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. elpiratacordobes
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 16 days ago

    Please need advise what to do with my team:

    1) Salah to:
    a) KDB
    b) Son (have Kane and ML rival has Son but not Kane)

    2) Is it worth removing Coutinho for -4, to:
    a) Diaz
    b) Madds
    c) Mount

    Thanks and good luck to all.

    1. The Knights Template
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Bc

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Mane and Mount?

    3. jonnybhoy
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      BC

    4. elpiratacordobes
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Thanks guys, it's Son and Mount then.

  2. Magic Zico
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 16 days ago

    Salah Rich > Mount/Diaz/Maddison Kane [C] -4? Y or N?

    Which one?
    A. Mount
    B. Diaz
    C. Maddison

    1. jason_ni
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      A

    2. elpiratacordobes
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Tough, same doubt, I think its either A or B

    3. ran
        1 month, 16 days ago

        A

    4. Bleh
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Best move?

      A. Salah, Mahrez > Son, Mount/Diaz (-4)
      B. Mahrez, Richarlison > Son, fodder (-4)
      C. Mahrez > Mount/Diaz

      Dubravka
      TAA, Matip, Cancelo, Alonso
      Salah, Saka, Kulu, Mahrez, Maddison
      Jesus

      (Ramsdale, Richarlison, Pukki, White)

      1. Magic Zico
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        A

        1. Bleh
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          Thanks. Mount, Diaz, Bowen or someone else?

          1. Magic Zico
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 16 days ago

            Mount but I really like the Bowen shout ...

            1. Bleh
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 16 days ago

              Thanks, done!

    5. Holmes
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Deadline is not even getting closer now, sigh...

    6. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      It looks like I'm one of the few who is going without Kane and Son.

      I learnt a long time ago, never back a bottler. Seeing Arsenal fans with Son C 😆

      Now to decide C with Vardy, Lukaku, Martinelli, Pulisic, Grealish or Bruno

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Grealish may be a differential to far.

        Unless he's on at the last 20 minutes to do something.

      2. Magic Zico
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        As it stands I have no Son nor Kane ... could go without them and slap armband to Vardy

      3. PartyTime
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 16 days ago

        As long as you share “OMG Son” “OMG Kane”. 🙂

        1. PartyTime
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 16 days ago

          Vardy(C) for a final day Party 😉

      4. The Mentaculus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Wow thats a seriously punty lineup.... would go with Vardy of those

      5. ZEZIMA
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Good luck Bemba. Lukaku (c)

        1. mynameisq
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          You sure he starts?

    7. jonnybhoy
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Reposting with context

      I'm leading by 40 points rival using his FH and has Kane. I don't, which one? I also have Son

      A) Vardy -4pts
      B) Kane -8pts

      1. WhatWouldYourZlatanSay
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        A. 40 is a BIG gap at this stage. You should be fine.

      2. Jolly Good
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        A

    8. gellinmagellan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Pope
      TAA Cancelo James Alonso Robbo
      Saka Son Kulu
      Nketiah Jesus

      Dub Zaha Ings Gordon

      First 11 and bench gtg?

    9. Al Green Arrows
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      my planned moves are:

      A)Salah, Werner, Dennis -> Mount, Kane, Toney for -8
      or
      B)Salah, Werner, Dennis -> Son, Vardy, Nketiah for -8

      I guess the main questions are:
      1-is Salah really out?
      2-is Kane safe?
      3-A or B?

      1. jason_ni
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Salah isn't out, he has trained, its just a question does he start or come off bench.

        I can see either 60 mins from start if they are winning comfortably, else 30 min cameo to see the game out and get some minutes for the cl

        1. phrampton534
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          But if you haven’t got Son then even if Salah does get 60 minutes I’d still say the odds are son will outscore him. No guarantees either way though…

          1. jason_ni
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 16 days ago

            Yeah, its why I've sold him salah for son!

            Just highlighting that he is in the squad, and could easily start and so well.
            But son is more likely!

      2. The Units
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 12 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        B

    10. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Good morning everyone and best of luck to you all today!! Any rumours of any line up surfacing yet do we know???? Thankyou

      1. steveansell
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Sky Sports News reporting on their ticker, and I quote "Sarr, Saul Niguez, Vale and Hall in contention to feature" (Chelsea). Currently on a FH with Alonso, James and Mount now tempted to ditch at least one of the defenders.

        1. Sun Jihai
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          Yeah dreading that Chelsea team
          Can imagine Saul starting over Alonso

        2. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          Ah cheers for this mate!! Have on Tilva from Chelsea and don’t think his starts, looking to being Mount in

    11. Al-Chemy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Who scores more?

      A) Son & Rich
      B) Diaz & Kane (-4)

      1. Magic Zico
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        See above

    12. Muscout
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Chasing so willing to take risks, any suggestions pls?

      May do Salah and Nacho to Son and Toney (C) -4, anything more exciting?

      Ramsdale
      James Alonso Cancelo
      Salah Kulu Saka Madd Raph
      Kane Pukki

      Foster Nacho White Coady 1 FT

    13. Ruinenlust
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Captain Son or Jane?

      1. Magic Zico
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Jane for sure 😛

      2. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        JAPTAIN JANE

      3. tiger
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Definitely Jane, it's her time!

    14. Reinhold
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      How big are the chances of a Lacazette farewell start, do we think? Hasn't started in ages

      1. No Need
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        No time for sentiment unless Spurs get well ahead early

    15. RWB_1991
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 16 days ago

      2 from Jota, Diaz, Mount & Havertz?

      1. Baron Saturday
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Diaz and Mount. Havertz seems risky imo

      2. The Mighty Hippo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Diaz and Mount

        1. RWB_1991
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 16 days ago

          Thanks

    16. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

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

      1. steveansell
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        I think Gelhardt could get a goal - he looked excellent againt Brighton last weekend and reckon he could be a star in the Championship next season (sorry Leeds fans!!)

      2. trafalgarlaw
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Take that hits

    17. Echoes
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Looking set on this move now.

      Havertz -> Maddison

      Do it?

      1. The Units
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 12 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Yep

      2. mynameisq
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Havertz possibly starting Vs Watford?

        1. Echoes
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 16 days ago

          Think he doesn't, and also have Mount

      3. The Mighty Hippo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        yes that's a good move

    18. Better luck next year
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Zaha + Ings > Mount + Jesus worth a -4?

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

      Generic question folks - see if you’re protecting a money ML by 20 points (30 points 3rd). Is it ‘safe’ to assume rivals would take a few hits?

      I am hesitating to take a -8 but rivals have Kane and I either have Richarlison or Geldhart starting.

      Would either take a -8 for Wilson, Nketiah, Antonio or Toney

      1. mynameisq
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        I think so, the leader will take hits to cover, the chasers need hits for differentials

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

          The old FOMO as usual.

          Always kicks in when someone’s playing Norwich.

    20. gellinmagellan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Start

      A) Nketiah (have Saka)
      B) Zaha

    21. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Best option here folks???

      A- Kane and Barnes
      B- Vardy and Mount
      C- Mané and Mount extra -4
      D- Kane and Mount extra -4

      Cheers everyone!!

      1. HM2
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 16 days ago

        a

    22. TSN
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Start Ings or Nketiah?
      I really hope villa scores against city though

      1. Lionac
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Nketiah. And if Liverpol fan just be happy if Ings scores

      2. gellinmagellan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Let me know when you know haha! I have Jesus too to add to the dilemma

    23. Lionac
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      A) Salah & Pukki -> Kane & Barnes (-4) (bench Saka)
      B) Salah -> Son

      Also what are chanes for Jesus to start?

    24. Jet5605
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Best 4.1 or less defender?

      A - Schar
      B - Amartey
      C - Other?

      1. trafalgarlaw
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        B

    25. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Gordon to Maddison for a total -8?

    26. Bavarian
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Salah is my differential this GW

    27. Najj
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Choose 1:
      1) play nketiah
      2) play Richarlison
      3) -4 to Vardy

      Leading ML by 50pts

    28. Bishopool
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 16 days ago

      Would u get Toney for -4pts and bench Zaha?

      1. Mozumbus
          1 month, 16 days ago

          No

        • The Mighty Hippo
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          No, I don't think that's worth taking a hit for.

        • Il Capitano
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 16 days ago

          No

      2. Jambot
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        If ML rival used free hit last week is there any way to see how much money he has in the bank for this week?

      3. Bezz82
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Toney or risk Jesus to start. I’m on a FH

      4. Bishopool
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 16 days ago

        Captain:

        a) James
        b) Vardy
        c) Kane

        1. Eh, just one more thing ...
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 16 days ago

          C