The Pre-Match Preamble – Gameweek 28

Filed under: The Preamble - Posted by: Mark

I’ve tried to fight it but it’s hard to deny that I’ve spent a lot of this season seeking out an explanation for my struggles. I’m heading for my worst ever Fantasy Premier League campaign and I’m not going to settle for that without finding a scapegoat. It can’t all be Edin Dzeko’s fault and it’s certainly not mine.

If you’ve read these ambling words before or, indeed, been unfortunate enough to listen to my nasal whines via the ScoutCast, you’ll know that my favourite target is the “midfield”. Not one midfielder, not a few – the whole damn lot of ’em.

The midfield has been broken this year. At the start of the campaign I decided to put emphasis on playing five across the middle, set my side up to accommodate the tactic and paid for it ever since.

Of course I’m overlooking one small detail: my reluctance to sign Yaya Toure and Aaron Ramsey and my stubborn refusal to admit my mistake. Having said that, my theory that the midfield has been a cruel master this term has some substance. Typically, I plundered the data to support my case.

Toure has almost been the exception to the rule. He currently sits on 13 goals having never previously suggested he could achieve such a strike rate. Having said that, four of those goals of come from direct free-kicks, and three more came via penalties with first-choice takers off the pitch. That’s another argument for another day, though.

My main point is that, aside from Eden Hazard sitting just one goal behind the Ivorian, no other midfielder has been able to keep pace. Quite simply, if you didn’t get on Toure early or swallowed pride and brought him in since, you’re left clinging to Hazard and cursing every goal that comes the City man’s way – via a dead-ball or otherwise.

Is this really different from last season? In a word, yes. On the eve of Gameweek 28 last term, we had Gareth Bale sitting on 15 goals along with Michu. More significantly, there were five other midfielders on double figures for goals at this stage. In a nutshell, then, there was a much larger spread of goals across the midfield area with several “heavy-hitters” to align with – not just a couple.

While Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez blazed a trail up front with 19 and 18 goals respectively, our midfields were a selection box of treats with the likes of Theo Walcott, Marounne Fellaini and Juan Mata all contributing goals and assists with regularity. This season the best we’ve currently got is Adam Lallana and the seemingly unappealing consistency of Steven Gerrard who appears to rumble on as a Fantasy asset – churning points but never really establishing himself back amongst the elite Fantasy midfielders.

Ironically, then, I’m thinking that, along with Yohan Cabaye’s departure and Michu’s failing legs, the injury to Aaron Ramsey was pretty much disastrous for my one-man campaign for midfield variety. The removal of these three players from our game, compounded further by injuries to Walcott and Mata’s inability to get a place in Jose Mourinho’s lineup, has killed the chance for diversity in this area of our squads.

Even now, it’s almost unthinkable to shed Toure and Hazard – unless of course you can afford to fetch the Ivorian back after City’s blanks. Elsewhere, you’re left to grab the skippers at St Mary’s and Anfield, whilst hoping that Adam Jonhnson can come back to form or that Kevin Nolan or Charlie Adam can continue to maintain matters. Charlie Adam. It’s got that bad.

The knock-on is that we’ve had the money for the heavyweights up front – that’s helped kill variety in that area of the pitch and, low and behold, we’re left waiting for Sergio Aguero to return so we can spend the cash we don’t need to invest elsewhere.

It’s all the midfield’s fault. All of them. They built the template. They made Dzeko miss those sitters. They’ve ruined my season. I’m blameless.

About The Author

“Mark created the beast. He's now looking to tame it.”


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  1. Martinez drops Mirallas. Hope they lose

    1. Not me. I hope that Mirallas comes on at 2-0 down and scores a hat trick so they win 3-2

      1. I see that the pre-match dream world predictions have arrived.

      2. Actually, no I don't, I have Baines

    1. story of my life

    2. What passes for models these days...

    3. He's got a shoulder injury, needed the massage ;)

    4. No class. Not drinking Crystal ... ;-)

      1. I thought you smoked that?

  2. If you've got Mirallas, isn't it best to go with someone who has a GW29 game and a DGW on the way?

    I.e. United, Palace

    1. Not many options there though...

      1. Mata ?..mmm..hardly pulling any trees up..

        1. Sadly I have both him and Mirallas already

          1. Really don't like Mata as a long term pick Moyes has no clue where to play him and he just ends up looking like a fish out of water..Great player, bad signing.

    2. Possibly. Dem fixtures though...

    3. I wouldn't use Palace' DGW as a reason to invest, it might be quite a few weeks off

  3. Who has broken the most legs in the prem? Adam?

    1. That's why I bought him this week

  4. Do gws 28/29 feel like a giant dgw to anyone else?

    1. It is when your rivals obviously don't look ahead in the fixtures

    2. Blink and you miss GW 29. If you get one game that's 0-0 and a shower of bonus points people seem like they'll be happy with 40pts.

  5. Az
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member

    Ready for you in the cup Tony Hibberts!

    Bring it ooooooon =)

    1. What's your side I've 9 men haha

      1. Az
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member

        Haha check my name dude, have chester out.... :( sturridge (c) to your suarez!

  6. so is that it now, deflouflou and miralas rotation headaxhe :?

    1. Looks it. :(

      1. boooooooooooooourns

    2. Deflouflou? Is Martinez playing a Poodle??? :-D

      1. i was thinkin Comte de Frou Frou from blackadder ;)

  7. I wonder how many times Ramsey will be mentioned during the Stoke vs Arsenal game?

  8. Mirallas officially enters the category of "Never Again!"

    1. With Kolarov *ducks*

  9. JWF

    Playing 5 at the back this week... 4 of them away from home. Will end in tears.

    1. I need to do the same next GW 5-4-1 :(

      Got 4-3-3 this GW

  10. Which game should I watch

    1. Hmm, Stoke v Arsenal? Won't be many goals, but will be an interesting chess-like game... actually, scratch that, who wants to watch chess?

      1. Thinking Chelsea and hoping oscar bags a hatty.

        #wishful thinking

  11. Feeling good for an upset in the cup Evs :D

  12. @DEMI


    So chester plays you dont have to quit posting


    1. +42!


      1. lets get the #demistays bandwagon rolling!!

    2. :lol: madness that harmless banter has come to this, but Moyes still has a job

      1. #moyesoutdemiin!!

  13. Brought in Mirallas 8-)

    1. May sell him next week now haha

    2. Mirallas ---> Nolan for a hit after his 3-pointer last week.

      1. He'll come off the bench and score 2

  14. Mirallas.. grrrrrrrr

    Looks like I won't be holding him then!

  15. Dammit started Chester over Noone.

    1 point cameo incoming :(

    1. chester is key to my 31 plans so i hope he starts gw30

    2. Evs
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights

      Yep, didn't see that one coming.

      Noones gonna score too :-P

    3. Az
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member


      but noone will get 2 points so not a huge loss!

  16. C'mon Bruce, prove those doubters wrong!

  17. My main rival has 11 playing and me with 10 this week. But he took a -8 to do it and the 3 players that came in aren't playing next week. Advantage me I think.

  18. ades rise over the last 2 days :shock:

  19. yaya hopefully around 9.7 by gw30 :D

  20. Feeling a bit better about Chester being benched now :D

  21. chester has scored!!!! 1-0 v nuneton

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Fixture Ticker

“My team this year has been the Fantasy Premier League equivalent of a Morecambe & Wise sketch. I've played all the right players . . . but not necessarily in the right order.”

Fantacity on his 2013/14 season