FPL Diary: February 2021 and March 2022

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series FPL 2021/22

FPL Diary: February and March 2022

I ended January with back to back red arrows. Can I reverse the decline and push back up the table? Read on to find out.

Game Week Twenty-Four:

Points: 59-4=55 (Average: 50) GW Rank: 2,964,814

My first priority this was getting rid of Dennis after his disastrous week last week, and I decided to bring in Kane for him. This was a big change of strategy for me as it meant I wouldn’t have the money to upgrade Jota back to Salah. I also moved Maddison to Gallagher for the both the money and the fixtures. Neither of my new signings hit the ground running, which was extra disappointing with Kane as he was my captain. Spurs were disappointing in general losing 3-2 to Southampton. I can’t decide what to make of them at the moment. Since the start of 2022 they have been extremely inconsistent.

Elsewhere, my best players all got returns with Jota as the star getting two goals in a 2-0 win. I think if I had captained him, or Bowen or even just Son, I would have had a green arrow. This was a pretty straight-forward game-week with no big stories across the games. The stand-out player was probably Coutinho, who was involved in three goals as Aston Villa drew 3-3 with Leeds. Elsewhere Newcastle showed real signs of improvement by beating Everton which pushes Newcastle towards safety and Everton towards the relegation battle.

Game Week Twenty-Five:

Points: 56 (Average: 47) GW Rank: 2,483,965

Thankfully I picked the correct captain this week with Bowen getting a goal and an assist against Leicester. There weren’t a lot of big returns this week which had a slightly lop-sided fixture list. Arsenal and Chelsea didn’t feature whilst Manchester United and Brighton both played twice. The Man United attackers all got returns but shared them around so no-one got more than a single return. Obviously Man United players in a double game-week were highly owned so this hurt my rank but after owning Ronaldo over the festive period I swore off owning any of their players for the rest of the season. The only other player to return a huge score was Sterling who got a hat-trick against Norwich.

I saved my transfers this week in preparation for next weeks big double game-week. Unfortunately this was a week where Arsenal not having a fixture made it harder to field a defence. I gambled that either Reguilón or Cancelo would play, but neither did so I had to field a two-man defence this week. They both kept clean-sheets which is pretty respectable, although missing out on Man City’s clean-sheet against Norwich is annoying. In goal I had one more clean-sheet, but If had played Sá against Spurs I would have had his ten points instead of Guaita’s six points.

Game Week Twenty-Six:

Points: 125-8=117 (Average: 84) GW Rank: 1,175,062

This was always going to be a big week, but in the end it was bigger and more dramatic than I expected. Somehow this game week gave me my biggest ever score, even after hits but felt like a disappointment and I got yet another red arrow despite getting 117 points! With lots of teams playing twice and Liverpool playing Norwich and Leeds the scene was set for an epic week of FPL. My plan for the week had always been to bench boost, as I had 15 players with good to great fixtures. Players like Cancelo and Bowen with good fixtures are too good to bench, so playing my bench boost as planned felt great.

My biggest problem was that I only had one Liverpool player in Jota. I was willing to take the risk of missing out on Trent Alexander Arnold and Salah in such a great week because I had heavy hitters like Kane to compensate and I was expecting Salah to get rested for one of the games. When Jota got injured, the odds of Salah playing twice dramatically increased and I had to get him in. To finance such an expensive upgrade I then had to take hits and get rid of Kane, who also had good fixtures. It sounds stupid, but this one injury forced me to restructure my entire team.

It’s a good thing I got Salah in and captained him because he went crazy with three goals and an assist across the two games. He was a very popular pick for triple captaincy and I expect this is the biggest reason I got a red arrow from 117 points. I decided to stick with my original of plan of bench boosting because there will be many more good opportunities to play the triple-captain chip. This was probably the best week I have ever seen for playing the triple-captain chip but I valued making the most of all the planning I had done to have a good squad of 15 players for this week. Had I realised Gallagher couldn’t play against his parent club Chelsea, I might of felt happier changing strategy but I was too focused on my original plan. In hindsight I missed out on a lot of points. Evaluating the return on your bench boost chip is hard, but the players I benched got 15 points and no returns. If I had benched optimally I would have only had four points on my bench. I still think my strategy was justifiable, but clearly it backfired.

To afford Salah I had to sell Kane which hurt as he scored twice but at least the strikers I brought in, Jiménez and Lacazette both got returns. I also sold Antonio who has disappointed despite such a strong start to the season. Even though I scored 125 points before hits, there weren’t too many other big scores in my team this week. Son got two assists and Gallagher got a goal and an assist. The players to own this week were all the Liverpool players and all the Burnley players. Mané almost matched Salah with 26 points. Burnley also stood out with wins against Brighton and Spurs. Ben Mee got a goal and two clean-sheets for a total of 21 points!

Game Week Twenty-Seven:

Points: 39 (Average: 40) GW Rank: 4,775,665

After all the excitement of last week, we ended the month with another smaller game-week, with only 9 fixtures. Because of the League Cup final, some big teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea were missing and Burnley played twice. I had been managing my team so that I could maximise my bench-boost whilst having a full eleven the week after. I was hoping that many managers would struggle to field a full team this week and that I could profit. Unfortunately this didn’t happen and my score was barely below the average. I was so happy to get rid of my last Watford player in King that I bought into the hype of owning Weghorst. Burnley are a team I expect to improve and I back them to scrape together enough points to stay up. I bought in and captained Weghorst for the double game-week and Burnley were a massive disappointment. Their only goal in either game was an own goal and the only thing Weghorst did was to get booked. This was really disappointing but to be honest I was just relieved to get the Watford players out of my team.

With many big teams not playing, there weren’t a lot of big scores with Man City only winning 1-0, Spurs were the biggest source of points this weekend. During their 4-0 defeat of Leeds, Kane got a goal and an assist whist Doherty matched that with a clean-sheet for a massive 18 points. Vardy also matched Kane with a goal and an assist against Burnley. With only two of my players getting returns this week, I’m surprised I was even close to the average points total.

February – Summary

Points: 1652

Overall Rank: 314,577

Four game-weeks and four red arrows. This might be one of my worst months in FPL although having said that my worst week was only a point below average. I didn’t have any catastrophic weeks, but my team wasn’t getting better and it needs improvement just to stop sliding down the table and stabilise.

Game Week Twenty-Eight:

Points: 62 (Average: 68) GW Rank: 5,045,287

At this point I was really losing interest in my team, and I was busy with other things. I put the bare minimum amount of effort into my team and was making decisions on the fly with-out any thought or care. The very worst way to play FPL is to just log in a few minutes before the deadline and just make snap decisions based on nothing concrete like data or watching games. Seeing one of my favourite players Raphinha with a double game-week against Leicester and Aston Villa I decided to have a little fun and use my triple captain chip on him. This was definitely a snap decision and I even regretted it mere minutes later but the deadline had already passed. I haven’t played FPL like this for years, and I’m sad that I haven’t been enjoying FPL as much as I used to. Raphinha did absolutely nothing except fill me with regret. I have a pretty good record with the triple captain chip overall, so I hate only getting three extra points from it.

Apart from wasting my triple-captain chip, this was a really ordinary week for me with only Lacazette getting multiple returns, and even then only two assists. Chelsea and Aston Villa players were all incredible this week, with seven goals for both teams and one clean-sheet for Chelsea and two clean-sheets for Aston Villa. This lead to Matty Cash scoring an unbelievable 29 points from a goal, two assists, two clean-sheets and five bonus points. Wow!

Game Week Twenty-Nine:

Points: 71 (Average: 72) GW Rank: 4,955,795

This was another week in this crazy season with extra fixtures and this time big teams like Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool all played twice. This is part of the reason so many of my players returned, although interestingly only Coady got multiple returns for me with a fantastic 14 points for a goal and a clean-sheet. A lot of those returns were just assists, and only an assist for my captain Son was a disappointment in such a high scoring week. 71 points is normally a very good score, but this week it left me behind almost five million other players.

The story of the week was on my bench. There was a lot of news and rumours that Cancelo was going to be injured, so I put him on my bench. In fact he played and got maximum bonus points in a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace. The other three players on my bench were all Crystal Palace players in Guéhi, Guaita and Gallagher. Obviously its understandable benching Palace players against Man City but it meant I had 26 points sat on my bench compared to the 15 when I played my bench boost chip. If I had picked the right captain and the right starting eleven I would have had a good week, but instead I was below average yet again and my slide down the table continues.

Transfer wise I brought in Saka who has been fantastic for the injured Bowen. Saka brought in a respectable five points although obviously you always hope for more from a double game-week, even if one of those games was against Liverpool. Only making one transfer leaves me more flexible for next week when the FA Cup quarter-finals leave only four premier league fixtures to play.

Game Week Thirty:

Points: 48 (Average: 28) GW Rank: 1,873,406

Game Week Thirty was my best game week in March, but it was just as painful as the other game weeks. This was another game week where my usual strategy was cast aside on a whim and I paid the price. The weekend of the FA cup quarter-finals is always a big moment in the season, and I always save my free-hit chip to handle a difficult week with very few fixtures. This year there were only four fixtures but somehow with a couple of transfers I could field a team of ten players. I decided to save my free-hit for later in my season. I’m bored of keeping up with games that haven’t been rescheduled so keeping a free-hit in reserve makes playing the game week to week much less stressful. As you can see from scores I did finish well above average but I made some dubious transfers. Cucurella and Guéhi have served me well, and I took them out for Dier and Mings and neither of them kept a clean-sheet. In hindsight, I’d rather have kept both of those players.

Another reason I didn’t play the free-hit chip was I felt I had many of the key players and I was only missing out on a couple of players like Maddison and Kane. Both of them were big performers with Kane getting three assists and Maddison getting a goal and three bonus points. Unsurprisingly these players were popular with managers who used their free-hit so finishing twenty points above the average was still not enough to get a green arrow.

There were also some real disappointments from individual players as well. Raphinha had covid which reduced my team to nine players. This was rumoured before the deadline but I couldn’t be bothered to research the reliability of the source of the rumours and playing a chip because one player might have covid felt like an over-reaction. If I had believed the rumours this week and ignored them last week, I would probably be much better off. Worse than this however was Jiménez who got sent off when Wolves were in control, 2-0 up against Leeds. This red card changed the game and Wolves then conceded three goals which cost me a lot of points in defence as well. This was not a good start to the game-week.

There were however some positives this week. I captained Saka for the first time and he rewarded me with a goal and three bonus points. Son was the highest scoring player of the week with two goals and maximum bonus. This week was a frustrating end to the month, and I will probably remember it every year when the FA Cup quarter-finals happen. Hopefully the free-hit I have left will give me an advantage in the future and I will learn from this in the future.

March – Summary

Points: 1833

Overall Rank: 486,988

Just like February I was unable to get a single green arrow in March which really hurts. With nine red arrows in a row I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like this before. With hindsight, I find that injury to Jota fascinating. If I still had Jota and Kane in my team, I might be in a much stronger position. The changes that injury forced upon me left me with a squad structure that I’m not happy with and my poor finances make it hard to make big changes. I can also see very clearly how I have lost motivation after getting a bunch of red arrows in a row which led to poor decisions and more red arrows.

There are only a few weeks left until the end of this season and to be honest I’ll be happy to see it end. Hopefully my luck will turn and I’ll be able to climb back up the rankings and at least regain some pride.

Series Navigation<< FPL Diary: December 2021 and January 2022FPL Diary: April and May 2022 + End of Season Review >>