With the World Cup mother-of-all-international-breaks looming ever closer, the 2022 NMA Blog Cup is rapidly wrapping. GW-14 was the semifinal, where our 32 survivors fought to reach the final 20 and a chance to win the first silverware of the season.
Rather like GW-12, there was the dilemma of what to do about Haaland, and there were twenty teams this time (as compared to only seven in GW-12) who managed to field a full eleven players. But having 11 active players did not guarantee a good score. Indeed, only one team in the top-10 for the week fielded 11 players, and the 11th best score of the week was achieved by a 9-player team!
It was a fairly high scoring week, with 131 teams in the league scoring at least 100 points. The top score was a very impressive 178.5 points from Fantastic XI, with Haaland’s zero and Billing’s disappointing 1.5 points masked by seven players who each tallied 20+ (Ederson, Mee, Tarkowski, Trippier, De Bruyne, Jesus & Salah). Sadly for their cup prospects, they were eliminated at the quarterfinal stage.
The top scoring EPL player for the week was someone I haven’t seen in any fantasy teams: Kieffer Moore of Bournemouth with 33 points. Callum Wilson was the only other player over 30 points (31). So after four weeks in which a defender and three keepers were the top producers, forwards have reclaimed the top spots. What continues to be noticeable is how few midfielders are earning well, with only Kevin De Bruyne topping the 20-point mark this week. The requirement to play at least three in midfield is an annoying restriction this year!
As with all recent rounds, the cup’s cutoff comes a lot lower down the overall league list than might be expected, so some managers may be pleasantly surprised:
|Cup position||Team||Round score||Total score|
|Cup position||Team||Round score||Total score|
|4||The Motley Crewe||138.5||1626.5|
|12||Sir Boy United FC||118.5||1586.5|
|18||[TyF] Ozdal City||112.5||1497.5|
|--- qualification cut-off ---|
|30||OGZ Hall Of Fame||89.5||1595.5|
So the cut-off to make it into the final 20 was 105 points. That was only 113th in the league for the week, so there are a lot of managers who would have made it through if only they’d not already been knocked out!
The leading cup score for the week was 151 for Team msneezie31, a team that has so far been quite anonymous in the cup, finishing 65th, 37th, 50th, 42nd and 25th in previous rounds. The second-placed cup team was Team OGL1 close behind with 150.5. This team made it into the top 20 of qualifying teams only once, in round-4, and then only by one place. Yet both have cruised through into the final 20. These teams shared Salah, Trippier, KDB, Robertson and Haaland’s zero. Team msneezie31 added Mee, Martinelli, TAA and Grealish, while Team OGL1 had Jesus, Almiron and Pereira. It’s interesting to note that the top scoring team Team msneezie31 took a deliberate zero and had Kepa in goal for -1, so effectively did it with 9 players!
At the other end of the qualifiers, we find Team Enadiz2015 (who is still in the league top ten) and Alehouse WAGs, each squeaking through by only one and two points to spare respectively. Each had only three players in double figures, Tripper and KDB for both, plus Salah and Mee respectively. They were fortunate that the 21st placed team Team durotrulo had Anthony (an unexpected no-show) and Saka (an early injury casualty).
Success in previous rounds is no guarantee of success in the future, and the top-scoring team from the quarter finals, Whithy Dragons, fell just short this time in 22nd. A team that was only recently number one in the league, Team Rockdelux also fell short, as did one of the most consistent teams in the cup in previous rounds, OGZ Hall Of Fame.
Still the most consistent team in the cup is league second-placed ching. Their cup positions have been 29th, 14th, 7th, 13th, 6th and 15th, which is pretty impressive, but is no guarantee of final success — indeed they have not yet finished a round in first place.
The final takes place in GW-16, when our 20 survivors will fight it out to be number 1. Remarkably, the two previous Blog Cup winners are still in the competition, 183168 who won in 2020 and Team MIFFY_FC, the defending champion. But can there be a new name on the trophy this year?
GW-16 (12 & 13 November) sees Man City play in the early game (home to Brentford), so we will once again be spared Pep roulette. There are also enticing games for Liverpool (home to Southampton), Arsenal (at Wolves) and Tottenham (home to Leeds), and Man United is at Fulham. But Newcastle hosts Chelsea, so will that diminish the value of both team’s assets? There will be plenty of difficult decisions for the surviving managers to make!
How did you do? Are you safely through? If not, then which players let you down? If you already crashed out of the competition in an earlier round, would you have done better this time? — Perhaps you can claim the ‘I would have passed if I hadn’t lost already’ ribbon along with the highest-scoring team for the week? If you’re out, which team do you fancy to lift the trophy? Please sign in and let us know in the comments.