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Football Predictions League 2021-22 sign-ups


Fog Dude
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The Euros and Copa América are both over, I should really get on with putting together my Fantasy League team, and now the provisional fixtures for the major domestic leagues are out too, so it’s time to get the ball rolling on all of this once again.

Here’s how it all ended up last season. Continuing players probably know what to do but might want to re-familiarise themselves with the D2D rules below first. I’d also like their opinion on a new gimmick I’ve thought up to try to keep things interesting.

Returning and new participants should probably read the next couple of posts in greater detail.

(Yes, I’m going to risk the ire of Keith by starting with a triple post. Don’t think he’ll notice though, luckily.)

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The Basics

We normally have 10 matches to guess per round. I aim to make most of them EPL games. These don’t generally start before 2pm on a Saturday, and they’re usually all done and dusted by midnight on Sunday. Exceptions are made for Bank Holidays.

You get one point for getting the right result, and an additional two points (so three in total) for predicting an exact scoreline correctly. There are also various ways of scoring bonus points throughout the season. Rearranged games are almost always void.

 

Dare 2 Disagree (‘D2D’)

This is a chance to win more bonus points by betting on a beloved team and encouraging others to guess a different way from you (which is the ‘disagree’ part in the name), invented by previous FPL-runner @seph. Two bonus points are up for grabs for everybody in any round with a D2D fixture, with a potential bonanza on offer for whichever player’s turn it is to make the bet.

I used to write a long list of criteria for this, but now I say: simply send me a list of at least 3 of your favourite teams and I’ll let you know if they’re eligible.

Everyone needs to have a unique team allocated to them by the end of Week 5 in order to continue in the competition.

Submissions for this are strictly via PM only. I’ll clear some space in my inbox.

You don’t have to post in this thread in order to sign up, but if you do, don’t write much more then “I’m in” to give it a bump, and definitely don’t write your choices down here… however obvious your allegiances might ordinarily be on this forum.

 

The FPL Cup

This is an additional knockout competition that everyone is automatically entered into, although for the last few seasons it’s had a group stage (or two!) as well. I’ll decide on the exact format for this year once we know exactly how many entrants we have. Last season’s moral victor in the main tournament, @Vegeta, is the current holder.

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Wildcard fixture
Well, here comes my latest brainfart, which was originally a flash of inspiration when I was trying to think of ways to make the final week more interesting back in May. Then I realised changing the rules with a week to go would’ve looked well dodgy so I saved the idea for now.


Basically, one fixture per week will have more points riding on it (if it’s a D2D round, its game already has higher stakes so it won’t be that match). I was thinking an exact score could be worth 5 points instead of three, but I’m flexible on that. I would also consider 4 points for an exact score and 2 for a correct result, for instance.


Here’s the catch: I suffered the embarrassment of actually winning the competition that I organise last season, so the last think I’d want is for me to appear to be stacking the odds even further in my favour. The wildcard match will therefore only be allocated via a random draw *AFTER* all the week’s results are in. That way I won’t be benefiting from any insider knowledge when I make my picks.


In double rounds there could even be two wildcard matches instead of just one, but in the two ‘bumper’ weeks the wildcard rule will probably be suspended.
And of course, it’ll require more concentration for me when figuring out the scores, so if I lose focus and give somebody the wrong figure one week, do let me know.

 

A note on Cup ties
There have been three main trends in cup football since I started doing this 13 years ago: a move away from two-legged ties; a move towards going straight to penalties after 90 minutes instead of playing extra time; and the abolition of replays.


The EFL Trophy, FA Youth Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase have (in that order to my knowledge) now embraced all of the above. The Carabao Cup only had single-leg semis last season, but it remains to be seen if that was just due to the packed pandemic schedule. 


We always shy away from putting second legs on a card because there are too many factors that muddy the waters (a side could win in 90 minutes, draw on the night after extra time and lose on aggregate – what’s the ‘correct result’ in those circumstances?). The end of the away goals rule hasn’t really affected any of these misgivings.


Replays are apparently back in the FA Cup up to and including the Fourth Round, but with the Qatar World Cup to fit in mid-season in 2022-23 I think they’ll be gone again the year after next and probably won’t return. Not sure about the Scottish Cup. Can any of our members from north of the border enlighten me?


In any event, just remember the shorthand rule for cup ties is that we ignore penalty shootouts. I’m not going to repeat the full explanation every time there’s a knockout match on the docket this season. If you want to predict which team will win a shootout for your own pride’s sake, then go ahead, but there’ll be no extra points in it for you!

 

Peculiarities for 2021-22 
Because most of the world is behind on its World Cup qualifiers, there’ll be an additional fifth international break this season, which is being squeezed in at the end of January. UEFA don’t seem to have scheduled any competitive fixtures for then though, so this might end up being a hybrid week for our little competition.


Due to the way the calendar’s fallen, Christmas and New Year won’t involve double rounds this season. The ‘bumper’ Cup week will probably still happen for the FA Cup Third Round, but the French Cup Round of 64 hasn’t been pencilled in for the same weekend.


The first set of 10 will go live on the 4th of August in a separate thread with matches for the 7th and 8th, with entries welcome until the end of that month. The Scottish season will already be in full swing, and the EFL also starts that weekend.


The final ‘bumper’ card is planned to be published on the 18th of May, and will feature games taking place on the 21st and 22nd of the same said month. The end date deliberately aligns with the domestic calendars of England, France, Italy and Spain most closely.

And finally

I’m sorry that this is a lot to take in, but I’ve given it loads of thought and put loads of effort into running it. Probably too much, truth be told, but here we are. I love football, me.


tl;dr = please sign up, and may the best guesser win!
 

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Thanks for all the interest so far. Everybody who's posted in this thread – all continuing players from last season – has also DMed me. I haven't replied to any of them because all the choices of D2D teams are sound so far.

Of the 15 sides represented, 4 are from the EPL, with League One, National League North and South, Serie A and Série A (Italian and Brazilian), Ligue 1, La Liga and the men's Bundesliga also covered. Two national teams have been selected, but I hope it's not giving too much away to say that they're both third choices, so it remains likely that the international rounds will be used for FPL Cup ties. 

Since I wrote up the season preview last week, it's been revealed that the Carabao Cup is reverting to two-legged semi-finals this term. That doesn't really affect us because they'll be played in midweek anyway, and our one experiment with a midweek round many years ago... wasn't the most successful. I'm still none the wiser when it comes to the Scottish Cup and replays, mind.

Another note on Cups that I forgot which is also a 'peculiarity' is that for the second year running, the Women's FA Cup wasn't completed on time last season. We'll feature the semi-finals and final of the 2020-21 edition before moving onto the next campaign's competition. 

The only other thing I didn't mention is that it's possible for everyone else to earn a bonus point if the leader at the start or end of a matchday gets 4 or more exact scores correct, but unsurprisingly that rule is rarely put to use. 

Right, I think that's about it for this update. Keep the entries pouring in!

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It's been just over a week since the last update, so apologies for the double post, but there have been no new expressions of interest in that time anyway.

With regard to my ongoing query about replays in the Scottish Cup, if you Google it then said search engine assumes you must be looking for the League Cup or Challenge Cup instead. The Scottish FA's most recent bit of 'news' on its website is that St Johnstone won back in May, whilst any link the Wikipedia article for the 2021-22 edition redirects to the general article about the entire tournament's history. Sort it out, you bunch of Hampden amateurs! 

The new thread is due to go live in under a week's time. I think with only four other people joining in so far, that's too few to make it worthwhile for me to run, and to make it feel like a proper competition for the rest of you. If we don't get a minimum of one more entrant in the next 6 days, then I see no option apart from delaying the start of the campaign by one week.

As you can tell from the second and third posts in this thread, I've clearly done a lot of preparation that I wouldn't want to go to waste. Nor do I want to declare myself the 'forever champion' and call the whole thing off having won last season. 

I'm just hoping more people are interested but just hadn't realised how close the new season is to creeping up on us. Remember that you don't need D2D teams assigned until the end of the following month, so do please keep that in mind if you're struggling to come up with three decent picks. 

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