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Community Special: The Crystal Ball with Mike M

We are 19 gameweeks down and the end is in sight. At least for you mere mortals anyway. For those with a crystal ball, like myself, the end has been in sight for a long time. In fact, it is not so much “in sight” as it is “annoyingly obscuring my view of the rest of the world”. And being the kind and generous writer that I am, I have decided to enlighten one lucky league as to what this sight entails. So here we have the Community Special Crystal Ball, with this week’s winner Mike M. Take a look at the future…

(Caution: the following article contains spoilers)

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The Rosters

Community Special - Crystal Ball 27-01-21 - The Teams

Trade Maker The Categories

The Current Situation

Community Special Crystal Ball Mike M Current Table

How It All Ends…

12th – Christiano Poyardo

This team ain’t even close to winning anything this year. Hell, the wooden spoon will become an inevitable companion by March. But whilst they may not earn many victories, they have earned my respect – and I know that means a lot. That’s because I am absolutely loving the all-in approach of having four Manchester City defenders. Granted, it’s missing the best one (superstar Cancelo) but still, they’ve managed to acquire good assets from what is looking like a historically great defense. It’s a bold strategy, and we should applaud them for having the Stones (pun intended…I’ll see myself out) to back a clean sheet week in, week out. The less we say about the rest of the roster, the better. It is…how to put this nicely…a shambles. But let’s forget about that. Forget about the season in fact. Do whatever it takes to trade for Cancelo, Zinchenko, and Ederson, and let’s crank this strategy up to the max.

11th – Park The Bus FC

Well, at least it’s not last place. The news of Lampard’s sacking has hit the brakes on any ideas this club may have had on venturing towards the dizzying heights of 10th or above. Mount – arguably the surprise of the season along with Neto and Watkins – simply cannot replicate his 1,531 minutes and 234 points in the second half of the season. Which isn’t great for Park The Bus. They will hope any regression downwards for Mount will be compensated for regression upwards by TAA. The Liverpool right back has almost half the FP/G of his previous two seasons – an incredible drop. He’ll get better though. And Watkins – also owned by PTB – should maintain his productivity in a good and attacking Villa team. But then that pretty much leaves Zaha as the lone attacking asset. More help is needed here for them to stand any chance, so cashing in on Fofana and/or Vestergaard would be my advice.

10th – Kempy’s Not Starting XI

Like Christiano Poyardo, I have a lot of time for Kempy’s Not Starting XI. Any time someone goes with an unusual strategy, we should respect their innovation. Yes, in both cases it has failed, but let’s still acknowledge the ‘outside-the-box’ thinking here. They (must have) traded out some premium assets in order to go with a rarely seen ‘two-elite’ tactic in the form of Mane and Salah. It’s brave, but it relies on having exceptional waiver/FA acquisition ability…and I can’t be sure that’s the case here…hence the 10th spot. Currently in 7th, they will no doubt be hoping to gate-crash the playoffs – or perhaps even make a title push – but a roster containing the likes of Henderson, Moutinho, Dawson, Keane, and Iwobi is not one that I’m backing for big things.

9th – Shed Eleven

As a De Bruyne owner myself, I know the pain that Shed Eleven must be feeling right now. A playoff push single-handedly derailed by a damn thigh muscle. A red-hot Maddison (Wednesday’s 6 points was his first score below 10 in his last 9 starts!) and a fit-again Digne will help ease things a little, but DCL has gone off the boil, and Lamptey is MIA. When everyone is fit, this squad has some very good quality but a lack of depth. When everyone is not fit, that lack of depth is really telling. Cavaleiro, Maupay, Joelinton…none of those are gamechangers. Likewise Fraser and Brownhill. And don’t even get me started on Thomas Partey. He (and Donny van de Beek) seem to be on a roster in every Community Special I analyse…somebody please tell me why?!?

8th – Dynamo Chicken Kiev

An 8th place finish for Dynamo, but damn that’s a good forward line. Maybe the best in the league in some respects – I don’t think anyone else has a 4th best forward who is even close to Callum Wilson level. I’d actually capitalize on this and try and get in another midfielder for the Newcastle man…someone like John McGinn could work for both parties involved. The midfield is basically two players, which sounds bad, but two weeks ago both were injured, so things are much improved in this area. And defensively, Zouma has lost his spot in the Chelsea defense, and Justin could soon follow in Leicester’s. So yeah…this team is basically just a group of forwards. Very good forwards, granted, but still – that isn’t enough to make the playoffs.

7th – Team Jimbobs

Agony for Team Jimbobs as they miss out on a playoff place by one win. There’s a lot of potential on this roster, but no real star quality – at least not until Saint-Max and Pulisic return to last season’s form and Reece James gets his Chelsea spot back. It’s the forward line that will cost them though. Auba has been the disappointment of the season, and Bamford looks more like the player most of us thought he would be, as opposed to the ‘Mark Viduka reincarnate’ that he had been impersonating at the back end of 2020. McBurnie, even before this apparent injury, seems to have upset Wilder, and his lack of minutes will frustrate his owners given that he’s a ghost-point monster. Fabio Silva is likely to head in that direction too now that Wolves have signed Willian Jose. Which puts everything on the currently injured Diogo Jota…it’s not happening I’m afraid.

6th – Team GWild

Team GWild may be thinking about a title challenge right now, but in the end, they will be happy just to make the playoffs. It’s going to go down to the wire, but Arsenal’s gameweek 35 matchup against the incompetent baggies will mean clean sheets in defense and a boatload of points for Saka and Smith Rowe…and a win that will keep them above Jimbobs. I’m not so fussed about the woeful defense – Cash aside, this lot can just be streamers, though seeing Holding and Mina there does concern me a little as to the quality of GWild’s waiver pickups… Anyway, this team has Kane and Rashford. And a team with Kane and Rashford has to make the playoffs.

5th – DC United

DC is going to hang around in the title conversation, but by April they’ll be better off focusing on making a deep run in the playoffs than hoping for the top teams to collapse. It’s a deep roster, with only Dallas hitting the SWAYD list, but like Jimbobs, it doesn’t have a reliable, standout player. Sterling could be that though. We know he’s capable, and there are some KDB-sized shoes that need filling by someone at City, but would I put good money on it? Probably not. Traore has improved, but it’s been a painfully slow improvement. If Willian Jose hits the ground running, and Wolves get going, DC could exceed my predictions here, but there are too many ifs for me to take them as a serious contender. Trading out a defender could help tip the balance in their favor.

4th – Chicken Caesar Salah

The current league leaders will no doubt be disappointed in finishing 4th, but in reality, they should be happy (and surprised!) that they’ve spent any time at all at the top. This is a good but not championship-winning roster, and it has relied heavily on the magic of Son, JWP, and Cancelo. According to Understat, Son is exceeding his expected goal contribution by a massive 6.51 goals. JWP is doing so by an equally incredible 5.87 goals. Only Kane (6.81) is in the same ballpark. Long story short, Son and JWP are not going to be the forces they were in these final 15 games, and Chicken Caesar Salah are going to feel the consequences of it. There are four Rainbow players on this roster – that’s too many to win a title.

3rd – This Is Ingsland

Currently 8th, ending 3rd. It’s going to be a good second half of the season for Ingsland. A look at their roster tells you why. It’s loaded with Stathams and Premium – a group like this is never out of a gameweek. What it is in desperate need of is for Timo Werner to become Tuchel’s boy like Mount was to Frank. Yesterday’s game against Leicester wasn’t a good indication that this would be the case, but that was just one game – there’s plenty of time for this to change. They also need Soucek and Barnes to keep going (definitely do-able), Eze to hopefully make the leap to their level (probably do-able), Adams to start scoring goals (kinda do-able), and Lingard to move to West Ham and recreate his 2017-18 form (not-doable). Letting a midfielder depart for a forward would strengthen this roster considerably…did someone suggest McGinn for Wilson?

2nd – Harrisonians

The bridesmaid at the halfway mark remains the bridesmaid at the end. At least they’re consistent. What’s perhaps most impressive is the fact that they’ve done this whilst holding two goalkeepers. This is not an advisable strategy, and given the two keepers in question, I imagine this is a regular tactic by Harrisonians and not just a one off. I’m not going to say it’s cost them the title, but… Anyway, one place that isn’t at fault for the club not winning the league is the midfield. It is reee-diculous. The only time I’ve seen five guys produce more magic than Antonio, Bruno, Foden, Gundogan, and Zambo is when One Direction released their Midnight Memories album. If Jimenez were to start a game before April then I can see them getting to 23 or 24 wins, but unfortunately, I can’t see that happening. He could maybe make the difference in the playoffs though…

1st – Bielsalona

Some of you may think that something fishy is going on here…Mike M has his league picked for the Community Special, and conveniently Mike M’s team is predicted to finish top. But trust me, I didn’t want the Leeds fan to win it either. Not that I have anything against Leeds fans – I have two friends who support them. Well, ‘friends’ is a strong word. More like acquaintances. Anyway, Bielsalona’s team is faultless. Yes, Furlong has been benched, and we don’t know what Mateta will bring, and CHO surely won’t get many more chances, but you can see the logic behind every player on this roster. Now, we’ve seen a lot of teams with deep rosters, but most have lacked an X-factor. Bielasalona doesn’t, and it might just be why they will win the league. A couple of months back I controversially put Jack Grealish at #2 in the Fantrax ROS200. Given Bruno’s dip in form recently, I think I’d now place the Villa man at #1. He’s just that damn good. Throw in Jack Harrison, Richarlison, Raphinha, and Bertrand Traore and you have four more attackers that would get into every other roster in this league. And the defense of Chilwell, Coufal, and Tete? I’d be surprised if they don’t bring home 25 points every week from here on in. Provided they don’t get hit by injuries – and that’s far from a certainty in this of all seasons – Bielsalona will win the league.

The Final Standings

Crystal Ball Mike M Final Table

So there we have it: the final table. Congratulations Bielsalona on your league victory!! But what about the Playoffs I hear you ask? Well….here’s what happens…

The Playoffs

Quarter-Finals: This Is Ingsland versus Team GWild / Chicken Caesar Salah vs DC United

Team GWild scraped into the playoffs and get immediately kicked out by This Is Ingsland. The quality between the 3rd and 6th seeds is just too much and Team GWild will be hard pushed to make a game of it with Ingsland, particularly when the latter has Harvey Barnes destroying Newcastle to the tune of 20 points. But whilst that one stays fairly uneventful, the other quarter-final between Chicken Caesar and DC is anything but. This is a nailbiter that goes right to the death. JWP being nullified by Liverpool will be the difference as DC win it by the smallest of margins.

Semi-Finals: Bielsalona versus DC United / Harrisonians versus This Is Ingsland

Can they do the double?! The answer is no. DC United shock the Fantrax world by bringing down the number 1 seed in the semi-finals with big contributions from Robertson (against Burnley) and Sterling (against Brighton). The league winners will feel aggrieved at the scheduling committee, as their big guns Grealish and Traore face a tough trip to Tottenham, whilst Harrison and Raphinha have an equally difficult matchup against Southampton. Meeting DC United in the final is…Harrisonians! The bridesmaid has the chance to become the bride, as the 2 seed convincingly sweeps past This Is Ingsland. With Bruno Fernandes up against Fulham, the result was never really in doubt, but just to make sure of things, an Antonio brace against West Brom will put the stamp on the victory.

Final: Harrisonians versus DC United

37 gameweeks have been building up to this one moment. Harrisonians versus DC United. Bruno and company versus Sterling and friends. I would love to say that we have a classic; one for the ages. But I’m afraid that won’t be the case. Harrisonians are just too good for DC United, and they ease to the playoff final win. The MVP is the man who has become a cult hero. A Fantrax legend that can hold his name alongside the likes of Dusan Tadic, Dimitri Payet, and Callum Paterson. Yep, it’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. A monster 30-point haul from the Fulham man versus the already relegated Newcastle sees Harrisonians to a fully deserved victory. Well played sir, well played.

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