So we now know who has made it to the final of the NMA Blog Cup. 170 teams started out in GW-20, back in January, and over nine rounds they’ve been whittled down to the final two.
The semifinals didn’t exactly go to form. Let’s look at how they panned out:
Team stallexpress 87 : 125 1998jjb (Simon v Doug)
Simon is enjoying a fantastic season and still sits in 6th place overall in the league, but he just couldn’t keep his amazing cup run going, suffering his first defeat in the head to head cup in the past two seasons (he won last year). 87 points was a reasonable score this week (31st best overall), but it was no match for Doug’s excellent 125 (the sixth best score overall this week).
Doug’s team really had no weak links: Seven players scored double-digits, led by Kane’s 25, and DCL was only just below at 9.5 points. The remaining three players totaled 13.3 points at a total cost of 6.95. Holding Kane at 7.15 clearly helped a lot here, the extra cash wisely spent. It’s interesting to note that despite being a keen Southampton supporter, Doug didn’t include any Southampton players. This is the way to win a cup — don’t let your personal loyalties get in the way of fantasy!
Simon’s best three players (Bale, Salah and TAA) were in Doug’s team, and El Mohamady was his only differential to break 10 points. The back-breaker here was Sterling, who scored 24 less than Kane for an outlay of nearly twice the amount.
HELLENIC POWER 131 : 87 Team Chris_Manfredi (Vasilis v Chris)
Chris is doing even better than Simon in the standings, and his 87 actually moved him up a place to third. He must be hoping to push for second (although first is a mile off and congratulations to 183168 for an astonishing lead of 286 points over everyone else). But in the semifinal, Chris’s team was no match for the underdog as Vasilis racked up a really impressive 131.
Vasilis also holds Kane at 7.15 which again helped hugely, but his forward line of Kane, Salah and Torres really did the business, almost winning the tie on their own with 76.5 points combined. His defense was solid, and although the keeper and midfield showed some weakness, the combination was enough for the third highest score of the week.
Chris spent 28.88 on Sterling and Mane who scored 53 points fewer than Kane and Torres who cost Vasilis 12.41. The rest of Chris’ team did quite well to close the gap a little, considering that!
In all the many matches in this competition, there hasn’t been a single tie. I couldn’t help noticing that had the draw pitted Simon against Chris, we’d have had an 87:87 tie. Both teams managed one goal scored, so the match would have been decided on fewest goals against per minute played. Chris would have won that by 16/893 (0.0179) to 20/988 (0.0202). I am sure this is no consolation to Chris!
1998jjb v HELLENIC POWER (Doug v Vasilis, or England v Greece)
This should be a fascinating tie, and I’m sure their teams will change a lot in the next few days. The final takes place on Finale Sunday, when all lineups will be confirmed about an hour before kickoff (about 45 minutes before the Fantrax deadline). Vasilis made use of confirmed lineups in the semifinal, picking up Torres. Will he find another gem this Sunday, or will Doug come good this time? Both teams hold Kane cheaply, so there’s no advantage there, just a lot of extra cash to go shopping.
So how did you do relative to our semifinalists in GW-36? Now who are you cheering on in the final? Will you be giving our contestants advice in the build-up? Let’s hear about it in the comments!
Have you enjoyed the cups this year? Any suggestions for how we should run them next year?