FPL Diary - The final sprint!

It's the final gameweek of 2020-21 and to prepare ahead of the deadline, we revisit Gianni's diary of 2019 for some end-of-year reflections, some last-minute tips and some much-needed perspective.

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The final sprint 

Day 248, Friday 26 April – GW36

I’m slightly worried that title-chasing Liverpool face the league’s whipping boys, Huddersfield, at Anfield tonight and I don’t own Mané or Salah. I’m so tempted to take a hit to bring one of them in but, if I do, I will be going against the differential picks which I need to make up so much lost ground. Yet again I’m having to consider overall rank vs mini-league success. If I was chasing overall rank I would be a fool not to cover a Liverpool attacking asset but I made the decision to catch my mini-league rivals a few weeks back and I’m now committed. Let’s hope that Huddersfield keep it tight for once. 

Day 249, Saturday 27 April – GW36 

It’s the hope that kills you. Robertson, Salah and Mané all have sky high ownership and they have all just hauled in a 5-0 hammering of a very Championship Huddersfield. It didn’t take a genius to see it coming to be fair, but collectively the three players have bought in 46 bloody points. To make matters worse, Salah and Mané were the two most popular captain picks so nearly 3 million managers (that’s half the game) benefited from Salah’s 38 or Mané’s 26 points.

Not quite a career-ender, but that blow was almost certainly a season finisher for me. 

Day 256, Friday 3 May – GW37

I’ve missed an FPL deadline for the first time in probably five years. Even when I worked on cruise ships with no wifi I never allowed it to happen. Friday night football means an earlier deadline and sure, Everton vs Burnley isn't exactly box office, but it's an unforgivable mistake. Yes, I’ve had a busy week at work, but this is no excuse.

I’ve accepted that I’m not going to win any money in FPL this season and my head has dropped. If the truth be told, I’ve already started planning my team for next season. 

Day 259, Monday 6 May – GW37 

54 points. Not a bad gameweek in the end. Sure, my captain blanked but that's to be expected when you don’t change your team. At least I will now have two transfers for the final week of the season. Tobes has run away with The Pentagon mini-league but there are four points separating Heal and me for second, with Banger not far behind in fourth. Something to play for at least.  

Day 265, Sunday 12 May – GW38

A new lease of life for the final round. In over a decade I’ve never finished outside of the top two in The Pentagon mini-league. Heal and Banger have been giving me stick all week that I’m not going to make it and I have to admit that for the first time in weeks I’m very excited by FPL once again. The challenge gets me going. To make it even more interesting, we’re off to Ibiza next week where the banter will no doubt reach new heights, especially if they beat me. 

I’ve decided to bring in two more differentials, while playing safe with my captain choice. Agüero has previous on the last day of the season and if City beat Brighton then they will the league – he’s surely going to be the most popular pick. 

Day 266, Monday 13 May – GW38

Shit. Heal had a great week and has done me. I’m having to settle for third in The Pentagon. Seven points was the gap in the end. His captain (Mané) earned him 30 points while Agüero only got me 12. I would like to say that was the difference, but it was so much more than that. I’ve been on a downwards slide for a while and I’m looking forward to the break. 

It's been a funny old season and fortunately managers with much greater pedigree than me have struggled too. Somehow, I’ve finished higher than last year’s FPL winner Yusef Sheikh and FPLGeneral (@FPLGeneral), who has three top 500 finishes. 

Tobes carried the flag, securing a top 1% finish with an overall rank of 21,444 and contributor to this book Jules Breach did what she threatened to do earlier in the season by beating us both.

Check out the standings from The Pentagon mini-league:

This is my worst performance in recent memory –  it's only the third time ever I have finished outside the top 1%. Typical that’s it’s the season I decide to write about! I’ve got some serious work to do next season to cement myself as one of the game's elite. It’s time to reflect:

  • Don’t be afraid to spend money on attacking full-backs.
  • Don’t underestimate new manager syndrome.
  • Don’t chase mini-league success when you know overall rank will always be more important to you. 
  • Don’t let FPL affect your mood (too much). 
  • Don’t ever ask your wife who to captain.   
  • Don’t take it personally when your captain hits the woodwork every week. 
  • Don’t invite Toby to the 'Show Me The Money' mini-league next year. 
  • He took nearly £600 for topping it this year.

When Tobes suggested writing a diary I was sceptical. I thought it was a ruse to get inside my head. Perhaps it was. Perhaps it worked? One to think about.  

It really has been a rollercoaster of a season with more lows than highs,  but great fun nonetheless. I’ve certainly learned lots about my game. I’m not as good as I thought I was for starters – but I’ll be back, I promise you that. 

Whether it's been my loyalty to Chelsea, my obsession with budget defenders, my rivalry with my best friends or my lack of 4G in Devon, I hope you have been able to relate to some element of my season. If you can’t then I’m going to take a punt and say you’re probably playing the wrong game!

I know what you’re all thinking: “It’s the end of the diary, but I’ve still got questions!”. And I get it – who doesn’t want to grill the guy that finished 385,976th in the world?! Well, you can. I use Twitter to read other people’s thoughts rather than to publish my own but feel free to drop me a line at @GianniButtice if you’ve got any FPL questions. 

And finally, if you got a kick out of this diary, we've carried it on over at fpldiary.co.uk for the 2020/21 season and beyond. Toby and I reveal our teams every gameweek with a screenshot of our team before the deadline and an explanation of our thought processes. All Tweets to @FPLdiary.

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