Thursday, 29 August 2013

FPL Hints - Gameweek 3

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account.


Transfers:
Ivanovic (OUT) / Lescott (IN)

I projected GW2 to be a low-scoring GW, and so it was.  I ended up with 52 points (post -4 hit), which was enough for me to rise by 50,000 or so places.  In truth I got lucky and will be hoping for better results this Gameweek.

With the international break around the corner, I didn't want to take another -4 hit in case the extra player got injured for his country, thus rendering the hit pointless.  The only change I have decided to make is to sell Ivanovic for Lescott.  This may come as a surprise for some, but Ivanovic has a blank GW3 and has harder fixtures after that.  As for Lescott, he has pretty much guaranteed a starting place for the time being and has two decent upcoming fixtures.

As for the remainder of my team... I have some concerns.  With Bassong potentially back, Whittaker could be shafted out of the Norwich team.  Moreover, Kolo Toure picked up an injury midweek which has made him a major doubt for this GW.  As for Dzeko, despite scoring against Cardiff, he is a rotation risk.  In spite of that, I have decided to captain Dzeko for GW3.  I think he is capable of scoring against Hull, regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench.




GW Reject:

BENTEKE (AST)

GW Punt:

BEN ARFA (NEW)

GW Hot Pick:

DZEKO (MNC)



Why?

Scored in his last Premier League outing.
He is currently averaging 6 points per GW thus far.
Scores from starting or the bench versus different teams.




FPLH's GW Star Picks:

Jaaskelainen

Lescott
Zabaleta
O'Brien

Ben Arfa
Snodgrass
Morrison
Nolan

Van Persie
Soldado
Dzeko (c)

Subs:
Ruddy
Olsson
Coleman
Coutinho

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Looking back at Gameweek 2 - Chief's "LESSLINES"

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

KOLO CAN STILL CUT IT IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE.

WENGER'S BOYS AREN'T BOTTLING IT JUST YET.

DEFENDERS CAN KEEP CLEAN SHEETS AFTER ALL...

... WHILST MIDFIELDERS HAVE THEIR BAD DAYS!

BENTEKE & RVP WILL NOT ALWAYS SCORE GOALS.

BEWARE: CARDIFF AREN'T HERE TO BE THRASHED!

RUSSIAN ROULETTE? JOSE WILL STILL TINKER.

ONE DIRECTION: SPURS ENJOY REPETITIVE WINS.

AND FINALLY...

SWANSEA MAY BE LAST, BUT THAT WILL CHANGE!

*"LESSLINES" is a portamanteou of Lessons and Headlines.  They are intended to be bite-sized summations of what we learnt during the Gameweek!

New Gameweek review series on FPLH

Hi all,

Quick message... I'm pleased to announce that we have decided to revive FPLH's Gameweek review series.  The series will complement our on-going flagship Gameweek previews.  The reviews (previously known as summaries) were a regular fixture for FPLH during the 2011/12 season, i.e. with mentions of "Captain America" and other outlandish headlines!  I ditched the reviews/summaries for 2012/2013 during a phase of stream lining.  The 2013/14 previews will be written by Matej, Walt and I in our own unique styles.  Stay tuned and enjoy...

Regards,

PS - A special thanks to our ever expanding readership and Twitter followers.  We have had a cracking summer; rising in the organic FPL rankings, being rated alongside major FPL pundits and rapidly expanding too.  If it wasn't for you folks we wouldn't be doing FPLH!




Sunday, 25 August 2013

Mark Schwarzer: Socceroo Hero & One-time FPL Legend

Geezers!

One goalkeeper that has always been a respectable option between the sticks for Fantasy Football is Mark Schwarzer. The Aussie shot stopper stands at 6 foot 5, 40 years young and still playing the top flight in the best league in the world.

After securing a move to Chelsea in the early part of the season he'll be playing number two to the reliable Petr Cech but will be utilised as a valuable squad player.

Providing Cech stays healthy it looks likely that Schwarzer will be given a role in Chelsea's cup run. Something the Australian knows all about winning - lifting the League Cup trophy in the 2003-2004 season with Middlesbrough.

Many will remember Schwarzer's penalty save against Robbie Fowler to prevent Manchester City overtaking Middlesbrough for their place in the EUEFA cup.

His class is always evident – in his time in the Premier league he has seen his fair share of high pressure games with runners up medals from the EUEFA Cup (with Middlesbrough) & the now re-branded Europa League (with Fulham).

With all the negativity in the media that usually surrounds professional football it is refreshing that outside of the game Schwarzer is an Ambassidor for any up and coming youngster dreaming of putting on the gloves. He is a well educated family man who is respected on & off the pitch.

Australia's number 1 is involved in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and is regularly involved in charity work & events.

One of his biggest achievements to date was when he received the Order of Australia award in 2009 for his services to football.

Some would say his career is borderline superhuman!  Schwarzer's been a professional since he was 19 and is playing in the Premier League at 40.

He holds accolades, trophies, Over 100 caps for Australia and is looking at one last World Cup run...
This Geezer can reveal that this superhero has a secret... According to legend; Schwarzer has worn the same pair of shin pads since he started playing professionally!

With an impressive 148 Premier League clean sheets, Australia's Superman will still by flying for a few more years before he decides to hang up his gloves.

Here's Schwarzer in action! 


Written by:

Friday, 23 August 2013

FPL Hints - Gameweek 2

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account.


Transfers:
(-4 Hit)
Downing & Hazard (OUT) / Nolan & Y Toure (IN)

I ended up with 84 points in #DGW1.  If you offered me that tally over a week ago I may have taken it.  But hindsight is a funny old thing.  I made a few last minute transfers that cost me hitting 100 exactly!  In particular, I sold O'Brien for Gibbs (who got injured after half an hour) and I sold Nolan for Downing (who got a 1 point cameo off the subs bench).  These two transfers cost me -16 net exactly.  Having said that I got a bit lucky too.  Whittaker was initially in my starting XI and then I relegated him to sub2, yet I still managed to claw back his hoard of points.  Ivanovic's goal and Hazard's assist also boosted my tally.  Regardless, I'm off to a decent start and shouldn't complain too much.

I think the average score of GW2 will be far lower than #DGW1.  Firstly because there is no extra fixture and secondly as a lot of people picked players in #DGW1 that were playing at home.  As is evident in my starting XI, only 3 of them are playing at home.  With that said, I wasn't inclined to panic buy "home" players for GW2 as their fixtures aren't that great overall.

I decided to sell Downing in place of Nolan.  The fact is that Nolan is virtually a second striker for West Ham.  With Carroll's absence and Maiga being out of form, he is bound to score more.  Also, with Nolan playing against his former club this weekend, I think he has a point to prove and may do so against the Magpies stuttering defence.  Beyond this GW, Nolan has some decent fixtures coming up over the next few gameweeks.  

My other transfer entailed me selling Hazard to fund my Nolan purchase.  Chelsea have a tricky fixture v Man Utd on Monday and they won't play in GW3.  Thus I replaced him with Yaya Youre as he is a regular City starter, can often get involved with goals and has a good run of upcoming fixtures like Nolan.

I have decided to captain Soldado as he has form on his side.  If United can ship 4 past Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, then surely a rejuvenated Spurs can score at least 2 past them at White Hart Lane?  Don't use Europe as an excuse, as both played yesterday so that factor is cancelled out.


GW Reject:

MARSHALL (CAR)

GW Punt:

RAMIREZ (SOU)

GW Hot Pick:

SOLDADO (TOT)


Why?

He is Tottenham's main goal threat.
Soldado has scored 3 goals in his last 2 games.
Swansea conceded 4 at home in their GW1 match.


FPLH's GW Star Picks:

Howard

Coleman
Shaw
Clyne

Sigurdsson
Y Toure
Barkley
Nolan

Van Persie
Soldado (c)
Dzeko

Subs:
Boruc
Zabaleta
Paulinho
Shawcross

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Early wildcard: Should I or shouldn't I? A Gamer's Dilemma


The new season brings new hopes for all fantasy football managers. During the summer, the eager among us followed transfer news hoping to find the “new Michu”.  Some of us even checked team sheets of friendly matches at great length in pursuit of bargain priced youngsters who could provide us with that much needed "x factor".  Furthermore, we were bombarded with dozens of FPL projections and previews suggesting different FPL squad options.  Ultimately, all we wanted was to find the best balanced squad to top our private leagues.  Right?  

After tinkering with the team you eventually feel confident that you are going to have a good weekend. You’re definitely going to beat all your mates; maybe even have a high overall ranking? Sky is the limit!  Last Friday, when I looked at my team I was very confident of its potential. I purchased decent players for each position.  I expected them to generate lots of points.  Why wouldn't they? Well, they didn’t! I ended with just 69 points, and I’m 864,776th in the overall rankings.  I'm now questioning the team that I have and thinking of radical changes... even playing my wild card for GW 2 has become tempting.

There are different strategies for the wildcard. Some folks prefer to leave it for the double gameweeks later in the season, others prefer to use it only in an emergency when most of the squad is injured or out of form.  Some people that I know are willing to use it at the beginning of the season, to fix GW1 selection mistakes.  Personally speaking, I don’t mind using it early, but I think GW2 is too soon for it.

There is a break for international matches after GW3. I think that’s the best moment to re-analyse my squad, look at other players, think about new strategies and hopefully change my #FPL luck for the better.  I think it's best to wait a while, rather than using the wild card so soon.  Do you agree? 

If you want to comment, you can reach me on Twitter (@LukMasz).

Thursday, 15 August 2013

FPL Hints - Gameweek 1

Disclaimer: *FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will most likely be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter account.



Folks, I'm back!  Well I didn't go anywhere over the summer did I now?  If you're a super loyal FPLH fan, you may have noticed a few changes over the summer.  Some of the upgrades are as follows:



More changes are expected over the course of the season.  But at the very least, I intend to continue my Gameweek 1-38 series; hence this post!  So here we go...

As you can see from my team (posted above), it's very attack-heavy.  I think Van Persie's price isn't inflated at all and reflects his true value.  On the other hand, I think Dzeko is a bargain!  With City offloading Balotelli in January and Tevez over the summer, the Bosnian will get more first team opportunities than previously.  My other striker is Soldado.  Sure he is new to the Premier League, but his La Liga record speaks for itself.  Quality is costly.  In summary my strike force equate's to £10.3M per head.

My midfield is also attack-orientated, albeit not as expensive as my striker force.  I would argue that all 4 of my first-team midfielders have a knack of either scoring or assisting goals fairly regularly, which is a must in FPL!  Hazard is by far my most integral midfielder and I have captained him, due to Chelsea's Double Gameweek against weaker opposition (Hull & Aston Villa respectively).  Downing could be West Ham's main assist provider.  As for Snodgrass and Morrison; this Scottish pairing are under-rated, under-valued but should not be underestimated (see their stats).  With that said, my first-team midfield comes to £7M per head which may be substantially lower than many other FPL teams.

Moving on to my defence and goalkeeper, they are relatively balanced.  I have specifically picked Cech and Ivanovic with DGW in mind.  I was going to pick Mertesacker, but chose Gibbs due to his differential nature.  Toure isn't attack minded, but a steady selection nonetheless.  My back 3 + GK cost approximately £5.9M per head, which doesn't sound like a lot.  But why would you want to spend so much at the back when the points are more likely to be scored at the front?

My captain for GW1 is Hazard and my vice-captain is Ivanovic, again DGW-influenced.




GW Reject:

CAMERON JEROME

GW Punt:

JACK WILSHERE

GW Hot Pick:

EDEN HAZARD



Why?

Has a Double Gameweek.
Scored 190 FPL points last season.
He regularly scores as well as assists.


FPLH's GW Star Picks:

Cech

Ivanovic
Gibbs
Kompany

Coutinho
Hazard (c)
Snodgrass
Nolan

Van Persie
Soldado
Dzeko

Subs:
Mignolet
Jonhson
Morrison
O'Brien

Chief's FPL rejects, punts and hot picks 2013/2014

Arsenal

Reject - Rosicky
Has a cheap price tag as well as experience, but is way down in the pecking order.
Punt - Wilshere
Not a high FPL scorer in the past, but he is definitely due a few goals/assists.
Hot Pick - Walcott
Has matured and become consistent.  A stalwart selection that won't fail you.

Aston Villa

Reject - Ireland
Past his best and isn't guaranteed first team selection.  Don't be fooled by him.
Punt - Tonev
Silky winger in his debut season.  Could add much needed quality to Villa's midfield.
Hot Pick - Benteke
Can score against big and small teams.  He will remain their main goal scoring outlet.

Cardiff

Reject - Smith
Has some PL experience.  However, he barely scored last season.
Punt - Whittingham
May not start as much as last season, but he has a knack for scoring goals.
Hot Pick - Cornelius
More of a punt.  But he is likely to spearhead the attack and thus will be key.

Chelsea

Reject - Essien
One time FPL legend now surpassed by other players in the Chelsea first team.
Punt - Schurrle
Can play in various attacking roles.  If he plays regularly he will do well.
Hot Pick - Hazard
Regular starter and consistent performer last season.  Expect the same.

Crystal Palace

Reject - Wilbraham
Didn't score a single league goal last season.  May barely start this season.
Punt - Phillips
A goal machine with PL experience.  He is old. But If he gets games he will score.
Hot Pick - Murray
Injured from the start of the season, but a proven goalscorer.  Wait for him.

Everton

Reject - Gueye
Far from being an integral member of the first team.  Barely a back up at best.
Punt - Mirallas
Was listed as a forward last season, now listed as a midfielder.  Could bag more pts.
Hot Pick - Fellaini
Fantastic last season when he came of age.  Should be the linchpin of their attack.

Fulham

Reject - Rodallega
Hasn't been at his best for a while.  Will be lucky to start 15+ matches.
Punt - Taarabt
Has a point to prove in the PL.  This could be make or break for him.
Hot Pick - Berbatov
Consistent FPL performer.  Scores and assists goals.  Reasonable price tag.

Hull City

Reject - Harper
Has PL experience, but I doubt he will start much.  Don't expect much from him.
Punt - Boyd
Had a good record at 'Boro.  Has stepped up in class and could make an impact.
Hot Pick - Koren
Seasoned midfielder.  Cheap price tag and can score goals to boot.

Liverpool

Reject - Lucas
May be cheap & may start regularly.  But won't get rewarded for his DM heroics.
Punt - Coutinho
Fits into Rodgers style of play.  Did well last season.  Should do even better now.
Hot Pick - Sturridge
Move from Chelsea was a good choice.  Now a key cog in Liverpool's attack.

Man City

Reject - Rekik
Very cheap price for a Man City defender.  But don't expect him getting game time.
Punt - Dzeko
Natural goalscorer who City need to utilise a lot more.  Could this be his season?
Hot Pick - Kompany
A rock in the defence.  Can get clean sheets and goals to boot.

Man Utd

Reject - Anderson
A utility player that over promises and under delivers.  Not worth picking.
Punt - Zaha
Untested in the PL.  But his raw talent is waiting to be maximised at the top.
Hot Pick - Van Persie
Established FPL elite.  There's a reason why he is so expensive.  He is pure class.

Newcastle

Reject - Sh Ameobi
Less than 20% goal scoring strike rate in the PL.  Need I say more?
Punt - Ben Arfa
Has the skills, just lacks the consistency.  Mecurial nature can be risky.
Hot Pick - Cisse
NUFC's only real goal threat.  He is likely to be involved if the team scores.

Norwich

Reject - Becchio
Did well in the Championship, but doesn't seem like he can cut it in the PL.
Punt - Whittaker
Injury limited game time last season.  But for a defender can score lots of goals.
Hot Pick - Snodgrass
Did well last season.  Integral to his team.  Can assist and score in the PL.

Southampton

Reject - Cork
Played a fair bit last season.  But his midfield abilities are defensively inclined.
Punt - Ramirez
Expensive purchase last season who did ok.  He can only get better in the PL.
Hot Pick - Lambert
Defied critics by scoring a fair bit.  Isn't getting younger, but should do well again.

Stoke City

Reject - Jerome
For a striker he doesn't score a lot.  Likely to contribute to demise than to goals.
Punt - Adam
Rediscovered some of his goal scoring talent last year.  Time to step up again.
Hot Pick - Shawcross
A reliable player in a mediocre team.  Also scores from time to time.

Sunderland

Reject - Wickham
The young prospect hasn't cut it at the top yet.  Don't risk FPL funds on him.
Punt Altidore
US international who has got scoring form on his side.  Can he do it for Di Canio?
Hot Pick - Sessegnon
Reliable FPL player that can score as well as assist.  Safe midfield pick.

Swansea

Reject - Britton
Has played a fair bit in the PL for Swansea, but don't expect him to score/assist.
Punt - Bony
Proven goalscorer making his PL debut.  May need time to adapt.
Hot Pick - Michu
Breakthrough season in 2012/2013.  Should be integral again.

Tottenham

Reject - Parker
Had that one good FPL season with West Ham.  Now starts less and is more defensive.
Punt - Soldado
Expensive signing who did well in La Liga.  Here's his chance to shine in the PL.
Hot Pick - Bale
Expensive price tag.  But he scores, assists and is the star of his team.

West Brom

Reject - Odemwingie
Has done well in PL, but is now out of favour.  Don't expect much from him.
Punt - Anelka
May not perform (or start) week in week out.  But has a few good innings left.
Hot Pick - Morrison
Very under-rated and very cheap.  WBA are a weaker team without him.

West Ham

Reject - Maiga
Failed to live up to expectation.  Don't expect the same this season.
Punt - Downing
Didn't get a chance to shine at Liverpool.  But watch him with Nolan and Carroll.
Hot Pick - Nolan
Ideal FPL player.  Not too expensive + he can score/assist at home and away.


OVERALL REJECT:
JEROME

OVERALL PUNT:
SOLDADO

OVERALL HOT PICK:
VAN PERSIE





Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Chief's Projected 13/14 Premier League Table (11th-20th)

11th Everton (-5):

People often say that Martinez is a decent manager based on his achievements at Wigan with a shoestring budget.  Fair enough.  After all, other Premier League clubs were also linked with him last summer.  Aside from the shock FA Cup victory and avoiding the drop for a few seasons, he hasn't really done much else.  Yes, his style of play is interesting and can only improve with Everton's stronger defence.  But can you really see the likes of Baines and Fellaini staying or being inspired by him for that matter?  I doubt Martinez will plunge the Toffees into the relegation zone, but he won't be doing as well as Moyes did last season.  Expect transition and experimentation.

12th Norwich (-1):

Some may be surprised of my projection that Norwich will regress this year, despite signing Hooper and v. Wolfswinkel.  They are decent players and will most likely score at least 10+ PL goals each.  I regard Norwich to be the atypical mid-table team, i.e. satisfactory home record but so-so on the road.  Perhaps they should have bolstered their defence too.  I expect Snodgrass to shine again and the Canaries may have a decent start.  But they lack in depth and could yo-yo from 6th to 16th through out the season before settling in at 12th.

13th West Brom (-5):

Steve Clarke proved me wrong last season, when I slated WBA for relegation.  They exceeded expectation and punched above their weight to finish 8th.  But that was with loanee Lukaku leading the attack.  They now have an unsettled Odemwingie, over-the-hill Anelka and PL novice Vydra to fill the void.  West Brom aren't bad enough to be relegated, far from it.  But I can't see them finishing 8th again.  Then again, never say never with them...

14th Aston Villa (+3):

Put simply, if Villa didn't have Benteke last season they would be relegated.  He picked up his team from the scruff of the neck and dragged them to safety.  Lambert's young squad had a massive learning experience last season, which helped them to mature.  I still don't fancy them to break into the Top 10.  But new midfield muscle and Benteke's goals will keep them safe in the mid-table doldrums.  Moreover, if Benteke repeats his goal glut, expect suitors pursing him in the January transfer window.

15th Cardiff (n/a):

Caulker. Medel. Cornelius.  What a spine for a team!  Most of you may not have heard of the latter 2.  But if things click in place, Cardiff could be the Southampton of the previous season.  They aren't in the PL just to make up the numbers, as is evident with the new signings.  At home they will be a force to be reckoned with.  I doubt relegation will be an issue for them, provided they shift into gear 5 from GW 1.

16th Newcastle (+0):

What a damp squib last season was after the success of the 11/12 French Revolution?  Even the January transfer window signings failed to boost the fortunes.  It was sad to think that Newcastle could have been relegated as late as mid-April.  Europa League distractions didn't help admittedly.  However, post 12/13, the "Kinnear factor" has simply made things worst in my opinion.  His appointment as director of football is simply outrageous.  Provided the likes of Cabaye, Sissoko and Cisse stay, I can't see Newcastle being relegated.  But they won't do any better than last season either.

17th Sunderland (+0):

I don't rate Di Canio as a top class Premier League manager.  He almost got Sunderland relegated last season and, had he not made some interesting signings over the summer, could have put them in trouble come GW1.  Expect "Kevin Keegan" style football, i.e. passionate but lacking the relevant tactical know-how.  I think Sunderland may start well but may dither as the business end of the season commences.  Just enough quality to avoid the drop, but not enough managerial might to progress up the table.

18th Stoke (-5):

Stoke to be relegated? Yes.  Weren't they FA cup finalists and playing in the Europa League with continental middleweights not so long ago? Yes.  But the fact of the matter is that you can only park the bus for so long.  I think Pulis realised this when he departed the club over the summer.  Whether Hughes will stick to the same formula is another topic of discussion.  However, his managerial record hasn't been decent post-City.  In his last two club appointments, he failed to win more than 7 out of 10 competitive matches.  The summer signings lack proven pedigree and I can't see any of their strikers scoring 15+ in the league.  You can't stay up with a half-decent keeper, mediocre outfield (at best) and a manager lacking in form.

19th Crystal Palace (n/a):

I am a fan of 'Ollie from his Blackpool days (his outlandish quotes are second to none!).  I think he was unlucky to get them relegated in the 10/11 season, despite the initial promising start.  Fast forward to this summer... Holloway's summer signing have the touch of "Football Manager 2005" to them!  Chamakh and Phillips can no longer cut it in the Premier League.  As for Gayle, he is unproven.  For star striker Murray to be out for a while is already a kick in the shins for them pre-GW1.  Expect attacking football and goals, but Palace's joy will be short-lived with a squad lacking in top tier talent.

20th Hull (n/a):

I think Hull have some interesting players in their midst with the likes of Boyd and Koren.  But I just don't fancy them to stay up.  Sure, Bruce has Premier League experience at hand.  But failure to invest on par with Cardiff is indicative of Hull's limitations.  The defence contains a player that was involved with a relegated team last season (Figueroa) and, aside from the name checks provided, their midfield does look a bit sparse.  I can see Hull causing the odd shock here and there, but if you crunch the numbers you will find it difficult to ascribe 40 points to them.  Wooden spoon... but I hope they have fun!