The Week That Was..

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Article Written by: Tanmay, you can follow him on twitter here: FPL10May

This time last week, FPL managers were busy planning and preparing for Double GW32 followed by the Blank GW33. The conundrum on how to maximise points in GW32 through Spurs’ two good looking fixtures but also ensuring a full playing 11 for GW33 (Spurs, Man City, Fulham and Southampton have a blank in GW33) was on everyone’s mind. FPL managers awaited the UEFA Champions League and Europa League 2nd leg results to look out for injuries and get a better understanding of the starting line-ups on the weekend.

The ‘favourites’ progressed into the semi-finals albeit with considerably difficulty. Chelsea were beaten 0-1 at home to Porto but went through 2-1 on aggregate. Chillwell (£5.8m) started his 3rd straight match in a week in the left fullback/wingback position.

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City came back from an early Belligham goal to win 1-2 on the night and 2-4 on aggregate with a Mahrez (£8.1m) penalty and Foden’s (£6.0m) thunderbolt. Liverpool could not reduce the first leg 1-3 deficit against Real Madrid, resting Jota (£7.0m) in the second leg which sure drew many eyeballs. PSG went through on away goals after Bayern scored early to make the aggregate score 3-3.

Then on Thursday, Arsenal produced a dominant 4 goal performance at Slavia Prague with a brace from Lacazette (£8.4m) and a goal for Saka (£5.1m) and Pepe (£7.6m) each. Man Utd produced the same 2-0 score line in the 2nd leg as well with an early Cavani (7.9m) goal and a late own goal.

But what a really made the headline (and memes) was when Dulux’s social media account chose to poke fun of Spurs’ lack of trophies and leaky defence on Twitter, just moments after they were announced as the club’s official paint supplier. In fairness, Spurs have been like watching paint dry this season, and this entire saga provided us all with a nice splash of colour.

Tottenham dulux

Back to FPL, as managers scrambled to finalize their teams before the early Friday deadline, there was an almost international break sort of feeling to this long drawn out GW, extending for a whole week. But who knew this would probably be the most eventful and darkest week in football. (More on that later in the article).

Spurs and Kane (£11.8m) kicked of the GW with the first of their two games, against Everton. Kane’s effective ownership (EO) among the Top 10K was an unprecedented 216.78%, the highest EO since the time of EO (I guess). This meant that Kane captainers would now have to wish that he blanked to get a smaller red arrow. Weird times, isn’t it. Kane TC’s were the real winners on the night as Kane scored a brace, both the goals a tad bit fortunate to fall to him. He was also unfortunate to see his looping header come of the post. Sigurdsson (£6.8m) scored a brace too as the game ended 2-2 but not before a sight that no England fans would want to see this close to the Euros. In the final minute of the game, Kane came off clutching his ankle, again. Fortunately, the injury does not seem too bad but with the League Cup final on the weekend, Kane looks set to miss the second game against Southampton.

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On Saturday, Newcastle pulled off a dramatic late win against 10 men West Ham to move 8 points clear of 18th place Fulham with a game in hand. Arguably the game of the week so far, ended 3-2. The story of the first half was a Diop (£4.3m) own goal and a Joelinton (£5.7m) tap in from a Fabianski (£5.0m) error, either side of a Dawson (£4.5m) second yellow (red) card. Diop made amends with a goal in the 73rd minute after which Lingard (£6.6m) slotted in a confident penalty to make it 2-2. The penalty reflected the rich vein of form that Lingard is in with 9 goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games. Newcastle fans must have had that familiar sinking feeling again but for Joe Willock (£4.7m), who headed in the winner after coming off the bench. Lingard came off right at the end of the game due to a cramp, thankfully.

Wolves relegated Sheffield United to the Championship courtesy a first goal for Willian Jose (£6.8m) at the club, who was assisted by Traore (£6.0m). In the FA Cup, Chelsea progressed to the final after a deserved 1-0 win over Man City with a Ziyech (£7.9m) goal. City made 8 changes to the line-up from the game midweek, which raised many eyebrows. Chillwell started his 4th game in 10 days while KDB suffered another injury. 

On Sunday, Nketiah (£5.3m) rescued a late point for Arsenal to break Fulham hearts after Maja (£5.3m) scored from the penalty spot. Aubameyang (£11.3m) missed the game after he contracted Malaria and Lacazette (£8.4m) picked up an injury in the 70th minute.

Man Utd had a Greenwood (£7.0m) brace and a Cavani tap in (£7.9m) to thank for a 3-1 win against Burnley. Tarkowski (£5.3m) scored a header for the away side.

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In the other FA Cup semi-final, Leicester overcame Southampton with the help of an Iheanacho (£6.1m) goal. He is a man in supreme form with 8 goals in the last 6 matches in all competitions. 

FPL and football over the last couple of weeks seems to have become a drag and a dull affair but what occurred in the last 24 hours surely has spiced it up. They say football matches change quickly but no one said that the entire football system can change in 24 hours.

A dozen of the world’s richest and most storied football clubs on Sunday announced that they had formed a breakaway European club competition called the European Super League. The breakaway teams  – which include Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain; Manchester United, Tottenham Spurs,  Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in England; and Juventus, Inter Milan and A.C. Milan in Italy confirmed their plans after months of secret talks. The new super league model would change the current system where European football supplements domestic league play with continental competitions between the best clubs and also sustain small teams in each country, which benefit from the gloss of their encounters with the big teams.

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The new super league model would change that, by stripping the Champions League of its most attractive and most successful teams and effectively walling off the richest clubs in their own closed competition — and allowing them to split the billions of dollars in annual revenue among themselves. According to the Super League’s announcement, the founding clubs would split 3.5 billion euros (almost $4.2 billion) for signing on to establish “a sustainable financial foundation.” This announcement sent shockwaves across the entire footballing world. The plans prompted widespread condemnation, starting from the fans themselves, unanimously voicing their disgust at the prospect. European football officials such as the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A moved quickly to try to block the project. UEFA and FIFA labelled the super league a “cynical project” and even publicly threatened to ban the breakaway teams from their domestic leagues and blocking their players from competing for their national teams in events like the World Cup.

Politicians, including Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, also weighed in to denounce the plans. The entire footballing world came together like never before. Regulatory authorities, Government officials, football players, managers, pundits and most importantly all the fans unanimously condemned the super league and even voiced their opposition on the streets and outside stadiums. Pep Guardiola’s press conference was particularly engaging as he tackled this topic from all sides. He said that this idea of a super league was an “embryo that is not yet breathing” and “why they chose these particular teams only” was not answered. He went onto say that “everyone looks for themselves. UEFA thinks of itself”. He then even went on to give Lewandowski’s injury during international duty, which made him miss the Champions League quarter final games, as an example. But he was firm in his stance against the ESL and what it symbolized as he said that “it is not sport if the relationship between the effort and reward does not exist. It is not sport if it doesn’t matter if you lose”.

While the above saga rolled on, Leeds played out a 1-1 draw against Liverpool. Llorente (£4.4m) scored an 87th minute header to equalise for the hosts after Mane (£11.7m) gave Liverpool an early lead from a perfectly timed run and pass by Trent (£7.4m).  Trent managed to get 3 bonus points in spite of the clean sheet wipe-out but things may have played out differently had Bamford’s lob gone in instead of coming off the crossbar.

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On Tuesday, Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho was sacked by the club. To be honest, everyone saw it coming at some point but to sack him just before the league cup final and in the midst of one of football’s darkest controversies sure felt like an opportunistic moment. What a few days for Spurs and its fans – Dulux, Kane injury, ESL and now manager less.   

No sooner had ESL arrived than its fallen apart, with all of the British clubs now withdrawing their entry into the competition (now only 4 clubs haven’t withdrawn). ESL was born out of greed, club owners acting purely in self-interest in an attempt to power-grab at a time of a pandemic and an economic crisis.  ESL is attacking the basic principles and ethos of football which is fair competition. The owners that have come into these clubs do not care about the history of the club, its players and its fans. But it’s the fans make football what it is. If anything good has come of this ESL fiasco, it’s that hopefully more people will question the rigged constructs of the current accepted system in football and stop letting greed run riot in exchange for money or trophies at the expense of the game itself. We will reclaim our football back.

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