Friday, 30 March 2012

One for The Future: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

With the season coming to an end our blog will be host to a series of articles about young talented players that could become musts in future FPL teams.  The first article of the series is as follows:

One for The Future: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain


Few would have thought that following Wayne Rooney’s sensational arrival on the Premier League scene in 2002, a young English player would be capable of creating such a buzz. Yet, less than twelve months into his Arsenal career, parallels are already being drawn between the Manchester United ace and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The primary reason for this comparison to one of the worlds’ greatest players is that, at 18, Oxlade-Chamberlain seemingly has the full package. Unlike Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain has the presence of mind in attacking situations to accompany his blistering pace and technical creativity.

In a first half performance which saw Arsenal lead AC Milan by three goals earlier this month, the former Southampton man was the focal point of every Arsenal attack; providing assists for two of the three goals. He bullied a team which boasted Champions League winners and World Cup finalists.

Having been introduced in such important games, it would be natural to assume that Oxlade-Chamberlain may become overwhelmed by the occasion sooner or later. But that simply isn’t the case. Arsenal fans booed Wenger’s decision to replace him in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United. He was being replaced by the Russia captain, which only serves to highlight the enormous potential of this young Englishman.

Not only does Oxlade-Chamberlain whet the appetite because of his sharp build up play, he has also proven that he has a keen eye for goal. Having already notched one Premier League brace in his short career, as well as a Champions League goal, Oxlade-Chamberlain is definitely one to watch out for in the future.

His name is already circulating as a possible candidate for a place in the England squad for the European Championships this summer. Whoever the England manager shall be, he will be naive to overlook such a talented player who is well on his way to superstardom. With father-like figure Arsène Wenger nurturing his precious talent at Arsenal, it is only a matter of time before Oxlade-Chamberlain fills Wayne Rooney’s boots.

Brief Biography:

I am a final year English student at the University of Portsmouth. I am extremely passionate about sport, and my burning ambition is to write for a national newspaper. You can find my blog at: samuelballs.wordpress.com or follow me on twitter: @Sam_Balls

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 31

Recommended Player for Gameweek 31 - Ryo Miyaichi (Bolton / on-loan from Arsenal)

All Eyes on Him - The Start of a Sun Rise?

With Gameweek 31 upon us I didn't think that I would be endorsing a player from a team battling against relegation.  However with some valid reasons at hand I have decided to endorse Bolton's Ryo Miyaich (on loan from Arsenal).  He follows in the footsteps of Daniel Sturridge who was the on-loan sensation for Bolton last season and Jack Wilshere from the year before.

The Japanese international has played an integral part in reviving the fortunes of Bolton.  In fact two back-to-back victories from the last couple of Gameweeks has ensured that Bolton are out of the relegation zone for the time being.  This was in large part due to him assisting a goal in each of those matches.  Looking ahead, Bolton have a good run of upcoming fixtures as follows:

GW 31 - Wolves (A)
GW 32 - Fulham (H)
GW 33 - Newcastle (A)
GW 34 - No Bolton fixture
GW 35 - Swansea (H) / Aston Villa (A) - Double Gameweek for Bolton
GW 36 - Sunderland (A) / Tottenham (H) - Double Gameweek for Bolton
GW 37 - West Bron (H)
GW 38 - Stoke (A)

Most significantly, it must be noted that Bolton have two double gameweeks coming up which bodes well for transferring him in.  He is only selected by 0.7% of FPL managers which naturally makes him a differential.  Against a Wolves team in free fall decline (5 defeats in their last 6) what is to stop him from scoring a goal?  After all Miyaichi has already shown his capability of scoring in a Bolton shirt during the FA cup.

At 4.9 he is definitely a steal purchase.  He may not have had first team opportunities at Arsenal, but during his last loan spell (at Feyenoord) he scored 3 goals in 12 matches.  Aged 19 he is showing promise of developing into a very decent footballer.  In the words of a top football journalist that I liaised with recently "he certainly has the talent". The opportunity to save Bolton (and make a name for himself in doing so) could help Miyaichi prosper into a world class player.  So what are you waiting for?  Buy him!

I will post My GW 31 Blog Team (with confirmation of my selected captain and vice-captain for GW 31) a night before the Gameweek commences.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Gameweek 30 Summary

Cechmate? Not so, as teams settle for Stalemate at Stamford Bridge

Saturday's match was a quasi-must win for Tottenham (looking to regain third spot) and Chelsea (looking to take fourth spot).  Unfortunately for both teams neither could deliver a knock out blow to outdo the other and in turn has allowed fourth spot to remain up for grabs.

Gunbelievable!

Arsenal's good form persisted as they recorded their seventh league win in a row.  Gibbs scored his first goal for Arsenal who opened up the floodgates for Walcott and Arteta to also get on the score sheet against Aston Villa.  All this without Van Persie scoring a goal for a second consecutive match.

Have you had your "Wheaterbix"?

Bolton did Owen Coyle and Fabrice Muamba proud as they defeated Blackburn and moved out of the relegation zone.  Both of their goals came from David Wheater.  The victory was Bolton's eighth of the league season and shows that Rovers still have plenty of work to do from now to the end of the seaon.

The Malaysian-born Scotsman silences The Kop.

Shaun Maloney's erratic Wigan career revived itself as he scored a crucial penalty that led to Wigan's shock away win at Anfield.  This was a miserable result for Liverpool who lost 2-3 to QPR in their last match and has left Kenny Dalgish with many questions to answer.

Woeful Wolves "Holted" by Canaries

Wolves slumped to their fourth consecutive league defeat in a row.  Jarvis's goal was in vain as Holt scored twice (and was later sent off) to outdo Wolves.  They remain only four points away from escape to safety, though in a nihilistic sense they have readied themselves for the inevitability of relegation.

Does it really take Taiwo to Tango?

QPR visited the Stadium of Light in the hope of replicating their sensational victory against Liverpool during the week.  However goals from Sessegnon, McClean and Bendtner saw the Black Cats home and dry instead.  QPR's only reply was a goal from defender/dead-ball specialist Taiwo as his teammates failed to find the back of the net.

Sweet Toffee at The Liberty

Everton ended a two match losing streak as they defeated on-form Swansea.  New signing Jelavic continued to flourish with his goal scoring contribution as did their defensive rock Leighton Baines.  The result leaves both teams 10+ points away from a Europa League spot and ensures that they must settle for mid-table boredom.

"Crouch"-ing Tiger Hidden Dragon!

Man City's title challenge was dealt another blow as they failed to gain victory at the Britannia Stadium.  Yaya Toure got them on the scoresheet, yet it was route-one football that prevailed.  Stoke's long ball style of play was rewarded as Begovic's long goal kick went to Crouch, then to Pennant and back to Crouch for a sensational volley (and arguably the goal of the season).

Magpies given 'Arfa chance for Champions League qualification


Newcastle continued to remain unbeaten on Sundays this season courtesy of all goals and assists from Ben Arfa and Cisse v West Brom.  The former is proving to be a fantastic impact player and the latter highlighting himself as another quality Pardew signing.  It means Newcastle amazingly remain in the hunt for fourth place after results went their way in other matches.

Plucky Fulham Roo missed chances against triumphant United

High flying Man United may have been free scoring of late, but they were restricted to only one goal by a resilient Fulham at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game.  Had Fulham not been denied a controversial non-penalty decision that went against them they could have ended the match with even honours.  The narrow victory ensures that United extend their lead over City.

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I have to say folks that I had a fantastic GW, though with a couple of hiccups to boot.  Let me get the drawbacks out of the way first. The GW didn't start to well for me after my subs Ekotto and Friedel kept a surprising defensive clean sheet versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.  This proved to be problematic for me after my first team choices of Reina and Enrique conceded two goals and only managed two points between them at home to relegation bound Wigan.  A net 10 point defensive loss.  However, all this was forgotten after my recommended player for GW 30, Kieran Gibbs, bagged a goal and a clean sheet. 

Gibbs's success was supplemented nicely by an assist and clean sheet from Jonny Evans and a goal from my GW captain Wayne Rooney.  Thus ensuring that I scored 60+ points during a GW with a low average score.  It ensures that my blog team has successfully entered into the Global 500 of FPL's overall rankings.  Looking to GW 31 I intend to maintain my run of form with a possible change or two.  Following Scholes being benched I may consider replacing him with Bolton's Miyaichi.  Moreover, with Liverpool's woes I could choose to replace Reina with De Gea.  All this requires more thought.  In the meantime, feel free to also follow FPL Hints on Twitter.  Until next time, ciao!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fantasy Premier League Hints (FPL Hints) on Twitter!

Dear Viewers,

I am pleased to announce that we can now be found on Twitter. Feel free to follow us on there as well via the following link:

http://twitter.com/fplhints

Regards

FPLH Blog Team

Friday, 23 March 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 30

Recommended Player for Gameweek 30 - Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal)

 Gibbs in action versus Tottenham

Differentials count with points at a premium during this stage of the season. I have decided to endorse an up-and-coming England international for Gameweek 30 who is selected by a relatively small amount of FPL managers.  If he doesn't make the Euro 2012 England squad he will almost certainly play for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.  It's Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs.

Aged 22 and with two caps already to his name he should have played more matches for club and country had injuries not temporarily affected his nascent career.  In spite of this the left back has impressed many and could be Ashley Cole's natural successor in the England team.  Priced at 5.2 he is a steal when compared to other Top 4 teams' defenders.  Moreover Arsenal's decent upcoming fixtures put him in good stead as a credible defensive option in your team:

GW 30: Aston Villa (H) - Strong clean sheet potential*
GW 31: QPR (A) - Moderate clean sheet potential*
GW 32: Man City (H)
GW 33: Wolves (A) - Strong clean sheet potential*
GW 34: Wigan (H) - Strong clean sheet potential*

(*four of the five fixtures are winnable with a high clean sheet potential)

Of course you may be put off by his lack of games for Arsenal this season, but this was primarily due to injury not on poor performance.  I believe a fully fit Kieran Gibbs (as he is now) is Arsenal's first choice left back.  In fact he has started Arsenal's last four matches.  Arsenal have won all of those matches.  With no cup competitions to distract them why would Wenger decide to bench an injury-free Kieran Gibbs? 

He has only been selected by 1.2% of FPL gamers which naturally makes him a differential.  I would advise the purchase of Gibbs provided that you have at least three established defenders in your team.  It's not worth risking the sale of a decent defender for him.  But without a doubt his price, raw talent and Arsenal's upcoming fixtures make him a tantalising prospect!

I will post My GW 30 Blog Team (with confirmation of my selected captain and vice-captain for GW 30) a night before the Gameweek commences.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Gameweek 29 Summary

Pre-Summary Note (dedicated to Fabrice Muamba):

We wish you a speedy recovery Fabrice.

Often we take for granted the superb health and fitness of Premier League footballers, as we presume them to be naturally fit athletes.  Yet like us they are humans and can also be suddenly struck with unexpected health issues.  This was unfortunately the case for Fabrice Muamba who suddenly collapsed in a FA Cup match during this Gameweek at White Hart Lane.

Many media outlets have reported that he was in an extremely dire condition in the early phases following his collapse.  Yet remarkably in a matter of days, through medical attention, will power and prayer he is making a steady recovery.  We wish him and his family all the best.

Credit to those on pitch side who initially treated him and to his doctors.  It is also heart warming to see the outpouring of support that he has received from across the football world from as far as Gary Cahill to Leo Messi. 

Get well soon Fabrice. 

Let this be a reminder to us that when it comes to matters of life and death:
the game of football is insignificant.

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Gameweek 29 Summary:

So that's why mums go to Iceland!

Following their surprise victory against Man City, Swansea continued their good run of form by upsetting Fulham at Craven Cottage, 0-3.  This was courtesy of Iceland international Sigurdsson's brace, his 5th goal in 9 league matches.

Brunt force only enough for stalemate

West Brom failed to add another victory to their impressive away form this season after being held to a 1-1 draw against Wigan.  McArthur gave Wigan hope of a rare win before a Brunt assist produced an equaliser from Scharner.

Feeble Wolves humbled by a Little Pea

Wolves continued their abysmal league form towards oblivion by losing 0-5 at home to Manchester United.  Zubar's red card effectively opened up the floodgates for a United cricket score as Hernandez scored twice and Evans scored his first ever goal for United.

Magpies flap past Canaries

Cisse scored the sole goal for Newcastle United as they moved a step closer to securing a Europa League spot.  The Canaries failed to repeat the same form that led them to defeat United earlier in the season and will probably now settle for a mid-table finish.

Who needs Roy of the Rovers when you have Steve Kean!

The fans and media wrote him off months ago, as did I.  Yet somehow he keeps on defying the odds.  Blackburn Rovers recorded a second consecutive win and clean sheet, after beating Wolves and then Sunderland.  It means that within the space of two Gameweeks Blackburn have somehow jumped out of the relegation zone with a 5 point cushion also at hand.

Tevez inspires stunning City revival

What a difference 6 months can make.  From self-exile and golf to assisting a vital match winner.  Having lost top spot the previous week and then 0-1 down this week v Chelsea, Mancini was in deep trouble and looking at the bottom of a barrel.  Yet the Argentine came off the bench and made an instant impact that has allowed City to remain in the hunt for their maiden Premier League title.

Saved by the Bale

Tottenham were hoping to end their recent winless streak in the league in their match versus Stoke but it wasn't to be.  Jerome scored a surprise opener for Stoke before Bale assisted Van der Vaart with a last gasp equaliser.  Failure to obtain three points has led to Tottenham losing third spot to their North London rivals.

Vermed their way out

Arsenal's recent stunning form continued courtesy of Thomas Vermaelen's goal at Goodison Park.  To think that there was talk of them failing to finish fourth only a few weeks back and now they have dislodged Tottenham from third spot.  All this without Van Persie scoring, whilst Everton succumbed to a second consecutive league defeat.

Super-Hoops-Go-Ballistic, Reds-Are-Atrocious!

And finally... with 13 minutes to go and with a 0-2 lead you would expect Liverpool to park the bus and wrap things up against a team in the relegation zone?  Not so, as QPR scored three late goals to not only ensure a famous victory but also a temporary move out of the relegation zone.  Liverpool will be ruing their missed chances of not netting more as Mark Hughes's men show fight to the end.

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I may not have scored more points than my last GW score and was well short of my 80+ GW target, but my 60+ score is well above the GW average.  I had the good fortune of placing Sigurdsson as my first sub as R Taylor failed to play which ensures that I obtained his points.  On top of that Evans' first ever goal put me in good stead, despite my recommended player for Gameweek 29 only assisting.

I was dissapointed that Suarez failed to score and on Spurs' failure to keep a clean sheet v Stoke at home, as this may have ultimately robbed me off obtaining 80 + points for this GW.  With two free transfers at hand I must think carefully on how to use one or both of them.  Russell Martin could be marked for the axe after his failure of not starting in Norwich's last two matches, despite his high FPL score.

Bolton's Miyaichi is on my transfer radar though transferring him in would mean that I would have to sell Scholes or McClean.  Vermaelen is also up for potential consideration.  I will upload my recommended player for Gameweek 30 in due course, until then Ciao!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Blast from the Past: When I met Ashley Young

Blast from the Past:  When I met Ashley Young

The Mr Cool of English Football


It's not often that you get to meet a young up-and-coming player that goes on to fulfill his potential and excel at a higher level.  Fortunately I had this honour with a young Ashley Young.  

Then aged 22 he was playing for Aston Villa.  With only one England cap to his name he could have fallen by the wayside in the same vein as other youthful promising one-cap-wonder talents, such as Francis Jeffers or Lee Hendrie.  

However not only did Ashley Young maintain his consistency he was able upgrade in class when moving to Manchester United in 2011 and has become an integral part of their midfield.  As for the international scene, he currently has 19 caps and 5 goals to his name.

Euro 2012 will be his first senior international tournament.  It's semi-scandalous that he wasn't picked by Fabio Capello for England's 2010 World Cup squad.  England lacked his pace, coolness and creativity in South Africa.

During my direct involvement in Premier League football I met a lot of under-21 players.  Without a doubt Ashley Young stands out from them all.  Now aged 26 I think he will continue to develop and enhance his game over the next couple of years before hitting his peak.

I may not have recommended him as a player on my blog as of yet but I think it's definitely worth giving him a mention as he is one of England's most gifted wingers/attacking midfielders at this moment in time.  

Thanks for the autograph and your time Ashley, I wish you well for the present and the future!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 29

Recommended Player for Gameweek 29 - Wayne Rooney (Man United)


With the red side of Manchester on form and on top, my recommended player for Gameweek 29 is an obvious choice, it's Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. A world class talent, he is the type of player that scores goals in patches, especially this season, as is evident with the following:

GWs 1-5: 9 goals in 5 matches (including 2 hat-tricks)

GWs 6-14: 0 goals in 8 matches

GWs 15-17: 4 goals in 3 matches

GWs 18-23: 0 goals in 5 matches

GWs 24-28: 7 goals in 4 matches

Despite going through periods without a goal this season he has notched an impressive 20 league goals with 6 assists. 10 Gameweeks remains for this season and there is no reason why his goal scoring exploits should stop now, especially due to United's remaining upcoming fixtures:

GW 29 - Wolves (A) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 30 - Fulham (H) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 31 - Blackburn (A) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 32 - QPR (H) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 33 - Wigan (A) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 34 - Aston Villa (H) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 35 - Everton (H) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 36 - Man City (A) - Scoreable
GW 37 - Swansea (H) - Winnable/Scoreable
GW 38 - Sunderland (A) - Winnable/Scoreable

With the remarkable run of fixtures still due to be played United are more than capable of winning at least 9 out of the 10 matches. They are only due to face one top 6 team which is their neighbours/title challengers. Such is United's current form and decent remaining run that I believe Manchester United will win the 2011/2012 Premier League title, provided Rooney and other key United players stay fit.

At 12.4 he is not cheap, but definitely worth buying immediately if you haven't already purchased him. Out of all of United's strikers he is the least likely to be squad rotated, especially due to the arrival of the business end of the season. The England international may not be a prolific scorer for his country, but at club level (in all competitions) he boasts a strike rate near enough to 50%. This is incredible for a player that isn't a one dimensional goal poacher, but rather a playmaker, goal scorer and overall creative force wrapped into one.

England don't have a Ronaldo or a Messi, but they do have Wazza (Rooney), who isn't too far behind them on the talent front. He may not score 50 goals a season, but without a doubt he is the most talented English footballer of his generation. He is far from perfect, yet has sought vindication and redemption every time he garners on-field/off-field controversey. When he is fit and scoring goals you would be crazy not to have in your team! I ask you, are you sane or one of the crazy ones?

I will post My GW 29 blog team (with confirmation of my selected captain and vice-captain) a night before the Gameweek commences.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Gameweek 28 Summary

Jumping Through Hoops
Bolton were the victors in their important relegation battle match against QPR as they won 2-1. Goals from Pratley and Klasnic ensured that Bolton moved out of the relegation zone and QPR sunk into it.

Villans to Heroes
Aston Villa ended their 5-match winless streak courtesy of Weimann's goal, which denied Fulham a fourth consecutive league win. It means that Villa will not be shock last-minute candidates for the relegation battle and will end the season in the mid-table doldrums.

Does it really Mata?
Rome wasn't built in a day. Nor will Roman's Chelsea. A post-AVB Chelsea secured a glib one-nil home victory, in part due to Mata and Drogba's link up in the solitary goal of the match.

Black Cats feast on Liver Birds
Sunderland got back to winning ways thanks to Bendtner's goal, in another "one-goal" Premier League match of the Gameweek. The win against Liverpool proved to be all the more remarkable as they were missing Club Captain Cattermole and In-house Talisman Sessegnon, due to suspensions.

Wolves Easy Prey for Dogged Rovers
In another match associated with the relegation battle, Blackburn showed their pedigree with a decent 0-2 away victory. This has allowed them to move 3 points away from the bottom three and consigned Wolves to their third defeat in four league matches.

Toffees Blunted Spurs
'Arry's Men may be third in the table, but there is no excuse for them to lose a third consecutive league match against a team that lacks goals. Tottenham are still comfortably secure in a Champions League spot, but will not be happy with their recent poor form.

Roo-tiful United on Song
It's a matter of fact, When Rooney does well, United do well. He often scores in spurts and 7 goals in his last 4 league matches shows that he can score when it matters, at the business end of the season. The victory against WBA has ensured a change at the top of the table...

Swans Soar over the Blue Sky
City's five month hold of the top spot finally came to a crashing end with a sensational defeat at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea's impressive home record and team ethic came up tops against the big spending Citizens. Whether City can pick themselves up and bounce back (with difficult upcoming fixtures) remains to be seen.

Ruddy 'Eck!
Wigan showed some defiance in forcing Norwich's goal keeper to make 6 saves, as they secured a point against the Canaries. Wigan may remain bottom of the table, but they have the peace of mind that they are only 2 points away from the much savoured 17th place.

Late-Late Show at The Emirates
Pardew's "bold" team selection failed despite Ben Arfa's early goal, which was cancelled immediately by an equaliser from Arsenal's "Super Man/Van". United were on course for a respectable draw against the Gunners, until they struck another Premier League injury time winner. It means that Arsenal are now only 1 point behind 3rd placed Tottenham and the Geordies remote Champions League hopes have finally been extinguished.

Merseyside Derby Blues
The match which made this Gameweek a "Double Gameweek" was a one-sided affair. With Everton having an eye on their FA Cup match over the weekend, Moyes (celebrating his 10-year anniversary at the club) fielded a slightly weaker team which ultimately succumbed to a 3-0 defeat. A Gerrard hat-trick and key support act from Suarez enabled the Kop to return to winning ways in the league.

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I have to say that I had a very decent Gameweek.  3 goals and 2 assists from my strikers complemented 3 clean sheets from my defence to ensure that I scored 70+ points for a second consecutive Gameweek.  This has allowed my overall ranking to soar to new heights. My Double Gameweek (DGW) Liverpool players were key to this, by contributing to approximately 50% of my GW score.  This was despite the fact that my four-man midfield could only muster 9 points between them.  My long-term planned wildcard investments paid off for this Gameweek.  Such was their success that I don't intend to carry out any transfers for GW 29.  With only 10 matches remaining for the season you would expect the better players to maintain or regain form.  But if there is a lesson that we have learnt from this season it is that you should never underestimate the underdog(s)!  I will post my recommended player for Gameweek 29 (with confirmation of my captain, vice captain and Gameweek 29 team) in due course.  Until then adios!

Friday, 9 March 2012

(Non-Transfer Window) Wildcard & Changes Made


Please Note: (Extra Last Minute Change Made - See below)

After much contemplation I have decided to use my non-transfer window wildcard.  My changes are based on a number of factors with arguably one of the most important being upcoming fixtures.  So here are my final wildcard changes (reasons included):


Graham (OUT) / Rooney (IN)

As much as Graham was a bargain when I bought him at 4.9, his fixtures are not going to get any easier.  Instead I have decided to invest in a rejuvenated Wayne Rooney who has easier fixtures at hand.  Arguably, Rooney has more incentive to score as United are challenging for the title, where as Swansea are simply stuck in mid-table mediocrity.

.Aguero (OUT) / Suarez (IN)

I was dissapointed that Aguero didn't score more during City' easy run of fixtures.  He has also became a squad rotation risk with his omission last week coinciding with the steady rehabilitation of Tevez.  As for Suarez, my decision to pick him is due in part to the DGW and Liverpool's easier upcoming fixtures, rather than his form.

Silva (OUT) / Scholes (IN)

Again like his teammate a similar story.  Silva had an easy run of fixtures yet failed to capitalise on them.  He has been lacking on goals and assists of late.  I just couldn't bare to have a 10.0M+ under-performing player in the team.  As for his replacement, Scholes, that may come as a surprise to some.  Scholes came out of retirement to provide cover for injuries and yet has shown that class is permanent with his decent displays (including two goals).  At 5.3 he is a steal and a risky differential.  But with United's re-reliance on him I am happy to take him on board.

Sessegnon (OUT) / Bale (IN)

I got rid of Bale in January and how I regret it.  I thought with Spurs' harder fixtures he may not get as many points yet he continued to do well.  I am glad to welcome him back, especially with Spurs' easier upcoming fixtures in the last 8 weeks.  As for Sessegnon, he did well for me whilst I had him, but his red card and combination of Sunderland's dipping form has led me to axe him.  Don't worry though, as another Sunderland player has been recruited.

Barton (OUT) / McClean (IN)

I am still at a loss to describe why I thought it was sensible to buy Joey Barton.  He showed no real form when I bought him.  I suppose the reason was due to QPR's short-term good run of fixtures which ended with Barton not making an impact.  As for McClean, I have been aiming to purchase him in my team for a while, but I already had Sess.  With Sess now suspended I am happy to cash in on a cheaper alternative that provides attacking prowess and budget quality in one hit.

Cole (OUT) / Martin (IN)

How the so-called former formidables have fallen.  There was a time when Chelsea kept clean sheets on a regular basis.  But not so this season.  I only drafted Cole in as I felt he was a nailed on first team starter with easy fixtures.  But I decided it wasn't worth having such an expensive defender from a team that has conceded more than they should.  His replacement is the little-known Russell Martin of Norwich City.  At 4.3, he has 2 goals and 2 assists to his name and to top things off he has favourable fixtures coming up.

Richards (OUT) / Enrique (IN)

It is mind boggling to think how a player of Richards' quality is rotated so much.  This wasn't the case earlier in the season, when he was a nailed on first team starter.  He recently sat out a lot of City's easier fixtures that led me to decide he must go, despite his proven track record.  His departure sees the return of Enrique to my team.  With DGW and Liverpool's easier fixtures, Enrique's 5.8 value and class makes sense to me.

Lindegaard (OUT) / Friedel (IN)

I was gutted when Lindegaard got injured as it disrupted my Lind/Vorm combo.  De Gea has reclaimed the goalie's jersey during this time.  As a result I have ditched the injured Lindegaard with Premier League legend Brad Friedel.  It is my intention to deploy Friedel during GWs 31-38, when Spurs get a good run of fixtures.

Vorm (OUT) / Hart (IN)

It was difficult to get rid of Vorm, but I feel Hart's good run of recent form is too good to ignore.  Hart is more expensive but I believe his class is shining through as City's title challenge intensifies.  Having said that, I could get rid of Hart after GW 31 to re-sign Vorm or a cheap keeper in-order to free up funds to bolster my outfield.

Extra Last-Minute Change Made:

Hart (OUT) / Reina (IN)

I think it makes sense to pick Reina as a goalkeeper over Hart due to Liverpool's easier fixture schedule, after DGW than City.  It's as simple as that.  I shall rotate between Friedel and Reina.  Crazy or a stroke of genius?  Only time will tell...

Alert: Good Run of Fixtures - The Final Countdown

Alert: Good Run of Fixtures- The Final Countdown

With only 11 Gameweeks left for the season it becomes ever more important to prioritise transfers based upon upcoming fixtures.  I have identified three teams that have a good run of fixtures.  They are as follows:

Manchester United
- Current League position 2nd
- Good Run Forecast: GWs 28-38
- 10 out of 11 Winnable Matches

GW 28 – West Brom (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 29 – Wolves (A) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 30 – Fulham (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 31 – Blackburn (A) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 32 – QPR (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 33 – Wigan (A) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 34 – Aston Villa (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 35 – Everton (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 36 – Man City (A) – Scoreable
GW 37 – Swansea (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 38 - Sunderland (A) - Winnable

Tottenham:
- Current League position 3rd
- Good Run Forecast: GWs 31-38
- 6 out of 8 Winnable Matches

GW 31 – Swansea (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 32 – Sunderland (A) – Scoreable
GW 33 – Norwich (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 34 – Bolton (A) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 35 – QPR (A) – Winnable
GW 36 – Blackburn (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 37 – Aston Villa (A) – Scoreable
GW 38 – Fulham (H) – Winnable

Liverpool:
- Current League position 7th
- Good Run Forecast: GWs 29-38
- 6 out of 10 Winnable Matches

GW 29 – QPR (A) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 30 – Wigan (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 31 – Newcastle (A) – Scoreable
GW 32 – Aston Villa (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 33 – Blackburn (A) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 34 – Fulham (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 35 – West Brom (H) – Winnable/Clean Sheet Potential
GW 36 – Norwich (A) – Scoreable
GW 37 – Chelsea (H) – Scoreable
GW 38 – Swansea (A) – Scoreable

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 28

Recommended Player for Gameweek 28 - Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

 
With Gameweek 28 being a “Double Gameweek” (DGW), I have decided to endorse a player influenced by the aforementioned FPL anomaly.  My recommended player for Gameweek 28 is Liverpool’s Luis Suarez

There is no question about his controversial nature.  To be honest with you I dislike and condemn him for a number of reasons, ranging from his deliberate hand ball versus Ghana during the 2010 World Cup (which ultimately led to their exit), as well as his disgraceful abuse of Patrice Evra (that led to Suarez’s 8 match ban).  But in spite of that, I must remain unbiased.  He remains the most feasible Everton or Liverpool player to have him in your FPL team for this DGW. 

Firstly, even though he was prohibited from playing in the Premier League from mid-December to the end of January, he remains Liverpool’s top league goal scorer with 6 goals (jointly with Bellamy).  He is a natural goal poacher with 26 goals in 52 for Uruguay’s national team, as well as 81 league goals from 110 matches for Ajax.

Even though Liverpool lost to Arsenal last week, I believe that Liverpool’s League Cup win has instilled a feel good factor within the team.  Crucially, Liverpool’s DGW fixtures are against teams that concede on average at least a goal a game as follows:

Sunderland (A) – Conceded 13 goals in 13 home matches this season (1.00).  Conceded 18 goals in 14 away matches this season (1.28).

Everton (H) – Conceded 15 goals in 13 away matches this season (1.15). Conceded 13 goals in 13 home matches this season (1.00).

Of course it must be noted that Liverpool have had an abysmal record of infrequently scoring more than 2 goals per game this season.  But I ask you, if they are going to score during DGW surely it will be from the boot/head/heel/hand of their joint top scorer and goal poacher?  Don’t base your reasons for not picking him on Liverpool’s previous three league results, after all they were against top 4 opposition (Tottenham, Man United and Arsenal respectively ).  If it makes any difference, their remaining matches appear to be a lot easier, winnable or scoreable, as follows:

GW 29 – QPR (A) – Winnable
GW 30 – Wigan (H) – Winnable
GW 31 – Newcastle (A) – Scoreable
GW 32 – Aston Villa (H) – Winnable
GW 33 – Blackburn (A) – Winnable
GW 34 – Fulham (H) – Winnable
GW 35 – West Brom (H) – Winnable
GW 36 – Norwich (A) – Scoreable
GW 37 – Chelsea (H) – Scoreable
GW 38 – Swansea (A) – Scoreable

At 9.3 Suarez isn’t cheap, but far cheaper than RVP, Aguero and Rooney.  With Suarez you have the peace of mind that as one of Liverpool’s few first-team strikers, he is less prone to being squad rotated than Liverpool’s bloated midfield.  Liverpool may have sewed up a Europa League spot for next season with their League Cup win and are 10 points adrift of a Champions League spot, but surely they won’t “Kop Out” from playing some decent football? Ultimately, on paper at least, Suarez is a good pick for the remainder of the season, not just for DGW.  It begs the question, will Liverpool score or win more regularly with Suarez and their remaining Premier League fixtures?

I will post My GW 28 blog team (with confirmation of my selected captain and vice-captain) a night before the Gameweek commences.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Gameweek 27 Summary (Special Edition)

Defeat to WB? Arrivederci AVB!

Chelsea's poor form continued with a last-minute goal defeat to a resurgent West Brom.  The defeat meant that Chelsea failed to win 6 of their last 9 league matches and has put them out of Champions' League contention.  Crucially, Abramovich's patience was ruffled once again as he said arrivedci to manager number 8, since 2003
 
Let's Get Physical


Newcastle United salvaged a draw in the Tyne-Wear derby, in a match cluttered with yellow cards, late tackles and fouls galore.  Sessegnon was sent off during the match, where as Cattermole saw red after the final whistle.  It was the ever present utility player Shola Ameobi who scored the dramatic equaliser, making up for Ba's earlier penalty miss.

It's a Kop Out!

Liverpool may have won the League Cup last week, but their unbeaten home league form finally came to an end as Arsenal's goal machine (Robin Van Persie) added two more to his season's tally in a 1-2 victory.  It means that Arsenal are able to maintain 4th place, as Liverpool's league performance raises more questions for their team.
 
The No Show at the Etihad


Man City comfortably won 2-0 at home with many notable first-team absences (Aguero and Silva on bench duty and Richards not even in the match squad!).  The victory ensures that City's impressive 100% home record and title challenge continues, as Bolton look to the abyss.

Dunn In The Nick of Time

Blackburn and Aston Villa met at Ewood Park to play out a 1-1 draw.  N'Zogbia's opener gave Villa fans hope for an away win, but this was not to be.  Dunn's 85th minute equaliser led to the match ending in a stalemate.

Stoking the Canaries

Etherington's winner at the Britannia ensured that Stoke won their second consecutive league match with a 1-0 win over Norwich.  In turn it meant that the Canaries suffered a second consecutive league defeat, as both teams hover around the mid-table mark.

Bobby Dazzler

Everton's match at Loftus Road ended in a 1-1 draw against a QPR team still in danger of relegation.  Royston Drenthe gave the visitors a 0-1 lead, before ex-Fulham striker Bobby Zamora drew QPR back level in the match.

Sig-ah-Sig-ah!

Wigan's poor home record worsened against a Swansea team that has not done well on their travels.  Two goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson ensured that Swansea won their first league match in three, as Wigan held on to the Premier League's wooden spoon for another Gameweek.

Captain America and the Russian Cosmonaut

On-loan Pogrebnyak put Fulham fans into orbit courtesy of his sensational hat-trick at Craven Cottage.  This was well-supported with the brace scored by my recommended player of the game week as Wolves conceded five goals and subsequently consigned themselves to the relegation zone.

Too Young at 65?

Finally, in a week full of braces - England star Ashley Young scored two goals in a much needed win against Tottenham as Harry Rednkapp's birthday celebrations (officially now an OAP) were dampened with a 1-3 defeat at home.  It means that United remain hot on the heals of City, as Spurs' surprise title challenge has finally come to an end for the season.

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So folks, I ended up with a very decent 71 points from the Gameweek courtesy of  braces from Dempsey (my vice-captain), Sigurdsson and Van Persie aiding my gameweek tally.  The high accumulation of points ensured that I attained my highest overall rank in FPL thus far (Top 0.11% in the world).  However, apart from Vorm's clean sheet, the other 7 players only managed to clobber 7 points between them (including Sess's -2).  I suppose in some ways I got lucky with my captain Aguero not playing which ensured that my vice-captain scored an impressive 30 points for me.  Though with Silva and Richards also not playing it led to me conclude that wholesale changes had to be made for the next gameweek, but more importantly with view of all fixtures to the end of the season.  As a result, I decided to activate my wild card for GW 28 and will provide an update of my wild card team before the start of the gameweek.  Until then, in the native tongue of the caretaker Chelsea manager Arrivederci!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Recommended Player for Gameweek 27

Recommended Player for Gameweek 27 - Clint Dempsey (Fulham)


I probably should have endorsed him publicly on the blog earlier in the season, but it's not late to do so now, my recommended player for Gamweek 27 is Clint Dempsey (Fulham).  Craven Cottage's so-called "Captain America"/"American Dream" scored 12 league goals (and provided 5 assist) last season which brought him much acclaim.  Such form doesn't appear to be a one-off as he has thus far scored 10 goals and bagged 3 assists with 11 GWs still to play of the current season.  With a credible 25 goals in 83 international matches to his name, Dempsey's goal scoring exploits are not just limited to club football.  In fact, he scored a memorable winner against Italy for the USA only this week.  Dempsey is Fulham's main goal scoring threat, complemented with the presence of goal-shy strikers and absence of on-form strikers.  If you don't already have him in your team it is definitely worth picking him, especially due to Fulham's upcoming fixtures:

Wolves (H)
Aston Villa (A)
Swansea (H)

Currently valued at 9.1, he is considerably cheaper than many other attack-orientated Premier League midfielders such as Bale, Gerrard, Nani, Silva and Lampard.  With Dempsey you have the peace of mind that he is an irreplaceable piece to Fulham's midfield and not prone to squad rotation.  He may not have scored in Fuham's last three league matches, but two of those matches were away and in the last home match he effectively scored, but was technically marked down as an assist.  Prior to that he scored 4 goals in 2 consecutive home matches.  With the above points in mind, why wouldn't you pick him?

I will post My GW 27 blog team (with confirmation of my selected captain and vice-captain) a night before the Gameweek commences.

Application for England Manager Vacancy

FAO: The Football Association

Re: Application for England Manager vacancy
Thursday 1st March, 2012
Dear Mr Bernstein

After much consideration I have decided to apply for the vacant full-time position of
England national team manager. Taking into account the subjective eligibility criteria set
by media consensus, fans' fervour and a bit of common sense, I believe that I am the
suitable candidate for the role due to the following reasons:


  • British National? (Yes)
  • Born in England? (Yes)
  • Raised in England? (Yes)
  • Native English Speaker? (Yes)
  • Football tournament experience? (Yes)
  • Visited Wembley Football Stadium? (Yes)
  • Worked for a Premier League Club? (Yes)
  • Watched the England national team play in person? (Yes)
  • Football management and organisational experience? (Yes)
  • Knowledge of football tactics and coaching methods? (Yes)
  • Awareness and understand of the national team's history? (Yes)
  • Supporter of England's national football team since childhood? (Yes)
  

Additional Information: 

  • Willing to manage the England national team for free.
  • Available to be in charge on a potential trial basis for Euro 2012.
  • Open-minded to the possibility of appointing an all-English backroom team.
  • Likely to take a flexible but firm approach when dealing with club managers.
  • Keen endorser of positive youth development as part of cyclical regeneration.

I trust that the aforementioned credentials will be of great interest to you. Please reply
back to this application as acknowledgment of receipt.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Chief of FPLH
http://www.fantasypremierleaguehints.blogspot.com