Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
A landslide victory for Manchester City in last Saturday's FA Cup final against Watford rounded off an unbelievable season for Pep Guardiola's team, as they completed an unprecedented domestic treble. The way De Bruyne, Sterling and Co. left their opponents chasing shadows can only be described as 'Playstation football' and it was clear they felt a sense of freedom in having finally escaped the reality of a long and tense Premier League campaign. In truth, the Hornets got off lightly with a 6-0 drubbing.
Critics will say that City are hardly poor boys and they are correct, but Pep's players have set the bar at such a high standard that it will send a shiver down the spines of their closest rivals. The Spaniard strives for constant perfection, illustrated by his on-pitch lecture to Raheem Sterling only minutes after the final whistle, which made us wonder who was actually on the winning side. It turns out Pep was rollicking his player for trying to 'steal' the second goal... With this mentality, is it any wonder his squad works so hard for him? One can only imagine what the reaction would be if he felt someone wasn't giving 100%. Not wanting to risk finding out, City's players were manfully blocking shots even when the game was sewn up after 80 minutes and it seems unless their bodies are aching all the time, they have dropped below the required standards. You could even say City were defending as though their lives depended on it, since I guess the last thing the players wanted was for Pep to lose his rag and tell his Mama he just killed a man.
If the FA Cup final was a walk in the park, the Premier League was anything but, as Liverpool pushed City all the way until the final day. This title will mean so much more than last season's to Pep, who claimed it was the toughest of his career yet and with good reason. City had to win all of their final 14 games to become the first club in a decade to retain the trophy and that's not even taking into account how John Stones' last ditch clearance against Liverpool in January probably kept them in the title race. Goal-line technology showed the ball had failed to cross the line by just 11.7mm and thus Jurgen Klopp's side were denied from opening the scoring in a game that proved to be their only league defeat of the season. How different might the result have been if a Russian linesman was making the decision?! We'll never know, but if anything accurately encapsulated a title race defined by fine margins, then this was the moment. Liverpool were the width of a finger nail away from potentially emulating Arsenal's 'Invincibles' of 2003/04, but most gallingly, their 97 point tally is the highest ever of any team to finish second in the English top flight. To add salt to the wounds for the Reds, for the third time in 11 seasons they suffered the ignominy of being top at Christmas but failing to go on and clinch the title. However, it shouldn't be all doom and gloom for the Anfield faithful. Whilst Liverpool's 'nearly men' managed by Rafa Benitez in 2008/09 and Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14 were considered ill-equipped to sustain a title challenge the following year, there is a totally different feeling surrounding Jurgen Klopp's charges. They are firmly considered to be amongst Europe's elite and with a second consecutive Champions League final to look forward to, Liverpool's future is the brightest it has been for a long time.
Tikka Mo Salah
Manager: Richard Merritt
Gameweek Points: 60
Overall Points: 2,409
The champagne has been on ice for what seems like an eternity, but now Richard can finally celebrate being crowned champion of the FSM Superliga! In my last blog I compared Tikka Mo Salah to the great Real Madrid side of the 1950s and it's fair to say we are running out of superlatives to describe how truly exceptional this team are. They turned the FSM Superliga into a one-horse race and over the course of the season will have made regular readers of this blog fed up with curry related puns. A final Gameweek total of 60 hardly pulled up any trees, but in truth even 'nul points' would have been enough to secure the title, such has been Tikka Mo Salah's dominance. Central to Richard's success have been Liverpool's dynamic full-back duo of Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold and it was the latter who starred in their 2-0 victory over Wolves, as the right-back contributed to a clean sheet and also registered his 12th and 13th assists of the season. Now you would expect a team named Tikka Mo Salah to feature the Egyptian, but Richard opted for his cheaper teammate Sadio Mane, who was the beneficiary from both of Alexander-Arnold's assists. In fact, the Senegalese forward's brace capped off an outstanding personal season and put him level with Salah and Aubameyang on 22 goals, meaning we ended with a three way tie for the golden boot. Elsewhere, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling found themselves in trouble after City went a goal down early on against Brighton, which offered Liverpool a glimmer of hope as they went top of the table for 21 minutes. However, the pair soon repaid Richard's faith with a goal and an assist respectively, to ensure their side closed out the title in style. A notable mention must also go to Jack Hancock's Borussia Teeth, who were the best of the rest, but this year belongs to Tikka Mo Salah. Congratulations Richard, we would like to offer you a free shirt to reward your Fantasy Football expertise!
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
La Grande Indonesia
Manager - Indonesian Ultras
Gameweek Points - 108
Overall Points - 2,287
Mr Ultras showed us how it's done in Gameweek 38 with a whopping tally of 108 points and after this performance I think it's fair to say La Grande Indonesia has made Indonesia great again. The huge total was partly thanks to Mr Ultras' use of the bench boost, but even without it he would still have outscored the rest of the league. Making the same managerial decisions as Richard is never a bad idea and again we saw Sadio Mane preferred to Mo Salah in attack, with the choice to hand the Senegalese forward the captain's armband proving inspired - his brace earning 30 points. Furthermore, Trent Alexander-Arnold was selected in defence, and Raheem Sterling played his part in midfield, but that was where the similarities ended between La Grande Indonesia and Tikka Mo Salah. Another City player selected by Mr Ultras was Aymeric Laporte, whose header gave them a crucial lead against Brighton, whilst elsewhere there were four other players who were amongst the goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nathan Redmond, Gerard Deulofeu and Christian Eriksen. Well done Mr Ultras, what a grand way to end the season!
Well done to those who managed to make it into the top ten and of course to everyone who participated! We hope to see you again in August for another instalment of the FSM Superliga!