The Craggy Islanders are our champions. By three points. I think that might be our closest finish yet. It was looking at one point, before the bonuses came in, that it might end up being a tie. I’m glad it wasn’t. I didn’t fancy the season long count back of goals scored. The Islanders won the last weekly battle 85 to 80 – the five point gap enough to take over at the top. WHMA played the All Out Attack, but to no avail. It wouldn’t have made a difference had they not bothered.
The Islanders started this season as our first manager of the week and then spent most of the next three months coming and going, in and out of the top 10. They hit a century in gameweek 14 climbing back to the summit. From that moment on they never left the top four, clinging on to first for six weeks between 16 and 22, and then next appearing in top spot when it really mattered – gameweek 38.
Meaning When Harry Met Alli must settle for second place for the second successive year. They were always in the mix. They never dropped out of the top 10 but for one week in December. From the turn of the year they took up residence in the top four and never fell below that. They were at the head of the group of teams trying to peg back Aquamar through the last third of the season, managing to take the lead in gameweek 37. Perhaps their decision to play their bench boost a week earlier than The Islanders cost them the title. We’ll never know.
And we’ll never know whether Aquamar’s itchy transfer finger cost them the top prize. Sitting in the top 3,000 worldwide in gameweek 32 with an 80 point lead over their nearest Buckets challenger, they went on a complete transfer bender making 19 in the last six weeks. Not having Harry Kane to play out the final two weeks, however, was probably the biggest handicap. It was a season of what might have been for Aquamar, also finishing runners-up in the Buckets Cup to Shoelace Untied.
Fourth place was a battle to the death with five or so teams continuously changing places over the closing two months of the season. Kebab Eaters United eventually pipped Edgbaston to the last cash prize. Edgbaston finished fifth last year too, but do take home the prize for the May manager of the month and the highest weekly score – a record breaking 181 points in gameweek 37.
Shoelace ploughed all of their energy into winning the cup, taking 76 points worth of hits across three gameweeks in order to outscore their opponents. Curiously, they also climbed the table, proving that taking hits doesn’t necessarily always cost you points. As long as you bring in the right players. It’s not a tactic I’d suggest playing across an entire season.
Rico United were double month winners and Yeboah’s Right Foot won manager of the week more than anyone else, coming out on top four times. That’s probably pretty impressive in a 53 team league. The record still stands at seven in a 26 team league.
Alexis Sanchez topped the player charts by some distance, although had Harry Kane played out a full season, it’s probable he’d have collected more points. He finished joint third with Eden Hazard, and just behind Dele Alli, but missed eight games with injury. Tom Heaton was the top goalkeeper. He kept ten clean sheets, and headed both the saves made and bonus points tables to finish ahead of Hugo Lloris and Thibault Courtois. The Chelsea defence ruled. No-one got close to Cahill, Alonso and Azpilicueta. Kane, Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku topped the bonus charts, all scoring 33. Marcos Alonso’s value rose the most over the course of the season, £0.9 million to £6.9 million.
Picking a bargain buy of the season hasn’t been as easy as last year when we had so many Leicester players to choose from. West Brom’s second top scorer, Gareth McAuley, deserves a mention. The 804 year old defender started as a £4.5 million back up in many teams but probably lasted the distance thanks to his steady return of goals and clean sheets – up until the point that West Brom reached 40 points and they got the holiday brochures out. Josh King’s second half of the season was as prolific as any of the elite forward players in the league. Only Sanchez and Alli scored more from midfield. From gameweek 20 onwards he contributed in 13 of the 18 games he played in. Expect a position change and starting price rise for next season.
See you then.