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. JoeJitzu +42
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 14 days ago

    Schmeichel
    TAA Cancelo Alonso X1
    Kulu Maddison Mount X2
    Kane Nketiah

    Salah Dias Gordon Amartey Weghorst

    1.Salah to Son (play Gordon)
    2. Salah to KDB (play Gordon)
    3. Salah to Son/KDB and Dias to Robertson, James or another (-4))

    1. Scots Gooner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      3 - Son/Robbo

  2. Saintjack01
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Trying to catch leader of the league, 20 points behind, think he will captain son. Should I captain Kane, mount, saka or kulu?

      1. Gizzachance
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Kane

      2. Scots Gooner
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Kane

      3. jason_ni
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Kane, followed by mount

      4. n14mul
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Anyone not worries with kane not being well he may not be as Sharp or even have slightly reduced minutes?

      5. Justin Credibles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Kane

    • jason_ni
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Any chelsea itk likely to get lineup info?

      Thinking Davies to James could be worth -4, but little concerned about minutes!

      1. TheTinman
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        You'd need balls of steel to risk that. Absolutely no idea what Tommy the Tank engine will do today

        1. jason_ni
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          James also in rivals team who is chasing me, so that's in my mind as well!
          39 points so should be safe you'd think barring a kane and James super haul.

          Me
          Davies alonso kdb mount
          Vs his
          James saka coutinho kane

    • Scots Gooner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Bring the preamble back permanently

      1. Justin Credibles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        This.

      2. Dusty Donut
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Agree

    • Gizzachance
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Thoughts? 1ft
      A salah to mane
      B Salah an Watkins to Dias an Kane-4
      C Salah an martinelli to Diaz an mount-4
      D Salah an weg to mane an Toney-4
      E Salah an Watkins to mount an Kane
      Good luck all
      Thanks

      1. Scrumper
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A

        1. Gizzachance
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Cheers

      2. jason_ni
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Assume you have son, either a or e

        1. Gizzachance
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Have son, an cheers

    • StellaMan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      TTA and Diaz
      Or
      Mane and Dalot?

      1. Scrumper
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        B

        1. Scrumper
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Dunno what's wrong we me this morning. Also got this wrong way round. Clearly A!

      2. Justin Credibles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A

      3. Gizzachance
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A

      4. jason_ni
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A

    • soulsaver
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Hey People!
      Final pick of this season!
      A.Foden
      B.Mount
      C.Bowen
      Good luck ..in a bit!

      1. Justin Credibles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        B - good luck

      2. Scrumper
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Heart says b, head says c

        1. Scrumper
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Scratch that, I meant the other way round!!

      3. zingzangzola
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Mount or Bowen for me.

      4. StellaMan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Gone with B

      5. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Foden could be overlooked on these pages.

        A goal and an assist?

      6. jason_ni
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Id go mount

    • Scrumper
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Vardy to outscore Toney?

      1. StellaMan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Think will both get similar points, a goal each

      2. n14mul
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Toney

    • McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

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

      Which is best;

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

      1. n14mul
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        2nd

      2. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        B

    • FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Thank you for all your hard work this season, Neale. If anyone could write the preamble after Mark, it's you 🙂

      I'd like to see the burning question article revisited. But it needs the very best to be included in the article. It was brilliant ... Getting the opinions of the big guns (like Jay Eggers) to discuss a topic that had divided opinion.

      1. pitstop1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Ditto, loved Mark’s and wondered if he was behind this one until the end … well written, bring it back!

    • chaser123
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Plenty of sites that show predicted points.

      Do any show the predicted points range? Wanting to see who the models say has the highest ceiling…

      1. Hooky
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Peter Crouch

    • DF
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Me.
      Kane. Sessegnon. Jota. Zaha. Erikssen.

      Him.
      Toney. Laporte. Saka. Kulu. Vardy. +12

      He'll captain Son. Should I
      A. Captain Son
      B. Captain Kane
      C. Captain another.

      1. Hooky
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        B

    • mcsteely
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      A. Play Watkins v City
      B. Play Pukki v Spurs
      C. Sell for a hit to Toney
      D. Sell for a hit to someone else

      1. DF
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        B

      2. Justin Credibles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        C

    • Little Red Lacazette
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Start Schar or Broja?

    • the dom 1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Trying to keep 3rd in my ML as its still worth $200 to me.

      4th is about 46pts off me and I am about 53pts off second.

      who would you captain?

      a. Son
      b. Mane
      c. Maddison
      d. Cancelo
      e. Toney (for fun)

      Cheers

      1. DF
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Just spend it, it's in the bag. Captain Mane for the craic though

      2. GE
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A boiring I know

      3. tbos83
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A if you're trying to consolidate

      4. the dom 1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Thanks lads & good luck

    • TheTinman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Anyone think havertz starts? He's not worth the -4 to move on I don't think after he got some minutes last match

      1. Baron Saturday
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        I feel he'll get some minutes. Who would you move him to? But I think you're right, but worth the -4.

        Think Mount starts?

        1. Baron Saturday
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          *not worth the -4

        2. TheTinman
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Mount should.

          Pulisic has been awful and has wasted a lot of chances which have possibly cost them 2 trophies. Think his neck will be on the chopping block ahead of Mount.

          Also Lukaku has been poor. Is TT ruthless or does he give Lukaku yet more chances to gain some confidence

      2. MFC86
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        I have him and don’t want to waste a -4 moving him on. He could definitely start

    • GE
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Leading my ML with just 5 points.
      Very similar teams, only difference is that he has
      Saka, Pukki and Robbie and I have Zaha, Richarlison and Matip.

      Should I:
      1) Matip -> Robbie (to protect the risk of Robbie)
      2) Zaha -> Saka (protect the risk of Saka)
      3) Zaha -> Diaz/Maddison/Kulu/Bowen, and who?
      4) Richarlison -> Toney (bench Zaha)

      (1FT, 2.2 itb)

      Schmeichel
      TAA/Cancelo/Laporte/Alonso/Matip
      KDB/Son/Mount/Zaha
      Nkietah

      Bench: Foster, Richarlison, Gordon, Dennis*

      1. DF
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        3 Diaz

        1. GE
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Thanks

      2. phrampton534
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        5pts is too close to try and protect your lead. Need to play your own game and hope it works out. You could transfer in someone for the sake of it and they transfer them out. Toney or a Leicester mid seems the better move (maybe Barnes over Maddison though as Maddison may not start)

        1. GE
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          You probably right, Barnes is tempting! Or maybe Diaz more safe for minutes?

          1. phrampton534
            • 7 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            Crap shoot really!
            Diaz will very likely start but if city go 3-0 up he may get subbed early!

            1. GE
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              See that point! Maybe Toney instead?

              1. phrampton534
                • 7 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Got more or less the same decision myself (I can’t stretch to Diaz but Leicester mid or Toney works). Struggling to decide!!

    • Hana
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Hi, I’m really struggling to decide my transfers with a mini league on the line.

      Still have TC chip, probably Son.

      Schmeichel
      Cancelo, Matip, Robertson, Alonso,
      Salah, Son, Foden, Mount, Saka,
      Nketiah

      Subs: Foster, Cash, Puki, Dennis (inj)

      A) Salah > DeBruyne, Mane, Diaz, Maddison,
      B) Salah + Dennis > Bruno + Kane (-4)
      C) Salah + Dennis > Mane/Diaz + Toney (-4)
      D) Salah + Dennis > Diaz/Maddison + Vardy (-4)
      E) Other

      1. tbos83
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A De Bruyne. If you still have tc that is huge advantage.

      2. TokyoRed 東京赤
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        KdB for me

    • tbos83
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 14 days ago

      1ft, 0.8itb. Would you:

      A) Weg > Toney (bench Richarlison)
      B) Zaha > Maddy
      C) Gordon > Bruno G
      D) something else

      Pope
      TAA Cancelo Alonso
      Zaha Son(c) Mount Saka
      Richarl Vardy

      Foster Weghorst Gordon Livra

    • Will
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Bench two of; Wilson, Pukki, Nkeitah, Saka, Matip, EmersonRoyal

    • Babit1967
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Gtg troops?

      Schmeichel
      Matip Robertson Laporte Cancelo
      KDB (C) Son Kulusevski Martinelli
      Kane Nketiah

      Pukki 1st sub

      1. THFC4LIFE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Yep g2g

      2. Agbonlahorse
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Is that a FH? Because that's almost the perfect team for this GW. Nice!

        1. Babit1967
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Nah normal team and cheers lads

    • Do I Not Like Orange
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Start Ederson or Dubravka? Already have Cancelo.

      1. lilmessipran
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Uh really, you have to ask?

        1. TheTinman
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          The mighty Dubravka

      2. Justin Credibles
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Ederson

    • lilmessipran
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Where are all the fake leaked lineups at? Doesn't seem like the last day of the season

      1. DF
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Bit early really. Give it til lunch time

    • asquishypotato
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      I like the preamble, it allows the creative juices to flow, like an AOB for fantasy. Thanks for the efforts this year, it’s been a pleasure all!

    • faulksp
      • 13 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      7 points ahead. Both have Richardson. I reckon he will have to play him due to other issues. Do I sell Pukki for Toney and put Rich on bench or just leave Rich in to block him ?

      1. abaalan
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        If for free then why not. Seems they people think rich not going to start.... But not sure if I see it

    • abaalan
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      A) Weghorst -> Nketiah
      B) KDB + Weg -> L. Diaz + Vardy -4

      any other fwds to consider under 6.6?>
      Rank 565 if it matters...

    • AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Great article.

      One final decision for 4.2 million players or those playing to the wire.

      Gamble on Salah starting or switch soon before it's too late??

    • TheKeitaSuccess
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      HELP. I’m 17 behind my mate - he’s got Kane and Son but pretty sure he’ll (c) Son to try and stop me gaining. Who would be the best differential captain?

      A) Mount
      B) Diaz
      C) KDB (Liverpool fan so don’t really want to be relying on his points

      1. THFC4LIFE
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        A

    • THFC4LIFE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Start Schmeichel or Dubravka lads?

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Schmeichel i think.

        I've just switched. Interested in others views too. He's in Scout picks again.

        1. THFC4LIFE
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Currently on Schmeichel but not sure, Leicester always find a way to concede

          1. TheKeitaSuccess
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            A - Southampton were awful against us on Tues. Leicester look full of beans. They are a bit dodgy at the back but Burnley need to score don’t they, as they can’t be relying on Leeds losing.

            1. TheKeitaSuccess
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Meant to put Schmeichel not A haha

    • hnmfm
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Brought in Watkins to Woeghorst as my crazy last GW move, if drama happens as it likely does then Watkins will be involved.

      1. Agbonlahorse
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        I'm thinking the same. Villa can score against anyone, and when they do, Watkins is normally involved.