Author Archives: FantasyYIRMA

West Ham, Leicester and Maradona make the Preview

Beer, Football Shirts and Balls; We’re 3 days Late

Liverpool, United, Villa and a load of Red Flags

Written by @NiallHawthorne

We’re in the run up to Christmas and the ‘happiest time of the year’. You might say I’ve gone a bit early, but I’m only talking about it. I know loads of people who have gone the whole hog and put up the tree.

In any case, it may be a bit of a challenge for this Christmas to be considered the happiest time of the year. Can you be happy when deciding whether or not you’ll see Mum/Dad/Granny/Grandad for Christmas dinner and then calculating the odds of them catching COVID?

If only the vaccine had come through a couple of months earlier we could all have had one from Santa Claus to allow us to really celebrate Christmas properly, except for those who don’t believe. In vaccines, obviously,

Tesco are telling us that there’s no naughty list this year. Every Lidl helps, right? Meanwhile every other marketing guru is hellbent on making us cry our eyes out after every advert, at the end of the most harrowing year of all our lives. How about a laugh or two, eh? Why couldn’t we have slapstick moments with Ant & Dec falling over a Christmas tree or Tom & Jerry giving each other gifts that they then use to wallop each other with?

Leave my heartstrings alone please, they’ve been plucked, strummed and ripped this year.

Even FPL has turned on us in our hour of need, as I open up my team to see that my team has erected it’s Christmas decorations early. There’s red, yellow, orange and white all over my squad thanks to COVID, tendons, ligaments and hamstrings.

All my tips this week are subject to a caveat – I have no idea who will be fit or able to tog out this weekend.

All I can do is recommend that you dive deep into the Twitter account and website of @BenDinnery because if he doesn’t know, nobody does.

Onto GW9!

Defender: Alex Nicolao Telles, Manchester United

Yes, I’m tipping a player who hasn’t played a minute of action in FPL this season, but I have my reasons!

He isn’t reported as being injured, sick or AWOL, which is a distinct advantage this week. His direct competitor for a place in defence has twanged his hammy. He’s facing an opponent that has scored one goal in their last five games, and have more than a couple of their forward/attacking players in doubt.

You can pick Telles and watch him in action at 8pm on Saturday night or it’s Strictly Come Dancing. It’s your choice. You should know however that even Strictly is suffering. They’re so short of judges that Anton Du Beke got called into action last weekend.

It’s carnage out there ladies and gents. Absolute carnage.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota, Liverpool

It would be easier to predict the weekly lottery numbers, or the next insane thing to be tweeted by former President Trump (that feels very nice to type) than it would be to predict the defensive players picked by Liverpool and Leicester City this Sunday night.

Both are, in the words of Leo Tolstoy, up shit creek without a paddle.

Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold all out. Fabinho, Robertson, Williams all doubtful.

Soyuncu, Amartey out. Schmeichel, Pereira, Castagna, Fofana all doubtful.

There’ll be goals at Anfield this weekend, I’m certain of it, and with Mo Salah out with the ‘rona there’s a sure fire starting spot for a man who was muscling in on the fabled front-three in any case.

If you were offered the chance to take a regular starter in the Liverpool attack for under £7m and 10% ownership, would you turn it down?

Well, would you?

Forward: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

Eight goals this season already for Vardy, and seven of them have come away from home. This week, as mentioned just above, he faces a patchwork Liverpool defence that were hardly covering themselves in glory this season anyway.

When you consider he steamrollered over Manchester City’s defence for a hat-trick, what could he do here?

You know how Liverpool have gone 63 games at home without defeat? Well if you potentially take Salah, Henderson, Thiago, Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez and Robertson out of their team, that run could come to an end. It could be James Milner at CB. It really, really could.

Captain: Jack Grealish, Aston Villa

I will admit that I have a pretty strongly defined hump with Jack Grealish. The GAA-playing, Irish-shirt-wearing midfield dynamo chose to play for England, and now he’s the next coming of Gazza.

However FPL is all about being cold-blooded and calculated, and the boy Grealish is the real deal. Indeed, his recent displays for Villa have not reminded me of a young Paul Gascoigne, they’ve reminded me of an older Steven Gerrard (calm down, I’m not saying he’s as good or better, I’m just saying he reminds me of him). The Gerrard who linked with Torres and scored over 20 goals a season, that Gerrard.

Put this Grealish in that kind of team, and who knows what he could achieve? He’s doing a pretty good job with Villa right now, and I expect them to swat aside Brighton this weekend with Grealish the star of the show.

Outsider: Richarlison de Andrade, Everton

Returning after his three game ban for trying to amputate Thiago’s leg during the Merseyside derby, it’s fair to say that Everton have missed their frontman. Dominic Calvert Lewin has ‘only’ had a goal and assist during those three games, whereas he had seven goals in five games with Richarlison alongside him.

Everton travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in what looks like being the most watched Premier League game of the weekend, because it’s on the BBC on Sunday morning.

Fulham are rotten and the return of Richarlison, with under 4% ownership, gives you a chance to truly makes this a Sunday morning of worship. Or it could ‘Marr’ the day for you altogether.

I’ll get my coat.

http://twitter.com/niallhawthorne

Gameweek 8 Preview: Chelsea, Spurs and Far, Far Too Much Donald Trump

Forget The Presidential Election: Gameweek 7 Review

GW6 Review: Posted After The Final Whistle & The GW7 Preview

Fantasy Football GW7 Preview: EARLY DEADLINE

Written by @NiallHawthorne

The year 2020 is so far beyond weird that it’s laughable. It’s completely bonkers.

Who would have foreseen that the toughest opponent Marcus Rashford would face this season would be Boris bloody Johnson?

Who would have contemplated an entire nation going into mourning because a dolphin has gone off for a swim for a couple of weeks? (If you’re not Irish, google ‘Fungie’ and don’t judge us)

Who would have thought that the fabled Leicester City miracle season would be replicated within five years? Escape relegation by the skin of your teeth, start the next season like a steam-train, get talented yet under-achieving midfielders playing to their full potential, and unearth a lethal striker from the lower leagues….Aston Villa are willing the title this year…

As I said, bonkers! Onto GW6!

Defender: Max Kilman, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nominative determinism is a powerful force. This is the term applied to people who end up doing for a living what their name has always suggested they should do.

  • Hubert Legal is a solicitor for the EU Council.
  • Daniel Snowman wrote a book about the polar regions.
  • A.J. Splatt and D. Weedon wrote a paper together about incontinence.

I’m not sure where the future is going to take Max Kilman, but if he turns out to be the world’s most prolific serial killer, it’s not really his fault, is it?

Before he heads down that road, he’s made a promising start to his Premier League career, with two clean sheets and an assist to his name in his first two appearances. He’s only £4.1m and owned by less than 7% of FPL players, so let’s all enjoy him before he develops a taste for a nice chianti and some fava beans.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley, Aston Villa

Ross Barkley has been holding onto the ‘promising’ tag longer than Boris Johnson has been holding the ‘buffoon’ tag. Eventually though, the tags change.

Ross is entering his TENTH premier league season, so we need to stop calling him promising, and admit that up to now he’s over-promised and under-delivered. Boris Johnson has stopped being bumbling and evolved into pure undiluted evil.

Barkley seems to have licence to bomb forward in this Villa system, and has plundered two goals in two games since he departed Stamford Bridge. He’s got three straightforward home games in the next four GW’s, and is owned by fewer than 3%.

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City  

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

This tip has a 50% chance of getting you 20+ points.

This tip has a 49% chance of getting you 1 point after an 89th minute cameo from the bench.

This tip has a 1% chance of getting you 0 points after Sergio Aguero is revealed to be a surprise entrant in ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ before the weekend.

However, he’s owned by 2.1% of players, Manchester City have no fit strikers available, and you can just smell the potential.

You damn fool.

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Six goals and an assist. Two double digit hauls. One 20-point haul. All in just five games.

This weekend Liverpool welcome Sheffield United to Anfield, and this is a very different Sheffield United to last season’s Sheffield United. The Blades appear dull and blunt.

Much has been made of topsy-turvy start to the season by the reigning champions, however they have played five league games and never failed to score less than twice. Salah and friends were hauled off en masse before the hour mark in Amsterdam, surely with an eye on this clash. Liverpool may also, on a sub-conscious level at least, adopt a motto of ‘we’ll score one more than you’.

This could get very, very messy.

Outsider: Michy Batshuayi, Crystal Palace

Who else could I tip in a column that elaborates on how batsh*t mental this year is, than a player they call Batman?

With Jordan Ayew being all COVID-y, there’s a window of opportunity for Batshuayi to stake a claim for a permanent spot alongside Wilf Zaha. He threw in a cheeky assist in his first start last weekend, costs under £6.0m and is owned by less than 1%.

If you back Batman, you could be Robin a lead on your opponents.

I’ll get my coat.

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

Drop Niall a follow on twitter. Good thing about Twitter – you can always unfollow again later!

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com.

GW5 Review: Posted After The Final Whistle

Gameweek 5: Spurs, Sheffield United and WBA make the Preview

I think it’s fair to say that we are living through unprecedented times.

In fact, I can’t remember back to a time when things were precedented. I often find myself wondering how historians will view the times we are currently experiencing. How will they view the decisions made by our leaders and ourselves?

I have no doubt that one of the things that will confuse the bejaysus out of them is the decision to proceed with international football during a global pandemic….

The logic behind sending footballers out of their club ‘bubble’ around the globe to play international games that are as important as my opinion on Masterchef Australia (No Poh! No!), leading to an inevitable surge in positive COVID-19 cases which are then brought back into the club ‘bubble’, therefore possibly bursting the bubble of professional football happening at all….

Yeah, onto GW5!

Defender: George Baldock, Sheffield United

I’m not saying that The Blades have had a ropey start to the season, but right now Richard Osman has them written down as an answer on his desk. Yep, they’re pointless.

This weekend they face the only team below them in the table, as Fulham come calling. While The Cottagers racked up three goals at Elland Road in GW2, they’ve been firing blanks elsewhere.

I’ve had to ignore the fact that George’s surname references a very niche fetish, and focus instead on the fact that he has a knack of adding goals and assists to his clean sheet hauls. He’s already notched an assist this season, and he’s due a clean sheet.

Midfielder: Matheus Pereira, West Bromwich Albion

West Brom welcome Burnley to my gaff this weekend, so I may open the curtains to watch them in the garden.

Pereira has started the season strongly with a goal and a brace of assists thus far, and he faces Sean Dyche’s men who have conceded SEVEN goals in their two away games. SEVEN! Imagine conceding that many goals in two away games! What eejits!

Oh….

Forward: Neal Maupay, Brighton And Hove Albion

Here’s a player who is smashing it while flying under the radar of many.

Four goals and an assist already this season, adding to his ten-goal haul last season. He travels to Selhurst Park as The Seagulls take on The Eagles.

Based on knowledge of ornithology alone you’d fancy the Eagles, but have you seen how rowdy the Seagulls have become in recent years? They’d have your fish supper out of your hand and slap you across the face with their wing if you don’t have your wits about you.

Neal Maupay is a French seagull. Just imagine the attitude…

Captain: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

I’ve seen plenty of stats during this interminably daft international break about West Ham United and how sound defensively they have been. Their xGA is tiny, apparently. Their xGF is decent. Their xGEEKS is as yet unknown.

My fantasy football methodology is far more straightforward. Old Moyesey has self-isolated and rid himself of his COVIDness, so he’s back on the touchline and The Hammers are going to hell in a handcart once more.

Harry Kane will profit handsomely

Outsider: Rhian Brewster, Sheffield United

Whether you’re one of those (like me) who has had Rhian tucked up safely on the corner of your bench since the season started, or you’ve taken the plunge once you saw him move to Bramall Lane, welcome to the beginning of the ‘£4.5m Bloody Hell He’s A Bargain At That Price’ adventure.

The kid is a talent, and his first big chance is against at home to a team that has a habit of conceding three goals in every game.

All aboard!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

Drop Niall a follow on twitter. Good thing about Twitter – you can always unfollow again later!

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com.

%d bloggers like this: