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. tinear
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 14 days ago

    Would you transfer out any of Saka/Kulu for Diaz for a hit?

    Ramsdale
    TAA Cancelo Laporte Alonso
    Salah KdB Kulu Mount Saka
    Nketiah

    Dubravka Mateta Cash Gelhart

    Alternatively, can do Salah Nketiah and Cash to Kane Maddison Sess for -8

    Transferring out Salah for Son with 1ft 0.1 itb
    50 points behind ML leader, trying to make it up

    Ta

    1. Rbyrne95
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Not for a hit

      1. tinear
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Cheers. Any of the above needs a replacement you reckon?

        1. Rbyrne95
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          It’s hard because it’ll have to be a differential for you to catch up 50 points and I think Salah is a differential atm. Less hits possible the better. Fear without son though.

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

      Not worth -4, Diaz minutes likely to be managed

      1. tinear
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Thanks Baps. Would you get anyone other than above plan?

  2. sklarface
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 14 days ago

    Watkins & Salah to Kane & one of Mount / Diaz / Jota / Maddison / Bowen / Bruno G. Any thoughts?

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

      Yes but the midfielder is a dice roll

      1. sklarface
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Yeah, thinking the same thing on the midfielders - could all score pretty similarly

    2. The Movement
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Kane and Mount

      • WhatWouldYourZlatanSay
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Kane and Mount/Maddy. I went for the latter but already had Mount.

    3. The Movement
        1 month, 14 days ago

        Hello Guys. Which is better option? Protecting rank.

        A) Salah & Kulu
        B) Mount & Kane -4

        Cheers

        1. Wolfman180
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          I'd be tempted with B

      • artvandelay316
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 14 days ago

        How essential is a Pool mid this week if you have won ML but want to improve global rank?

        1. The Movement
            1 month, 14 days ago

            Depends who you currently have

          • WhatWouldYourZlatanSay
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            Not essential. They should win but if you’re going for OR improvement there is just as much to be gained from differential approach. I have no pool mid- will it backfire? Very possibly but hey ho. So much has this season!

        2. L S P
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 14 days ago

          Chasing Top 10k. Best pair for a -4:

          A) Mane & Mount
          B) Mane & Toney
          C) Vardy & Diaz
          D) Kane & Maddy/Barnes
          E) No Hits!

          1. The Movement
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Kane and Mount if you can make that move lol

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

            10 pts behind in ML

            Me:
            Schmeichel
            TAA~Cancelo~Matip~James~Davies
            Son~Mount~Maddison
            Kane~Jesus
            (Foster, Ramsey, KDH, Dennis)

            Rival (pre-transfers with 2.4 itb)
            Schmeichel
            TAA-Alonso-Robbo-Cancelo-Davies
            Son-Coutinho-Havertz-Kulu
            Richarlison
            (Foster; Gordon, Laca, Broja)

            His defence is better but I prefer my current mid/attack. He will probably make one or 2 transfers only as he’s quite cautious. Shall I just stick?

          3. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            Does Chalobah start anyone??? Only Chelsea defender I can probably get too, have Tilva but doubt he starts

          4. Rbyrne95
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            Okay to go?…Anyone worth a -8? .3itb. 20 points top.

            Schmeichel
            TAA-Matip-Cancelo-Davies-Alonso
            KDB-Maddison-Saka-Son(C)
            Geldhart.

            Ramsdale - Zaha - Richarlison - Weggy

            1. odannyboys
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              You need a Chelsea mid/forward at home to Watford

              1. Rbyrne95
                • 5 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Not for another hit imo- taken a -4 already. Still leaves me with iffy up top.

                Can take a -8 mid for anyone under 7.2 like Bowen, Barnes, Kulu etc. but hit out for Saka has me hesitant.

          5. Wolfman180
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            A) Salah to KDB for free
            B) Salah to Mane for free
            C) Salah + Broja to Bruno G/ Wissa + Kane for a hit
            D) Keep Salah

            Already own Son

            1. odannyboys
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              C

              1. Wolfman180
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Cheers. Would you go Wissa or Bruno G?

                1. odannyboys
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  Wissa. Great form

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

            A) Salah + Weghorst > Mount + Kane -4 (play Richarlison)

            B) Salah + Weghorst + Richarlison > Mount + Kane + Toney -8

          7. steven8991
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 14 days ago

            1 FT

            A. Cash > Alonso
            B. Richarlison > Toney
            C. KDB & Richarlison > Maddison & Kane for -4
            D. Saka & Richarlison > Maddison & Toney for -4

            1. odannyboys
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              D

          8. akazola
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Pre-match Preamble ? Yes please.

            • Mane Mane Mane
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Is Ronaldo definitely out?

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

                Yes

            • odannyboys
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Salah to Diaz
              richarlison to Kane

              Minus 4?

              1. odannyboys
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Already have son on triple cap

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

                I'm likely to make that move. Struggling with Diaz vs Maddison vs Bowen vs Foden though.

                1. odannyboys
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  I have Maddison but Bowen on great form

            • Anthonybgreen93
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Absolutely loved this piece guys. Would welcome seeing it again!!

            • Taegugk Warrior
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Ings to Toney for -4. Y/N..?

              1. Geriatric Unathletic
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Probably a yes from me.

                1. Geriatric Unathletic
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 11 Years
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  But of course depends on rest of Team and bench.

            • Totti
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              on free hit
              who to get in GK

              A) pope
              B) schmeichel
              C) meslier

              who to get from chelsea and lesicester?

              any sugeestions

              1. odannyboys
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                B

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

                  why schmeichel over pope?

                  1. odannyboys
                    • 10 Years
                    1 month, 14 days ago

                    Saints cannot score

              2. odannyboys
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Vardy if chasing

            • Big_Andy_GAWA
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Spurs have gone from 2/9 during the week to 3/10 now. Hmmmm.

              1. No Kane No Gain
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                They must have had a dodgy lunch

            • No Kane No Gain
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Which one

              A) Richarlison
              B) Sessengnon -4
              C) Matip -4 (have Robbo)

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

                A , or if you take the hit then B (over C)

                1. No Kane No Gain
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  Cheers. How strong are you in choosing A over the rest lol?!

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

                    Strongish, don’t think the hit is really worth it - through Sess could pay off? Good luck .

                    1. No Kane No Gain
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 14 days ago

                      Thanks for throwing the “sess might pay off” comment at the end when you had be sold at keeping rich just before that lol

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

              Play Nketiah or Davies ?

              1. No Kane No Gain
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Davies. Guaranteed 6 points I’d say. Nketiah would have to return to match that

              2. Big_Andy_GAWA
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Go for the striker. Arsenal gotta go for it.

            • Brewstercat
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Help!

              A) Mane and Alonso
              B) Diaz and Vardy

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

              if you could have just one defender this week, who would it be?

              have Cancelo, James, Cash, Digne, Kilman and thinking of Cash > Alonso and benching latter 2

              1. No Kane No Gain
                • 3 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Not Alonso after reports Saul and a few others may be starting..

                1. No Kane No Gain
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 14 days ago

                  So maybe Robbo

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

                  hmm cheers, let me seek out alternatives

                  1. No Kane No Gain
                    • 3 Years
                    1 month, 14 days ago

                    Got to be Pool defender

            • Cheshire Duck
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Schmeichel
              White - TAA - James - Emerson Royal
              Son - Mount - Saka - barnes
              Kane - Nketiah
              Bench : Dubravka - Holgate - Countinho- Weghorst

              1 Ft, 4 ITB

              No sure about James, Coutinho and Barnes

              Should I do Coutinho + Barnes > Eriksen + Bowen ? for a hit and hope for James to play

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

              Really like the return of the pre-amble, please keep for next season!

            • Big_Andy_GAWA
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Hi Guys,

              Very nervous as lot of money leagues v.tight.

              Richarlison to Jésus for -4, or play KDH?

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

              Any Pool leaks as yet. Really need Jota to be starting, lol :)???

              1. odannyboys
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 14 days ago

                Waiting on this before I go salah to Diaz/mane

            • Totti
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              who do u rather guys?

              A) mount
              B) maddison

            • Totti
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              who do u rather guys?
              A) de bruyne
              B) mane

            • storr84
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              I need to hold my position in my MLs.

              1 FT - 0.2 itb.

              Schmeichel (Dubravka)

              Cash Matip TAA Cancelo (Johnson)
              Saka Foden Kulusevski (Ramsey, Salah)
              Nketiah Pukki Kane

              A - Salah & Kulusevski - Mane & Maddison
              B - Salah & Kulusevski - Son & Mount
              C - Something else?

            • faulksp
              • 13 Years
              1 month, 14 days ago

              Pukki with Kane and Richarlson upfront

              Or

              Sell Rich for Toney and go with Pukki/Kane/Toney