For the second gameweek running, the Grinch was in command. The failure of the captains didn’t stop some big-name players rising through the ranks, but they'll need to work fast to stop Vogt winning the lot.
The view from the top of Mount Crumpet grew in beauty for Grinchy Vogt this gameweek, after he outscored the other forty Gentlemen for the second gameweek running to open up a 26-point cushion. His grinchy antics paid off again, as he tossed mind grenade after mind grenade at the climbers and scored three direct hits. The inexperience of Gladiator Glen was exposed, as Shameless Simon goaded him into throwing away his Wildcard at the earliest opportunity, while the Grinch revelled in seeing the experienced Sirloin Sean fall into the same trap. Meanwhile, Maverick Mikey - never one to need much encouragement to sabotage his own season - was lured into playing his Triple Captain on a player who has never scored in Gameweek Two, and who had scored only one goal in seven previous games against the team he was facing. Predictably, that abysmal run continued, bringing miserable joy to the most miserly of managers.
That's not to say the Grinch only occupies the throne through misdirection and malevolence. He is there on merit, with his outstanding opening to the season seeing him rise to 210th in the world. That is the highest-ever overall ranking recorded by a Gentleman, surpassing the 516th-place achieved by The Butcher at the end of Gameweek Six in 2019-20. Backing up his hindering of others with a score of 215 points in two gameweeks, the Grinch is continuing the outstanding form shown post-Christmas last season, which is an ominous sign for the rest of the Gentlemen.
Jockin' Jeeves has already moved to address the Grinch's threat by bringing in a new benefactor to the club. Jez Messing of the Weekly Bullshitter reports that local businessman Robin Johnson is the new investor, and it was he who was behind the renaming of 'the Juggernauts' to 'the Townhead Gunners,' a symbolic move designed to show the focus is firmly on taunting and taking down the Arsenal-loving Grinch. That Jockin' Jeeves could be persuaded to source investment is one thing; that he obtained it from his former boss at Blues Nightclub is another thing entirely. Vogt, of course, is another former employee of the camel-coated fat cat, and Messing speculates that is the reason he was sourced as the new investor - because he knows how to put the Grinch in his place. What this means for Jockin' Jeeves going forward is uncertain, though Messing claims an ultimatum has been issued to the Rap Rob Roy: finish in the medals and above the Grinch, or this season will be his last as an FPL manager.
It wasn't the best of gameweeks for the Lords, as I fell to 45 points behind the Grinch. It looked like being a good gameweek after the first match, as two of my defenders hauled while my decision not to captain Salah - in contrast with the majority of the division, and all but one of the top ten - was proven correct as he failed to score or assist. After that promising start, it all went downhill, with Greenwood's haul the only other boost to my score, and captain Bruno losing his head and getting a yellow card which meant he scored just a single point. My decision to start the season with Barnes and Toney has backfired, with only seven points amassed from the pair, a total Benrahma - who was under serious consideration in pre-season - has more than trebled by himself. Antonio saved the day with a sixteen-point salvo in the final match, giving me a total of 69 points, and now the first test of my ability to play the game differently this season is upon me. Last season, I'd have taken a hit to replace Veltman, Barnes and Toney with Duffy, Benrahma and Calvert-Lewin. The urge to do just that is strong, even though I know the sensible play is to replace Veltman and roll the extra transfer. I intend to play it smart, but we won't know until after the deadline whether I was able to or not. It's very difficult to play the game sensibly, but to have any hope of completing the King's Quest, I simply have to find a way to do so. A big score from Barnes or Toney in Gameweek Three is needed, to prove to myself I'm on the right path.
Gameweek Three will also see the first two cup competitions of the season get under way. The Eliminator has become ever more ruthless this season, with two teams Eliminated each gameweek until Gameweek Nineteen. Making it more exciting is the new ruling that transfer hits do not count in the competition, meaning that Maverick Mikey finally has a chance of glory. Also being played is the first leg of the final qualifiers for the Gentlemen's Classic, with three qualifiers consisting of four of the twelve Gentlemen who did not qualify automatically through league position, and the fourth being an all-out war between the seventeen newcomers to the division. These competitions will only increase the scrutiny and pressure of every decision made by the Gentlemen. The opening-fortnight amnesty is over; business is about to pick up.
There was a lot of volatility in the Irrelevants this gameweek, which is to be expected at such an early stage of the season. It was particularly rough on newcomer 'Stone Cold' Stephen Levins, who finds himself rock-bottom of the table. Private Parvesh secured the fifth-highest score in the division to rise nine places, with Hitman Hodgson, Big Steve, Ginger Ben and Deadly Daz among the other risers. Gladiator Glen and Sirloin Sean used their Wildcards for a negligible difference in their scores, while Maverick Mikey threw away his Triple Captain chip on three-point Salah. The defending champion, Dan the Dragon, finds himself eight points off the Elite in tenth, while Deadly Daz is the most frustrated manager in the division, knowing his benching of Tsimikas and Duffy cost him over twenty points, as well as a place in the Elite.
It was a rough gameweek for King Ding, who was outscored by the rest of the Elite by at least ten points, and who only avoided an FPL Nightmare because of the hauls of Alexander-Arnold, Tsimikas and Antonio. The same three players hauled for my team, with my score being made more respectable by a further haul from Greenwood and a Sanchez return. Both of us dropped in the table, though our choice to give Bruno the captaincy over Salah resulted more in frustration than any real damage to our predicaments. It was a different story for Big-Time Birkett, who only missed out on his full team scoring additional points due to VAR ruling out a Salah goal and his opting for Cresswell over Dier in the starting eleven. There will be regret from Big-Time over bringing in Pogba for Sterling, with the Manchester City man scoring two extra points this gameweek and facing Arsenal in Gameweek Three, who he has five goals and two assists in his last seven league appearances against. Nevertheless, Birkett will be delighted with his start to the campaign after such a disappointing 2020-21.
Ahead of him are the hotly-tipped newcomers, Mighty Mouse and Go Cartin. Mighty Mouse used his transfer to bring in Alonso for White, a decision that proved effective when the Chelsea man scored six points and White did not play. He was pleased to see midfield differential duo Jota and Grealish both score, though the eight points of Bissouma being stranded on his bench will be mildly irritating. Go Cartin continues to be driven by West Ham duo Benrahma and Antonio, who have scored 52 of his 177 points so far. His choice of Chilwell, rather than Alonso, continues to frustrate, with Mighty Mouse's man having scored 21 points to Go's zero, and substitute Lowton being one of three players to score just one point for his team.
Those underperformances opened the door to Go's rivals, and Jockin' Jeeves was the big beneficiary, smashing home the second-highest score in the division to move into third place. Thriving under the pressure put on him by the new owner of his team, the Rap Rob Roy saw hauls from Tsimikas, Alexander-Arnold, Benrahma and Antonio fire his team five places up the table, and the Townhead Gunners have their sights firmly set on overhauling the Chancellor in Gameweek Three. It was another strong gameweek for the Chancellor, who saw four players haul and another two get returns to secure an eighty-point total. It's a score that puts him seven points clear in second, though time will tell whether his challenge is sustainable. For now, though, he can enjoy a dream start to life in the League of Gentlemen. With three new faces in the top five, the big names from seasons gone by will have to be at their very best to find success this season. The challenge is greater than ever.
The Man Who Would Be King
Rising to the challenge before him is Grinchy Vogt, who scored the highest total in the division for the second gameweek running, moving himself 26 points clear at the top of Mount Crumpet. While his advantage is already causing consternation among the contenders, it must be remembered that Ginger Ben was only four points fewer ahead at the same stage last season, and he ended up well off the pace by the Final Day. That being said, the Grinch's form has been impeccable since Gameweek Fifteen last season, and it is a worry for the chasing pack that his momentum has carried over to this season. With five players hauling and another three getting returns, his squad is looking very strong, though his bench does look a little vulnerable, and that could be cause for concern going forward. As it stands, the Grinch won't be bothered about his subs; he is 210th out of over 7.5m players in the overall rankings, which is the highest overall ranking ever recorded by a Gentlemen, and he has bought himself the leeway to take a hit or two in any emergency. Unlike in previous seasons, where the early leaders fell away, there is a growing sense that Grinchy Vogt is well and truly the man to beat.
That concludes our review of Gameweek Two of the League of Gentlemen, which saw the big-name captains fail to fire, which saw Jockin' Jeeves unleash the Townhead Gunners, and which saw Grinchy Vogt pull further away from the pack. Ahead of Gameweek Three, may all your transfers be successes, may all your arrows be green, and may the FPL Gods be in your favour.
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