Sunday, 29 January 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 23

Recommended Player for Gameweek 23 - David Silva (Manchester City)


I am surprised that I haven't endorsed him previously, but at long last, my recommended player for Gameweek 23 is Manchester City's David Silva.  With his stunning peformances thus far he will inevitably be shortlisted for the PFA or Football Writers' Player of the year for 2011/12.  David Silva's ability to unlock defences has earned him the respect of his peers in the Premier League.  He is a genuine world class player that has not only won the European Championship with Spain, but also the World Cup - all by the tender young age of 24.  In 22 league matches he has so far bagged an impressive 5 goals and 13 assists (including 16 bonus points) which is a stark improvement to his complete 38 GW league contribution of last year (4 goals and 9 assists).  He has averaged 7.67 pts for his last three league games, which included tough matches with Liverpool and Tottenham.  I am confident that his good run of points will continue, especially considering Manchester City's upcoming 6 fixtures versus non-top 10 opposition:

GW 23 - Everton (A)
GW 24 - Fulham (H)
GW 25 - Aston Villa (A)
GW 26 - Blackburn (H)
GW 27 - Bolton (H)
GW 28 - Swansea (A)

At 10.4, David Silva is hardly a steal, then again he is not a rip off at that price such as Gerrard or Lampard (of 2011/12).  One thing for certain is that City will score goals (especially at home) and he will be integral for a significant amount of those.  The concern at start of the season with him was squad rotation.  The chances are that he will not be squad rotated now that City are out of all cup comptetitions apart from the Europa League (which they will hardly take seriously unless they get to the final stages).  Buy him now before his price smashes 11.0!

My captain for GW 23 will be Stephane Sessegnon and vice-captain will be Clint Dempsey.

Transfers: Jones (OUT) / Evans (IN)

My team for GW 23 can be found here.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Blast from the past: When I met Pelé


It is not often that you ever get to meet one of the best footballers of all-time.  It is all the more rare to meet the best among them.  Fortunately it is an honour that I have achieved during my lifetime.  In May 2006 I had the good fortune of meeting Pelé at a book signing in London.  I had to que up for over two hours but it was definitely worth the wait!  With the World Cup in Germany around the corner I should have asked him who he thought would win it.  All I could say was "you're a legend!", to which he humbly replied "thank you".  He was kind enough to sign his first-edition autobiography for me.  I wanted him to also sign my Brazil shirt but unfortunately the event handlers would not let me do so.  Meeting him was an inspiration.  To think that he won 3 World Cups and scored over 1,000 goals in his career is beyond my comprehension.

Perhaps he should have also tried playing club football in Europe in his twilight years instead of the US?  With hindsight he probably retired too early from the Brazil national team and should have at least 100 caps to his name.  But I suppose that all of this adds to who he is today.  In contemporary FPL statistical terms, if Pelé was playing, he would probably be worth at least 20.0 as a starting value and a nailed on starter in the vast majority of teams.  I wonder how he would have fared in club or international competition against the likes of Messi and Ronaldo?  I suppose the comparison is irrelevant due to the different football eras.  Without a doubt Pelé was the first true global football superstar that made the sport cool and brought it to audiences who would not have been otherwise interested.  It says a lot of a man that is able to do that.  Pelé you are indeed a legend of football.  Thank you for shaking my hand.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Gameweek 22 Summary

What an action packed weekend of Premier League football!  It ended sensationally with "Super Sunday" as "Super Mario" sunk Spurs' title bid in injury time - whilst an injury hit Manchester United team extinguished Arsenal's very outside title challenge.  It now means that the two Manchester clubs are without doubt the duopoly of the Premier League and the sole credible hopefuls to be this season's Premier League Champions.  In other results Norwich and Chelsea's match ended goalless at Carrow Road, as Blackburn and Everton finished 1-1.  Villa won their Midlands derby against Wolves, as West Brom attained a good 1-2 win versus Stoke.  Sunderland won 2-0 versus Swansea, as QPR won their relegation battle over Wigan, 3-1.  Finally, Fulham were involved in an uber goal fest against Newcastle United and won, whilst a poor Liverpool side succumbed to a revitalised Bolton, 3-1.

Folks, I don't where to begin with my team...  On the one hand some of my players did really well - Dempsey (17), Ben Arfa (10) and Stephane Sessegnon (11) - my tip of the GW.  On the other hand, some failed me massively - R Taylor (1 - came appearance), Richards (1 - conceded three goals), Jones (1 - got injured).  Most disappointing was Steven Gerrard.  He had a good opportunity to score or assist against a week Bolton team, yet he failed in an epic manner.  I will not be captaining him ever again in FPL, alas I think he is well and truly passed his peak.  I am gutted that I didn't captain Sessegnon instead.  On Sunday morning I was ranked 3,177 overall (in FPL out of 2.7 million) and could have maintained this for Sunday evening with a good captain's pick.  In spite of this self-error I think I have done very well for this gameweek and my score will be more than comfortably above the average score come Monday morning.  For GW 23 I might make a defensive transfer to free up funds, but this remains to be seen.  I will give Stevie G one last chance as a demoted non-captain in my team.  If he fails me again I will almost certainly axe him from my side.

I will upload my recommended player for Gameweek 23 shortly.  Until then I ask of you Super Mario or Super Mario?  The choice is yours.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 22

Recommended Player for Gameweek 22 - Stephane Sessegnon (Sunderland)


Being a staunch Newcastle United fan, I don't have much good to say about our neighbours and arch-rivals - Sunderland.  However, without partisan bias, my recommended player for Gameweek 22 is Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon.  Though listed as a midfielder, he plays in a quasi second-striker role for Sunderland that has allowed him to bag 4 goals and 7 assists thus far.  He probably would have had more goals to his name this season had he been given the right guidance and encouragement by Steve Bruce.  But following his departure, Sessegnon has flourished under his replacement Martin O'Neill.  In fact the ex-PSG player bagged an amazing 31 points from 4 consecutive games prior to the Chelsea match.  It must be noted that Sunderland's upcoming fixtures will not be as difficult as Chelsea (A) - see the following:

Swansea (H)
Norwich (H)
Stoke (A)

While some may think of Swansea as being tough league opponents, the truth is that the Swans are a completely different outfit when playing away - with 6 defeats out of 10 and only 8 goals scored by them on their travels.  The same can be said of Norwich when they play away (only 3 wins out of 11), where as Stoke have only won 33% of league matches at home this season.  Thus Sunderland are not only capable of winning in their next three matches, but should score a few goals along the way also.  At 6.6, Sessegnon is still relatively cheap for a first-team player listed as a midfielder in FPL, especially considering the attacking nature of his play.

On a side note, I decided to sell Yakubu after he incurred a three match ban.  I replaced him with a cheaper alternative - Danny Graham (4.7), with the intention of deploying him in Swansea's home matches and benching him for their away matches.

My captain for GW 22 will be Steven Gerrard and vice-captain will be Stephane Sessegnon

Transfers:  Yakubu (OUT) / Graham (IN)

My team for GW 22 can be found here.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Gameweek 21 Summary

Gameweek 21 ended with leaders Man City defeating bottom side Wigan 0-1.  QPR suffered from the same scoreline against Newcastle, on Mark Hughes' first match in charge.  Villa were held to a 1-1 draw to Everton, as were surprisingly Tottenham with Wolves.  10-man Blackburn defied the odds to defeat Fulham and subsequently jumped away from the relegation zone.  Where as Manchester United trounced Bolton 3-0 at home, as Chelsea grinded out a 1-0 win over a rejuvenated Sunderland.  Liverpool's abysmal home record for this season continued (4 league wins now out of 11) with a damp squib draw v Stoke.  Finally, Norwich won 1-2 against WBA, as Arsenal lost out 2-3 to a tenacious Swansea City.

My blog team scored 50 points for the gameweek and I have to say that I was unfortunate and lucky in equal measure.  Firstly the bad - Yakubu being sent off cost me -2 (to think I was close to captaining him!).  Jones and Richards didn't play which meant that subs R Taylor and Sess had to be used.  24 of my 50 points came from three of my players - Lindegaard (6), R Taylor (12) and Terry (6).  My captain for GW 21 Gerrard was a bit of a let down with no goals or assists, despite his recent cup form.  Apart from that Silva (8) and RVP (6) contributed to making my GW tally somewhat respectable, though in the end I was only two points above the average GW score.  I feel all the more humbled as I just about nicked victory (50-48) in the Official FPL Cup competition against a player who only had 7 active first team Premier League players and hadn't touch his team for months.  I am hoping for a good run of points in the coming weeks and for that it is vital I choose my captain correctly.  I will discuss my replacement for Yakubu and recommended player for GW 22 shortly.  Until then stay tuned!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 21

Recommended Player for Gameweek 21 - Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)



My recommended player for Gameweek 21 is is Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.  In past seasons gone by he was a nailed on main stay for many FPL teams.  However, injuries over the past season or two have meant that he has not been as effective of late.  But it must noted that he has returned back to a good level of fitness - he started in Liverpool's League Cup and FA Cup matches in the past 7 days and scored in both.  He also recently signed a long-term contract extension with Liverpool to virtually ensure his one-man club status with them.  I believe that his improving fitness and form will be of benefit to Liverpool, especially in their next three fixtures:

Gameweek 21 - Stoke (H)
Gameweek 22 - Bolton (A)
Gameweek 23 - Wolves (A)

At 10.5 he is hardly a steal and he hasn't started a Premier League match since 22nd October.  But I think he is definitely worth picking and taking a chance on.  After all he has proven Premier League pedigree and with Suarez's long-term he will be involved with the goals.

My captain for Gameweek 21 is Steven Gerrard.  My vice captain will be Hatem Ben Arfa.

My transfer changes were directed by my use of the wildcard which can be found here.

My team for GW 21 can be found here.

Wildcard Changes

After much contemplation I have decided to use my January Transfer Window Wildcard (valid until GW 23).  Fortunately I didn't use my all-season wildcard prior to this so I still have that at hand for any prospective use later in the season.  So here are my final wildcard changes (reasons included):

GK: Bunn (OUT) / Lindegaard (IN)

Though Bunn has recently played matches due to Robinson's injury he is still Blackburn's no2.  At the same time, I wasn't keen on having two goalkeepers of a similar standard with the worry of having benched the one who did well in the gameweek where as the unforeseen under-peforming one was selected in goal.  I believe that the solution to this was to bring in Lindegaard (4.4) to replace Bunn.  He has kept 5 clean sheets out of 6 this season.  I am sure he will play some more matches, despite facing competition for De Gea.  But my logic dictated that I could play Lindegaard in goal whenever Manchester United had an easy-ish home match.  Of course, if he didn't play my current first choice of Vorm would be auto-subbed in.  I will see how this experiment works but I believe that now have the peace of mind of not having lost points on the bench or of having an ineffective back up goalie.

DEF: Jagielka (OUT) / Richards (IN)


This change in part was forced by the injury that Jagielka was struck by in DGW20.  However, I have had Richards before and only got rid of him to save money and also because I was tempted by cheaper defenders.  I feel that Richards attacking potency is such that he is definitely worth having in the team.  Whilst he isn't cheap I trust that this change will be of benefit to my team than having an injured player warming the bench.

DEF: Walker (OUT) / Terry (IN)

I made this change before DGW21 ended.  I only kept Walker in the team from GW 10 as I felt that Spurs had a decent run of fixtures from that time to present.  This is no longer the case though as they will now face top 4 opposition in the upcoming weeks ahead.  I opted to pick Terry, as like Richards, he is an attacking defender.  Of course, Chelsea haven't kept many clean sheets this season, but hopefully his should change with their January transfer window reinforcements.  Even if they don't keep clean sheets Terry will be about to cause problems in the other half.  Chelsea's easy-ish upcoming fixture list meant that I thought it best on taking a punt on JT for the time being.

DEF: Baines (OUT) / Assou-Ekotto (IN)

I made this change after the end of DGW21.  Whilst Spurs have some tough upcoming fixtures they also have a couple of easy ones.  At 5.5, I thought Assou-Ekotto was a steal and has some mild attacking prowess as was evident v Everton.  I don't intend to have him as an automatic first teamer, but I feel he can be of benefit when Spurs have easy-ish matches in the future.  As for Baines, bit of a dissapointment and he is over-priced.  His assists and goals from last year have dried up and I felt he was not worth keeping in the team after DGW.

DEF: Enrique (OUT) / Jones (IN)

Enrique has done me good with the clean sheets that he picked up.  But I wanted more from my first-team defence.  As a result I decided to reinstate Jones as he sometimes operates as a midfielder which ticks the attacking prowess box for me.  Of course Jones is more expensive, but I feel Sir Alex Ferguson will be playing him more regularly especially due to United's injury list.  For me it's a no brainer - if United need defensive cover he will play in defence, if they have too many fit defender he will be shafted into midfield.  Let's hope that this theory works in practice!

MID: Nani (OUT) / Silva (IN)

This move may come as a surprise for some.  But I feel that as United's midfield returns to full fitness, Nani's points tally may wane, along with his play time.  His form of late hasn't been good either.  I thought Silva would be a good alternative as he is a key City player and I like the way he can unlock defences.  The problem with Silva is that he too doesn't consistently pick points and is prone to squad rotation.  But I feel that with City out of the FA Cup, Champions League and almost out of the League Cup they will do their best to focus on the league.  This will entail Silva having to play better as they aim to win their first ever Premier League title.

MID: Osman (OUT) / Dempsey (IN)

Injury forced this change, but I would have replace Osman regardless.  Initially I planned to do so with the on-loan Donovan.  But I am not content with Everton's lack of goals.  Thus I felt that picking an established star player that scores goals would be ideal.  Dempsey stood out from my sub10.0 shortlist.  Moreover, his FA Cup hat-trick showed how important he is to Fulham - comparable to Steve Gerrard for Liverpool in days gone by.  Dempsey plays for a team where the strikers don't score as many as they should and I am confident that he will bag me some crucial points in the weeks ahead.

MID: Walters (OUT) / Sessegnon (IN)

I believe that these two players are comparable in their attacking attributes - listed as midfielders but can be deployed in a quasi second-striker role.  The difference is that Walters' form has dipped of late, where as Sessegnon's has come to life under Martin O'Neill.  I believe that Sunderland can maintain their good form and I will be happy to pick Sess in easy-ish matches, where as having him as a first or second sub for hard-ish matches.  Worth a punt in my estimation.

MID: Bale (OUT) / Gerrard (IN)

This may appear shocking for some but I believe that Gerrard will be the better option in weeks to come.  In part due to him returning to full fitness and Liverpool's easy-ish fixtures.  As for Bale, he has harder upcoming fixtures and I also believe he will be squeezed out for points with the fully fit VDV and Lennon.  Where as Gerrard will be a key attacking threat from midfield, especially with Suarez's long term ban in force.  Gerrard has proved his fitness and form with his fine FA Cup and League Cup performances of late.  Here's to hoping that the former PFL nailed on stalwart can carry that on in the Premier League.

FWD: Adebayor (OUT) / Yakubu (IN)

DGW was the final straw for me in ditching Adebayor - 0 goals & 0 assists at home, from 175 minutes of play.  His form of late has been poor, especially against easier opposition!  I thought it best to replace him with the cheaper priced Yakubu.  In part as Yakubu is arguably Blackburn's main goal threat with an impressive goal scoring record for them.  But also due to the fact that they have easy-ish upcoming fixtures.  The problem is Yak doesn't score regularly on a week-by-week basis for Blackburn.  Here's to hoping that will change as Blackburn aim to push away from relegation.

FWD: Ba (OUT) / Beattie* (IN)

I originally signed Swansea's Danny Graham* to replace Ba who has gone to the African Cup of Nations.  But due to other team changes I had to opt for the cheapest striker at hand, thus getting Beattie.  He hasn't played a minute of Premier League football for Swansea and is a reserve.  I thought that there was no harm in having one non-playing player as a sub thus picked him in my team to fund my other expensive purchases.

Gameweek 20 Summary

Gameweek 20 (aka "Double Gameweek") came to an eventual end on Wednesday night as Tottenham defeated Everton 2-0 at home, which supplemented their 1-0 victory over West Brom eight days previously.  It means that Spurs are now "surprise title challengers", as tipped by yours truly in Gameweek 13.  In other matches - Everton, Blackburn, QPR and Wolves all lost 1-2 at home to the forceful behest of Bolton, Norwich, Stoke and Chelsea respectively.  Villa lost 0-2 to Swansea as Fulham won their derby match against a tired Arsenal, 2-1.  Sunderland continued to blossom under O'Neill with a 1-4 victory over Wigan as Man City beat Liverpool 3-0.  Finally, Newcastle United continued to defy the odds by a throwing a whopping spanner into the pathway of Sir Alex Ferguson as they royally trounced Manchester United 3-0 in arguably one of the biggest shocks of the season.  The victory meant that the Geordies got the better of Sir Alex as they picked up 4 points out of 6 v Manchester United for the 2011/12 season.  LOVE IT!

As for my FPL team, I have to say that I am gutted with my GW performance.  I set my self a minimum target of 80 points for the double gameweek..  Such was my boldness that I took a -4 hit to ensure that I had 3 Tottenham players and 3 Evertonians.  What could go wrong?  Well 4 of the 6 DGW players failed me!  Osman and Jagielka hobbled off in their first DGW match, Adebayor couldn't hit a barn door as he scored 0 with 175 minuted of play and Baines neither got a bonus, assist or a goal.  It was left to Kyle Walker and Gareth Bale (c) to bail me out with their combined total of 37 points out of my grand total of 68 points.  Had I picked Assou-Ekotto (0.5 cheaper than Walker) I would have been quids in, as he bagged a total of 24 points for DGW!  On a side note, Ba did me good with 12 points v United as he jetted off to the African Cup of Nations and Vorm kept a clean sheet.  As a result of DGW, I came to the conclusion of using my January Transfer Window Wildcard (WC), which I did and will discuss my WC card changes in my next post.

À bientôt.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Blast from the past: Newcastle United 4 Man United 3

Blast from the past: Newcastle United 4 Manchester United 3 (September 2001)


The above video has been posted in recognition of Newcastle United's first win against Manchester United for over ten years.  The surprise victory on Wednesday night is significant due to the following reasons:
  • This was NUFC's first win v MUFC for over 10 years (as shown above).
  • First NUFC win since renaming their stadium to "Sports Direct Arena".
  • First NUFC win since adopting VirginMoney as their shirt sponsor.
  • MUFC's defeat was their first away loss in the league this season.
  • Lindegaard conceded his first league goals this season after 5 matches.
  • MUFC conceded 3 league goals in consecutive matches since 2004.
  • MUFC suffered their second consecutive defeat this season.
  • MUFC's title hopes suffered a dent following the surprise defeat.
  • Krul, Ba, Tiote and Cabaye showed their true potential and class.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Fantasy Premier League Mid-Season Review

Premier League – Mid-Season Review

Table Analysis

As expected, despite recent defeats, the Manchester clubs are dominating the top 2 slots (City 1st and United 2nd), with North London’s Tottenham (surprise title challengers) and Arsenal following them in 3rd and 4th.  Arsenal have done incredibly well to be as high as they are considering the poor start that they got off to, including a defeat to Blackburn and being hammered 8-2 at Old Trafford.  AVB has failed to live up to hype and expectation with a transitional Chelsea side holding 5th place.  Liverpool spent a lot of money in 2011, yet can only manage 6th thus far.  Where as Newcastle United’s shoe-string revolution has been a surprise package this season – credibly placing them at 7th.  Stoke, Everton and Aston Villa had inconsistent starts to the season, but their recent run of good form has elevated them to 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.  Newly promoted Norwich have defied the odds as they grasp on to 11th.  Roy Hodgson’s West Brom are another team that have punched above their weight – currently at 12th.  Sunderland’s revival under Martin O’Neill has allowed them to keep on rising up the table as they hold 13th.  Fulham unsurprisingly hold on to 14th, whilst newly promoted Swansea have dipped of late to 15th.  Wolverhampton have not caused much shock at 16th, where as the third newly promoted team, QPR, are hovering just above the relegation zone at 17th.  Wigan’s decline over the past few seasons is evident with their placing at 18th.  Under fire Steve Kean is trying to perform wonders at Blackburn as they have finally moved off the foot of the table to 19th.  Finally, a Bolton team packed with good quality Premier League players seems to have lost its marbles as they surprisingly hold the wooden spoon at 20th.

Top scorers

Robin Van Persie - 17 goals (cost Arsenal £2.75M in 2004)
Demba Ba - 14 goals (was signed as a free transfer in 2011)
Sergio Aguero - 13 goals (cost Manchester City £35M in 2011)
Wayne Rooney - 13 goals (cost Manchester United £25.6M in 2004)
Yakubu – 12 goals (was signed on an undisclosed fee in 2011)

Conclusion:
Lots of money doesn’t always equal lots of goals!

Goalkeeping Clean sheets

Michel Vorm – 8 clean sheers (cost Swansea £1.5M in 2011)
Wojciech Szczęsny – (joined from Arsenal’s youth set-up in 2009)
Pepe Reina – (was signed on an unknown fee in 2005)
Joe Hart – (was signed for a £0.6K-£1.5M fee in 2006)

Conclusion: 
Again, money isn’t everything & youth development/progress always helps!

Fantasy Premier League - My Mid-Season Performance

My Overall Rank:

9,503
out of 2,681,654 (Top 0.35% of FPL Gamers)

My team’s value after GW 19:

£108.0M

My average GW score over 19 weeks:

59.63 from 1114 points (excl. transfer costs)

My Overall Half Season GW Points Tally (excl. transfer costs):

0-10 points: 0
11-20 points: 0
21-30 points: 0
31-40 points: 1
41-50 points: 6
51-60 points:5
61-70 points: 4
71 points +: 3

My highest score, excl. transfer costs:

79 (GW 15)

My lowest score, excl. transfer costs:

38 (GW 6)

Transfers made:

23

Lost points through extra transfers:

24 points

My recommended players’ actual weekly performance:

Gameweek 6 - Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United):
2 points – but scored 6 points for GW 7

Gameweek 7 - Phil Jones (Manchester United):
8 points

Gameweek 8 - Scott Sinclair (Swansea City):
5 points, but scored 8 points for GW10

Gameweek 9 - Robin Van Persie (Arsenal):
11 points – and scored consecutive double digit points until GW12

Gameweek 10 - Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur):
2 points, but scored 6 points in GW 12

Gameweek 11 - Micah Richards (Manchester City):
1 point, but scored 14 points in GW 12

Gameweek 12 - Joe Allen (Swansea City):
1 point, but scored 3 points in GW 13 (failed to score or assist whilst in my team)

Gameweek 13 - Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur):
14 points

Gameweek 14 - Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
13 points

Gameweek 15 - Luis Nani (Manchester United)
18 points

Gameweek 16 - Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)
0 points (did not play) but got 4 points in GW17 & 7 points GW 18 from 60 minutes.

Gameweek 17 - Demba Ba (Newcastle United)
9 points

Gameweek 18 - Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
3 points, but scored 22 points from his three matches prior to that.

Gameweek 19 - Leighton Baines (Everton)
5 points

Average Recommended Players' points accumulation per GW:

6.57

My Mid-Season Premier League XI*


GK:  Vorm (SWA)


DEF: Richards (MNC), Kompany (MNC), Jones (MNU)


MID: Nani (MNU), Silva (MNC), Dempsey (FUL), Bale (TOT)


FWD: Adebayor (TOT), Van Persie (ARS), Ba (NEW)

*The team is not necessarily based upon FPL points, but on general performance, value-for-money or due to their exceptional impacts upon their respective teams.

Recommended Player for Gameweek 20

Recommended Player for Gameweek 20 - Leon Osman (Everton)



As part of the Everton/Tottenham "Double Gameweek 20", I have added two more Evertonians (at the expense of a -4 hit) to my squad.  This means that I have the maximum number of players from each of the aforementioned teams (3 each).  My recommended player for gameweek 20 is Everton's Leon Osman.  At 6.7 he is one of the cheapest regular starting midfielders in the Premier League.  In the last four gameweeks he has accumulated a respectable two goals and one assist that has allowed him to become Everton's joint-top scorer.  I was toying with the idea of signing Landon Donovan, but thought that I should go for a safer/regular option for the Double Gameweek, thus choosing Osman.  But I may swap Osman for Donovan in the next week or so subject to form.  As for signing Phil Jagielka, this technically breaks my guideline (see my Management Advice) of having two players from the same team in the same position.  However, due to the prospect of maximising my options for double points I am happy to overlook it.  Moreover, I still have two wild cards at hand - one to change my team until February and the other for the latter part of the season.  On a side note, I will bench Robin Van Persie to first sub as I believe he could be rested against Fulham.

My captain for GW 19 is Gareth Bale and vice-captain is Emmanuel Adebayor.

Transfers (with a -4 hit): Smalling and Allen (OUT) / Jagielka and Osman (IN)

I should have my team posted up on the My GW Team tab (above) before the start of GW 20.

Gameweek 19 Summary

I can sum up Gameweek 19 with a one-word syllable - WOW!  Why you may ask?  Well, Blackburn defied the odds by beating Manchester United at Old Trafford to finally move off bottom, which concurrently prevented Sir Alex (on his 70th birthday) going top at the end of 2011.  Manchester City failed to capitalise on United's defeat as they suffered an injury time loss away to Sunderland.  The shocks didn't end there, Chelsea lost 1-3 at home to a buoyant Aston Villa, as high flying Tottenham were held 1-1 away to Swansea.  Liverpool comfortable defeated Newcastle at home, whilst Arsenal managed a 1-0 victory over QPR.  Bolton were held 1-1 against Wolves, which reflected the same scoreline as Norwich's match against Fulham.  Finally, Everton won 0-1 away to West Brom as Stoke drew 2-2 at home to Wigan.

In terms of average points scored, this was probably one of the lowest in Fantasy Premier League history at 30 points.  In part, this was due to many regular first team players either being on the bench, completely rested or under-performing, i.e Silva, Aguero, Nani, Rooney, Lampard, Bale, Adebayor etc.  Fortunately my GW team bucked the trend by having Robin Van Persie as captain, which allowed me to accumulate a respectable 51 points.  This was also helped by the amazing superlatives of John Walters bagging a goal and an assist, along with my recommended player maintaining a clean sheet from defence.  Apart from that my other 8 players attained a miserly 15 points between them.  Such was my success in GW 19 that I have finally broken into the Overall Top 10,000 with my team now being ranked 9,503 out of 2.68 million FPL gamers!  Looking to GW 20, I will inevitably invest in two more Evertonians due to the "double gameweek", where Tottenham and Everton will play two matches (one with each other).  As it stands, from the two teams' players I currently have Walker, Bale, Adebayor and Baines.  I will reveal my remaining two Evertonian acquisitions for my recommended player of GW 20 soon.  I will also post my Half Season analysis and review shortly.  Until then, ciao!