Having accepted his fate of a nightmare season, Lawes had used it to rediscover his love for writing. Now, the FPL gods inflict their harshest punishment, by forcing him to suffer a great weekend.
I’m not exactly sure what’s going on.
I started this blog four weeks ago, because my season had nosedived from my best-ever start to an absolute catastrophe. Every time I thought about FPL, it just pissed me off. Every decision I made went wrong. Every time it was a choice between two players to bring in, the one I didn’t outscored the one I did, as did the player I got rid of. My captaincy decisions were terrible. I’d wasted my Wild Card chip. This was meant to be my retirement season, and I was meant to go out in a blaze of glory, yet it was all going oh so wrong. So I started the blog as a means of getting something positive out of it, of coping with my misery, even if only my mate, Dinga, read it and I was the butt of the joke.
I used to write a lot, but then life happened, and I stopped writing anything for four years. This blog gave me hope, it got me writing again, and it might not mean much to anyone, but I love it. I feel like, because of this blog, maybe I can start writing other stuff again. And now the FPL gods, those vengeful bastards, are taking even this from me. The whole premise of the blog is blowing up in my face because, for some infuriating reason, the Last Stand have started to turn it around, and are now having the sort of gameweek you dream of. How do you write a Nightmare blog when things are going well? I swear to God, if I end up pinching this mini-league, I’m going to have a tantrum. I can’t win it this year, I just can’t. This season has to end in a disaster, so I can win it next year and write about a miracle season. That’s the whole point.
As it stands, I’ve closed the gap on four of the five players above me, despite having no Free Hit or Wild Card to play. Not only that, I have a current gameweek rank of 45,934. This is my second-highest GW rank of the season, behind my GW 11 ranking of 13,303. It’s meant my overall ranking has jumped by over 115,000, from 562,683 to 446,992, helped by Sergio Aguero bagging a goal and an assist while wearing the Triple Captain’s armband. The gamble on a double-Palace defence paid off, with both Jeffrey Schlupp and Aaron Wan-Bissaka getting a clean sheet. Cesar Azpilicueta couldn’t keep a clean sheet against Cardiff, but he decided to turn into Filippo Inzaghi and score a two-yard header while five yards offside. Marcus Rashford bagged his first goal in six gameweeks, which was extra-delightful as Jeeves had got rid of him, and Ederson kept a solid clean sheet. Raul Jimenez, James Ward-Prowse, Sadio Mane, Paul Pogba and Raheem Sterling did nothing, but most of the League of Gentlemen has Jimenez, Pogba and Sterling, so that was almost irrelevant, and Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Kepa Arrizabalaga did nothing either. A haul of 75 points after the weekend’s matches was one only Dinga (72 points) could get anywhere near. Even increasing my deficit from the two players I’m hoping to catch – Big Steve and Who Horner – to an additional 12 points didn’t matter, as they ended the weekend with 46 and 61 points respectively. The gap to Big Steve has been cut to only 13 points, and the gap to Who Horner is now 30 points. Even the gap to Jeeves’ Juggernauts has been reduced to just 36 points. All in all, an outstanding weekend for the Last Stand. What a nightmare.
Of course, there’s still time for the gameweek to be saved, for GW 32 is a double gameweek. Luckily, King Ding is able to keep up with my scoring, making his lead at the top of the League of Gentlemen look more impregnable by the week, and there are still six matches for the other lads I’m chasing to turn their weeks around and save this blog. Still six matches for my lads to remember who they’re playing for and start picking up injuries, own goals, red cards and missed penalties. Maybe the game on Wednesday will result in a Pogba missed penalty. Maybe Kane will bang in four goals, all assisted by Son, resulting in a big haul for Jeeves, Who Horner and Big Steve and devastation to my double-Palace defence. Maybe Hazard will score three goals against Brighton, all assisted by Pedro, and Brighton manage a consolation through Shane Duffy, assisted by Anthony Knockaert, and everyone above me can benefit. Maybe Victor Lindelof returns, shuts out Jimenez and scores the winner. Maybe Andros Townsend scores against his old club. Maybe Aguero can’t overcome his slight knock and doesn’t add to his triple-captain haul of 30 points. For the sake of the blog, we live in hope.
But maybe it all goes wrong. Maybe, with nine players still to play, the FPL gods laugh at my misery with my success and decide to inflict more pain. Maybe Gabriel Jesus hurts himself in training on Tuesday, so Manchester City have to chance Aguero and he bags a hat-trick. Maybe the rested Jimenez continues his hot-streak against the top six and bags a brace at Molineux. Maybe Wan-Bissaka gets his first-ever Premier League goal, assisted by Schlupp, Palace spoil Spurs’ new-stadium party and keep a clean sheet. Maybe Ederson keeps a clean sheet, saves a penalty and grabs his second assist of the season for Sterling on the counter-attack. Maybe Pogba and Rashford perform like Solskjaer’s early days and both get double-figures against Wolves. Maybe Kane misses a penalty and gets sent-off. Maybe Fulham beat Watford. Maybe Duffy gets sent-off for a second-minute horror tackle that ends Hazard’s season. Maybe I somehow end up with 150 points while nobody else in the League of Gentlemen joins the 100 club. Maybe I miraculously make up a 51-point gap on Flash and end the week in second. It would be just typical.
They say, ‘be careful what you wish for’. All season, I’ve wished to be successful at this game. For months, I wished to turn around the red-arrow streak and start making ground. Then I accepted it wasn’t going to happen, and started a blog so I could, at least, get a laugh out of it. This season’s goals had turned to humour, not success. Now, the FPL gods are laughing at me, by giving me great gameweeks and taking this crappy little blog I’m starting to love away from me.
This, more than anything, is the true FPL Nightmare.
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The FPL Nightmare: How to Lose the World's Greatest Mini-League in 38 Simple Steps
The FPL Nightmare II:
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All Lawes wants is to win The League of Gentlemen, yet the FPL Gods are bastards that conspire against him.
This column provides weekly updates of Lawes' dismal attempts to best his rivals.