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

    Alonso or James?

    Who will do better?

    1. lifes a pitch
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 8 days ago

      James

    2. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 8 days ago

      Alonso (hopes)

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

      James. They'll probably both be on the bench, but James may start

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

        Also considering the safer start of Matip...can't decide!

    4. NestorC
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 8 days ago

      Alonso

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

    I almost read my first article in four years!

    1. PartyTime
        1 month, 8 days ago

        Lol.. You’ve been behind bars? 🙂

    2. TheBigDogg
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 8 days ago

      Sorry if been talked loads, Kane or KDB Captain?

      1. lifes a pitch
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 8 days ago

        Kane

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

        Kane

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

        Kane

      4. NestorC
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 8 days ago

        Kane safer

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

      Coutinho and Watkins to Mount and Toney for -4 or just bring in mount for no hit?

      1. lifes a pitch
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 8 days ago

        Just Mount

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

          Ta - probably safest

      2. Mozumbus
          1 month, 8 days ago

          No hit

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

            Ta

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

          If you have to play watkins then take the hit

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

            I would have to. He scored in the last game against City though

        • NestorC
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 8 days ago

          Just Mount

      3. Mozumbus
          1 month, 8 days ago

          Anyone else with triple up Brentford: Toney, Eriksen, Jansson

          1. lifes a pitch
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            No

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

            Why not, if that's where your squad is. Personally, I hope Leeds win.

            1. Mozumbus
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Starters: Tripled up Spurs and Brentford. Double up Newcastle.
                One each from big ones: KDB, Mane, and Rudiger assuming they are nailed giving protection from rotation. On WC. OR 142k hoping for first-time 5 digits finish.

          3. Echoes
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 8 days ago

            Someone in the know with Rodgers? 😛

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

              Astaire

          4. TheTrickyTrees
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            I've got Salah. I'm so torn. Nobody around me seems to have Salah anymore so could be differential but risky. What do people think about these options:

            A). Keep Salah, risk it. Coutinho to Maddison
            B). Salah & Coutinho to Mane & Jota
            C). Salah & Coutinho to KDB & Maddison
            D). Something else?

            1. Starskyb
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              B is your chasing. C if playing safe IMO.

              1. NestorC
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                This

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

              If we get wind that salah starts then he's a definite hold, so A in that case, otherwise C, but probably someone other than KDB (son, mount)

              1. TheTrickyTrees
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Thanks. I should have said I have Son and Mount already. Bowen's an option....

                Everyone around me seems to have Maddison so I'm playing it safe there

          5. fantasist
            • 12 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            Everyone consider Bowen for your midfield. 12 goals 17 assists.

            1. Echoes
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Confused between him and Maddison

            2. fantasist
              • 12 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              If you have Vardy then Bowen otherwise go for Maddison

              1. Echoes
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Don't have Vardy

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

              On form yes, fixtures not so much

          6. lifes a pitch
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            Sanchez or Ramsdale?

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

              Close - probably Ramsdale just

            2. fantasist
              • 12 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Yeah Ramsdale

          7. andre_c
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            Any ideas here?

            Ramsdale
            Robbo, TAA, Cancelo, Laporte
            Salah, KDB, Saka, Mount, Gordon
            Pukki

            Foster, Schar, Gelhardt, Dobbin

            Salah > Son likely transfer. Could then do Pukki > Toney for -4.
            Only issue is having to play Gordon against Arsenal, could get rested as Everton now secure.

            Thanks

            1. lifes a pitch
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Wouldnt take an unnecessary hit at this stage unless chasing

            2. fantasist
              • 12 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Salah Gordon amd Pukki might not get many pts

            3. Starskyb
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Take the -4. If Gordon doesn't play, no worries Gelhardt and Shar could also do just fine.

          8. Hazz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            Rival:
            Martinez
            TAA Cancelo Digne
            Salah* Maddison Zaha Saka
            Kane Richarlison Toney
            // Foster / Tavares KDH Holgate

            Me:
            Schmeichel
            Robertson Cancelo James Sessengon
            Son Maddison Zaha KDB
            Richarlison* Nketiah
            // Foster / Tavares Gordon Dennis*

            Planned Richarlison > Kane for free this week, but rival annoyingly opened up a bigger gap (33 points) due to my captaincy flunk.

            Need to differentiate my team from his. Expect he probably does Salah > Son (C) & perhaps upgrades a defender over Digne but that's as much as I can guess.

            A) Richarlison > Kane
            B) Dennis > Vardy

            Also, sell Zaha (-4).yew United but he's been a poor pick & doesn't help me against rival.

            1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Gotta go Vardy (C) to differentiate, think Zaha is a sell too to differentiate further - what’s price can you afford?

              1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Bowen if you can afford?

                1. Hazz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  If Dennis > Vardy, leaves 7.5m.
                  Not sure on Bowen.
                  Could be Barnes for LEIx3

                  If Rich > Vardy, leaves 9.2m.
                  Opens up Diaz, Mount, Havertz, Mahrez, Foden, etc.

                  1. tomasjj
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Mount could be good then, or even Foden.
                    I think you need to move Zaha too to have a chance

                    1. Hazz
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Thanks mate. Agree on Zaha. It's a risk, but for good reason.

            2. tomasjj
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              You need the diff. and to captain him . so here, get Vardy and captain him or KDB.

              1. Hazz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Cheers. Still may go Son (C)... but Vardy in seems good.

            3. HM2
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Bringing in Kane seems counterintuitive given the gap you need to close. I would go b with Vardy (C) and hope that he hauls and Kane blanks.

              1. Hazz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                I'm not sure if I can do it over Son, but Vardy has revived my season once with a 20-point (C) before.
                ... and it was against Southampton.
                ... surely not again! 😮

          9. tokara
            • 7 Years
            1 month, 8 days ago

            JANSSON or HENRY?

            1. Echoes
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              TH14, always

          10. ran
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Already did Salah to Son. Which of these seems better for a -4?

              1. Coleman to Sessegnon/other def 6.8m and below
              2. Watkins to Toney

              1. fantasist
                • 12 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Toney

            • Milkman Bruno
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Any suggestions here? Considering

              A) Zaha to Bowen/Mount
              B) Cash to Sessegnon
              C) Cash and Zaha to Sessegnon and James -4

              Ederson
              Robertson, Cancelo, Matip
              Salah, Son, Maddison, Kulusevski, Zaha
              Nkietah, Rodrigo

              Sanchez, Mateta, Cash, Jonny 1ft .8 itb

              TIA

              1. Milkman Bruno
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Open to any other suggestions

              2. S6 Owl
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                A

            • Nightf0x
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              FH team, -0.4 whom out to fix it

              kepa (3.9)
              sess robbo james (tsi kelly)
              mount son madds jota kdb
              toney kane (richardson)

              a) james to azpi/alonso
              b) madds to barnes
              c) mount to ziyech
              d) james madds to rudi barnes
              e) james jota to rudi diaz
              f) 2 of a b c

              1. Milkman Bruno
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 8 days ago

                A

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

                A is for Azpi

            • KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Is this worth a hit?

              Nketiah & Ramsey to Gelhardt & Eriksen/Bruno G

              1. Hazz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Waste of transfers on final day.

                1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Do you think? Leeds need goals and Brentford may profit other end as a result so can see it being high scoring

                  1. Hazz
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    But it's a hit. Everton are now on the beach and useless at defending too.

                    1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Don’t think Nketiah will start after the woeful Newcastle performance, can see some rotation

              2. tomasjj
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                No

            • Cammick
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Start Dubravka or Ramsdale?

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

                Same dilemma here... I think I'll go Rams as fat Frank has said he will be making changes to the team

            • Hawk Eye
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              For a hit do I get:
              A. Vardy
              B. Kane

              1. NestorC
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 8 days ago

                B

              2. Heisenberg W. W.
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 8 days ago

                B

            • Original - Wolves Ay We
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Who's having a final day FPL Zoom Party?

              1. PartyTime
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Got a party at King Power to attend to

                  1. PartyTime
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      *too. Should be a big one today

                • jay01
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Is this worth it if they all are in my starting 11:

                  Salah, Coutinho, Dennis to

                  Kane, Bowen, Barnes (-8)

                  1. jay01
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    In my xi it would be a likely gordon 1 pointer instead of dennis

                  2. S6 Owl
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Yeah go for it I’d say

                • NestorC
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Hi lads, would you do Saka to Maddison, Foden or Diaz?
                  Already have Nketiah if that means anything so I am not sure should I have double ARS.

                  1. S6 Owl
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    I’d do them for free

                    1. NestorC
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Yes, it's for free.
                      Any preference between them, I am leaning to Maddison.
                      Cheers

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

                    For free potentially but could easily backfire (especially against a tired Everton). Saka guaranteed 90 if nothing else

                    Arsenal did look fatigued against Newcastle though

                    1. NestorC
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Feels weird to not spend last free transfer from this season haha
                      Just not sure who has the highest ceiling of them

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

                    I think Saka scores this week

                    1. NestorC
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Cheers, could maybe do Laporte to Cancelo in that case, just to spend this ft haha

                • Noob
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Which one:

                  A - Matip
                  B - Sessegnon
                  C - Zinchenko

                  Cheers!

                  1. Heisenberg W. W.
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    A

                • Heisenberg W. W.
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Pick one:
                  1. Diaz
                  2. Madisson
                  3. Bowen

                  1. Paul Psychic Octopus
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    3.

                  2. Dammit_182
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Do like the Bowen pick….

                  3. Noob
                    • 10 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    2 if we get early team news from Leicester ITK

                  4. tomasjj
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    1

                • Paul Psychic Octopus
                  • 11 Years
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Start one:

                  A. Matip ( have Robbo)
                  B. Odegaard
                  C. Nketiah

                  1. Heisenberg W. W.
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    C

                • Dryriser
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Bowen or Barnes?

                    1. Heisenberg W. W.
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Bowen

                    2. Paul Psychic Octopus
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Bowen

                    3. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Bowen

                    4. Hazz
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Would go for Barnes for once here. Brighton decent.

                  • Reinhold
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Cheapo forward punt (max 5.8) in order to catch up on rival:

                    A) Nketiah for a deflated Arsenal
                    B) Gelhardt for a Leeds needing to win
                    C) Barnes for Burnley fighting for their lives

                    1. Starskyb
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Barnes is a great differential shout and angry about how Burnley have been treated by refs so will be working very hard to keep them up.

                  • tomasjj
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Pick a forward and midfielder combo out of:

                    a) Kane
                    b) Vardy
                    -
                    c) Maddison
                    d) Kulu

                    No Son.

                    Thank you!

                    1. Heisenberg W. W.
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      A and c

                      1. tomasjj
                        • 7 Years
                        1 month, 8 days ago

                        thanks

                  • George James
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Best move

                    A) James >> Robertson

                    B) Zaha >> Mount

                    C) Jota >> Mount

                    1. Heisenberg W. W.
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      B

                    2. tomasjj
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      b

                  • Milkman Bruno
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Does Rodrigo even start for Leeds with Bamford looking on track to play? Somehow still have him

                  • Maddamotha
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Which one, if any? I have Nketiah too btw.

                    1) Saka > Maddison
                    2) Ings > Toney

                    1. Heisenberg W. W.
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 1 Year
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      2