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. Ibralicious
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Who scores most from these options?

    A) Pukki + 4 pts
    B) Coutinho + 4 pts
    C) Toney
    D) Diaz

    Cheers!

    1. Pegboy
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      D

    2. DF
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      A or D. I'd play A

  2. Disturbed
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Best option to complete the defence? Budget 5.1m

    Schmeichel dubravka
    Robertson cancelo XXXX Tavares schar

    1. Mozumbus
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Jansson

      • Heisenberg W. W.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Sessegnon?

      • Tartan Brazilians
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Sessegnon

      • Hwanging by a Fred
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Trippier

    2. BillsterP
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Love the Pre-match Preamble, it’s been sorely missed. Please bring it back

      1. FPL Pillars
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        I much prefer the gambling material myself

        1. Shattered Dreams
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Lol

    3. SDC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      When I saw title of the article was The Pre-Match Preamble, I immediately jumped with excitement thinking it was Mark. Being a long term reader, I definitely associate the Preamble Being Mark's baby and hope The Preamble continues and Mark does it 🙂 His writing skills are exceptional and really miss the Preamble from Mark. Hope FFS listens to this request and brings back the Preamble from Mark 🙂

      1. Shattered Dreams
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        To be fair I thought the above was very well written too.

        1. SDC
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Yes no doubting this piece by Neale. It's just that Mark and The Preamble have a separate fanbase 🙂

      2. Whats the Mata?
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        THIS.

        I soooo miss it.

    4. Shattered Dreams
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      I think the preamble should make a return next year alongside line up lessons. That’d be cool.

    5. Mozumbus
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Who will score more, different formations:
        A. Kane + Bruno Guimarães
        B. Mount + Cancelo
        Have Son and KDB, if that matters
        Thanks

        1. Tartan Brazilians
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 24 days ago

          B

          1. Mozumbus
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Thanks. Do you think Mount is nailed?

        2. Goodfeathers
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Havertz a decent differential this week or madness? Will need to take a -4 to get rid

          1. Mozumbus
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Keep, not a decent differential though

          2. ebb2sparky
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 24 days ago

            Is anyone on here keeping Salah this week?

            1. Arn De Gothia
              • 12 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              no

            2. Werner Bros
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              I was going to but now the bandwagon is getting tempting

          3. PocketZola
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 24 days ago

            Luka c an option?

            1. Mozumbus
                2 months, 24 days ago

                If starts he can be disruptive against Watford

            2. Whats the Mata?
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Do y'all think both Mateta and Che Adams start today? Chances?

            3. Crazy RedDevil
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Whom to captain, foden/ Maddison/ Son/Kane/Alonso/ Cancelo?

              1. The Knights Template
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Fodenfreude!

              2. SuperG
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Son
                Kane
                Maddi

                In that order.

            4. AIRMILES
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Skonto Rigga, I really enjoyed the prose! A concise and thoughtful summary of an unforgiving season. Nice to see your journalism studies put to good use. And nice to read an article that doesn't lazily draw the ending paragraph back into the first one with some weak metaphor.

              Best of luck on the final day.

            5. Baps hunter
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Is official fpl site down or I am the only one having issues with it?

              1. The Mentaculus
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                I logged in now. Worked fine for me

              2. Goodfeathers
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Working okay for me too

            6. gellinmagellan
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Bench 1

              A) Zaha
              B) Jesus
              C) Nketiah
              D) Kuku

              1. Tartan Brazilians
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Zaha

            7. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Salah + Weghorst -> Barnes + Kane
              leaves me with

              Pope
              Trent Cancelo James Laporte
              Son Mount Saka Kulusevski Barnes
              Kane

              (Pickford Tsimikas Pukki Broja)

              Good to go?

            8. Tsssst
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              What are Jota owners doing?

              1. Prinzhorn
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Can you get Diaz for free?

              2. Tartan Brazilians
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Think he could score big. Keep

              3. DF
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Keeping. Gutted though. Don't think he'll start but a hit would be folly

            9. Prinzhorn
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Is is worth doing Richarlison -> Toney for a -4 ?

              1. AIRMILES
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                I expect him to outscore Richarlison by 4+ points.

            10. FPL_Bharat
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Best combo here...

              A: KDB + Nketiah
              B: Mane + Toney (-4)
              C: Diaz + Vardy (-4)...nketiah sub incase both james/alonso are rested
              D: Eriksen + Kane (-4)..nketiah sub incase both james/alonso are rested

              1. Prinzhorn
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                I like C and B.

                I am a Nketiah owner and very unsure about him this GW.

                1. FPL_Bharat
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  2 months, 24 days ago

                  yeah same mate...my easy move is Salah >> KDB but nketiah is my only striker so if he is out, don't even have a sub for Nketiah

              2. The Knights Template
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Best wait for pressers, as always.

            11. DavidBW
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Predictions please. Mine are

              Arsenal v Everton 3-1
              Brentford v Leeds 3-2
              Brighton v West Ham 1-2
              Burnley v Newcastle 1-0
              Chelsea v Watford 3-0
              Crystal Palace v Man Utd 2-1
              Leicester v Southampton 4-0
              Liverpool v Wolves 3-0
              Man City v Aston Villa 3-1
              Norwich v Tottenham 2-1

              1. AIRMILES
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Apart from the Brentford and Norwich results, I think I'd concur with you.

              2. OneArseneWenger32
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Arsenal fan I see 🙂

              3. Tartan Brazilians
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                3-1
                3-1
                1-1
                1-1
                5-0
                2-1
                3-0
                4-1
                5-1
                1-3

            12. Whats the Mata?
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              I've the preamble so much. Like for real it used to be one of the best things to read before the deadline.

              But @Neale, it would be lovely if you decide to continue it.

              1. Whats the Mata?
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 7 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Missed*

            13. The Nuttman
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Sell Mateta for which non Toney striker?

              1. Giovanni Giorgio
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                I'm starting him. He's playing ManUtd. Probably fine

            14. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Those chasing - you can’t ask for a better differential than Salah!

              1. Holmes
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                No thanks. Just an expensive asset who is unlikely to haul this week

                1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 24 days ago

                  I want him to do to others what he did to me when I didn’t own him GW3-7!
                  Only fair

              2. AC/DC AFC
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Captain Salah?

                1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 24 days ago

                  Tempted, waiting til last minute hoping for team news

            15. Nightf0x
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              FH team which ?

              a) alison 3.9
              robo rudi/azpi james sess 3.8
              mount jota/diaz son (luiz brownhill)
              kane toney vardy

              b) alison 4.0
              alonso james robo sess amartey
              mane son mount madds 4.3
              kane toney 4.4

              c) kepa 3.9/4.0/raya
              X X tsi sess robo
              mount son mads diaz son
              toney kane 4.4
              (itb for 2 defs. 10.1/10/14)

              1. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                b

            16. n14mul
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Little help please...

              Best def 4.3 as bench cover??

              1. Holmes
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Sess, Sanchez, Veltman

                1. n14mul
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 24 days ago

                  Got sess. 3 spurs done

                  1. n14mul
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    2 months, 24 days ago

                    Also have cucu

                  2. Holmes
                    • 8 Years
                    2 months, 24 days ago

                    Veltman then

              2. g40steve
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Ses or Tsimikas

              3. bench boost for every gamew…
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Cedric?
                Collins?
                Fofaana?
                D. sanchez if you have room for Spurs.

            17. KANTEnders
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              21 points of 100k. Play Laporte or Nketiah?

              1. DavidBW
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 24 days ago

                I’m playing Nket

            18. Van der Faart
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              A) Diaz and Kane (-4)
              B) Toney and KDB
              C) Jesus and KDB

              1. fish&chips
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 12 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                B I think. A is probably marginally better but not worth a hit

            19. fish&chips
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 12 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Why is everyone binning nketiah? I fancy arsenal to roll Everton over after they secured safety.

              Or there's a chance he's rotated?

              1. Holmes
                • 8 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                Doubt he would be rotated, doubt they would roll over

            20. Jones Kusi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              Best moves here? Im 17 points ahead.

              1 FT 1.5 ITB
              My team:
              Ramsdale Foster
              TAA Robbo Cancelo Dias Alonso
              Martinelli Kulu Son Gordon Zaha
              Ings Watkins Rich

              His team:
              Pickford Ramsdale
              TAA Rudiger Cancelo Amartey Schär
              Saka Son Zaha Coutinho Maddison
              Kane Nketiah Broja

              1. phrampton534
                • 7 Years
                2 months, 24 days ago

                How much have they got ITB? He’s likely to swap Coutinho I’d say? If I was him I’d be looking at Diaz or maybe Foden and I think that would make his team the stronger - 17pts might be too much.
                Might need to take a hit to improve your team and I’d be looking at losing 2 of your front 3.
                Targeting Vardy or Kane if you can stretch it or maybe toney if not.

            21. Pegboy
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 24 days ago

              A) Kane + Barnes/Saka
              B) Mane + Toney
              C) Diaz + Vardy

              Will probably captain Son. I'm both chasing and leading, so a bit irrelevant.

              1. Mozumbus
                  2 months, 24 days ago

                  B

                  1. Pegboy
                    • 11 Years
                    2 months, 24 days ago

                    Thanks. My preference had been ACB, but I've asked a few times and got the same answer of B.

                    1. Mozumbus
                        2 months, 24 days ago

                        You're welcome

                • Mozumbus
                    2 months, 24 days ago

                    A. Mount
                    B. Foden
                    C. Diaz
                    Have Rudiger, KDB, Cancelo, and no Liverpool (except for Tsmiskas on the bench), from these teams.
                    Higher chances to start also matter.
                    Thanks