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. Baps hunter
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Protecting 16 pts OR with templatish team, do I start
    1) Zaha (high ownership)
    2) Sessegnon

    1. lilmessipran
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Both really, but A if you must

      1. Baps hunter
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        TAA, Cancelo, James, Alonso
        C Son, KdB, Mount, Maddison
        Kane

        I don't think I can drop anyone^ of them.

    2. Baps hunter
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      About 100k teams have sold Zaha and bought Sess...

      1. jason_ni
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Zaha, home to man utd based on their form it could be a blood bath.
        Palace fans up for it.
        Utd dressing room is a joke and they aren't playing for badge or the manager.

        I can see the conference looming for utd after palace win!

  2. Revival
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Start Mateta or White?

    1. The Movement
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Mateta

    2. DF Team
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Eriksen and Toney or
      Bowen and Nketiah

      1. OneArseneWenger32
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        ET

      2. lilmessipran
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        ET

      3. artvandelay316
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

      4. DF Team
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Thanks guys!

        1. DF Team
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          As Clark would say: let the party begin!

    3. artvandelay316
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Have done KDB to Son, which has given me 1M in the bank. I view Saka as a weak link in mid now and want to take a hit to swap him out for a better option.
      Currently view my options as this:
      A) Richarlison to Toney + Saka to Luis Diaz (-8)
      B) Saka to Maddison (-4) - but this seems risky because Maddison might not start
      C) Saka to Barnes (-4)
      D) Saka to a City mid (Rodrigo, Berhardo, Gundo, Grealish)
      E) Saka to Wissa/Eriksen (bit of a punt)

      I have already won the ML I am in by a large margin and am currently in low 30K overall. So my main aim is to see if I can get to 20K (I was last week, so not far off I imagine).

      Overall squad is
      Dubravka (Ramsdale)
      TAA; Alonso, Cancelo (Cash, Andersen)
      Son (C), Mount, Kulu, Zaha, Saka
      Kane (VC), Richarlison (Broja)

      Cheers.

      1. The Units
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 12 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Just play Saka

        1. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Not an option for me, but thanks anyway.

      2. OneArseneWenger32
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Everton nothing to play for so saka is good option this week and Everton will be rotated.
        If still not convinced saka to brentford mid is Good too

        1. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Cheers. I've been reading different views on Everton - some seem to think Rich won't be rotated because they can still climb a spot in the league and others think he will.

    4. Luggy10
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Transfer dilemma....
      Bring in
      A. Rudiger
      Or
      B. Tobey.

      1. Luggy10
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Toney!!!

      2. The Units
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 12 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        B

    5. FCSB
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I’m in 3rd place in a ML (top 5 get prizes), I’m 10 off second and 20 off first but also 10 off 4th and 10 off 5th…

      Do I play safe with Son (c) or bring in Kane for Salah and go Kane (c)?

      1. Son
      2. Kane

      Thanks for all your help!!

      1. Brewstercat
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        2 months, 26 days ago

        2. Gotta have a bit of fun and go for gold!

        1. Haalander
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 26 days ago

          This

    6. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Might sell Zaha for -4 (chasing rival):
      A) Dias
      B) Havertz
      C) Mount
      D) Mahrez
      E) Foden
      F) Barnes

      1. artvandelay316
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A (if you mean Luis Diaz) or C

        1. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Haha cheers yes I did. Always spell his name wrong.

      2. lilmessipran
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        C but I don't think its worth a hit, Zaha could easily haul

        1. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Somewhat agree, although not been impressed by Zaha's stats & in hope the recent fixture congestion vs. United's rest goes against Palace.

      3. CROWLEY NOT CRAWLEY
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

    7. Perthite
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Salah->Son for free.

      Is either of these worth a hit:

      Dennis->Toney
      Coutinho->Bowen

    8. McPollolocco
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Eriksen or Wissa for this gameweek?

    9. Tim2012
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Any ideas what do do with 1 free transfer

      Schmeichel
      Trent Robertson Cancelo
      Maddison Son (c) Kulu Saka
      Watkins Richarlison Jesus

      1. Tim2012
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Any hits needed?

      2. lilmessipran
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Watkins to Toney/Vardy depending on itb

      3. Revival
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Richarlison > Toney

      4. OneArseneWenger32
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Watkins to Toney

    10. McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Right question, I am in a bench boost and only have 0.1m ITB.

      Which is best;

      A) Ait-N —> Sanchez (1FT)
      B) Ait-N & Richarlison —> Sess & Toney (-4)

      1. artvandelay316
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

      2. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        B

      3. hotine
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        B

    11. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Play Gordon or Gelhardt?

      1. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Gelhardt

        1. Baps hunter
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Ge

      2. The Knights Template
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        The Witcher of course

        1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Will he start? Tempted to buy

          1. The Mentaculus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Looks likely yeah

            1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Thanks

      3. Flynniesta
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Gelhardt

    12. daniellechers
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      I am top of my head to head league by 2 points. My team:

      Guaita-Foster
      TAA-Matip-Alonso-Cancelo-Laporte
      KDB-Son-Saka-Mount-Gordon
      Richarlison-Mateta-Ings

      Opponents team (before any changes):
      Dubravka-Sa
      Laporte-Coady-Jonny-Burn-Van Dijk
      Maddison-Saka-Coutinho-Havertz-Bernardo
      Kane-Nketiah-Werner

      Do I try and match his potential high scorers… so
      1)Take a -4 and swap KDB&Ings -> Maddison&Kane
      Or
      2) Swap Saka -> Maddison/Diaz (which one?)
      3) Swap Ings -> Toney

      Guaita probably won’t play but doesn’t seem worth a -4 to get someone else in

      Thanks

      1. OneArseneWenger32
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Mateta Ings out if u want to win

    13. Bubbles1985
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Start Matip, KDH or Pukki?

      Also have TAA and Diaz, so leaning towards KDH

      1. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Matip. 2nd choice Pukki

    14. abaalan
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Madness to do kdb + weghorst -> l. Diaz + vardy -4 ??

      1. Wolfman180
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        I wouldn't for a hit

    15. klopptimusprime
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Last move of the season!

      a) Salah to Son
      b) Salah to Mane
      c) KDB to Son

      Schmeichel
      TAA Matip Cancelo James Davies
      Salah KDB Mount Saka
      Nketiah

      Foster Watkins Pukki KDH

      a) Salah to Son
      b)

      1. gellinmagellan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        a or b

        1. klopptimusprime
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Cheers,

          Guess its either protect or attack rank

    16. Wolfman180
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Ramsdale
      TAA, James, Alonso, Cancelo
      Salah, L Diaz, Son, Saka, Havertz
      Nketiah

      Foster, Mateta, Broja, Livramento

      A) Salah to KDB for free
      B) Salah + Broja to Wissa/ Bruno G + Kane for a hit
      C) Some other move

      Bit nervous not owning any Leicester players again when my rival owns Barnes and Maddison

    17. Nightcrawler
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Weghorst and Countinho OUT

      Mount and Vardy IN

      Worth -4?

      1. Zimo
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yeah

      2. OneArseneWenger32
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yes

      3. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Absolutely yes. GL bud

      4. gellinmagellan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yes

      5. Shteve
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Yep

      6. Nightcrawler
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Ok tha k u everyone

    18. gellinmagellan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Anything worth a -4? Any changes in first 11 and bench?

      Pope
      TAA Cancelo James Alonso Robbo
      Zaha Saka Son Kulu
      Nketiah

      Dub Jesus Ings Gordon

      First 11 and bench gtg?

    19. Checko
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Good luck to all for end of season.

      Start Nketiah or Richarlison?

      1. TSN
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Rich

      2. Shteve
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Ed

      3. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Nketiah

      4. Wolfman180
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Tough one as you don't know which of the sides will turn up. Arsenal haven't looked great but may push for last chance at top 4, Everton could either take their foot off the gas now they're safe or be really geared up after doing so.

        I'd back an Arsenal win but I'd rather play Rich than Nketiah

    20. PartyTime
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Will Villa burst City’s cs?

    21. Bishopool
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      a) Toney -4pts
      b) Zaha

    22. TSN
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Start one

      A. Ings
      B. Rich

      Cheers

      1. gellinmagellan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

    23. Nightcrawler
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Vardy or Diaz(pool) for final game??

      If u had to choose one

      1. gellinmagellan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Diaz

      2. Shteve
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Vardy

      3. PartyTime
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Do you like a muddy party? 🙂

        1. Nightcrawler
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Only if I FEAST

          1. PartyTime
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Can’t feast if you don’t attend the party

            1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Takeaway

              1. PartyTime
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 26 days ago

                We don’t do takeaways

    24. Jet5605
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Which GK

      A - Sanchez
      B - Raya

    25. PaulParker
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      KDB Or Son in place of salah
      ?
      ?

      1. The Units
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 12 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Son

    26. PartyTime
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      If you had Triple Leicester attack will you

      1) Play the trio & bench Cancelo
      2) Play two

      Thanks 🙂

      1. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Vardy Maddison Barnes?

        1. PartyTime
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Yes. Only option is to bench Cancelo. Would gladly do that if I can see the Leicester’s xi & if City are likely to concede, I kind of think they will concede

          1. The Mentaculus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Close call but I think I'd play Maddi Vardy Cancelo

            1. PartyTime
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Yeah. That’s what I’m looking at. Thsnks

      2. Shteve
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Play 2

        1. PartyTime
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Thanks

          1. nolard
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            who would you bench tho?

            1. PartyTime
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Probably Barnes lol… Still undecided tbh

              1. nolard
                • 7 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                fair enough that.

    27. talty31
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Which Team would you pick Please... racking my brains

      Sanchez
      James TAA Davies
      Saka Mount Son Maddison
      Kane Pukki Gelhardt

      or

      Sanchez
      James TAA Davies
      Saka Mount Son KDB Diaz
      Pukki Gelhardt

      1. jonnybhoy
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

      2. Shteve
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A

    28. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Worth another -4 to do Gordon to Maddison or play Gordon/Gelhardt?

    29. Jolly Good
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Kane + Mount -4

      or

      Mane + Pukki