In a week with a wild fluctuation of scores, one manager saw all his good work come undone with a disaster in the transfer market, while another continued his remarkable renaissance since being reminded of the joys of FPL with a sensational Manager of the Month win.
Just when you think you have FPL figured out, the FPL Gods appear with an FPL Nightmare that leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew about the game. It was the sort of week that could leave lasting damage, one that could force entire strategies and approaches to the game to be torn up and rewritten. It could yet prove to be a season-ender though, in this most unpredictable and volatile of seasons, it may yet end up being nothing but a minor blip.
For most managers, their transfer frustration was limited to the failure of Calvert-Lewin to produce any returns against a Newcastle team without a win in ten matches, their new defender failing to keep a clean sheet or, in the instances of Chilwell, Cancelo and Stones, not being selected to play. For Jockin’ Jeeves, the transfer market proved utterly disastrous, with his hopes of success decimated as a result.
The Juggernaut has always been proactive in the transfer market, taking hits most weeks as he fine-tunes his squad, gambling that the potential rewards outweigh the four or eight points it normally costs him. It is a strategy that has brought him much success in the competition, with two league titles and several top three finishes over the seven years the division has been active. After weeks of work closing the gap to the top, rising from the Irrelevants to third place, he saw Ginger Ben take the advantage in Gameweek Twenty with a massive score. Needing to react, Jeeves decided to take a twelve-point hit, completely reshaping his squad and betting that the twelve point deficit would be made up by the players he had signed.
He dreamt it would fire him to glory. What transpired was, perhaps, the biggest FPL Nightmare of all time. His first transfer, Rodrigo to Calvert-Lewin, gave him a one-point net gain and, with Rodrigo’s injury, looked to have proven a solid move for the coming gameweeks. If that was the only transfer, there wouldn’t really have been an issue. But it wasn’t, not by a long shot. The first four-point hit involved removing seven-point Dallas for one-point Digne, leaving him on minus-nine points. The second four-point hit involved bringing in two-point Watkins for fifteen-point Bamford, costing him seventeen points in total and taking him to twenty-six under zero for transfers. It was the last move that killed him, replacing one Liverpool attacker with another in moving Salah to Mane, then giving him the armband. If Salah had the armband, that would’ve brought in 32 points. In spending four points switching his captain to his team-mate, then seeing Mane ruled out with injury, it cost him 34 points in total, giving him a grand transfer total of minus-60 points. With one-point Soucek coming off the bench and two-point vice-captain Son’s score doubling to four, these transfers ended up costing Jeeves 57 points, and saw him plummet from third in the table to eighth, 105 points off the top.
Sensing an opportunity for a scoop, Weekly Bullshitter reporter Jez Messing undertook his first real assignment since the damning revelations of fabricating quotes and attributing them to King Ding. He drove round to Juggernaut HQ, where he was met at the door by Juggernauts assistant manager Hot Rod. While Messing was not granted an audience with Jockin’ Jeeves, he did take Hot Rod to the boot of his car, where he sold him a knackered old laptop for a tenner. Pleased with this deal, Hot Rod returned to the office, oblivious to the fact Messing had switched on the laptop’s microphone and Bluetooth, and was recording every word that was being said.
“Who was at the fucking door?”
“It was that Jez Messing, hoping to get your thoughts on the players.”
“Here’s my fucking thoughts. You can tell Mo Salah, Everton, Sadio Mane and the rest of Liverpool, along with Ollie Watkins and fucking Callum Wilson to fuck right off all the way to Jez Messing’s house. And when they get there, they can grab hold of him and fuck off some more. Fuck football, fuck FPL, fuck the fucking lot of it!”
“Look, son, I did try to tell you about the risks.”
“Well, it is what it is. If you roll the dice, sometimes you lose out, and sometimes you get dropkicked in the balls, pistol-whipped by an eighteen-inch cock and sent back down about two hundred thousand places. I’d like to say it’s a lesson I’ll learn, but I don’t hold out much hope. Do you want a filter coffee?”
“I’ll bring the cafetiere to you … here, why is that red light on that shite laptop you’ve brought in? You never got that off Messing?”
“You stupid fat bastard!”
“Not my new cafetiere! That cost me fifty pounds!”
“Aye, well it didn’t cost you fifty-odd points, that’s far fucking worse. Give me that laptop too … (sound goes dead)”
Tense times, as ever, at Juggernaut HQ. How Jockin’ Jeeves responds in Gameweek Twenty-Two will be one of the most fascinating stories that unfolds.
The Cup Chronicles
The other League of Gentlemen story dominating the agenda is the remarkable resurgence of the former All-Star, good ol’ Grinchy Vogt. When the video was made that challenged his attitude and showed him how to rediscover his FPL joy, Team Nemesis were stranded nineteenth in the League of Gentlemen, so deep into Irrelevants that they were barely on anyone’s radar. In the seven gameweeks that have followed, Grinchy Vogt has turned his season around, flying up the table into third position and, even more impressively, becoming the last man standing in the FPL Cup. His Fifth Round tie was against 2 Girls 1 Cup, ranked 31,617 in the world. They promised to be a stern test, with Grinchy Vogt the firm underdog heading into the tie. What followed was a lesson in the levels involved in FPL. Grinchy Vogt, in stunning fashion, more than doubled his opponent’s score, knocking them out by a resounding 88-39 scoreline. His progression to Round Six is the furthest any League of Gentlemen manager has gone in the FPL Cup, and with the draw pitting him against John Hariz, currently ranked 1,257,974 in the world, Grinchy Vogt enters as favourite. The form favours the Grinch too, with Hariz’s current form standing at 287 points in the last five gameweeks, while Vogt’s is 421 points over the same timeframe. You have to go back to Gameweek Eleven for the last time Hariz outscored Vogt in a gameweek, but we all know all that matters is the score next time out.
In the Eliminator, Slick Rick Wildcarded his way into disaster, somehow contriving to field only nine players, of which only two secured returns. However, given the absolute self-destruction of the Juggernauts, it proved to be enough. Jockin’ Jeeves secured a mere 24 points, with the transfer hits proving too catastrophic to overcome. One of the favourites to win the competition, Jockin’ Jeeves now understands why this is the toughest endurance competition in all of FPL, and finds himself the eighteenth victim of the Eliminator.
Of the original twenty-four competitors, three-quarters of the field have gone, and only six men remain. One of Ginger Ben, Grinchy Vogt, Flash Funk, Lord Geord, Who Horner and Slick Rick will make history by becoming the sole survivor. With just five gameweeks to go in the competition, none of them can afford a bad gameweek. In the most intense of competitions, the pressure is well and truly on.
The League of Gentlemen:
Private Parvesh remains bottom of the league, and the gains he made last week were wiped out by Maverick Mikey’s strong performance this time out. Mikey’s 64 points move him to 977 points, 104 ahead of the basement-dwelling Parvesh. He also more than doubled Metal Marc’s score, moving him just 26 points off 22nd place. A huge 81 points from Wildman Whitfield saw him rise a place in the table, though Mack Daddy McMahon’s own 77-point week saw him remain three points clear in twentieth on 1,052 points. Both men decimated the Masterchef’s advantage, with his 34 points meaning he is just two points away from dropping further. After such a promising debut season, the Masterchef will be gutted with how badly second-season syndrome has affected him, and will be desperate for the season to end so he can have another crack next time out. Thirty points ahead is Wooden Spoon Helling on 1,074, with Big-Time Birkett maintaining the thirteen-point gap after matching his gameweek total of 47 points. A twenty-six point gap emerges to Who Horner in sixteenth, with King Ding stuck in fifteenth for another week after a 38-point total left him on 1,132 points. Deadly Daz extended his gap over the King by a further thirteen points to nineteen, leaving him just three points behind Slick Rick on 1,154, twelve behind Iceman Newton on 1,163 and fourteen off The Ox in eleventh on 1,165. All of those men have work to do to catch Hitman Hodgson, whose 63-point week moves him into the top ten on 1,195, just four points behind the falling Red Hot Rob, who scored just 34 points this week.
The Chasing Pack
Dropping from third to eighth is Jockin’ Jeeves, whose FPL Nightmare has already been well-covered this week. Martinez and Dias got eighteen points between them, which managed to keep the Juggernauts in the Chasing Pack by twelve points, but with four players getting one point, two getting two points, two getting three points and captain Son producing four, it really is a week to forget for Jeeves. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, with his Wildcard already played and a team he can’t bear to look at. He could completely avoid the game for a week and leave it in Hot Rod’s hands, or he could take more hits and reshape the team further – it’s so hard to call. One almost-certainty is that James will be sold, with weeks of inactivity costing the Juggernauts dearly. Who comes in, though, is anyone’s guess. Four points ahead on 1,215 is Lord Geord, who fell three places in the table following a score of just 45 points. The brave decision to start two West Ham attackers against Liverpool backfired horribly, with new signing Antonio and Soucek combining for just three points and the benched Bamford bringing in fifteen. The hit taken for Digne also failed to pay off, with just one point secured in exchange for the four-point deficit and seven-point Dallas remaining on the bench. The twenty-two points from the two Leeds lads on the bench were what he hoped for with his Bench Boost two weeks ago, adding further insult to injury. The one positive was his other substitute, Wan-Bissaka, scored eight points and was called off the bench. The Lords’ run of eleven green arrows in thirteen gameweeks has now turned into two red arrows on the bounce; a big performance is needed next time out to stop the blip becoming a full-blown crisis.
Four points ahead in sixth is Sirloin Sean, the early-season high-flyer who has struggled in recent weeks. Those troubles were put to bed with a stunning 85-point gameweek, with Bamford, Wilson and Salah the heroes. The Leeds and Newcastle talisman combined for 28 points between them, while captain Salah brought in a huge thirty points himself. The assists of Cresswell and Grealish and the clean sheet of Ederson added extra flourish to the score, though the goal Cresswell assisted did deny Robertson and Alexander-Arnold a clean sheet apiece. The steady-away Sirloin has taken hits just twice this season, so there will be minimal changes to his line-up next time out; the not-selected Chilwell is the most at-risk of being sold, though Sirloin has rolled his transfers eight times this season, and may well do so again. Given the way he has closed the gap to Flash Funk to just one point, there is no need to be too extreme in the market. The tough run continued for Flash, with his fifty-point total making it six red arrows in the last eight gameweeks. It seems like the disappointment of failure in the Gentlemen’s Classic final continues to haunt the Funkmaster, with his qualification for the final marking the start of the decline. Of course, some perspective needs to be kept – Flash’s red arrows started from an overall ranking of 296k, where the competition is fiercer and the threshold for a red arrow much lower. Even so, it is bound to be disheartening to check the rankings and see yet another red next to his name. There were two major mistakes from Flash this week – selling Bamford for Calvert-Lewin, which cost him thirteen points, and captaining Gundogan over Salah, which cost him another twelve. While both decisions had their merits, it is nevertheless twenty-five lost points at a critical stage of the season, and Flash needs a response this weekend to get his title challenge back on track.
The Title Contenders
Back into the Title Contenders is the head of the Appleby Assassin’s Guild, Big Steve, who moved to reassert his dominance among the trio after they sandwiched him last week. Having reminded Red Hot Rob and Sirloin Sean who the boss was, he set about proving to his rivals why he is still a manager to be feared. He needed a response after a dismal 27 points last week, and he got it with a huge 83 point final score. Like Sirloin, he had the Salah – Bamford – Wilson triumvirate, yet he made the mistake of captaining two-point Son instead, costing himself thirteen points. The defensive steel of Dallas, Martinez and Dias brought in another 25 points but, having just missed out on the Hundred Club two gameweeks prior, the Butcher will be disappointed to see another chance go begging. Had eight-point Holding started over one-point Justin, and had Salah been named captain, the Butcher would’ve broke three figures. Still, he’ll emerge from Gameweek Twenty-One pleased to be back inside the top four, and he’ll look to push on further next time out.
Not many managers would Wildcard after an 86-point gameweek when they are going into a blank gameweek, but most managers are not Grinchy Vogt. Doing exactly that and rebuilding his squad from a position of strength has paid off spectacularly, with three overall gameweek ranks out of four inside the top 75k in the world, and a spectacular rise in the table from nineteenth to third in just seven gameweeks. His sensational form has seen him win the most one-sided Manager of the Month competition in history, finishing a massive 73 points ahead of runner-up Ginger Ben, and marking him as the man to watch going forward. His total for Gameweek Twenty-One was 88 points, with the transfer hit to bring in Calvert-Lewin and Grealish for Kane and Soucek boosting his final score by a modest three points. The defensive steel of De Gea, Dias, Wan-Bissaka and Holding brought in 31 points, while Bamford and Salah both scored fifteen points. However, Vogt’s score was boosted even further with Cancelo missing out; not only did Wan-Bissaka’s eight points come off the bench, but Salah’s fifteen doubled to thirty. His total of 421 points in January’s five gameweeks shows the rest of the division what can be achieved; not only that, in outscoring the league leader by 73 points, Grinchy Vogt has reignited hope throughout the division that they still have a chance of glory.
Simply fantastic stuff from Vogt, and a month that will be remembered for a long time.
The disenchantment continues for the Dragon, who remains in second place on 1,293 points, but has seen the gap behind him shrunk to 38 points as a result of Grinchy Vogt’s meteoric rise. Hoping for a response to his woeful 27-pointer last time out, the Dragon took a four-point hit to bring in Cancelo and Ings for Walker-Peters and Kane. It never rains, but it pours, and right now the FPL Gods are pissing down on the Dragon. First, Cancelo wasn’t selected, meaning one-point Coufal came into the defence. Then, Ings became the latest victim of VAR, with a clear penalty for Southampton denied, as well as an Ings goal ruled out by a joke of an offside decision. Thirteen much-needed points became two, and the problems were compounded by the selection of one-point Soucek over fifteen-point Bamford. Martinez, Salah and the Dragon’s second defensive substitute, Dallas, did bring in 32 of the team’s 45 points, yet the Dragon will be cursing naming Calvert-Lewin as captain over FPL’s top-scoring player. It’s tough right now for the Dragon, who will be feeling like his season is falling apart, yet he must focus on the positives. He closed the gap to the top by two points, a figure that isn’t much but, if replicated in each of the remaining gameweeks, will see him as champion. Not only that, but everyone else in the division bar Ginger Ben would love to be where he is right now – second in the table, with a Triple Captain and a Wildcard advantage over the league leader. Indeed, if offered an extra 23 points or those two chips, most seasoned players would opt for the chips, knowing they have the potential to secure far more points. All it takes is one big score next time out, and the Dragon will be soaring again.
The Man Who Would Be King
After such a sensational turnaround last week, it was a more muted affair for Ginger Ben this time out, with just 43 points added to his season’s score. The signing of Watkins for Kane added two points to his total, and the benefits of that particular signing should be seen in the coming weeks, with the Villa striker having two extra games to play to most of his rivals. The other transfer, a four-point hit to bring in Chilwell for Wan-Bissaka, proved a disaster. Not only did Wan-Bissaka score eight points, but Chilwell was dropped from the Chelsea team, and watched as his replacement kept a clean sheet and scored. It could be that the Ginger One has bought a £6.1m defensive dead weight, although Cresswell’s four points off the bench mitigated the disappointment a little. With only five players getting returns, the Ginger Goliath missed an opportunity to put some distance between himself and the rest of the Gentlemen, and he will be hoping he doesn’t come to rue that over the next few weeks. He may also be concerned with how he’s ended up in a situation where, of his starting seven attackers, two are from Villa, two from West Ham and another is Brewster, while £4.9m burns a hole in his pocket. With no Wildcard remaining, Ginger Ben needs to be shrewd in the transfer market; this situation is one that needs addressing immediately. Nevertheless, he remains at the top of the table, with 1,316 points on the board and an overall ranking of 57,776, a wonderful performance from someone in just his second season.
That concludes the round-up of Gameweek Twenty-One in the League of Gentlemen, one which saw Calvert-Lewin let down his many new owners, which saw Jockin’ Jeeves sabotage his season with transfer recklessness, and which saw Grinchy Vogt seal a dominant Manager of the Month performance. 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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