mikey climbs a place to 22nd, seven points behind Mack Daddy McMahon and Metal Marc, who both have 1,209 points. There’s a 29-point gap to Wildman Whitfield in nineteenth, with another 24 points to Big-Time Birkett and then a further 33 points to the Masterchef on 1,285. While the Masterchef just missed out on the Hundred Club this week, he slashed the distance to Who Horner to just six points and, while Iceman Newton may be a further 27 points away, his lack of engagement in the game means he will be caught very soon. A transfer disaster from Deadly Daz saw him fall to fourteenth on 1,345 points, with a 28-point hit proving too big for even a Bench Boost to overcome. The Ox, Slick Rick and King Ding all rose above him this week, with the King in particular starting to gain some momentum. Now up to eleventh, he still lies 52 points off the Chasing Pack, but with all chips in hand he will surely rise further in the coming weeks. His first target is Hitman Hodgson, 21 points ahead on 1,392, with Red Hot Rob a further 28 points away.
The Chasing Pack
A superb week for Lord Geord, who brought back Gundogan after the Lingard lunacy and gave him the Triple Captain, a move that paid off in spectacular fashion with a 57-point score, which would’ve been so much more had Gundogan not suffered an injury. Ten points for Pope was his second-highest score, and even though Martinez secured two extra points, the Lord is satisfied starting Pope was the correct move. Injuries hampered the points totals of Dias, who missed Manchester City’s first game, and Mee, who was ruled out of Burnley’s second – a factor which contributed to Pope failing to keep a clean sheet. Further returns from Cancelo, Alonso, Bruno and Raphinha gave the Lords 110 points, a total that, in an inconsistent season, saw him become the division’s first two-time entrant to the Hundred Club for two seasons. It left him back in the Chasing Pack on 1,423 points, just four away from seventh-place Sirloin Sean who also rose in the table. Gundogan captaincy was central to Sirloin’s success, with the performances of fourteen-point Ederson and twelve-point Cresswell also crucial. Unfortunately for Sirloin, the only other return came from Bruno, a situation which limited how high he could rise but still saw him cut the gap to sixth place to just fifteen points.
The man he’s hunting down in sixth is his leader in the Appleby Assassin’s Guild, Big Steve. It’s rare in FPL that 78 points will be seen as a bad score, but in the context of the totals around him, Big Steve will be desperately disappointed. The Gundogan captaincy was the benchmark for success, with a haul from Martinez and returns from Bruno, Stones and Salah embellishing the points total. Irritatingly for the Butcher, Dallas ended the gameweek with a score of minus-one, a situation rendered extra-irritating for the Butcher, who saw him come off his bench for Antonio. His quest for redemption may have taken a hit this week, but he remains within a hundred points of the top, and has a stronger set of chips than anyone above him. How he plays them will be critical to his chances of success. Moving one point ahead of him is Jockin’ Jeeves, whose Gundogan captaincy was supplemented by Pope’s haul and returns from Coufal, Stones, Digne, Salah and Bruno. Five green arrows in seven gameweeks have brought the Juggernauts right back into contention, and with their renowned momentum picking up pace, Jeeves will be targeting the next few weeks as the time to make his move. His total of 1,443 points is just nine away from the Title Contenders; having outscored every one of the Title Contenders over the last two gameweeks, he will fancy his chances of getting there by the end of Gameweek Twenty-Five.
The Title Contenders
Flash Funk will not be giving up his spot in the Title Contenders without a fight, mind. Having clawed his way back into contention after his recent slump, he is finding the consistency required to challenge in the upper reaches of the table. Captain Gundogan’s haul was supplemented by the haul of Pope and returns from Coufal, Stones, Salah and Bruno. Relief came in seeing Watkins come off the bench, rather than minus-scoring Dallas, but there will be strong disappointment that his lesser-owned players, Rashford and Robertson, failed to provide the cutting edge Flash needed to push on. With forty-three points the difference between Flash’s 1,451 points and third place, and with the Funkmaster still ninety points off top, he needs those fringe players to start producing if he is to rise any further.
Few would blame Grinchy Vogt if he got distracted by his sensational FPL Cup run and lost focus in the league, but his progression is proving a direct result of his strong league performances. This week was no different, with his 88 points closing the gap to Ginger Ben to 27 points. Sadly for Vogt, Ginger Ben was displaced at the top by the Dragon, meaning top spot is still 47 points away. It’s easy to forget just how adrift the Grinch was not so long ago, with that early-season nineteenth slot proving an aberration that Vogt will regret for a long time. Had he started the season in the form he is in now, he’d be challenging in the upper reaches of the overall rankings, never mind the League of Gentlemen. Captain Gundogan’s haul was supplemented by Pope’s haul and returns from Mee, Cancelo, Lookman, Bruno, Salah and Jesus, and it is the returns of differential players Jesus and Lookman that saw him make up ground. Frustration will come from leaving Coufal on the bench, but Grinchy Vogt will be buoyed by his continuing good form. Should it be maintained over the final fourteen gameweeks, it will take something special to deny him the title.
It’s all starting to catch up to second-place Ginger Ben, with most of his chips gone and the slowness to act in the transfer market being punished in spectacular fashion. The gamble of going for Sterling over Gundogan five gameweeks ago has been proven a disastrous manoeuvre, with Gundogan outscoring Sterling by 23 points in the time since that choice – even more, if you factor in the captain’s armband. What that means is that, despite having seven players secure returns, three of which were double-figure hauls, Ginger Ben’s gameweek was a flop, one which saw everybody outside of the Irrelevants outscore him. For the first time in six gameweeks, he finds himself outside of the top-100k overall; with only a bench boost remaining, his overall ranking could take a massive hit in the coming weeks. It’s going to take skill, composure and some brave transfer decisions to navigate the next six gameweeks; if he can get to Gameweek Thirty still in good shape, he can start to focus on the title run-in properly, knowing most of his rivals’ chip advantages will be gone. Still, six gameweeks is an awful long time in FPL, especially when those six gameweeks contain four double-gameweeks and a blank.
The Man Who Would Be King
Moving fourteen points clear at the top of the League of Gentlemen is Dan the Dragon, whose 1,541 points sees him ranked 76,531 in the world. His signing of Gundogan at the expense of Soucek paid off in spectacular fashion, though the hit taken to trade Coufal to Mee was tarnished by the new signing’s injury which kept him out of his second match of the gameweek. Last week’s new signing Shaw brought home eight points, while the Dragon’s faith in Martinez paid off with a twelve-point haul. Further returns from Cancelo, Bruno, Salah and Ings gave him a final score of 98 points, only missing out on the Hundred Club because of Mee’s injury. With a strike force of Ings and Bamford both playing twice next week, the Dragon has the fire power to keep flying high at the top in the weeks to come. While those who scouted him ahead of his League of Gentlemen debut knew the Dragon had FPL skills, nobody could have predicted how strong he would perform this season. With a Wildcard, Triple Captain and Bench Boost remaining, he is well-equipped for the weeks ahead; it’s going to take something special from a rival or a complete collapse to stop him now.
That concludes our round-up of Gameweek Twenty-Four, one which saw Lord Geord enter the Hundred Club for the second time this season, which saw Grinchy Vogt’s FPL Cup odyssey continue, and which saw the Dragon soar back to the top of the league. Gameweek Twenty-Five, with the transfer dilemmas caused by only two teams playing twice, promises to be a unique challenge for the Gentlemen to navigate. As always, may all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.
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