Author Archives: FantasyYIRMA

Written by @niallhawthorne

Time Travel…

No longer the subject of science-fiction nerds, it’s real, and the time-travellers walk among us. They also play FPL in their droves, amazingly.

28 people from the future triple-captained Alisson Becker in a game where he became the first goalkeeper in the full history of Liverpool Football Club to score a goal.

If that’s not bad enough…

1 person from the future is probably getting a terse holographic telling off from a star lord in the 32nd century for really extracting the urine, when he triple captained Sheffield United debutante Daniel Jebbison.

It’s one thing to lurk in the shadows of a time period you don’t belong to, dropping hints that you exist without ever being spotted. It’s quite another to metaphorically strip arse naked and walk up and down Time Square telling the whole world that you got on the Jebbison bandwagon before anybody else on Earth in the 21st century.

The gall of some people….

Onto GW37!

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

Play it again Sam! (or John, Michael, Sarah, Michelle, whatever your name happens to be).

There’s no way I can not tip Trent Alexander-Arnold once more, because he’s playing out of his skin right now. A few weeks ago, I pointed out that he had adopted a new role, a quasi-right-back-attacking-midfielder role, if you pay close enough attention.

His last eight appearances have yielded three clean sheets, five assists and a goal. Just one blank in those eight games, to a 95th minute equaliser.

He’s dragging Liverpool kicking and screaming, against all odds, to a potential top-four spot. Only a quarter of FPL players own him.

Forget clean sheets, they would be a welcome bonus. This fella is an out of position attacking midfielder, and an FPL must have.

Midfielder: Joe Willock, Newcastle United

We need to get a handle on the level of hyperbole that is sloshing around in the world of football right now. On Sunday afternoon it was reported that ‘Diogo Jota is out for the season’, and my immediate reaction was to once more assume the foetal position and start rocking back and forth. Then it dawned on me that the season ends next week. FFS.

However, if you’re like me and you have a Jota shaped hole in your squad, I’m recommending Joe Willock to you. He’s scored five goals in his last five appearances, one in each game, and in three of those he came off the bench with just minutes left on the clock.

Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

There is no rhyme nor reason for this tip. He’s not started in four games and he hasn’t scored since GW31.

However, I have a hunch.

He has 13 goals to his name this season in one of the worst Arsenal teams for quite a long time. He’s owned by less than 5%, so if you have some ground to make up in your mini league, step this way…

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

The golden ticket at this stage of any season is to hang your armband around a player who still has something to fight for.

Mo has a top four spot on his mind and is level pegging with Harry Kane for the Golden Boot. That’s double trouble for his opponents.

This week he travels to Turf Moor to take on Burnley, who are going to try and replicate the West Brom approach, but mark Alisson Becker at corners.

Mo scored yet again on Sunday, making it four consecutive games with returns, and he has five goals and an assist in his last seven starts. You get the feeling either he or Kane will score a flurry to seal the deal in the Golden Boot race, and what Liverpool wouldn’t give for it to be Salah on Wednesday night.

Outsider: Christian Benteke, Crystal Palace

Don’t start.

I mean it, just don’t bloody start.

Yes, it’s Benteke, but I’m still recovering from watching my goalkeeper head in the winner in the 95th minute, so anything is possible right now.

Our old buddy Benteke has goals in three consecutive appearances and looks primed to bully a less than physically imposing Arsenal defence this week.

Your move….

Gameweek 36 Preview: Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton?

Fantasy Football: Triple Gameweek for Manchester United!!

We need to talk.

It has become apparent to me that the effects of over a year of football without fans, combined with a year of COVID restrictions, has warped our perception of reality, particularly as it relates to the beautiful game.

The following are ‘perceptions’ that I have noted among the media and/or football fans in the past season, which when looked at in the cold light of day are clearly nonsensical, yet have been fervently debated with gusto as we’ve all lost leave of our senses:

• Man City’s win last night was one of the best by an English side away from home in Europe, ever.

• Trent Alexander-Arnold isn’t really all that good and should change position immediately.

• Chelsea are plucky underdogs and are so admirable for punching above their weight this season.

• Frank Lampard was hard done by, should have been given more time.

• All the English clubs that signed up to the Super League should be sold to new, minted, benevolent owners who are queuing up to save the day.

That’s just off the top of my head, too. There are more. We’ve stared at a warped, unreal product for too long, and have started to see and hear things that don’t exist. It’s the footballing equivalent of being thrown in the hole and left in complete darkness and silence for weeks on end. Your mind plays tricks on you, you hear things that aren’t real and see things that don’t exist.

And that, ladies and gents, explains what has happened to my FPL team this season.

Onto GW34!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Stuart Dallas, Leeds United

Yes, once more into the breach for the riddle, the puzzle, the enigma that is Stuart Dallas. An easy ‘no-brainer’ game against Sheffield United or Fulham? Two points in each. Nightmare fixtures against City, United or Chelsea? 17 points, 6 points and 6 points respectively. We all benched him for at least one of those too, right?

No longer will he sit on my bench!

A trip to Brighton beckons this week, and the Seagulls have scored just once in their last four games and have blanked in front of goal on three consecutive occasions. This is a no-brainer!

Oh….

Midfielder: James Rodriguez, Everton

J-Rod is now four games back from his latest injury problems and he has returned a goal and an assist in that time.

This week he faces an Aston Villa side who have forgotten how to defend. 14 clean sheets in their first 26 games has now been followed by 0 clean sheets in their last 6 games, conceding 10 goals in that time. I never realised Jack Grealish was such an effective defensive midfielder!

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Once more into the breach, for old times sake.

With Manchester City fresh from THE GREATEST AWAY PERFORMANCE EVER BY AN ENGLISH CLUB (I won’t let this go for not even Hans Christian Andersen has written a fairy tale so outlandish), you can be absolutely certain that Pep Roulette will be in full effect this weekend.

There’s no chance that Sergio Aguero is going to depart Manchester City without banging at least once more, and I reckon he gets the nod this weekend as they face Crystal Palace. City battered the Eagles by four earlier in the season, so this could be a stroll for City.

Captain: Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Yet another double-digit haul from Iheanacho last time out to reward those who waited, and waited, and waited for their captain to take to the pitch.

This week he faces Southampton at St. Mary’s on a Friday night. Someone in the Premier League fixtures department has a cruel, wicked sense of humour. Let’s be honest, if it’s raining on Friday night, I half expect the Saints team to assume the foetal position and cry uncontrollably as the memories of their 9-0 annihilation come flooding back.

Outsider: Conor Townsend, West Bromwich Albion

£4.4m and owned by 0.1%.

4 clean sheets in his last 9 games. A guaranteed starter. Facing a Wolves side that are in freefall.

Your move….

They say that a week is a long time in politics.

Try football.

My preview for GW32 was bemoaning the fact that the week would drag on endlessly for fantasy football fans, and lose all meaning. Little did I know then that football itself would almost lose all meaning in the same week, thanks to the disgusting, greedy, myopic actions of power-hungry, capitalistic vultures that just happen to run many of the biggest and most loved football institutions in Europe.

Thankfully, even the most power-mad oligarchs realise that without the fans, football is nothing, and the pressure that fans all around Europe brought to bear on the owners of their beloved clubs managed to save our game, as daft, weighted and unfair as it is at present.

To the owners of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal (!), Spurs (!!), Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan, congratulations. You have made the intro to the FantasyYIRMA preview section, joining the illustrious list of other luminaries to grace this intro section, like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. Nice company you’re now keeping.

Onto GW33!

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool

Forty points in his last four games which have included a goal, an assist, two clean sheets and outrageously, the maximum bonus points in all four games!

This week he has a Saturday lunchtime appointment against Newcastle United at Anfield. Now I must hold my hands up here and recognise on these pages the form of Newcastle in recent weeks. Just a single defeat in seven league games and two wins on the bounce have seen them ease clear of the relegation zone, and one more win would see them safe this season I reckon.

That won’t happen this weekend though as TAA continues to evolve his new position of RB / CAM in this Liverpool team (if you haven’t spotted that yet, watch this weekend…), so make the necessary budget adjustments and get him in your team.

Midfielder: Mason Greenwood, Manchester United

Here we have a player who is on fire, finally getting regular starts, and mistakenly labelled as a midfielder by the FPL overlords.

Who are we to look gift horses in the mouth?

Three starts in the last four GW’s has featured four goals and an assist in that run. This weekend he’s away to Leeds United, who I’m sure will continue wearing those ‘You’re all just greedy b*stards and we wanted an invite too’ t-shirts that they were chucking out for free at Elland Road last Monday night.

Forward: Ollie Watkins, Aston Villa

Dear Lord (or whatever deity floats your boat),

What have we done to anger you? Why have you forsaken us this week and lumbered us with rubbish forward options?

You have your own son Jesus playing at Wembley and you’ve arranged for Saint Harry of Kane to also take part (while nobbling him the week before, I notice), leaving a veritable drought of forward options for the thirty-third Sunday of Lent (a.k.a. GW33).

You have also smitten the hamstrings of Ings and Lacazette which has made me covet Benteke. That’s the 11th commandment you are tempting me to break! Thou must never covet Benteke!

I have prayed earnestly to you this week (thanks for ending the Super League stuff) and I believe you have sent me a sign. I saw a young man on the street do a trick on a skateboard, and it hit me.

Ollie, indeed.

Amen.

Captain: Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City

As this week is a mercifully short four days, time to keep a bit of jeopardy going right to the end by having your Captain play on Monday night.

Seven goals in his last five league starts (I’m writing this ahead of his GW32 fixture, ridiculously) as well as a goal in the FA Cup semi-final. He’s red hot and now faces Crystal Palace.

Leicester City are pushing for a Top 4 place and looking to stay sharp ahead of the FA Cup Final. Crystal Palace are the first team to hit the beach this season as they are safe from relegation, most of their squad are out of contract this summer, their manager is 148 years old and almost certain to finally retire at the end of the season, and basically may not give a fiddlers flute about this game.

Pile on!

Outsider: Willian Jose, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Mr. Jose has finally popped his proverbial goal-scoring cherry in the Premier League and has very little competition up front for Wolves, so may be worth a punt this week as he faces Burnley at Molineux this weekend. Burnley have very quietly landed themselves in a bit of a relegation fight, and there’s always one team that surprisingly drops late in the season.

Your move….

Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 32 – Spurs With The Double

Fantasy Football Preview: Liverpool, Burnley and Fulham for GW31?

We’re firmly into the home straight of the 2020/21 FPL season now and it’s a sprint to the finish to see who can get that magical Top 10k / 5k / 1k spot that will be bragged about over pints for years to come.

This is where the wheat gets cut from the chaff, where the brave take chances and where you can make yourself a legend.

Are you ready? Well, are you?

Onto GW31!

Written by the quite excellent – Mr @NiallHawthorne

 

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool     

Possibly the most talked about defender in the English game right now, we need to separate ourselves from the hyperbole and the hysteria, to focus on his numbers.

Right now, his numbers are good. Three clean sheets in his last five games, maximum bonus points on all three occasions and an assist thrown in for good measure.

This week he faces a home game against Aston Villa, and while it’s true to say that Liverpool haven’t won at Anfield in over 98 years or so, Villa are not the same team with Jack Grealish, and there is a doubt around his availability for this game. Even with Grealish back, the return of Fabinho as a defensive midfielder has protected the inexperienced CB pairing behind him.

While they were exposed once more against Real Madrid in midweek, Aston Villa are not Real Madrid, with all due respect.

If TAA is out of your budget however, I wouldn’t put you off looking at Kabak or Phillips for the clean sheet potential.

 

Midfielder: Matheus Pereira, West Bromwich Albion

Fresh from mauling the much-vaunted Thomas Tuchel last weekend, Big Sam Allardyce will now pit his wits against Ralph Hassenhutl.

Matheus Pereira was astonishing at Stamford Bridge with two goals and two assists netting him an astonishing 21 points, and there’s reason to believe he can continue this form against a Southampton side who should be safe with a 10 point barrier between them and the drop zone.

The Saints have the second worst defensive record in the division however (ironically second to their opponents this week), so I expect goals in this fixture. My hunch is that Pereira will be among them.

 

Forward: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham    

When you’re hot, you’re hot and right now Mitro is red hot.

If you haven’t been following the gazillions of international matches during the recent international break you may have missed the fact that Mitrovic was banging them in from all angles for his country. He brought that confidence and form back to the Premier League by putting Fulham ahead against Aston Villa in GW30. While that itself turned out to be nothing more than a consolation for the Cottagers, it will have kept up Mitro’s dander, and this week he faces a Friday Night Lights outing at home to the defensively wobbly Wolves.

Captain: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur   

Just the seventh double digit haul of the season for Harry Kane as he now leads the race for this seasons golden boot.

At this stage of the season you are searching for those players with motivation, and looking to avoid those who like to mentally don their flip-flops in April and head for the metaphorical beach of their mind weeks before the curtain falls on the season.

One of those previous six double digit hauls for Kane this season was at Old Trafford, where Spurs walloped United. Kane has Maguire’s number. He knows it. Harry knows it. Jose knows it.

Now, you know it.

 

Outsider: Matej Vydra, Burnley    

This tip is partly motivated by form and partly motivated by ‘Who plays Newcastle next?’.

Vydra has two goals and an assist in his last four and is getting regular starts alongside Chris Wood. He is owned by just 1.1% and costs £4.8m.

Burnley also are motivated as they look to AVENGE their defeat at St. James’s Park in GW4.

If I’m right, it’ll be misery around South S.H.I.E.L.D.S as we all shout HAIL VYDRA!

Your move….

Who, What, When Where, and Why – An Idiot’s Guide to Sorare??

Fantasy Football: Gameweek 30 Preview – Spurs, United and Wolves

Gameweek 29 Preview: Bunch of Blankers

Hey!

Hey you!

Yes, I’m talking to you. Don’t skip past this bit and head straight to the ‘Forward’ tip seeking the next Kelechi Iheanacho hat-trick hero, I’m talking to you, like I do every week.

I may have picked up close to 100 new followers on Twitter thanks to my quite frankly outrageous tipping of Iheanacho in GW28 but how many Purple Monkey Dishwasher replies did I get? About five. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, you’re proving my point.

Shame on you all. If you think my FPL tips are good, you should read the life tips I put in here most weeks. You might learn something useful that you can use outside of the Fantasy Football realm.

You’ve stopped reading already, haven’t you? Yeah….

Onto BGW29!

Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United

With just four matches and eight teams to choose from this week, the selection of the top scoring defender in the game is a no-brainer, right?

Someone should ask Gareth Southgate that very same question as he quite inexplicably left young Cresswell out of his latest England squad. Clearly ten clean sheets and ten assists this season is just not good enough. I trust Southgate’s squad picking skills about as much as I trust his penalty taking skills.

Midfielder: Adam Lallana, Brighton & Hove Albion

I’ll tell you what I’ve learned in recent times – if you’re English and have a job in the Premier League, you get a far smoother ride from the media than those not English. Take Graham Potter for example, who, according to media pieces I’ve seen this week, is an amazing manager with an incredible philosophy, despite having Brighton hovering around the drop-zone after just 6 wins in 28 attempts.

This dovetails nicely with the arguments in recent years that English managers don’t get a fair go in the Premier League, and if trusted they’d be just as good as those not from England. Well the bottom six in the Premier League are all managed by Englishmen. Well, they were until Chris Wilder got sacked for having one of the worst Premier League records in a season, ever. A crying shame, by all accounts. Honestly!

One Englishman I do fancy to do the business for us this weekend is Adam Lallana who seems to have some modicum of fitness at last after completing consecutive 90 minutes for just the second time this season. A home game against Newcastle United awaits in a real relegation six-pointer at the AMEX. Whoever wins this one will deserve all the credit.

Boom and indeed Tish.

Forward: Michail Antonio, West Ham United

A very bold decision made by Michail Antonio this week, as he appears to have pledged his international allegiance to Jamaica rather than England.

The only reason this is noteworthy is that he’s now not like Harry Kane who can commit life-threatening tackles with impunity every week. Instead he’s now technically a ‘foreign’ striker and could be defined as a diving, cheating horrid git starting at 3.01pm this Sunday, March 21st.

Not that anyone cares in the FPL world as we don’t care if you’re from Blighty, Bulgaria or the moon, if you’re hauling. After recent goals against Spurs and City, I see no reason why Antonio won’t net against Arsenal.

Captain: Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

Before you mock and jeer, I have two words in my defence: Kelechi Iheanacho (last time, maybe…)

The thing with Gareth Bale is, he’s spent about three years not being a footballer, so it takes a bit of time to get back into the swing of things, rather than the swing of a golf club.

GW26 – 19 points. Bale is back baby!

GW26 – 2-point blank. Hah! He loves golf more than goals!

GW27 – 14 points. Could it be? Is it really him?

GW28 – 1 point. Hauled off before the hour. Useless. He’s a busted flush!

Or, and hear me out here, he could be building back up his fitness and relearning what it is to be a relentless FPL point-scoring machine, which he used to be. So BGW29 is against Villa on Sunday night, and another double-digit haul is coming.

Outsider: Dwight Gayle, Newcastle United

The emergence of Dwight Gayle each football season can be synchronised with the emergence of the Spring season. The birds are chirping, the grass is growing again, and Dwight Gayle starts to fancy it once more.

Your move….

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