With the season now well and truly underway, Jamie Pacheco talks Kardashians, virtual death stares from Zaha and what big Andy Carroll brings to the dressing room. 

I’ve always been intrigued by the expression ‘addressing the elephant in the room’.

You can just picture it, can’t you? Five or six people sitting around on a big couch, nibbling on biscuits, sipping coffee, feet up, reading some glossy magazine featuring the most farcical of jobs since being a sociologist went out of fashion- influencers- and trying in vain to remember which Kardashian is which.

Sat somewhere between them is an elephant. His trunk can’t really get to the coffee in his already oversized mug, he’s taking up the majority of the room on the sofa, he’s insisting on watching ‘Water for Elephants’ for the umpteenth time rather than tuning into Sheffield United v Wolves (like any normal person) and perhaps worst of all, each time he fancies a biscuit he takes six or seven at a time.  

The elephant in the room 

It’s at this point that someone, having endured the other offences through gritted teeth, but clearly pushed over the edge by the biscuit abuse, stands up and defiantly declares ‘we need to address the elephant in the room’. 

Which in this case, is the fact that at the very last minute I decided to make three changes to my FanTeam side since I posted it on Friday. 

I’m sure a psychologist would point to the fact that it suggests I’m an indecisive and unsure person. That I’m riddled with self-doubt. 

Of course, I’m an indecisive and unsure person riddled with self-doubt. I’m a bloody Fantasy Football manager tasked with making huge decisions with even bigger consequences hanging on them week-in-week-out. 

You try deciding whether to make Son or Mane captain. You see how it feels like telling Richarlison he’s benched because Palace have a strong defensive record at home to teams outside the Top Six.  It’s not till you’ve (virtually) sold Wilfried Zaha and got a (virtual) look of distrust, contempt and pity from Zaha himself that you know what it feels like to run a football team at this level. 

FPL Team- Strength in defence 

A close up of a green screen

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The truth is I just decided to change a few players because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

As you can see from the screenshot, since posting my last piece, I’ve decided to leave out Ben Davies, Jamie Vardy and advert man Adam Lallana. In came Virgil van Dijk, Tomas Soucek and Timo Werner. 

I’ll start by saying I’m pretty happy with the performances of all of my defenders. Between them Mitchell, Digne, Castagne and van Dijk contributed three clean sheets, two assists, one goal and four impact points*

*The rules for scoring points are slightly different on FanTeam compared to FPL. And on FanTeam you can actually register a team now and get 70% of the average points from GW 1. It’s like an extra wildcard, and you can compose your team with all the info from GW1 in hand. Use this link to register and you will get €30 extra if you deposit €20 or more. The cost to join the league is €25 but the prize pool has already exceeded €1,000,000.

Early days yet of course but if they gel as a unit, while playing to their individual strengths and seize their opportunities, they could be the best defense team since OJ got off all those years ago. 

That defense team of OJ’s by the way, featured the original Kardashian, Robert. Attorney Robert, who sat next to OJ for the whole trial, later famously told reporters in the wake of the jury’s decision that some of the evidence presented in the case-most notably blood and DNA samples- caused him to seriously doubt OJ’s innocence. Really? Those were the only things that bothered you about the whole case and that made you doubt OJ’s innocence? 

Still, this was clearly a man not too bothered about his own impact on the good of society and the greater good for mankind. As evidenced by the fact that he fathered Kim, Khloe, Kimberly and Rob. 

What Carroll brings to the bar, err…table 

Back to my team and it wasn’t quite so sweet in midfield and attack, where it was only really Callum Wilson making an impact. And speaking of Newcastle, they looked pretty good to me, strong and organized at the back, full of hard-running and tough-tackling in midfield and now boasting a trio of real variety in attack. There’s Wilson for smart runs and goals, Saint-Maximin for pace, trickery and inspiration and then there’s Andy Carroll, always good for a big night out and a few old DVDs of “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.”

So, a pretty solid start, with Aaron Ramsdale and Timo Werner still to come. Sadly for me, Mo Salah did what Mo Salah tends to do: jog around for 90 minutes, benefit from penalties won by other players, step up and score them, and walk away with a mountain of points.  In stark contrast to Carroll, who works his ass off for 90 minutes and then walks away to down a mountain of pints.