Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Recommended Player for Gameweek 14

Recommended Player for Gameweek 14 - Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

Rafael Van der Vaart on Bale:
"Everyone is scared of him"

My recommended player for gameweek 14 is an obvious choice and should have been in my GW team for the last few weeks - it is Tottenham's Gareth Bale.  It is not too late to reap rewards from him as Spurs have relatively reasonable fixtures up until mid-January.  By endorsing Bale, I have now recommended three Tottenham players in the space of a few gameweeks, which indicates their on-field fortunes, as well as their upcoming potential successes.  In theory Gareth Bale sounds like the kind of player that should be nailed down to your team from GW1.  However, last year he didn't consecutively get a goal or an assist in the Premier League, despite scoring seven times and surprisingly only assisting on three occasions - many of his consistent successes of 2010/2011 were in the Champions League (as is evident in the above video).  Many GPL gamers didn't pick Bale at the start of this season due to Spurs's slow start.  That's changed now.  Bale has had a goal or an assist in each Premier League match since GW10 which has seen his value rocket from 7.9 to 8.6.  Thus far he has scored four and assisted four.  As a consequence of this Tottenham are now hot on the heels of City and United.  His current value is still very reasonable and warrants selection as he is far cheaper than the likes of Nani, Lampard of Silva.  Like Adebayor, buy him now before his value smashes the 9.0 mark!

My transfers for this GW:  Van der Vaart and Rooney (out) / Bale and Ba (in)

My captain for GW 14 will be Bale's teammate Emmaneul Adebayor.

My complete GW 14 team can be found here.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gameweek 13 Summary

The gameweek had a sombre ending with the tragic death of Gary Speed

The Premier League kicked off with Stoke recording a home win against relegation strugglers Blackburn.  A deflated Chelsea comfortably defeated Wolves 3-0.  10-man Newcastle United (one of Speed's old clubs) defied the odds and remarkably (or controversially) held out for a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.  Norwich won 2-1 at home, whilst Sunderland lost 1-2 at home.  Tottenham won 3-1 versus West Brom.  Arsenal's free-scoring Van Persie finally failed to net a goal after five consecutive weeks of scoring.  Swansea valiantly held out for a goalless draw at home, as Manchester City failed to win for only a second time in the league this season with a 1-1 draw at Anfield.  Swansea' Vorm (4.6) has continued to show his value for money by keeping a more than respectable 6 clean sheets out of 13 thus far.  Unfortunately, I lost out on points by making RVP my captain at a time when with hindsight it should have been Adebayor.  On top of this, I lost points on VDV and Phil Jones not playing.  The much maligned John Terry (7.4) scored his fourth goal of the season and makes him a favourable name for potential selection.  Due to Rooney's failure to score for another gameweek, I may now replace him with Demba Ba or another goalscoring alternative.  Moreover, I am inclined to replace Ramsey with a more attacking midfielder.  On a side note, my two purchases of Adebayor and Walters did me proud by getting two goals and assists between them.  I shall upload my recommended player for gameweek 14 in due course. 

Once again - I pass on my sympathies to Gary Speed's family and all football fans that have had an affinity with him.

Gary Speed 1969-2011: The Welsh Maestro

Gary Speed 1969-2011 - The Welsh Maestro


It may come as a shock to you, but Gary Speed has died at the age of 42. He was the manager of Wales and had dramatically changed their on-pitch form of late for the better. He leaves behind a national team with young star potential - who knows to what heights he could have taken them. In his playing days he operated as an effective central midfielder that could score and create crucial goals.  To state the obvious - he would have slotted into any Fantasy Premier League team of the past two decades.  During his international playing career his contemporaries included fellow legends such as Mark Hughes, Ian Rush and Ryan Giggs.  He represented his country on 85 occasions. I personally remember Gary Speed from his playing days as an important club player at Newcastle United, where he helped us reach the 1998 and 1999 FA Cup finals, as well as getting us into the Champions League. The evergreen midfielder had won a league title earlier in his career with Leeds United and was remarkably playing a high quality of football into his late 30s.  At one point he even held the record for most Premier League appearances.  We will never know how successful a manager he could have been. Gary Speed - A manager and man of so much talent that died so young. My sympathies go to his family and to the people of Wales.

Gary Speed: 1969-2011

Friday, 25 November 2011

Goal line technology in the Premier League?

Is it time to introduce goal line technology in the Premier League?

Frank Lampard sums up the frustration

Football is a modern day sports leader courtesy of it being a successful billion pound global industry. Yet when it comes to technology and officiating key decisions it is still stuck in the nineteenth century. Less lucrative sports such as cricket have invested time and money in technology for sporting decisions. This has led to more just and accurate on-field outcomes in the world of cricket. Why hasn't top-flight football learnt from cricket? If the same could be applied to football it can help resolve goal-related disputes in a matter of seconds. Such controversy on the lack of technology is often continued beyond the match and in my estimation tarnishes the reputation of the game. I could unnecessarily advocate technology to be used on a whole host of matters on the pitch (i.e. penalties, offsides, etc.) but I think its high time that we have it to clarify goal line incidents. I accept that England v Germany (World Cup 1966) or England v Germany (World Cup 2010) could have had different outcomes with goal-line technology.  However fairness would have prevailed in a sport that in theory champions discipline and sportsmanship.  It's good to hear that trials are currently taking place to ascertain the best equipment for future usage.  But this should have happened twenty or so years ago with the advent of the Premier League.  It's time for football to come out of the Victorian era and truly enter the new millennium by embracing goal-line technology.  The question remains - will FIFA, UEFA or the FA embrace it wholeheartedly or undermine its importance for another twenty or so years?

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Injuries

This is a new feature that I have added to my blog courtesy of PhysioRoom, which will be available on a regular basis from here.  Please note that it is to be used as a guide, rather than a 100% accurate portrayal of injuries, as managers may sometimes rest fit players and even play part-injured players, etc.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Recommended Player for Gameweek 13

Recommended Player for Gameweek 13 - Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur)


My recommended play for gameweek 13 is Tottenham's loan signing Emmanuel Adebayor. He brings proven pedigree to Spurs' lack of striking options, courtesey of his experience with the likes of Monaco, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Man City. Such has been his impact that he has been a regular starter, which has led to England's Jermain Defoe being relegated to bench duty.  5 goals and 5 assists from 9 matches indicates that he is involved with goals on a regular basis.  Admittedly he had not scored for 6 gameweeks prior to GW 12, but this should not underestimate his true worth. As mentioned when recommending Kyle Walker a few weeks ago, Spurs have relatively generous fixtures up until mid-January. This will allow for more goals for Tottenham's attack orientated team and may even make them surprise title challengers come the New Year. At 8.6 he is a relative steal when considering the prices of the out-of-form Rooney (11.9) and his team mate Hernandez (10.0). It would be a surprise for Harry Redknapp to bench Adebayor in place of Defoe, unless he and Spurs go through a bad patch. Buy him now before his value exceeds 9.0!

PS - My team for GW 13 can be found here.  My captain for GW 13 is Robin Van Persie!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gameweek 12 Summary

David Beckham may have got his Hollywood ending by finally winning the MLS Cup, but Newcastle United's unbeaten dream start finally came to an end in the Premier League.  The Geordies almost kept a first half clean sheet prior to the flood gates opening up before half-time.  Their concessions included a Micah Richards goal and assist, which bagged him a whopping 14 points.  My recommended player for gameweek 11 could have got an astounding 18 points had it not been for a late goal by Gosling.  My GW12 captain Dzeko didn't play, which meant I got double points for my vice captain, Van Persie (Lucky me!).  He extended his double digit points scoring run to five matches with a brace at Norwich.  The mis-placed Rooney continued his barren run of not scoring as United won 1-0.  QPR won a five goal thriller at the Britannia, as Rovers were held to a 6 goal bonanza at the JJB.  Chelsea recorded a shock loss at home to Liverpool, which dented their title hopes.  Everton and West Brom recorded wins v struggling Wolves and Bolton respectively.  Last but not least, Sunderland and Fulham recorded a 0-0 damp squib at the Stadium of Light. 

An interesting point of note is that no Premier League midfielder recorded 10+ points this game week (apart from Bale), a surprising rarity for FPL.  This could be due to the fact that a lot of the usual big hitting midifielders such as Silva, VDV and Lamps didn't really do much in the goals/assists department.  In total I bagged 66 points this gameweek, allowing myself to be elevated by 20,000ish positions (a sixth consecutive gameweek rise!).  This has been in part to long-term projections.  For instance I cited Tottenham's form and generous fixture list until mid-January as my reason to buy Kyle Walker.  I have now used this as my justification of finally ditching my problem player, aka Man City's squad rotating Dzeko in place of Emmanuel Adebayor.  Moreover, I have been looking to make a like-for-like price replacement in midfield.  I have finally done so, by replacing Cabaye (6.0) with the more attack orientated Jonathan Walters (6.4) who has currently notched 4 goals and 2 assists.  Crucially, in my opinion, Stoke seem to have relatively reasonable upcoming fixtures with: Blackburn (H), Everton (A), Tottenham (H), Wolves (A), Norwich (H), Man City (A), Aston Villa (H), Wigan (H) & Blackburn (A).  If Rooney continues to misfire and Ramsey continues to only produce pointless assist assists, I may be inclined to replace them both with Silva and Ba respectively.

I will post my recommended player for GW 13 shortly.  In the mean time, let's hope David Beckham declines a move to a non-English European club and opts for a shock move to the Premier League... via the North East of England... under Alan Pardew's Newcastle United!  The number 23 shirt will be waiting for him.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Recommended Player for Gameweek 12

Recommended Player for Gameweek 12 - Joe Allen (Swansea City)



I have been monitoring cheap bargains of late and have finally bought one.  You may not have heard of him, but my recommended pick for gameweek 12 (and beyond) is the 21 year old Wales International Joe Allen (Swansea City).  He forms a formidable midfield with Bales and Ramsey on a global level.  He has started eight of Swansea's last Premier League matches, providing a credible two goals and two assists.  He is listed as a midfielder, but plays behind Danny Graham in an attacking midfield role (almost second striker), or as I call it the VDV slot.  I was inclined to buy Bolton's Eagles (5.4) but was unconvinced by Bolton's lack of goals.  Also, by buying Joe Allen I am saving 0.7 over Eagles and a further 0.7 on the player that I swapped him for (Scott Sinclair, 6.1).  I decided to make the transfer as both are first team regulars for Swansea, yet with a relatively huge 1.4 price difference, there is only a one goal difference between them.  I know Swansea are playing Manchester United this gamweek and will be hard pressed for goals against the league champions.  But United's defence has been leaky (bar the last two gameweeks) and Swansea have been scoring goals.  Even if you don't have him in your first team it is worthwhile having him as a a cheap stock substitute.  Ultimately, the reason why I bought Joe Allen is due to his star potential at a cheap price and also as it has allowed me to free up funds, which I can hopefully invest in a Silva.

My captain for gameweek 12 is Edin Dzeko.  My full game week team can be found here.

Manchester's Duopoloy

Manchester's Duopoloy: FC Madchester - A tale of two halves

Duopoly:
"A situation in which two suppliers dominate the market for a commodity or service"
(source: google - "duopoly definition")

Old Trafford aka "The Red Half of Manchester" (November 2011):


Etihad Stadium aka "The Blue Half of Manchester" (November 2011):


Seeing as there were no Premier League matches over the weekend (due to the international break), I thought it best to do some on-the-ground football research.  As a consequence I popped over for a visit to the league champions (Manchester United) and league leaders (Manchester City), whilst fancifully hoping to conduct player interviews.  Unfortunately, I didn't come across any famous players at either of the grounds.  And then I began to "interview" myself in my head.  I asked myself: Is the city of Manchester big enough for two Premier League football clubs?  Will City always live in United's shadow? Are United on the decline? Should they merge to create a super club called "FC Madchester"? Should I be asking these questions to former pros of the respective clubs and not to myself?

It is my belief that City and United are the two major forces of the Premier League this season.  They have the stadia, players, fans and finances which justify their duopoly of Manchester and dominance of the Premier League. Their first teamers will inevitably be worthy picks for your fantasy premier league team on a regular week-by-week basis - be it Jones, Silva, Richards, Rooney, etc.  They will more than likely finish 1st and 2nd come May 2012.  But the questions remain... In which order will they finish? Which of their players should I pick and when? Will they buy any star players in January? What on earth is FC Madchester??? Ponder on that for now - I will post my recommended player for gameweek 12 soon.  Until then, goodbye!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Gameweek 11 Summary

In the week when Fergie celebrated his 25th year at Manchester United, my team enhanced its overall position for a fifth consecutive gameweek. With the bonus points update on Monday morning, my team scored a respectable 77 points. This is my highest gameweek score thus far for this season and shows signs of me building upon consistency.

Firstly upon my gw changes. I ditched Hart and Petrov, in place of Vorm and Van der Vaart. The expensive Hart conceded a goal v QPR, whilst cheap as chips Vorm pulled off a remarkable clean sheet at Anfield. Petrov didn't play, where as VDV failed to score or assist after six consecutive gameweeks. But have no fear with VDV, as the vast majority of Spurs' fixtures until mid-January seem winnable, he is worth keeping in the team up until then.

Micah Richards, my recommended player of GW 11, conceded a goal which depleted his weekly points tally, where as Jones and Enrique did me good by keeping clean sheets. Ryan Taylor made up for the lost points of a clean sheet by scoring a 25 yard screamer which boosted his tally. Cabaye's injury in the first half dented his chance to shine and Rooney in midfield was unconvincing and unsuccessful.  Rooney has now failed to score in six consecutive gamweeks and is shortlisted for the chop.

Ultimately, it was my other two strikers that led the charge. Dzeko and RVP (captain) shared two goals and two assists between them during this gameweek. These two players generated the bulk of my GW points tally.  I recommended RVP in GW 9 and tipped of his potential success and price rise. This has now happened. Dzeko was my problem player who I kept faith with. He has rewarded me handsomely in the last two gameweeks. For GW 12, I am toying with the idea of obtaining Silva and Agbonlahor by replacing the injured Cabaye and out of form Rooney.  I will post my recommended player of gameweek 12 shortly.  As always I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Newcastle United's French Revolution

Newcastle United's French Revolution

Many factors can be credited to Newcastle United's renaissance start to the 2011/2012 Premier League.  But one element stands out the most - the influx of French speaking players over the past two seasons that has transformed the type of football played at the club.  The footballers in question are:

Demba Ba - Hot shot striker that has made the Toon forget about Andy Carroll.

Yohan Cabaye - Classy central midfielder. Won the league with Lille and could fit in any top team.

Cheik Tiote - Has been a defensive midfield rock in the team since last year.

Sylvain Marveaux - Winging sensation that is trying to become a regular first team player.

Gabriel Obertan - ex-Manchester United misfit/winger that has provided class on the flanks.

Hatem Ben Arfa - recovering from a long-term injury lay-off and will prove key in the future.

Mehdi Abeid - Rising youngster that is currently playing a starring role in the reserves.

Even Match of the Day highlighted the visible French impact with the following graphic:

Admittedly not all of the French speaking players have made a huge impact thus far this season.  But the fact that a strong Francophone contingent prevails in the North East, complimented by the early season success of the Geordies is no coincidence.  Without a doubt, Ba, Cabaye and Titote have been very influential.  Ben Arfa has the potential to supplement the successes of the team along with Abeid and the two wingers.  Ultimately it is the change in mindset and football culture that has instantaneously transformed the club from the loutish/undisciplined days of Nolan, Carroll & Barton, as is evident with Yohan Cabaye's views.  The question is can the French Revolution continue?  Will it inspire the non-French speakers in the team?  But most importantly, will it just be a one-off for this season or provide a lasting legacy that can land Newcastle United major silverware in the not-to-distant future?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Blast from the past: Parklife Nike TV Advert

Blast from the past: Parklife Nike TV Advert

For those British football fans born before the mid-late 1990s internet and mobile phone revolution, you would certainly remember the following famous TV advert.  It's shot on the world famous Hackney Marshes and features the likes of Cantona, Wright, Seaman & Fowler - once highly prized footballing assets of the nascent Premier League (contemporaries of Shearer, Sheringham, Gazza et al).  This was during the early era of the English Premier League boom, which eventually went global and made the English topflight the best league in the world!


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Recommended Player for Gameweek 11

Recommended Player for Gameweek 11 - Micah Richards (Man City)

"People call us the noisy neighbours,"
Micah Richards, the City right-back, said.
"Well, here we are.
"
(Guardian)


I was split between picking the obvious Van der Vaart and Robin Van Persie or the not so obvious Ryan Taylor and Micah Richards as my recommended player for gameweek 11.  But after much thought I have decided to endorse Manchester City's Micah Richards.  It probably doesn't make sense on having an expensive defensive unit during this season's goal glut Premier League, i.e. the likes of Baines (7.8), Vidic (7.8) and Terry (7.4) are not worth it right now.  However Micah Richards is a steal (6.1) when compared to them.  Whilst he hasn't scored any league goals this season he has four assists to his name - more than any defender in the Premier League.  City may not have kept a clean sheet in their past four league matches, but they are bound to keep more clean sheets in the future, especially v their next opposition QPR who barely average a goal per game.  Unless injured, the England international is a first teamer for Man City.  He is worth having in your team, even if he turns out to be your most expensive defender.  Subject to City maintaining their form and increasing their clean sheets ratio his value could smash the 6.5 mark.  Buy him now!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fantasy Premier League Hints - Facebook launch

Fantasy Premier League Hints - Facebook launch!

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to confirm that we now have a Facebook page, which can be viewed on the following:
Fantasy Premier League Hints Facebook page

Please note that the page is currently undergoing development and is in a nascent phase.  Feel free to contribute on the page and "Like" it.

Regards
Chief Pundit & Owner

Gameweek 10 Summary

Wow, another fantastic goals-galore gameweek!  I scored a respectable 65 points during a GW where the average score was 44.  My overall rank has jumped greatly from 150,000ish to 90,000ish.  But at the same time I feel like the guy who had the winning lottery numbers from the previous week!  Had a I not changed my team from the last GW I would have scored 84 points!  But who could have predicted the surprising scoreline at Stamford Bridge?  Fortunately I still had RVP in my team and my risky pick of Dzeko as captain scored a goal to help elevate my GW score.

So, who is Ba Best team in the Premier League at the moment?  In my estimation it is the shoestring budget Newcastle United squad.  In gameweek 10 they proved that they not only have a mean defence (the best record in the league), but they also have a lethal attack force.  Demba Ba's second hat-trick of this season is a remarkable feat for a team that has no true No. 9 player in the team.  At 6.5 (Ba) and 5.2 (Best), Newcastle's strike force is currently a bargain and very cheap to purchase in FPL (cheaper than Tevez combined!).  Such is the superlative turnaround at Newcastle United that Alan Pardew will on current form be a shortlisted candidate for the England job after Fabio's Capello departure in 2012.

As for the other gameweek 10 results, Manchester United went back to winning ways with a clean sheet victory at Everton, whilst Arsenal racked up a surprising cricket score victory at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of a Van Persie hat-trick.  The Dutchman has now scored an "an outstanding 28 goals in 27 Premier League games".  Man City continued their goal scoring festivities ad Blackburn were held to a controversial draw at Carrow Road.  Villa drew at Sunderland, where as newly promoted Swansea's attacking prowess prevailed once again as they thumped Bolton.  Fulham and Liverpool both gained clean sheet victories as Tottenham beat QPR 3-1.  Unfortunately, Tottenham's concession of a goal meant that my recommended player for gameweek 10 only scored two points.  But don't worry, as mentioned, have faith with him floating about in your team until mid-January.

With the conclusion of gameweek 10, I have sold the Hart and Petrov, in place of Van Der Vaart and Vorm.  I initially chose Hart as I felt that City would keep a good number of clean sheets.  But as this season has proven, clean sheets are a premium.  In fact, Vorm has kept more clean sheets than Hart and is almost half the price in value.  I intend to invest in Silva and Ba at the expense of the squad rotating Dzeko and either Ramsey or Cabaye from my midfield.  Whilst I would not deride Ramsey or Cabaye (they are both quality players!), they are not as attacking as Silva, who is regularly able to breach defensive lines with his abundance of goals and assists.

My team for GW 11 has now been uploaded on to the blog.  I will post my recommended player for gameweek 11 shortly - hopefully within the next 24 hours or so.  Until then, stay "Tooned"!