Preamble

The Pre-Match Preamble – Gameweek 38

Ten fixtures, 20 teams, no doubles, no blanks, no postponements (touch wood), and everyone’s pretty much used all their chips.

Gameweek 38 is Fantasy Premier League (FPL) stripped back to its basics, how we used to play it way back when.

I’ve seen plenty of commenters within our own weird little corner of the internet saying how much they’re ready for the summer now, how the endless procession of last-minute cancellations and short-notice rearrangements and blanks and doubles and catastrophic points swings has taken its toll. Thinking back to my journalism studies days, it’s felt akin to one of those live newsroom exercises where you’re repeatedly being fed absurd new nuggets of information and having to constantly rewrite your intro.

I share the jaded feeling to some extent but I do wonder whether we’ll look back with more fondness on a rollercoaster 2021/22 in years to come.

It goes without saying that the circumstances of how the week-to-week bedlam came about aren’t to be celebrated in the slightest, with Covid’s impact on our daft wee game small fry compared to the death and disruption it has caused in real life.

But chaos is part of the reason why we love football in the first place, so why shouldn’t our pre-conceived chip strategies and transfer plans be challenged once in a while?

We’ll likely soon be back to how things were, with maybe two or three Blank Gameweeks a season and as many Double Gameweeks following in their wake. They’ll be relatively easy to plan for in advance, as they’ll be around FA Cup/EFL Cup weekends, and we’ll not have nearly as much reactionary, short-term firefighting that has been a feature of 2021/22. It’ll all be very familiar, the cream will rise to the top again barring the usual luck/variance and we’ll be back to the ‘snooker player’ approach to FPL of thinking four to six shots/weeks/moves ahead.

How comforting, how rewarding, how… boring?

How many times in the past have we bemoaned medium-term templates forming and seasons stagnating? And with the rise of algorithms, points projections and automated team recommendations, you could easily get away without any manual ‘thinking’ in a routine campaign and still rank highly.

This season has been exhilarating, frustrating and agonising in equal measure, with beautifully-laid plans obliterated by a lateral flow test or three and so, so many 50/50 decisions rewarded handsomely or punished unimaginably.

Commanding mini-league leads have been overturned in the space of a Gameweek or two, entire seasons’ works have been undone with one red arrow. It’s been more snakes and ladders than Risk, with a big fat serpent catching many on square 99.

But it has seldom been dull and I think, over time, the short-term scars will heal and we’ll be left with some more positive memories of Double Gameweek hauls for the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Bruno Fernandes, Mohamed Salah, Kai Havertz, Philippe Coutinho, Marcos Alonso, Kevin De Bruyne and James Maddison.

FPL anecdotes are made from such points bonanzas and we’ve had about a decade’s worth in one year.


Just as a post-script, longer-term readers of the site will remember the Pre-Match Preamble being very much Mark Sutherns’ baby.

When David Munday and I joined the team four years ago, we made a concerted decision not to continue with these articles as they were so utterly associated with Mark and, quite frankly, who would give a toss about what we thought? Reading this, you’re probably wishing I’d stuck to my guns…

But the Pre-Match Preamble continues to be fondly remembered even now, so a final-day reflection seemed like a good excuse to resurrect it. Do let us know in the comments below if it’s a series you’d like to see revived in future, perhaps with a ‘Have I Got News For You’-style rotating writer.

Good luck with your Gameweeks, thanks for reading, and the very best for the summer.


Full-year memberships, monthly subscriptions and a *FREE* trial are all now available.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to Members content in over 250+ articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT


2,367 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Devos
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Captain who?
      I'm chasing by 24 and my rival will use his last Free Hit.

      a) Maddison (SOU)
      b) KDB (AVL)
      c) Son (nor)
      d) Vardy (SOU)
      e) Nketiah (EVE)
      f) City, Chelsea or Liverpool defender

      Thanks in advance

      1. afsr
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Vardy from this list. You have a terrific team btw

    • Finding Timo
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Good to get in sessegnon now ? No last minute news

      1. Mambino
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        do it before deadline not now

        1. Finding Timo
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 10 days ago

          All guys will wait bit longer

      2. mynameisq
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        It's not last min yet 🙂

      3. HM2
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        No harm in waiting

      4. NateDog
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        If you've waited this long you might as well see if there are any leaks close to deadline

        1. mynameisq
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Flashbacks to the website crashing during my freehit which cost me around 22 points

          1. AC/DC AFC
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            This!

    • RamboRN
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Schmeichel
      Taa cancelo matip laporte james
      Kdb saka salah havertz
      nketiah

      Subs werner, puki, kdh, foster.

      1ft. 1m itb.

      A. Salah to Son
      B. Salah and saka to son and diaz for -4
      C. Salah and saka to son and Mount
      D. Salah and werner to son and vardy?

    • Mozumbus
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Who is a sure starter, please rank:
        A. Kane
        B. Diaz
        C. Mount
        D. Diaz

        1. dra_mit
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          you have Diaz twice?

          1. Mozumbus
              1 month, 10 days ago

              D. Foden

          2. Gandalf
            • 11 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            A the most secure

            1. Mozumbus
                1 month, 10 days ago

                Thanks

            2. Mambino
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              Diaz will start but not twice

              1. Mozumbus
                  1 month, 10 days ago

                  D. Foden
                  Thanks

            3. Mr_Nanny
                1 month, 10 days ago

                Who is the best source for legit early team news on twitter, will be a minefield of jokers trolling today no doubt.

                Thanks

                1. mynameisq
                  • 8 Years
                  1 month, 10 days ago

                  There's no one source really, stick around on here best bet

                  1. Mr_Nanny
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Fingers crossed something pops up, will definitely keep an eye out on here leading up

                      Cheers

                  2. THFC4LIFE
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    Sam Martin for Leicester
                    Thekophq for Liverpool

                    All I know tbh

                    1. Mr_Nanny
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Nice one, I'll give them a follow
                        Many thanks .

                        1. THFC4LIFE
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 5 Years
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Watch Andy LTFPL deadline stream, he sometimes gets early team news aswel

                      • AC/DC AFC
                        • 6 Years
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Kop HQ will get team sheet at 2.45 pm at the earliest.

                  3. Gandalf
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    Who to bench?
                    A. Saka (EVE)
                    B. Nketiah (EVE)
                    C. Zaha (MUN)

                    1. dra_mit
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Personally for me, Zaha.

                      That person, from last season.. never again in my team.

                    2. mynameisq
                      • 8 Years
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      B

                  4. phrampton534
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    Points predictions (my guesses in brackets):
                    Pukki (2)
                    Toney (8)
                    Nketiah (6)
                    Richarlison (2)
                    Maddison (5)
                    Barnes (6)
                    Saka (5)
                    Bowen (5)
                    Sessegnon (6)

                    1. AC/DC AFC
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Not sure if Richarlison will play and Saka could do better.

                      They all could do better.

                  5. The Yorkshire Pirlo
                    • 6 Years
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    ML leader had Alonso/Mount

                    Do I try get Chelsea or go diff?

                    A) Maddison in for free, play Zaha

                    B) Maddison/Alonso -4, bench Zaha

                    C) James/Alonso -8

                    1. phrampton534
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      How many points are they ahead?
                      I like Barnes over Maddison but either is a punt. I’m concerned some big Chelsea names sit it out too. Bowen could be another shout?
                      Oh to have access to Tuchel & Rogers thoughts on team strategy!!

                  6. YEAH PITCH!
                    • 3 Years
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    Play

                    A) Rudiger

                    B) Toney

                    1. Mozumbus
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Both

                      • dra_mit
                        • 5 Years
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        A before B

                    2. 03farmboy
                      • 2 Years
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Kane and Diaz
                      Or
                      Son and vardy

                      1. Mozumbus
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          A

                        • lets talk about 6
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 2 Years
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Son vardy

                      2. Live Lad
                        • 7 Years
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Play
                        (1) Ben White
                        (2) Broja

                        I know both won't do well.

                        1. lets talk about 6
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 2 Years
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          White

                        2. phrampton534
                          • 7 Years
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          White I’d say but if those were my choices I’d be looking at a -4? White -> Sessegnon or Emerson?

                      3. Make United Great Again
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 9 Years
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        KDB or Son captain

                        1. lets talk about 6
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 2 Years
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Son

                        2. Mozumbus
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            I'm on KDB till now.
                            Son is consensus.

                          • dra_mit
                            • 5 Years
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            I would risk with KDB.

                            I expect fireworks in Manchester.

                          • AC/DC AFC
                            • 6 Years
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            KDB

                            They're home and don't have a stomach bug.

                            Doubt they'll bottle it.

                        3. rokonto
                          • 6 Years
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          165k Can U make it into top 100k?

                          1. ZEZIMA
                            • 5 Years
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            Yes

                          2. Mozumbus
                              1 month, 10 days ago

                              Best of luck.
                              I'm hoping the same at 142k with WC

                            • Salan
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 12 Years
                              1 month, 10 days ago

                              Don't think so.

                          3. simong1
                            • 3 Years
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            Ramsdale
                            TAA - Matip - James - Laporte - Cancelo
                            Salah - Son - Kuluveski - Saka
                            Jesus

                            Dubravka - Gordon - Weghorst - Kamara

                            Best option from below?

                            A) Salah > Mane
                            B) Salah & Jesus > Mount & Kane (-4)
                            B) Salah & Weghorst > Bowen & Kane (-4) (bench Laporte?).

                          4. lets talk about 6
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 2 Years
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            A. Mane and madison
                            B. Kdb and madison
                            C. Son and Diaz
                            D. Vardy and mount

                            1. Mozumbus
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                C

                            2. AC/DC AFC
                              • 6 Years
                              1 month, 10 days ago

                              Those waiting for reliable Liverpool team sheet leaks should make their own decisiona now.

                              2.45 pm so the deadline is working to protect the integrity of FPL.

                              https://twitter.com/TheKopHQ/status/1528119375307460609?t=mL_bCOSJNvTPfgou6pqpKQ&s=19

                              1. AC/DC AFC
                                • 6 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                2.45pm is the earliest I'll get it.

                              2. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                                • 12 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                we "might" get some news before but yes doubt anything concrete

                              3. Original - Wolves Ay We
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • 6 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Well you're not much use to us AC/DC 😉

                            3. Gudjohnsen
                              • 5 Years
                              1 month, 10 days ago

                              Leading mini league by 24 points.
                              Rival has Mount

                              Should I do Coutinho to

                              A. Mount
                              B. Diaz
                              C. Raphinha
                              D. Foden

                              1. Gudjohnsen
                                • 5 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Or E Bowen

                              2. lets talk about 6
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • 2 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                A

                              3. BECKS TO THE FUTURE
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                A

                              4. Salan
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • 12 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                How can we advise you based on this 'only' info?

                                Even we did, you really follow?

                              5. Mozumbus
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  B

                              6. Nightf0x
                                • 6 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                FH team which ?

                                a) alison 3.9
                                robo rudi/azpi james sess 3.8
                                mount jota/diaz son (luiz brownhill)
                                kane toney vardy

                                b) alison 4.0
                                alonso james robo sess amartey
                                mane son mount madds 4.3
                                kane toney 4.4

                                c) kepa 3.9/4.0/raya
                                X X tsi sess robo
                                mount son mads diaz son
                                toney kane 4.4
                                (itb for 2 defs. 14/10/10.1 chelsea & fodder, cant fit james todo only by madds to barnes)

                                1. BECKS TO THE FUTURE
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  A; Rudi; not sure with Liv... Jota maybe? Feel he's least likely to start the Champs League.

                              7. BECKS TO THE FUTURE
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Hope everyone's enjoyed their seasons, as wild as it's been this year; and thanks for all the input all the way. One final question 🙂

                                I know GW38 hits don't really have time to pay-off/recoup if the player doesn't go big today, but I'm well ahead of ML and 27 points off 200k. So:

                                A) Play Amartey (over Coutinho)
                                B) Play Pukki (over Coutinho)
                                C) -4 for Coutinho --> Mane/Diaz/Jota
                                D) Play Coutinho

                                Thanks!

                              8. dshv
                                • 4 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                I was my best season becsuse of your advices. 5k rank now think will be go up today. Won all my ML’s by 80pts at least
                                So wishh you all the best today when somebody is fighting for something.

                                Son(c) here. Good luck guys and see you in late July.

                                1. BECKS TO THE FUTURE
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Great season, mate! Congrats. Hope you finish as high as possible!

                                  What's gone well for you this season?

                                  1. dshv
                                    • 4 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    2 hits for all season. Stick to the plan and believe in my players not switching my mid price players every single week.. most of the times hit good captain. And my biggest mistake when ronaldo came to PL at the same moment did hit a gave him armband during this time lost around 50+ points from salah captain..

                                    And most important mate playied all my chips at the right time and chose good ones at the chips… 108 value team also. On second WC chose who I want.. and pretty much thi is

                                2. The Knights Template
                                  • 8 Years
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  I’d like to think it was ‘our’ best season Sir DSHV.

                                  1. dshv
                                    • 4 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Yes sir..

                              9. Nemanja Vidic
                                • 11 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                1FT 2.5ITB

                                Scmeichel
                                Cancelo Matip Laporte Robertson
                                Son (C) Foden Mount (vc) Coutinho
                                Nketian Richarlison
                                Foster Gordon Waktins Holgate

                                A) Coutinho -> Diaz
                                B) Gordon -> Kulml
                                C) Watkins, Coutinho -> Kane, KDH (-4pts)
                                D) Watkins, Holgate -> Diaz, Sessegnon (-4pts)
                                E) Something else

                                Thanks in advance

                                1. Nemanja Vidic
                                  • 11 Years
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Gordon->Kulusevski

                                  1. jason_ni
                                    • 6 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    This and bench coutinho

                                2. BECKS TO THE FUTURE
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Team looks good!

                                  A for me - or maybe to Jota? My guess is he's least likely to start CL final out of Diaz, Mane, Salah, & Jota.

                              10. TN
                                • 1 Year
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Schmeichel
                                James Matip Trent Cancelo
                                Saka Kulu Son (C) KDB (VC) Mount
                                Richarlison

                                Foster Mateta Broja Williams

                                Am I right to start Richarlison over Mateta? Any other changes ?

                                1. jason_ni
                                  • 6 Years
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Hmm, id be tempted by mateta, but hard to know what kind of Everton turn up.
                                  On the beach, or fired up after staying up.

                              11. jason_ni
                                • 6 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Good to go?
                                6k OR, and 39 point ml leader, so not looking for hail marys

                                Schmeichel
                                Taa - son - Cancelo - alonso - Davies
                                Son - mount - kulu - kdb
                                Richarlison
                                Pukkk - elanga - dennis

                                1. BECKS TO THE FUTURE
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Yer, looks good. Congrats on the excellent season!

                                2. Killitzer
                                  • 12 Years
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Rich ➡️ Toney ?

                                  1. jason_ni
                                    • 6 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    I guess my only concern is his mins.

                                    Will we know leak before deadline though?!

                                    1. AC/DC AFC
                                      • 6 Years
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Toney should be fine.

                                      Leaks likely not reliable.

                                      1. jason_ni
                                        • 6 Years
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        Not toneys mind, Richas.

                                        I'm happy enough to start him if I knew he is fine.

                                        I think he'll be fired up!

                              12. dra_mit
                                • 5 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                1. Schmeichel
                                2. Cancelo 3. James 4. TAA 5. Amartay
                                6. Luis Diaz 7. KDB 8. Maddison
                                9. Kane (C) 10. Nketiah 11. Weghorst

                                bench: Ramsdale, Kulusevski, Gordon, Holgate

                                Weghorst OUT - Tony IN
                                Is it worth -4

                                Good luck to everyone in the last round!
                                Cheers.

                                1. Killitzer
                                  • 12 Years
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Weg has been utter crap for weeks. I’m considering the move to Toney for -4

                                2. jason_ni
                                  • 6 Years
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Why are you starting weghorst over kulu?!
                                  Play kulu, no hit

                                  1. dra_mit
                                    • 5 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Yea, that would work too.
                                    Cheers

                              13. Killitzer
                                • 12 Years
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Morning all

                                A bit of a crap season but have TC left at least.

                                Dub
                                Matip Rudiger Cash
                                Son Saka Maddison Kulu Zaha
                                Rich KaneTC
                                Subs Sa Digne Weg Myko
                                £2m

                                1. TC Kane or Son
                                2. Kulu➡️ Diaz (-4)
                                3. Weg ➡️ Toney (-4)
                                4. Cash ➡️ Cancello (-4)
                                5. Go crazy and take -8

                                Cheers for any input.

                                1. Mozumbus
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Kane
                                    Reply fail below

                                  • dra_mit
                                    • 5 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    I did Diaz in..
                                    And considering Weg ➡️ Toney (-4)

                                  • jason_ni
                                    • 6 Years
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Kane, wouldn't sell kulu personally.

                                    From those maybe cancelo option, you'd expect city to turn it on, but stranger things have happened.

                                    1. dra_mit
                                      • 5 Years
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Yea, that would work too.
                                      Cheers

                                2. Mozumbus
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Kane

                                  • madmafc
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Who to add to this team?

                                    Ramsdale
                                    TAA, Robertson, James, Cancelo
                                    Saka, Maddison, Mount, Son
                                    Kane

                                    A) Barnes
                                    B) Bowen
                                    C) Toney

                                    1. Mozumbus
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        C

                                    2. No Kane No Gain
                                      • 3 Years
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Who gets more points this week.

                                      Richarlison
                                      Matip -4
                                      Sessengnon -4

                                      Thinking of doing another defensive switch, to bench Richi. Any thoughts?!

                                      Cheers!

                                      1. JT11fc
                                        • 3 Years
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        Sess

                                      2. No Kane No Gain
                                        • 3 Years
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        Already on a -4 so would make it a -8. And I am not really chasing but have quite a few rivals up my backside !

                                      3. Visionaries
                                        • 5 Years
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        I'd choose Rich over both of those options easily tbh.
                                        All it takes is one assist/pen and you're down

                                        1. No Kane No Gain
                                          • 3 Years
                                          1 month, 10 days ago

                                          Do you think rich will start?! If he starts I’m happy with that

                                    3. JT11fc
                                      • 3 Years
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      FH decisions, thoughts appreciated
                                      Which draft?
                                      1.
                                      Kepa
                                      Robbo Sessegnon James
                                      Son Mount Diaz Barnes Mane
                                      Kane Toney

                                      Sanchez Amartey 3.8 4.4

                                      B.
                                      Ederson
                                      Robbo Sessegnon Trent
                                      Son Mount Diaz Havertz Saka
                                      Kane Toney

                                      3.9 Tavares Amartey 4.4

                                      1. AIRMILES
                                        • 10 Years
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        First option looks more enticing to me.

                                    4. jay01
                                      • 7 Years
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Barnes or Bowen?

                                      1. JT11fc
                                        • 3 Years
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        Barnes for me