The last two seasons of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) were quite exciting and dynamic. On a game that usually offers one or two Double Gameweeks per season and has a pretty transparent fixture list, suddenly we were offered postponements, a good amount of Double (even Triple!) Gameweeks, tonnes of injuries, free Wildcards and lots and lots of emotions.
After the end of last season and the “cooling” of Covid in general, one would think that things will get back to normal. However, that might not be the case.
For the third summer in a row, players will get a really short break. First it was Covid, then EURO 2020 (played in 2021) and due to all the postponed matches last year, many of the international players had quite a busy summer playing for their respected national teams. On top of that, they will have to play an intensive amount of matches up until the World Cup 2022 in Qatar which starts on November 21. Then they will come back sometime in December and have a few days rest from the heat, before they play on Boxing Day.
Of course, do not forget that the World Cup will bring chaos to the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League and the domestic cup schedules as well.
With all this in mind, one should keep a close eye on the involvement players have this season. Yes, there will be more substitutions in the Premier League this season and yes, we will have a bonus Wildcard after the World Cup ends. However, many of these players are not used to this type of pressure (both physically and mentally) and this clearly shows in the increased cases of injuries (muscle injuries in particular) and the clear drop in form some players and teams showed last season.
Understanding the above will help all managers improve their season performance. Bench players might become more essential than ever. Strategies like “big at the back” might change drastically knowing that full-backs get rested more than centre-backs. Big hitters might get substituted almost every game to save their energy and health. Teams might get leaky at the back due to the five subs rule and the rotation that occurs from those. Smaller clubs will definitely experience issues catching up with teams with vast amount of quality players. It is going to be hard to nail a 90-minute big-hitter captain.
My horrific captain choices that might be a blessing in disguise. Having managed to finish in the top 30K the last two seasons by having a strong squad and poor captains, the potential uncertainty around the armband picks is something I look forward to. Hopefully, this season is not going to be as expected, and players will stay fit and games will go on as usual. Matches will not be postponed due to Covid and the World Cup will only bring positive vibes to everyone. But just in case things start to slow down a bit, remember to navigate your team with style and precision. And the results will come. A well-executed plan in FPL equals a big smile and lots of points in the bag.
All the best everyone, stay healthy!