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

    Havertz > Maddison -4?

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

      Havertz might start. No for me

    2. JT11fc
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      If Havertz starts then no, think Id hold

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

      Keep, he’s a don’t buy don’t sell

  2. JT11fc
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    FH decisions, thoughts appreciated
    Which draft?
    1.
    Kepa
    James Robbo Sessegnon
    Son Mount Mane Diaz Barnes
    Kane Toney

    Sanchez Amartey 3.8 4.4

    B.
    Ederson
    Trent Robbo Sessegnon
    Diaz Son Mount Havertz Saka
    Kane Toney

    3.9 Tavares Amartey 4.4

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

    What do we think...

    Top keeper choice?

    Also, maddison or mount?

    1. JT11fc
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Pool for premium gk
      Kepa if you have back up
      Schmiechel for mid priced

      Mount

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

    If TAA and Saka made the shortlist for the main POTY and Foden didn't then this means that they have been better players and had better seasons. So in what kind of twisted logic world does Foden win YPOTY ahead of TAA and Saka? Embarrassing.

    1. JT11fc
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Logic doesnt exist anymore unfortunately

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

      I was really surprised Salah didn’t win it. Top scorer & assister & was electric for the first 2/3 of the season.

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

        POTY that is..

    3. Arteta
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Foden played part in 27 games, De Bruyne 29, Alexander-Arnold 31, Salah 34 and Saka 37. I think last two should've won for obvious reasons.

  5. Nemanja Vidic
    • 12 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    1FT 2.5ITB

    Scmeichel
    Cancelo Matip Laporte Robertson
    Son (C) Foden Mount (vc) Coutinho
    Nketian Richarlison
    Foster Gordon Waktins Holgate

    A) Coutinho -> Diaz
    B) Gordno -> Kulusevski
    C) Watkins, Coutinho -> Kane, KDH (-4pts)
    D) Watkins, Holgate -> Diaz, Sessegnon (-4pts)
    E) Something else

  6. Bollard
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Who is the site/twitter account that does the man city line ups?

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

    Any rumours?

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

      There's a rumour that the rumours will start around 1 pm and really do the rounds.

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

        Why 1pm

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

          It's rumoured to be that way.

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

            😆

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

            Ok thanks

          3. Malcolm Tucker for England …
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 24 days ago

            there's a couple of ITKs who have semi-confirmed that this rumour is rumoured to be likely

    2. Arteta
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      I only heard a rumour about St Totteringham's Day.

      1. Van der Faart
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 23 days ago

        LOL

    3. jay01
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Anything on your boy Kane?

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

        Hes fine

    4. ‘Tis the Season
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Spurs will be ‘spursy’ today and lose 🙂

  8. Tribecca
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Down by 5 and chasing.

    Which one
    A: Salah to Diaz and Vydra to Toney (-4) and start Kulusevski

    B: Salah to Diaz and Vydra to Toney and Kulusevski to Mount (-8)

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

      A

  9. Thunderbahçe
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Play Kulu or Sanchez? Have Son (c)

    1. JT11fc
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Kulu

    2. Il Capitano
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Kulu

    3. iveseenitall
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Kulu

  10. Arteta
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Who's gonna be your captain today?

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

      Salah if start, Kane otherwise

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

      Leaders = Son
      Chasers = Sonone else

    3. Scots Gooner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Iron Mane

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

    Who’s worth a -4 for Coutinho out? Keep and dream of a Liverpool miracle?

    1. JT11fc
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Leicester or Chelsea mid

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

        Not sure with Mount after him missing the pen. He will want to make amends in front of the home fans though.

        Leicester’s 5th game in 2 weeks, will they go crazy?

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

    Surely Salah is a don’t buy don’t sell this week?

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

      He's possibly a sell if he don't start.

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

        Yeah but I mean if we don’t get news

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

          I'd sell now and make a decision.

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

            Lol

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Surely a sell for fun?

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

        Depends doesn’t it - might be more fun to have him as a differential!

        1. Magic Zico
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Nah too expensive even for a hattrick

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

            Lol

    3. Tinfoil Deathstar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 24 days ago

      He’s a fairly easy sell I’d argue, unless we get any concrete news he’s starting. I’m selling for Son (C) but imagine others could ship to Mane/KdB etc if they already own him.

  13. Jet5605
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Best combo

    A - Allison & Laporte
    B - Sanchez & Robbo

  14. Ohh1454
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Ok so 1 point ahead in mini league and I feel rival will go Son captain. Should I do Kdb > Son to block ?

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

      I’m 2 pts ahead in my ML and I think we’ll both captain Son and hope the other 10 make the difference.

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

      In a heartbeat

  15. Jet5605
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    FH G2G? Would like Robbo or TAA but short of funds

    Alisson
    Laporte - Sess - Alonso
    Son - Maddison - Diaz - Mount
    Kane - Vardy - Toney

    3.9 - White - Brownhill - Fodder

  16. ZAWAd25
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Who’s in for Coutinho?

    A) Foden
    B) Maddison

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

      Fodenfreude!

  17. tommo-uk-
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Salah & Saka > Son & Diaz?

    1. Michelle Davin
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Yes

      1. RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Also for -4?

        1. Michelle Davin
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 24 days ago

          Depends if chasing or lesding..

  18. Michelle Davin
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Trying to beat my rank of 256 fromlast year,so looking for a differential.

    Richarlison to jesus
    Zaha to diaz
    Zaha to mount

    Thanks

    1. Jamb0
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      I like the Diaz move of those.. but not sure I'm qualified to give advice to a triple digit rank lol

  19. RED HOT CHILLI
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Headline in today's Times:

    Son Heung-min: Golden Boot is what you dream of as a kid

    🙂

    1. Qaiss
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Harry Kane taught him well ..

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

      I had a pair of Keegan Gold boots as a kid. Made by Patrick. Golden boots indeed!

  20. liboo
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Who scores more today
    A. Madisson
    B. Vardy

    ???

    1. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Draw

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

      3 a piece

  21. Siva Mohan
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    FH active

    Kepa
    Robbo | Cancelo | Sess
    Son | Bowen | Mount | Madd | Diaz
    Jesus | Kane(c)
    Foster | Chalo | Tsimi | Gelh

    gtg?

    1. Going Home
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      Jesus and Maddy concern over minutes imo. Toney and Foden?

  22. el polako
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Preamble was always Marks baby and we all know it, today's article is a very good read and myself I'd like to see it regularly.

    Keep up good work Neale.

  23. Il Capitano
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Ramsdale
    TAA Robbo Cancelo Laporte
    Son (C) Saka Kulu
    Kane Nketiah Toney

    Foster - Raph Gordon Digne

    This is probably what I'll end up on, start Raph over Laporte/Nketiah?

    Also chasing 9 points in a ML, my differentials are Ramsdale, Robbo, Saka Kane and Toney v his Schmeichel, Mount, Maddison, James and Pukki (or he takes a -4 for a new fwd). Kane cap?

  24. Tsparkes10
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    A) Dennis to Toney (bench Rich) (-4)
    B) Soy to James (bench Rich) (-4)
    C) Rich to Jesus (-4)

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

      C looks good

      1. Going Home
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 24 days ago

        Play Rich. Think he put scorers all with a four point start

  25. FlyingWithoutIngs
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Who should I captain to protect my rank/score I get it’s subjective but I am 31 points and 10 points ahead of two mini league rivals and they both have kane v my vardy, neither have kdb whereas I do. Both have son and so do I. They’re the main 3 I think I would cap vardy, kdb or son. Gut says vardy, head says son heart says kdb.

  26. iveseenitall
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    Chasing 20 points in my mini league, we have quite similar teams.

    Is it madness to swap kdb to mount (-4) which will enable me to afford kane?

    Dont think my rival can afford kane without losing a big hitter. He is a fan of taking hits though.

  27. Jamb0
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    A) Richarlison -> Toney
    B) Coutinho -> Bowen

  28. Bleh
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

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

    (Ramsdale, Richarlison, Pukki, White)

    Best option?

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

  29. How I met your Mata
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    If you were not going to be able to see early team news would you get Havertz or Maddison

  30. Redranger
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 24 days ago

    How’s this FH team? 0.0 ITB

    Schmeichel
    Cancelo James Robertson Sessegnon
    Diaz Son Mount Maddison
    Kane Vardy
    3.9 Tsimikas Gordon Gelhardt

    1. Jamb0
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 24 days ago

      GTG