#FPL OCD – Gameweek 29 Review:
Strangely enough, my fiancée does not appear to believe that “Charlie Daniels just scored” is a good enough reason to ruin the weekend.
Ok, deep breath, let’s do this. Let’s start, in a Rafa Benitez way, with some facts. Fact: 80 points is, in any single game week, a great score. It is my second highest total of the season, that is fantastic. Fact: while points do not always tell the whole story, game week rank usually does, and 207k is my 3rd best of the season. Fact: my goalkeeper and 3 defenders all returned points, an extremely rare and delightful occurrence. Fact: my 2 transferred in players combined for 15 points – how can that not be a success? Fact: my captain scored 2 goals. Fact: the week ended with a healthy 10k increase.
“John”, I hear you cry, “congratulations! What an excellent week, this is surely going to be, statistically, the 2nd or 3rd happiest article of the season? It’s so nice when you’re upbeat, what a ray of sunshine”. Ahh my friend, it is clear that you have not been following me on Twitter. For, you see, sat in the pub on Saturday afternoon, I was able to provide an insight into my ever deteriorating state of mind. It was a sorry image: a lovely Saturday afternoon in London with my fiancée (yes, unbelievably, I do have one)*, sat in a great local pub, all of life’s rich tapestry before us…and me checking my phone, glancing at the TV, and trying not to dilute my pint with my tears. Strangely enough, my fiancée does not appear to believe that “Charlie Daniels just scored” ** is a good enough reason to ruin the weekend.
*(Ed. Yet to be confirmed and verified)
**(Ed. If indeed she is real, she’s not the one for you with this attitude. She’ll be telling you it’s “only fantasy football” next!!)
For those who did not witness my breakdown, let me run you through some of the key events. 13:11 – Hector Bellerin, one of my transfers out this week, picks up an early yellow card. Great start. 13:24 – Arsenal score. Excellent, Alderweireld is sat on my bench, no points for him this week. Who got the assist? Bellerin. Never mind, 3 points is nothing.
*Let’s abandon the times here as I do not have the energy to work out the exact moments that my heart was broken*
“2nd half, I could do with a Spurs goal here, the pain of a Bellerin assist and clean sheet will be tough to take. Corner comes in, scramble…YES IT’S IN! GO ON SPURS! Oh brilliant, who was it, Kane?” The camera panned to the goalscorer, and there he was, screaming, celebrating, almost certainly going over the top just to spite me. Toby Alderweireld. Regular readers may recall my gameweek 20 review, when I struggled to cope with my own team, Everton, being beaten by an Alderweireld assist and Alli goal, when both were sat on my bench. I bought him in gameweek 14, and he has only delivered attacking points 3 times since then. Two of those times, I have benched him.
(ED: What’s even better about this picture is it is the 2nd time I’ve been able to use it on a @JohnOC1991 “CLIFF DIVER” review article!!)
“Still, it’s not as bad as that week, at least Alli, also on my bench, has done nothing. Here come Spurs again…OH WHAT A GOAL! HARRY KANE! There he is, sat in my team, success at last! Who was it who chased that ball down and pulled it back?” Of course it was Alli. Then, with 15 minutes to go, Alexis Sanchez’s shot squirmed past Hugo Lloris. The assist? Bellerin. I bought Bellerin for GW9, and he produced an assist. For 19 weeks after that, he has sat in my team, and his attacking points? Zero. Zero attacking points in NINETEEN weeks. I sell him, and suddenly he’s a cross between Cafu, David Alaba, and 2010-14 Leighton Baines. Less than 90 minutes into the gameweek, and I had sold 2 assists and benched a goal.
The rest of the day is a haze. I was monitoring Gillette Soccer Saturday, and it was a barrage of FPL related goals. I cannot track them exactly, but let’s hit the key points. Wijnaldum, sat in my team, did nothing. Of course he did nothing, he’s been doing nothing for weeks. Among this chaotic week, he is my biggest regret. Not only did I play him ahead of Alli, but I kept him and sold another midfielder. I also kept Ozil, despite the likely GW30 blank, as I would have lost a lot of value, and was concerned that I would want him back immediately.
My defenders, as mentioned, produced. They all produced. Yet, I sold Bellerin, benched Alderweireld, and also benched…Charlie Daniels. Since buying him last week, Charlie Daniels has returned 14 points, and I have benched them all. Still, never mind, my 3 defenders managed 20 points between them. Mustn’t grumble. There was also the Aguero missed penalty, which was hugely frustrating.
“Wait a minute John”, you shout, “you skirted over the Wijnaldum point a bit. Who did you sell instead? What happened?” Well, I brought in Sigurdsson. That’s great, isn’t it? What a move! 10 points straight in, bish bash bosh, no messing around. Who did I sell? Ok, let’s get this over with. If you heard my appearance on the FanFeud podcast last week, you will have heard me state that Dimitri Payet would do big damage against Everton. I know better than anyone that Everton are a shambles, that Martinez is incompetent, that a player with Payet’s ability had the potential to run riot. I knew it. Yet there he was, blanking GW30. I wanted to get Sigurdsson, and I possibly had 2 midfielders blanking GW30. I had to get rid of one, and GW31 Ozil was against our leaky defence, while Payet was away at Chelsea. I had to make a call, so out he went. Dimitri Payet, a player who had punished me so severely early in the season, was out of my team.
Do you remember that wonderful, agonising moment in The Simpsons, when Bart and Lisa watch a video in which Ralph, who is besotted with Lisa, faces rejection from his sweetheart, and they are able to pinpoint the exact moment that his heart breaks?
If you were to track down the CCTV of the pub I was in, the moment that Payet scored, to snatch victory against my team, in a game in which we had been cruising to victory, would reveal my pain at its most unseemly. Being an Everton fan is distressing at the best of times, we are a complete mess, but when you have sold Everton’s tormentor, it increases the trauma to unprecedented levels.
(ED. To be fair, watching this unfold live on twitter was genuinely hilarious for me)
So then, players sold: Payet and Bellerin. Players benched: Alli, Alderweireld and Daniels. Ok, my team did well regardless, but let’s look at a best case scenario. Let’s say I’d kept Bellerin, done Wijnaldum to Sigurdsson, and got my subs right. I will stick with 3-4-3, because I would never realistically have gone 4-3-3, though that would have yielded most points. So, VVD, Daniels and Bellerin at the back (remarkably, Fuchs and Alderweireld wouldn’t even make it into the side), and Payet and Alli in for Wijnaldum and Ozil. That’s an increase of 20 points, taking me to the 100 mark, while banking a transfer. Now, they are not ridiculous moves. This is not an “oh why did I not captain Scott Sinclair?” moment, this is all very feasible. I was extremely close to playing Daniels ahead of Fuchs, Wijnaldum over Alli was a huge call, and I was never comfortable selling Payet.
I know how it sounds: “oh, 80 points and a 10k increase, boo hoo, my heart bleeds”. (Ed: I think this was my exact message to you.) I know, yet I cannot help but think of what could have been. 100 points would have taken me to around 15k. With the chips and wildcard still to play, I’d have had a phenomenal chance to crack the top 1-5k. Now, a tide-turning gameweek has been and gone, and I am still left floating in that 20-50k limbo. To make up ground, we need real game-changing weeks, ones with gameweek ranks of under 100k. I couldn’t quite do it, and it’s an opportunity missed. I have to hope that, with my team set up perfectly for gameweek 30, we see a few more pivotal days in this season.
Written by @JohnOC1991
John went to University, finished his degree, and got a good job in the City of London. He is now in the process of throwing it all away in favour of FPL, a game with no notable rewards for success. He firmly believes this to be the correct decision.