fpl_obsessed FPL Profile
FF Titans: Firstly, tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Matt, I am in my late-thirties and live in Chester (near Liverpool) in the UK.
I work in the house building industry for a small family company set up by my parents-in-law over ten years ago. I am married and have two children (a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl).
Working for a family business and having two young children has, as you would expect, diminished my list of hobbies somewhat. The two that I have retained are the ones I am most passionate about: writing and FPL.
I have always been a passionate writer and have written blogs on various topics over the years. I have also written a sci-fiction novel which was intended as a place to hone my craft, rather than pursue publication.
In September 2020 I decided to combine my two biggest passions and am currently in the process of writing a book on FPL which I plan to get published in Spring/Summer 2021.
Apart from the above, I am an avid traveler and have been fortunate enough to visit 50 countries in my lifetime. I love to explore new places, immerse myself in different cultures, and gain new experiences.
FF Titans: What is your FPL experience?
I first started playing FPL back in 2006 (when you only got one wildcard, chips were things you ate, and you couldn’t roll a free transfer!). I was in just one mini-league at that time (Hogs Of War) which my school friends started up. I spent three seasons trying to win it. From the very beginning I was utterly hooked on FPL.
In the 2008/09 season, I finally came first in Hogs Of War and, in doing so, broke into the Top 100k globally. After this, I decided to take it more seriously. I introduced all of my different friendship groups to the game, creating more of a challenge for myself.
In the 2010/11 season, I recorded my highest ever finish coming 2,489th globally. A few weeks before the end of the season I was ranked 275th in the world. It was amazing being able to scroll down from #1 Overall and find my name (relatively) quickly.
The season after, thinking I had the Midas Touch, I tried to push my rank further and totally drifted away from my natural playing style, for which I was severely punished – falling just outside of the 600k mark. This remains my worst finish to date.
Since then, I have experimented with a variety of different playing styles with varying degrees of success. Whilst I believe that luck is still the largest single factor to FPL achievement, I have identified a number of common traits for success and bad habits to avoid, which span all my 15 years playing the game.
As well as my Top 2.5k finish in the 2010/2011 season, I have finished in the Top 50k once, the Top 100k twice and the Top 250k five times.
FF Titans: What is your overall FPL strategy?
My overall strategy changes from year-to-year depending on the nuances of that particular season. I would describe my style as balanced, adaptable and risk averse.
I am actually quite a boring FPL manager; I distribute my funds to make sure I have premium players in every position (except GK), make sure I have a solid bench and will always choose putting out small fires in my squad over making big impact transfers (when everyone else was taking hits to fit KDB, Bruno and Salah in their teams, I was bringing Charlie Taylor in for Masuaku following his knee surgery).
I do not take points hits unless they are absolutely necessary and, if I put my faith in a particular player, I will give him plenty of time to prove himself before either keeping him or transferring him back out.
I always tend to look around 5-6 GWs ahead and make my decisions based on both form and fixtures. With premium assets I will tend to consider fixtures less because I believe the very best players can haul even against tough opposition.
A little rule I use for guiding my transfer policy is:
BUY – the players who have both good form and fixtures
KEEP – the players who have one of the two (form or fixtures)
SELL – the players which have neither good form nor fixtures
To aid my decisions I use a balance of looking at stats, watching the games (eye test) and gut feel. Quite often I will focus on players who are due a points haul (high xGI) but haven’t been returning.
FF Titans: Which club do you support?
I grew up a thirty-minute drive from Liverpool City Centre and so most of the people in my area naturally support either Liverpool or Everton – we also get a few supporters of the Manchester teams, but we don’t need to talk about them!
My parents had no interest in football and so, when I was young, my uncle stepped in and asked my Dad if he would be allowed to ‘set me on the right path’. My uncle somehow got me a football signed by the entire 1990 Liverpool squad. That was me forever locked into being a Red.
FF Titans: Which FPL asset is a must have from this point on?
It’s a tough choice between Mo Salah and Bruno Fernandes. Mo is an absolute FPL legend. His ruthless and greedy style means that he will always be on the hunt for attacking returns and he can create opportunities from nowhere. Playing with the likes of TAA and Robertson, who are constantly whipping crosses into dangerous areas, Firmino who is so adept at taking defenders out the game and Mane who is selfless and hungry to win, Salah will always get plenty of opportunities to find the net.
Fernandes may not have the historic FPL pedigree of Mo Salah, but I believe I am correct in saying that no player has returned as many FPL points as Bruno since he joined Manchester United. He is such a determined player and carries Manchester United through every difficult patch. He reminds me a little of Luis Suarez in his dogged resolve to win every match.
For a budget option, I think Patrick Bamford is a must. He is consistent, he can haul, and it would appear (at the time of writing) that he is now on penalties too. At the start of the season, he was just £5.5m
FF Titans: Who do you think will flop badly?
This is easier to say with the benefit of hindsight, but I would say Aubameyang is the biggest flop this season and I don’t see the situation improving for him.
When he was reclassified as a midfielder the FPL community was practically salivating at the prospect of 5 points per goal and an extra point for a clean sheet. It soon became apparent that the Aubameyang of old would not be appearing in the 2020/21 season.
FF Titans: Predict the Premier League champions?
I would love to say Liverpool and I do think we are genuinely in with a great shout at defending the title. The 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace seemed a real statement of intent.
Recent results have been disappointing, however, other teams have failed to capitalise on the opportunity, so we are still top of the league.
Trying to be impartial, I would put my money on Liverpool, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both Manchester clubs and Spurs were up there at the end as well.
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