The week (or fortnight) in which it all changed. Liverpool’s double gameweek. Probably not their last of the season but that didn’t stop the majority of us and the rest of the world jumping on the prospect of some massive scores from the runaway Premier League leaders, particularly in their match against West Ham. Some major transfer activity ensued. Can we squeeze in three Reds players? It was a move made easier by timely injuries to Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford. And then the triple captains started landing. You had a choice, depending on the make up of your team and your propensity for a bit of gambling, of sticking it on one of six players – two obvious and four hipster. There shouldn’t have been a massive amount of difference between picking Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Stats would suggest that both would return something. Roberto Firmino carried slightly more risk, but this is the guy that only scores in away games. He could be the key to a sneaky rank rise if the majority banked on the other two. Or dare you captain a defender? TAA, Robertson and Van Dijk are virtual ever-presents in the middle of an astounding run of clean-sheet shenanigans. Add to that the full-backs’ assist potential.
270,000 managers compared to 220,000 opted for Mane over Salah as their triple captain. The split in the top 100 was 40 to 39 in favour of the Senegalese. Over a million compared to 940,000 went with the standard captain choice on Mane. Selecting Sadio Mane WAS NOT A BAD IDEA. Keep telling yourself that. In the end the best choice was Jordan Henderson, who equaled Salah’s score, but at well under half the price.
So, selecting Salah would have got you 48 points to Mane’s 3, and it’s pretty easy, scanning the Buckets league to pick out those that went with the former over the latter. That 45 point difference is evident in a lot of scores. Most notably, right at the top. We have new leaders, and instantly by some distance. Game Of Stones got it right. Locky Bauer Bowyer did not.
|Game of Stones|
|Locky Bauer Bowyer|
|Rip Roaring Reds|
Considering what was expected of the week, the scores were, on the whole, a bit underwhelming. The average was a disappointing 55 points. But for the Liverpool v West Ham game, in which Salah’s haul and the clean sheet justified the non-Mane captainers selections, the rest of the week was pretty soul-destroying. Southampton and Burnley returned unexpected clean sheets, Everton lost one in the final minute to a Florian Lejeune double. I mean, we all saw that one coming didn’t we? There was a Leicester goal blitz but with no involvement from either Vardy or Maddison – and then they conceded. Most teams are littered with one and two point hauls plus whatever Liverpool returns you managed.
Our top scorers were FTM and Chef Utd. Both hit 89 points. FTM win the place on the honours board courtesy of the four goals they scored to Chef Utd’s two. To contradict everything I’ve just said about the gameweek, they only relied on two Liverpool assets and got pretty good returns out of the rest of their squad. They could even afford to have a 10 point Jorginho haul sat on their bench. They become the first three-time manager of the week winners this season.
Manager of the month went to The Craggy Islanders. Despite the contrasting scores and fortunes of a lot of teams in the league, the standings didn’t alter much from last week to this. Most of those in contention posted scores in the 70s and 80s, suggesting they all got their double gameweek picks just about right. The Islanders triple captained Salah.
|The Craggy Islanders|
|Game of Stones|
|Rip Roaring Reds|
The Buckets Cup starts next gameweek. So if you’re cursing your Mane luck, put that behind you and focus on the cup. To confirm, the three teams with a bye to the second round are The Craggy Islanders, as last years winners, and Cook Pass Babtridge and Locky Bauer Bowyer as the two highest weekly scores so far this season. Check the cup link for the draw. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the Last Man Standing competition is now past half way. We have 30 teams left. Nine of our current top ten remain, with Edgbaston being a casualty in GW18. Ren n White, currently in 59th place, are the lowest team still (just about) standing. Check that link to see if you’re still there.
January manager of the month – Adrian Roche – The Craggy Islanders – 271 points
Manager of the week – Stu Smith – FTM – 89 points (4 goals)
Player of the week – Jordan Henderson – Liverpool – 16 points
Bargain of the week – Florian Lejeune – Newcastle United – 14 points
Twat of the week – David Luiz – Arsenal – -3 points
Goal of the week – Jay Rodriguez.