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. fijuhmon
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Comfortable lead in all my mini leagues, just need to play it safe I think.

    Ramsdale (Foster)
    TAA, Robbo, Cancelo (Cash, Holgate)
    Salah, Son (C), Saka, Kulusevski, Coutinho
    Nketiah (Weghorst, Dennis)

    A) Coutinho to Mount for free
    B) Coutinho and Salah to Mount and KDB for a -4
    C) Coutinho, Salah and Dennis to Mount, KDB and Toney for a -8

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

      B

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

      A

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

      B

    4. Lord Flashheart
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      B if you hear nothimg aboput salah

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

    Play Fofana or Pukki?

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

      F

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

    Great to see the preamble back - rotating HIGFY sounds good but don’t ask Alexander Armstrong as that would be pointless (token dad joke)

  4. Stranger Mings
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Correct bench order 1, Gordon 2, amartey 3, s greenwood? Thanks

  5. 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

    Put yours below

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

      Non bias prediction please

      I'll put my prediction in after my team is decided

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

        Totally non biased

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

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

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

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

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

      Arsenal v Everton 1-2
      Brentford v Leeds 2-2
      Brighton v West Ham 1-2
      Burnley v Newcastle 2-1
      Chelsea v Watford 2-0
      Crystal Palace v Man Utd 2-1
      Leicester v Southampton 3-0
      Liverpool v Wolves 2-0
      Man City v Aston Villa 1-1
      Norwich v Tottenham 1-5

    4. Hairy Potter
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

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

    5. Wild Card this!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 13 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Arsenal v Everton 2:1
      Brentford v Leeds 3:2
      Brighton v West Ham 1-2
      Burnley v Newcastle 1-1
      Chelsea v Watford 3-0
      Crystal Palace v Man Utd 1:1
      Leicester v Southampton 4:1
      Liverpool v Wolves 2:0
      Man City v Aston Villa 5:1
      Norwich v Tottenham 1:3

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

      Arsenal v Everton 2-2

      Brentford v Leeds 2-1

      Brighton v West Ham 1-1

      Burnley v Newcastle 1-2

      Chelsea v Watford 5-0

      Crystal Palace v Man Utd 2-0

      Leicester v Southampton 3-1

      Liverpool v Wolves 2-1

      Man City v Aston Villa 3-0

      Norwich v Tottenham 0-3

      1. GINI MINI MANE MO
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Arsenal 2-1 Everton
        Brentford 2-2,Leeds
        Brighton 1- 2 West Ham
        Burnley 0-2 Newcastle
        Chelsea 3-0 Watford
        Crystal Palace 1-1 Man Utd
        Leicester 2-0 Southampton
        Norwich 1-3 Spurs

        Heart says
        Liverpool 3-0 Wolves
        Man City 2-2 Aston Villa

        Head says
        Liverpoool 3-0 Wolves
        Man City 4-1 Aston Villa

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

      2-1
      4-0
      1-1
      2-2
      2-0
      3-1
      6-2
      5-0
      1-2
      0-4

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

    Bottomed.
    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

  7. Art Vandelay
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Defending a lead of 40 points. Rival has James. He is the sort of player who could go huge if he starts. Despite the risk of a no show, still worth bringing him in to defend?

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

      Doubt he can score 40pts alone, or even half of that

    2. FPL Insanity
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Get him in if it doesn't mess your spine of the team too much. You need to cover the big hitters (if plays) just in case. 40pt lead should be fine though

      1. Art Vandelay
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        My guess is he will do Salah to KDB (c) unless he has given up on me and defends to player behind him (10 points). Cash to James seems the only way to hedge with a player I can get in without trying too hard.

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

      Don’t think James will overturn 40 pts

      1. FPL Insanity
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        2 months, 24 days ago

        but he could be part of the puzzle. Getting him in for Cash sounds great cover to win his/her ML

    4. Art Vandelay
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Not expecting James to get 40 but could get 15+.

      Probably worrying about nothing but my lead was 90 two GWs ago so panicking a bit. 😆

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

      Don’t bother he is unlikely to start

  8. FPL Insanity
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    2 months, 24 days ago

    FFS! Weghorst price drop - My Salah to Mount, Weghorst to Kane is now 'minus' -£0.1 Can't get Kane in now

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

      Gelhaaarrrddttttttt!!!!!

    2. Wild Card this!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 13 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Lesson Learned

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

      Why wait for that?

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

      Ouch!

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

    Feel like me team is full of don't buy don't sells this week so I'm at risk of 5 1 pointers. Anything worth a hit?

    Ederson
    Cancelo, Matip, alonso*
    Mount*, havertz*, Salah*, saka, kulu
    Nketiah*, kane

    Dubravka, schar, Taylor, broja*

    0.8m ITB, 1FT

    Will probably do Salah to son. Not sure if it's worth doing anything else.

    1. Atimis
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Yeah have similar thinking regarding my team

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

      I’m in the same boat

  10. EL tridente
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Bench 1:
    A) Nketiah
    B) Sessegnon
    C) Maddison
    D) Laporte

    1. Atimis
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      A

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

      A

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

    Please help!

    Chasing a 4 point lead. He has Son and will C and I'll be C Kane.

    Choose one for me. First to three wins. All for a -8.

    A) KDB/Diaz/Toney
    B) Son/Erikson/Vardy
    C) Maddison/Diaz/Sterling 3-5-2

    TIA

    1. Atimis
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      -8 ain’t too much?

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

      A

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

      B

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

    I think I’m capping Toney. Mount my other option. Not capping son or and Liverpool or city player

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

      Twoney

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

      Thinking Mount myself

  13. Atimis
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    How much do we need hits this last GW?
    E.g. would you rather play Pukki or take -4 for Toney?

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

      Pukki unlikely to get baps and his ceiling is probably 6 pts, therefore Toney who might get two attacking returns and 3 bps.

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

        That's the point. So Pukki at 6 and Toney at 13 (-4). A 3 point gain IF Toney gets a brace? Mad hit imo.

  14. BlzE_94
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Gtg guys?

    Guaita
    Robertson Cancelo James E.Royal
    KDB(vc) Son(c) Mount Maddison
    Kane Nketiah

    Foster Weghorst KDH White

    1. Atimis
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Sure

  15. john25
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Hey guys, which would you start between Weghorst (will he start?) or Gordon?

    Cheers

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

      Gordon

  16. Al Pacho
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Kasper
      TAA alonso cancelo robbo
      Bowen son mount kulusevski diaz
      Kane

      Bench: 3.9, nketiah, veltman, Greenwood

      FH activated

      G2G?

      Any opinions would be appreciated
      Thanks!

    • HonestBlatter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Salah (C) and Watkins to Maddison and Kane(C) for a -4?

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

        Kane C

      2. artvandelay316
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Yes

    • FCSB
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Who scores more GW38:

      1. Maddison Jesus Kane
      2. Diaz (or Foden) Nketiah Kane
      3. Mane Nketiah Jesus (+4)
      4. KDB Nketiah Jesus (+4)

      Thanks community

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

        3

    • Lord Flashheart
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      1

      A maddison
      B mount

      2

      A white (EVE)
      B sessegnon (nor) -4

      3

      A richarlison (ars)
      B Toney (LEE) -4

    • DF Team
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      James and Eriksen or Cucurella and Bowen?

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

        first one

      2. DF Team
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        (Cucurella or any other

        1. DF Team
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          (Cucurella or any other

          1. DF Team
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 24 days ago

            Somehow don’t allow “minus than” sign.. any other less than £5.1m

    • V-2 Schneiderlin
      • 12 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Why no Vardy in the scout picks? ... should I read the article?

      1. mdm
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Because probably benched

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

        It says in the article, couldn’t afford alongside other premiums

    • Twisted Saltergater
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 13 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Wonderful pre-match Preamble, Neale! You did it justice.

      Good luck everyone on the last day!

    • artvandelay316
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Have Lulu and Kane from Spurs, and TAA from Pool

      Decided upon losing KDB for either Son or Mane, as I think their fixtures are much better. Which is best?

      Cheers.

      1. artvandelay316
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Lulu not Lulu

        1. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Argh. Kulu

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

        Mane could be a big differential. Depends what you're aiming to achieve

        1. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Mini league already won by a large margin, so this is mainly for overall ranking climb.

      3. the dom 1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Son but Mane will be playing number 9 position i feel with Diaz and Jota flanking him either side.

        1. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Cheers.

    • Mind över Mata
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Morning all, please help win my ML. Do I strengthen the bench - with rotation possible - or the first XI:

      Ramsdale
      Alonso, Rudiger, TAA
      Coutinho, Son (c), Mount, Zaha, Saka
      Richarlison, Kane

      4.0; Cash, Cucho*, Saiss*

      A) Richarlison -> Toney
      B) Cout -> Maddison/Foden
      C) Cash -> Laporte
      D) Saiss -> Matip

      1. Mr. O'Connell hates DG…
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Would do B

      2. mdm
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        B

      3. Lord Flashheart
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        B

      4. Twisted Saltergater
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        So tough, I’m in a similar boat.

        I’d do A and consider one of the others.

    • Al Pacho
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Kasper
        TAA alonso cancelo robbo
        Bowen son mount kulusevski diaz
        Kane

        Bench: 3.9, nketiah, veltman, Greenwood

        FH activated

        G2G?

        Any opinions would be appreciated
        Thanks

      • Twisted Saltergater
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 13 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Which game will have to most goals today? For some reason, not feeling Chelsea - Watford although on paper it should be a thrashing.

        1. mdm
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Nor

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

            Nor & Wolves, Pool will run riot 🙂

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

          brentford leeds will be something like 3-3

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

          City of Manchester stadium.

          Foden with 2?

          1. Twisted Saltergater
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 13 Years
            2 months, 24 days ago

            If they get an early goal, think it will be comfortable.

      • g40steve
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Cap?

        Bench order correct?

        Schmeichel
        James, Cancelo, Alonso
        Mount, Diaz, Bowen, Son, Maddison
        Vardy, Kane,

        3.9, Sessegnon, Gelhadt, Tsimikas,

        .9

        1. mdm
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Son or Kane. Bench ok

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

      • tokara
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Help me. Which two.

        Diaz, Erik or Mount?

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

          To play?

          Diaz & Mount

          1. mdm
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 24 days ago

            This

      • Eezer Goode, Eberechi Goode
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Salah to KDB on a FT?
        A) yes
        B) no

        1. mdm
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          A

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

          Yes

      • tryf88
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Ended up with 2 CP players Mateta & Zaha
        Zaha and Weggy to Maddison & Toney?

        Chasing a 45 pt lead..looks unrealistic at this point

        1. artvandelay316
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Keep Zaha.