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. manu4life99
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Any transfers worth a 4pt hit? (Trying to hold 10k rank)

    Schmeichel
    Robbo Alonso James Laporte Cancelo
    Son(C) KDB Saka Kulu
    Nketiah

    Foster Richarlison Pukki KDH

    1. BERGKOP
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Nope. You're gtg. Lovely backline.

    2. Mozumbus
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Too heavy defense, I'll still not take a hit, will rather pray for clean sheets

      • The Mighty Hippo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        I think you should keep the team as is, without a hit. You've got adequate bench cover if one of your Chelsea defenders doesn't start.

    3. Silicon Vialli
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Is keeping Salah and captaining a bad idea?

      1. Mozumbus
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Keep but don't Captain

        • AIRMILES
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Maybe keep but don't captain

        • BrockLanders
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Not really. Could easily start and haul.

        • The Mentaculus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Sell for someone more likely to start

      2. Al Green Arrows
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        would you rather have Alonso or Matip?

        1. Gizzachance
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Think matip may be more nailed, imo
          Alonso owner to !

        2. Rbyrne95
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Matip more likely to play full 90

      3. JY84
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Getting in a midfielder for Coutinho! Who is e better option? Alr hv Mount in my team!
        (A) Diaz
        (B) Maddison
        (C) Kulu

        1. Gizzachance
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          A

        2. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 15 days ago

          A

      4. Gizzachance
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Thoughts? Appreciated 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

      5. Tommo1212
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Anyone think KDB may start up top today ?

        Looking at taking a punt on Gundogan in mid for a big differential ???

      6. McPollolocco
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Is odegaard to eriksen/Wissa a good move for today?

        1. Mozumbus
            1 month, 15 days ago

            Yes

        2. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Choose one to buy out of each pair please...

          Richarlison or Toney
          Saka or Zaha

          Cheers.

          1. SteveC
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 15 days ago

            Toney, Zaha

        3. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Time to serve it?

          Schmeichel
          Trent | Robbo | Cancelo
          Salah (C) | Son | Kulusevski | Eriksen
          Kane | Pukki | Gelhardt

          Bachmann | Amartey | Schar | Ramsey

          1. The Mentaculus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 15 days ago

            Uncharacteristic Kaptain choice... are they not "going in dry" today?

            1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              After seeing Wolves vs Norwich defending Salah is a no brainer!

              1. The Polymath
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                If he plays

                1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  He almost certainly will, 60 mins ish

              2. The Mentaculus
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Fair enough. Same thinking here - have Mané (C)

            2. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              They will be gentle with Norwich today I’m feeling, lots of lubricant

          2. PartyTime
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 15 days ago

            If Salah starts. Congratulations in advance! Wolves are a shitty team

            1. The Polymath
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              You nasty person, I hope Mrs Vardy loses her case 😀

              1. PartyTime
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Haha 😆

        4. tryf88
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Zaha Weggy to Maddison Toney ?

        5. _Ninja_
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Who scores more?

          A. Salah Maddison +4pts
          B. Diaz Vardy

          1. Mozumbus
              1 month, 15 days ago

              A

            • nolard
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 15 days ago

              I'd move Salah. Pretty sure he doesn't start, and he is expensive.

          2. Mozumbus
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Have you also got all 4:
              KDB, Son, Make, Kane
              ?

              1. Mozumbus
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  *Mane

              2. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 15 days ago

                Cheeky repost-

                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. Mozumbus
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    A

                    1. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 15 days ago

                      Thanks mate!!!

                  • g40steve
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    B

                    1. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 15 days ago

                      Thankyou mate, A or B seem the sensible moves

                2. DF Team
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Just notice rival I’m chasing has Mount.

                  Mount for Bowen, Maddison/Barnes?

                3. Jolly Good
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Who scores more … Kane or Mane??

                  1. SteveC
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Kane will play 90 but Mane may not. Therefore Kane.

                4. Junks
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  I have DDG and Foster (Don't ask)

                  Do I take a -4 and swap DDG out? Or just play him...??

                  1. 1966
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Just play

                5. 824545201
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Rate my FH
                  Ederson 4.0
                  Laporte James Alonso Janssen Amartey
                  Son Mahrez Maddison Mount 4.2
                  Kane Vardy Nketiah

                  1. The Mentaculus
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    5 at the back in GW38? Are you sure?

                    1. 824545201
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 15 days ago

                      3 4 3 formation

                      1. The Mentaculus
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 15 days ago

                        Aha ok that sounds better

                  2. The Mighty Hippo
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    The Mahrez pick looks to be a bit risky, but he's usually good for points when he plays.

                6. Boleyn Boy
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 11 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Morning All. Who is the best £5.3m or less striker? Thanks in advance

                  1. The Mentaculus
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Gelhardt

                7. The Mighty Hippo
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 5 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  I think I'm just about there, but would appreciate your comments on my starting 11 and bench order.

                  Ramsdale
                  Cancelo | James | Matip
                  Son | Maddison | Diaz | Saka | Zaha
                  Kane | Toney
                  ----------------------------------------------
                  Dubravka | Davies | Thiago Silva | Wood

                  1. Baron Saturday
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Killer looking team (and well formatted)

                    Bench is good mate. All set

                8. Bishopool
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  bench one:

                  a) zaha
                  b) kulu

                  1. Bruno Commando
                    • 7 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Zaha for me

                9. Bruno Commando
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Is there a reliable source for leaked Liverpool lineups?

                  1. g40steve
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Link?

                  2. Fabreghastly
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    fpl rockstar

                    1. Bruno Commando
                      • 7 Years
                      1 month, 15 days ago

                      Thanks mate

                10. FCSB
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Who to captain, I’m chasing top prize, defending a prize position:

                  1. Son
                  2. Kane

                  1. Fantasy Pig
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Son

                11. g40steve
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Any concrete info on the academy players for Chelsea?

                12. It’s gonna Ben Mee
                  • 8 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Start one:

                  A) Gordon
                  B) Jesus
                  C) Nketiah
                  D) Saka

                  1. SteveC
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    Saka, as most likely to play 90.

                13. Fantasy Pig
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Best option?

                  A. Emerson Royal + Diaz
                  B. Robertson + Kulusevski

                  Thanks!

                  1. SteveC
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    B. Robo has a higher ceiling, Kulu and Diaz samey.

                14. HM2
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  First on bench:

                  a) Schar
                  b) Richarlison

                  1. Fantasy Pig
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    B

                  2. Il Capitano
                    • 1 Year
                    1 month, 15 days ago

                    B

                15. Jolly Good
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Dias, Mount, Kulu, Maddy or Bowen…

                16. andre_c
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Would you take -8 for Salah, Pukki, Schar > Son, Toney, $5.5 defender? Chasing 19 points to 1st in mini league.
                  Unlikely I'll catch him, but 58 points ahead of 3rd, so I can take risks.

                17. gellinmagellan
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 4 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Pope
                  TAA Cancelo James Alonso Robbo
                  Saka Son Kulu
                  Nketiah Jesus

                  Dub Zaha Ings Gordon

                  First 11 and bench gtg??

                18. Gandalf
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 11 Years
                  1 month, 15 days ago

                  Who to start?
                  A. Matip (already have TAA)
                  B. Toney