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.


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2,367 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Reece’s Pieces
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Big check here please as I seek to win my first ML title after years of trying!!

    28 ahead of main rival. I’ve got in Barnes to block his Barnes. Only Question is if I keep VVD or take a -4 to Trent or Robbo

    What do you think? Thanks in advance

    1. Reece’s Pieces
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      He has Trent

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

      VVD to Trent or Robbo -4 is a no from me. If Liverpool concede you may just get a bunch of 2s from their defence which would make the 4 point hit a waste

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

      Also VVD can bang a header in !

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

      If he has Trent then i’d be tempted to take the hit to block him.

    5. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Leave it. Him having Trent prob won't give him 28 pts to catch you especially if you already have Liv def

      1. Reece’s Pieces
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Thanks everyone. That helps. It was mainly if VVD doesn’t play or has the 1pt cameo. Seems more likely that he’ll start after the training photos yesterday

        I’ll stand firm then. Blocking his Barnes will hopefully be enough

    6. FPLShaqiri
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      There's a decent chance VVD gets rested right? Who's on your bench to replace?

    7. AC Yew
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No keep VVD..dont take unnecessary hits. Pool could concede too.

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

      Think you're far ahead enough that you don't need to take that hit

    9. Fabreghastly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Pretty hard to lose a 28pt lead unless you start taking hits. Must have a good team if you are leading

      1. Reece’s Pieces
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        White comes in if no VVD

        Confident my team is strong for this week. Only a freak Captain result could get me (he has Salah and I don’t). I’ll Captain Son

  2. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Just realised if Kane scores 6 today, which he’s easily capable of, he could win the Golden Boot!

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

      Youre the goat if he does

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Could defo happen if a few of the Norwich players have him in their fpl team!

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

          has he ever scored 6 before in his career. Or even 5?

          1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            No, but KdB had never scored 4 before the other week!

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

              yes but 6 mate? Come on

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

                I'd love if he did by the way

              2. GreennRed
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 10 days ago

                He's having the craic

              3. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 10 days ago

                It’s Norwich

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

                  true - 7 then isn't it!

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

              Wpuldnt complain if kane settles for 4 tbh

    2. DavidBW
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Overly excited spurs fan could be crying come 6pm

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        7-6 to Norwich?

    3. The Ilfordian
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Share it with Ronaldo after he puts four past Palace

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Can see that happening!

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

          Ronaldo is out injured isn't he?

          1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            25% chance apparently

        2. Reece’s Pieces
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 10 days ago

          He should be kind and let Sonny have it this year

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

        Do you miss some news?

        1. The Ilfordian
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Yes, looks like it.

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

    Bottomed

    Havertz to:

    A: Maddison
    B: Bowen

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

      Maddison (or maybe Barnes) for me. Bowen could do well and Maddison may get a rest after midweek but if not I think he’ll outscore Bowen.

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

      A

    3. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

    4. Milkman Bruno
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Havertz not going to play?

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

        Don't think he starts. Have Mount as well.

        1. Reece’s Pieces
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Maddison despite the slight resting risk. Last game and Brendan wants 8th

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

    A. Laporte>James (have Cancelo)
    B. Raphina>Maddy

    Both Laporte & Raphina in starting 11.

  5. AD2110
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Any early team news/leaks?

    1. Sun Jihai
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Pukki starts

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Sweet, defo keeping then.

        Cheers!

      2. Echoes
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        What about Maddison?

        1. Sun Jihai
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          The Leicester ITK said he has no leaks today

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

            Ah shoot

            1. Sun Jihai
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              He reckons that they'll pretty full strength though if helpful

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

                I guess Maddison should start then. Cheers.

  6. FPL PieMan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Great piece mate, well said - and I normally do better in boring seasons! I miss these articles and would welcome them back, with you writing them every week. Think it needs one voice.

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

      The other guy was also really good at writing them. They were long and very enjoyable to read.

  7. DavidBW
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Any reason why Mount won’t play 90? Thinking he’s the best C option for me now

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

      Not unless he picks up an injury - not like he's playing on Tuesday night

  8. FPL ElasticO
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Who should you transfer in?

    A. Maddison
    B. Diaz

    1. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

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

    Did Laporte train?

  10. Ronnies
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Anyone know if Pickford and Richarlison have travelled with the Everton squad for their match today ?

    Cheers

  11. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Does Diaz over Mount make sense?

    1. andymck
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Can easily argue for both, go with your gut

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

      Well Liverpool are playing for something.

    3. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Diaz is prob more likely to play if you're really having difficulty deciding...

      1. andymck
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Surely Mount plays when he was rested against Leicester?

  12. IL Fantasista
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Which option is best considering Son is already in my team and rival owns Maddison?
    A. Kulusevki
    B. Bowen

    1. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

  13. Milkman Bruno
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Anyone keeping Salah?

    1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I think I am

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

      Im thinking of TC him and crossing everything that he scores a few and gets that golden boot

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

      silly to sell now considering he's been training. Wait for news later in the day but he's going for the golden boot so c a good option

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

      Yes

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

      No - only worth considering if you’re chasing a big gap. He’s a big risk even though he could outscore anyone…

    6. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I've a feeling Klopp's going to be careful with him...Salah's burning to play Real in UCL final when you consider what happened *last* time ... he'll not want to get injured again

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        He’ll also want the golden boot

    7. Sun Jihai
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Going to be interesting to see what his EO ends up at

    8. AC Yew
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I'm not sure can't afford Kane if I keep him!

      1. Milkman Bruno
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Me neither. Have Son and Kulu so could get Sessegnon and forget Kane

  14. Bloodsweatandbeers
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    I have Sterling, Son and De Bruyne. 1 free transfer. Would you sell Sterling for Diaz? Mount? Or stick with Sterling. Only other thing I could do is sell ings but only have 0.8 in bank.

    1. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      KDB for Diaz. Keep Sterling.

      KDBs generally good for assists but do this if you want goals imo

  15. Feed tha Sheep
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Trying to catch a 45pt mini league..any of these worth -4?

    A. Broja > Toney (bench Nketiah)
    B. Schar > Sessegnon (bench Nketiah)
    C. Saka > Bowen

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

      Doubt any of those will get close to closing a 45pt gap…

    2. THEKID_88
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Don't think so. I'm in a similar boat regarding the points

    3. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Focus on your captain. Maybe do something different like Mount if you have him

    4. AC Yew
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      None if those moves worth a hit

    5. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Effectively that's a 49 pt gap then innit?

      Time for Hail Marys

  16. Rbyrne95
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Is Richarlison going to start/play?

    If not I either have to start Geldhart, Weghorst or take another -4 for another striker. Playing 5-4-1 atm.

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

      I think so yes. Everton can still climb 1 spot to 15th

      1. Rbyrne95
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Reading the expected team lines on this has me anxious

  17. Tribecca
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    I am Down by 5 and chasing.

    Which one
    A: Salah to Diaz and Vydra to Toney (-4) and start Kulusevski

    B: Salah to Diaz and Vydra to Toney and Kulusevski to Mount (-8)

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

      A

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

  18. DavidBW
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    My best team on Fanteam had De Bruyne captain.

    Bit after some research he’s got a terrible record v Villa

    1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Didn’t he get 3-4 assists against them the other year when Aguero scored his record breaking hat trick?

  19. Hunting for points
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A) Coutinho and Ings to Maddison and Toney (-4)?
    B) Coutinho and Ings to Bowen and Toney (-4)?
    C) Coutinho to just Maddison/Bowen?
    D) Coutinho and Ings to Maddison/Bowen and Jesus (-4)?
    E) Coutinho, Gordon and Ings to Diaz, Maddison and a benchfodder (-8)?

    Leading ML by 70pts.

    Schmeichel
    Cancelo Matip Robbo Alonso
    Coutinho KdB Son Mount
    Richarlison Ings

    Bench
    Foster Nkeitah Gordon Cash

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      C

      With that lead I wouldn't take hits

  20. RVP 20
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    FH G2G?

    Alisson
    TAA James Cancelo Sessegnon
    Son(c) KDB Mount Maddison Bowen
    Toney

    1. jonnybhoy
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Prefer kane over kdb

    2. Jonflamingo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No Kane no party

    3. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Agreed. Find a way to get Kane and Son - that's a differential in of itself

  21. Bojan Horsemack
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    What % chance would you give a Vardy start?

    Bearing in mind he just played two in quick succession (although was subbed in the last game...)

    1. Jonflamingo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      50:50

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

      very likely - 90% plus. Took him off early last game with today in mind IMO

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

      He’s got a bit of time off afterwards, so I really don’t see why he wouldn’t start.

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I say 50 - bit part players always get surprise chances GW38 esp when there's not really anything to play for

  22. tiger
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    My vote re: article -

    I'm in favour of the Pre-Match preamble and am in favour of it returning next season.

  23. FPL_Crisis
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Thoughts on a final day hit?

    Looking at Salah to Mane captain for free.

    Would you recommend stick to yeh above or go -4 Salah to Diaz and one of Odergaard to Mount or Nketiah to Vardy. Will this pay off?

    Schemiechel
    Robbo Laporte Matip Cancelo
    Salah Son Saka Maddison
    Toney Nketiah
    Foster Odergaard Pukki Dias*

    1. Arfaish
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Just Salah to Mane, I wouldn’t captain though. Prefer Son

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Mane cap sounds good

      I wouldn't take hits unless for Kane+Son

  24. Gunnerssss
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Telles or richar first sub

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

      Richarlison

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Richarlison

  25. Echoes
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Any Leicester fans about? Do we think Rodgers starts Maddison?

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

      I think so. I can’t imagine why he’d be benched in the last game before holidays!

  26. Boberella
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Maddison or Bowen?

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

      Same question plaguing me

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

        Maddison better fixture, Bowen maybe more safe to play 90. Tough one

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

          Yeah, and Brighton a tough nut to crack as well. Leaning towards Maddison.

    2. Arfaish
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      If chasing Bowen of ahead Maddison. In isolation Maddison due to home and form

    3. tiger
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I would be going for Maddison...home fixture, against an easier defence to score against I reckon.

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

      The guy who's rested and not playing a bit of a dead rubber game, albeit for final position.

    5. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Maddison

  27. LittleBK87
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Is Ben White playing today?

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

    Already done Coutinho to Mount

    Ramsdale
    Robbo, TAA, R.James
    Saka, Mount, Son (C), KDB (VC), Maddison
    Richarlison, Nketiah

    Bench is awful in Foster, Schar, Cash, Greenwood

    Worth doing Cash to Laporte for -4 for some security on the bench?

    1. jonnybhoy
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Na

    2. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No. That's a good 11. No point in spending 4 points you probably won't need and unlikely to give you 5 or more points back.

    3. artvandelay316
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No. Even if they get a clean sheet you only get 2 points after taking a hit.

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No. City are conceding

  29. winchester
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    1ft 0.1m itb. What could be done here? Salah out for who? Do you think both mount and havertz will start?

    ramsdale
    taa alonso cancelo white
    mount havertz salah saka gordon
    kane

    (dubravka cash broja dennis)

    a) salah -> son/mane
    b) havertz -> maddison

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

      Salah to Son for sure

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Agreed

  30. GreennRed
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Will it be 3 or after when we have lineups confirmed?

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

      Exactly at 3