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Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 9 – Chelsea, Palace, Wolves and Mo Salah

Fantasy Football Preview – Gameweek 8: Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham

Fantasy Football Gameweek 7: Chelsea, Leeds and Watford?

So, we face our winter of discontent. 

It’s not like we haven’t been warned. They do say that all the Hollywood movies and TV shows are secretly designed to prepare us for the future. We know what to expect when the aliens come from Independence Day. We know what to expect from cataclysmic climate change from The Day After Tomorrow. And we know what to expect from a hard, brutal winter from Game of Thrones. Winter is indeed coming. 

Food shortages. Power outages. Fuel costs rocketing. Soda streams banned. Covid lockdown after covid lockdown on the horizon. It’s all ahead of us during the bleak, dark months ahead. 

Thanks be to goodness we have this fun, amazing game to make us all happy right? Right? 

Onto GW6!

Written by Mr. Niall http://twitter.com/niallhawthorneHawthorne

Defender: Gabriel, Arsenal

Tipping an Arsenal defender, the man has clearly gone simply mad. 

Well, yes, I have, but over some other issues. For FPL I’m clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. 

Arsenal are off the back of two clean sheets (admittedly against Burnley and Norwich) but they are facing a Spurs side featuring Sulky McSulkerson up front (also known as Harold Kane) and have looked as threatening up front as a baby lamb in spring over the past two weeks. Roy Keane was not impressed, and nobody could really say he was wrong. 

If Gabriel keeps a clean sheet here, dreams really do come true. 

Arteta can make it three wins on the spin in a North London derby, and in doing so he’ll effectively secure his position until after Christmas at least. I reckon we’re going back to simpler times here. 

1-0 to the Arsenal.

Midfielder: Allan, Everton

Remember when you had to be a really, really, REALLY good player to just have one name? Pele. Maradona. Zico. 

Now every no-mark has one, and while I’m including Allan in this list, I’m also tipping him to be a peach of an outsider bet for your midfield this week. 

Everton host a truly woeful Norwich City side who are on a run of 124,862 consecutive Premier League defeats under Daniel Farke (or something close to that number). They’ve lost every game this season in the league, were just battered by Liverpool B/C in midweek and are there for the taking. 

They’ll play three at the back again, try and sit deep and contain, so Everton need the right tool for the job. 

Allan’s key.

Forward: Michail Antonio, West Ham United

If you knee-jerked and sold him after his red card in GW4, then you’re either slapping yourself in the face repeatedly, or doing all kinds of transfer nonsense to get him back in for this week. 

If you were calm and patient while benching him for GW5 then yours is the world and everything in it. 

Antonio returns nice and refreshed against a Leeds side leaking goals at an alarming rate in the Premier League. In four appearances it’s four goals and four assists for Michail and you’ll be a brave man to back against him improving those figures.

Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United

Aston Villa visit Old Trafford this Saturday lunchtime having conceded three goals in each of their two away games this season. 

While it’s no disgrace to concede three at Stamford Bridge, conceding three at Vicarage Road is well dubious.

Ronaldo is no doubt seething about last weekend where he was hauled down at least twice in the box only to have both the referee and another referee staring straight at a TV screen turn down his appeals. Presumably just for a laugh. There’s no other logical explanation. 

If I know Manchester United, and I think I do, Ronaldo is going to be awarded at least two penalties in this game and I reckon he nets a hat-trick too. 

It’ll be a torrid time for Aston Villa’s defence but surely, it’s a d:ream to play Ronaldo. After this, Mings can only get better….

Outsider: Jordan Brian Henderson, Liverpool

If you cast your mind back a couple of seasons, before pandemics were a thing and Liverpool were chasing a league title (which they missed out on by a point), Jordan Henderson was moved to a more advanced ‘8’ role by Jurgen Klopp, and it worked. 

Well, here we go again. Henderson is playing far more advanced, getting in the box, creating, and shooting with regularity. He’s just £5.0m and owned by less than 1%. You could do worse.

Your move…

Written by Niall The Legend Hawthorne

We finally reach the end of this turgid, harrowing, depressing, weird, condensed FPL season.

To those of you who are winning you should know that this season will forever have an Asterix next to it and it doesn’t count.*

To those of you like me who have languished badly all season and the game stopped making sense, you shall inherit the earth. It’s the game that’s wrong, not you.

Roll on GW1 of next season when we’ll have sunshine, fans in stadiums and normality back once more. We’ll have a cracking four team title race, nine teams in relegation trouble all season long, VAR will finally work like it’s supposed to, and Micah Richards will body slam Gary Neville after the laughing finally stops.

Onto GW38!

Defender: Stuart Dallas, Leeds United

Let’s finish the season with the top-scoring defender in the game, eh?

Earlier this season Leeds United walloped The Baggies by five, with Dallas getting an assist, three bonus points and a 12-point haul. With Big Sam departing stage left holding a pint of wine in his right hand and a gravy boat in his left hand, West Brom players will have their minds elsewhere as they frantically try to get a new contract at a Premier League club. If your name is not Pereira, best of luck with that.

Dallas to score, keep a clean sheet and then step out of the shower after the game to reveal that this whole season has just been a dream.

We can hope.

Midfielder: Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale has 9 goals, 3 assists and has played over 60 minutes in a game just 9 times this season.

If he could ever be arsed about football again, he’d be amazing.

Alas his head doesn’t seem to be in the game anymore, and after this game nobody has a clue as to where he will end up next season – The Real Madrid bench? The Spurs team? The golf course? Your guess is as good as mine.

However, he didn’t start last week against Villa so I reckon he’s nailed on to start this weekend and may well sign off (possibly) from Spurs once more with a goal or two.

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Choosing who to pick up front this week was impossible!

Firmino is bang in form, playing for a team on a mission, has two goals and an assist against the same opponent from earlier in the season.

Harry Kane wants the golden boot almost as much as he wants to leave Spurs.

Kelechi Iheanacho can’t stop scoring and wants to fire Leicester into the Champions League again.

Chris Wood is the form striker in the league and faces Sheffield United.

Patrick Bamford faces relegated West Brom who he scored 8 points against earlier this season.

They all make compelling cases, but my gut, my head and my heart say it’s time to say farewell to Sergio Aguero by sticking him up front. His last ever Premier League game (unless he fancies partnering Teemu Pukki up front at Carrow Road next season), and we say farewell to a true Premier League legend.

Only Andy Cole, Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer have scored more than the Argentinian maestro. While Pep will be rotating his team ahead of the European Cup final, this is the perfect opportunity to give Aguero a fully deserved swansong, because barring injury he ain’t starting against Chelsea in Portugal!

The returning City fans could witness the final goal(s) of the Aguero era, and he only needs five to catch Andy Cole….

Just saying.

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

The final big call for you to make, and there are some golden rules you should always keep in mind.

Firstly, always pick a player who has something to play for. Secondly, pick a player in form right now. Thirdly, always captain Salah.

With all three boxes ticked, you should captain Mo Salah.

Outsider: Fabio Carvalho, Fulham

Let’s try to squeeze in just one more 0.0% owned point-scoring tip this season, shall we?

Fabio Carvalho has started the last two for Fulham, scoring in one, and faces Newcastle at home, and we all know how rubbish Newcastle are, right? (Yes, I admit they did better than I expected, well done Newcastle fans).

So that’s that. My final preview for another season. Thanks for reading. Thanks for not shouting at me when I was wrong. You could tell me you love me when I’m right, but we can work on that. So, until the website uploads the new players for next season, and we all start working on the first of our 1,274 draft teams, for one last time it’s your move….

*Yes, it counts. Well done. I’m just jealous.

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….

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

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