#FPL OCD – Gameweek 38 Review: I’m not sure how many more James Milner non-appearances I could take.
ED: Article Context: John wrote this before the Man Utd vs Bournemouth match was played before swanning off to bloody Crete the git!
That is that then. 9 months, 38 game weeks, 44 transfers, 2 wildcards, many highs, sadly many, many lows, and it’s all over. Ok, it isn’t quite all over (Ed: It is), due to the bizarre events at Old Trafford, but I’m going to Crete tomorrow (Ed: Yesterday) and don’t fancy writing this article on a sunbed by the Aegean Sea, so we’ll pretend it is over. (Ed: It Is) Plus, it’s my birthday on Wednesday (Ed: Today) , and reflecting on a season that has petered out remarkably would not alleviate the melancholy caused by the inexorable passage of time. Still, a 2013/14 overall rank of 296 – I’d say that’s a lot to show for 25 years of existence.
I still have De Gea and Smalling in my side, but the initially worrying, then eventually farcical, incident at Old Trafford did not help my cause. Both were set to start the game, but now, with nothing to play for, I fear that neither will feature. (Ed: Both Started – Hilarity ensued) After Payet, Defoe and van Aanholt did not feature, two no shows would leave me with 9 players. It is not how I envisioned my season ending, but it is in keeping with recent weeks. There have been points when I have looked set for something special: flying up to 26k in GW8, following that magnificent 116 points haul, hitting 11.5k as early as GW13, when so many seasoned players were languishing in the 1m+ region, even as recently as GW34, when 164 points propelled me into the top 10k for the first time, and I was determined to finish strongly and aim for the top 1-2k. At all of these times, a great spell has been followed by a dip, and instead of a great year, it has been mildly disappointing. I always set myself an aim of top 5k, with top 10k an absolute minimum, and it looks like I have failed.
I have spoken to many other FPL players recently, and there has been a definite pattern: a slow start, anywhere from 100k to 1 million halfway through the season, before an exceptional run in the second half. Some of these players, who were around 500k when I was at 11.5k, have overtaken me. Even for those who haven’t, there will be immense satisfaction in resurrecting a seemingly dead season to finish around 20k. There will be greater joy when a team escapes relegation to finish 17th on the final day of the season than when your team is top 6 at Christmas, and finishes the season in 15th. There was such promise: from memory, I was not as high as 11k by GW13 in the season I finished 296, but I could not build on it.
So, this week. As it stands, with Lanzini and Simpson coming off the bench, I have managed 38 points. Double Arsenal defence of Bellerin and Gabriel paid off handsomely, but other than that? Pretty much zilch. An Aguero assist, alongside blanks from Hazard, Tadic and Carroll, with my captain Sanchez disappointing with 6 points. GW38 is historically a lottery, and it was generally not a great week for those who did not punt on Giroud. The one real call I had to make was Tadic vs Mane with my transfer in, and I got the decision wrong. GW29-34 I hit scores of 80, 68, 85, 63, 58 and 164. After reaching 8k, I did a Spurs, and barring last week’s “too little, too late” 90 points, finished with scores of 27, 45, and whatever subpar total I muster this week. My mind is again drawn to what will now be known “the Cadamarteri Christmas” (see GW33 review). Such hope, such expectation, crushed. A bad spell early or in the middle of the season can be turned around; now, it is how I will remember my FPL year. As it stands, I am ranked at 12,945 – not a disastrous season, but certainly unsatisfactory.
There is little more I can say about this dissatisfaction, now it is time to take stock over summer and see where we go next. I will certainly not be playing any Fantasy Euro games – enjoying football without any Fantasy concerns is a liberating feeling. This is the crux of my decision: the more I play FPL, the more I realise that, while it has highs and lows and excitement and tension, it simply damages my enjoyment of football. Watching Champions League games, I am able to immerse myself in the action and appreciate the game without focusing on almost arbitrary FPL issues. In recent years FPL has, at times, been a way to heighten the enjoyment of a frankly sub-standard league, but now it is different. Next season, we will have a league containing Guardiola, Klopp, Conte, Pochettino, Ranieri, Wenger (almost certainly), possibly Mourinho, whoever ends up at Everton (I’m bracing myself for John Carver). There will be new rivalries developing, some of the best managers in the world will be here, it will be vibrant, it will be exciting. Do I want to be watching a Pep Guardiola team thinking “I hope ____ doesn’t score”? I want to appreciate the wonderful talent that will be in this country, and I am concerned that FPL will detract from that.
The next 3 months will be a time for many FPL managers to consider next season, and it will give me breathing time to decide what I wish to do. I am by no means set on leaving this wonderful world of FPL, and if I did it is the community that I would miss the most. Writing this article has been a joy, and at the end of the season I would like to take to the centre of the pitch, grab the microphone, and thank Ryan, who has been brilliant and so helpful since first giving me the privilege of writing for this great site. (Ed: #BlushYIRMA)
It has been wonderful, and if I do bow out of FPL, at least for a season, then I will dearly miss writing this piece (even if I have wanted to smash the computer screen on numerous occasions).
I would also like to thank you, the readers, for persisting with my ramblings and complains week in, week out. As I wrote last week, it is seemingly impossible to ever fully extricate oneself from the world of FPL once you have entered, but a break may be in order. I’m not sure how many more James Milner non-appearances I could take.
Ed: So as John essentially farted off to Crete before the end of the season it’s left to me to close off the article.
Manchester United 3-1 Bournemouth. Done.
I did however receive this message from John on his arrival in paradise.
And then this message this morning which ultimately bookends the season nicely with our eternal optimist Mr O’Connor.
Genuine thanks to John for writing the review post this season – pleasure and a privilege.
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.