Note: This article was originally written by me for Follow Your Sport.
Follow Your Sport has had the privilege of interviewing India’s number one Fantasy Premier League (FPL) manager this season – Jatin Arutla.
Jatin navigated through a riveting Premier League season to finish 13 points clear of his nearest opponent in the country standings. Jatin’s team, titled “Jatin United”, eventually ended up finishing 9th in the world rankings! He recounts the highs and lows of an unforgettable FPL campaign in an exclusive interview with Follow Your Sport below.
Congratulations Jatin! First up, how does it feel to finish as the number one Indian manager in Fantasy Premier League 2016-17?
It feels quite surreal to be honest! I’ve never imagined finishing in such a position. Absolutely over the moon right now.
Also Read: Premier League Final Day in Numbers
What were your emotions like as the final day of the season progressed?
I had an overall rank of 19 before the last gameweek. And not having players such as Coutinho, Hazard and Costa made me nervous. An early goal for Stanislas ensured that my FT was a success. And the Davies goal sealed it for me. The IPL Final really helped in calming me down.
As you know, this was a very unpredictable Premier League season because of the appointment of new managers at several top clubs. What strategy did you employ to navigate through the uncertainties of the FPL campaign?
I thought that owning players from newly promoted teams would give me a good start, but that backfired. It is quite difficult to predict the starting lineups and tactics of a newly appointed manager. So it is important to see as many matches as you can to give yourself an idea about the players you’re going to bring in.
Been a great season. Lots of ups and downs. Couldn’t have done it without the wonderful FPL Community. pic.twitter.com/x0W1knaEzo
— Jatin Arutla (@JatinArutla) May 21, 2017
What made you decide on bringing in Junior Stanislas as your final transfer of the season?
I will always be grateful to King as he posted on Instagram that he won’t be playing. I saw that five minutes before the deadline, so I didn’t have much time to consider other options. I narrowed it down to Zaha and Stanislas and went with the latter because of Leicester’s leaky defence.
I can see that you used your two Wildcards in Gameweek 6 and 36. Tell us your thinking behind that?
I don’t think that there is a specific week for everyone to use their wildcard. Only you know what’s best for your team. A couple of bad weeks is no reason to wildcard. I played my first wildcard in Gameweek 6 due to a poor defence and not owning in-form players like Firmino, Aguero and Sanchez. I played my second wildcard in Gameweek 36 so that I could bring in double gameweek players and use Bench Boost.
Tell us your opinion about the 3 chips introduced by FPL last season. How helpful were they to you in retrospect?
Bench Boost and Triple Captain are very useful when they work according to your plans. But when you consider the overall scenario, I think that they make very little difference in terms of your final ranking. They have become overrated among us FPL obsessives. The AOA chip is pretty useless considering the fact that a good side always has defenders from good teams and it will result in points on the bench.
What particular clubs and players were the keys to your success? Which player was entrusted with the captain’s armband most often by you this season?
Sanchez and Lukaku have been the only mainstays in my team. The attacking tactics employed by Pep and Klopp made it difficult to pick the right player from their teams as points were distributed among many players. Captaining the right player is the biggest decision you’re going to make in a gameweek. I’ve captained Sanchez and Ibra the most number of times to play it safe.
How conservative an FPL player are you? How often did you take hits this season?
I try to avoid hits as much as possible. And only took one if a player is suspended, injured or out of form. I’ve taken 12 hits this season which cost me 48 points. But I’ve only taken one if I was sure that I was going to recover the points in the long run.
What were the best and the worst decisions you made over the course of the season?
I think being stubborn about not bringing in Heaton has cost me a lot of points. And transferring in Davies and keeping him until the end was my best decision.
You finished with a global ranking of 146018, 69832 and 1025953 in the last 3 FPL seasons. What do you think is the secret behind your success this season?
This is the first season in which I’ve managed my team on a week-to-week basis. I’ve been very casual about FPL since I started playing it. And I’ve been checking stats from various websites. I’ve favoured form over fixtures this season, which I think was crucial to my success.
Which Premier League club do you support? How happy are you with your team’s final finishing position in the league table?
I support Manchester United in the Premier League. I’m absolutely delighted as they’ve won the Europa League which guarantees them Champions League football next season.
Lastly, what tips would you like to pass on to other Indian FPL managers?
I think its important not to worry too much about team value and not make transfers early in the week as it might result in the player being unavailable. Also, it is very important to plan ahead for the double gameweeks as they’re the ones which bring in the most points. And be sure to have Kane in your teams irrespective of his price. I wish you good luck and may your arrows be green!