Cornel was top banana in the week, knocking everyone else into the weeds with a score of 73 points. Aleksa (72) and Tudor (69) sparked into life but overall it was a very even and average scoring week. Overall, its Sasha (905) leading the table as we move into the last weekend before a six-week hiatus, Scott (897) and Michael (892) in the chasing pack, so make sure you go all-in this weekend.
This week’s photo features the scorecard where ten players were sent off as Racing Club won an Argentine Champions Trophy final that ended early because Boca Juniors had only six players on the pitch. Seven Boca players were dismissed, including two on the bench, with Racing leading 2-1 when the game was stopped. Alcaraz’s 118th-minute winner was the flash point when he celebrated in front of the Boca fans.
The Boca players surrounded him, grabbing him by the ears. Ref Facundo Tello sent off Alcaraz along with five Boca players, including Benedetto, an unused substitute, and Zambrano, who had been replaced earlier. Galvan, an unused Racing substitute, was also shown a red card. Boca’s Villa and Racing’s Carbonero were dismissed in the 95th minute, while Boca’s Varela was shown a second yellow five minutes later. Keep up! Ref Tello will officiate at the World Cup…
The big kick-off draws closer when Qatar take on Ecuador in the Human Rights World Cup opener. The world’s in motion, and it is actually coming home if Gareth could increase the xG by getting it launched to the big man while controlling the half-spaces during the counter-press with over lapping wing-backs and the holding midfielders dropping off for the second ball ahead of a back pass to the ball playing goalie. Or something. FIFA overlord Gianni Infantino reminded us all that ‘everyone is welcome regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality’ this week, his advice was in a letter sent to all 32 competing nations at the HRWC, urging them to ‘let football take the stage’.
Helping him do so, the local authorities have hired a number of England and Wales fans who will be given free travel to Qatar as ‘ambassadors for the tournament’, paid £60/day and as ‘fan leaders’ will appear in the TV coverage of the opening ceremony. Most cunning. Among England’s ‘fan leaders’ is John Hemmingham, leader of the self-appointed ‘England Band’, who blare their trumpets and bang their drums in a crime against musicianship, a group so unpopular they would be eating crocodile members nightly in the jungle even if they were up against Matt Hancock.
And now all the waiting and speculation is over. Gareth has announced the names of the lucky 26 young fellas in with a chance of being scapegoated in the press, lampooned on television, ridiculed on podcasts, and abused on various social media sites when England get knocked out in the last 16. It’s an appalling ecosystem when you think about it. Unconscionable, yet it happens every time. The announcement wasn’t particularly dramatic, Maddison rightly got a seat on the plane and Kalvin Phillips is a lucky boy. There were no jaw-dropping omissions, although think on the recent history:
2014: no Burnley players in the squad, England go out in the group stage
2018: a Burnley player in the squad, England make the semis
2022: no Burnley players in the squad: out in the QF is my bet
Good to see players in the squad who have come through the Academy system – Sheff Utd (Ramsdale, Walker, Maguire), Liverpool (Alexander-Arnold, Coady), Chelsea (Sterling, Gallagher, Mount), Sunderland (Pickford, Henderson), Man City (Trippier, Foden).
I like my football, so much that I measure and record life events and history as to which football season they occurred – James was born in the season we won the old Division Four Championship, we beat Port Vale 4-3 two days after Katie was born (yes you read that right). I look forward to the World Cup, ensuring I have a printable calendar to write up all the results, and watching every game possible.
With that said, and with a heavy heart, I feel like opting out of this tournament because I simply cannot fathom how far the corruption and human rights abuses have taken hold of the game. I am pondering how much me boycotting the World Cup will even matter, but if you watch the games, you’re going along with the Qatari and FIFA propaganda machine. But there’s no need to take a Human Rights World Cup-induced complete break from football, as Leagues One and Two, and non-league play on throughout November and December, and it’s round two of the FA Cup on 26 November.
The pending sale of Liverpool by Fenway Sports Group opens us the debate again on the ‘fit and proper’ owners test. Who will take control of one of the crown jewels of the English game? Whatever happens, Liverpool fans will join those of Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle United in being expected to address complex contradictory emotional and geopolitical positions to a problem not of their own making. Will they sell to Bahrain? Dubai? Bezos? Musk or a faceless Wall Street hedge fund?
This caught my eye on twitter this week Ouch!
Gameweek 16, the last one before the break for the World Cup and that makes it unique in FFL history. We get unlimited transfers before gameweek 17, which starts on Boxing Day, so this week can be all about a one-off game. Have a look at the fixture list for this weekend, decide who you think could grab you a big score and get them in your team. Alas Kalvin Phillips isn’t match fit, so don’t pick him. If you haven’t played your first wildcard yet then this is absolutely the week to do it because otherwise you’ll lose it and it means you pick an entirely different squad for just one week that is tailored to the fixtures.
Firstly, get three City players for their home fixture against Brentford. Erling is the top scorer in the League with 18 in 12 games. I’ve stuck with Foden who has been on the bench for a few weeks but surely needs to shake the cobwebs and start on Saturday, but once again you’ll be spinning that wheel and playing Pep roulette.
I’ve stuck with Salah though could have gone Kulusevski, he’s back from injury and did well for me last year. I’ve dilly-dallied about midfielder Leandro Trossard, but better late than never, Miguel Almiron had to get into Burnley Reserves after making it seven goals in seven games in Newcastle’s 4-1 win at Southampton. Darwin Nunez (£8.9m) hasn’t quite lived up to his price tag to date, but he could finally shine in a plum home match against Southampton. He is still a differential owned by just 8.7% of us wanna-be managers.
Whilst everyone’s mind is on the beach – not holiday beach but the sand in Qatar – transfer deadline is 11am Saturday.