FPL Season 2018-19 – Gameweek 38 Review: the final round

Manchester City FC
“Congratulations to the 2018-2019 Premier League champions, Manchester City” (CC by 2.0) by Richard Ayers 

And just like that, it’s over. After months of smiles and tears, joy and misery, and relief and frustration, the Fantasy Premier League season 2018-2019 has come to an end. Did City players get you plenty of points despite the extreme rotation risk? Did you jump on the United bandwagon as soon as Solskjaer was appointed interim manager and, more importantly, did you jump off when things reverted to this season’s normal? Did you make every transfer deadline this season? Whatever your answers, don’t worry too much about them. It’s over, and now is the time to look back at yet another thrilling Premier League season and evaluate your own season as a Fantasy manager. Where can you improve next season? Which wise lessons have you learned? Are you happy with the chip strategy you chose just like you need to be with the top casinos online?

It’s been a pleasure for us again to preview each gameweek for you this season and we hope that we somehow, at some point, in some area, have managed to make a positive contribution to your fantasy managerial decisions this year. Seeing as the title decision this season amazingly came down to the very last gameweek, we’ve decided to have a look back at gameweek 38 from a Fantasy Football point of view. After all, not just Man City and Liverpool, but also hundreds of thousands of FPL managers around the world, still had something to play for. In many mini-leagues, a decent score last weekend could mean closing that small gap with your league’s leader or climbing into the overall 1% or top 10,000 overall, just to name a few high-stakes scenarios. We’ll take a quick look at this season’s best performers per position in terms of FPL points and go over last weekend’s deciding action.

Don’t forget that there’s no deadline set for this weekend. It’ll take some getting used to again and don’t worry about the withdrawal symptoms: with the all-English European finals and the Nations League coming up before August, it’ll be FPL time again soon. And if you’re bored, there’s always casino online united kingdom to play and keep you entertained.

An overview of the highest scorers in FPL per position (number of FPL points behind each name):

Allison (176)   Robertson (213)   Salah (259)   Aubameyang (205)
Ederson (169)   Van Dijk (208)   Hazard (238)   Aguero (201)
Pickford (161)   A-Arnold (185)   Sterling (234)   Jimenez (181)
Etheridge (154)   Laporte (177)   Mané (231)   Vardy (174)
Lloris (145)   David Luiz (164)   Sigurdsson (182)   Wilson (168)

Gameweek 38: the title decider

Obviously, all eyes were on Manchester City and Liverpool during gameweek 38. The Cityzens collected 95 points after 37 games this season, while the Reds were right behind them with 94 points. The scenarios were clear to everyone and each team knew what they had to do: a victory against Brighton at the AMEX would bring Man City the title regardless of the Liverpool result, while Liverpool had to beat Wolves at Anfield and hope for City slip on the British south coast. As we know now, neither of the two made a mistake, meaning that City crowned themselves champions with Liverpool left behind as the best runner-up in the history of the Premier League and indeed of all five major European leagues. The previous record was set in the 2009-2010 season, when Real Madrid finished La Liga in second place with 96 points, behind Barcelona, at the time coached by… Pep Guardiola.

The Cityzens surprisingly went behind first at the AMEX, courtesy of a goal from Glenn “So experienced fixtures don’t matter anymore” Murray. City weren’t phased in the least, though, because literally a minute later, Kun Aguero equalized, followed by an Aymeric Laporte goal ten minutes after that to put City in the lead. The Seagulls had put up a good fight for about half an hour, but it now seemed like a question of time before the visitors would be crowned champions. Guardiola saw his men net twice more in the second half (Mahrez from David Silva’s second assist of the day and Gundogan), which was more than enough to claim the title for a second year in a row. Well-deserved, to say the least.

In most cases, the position of runner-up is the most bitter one, because you almost made it, but no one will remember you in a few years time. It might be a different reality for this year’s runner-up Liverpool. The Reds have been nothing short of impressive throughout their 2018-19 campaign, which is illustrated by their 97 points in the League and their spot in the Champions League final. Sadio Mané scored two against Wolves on the final day of the season, but an eventually routine victory of their sky blue rivals from Manchester meant Liverpool will have to wait at least another year before lifting their first English league trophy since 1990.

Obviously, both teams have been excellent, both in real life and followed via fiso’s FPL forum. It’s not often that FPL managers can pick, for example, from a defence as reliable as Liverpool’s (22 goals conceded in 38 games, 21 clean sheets) or City’s (23 goals conceded, 20 clean sheets). At the same time, the likes of Mo Salah, Kun Aguero, Sadio Mané and Raheem Sterling, just to name a few, have shown on a weekly basis why the Premier League is the most competitive league in world football. In other words, both these teams have been exceptional and both deserved the title. We couldn’t have wished for a more thrilling title race.

Gameweek 38: the European spots

The title race wasn’t the only event of importance on the final day of the season. Below the top two, four more teams had to battle it out for two more Champions League spots and two Europa League spots for next season. Thanks to a Spurs draw at White Hart Lane against Everton, a draw at the King Power was enough for Chelsea to claim third place, while their London rivals remained in fourth. For both teams, these positions will feel satisfactory, considering the fact that the former has gone through some slumps throughout the season and the latter has had to deal with several injury crises. On top of that, both of these teams have made it to a European final, with Spurs battling Liverpool for the Champions League and Chelsea facing Arsenal in the Europa League final.

As far as FPL goes, these two teams were up and down for most managers. In the rankings for best players per position in terms of FPL points, only three players from these two teams make the cut: Eden Hazard (238 points), David Luiz (164) and Hugo Lloris (145). Of course, Harry Kane’s misfortune on the injury front this season is a major reason for him not being amongst the top-scoring forwards, but for the rest, neither of these teams have offered mini-league-winning consistent value over the course of the campaign. Hopefully next season, Maurizio Sarri freshens up the starting eleven that he tinkers so little with even if he has transfer restrictions and Mauricio Pocchetino gets the chance to add serious title-challenging quality to his squad.

Just a tier lower, Arsenal and Manchester United took fifth and sixth place, respectively. The Gunners did what they had to do by beating Burnley away from home, courtesy of an Aubameyang double to give him the Golden Boot (shared with Sadio Mané and Mo Salah) and a late goal by Eddie Nketiah. United, on the other hand, ended the season in a fashion that, unfortunately for them, illustrated the disappointing campaign they’ve had. The general consensus was that, despite their horrid form, the Red Devils were going to use the home game against relegated Cardiff in the final gameweek as a way to finish the season on a positive note, but no… Instead, Solskjaer’s men put in another unacceptable performance, this time one ending in an embarrassing 0-2 home loss.

Neither Arsenal, mainly due to Unai Emery’s love of rotation, nor United, mainly due to their unpredictable form, offered much joy to FPL managers this season. Sure, Aubameyang jumps out with his 22 goals and 5 assists in 36 games, but he has the £10.5m+ price tag to go with it. The likes of Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba enjoyed a brilliant month or two following the appointment of OGS as caretaker manager, but outside of that period, there were many better options available for your teams. Neither team was consistently stable enough in the back to make their defensive assets essential for FPL managers, while fluctuating form and at times maddening rotation up front (we’re talking to you, Unai Emery) limited the FPL potential of most of the Arsenal and United forward options. Both teams will be playing Europa League football next season and when comparing them to the current top four, that’s probably a correct reflection of the season.

Gameweek 38: three goodbyes

Unfortunately for the teams involved, the relegation battle did not need to be decided on the very last day. Huddersfield surprised many fans and pundits last year when they managed to avoid relegation in their first season amongst the elite, but this season they became the joint-earliest relegated team in Premier League history. Their 2-0 loss at Selhurst Park in gameweek 32 confirmed their relegation and the end-of-season stats show us why: 38 games played, 3 victories, 28 losses and a goal difference of minus 54. Goalkeeper Jonas Lössl (99 FPL points) proved to be a wanted cheap goalkeeper option in the official game, while Christopher Schindler and Aaron Mooy (both 76 points) were probably the best outfield options for those managers who really wanted a Terrier in their rosters. Overall though, there wasn’t much joy to be found here for FPL managers this season.

Fulham FC are probably the disappointment of the season. After a stellar season under Slavisa Jokanovic in the Championship that ended with promotion to the elite and a transfer summer in which more than £100 million were spent on new recruits, the 2018-19 Premier League campaign soon turned into a nightmare for them. With just two victories over the first half of the season and the increasing number of FPL managers basing some part of their transfer strategy on “Who’s playing Fulham this week?”, Fulham looked well on their way back down already before Christmas. Current manager Scott Parker was appointed after Claudio Ranieri couldn’t manage to turn around the club’s horrible start under Jokanovic, but despite improving performances under the young English manager, Fulham will be playing in the Championship again next season. No matter how many Mitrovic’ or Babel’s you bring in, when your team ends the season with 81 goals conceded and a goal difference of -47, you kind of deserve it.

Finally, newly-promoted Cardiff City joined Huddersfield and Fulham on the way down after losing 2-3 at home to Crystal Palace in gameweek 37. As a sidenote, as far as we’re aware, Palace are the only Premier League side ever to condemn two sides to relegation in the same season. Back to the Bluebirds, who started the season in a bad way, losing six of their first eight games. Many people saw them back in the Championship before Christmas, but Neil Warnock’s men got their act together and stayed in the fight until the penultimate gameweek. They can be proud of their season regardless, especially considering the unspeakable drama that unfolded around the transfer of Emiliano Sala during the January transfer window. From an FPL point of view, the Bluebirds offered some serious value as well, especially in goal, where first-choice goalie Neil Etheridge had a fantastic season that culminated in 154 FPL points and a fourth place in the goalkeeper rankings overall. Captain Sol Bamba (despite his unfortunate long-term injury in gameweek 29), midfielder Victor Camarasa (106 FPL points) and even forward Bobby Reid (£5.2m, 5 goals, 3 assists, 80 FPL points) were other Cardiff assets that, at one point or another, enjoyed surges in their ownership as a result of Cardiff’s performances.