It’s that time of year again when the Sunday papers cram their supplements and pull-outs with a deluge of tips on getting ‘Beach-Body Ready’. They once again perpetuate the myth that a few lunges and squats combined with kale and papaya juice will turn the body you’ve been moulding since last November with pizza, chips, beer and crisps into a replica of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson or Kelly Brook, all within four short weeks. It is of course an utter nonsense. Anyone who follows ‘The Rock’ on Twitter will know that his fitness regime would make US Marines walk away shaking their head in disbelief. I personally would much rather drool on my pillow at 3.30am and scratch my arse on my couch at 9.30pm rather than hit the gym and lift things heavier than the planet Venus. My body reflects this level of dedication too, and I’m comfortable with that. Yet clearly the media moguls put these supplements in each year because it helps sell the papers, which means there are LOADS of people out there that fall for this claptrap.
To be fair, the professional footballers of #FPL carry out a similar charade at this time of year as GW36 demonstrated clearly. Of course they’re all physically sculpted by virtue of being professional athletes, but many decide that they want to get ‘Transfer Window’ ready. Instead of lunges, squats, kale and papaya they spend a few weeks scoring goals, providing assists and showing a level of gumption and motivation that was bewilderingly absent between GW1 and GW35. Don’t believe me? Well here’s my proof:
Dusan Tadic had 3 goals and 3 assists in 33 GW’s in which he featured in almost all, yet has 3 goals since GW34. What’s that you say? His team may be relegated? He knows he’s better than the Championship, but needs to attract attention ahead of the Summer Transfer Window? Well whad’ya know…welcome to the party Dusan. If I were a Southampton fan I’d cheer every goal and assist between now and the end of the season while simultaneously giving him the finger. This isn’t ‘digging deep to save the club he loves’, this is ‘digging deep to save his own arse’.
There are FOUR Crystal Palace players who scored double digits in GW36, a statistic that has gasted my flabber completely. Now I’m not saying all four are mercenary like our good friend Dusan Tadic, but you have to wonder at their sudden motivation after a quite rotten season. Wilfried Zaha grew up around the corner from Selhurst Park, so he get’s an honorable exception with his 14 points, but Patrick Van Aanholt (13 points), Mamadou Sakho (12 points) and James McArthur (11 points) may well have realised that while their Premier League status is secure, they’re still being managed by The Hodge, and when you’re managed by The Hodge, you really want to get out of Dodge…
Leighton Baines (12 points) has missed almost half the season through injury, but since his return he has 43 points in 7 GW’s. Sure, he’s an Everton stalwart who must love the club after hanging around for so long, but he’s also spent half the season looking at Big Sam’s massive head, his jowls flapping in the wind as he chews what I can only presume is gum, but could quite easily be part of the enormous chip he has on his shoulder. There’s no harm in making yourself ‘Transfer Window’ ready for one last payday and to escape Big Sam’s gravy gulag is there? Idrissa Gueye (11 points) might be looking to hang onto Leighton’s coattails as he’s suddenly scored 24% of his full season points in the last three GW’s. Coincidence? As Buffy The Vampire Slayer once said:
Giles, there are two things I don’t believe in: coincidence and leprechauns
Plenty have lauded the effect that Darren Moore has had on West Brom since he was placed in temporary charge following the unfortunate ‘incident’ we’ll just call Chunky-gate. Many have called for him to be given the job permanently when their inevitable relegation is finally confirmed, but I would advise that people start to view the recent Baggies Bounce through my eyes. Sure, Darren seems a lovely fella and the players seem happy to try harder for him…but right now they’re all trying harder for themselves, and themselves only. They’re doomed, they know it, and they know what the wages are like in the Championship compared to the Premier League. West Brom players right now are like the ‘gentleman’ in the ‘Titanic’ movie that wangled his way onto the lifeboat carrying a child that wasn’t his ahead of women and children that should have had been saved. Matt Phillips amassed 11 points against Newcastle, scoring only his second goal of the season while holding a 3 year old West Brom fan in full replica kit.
Cecil Fibreglass, sorry, Cesc Fabregas has had a disappointing season by his usual standards, but that can be explained. Y’see, a few months ago the Chelsea lads decided that Antonio Conte was annoying them and they fancied a new gaffer who might be nicer to them. So the Chelsea lads do what the Chelsea lads do and decided to down tools for a bit, like they did to Jose that time. Unfortunately for them the job they thought Conte would leave for has been taken by Roberto Mancini which means that the gaffer may be around next season after all, so a WhatsApp message was sent around advising everyone to start putting in a shift again. This explains the recent upturn in Chelsea form, and why Cecil scored 10 points this week.
Finally Paul Pogba (10 points) has been the subject of transfer rumours for months now. His relationship with Jose Mourinho is more complicated than a Mormon with 10 wives going on an episode of First Dates. Pogba’s recent upturn in form could be driven by his determination to convince Jose that he’s the man for the future…or it could be driven by his determination to be viewed as another De Bruyne / Salah when he’s flogged by Jose and then goes on to thrive in the future. Either way, he’s also ‘Transfer Window’ ready.
I normally discuss the Villains of the Week now, but in a way everyone I’ve discussed this week could be viewed as that…but for the record Pablo Zabaleta racked up his FOURTH negative points total of the season with -2 against Man City. I’m not saying he’s not ‘Transfer Window’ ready, but the blinds are drawn, the shutters are closed and he lives in a basement. Finally Marc Albrighton was sent off against Palace to score -2 points. He has an excuse though. It’s hard to play football when you’re wearing flip-flops with an inflatable ring around your midriff while drinking a Pina Colada through a straw. Here comes the summer!