The highest-scoring gameweek in twenty-team Premier League history saw one man enter the Hundred Club, saw those with Spurs attackers gain a huge advantage over their rivals and saw Manchester United get off to a whimper.
Gameweek Two provided us with the highest-scoring Premier League weekend since it became a twenty-team competition, with the Spurs duo of Kane and Son the big heroes of the weekend. Son scored the most points of any player, his four-goal haul bringing in a massive 24 points for his owners and making a mockery of his status as the second-most sold player of the week. His teammate Kane provided the assist for all four goals before bagging one himself, securing a 21-point haul and underlying why he's the most expensive striker on the game.
In contrast, Manchester United severely underperformed, looking slow, uninventive and off the pace throughout their 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace. With several assets heavily-favoured by FPL managers, Ole dealt the first blow by dropping Greenwood and Wan-Bissaka, then moved the gameweek's most-transferred in player, Bruno Fernandes, deeper and deeper as the game progressed. With him, Pogba, Rashford and Martial all failing to return or impress, and with so many other players getting off to flying starts, it leaves some big decisions ahead for FPL managers. The one bright spot for Manchester United was van de Beek scoring on his debut; that he did it from the bench, however, suggests he may not be the most viable asset in the coming weeks.
These results, as well as the other eight matches of the gameweek, led to huge disparity of scores in the League of Gentlemen. Mad Mikey used his Wildcard, yet saw the Suicide Squad bring in just 23 points, the lowest score in the division. It wasn't much better for Hitman Hodgson, All-Star Vogt, Wildman Whitfield or Metal Marc, who all scored in the mid-30s and saw a big opportunity to lay a marker pass them by. The big winners of the gameweek were three unfancied names. Wooden Spoon Helling smashed in 89 points despite having seven players score two points or less, while Ginger Ben secured his second 80-plus score in two gameweeks to take Ctrl Alt De Laet 22 points clear at the top.
For Slick Rick, this gameweek was vindication. Much-maligned for his Spurs-heavy selection last season, he saw Son and Kane reward his faith with a massive 66 points between them. Despite Doherty's early assist being ruled out and nine-point Foden being left on the bench, the rest of the Trickstars did enough to secure 104 points, taking him to second in the League of Gentlemen and making him the first entrant into the Hundred Club this season. An outstanding effort, one which he will hope to repeat with Spurs facing an out-of-sorts Newcastle this weekend.
For us in the Lords, it was a much-improved gameweek after a woeful opening weekend. Our one-week punt on Bamford paid off, with the Leeds man securing 14 points. He won't be hanging around in the line-up, however, as we feel he is too wasteful in front of goal and, with Rodrigo as competition and Sheffield United, Manchester City and Wolves in the next three gameweeks, chances are likely to be limited. We feel Chris Wood is a better option for the coming weeks, with the Burnley Bomber facing Southampton, Newcastle and West Brom. While it's a decision we could live to regret, Wood's higher price point means we can return to Bamford down the line, should his position remain secure.
After years of underachievement, we are walking the King's Road this season, asking ourselves what King Ding would do before making our decisions. Last year, we'd have sold Son for a hit; walking the King's Road meant a massive haul. Our Wildcard has been activated for Gameweek Three, an aggressive move designed to build upon our score from this week by targeting the strong run of fixtures certain teams have. Our strategy also involves picking only one defensive and one attacking player per team; in these Covid times, we feel it best to spread the risk around, giving us options should matches be cancelled. Only time will tell whether it is the right strategy and, of course, whether we can avoid the diversions along the King's Road.
Exciting times in the League of Gentlemen, with the top seven being comprised of either new entrants or teams that finished in the depths of the division last time out. Perhaps the incentive of the Final Qualifying Round of the Gentlemen's Classic drove those teams to greater performances; with the Classic starting proper this week, all eyes will be on the big-hitters to see if they can respond. Let us turn to the Cup Chronicles, and find out which sixteen teams will compete in the Gentlemen's Classic.
The Cup Chronicles
In Qualifier One, The Ox had an eight-point advantage over Mad Mikey after the first leg, with Metal Marc way off the pace. Mad Mikey's FPL Nightmare turned this qualifier into a procession, with The Ox romping home by 49 points. Qualifier Two was much closer, with Wooden Spoon Helling beginning the gameweek with a seven-point advantage. He turned up the heat with a massive 89 further points, but it wasn't enough to deny Slick Rick, whose Hundred Club gameweek saw him become the second Qualifier. Qualifier Three saw Iceman Newton return 137 points over the course of the tie, a total that puts him fifth in the league table. Sadly for him, he was up against an undeniable Ginger Ben, whose table-topping 161 points meant nobody could stop his qualification.
Qualifier Four was the closest of all, providing us with the maximum drama. Wildman Whitfield and Red Hot Rob were never in a position to threaten, both finishing well out of contention. Mack Daddy McMahon saw Allison, Zaha and Mitrovic give him an outside chance of the comeback win, but seven players failing to return proved too big a hurdle. It all came down to Sirloin Sean and Dan the Dragon, and as the last match of the gameweek kicked off, Sirloin Sean was eight points behind. Not for the first time in a League of Gentlemen cup match, Raul Jimenez stepped up to secure the points needed to take it to a Substitute's Shoot-Out. Order of subs proved crucial in deciding the outcome. Sirloin Sean won the first sub point, Dan the Dragon won the third sub point, which meant it all came down to the second sub. Five points for Anguissa gave the Dragon a great chance, but Saint-Maximin's injury proved crucial. His one-point performance instead of the standard two was one reason the Dragon needed a shoot-out at all; his conceding of a penalty and early substitution were key factors in Brighton keeping a clean sheet, meaning Dunk secured seven points for Sirloin Sean, his second point in the Substitute Shoot-Out, and qualification for the Gentlemen's Classic. Had Anguissa been the Dragon's first sub, it would have been Dandee Utd in the Classic, which is a lesson for everyone to get your substitutes in the right order.
The sixteen managers entering the Gentlemen's Classic are listed below. After the Live Draw on Friday afternoon, this will be altered to show the four first-round groups.
Gentlemen's Classic, Final Qualifying Round Results:
Qualifier One: The Ox - 129 points, Mad Mikey P - 80 points, Metal Marc - 59 points.
Qualifier Two: Slick Rick - 139 points, Wooden Spoon Helling - 131 points, Tits Up Thompson - 0 points (no team entered).
Qualifier Three: Ginger Ben - 161 points, Iceman Newton - 137 points, Jie - 0 points (no team entered).
Qualifier Four: Sirloin Sean - 139 points, Dan the Dragon - 139 points, Mack Daddy McMahon - 114 points, Red Hot Rob - 99 points, Wildman Whitfield - 80 points.
Substitute's Shoot-Out - Sirloin Sean vs Dan the Dragon:
Sub One: SS - 2 points, DtD - 0 points.
Sub Two: SS - 7 points, DtD - 5 points.
Sub Three: SS - -2 points, DtD - 5 points.
Sirloin Sean wins the Substitute's Shoot-Out 2-1.
Gentlemen's Classic Entrants:
Top Seeds: King Ding, Big Steve, Jockin' Jeeves, Deadly Daz.
Second Seeds: Hitman Hodgson, Lord Geord, All-Star Vogt, The Masterchef.
Third Seeds: Big-Time Birkett, Private Parvesh, Flash, Who Horner.
Fourth Seeds: The Ox, Slick Rick, Ginger Ben, Sirloin Sean.
The Gentlemen's Classic begins this weekend, in Gameweek Three.
The League of Gentlemen:
Metal Marc remains rooted to the foot of the table, another dreadful gameweek opening up a 21-point gap to Wildman Whitfield and Mad Mikey. Private Parvesh started on the road to recovery, rising to 21st following a 60-point gameweek. Ahead of him were red arrows for Big-Time Birkett and Jockin' Jeeves, cementing a slow start for two hotly-tipped candidates. Worryingly for the Juggernauts, the Rap Rob Roy has already veered into the transfer hits. While this week's hits resulted in a seven-point gain, that success could prove the worst outcome, leading Jockin' Jeeves to take further hits in an attempt to repeat that success. Red Hot Rob, the Masterchef and Lord Geord remain within six points, and all three will be pleased with a green arrow after a poor opening weekend.
Just four points separate Deadly Daz in fifteenth and Mack Daddy McMahon in twelfth, with Hitman Hodgson and All-Star Vogt tied on 111 points in between. A solid start in his debut year, but the Mack Daddy will have his work cut out given the calibre of opposition on his tail. Who Horner is in eleventh, four points behind Flash and Big Steve who both lie on 125 points. Solid starts for all three, who will fancy their chances of making the Chasing Pack in Gameweek Three.
The Chasing Pack
A slow start to the season sees back-to-back champion King Ding take a red arrow and drop to eight, just remaining in the Chasing Pack by two points. Only five players secured returns, with Ings and captain Aubameyang reaching double figures. The big issue was Greenwood's benching and Saint-Maximin's early injury, with new signing Dallas' conceding of three goals not inspiring much confidence. With doubts over Lamptey, Saint-Maximin and Tierney, underperformance of Dallas and McCarthy and weak options on the bench, the King has to be considering the Wildcard, though he will be loath to use a chip so early in the season. Moving ahead of him into seventh is The Ox, buoyed by strikers Kane and Mitrovic securing three goals, four assists and six bonus points between them. A promising start from The Ox, who vowed to give a better account of himself this season after underwhelming last time out. You would expect to see de Bruyne replace Aubameyang in the Oxsmorons starting XI next week, which could help take them even higher, especially given the Belgian's more advanced role this season.
Indeed, it was de Bruyne who helped lift Wooden Spoon Helling up to the lofty heights of sixth position, his thirteen points supplementing the 59 provided by Calvert-Lewin and captain Kane. Given his set-and-forget style, you have to feel this will be as good as it gets for Wooden Spoon, but given his balanced squad, a bit of luck could see him surprise a few people this season. Ahead of him in fifth is Iceman Newton, whose seventy-point total leaves him just two points from the Title Contenders. The brash Iceman swore that his rivals would end the season jealous of his team, and on this form, that boast may be more likely than most imagined in pre-season. The Everton duo of Rodriguez and Richarlison led the way with 24 points, ably supported by a strong defensive performance and the fourteen-pointer from Bamford. With those ahead firmly in his sights, expect him to shrug off his Gentlemen's Classic heartbreak and cause problems throughout the campaign.
The Title Contenders
Incredibly, the three teams in the Title Contenders are separated only by transfers made, which each manager securing 139 points in the opening fortnight. Having taken a transfer hit this week, Dan the Dragon lies in fourth spot, with four players securing double-figure hauls for Dandee United. Had Anguissa and Mitchell started ahead of their one-point teammates, it could have been even better for the newcomers to the division, though the Dragon will be satisfied to have outperformed his brother, the Hitman, by 28 points so far. The transfer hit paid off for the Dragon, with new signing Rodriguez outperforming the two sold players by himself. He's another who will have to avoid the trap created by the successful hit, especially when he suffers some quieter gameweeks in the coming months.
Ahead of him by virtue of having made only one transfer is Sirloin Sean, who drops from the top spot after securing a below-average 55 points. What was promising for Sirloin Sean is that all three of his frontmen secured returns, although he is indebted to the VAR decision that saw Ayew's penalty miss scrubbed from the records. Had it stood, he would've found himself out of the Gentlemen's Classic and outside of the Title Contenders, but you need luck to be successful in this game and his fortune cannot be begrudged. With Wolves having secured a new wing-back this week, Traore should play further forward which increases Sirloin's chances of success this weekend, especially with Wolves playing West Ham. Crucial to his result this week was the signing of Klich; the man he replaced, Lundstram, missed a penalty, meaning that transfer left his team ten points better off. Similar success in the market will be needed this week to remain in the upper reaches of the table.
In second place is the centurion Slick Rick, whose outstanding performance launched his team up the table without a transfer being made. The 66 points from his Spurs duo were boosted by returns from Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Jimenez and Ings, though the benching of Foden for Onomah cost a further eight points and will frustrate him somewhat. Just 22 points off the top spot, the Trickstars have two free transfers this week; with so many good cheap options in midfield, replacing perennial-underachiever Perez with a £5.5m man such as Podence or Klich would free up funds to upgrade Douglas, giving Slick Rick a stronger, more balanced squad. This time last year the Trickstars occupied a similar position; the challenge this time out is to build on it, rather than slip away.
The Man Who Would Be King
From League One to the League of Gentlemen number one, football is a game of polarity to Ginger Ben. The presence of a Mackem at the top will frustrate a division which is more than a quarter filled with Newcastle fans, yet his successful start has been earned and cannot be denied. He took a courageous decision this weekend, bringing in Moutinho for the injured Henderson, then replacing his new signing with Klich for a four-point hit. It's the sort of move that, if it goes wrong, you look like an idiot, but Ginger Ben emerged from the transfer market three points better off, while looking decisive and ruthless. Seven players secured returns for Ctrl Alt De Laet this week, including Son's monster haul, and now Ginger Ben enters Gameweek Three 22 points clear at the top. Having struggled for much of his debut season last year, the pieces of the puzzle appear to have come together. While there is still 36 gameweeks to go, his rivals simply cannot afford to let him pull any further ahead; if he can maintain his 80+ points a week form, Ginger Ben could win the worldwide FPL competition, setting a new total points record in the process. While unlikely, we can rule nothing out when it comes to the World's Greatest Mini-League.
That concludes our round-up of Gameweek Two, which saw last season's big-hitters struggle to get going, which saw new and unfancied players position themselves in the upper reaches of the table, which saw Slick Rick hit the Hundred Club and which saw Ginger Ben pull 22 points clear at the top. With the Gentlemen's Classic beginning in Gameweek Three, the drama is only just beginning. As always, may all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods forever be in your favour.
'The FPL Nightmare: How to Lose the World's Greatest Mini-League in 38 Simple Steps'
Available now on Kindle and the Kindle app on smartphones, only £1.99: