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Is stupid Suarez worth the hassle? Well, yes (@Mark_Jones86)

Luis Suárez

You didn’t think he’d let the season end without hitting the headlines again did you?

A campaign which featured him admitting diving in an attempt to win a penalty against Stoke and an FA Cup goal against Mansfield scored with the aid of his hand represented a pretty quiet one for Luis Suarez. There was always going to be more to come.

When it arrived though, it was as shocking to witness as anything that has gone on before in the Premier League.

His bite on Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea was always going to provoke the kind of outrage which the Uruguayan seems to specialise in. The moment Suarez opened his mouth millions of fingers began tapping at millions of keyboards worldwide.

Regardless of that, it was a stupid, bizarre and downright unacceptable act.

Suarez was wrong, which he has since admitted. His club – a club who finally seem to have the people in place to deal with the fallout from one of their star forward’s brain freezes – have made all the right noises so far. Manager Brendan Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre spoke quickly and correctly.

That isn’t enough to appease the masses though. Nothing short of Liverpool firing Suarez out of a cannon and into the River Mersey was going to do that.

There have been shrill, breathless calls to sack the forward from all quarters, but such a belief is backward.

Suarez is Liverpool’s key asset. His 30 goals this season – a season which is now surely over for him – have transformed what is still very much a team in transition into one capable of troubling the elite. Why would any club want to get rid of their best player? You can rest assured that each and every football club would make the same decision that Liverpool have. Yes, even yours.

The sense of tribalism, morality tales and finger pointing that exists in football means that your rival is always there to be judged. Referees can be pushed over, fans and ballboys can be kicked and players can be bitten but does that ever lead to sackings? No, it just leads to disapproving tut-tutting from supporters and a lingering sense that their club would do things differently. They wouldn’t.

Blame the current football climate if you want, but it has almost reached a stage that the only thing a modern club cannot afford to have is values.

Were Liverpool to sack or actively look to sell Suarez then what happens then? Well another club buys him obviously. He becomes someone else’s problem.

But when that problem is so crucial, so vital and so integral to each and every thing that you do, what then?

Liverpool had already put their neck on the line for Suarez once too often before the incident on Sunday, and so now he has to put his neck on the line for them.

He needs to prove that he can be just as effective a player without this devilment that infiltrates his character.

That may take time, but he’s likely to be offered that time and the help he needs by a club who simply can’t afford to see a £22.8m investment leave whilst they battle to rejoin the elite of the world game.

Liverpool knew about his character flaws – they signed him from Ajax whilst he was still serving a ban for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in 2010 – and so it would be pretty hypocritical of the club to distance themselves from Suarez now.

You only need to have a limited knowledge of football to know that they were never going to do that anyway of course, he is far too important and far too influential for that.

He is not though, as Rodgers made clear, ‘bigger than the club.’

It is high time that Suarez started to think along those lines too.

Just thinking at all would be a good start.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 32 preview: Time to switch the Hazard lights back on?

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As Fantasy Premier League introductions go, it will be hard for anyone to ever beat the one made by Eden Hazard (£9.5m).

A staggering six assists and one goal in his first three games saw the Belgian explode onto the English football scene, but it also meant that the seven goals and seven assists he registered over Chelsea’s next 27 league games were made to look a little disappointing.

The Blues face a busy end of season schedule featuring matches in both the FA Cup and Europa League, and although that means that Rafael Benitez is sure to rotate his squad across those competitions surely he can trust Hazard to deliver when he needs him too.

Four goals in his last seven appearances for club and country show that the Belgian might just be finishing his first season in England on a high note, and ahead of Chelsea’s game with Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Sunday he could be just the man to trust.

Staying with Chelsea, an injury to Ashley Cole in the FA Cup win over Manchester United also means that Ryan Bertrand (£3.9m) could be a useful cheap addition to your squad ahead of the meeting with Sunderland, who have struggled to score goals all season and are now without the injured Steven Fletcher.

Elsewhere, another full-back could be worth keeping an eye on.

Glen Johnson (£6.5m) has scored three of his last four Premier League goals against his old club West Ham, and with the Hammers making the trip to Anfield on Sunday without the ineligible Andy Carroll then the right back will be confident that he can play a part in what would be a seventh home clean sheet in the last 10 for Liverpool, as well as getting forward and looking to improve on hitting the post against Aston Villa last week.

Speaking of Villa, they go to Stoke in a huge game for their hopes of avoiding relegation, and after Christian Benteke (£7.2m) scored again last weekend then he could be the man to back there.

Gareth Bale (£10.9m) and Robin van Persie (£13.6m) have been men to back for the majority of the season, and after both became the first men to pass 200 points for the season last weekend they both have big games in which they’ll be hoping to increase their tally this time around.

Bale and Tottenham face Everton at White Hart Lane, and given that the visitors will be without Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar for a second successive week then they could find goals hard to come by. There aren’t many better in the division than Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen (£6.5m) at keeping out the opposition at one end whilst providing a goal threat at the other.

For van Persie, Monday night brings a Manchester derby which has been spoiled slightly by Manchester United’s dominance at the top of the table – but should still be watchable nonetheless.

The Dutchman didn’t get credited with the goal at Sunderland last weekend after we’d given him our big build-up, but perhaps he can make up for that at Old Trafford as United seek to take yet another step towards the title.

At the other end, QPR and Reading face must-win home games in their battles against the drop, and with Southampton and Wigan both capable of capitalising on the nervousness that is likely to be all around Loftus Road and Madejski Stadium respectively, then Rickie Lambert (£7.1m) and Arouna Kone (£6.6m) could take advantage. Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez (£5.1m) has also scored in his last two games.

Santi Cazorla (£9.6m) has only scored in his last one, but he could be the man to watch ahead of Arsenal’s trip to West Brom, where the Gunners will be looking for a seventh win in nine.

@Mark_Jones86

What do you think? Who is in your team and who is your captain choice?? Drop a comment below or tweet us at @FantasyYIRMA

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Gameweek 28 preview: Rickie Lambert, acQuiring Points Regularly

 

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As we enter the final 10 Gameweeks of the season, form is becoming more and more important.

That old cliché about form being temporary and class being permanent is of course a correct one, but in these closing weeks it will surely pay to trust in those players who are doing well week after week.

Rickie Lambert (£7.0m) is currently one of those players, and fantasy bosses have definitely noticed.

Almost a quarter of Fantasy Premier League teams now feature Southampton’s Scouse striker, a forward who has racked up eight, nine and 11 points respectively over the last three Gameweeks as he’s scored twice and picked up three assists.

Lambert and the Saints welcome rock bottom Queens Park Rangers to St Mary’s on Saturday, and the forward will be eyeing even more goals there.

It’s an important game for the hosts, who have impressed in patches under new boss Mauricio Pochettino before suffering a 4-2 loss after making the long trip to Newcastle last time out.

Lambert scored his 100th goal for the Saints and his 12th in the Premier League this season in that game, and with the arrival of ex-Saints boss Harry Redknapp and his struggling side on Saturday, Lambert will be confident of finding the net again.

He scored against Rangers in a 3-1 win at Loftus Road in November, and with talk of an England call-up swirling around him then the forward can deliver and help move Southampton away from the relegation zone by beating a team who are firmly stuck in it.

One of the teams currently desperate to stay out of the bottom three are Wigan, and they face a tough task on Saturday evening when they welcome Liverpool to the DW Stadium.

The impact of Daniel Sturridge (£7.5m) at the Reds has been easy to see, and with the forward currently having only 7.4% ownership he could prove a strong differential choice in the closing weeks.

Liverpool’s fixture list isn’t as demanding as the one faced by several of the teams around them, and after scoring in all but one of his five Premier League appearances for the Reds so far – picking up 31 Fantasy points in the process – Sturridge could shine in those games, starting with this trip to Wigan.

Elsewhere, Sunday sees Arsenal try to become the latest team to stop the juggernaut that is Gareth Bale (£10.3m).

The Tottenham man continues to rip through the Premier League, with his latest demolition job on West Ham on Monday night seeing his ownership increase even more.

Against Arsenal he’ll of course come face-to-face with his former Southampton team-mate Theo Walcott (£9.6m), and with the frequent madcap nature of these North London derbies meaning that clean sheets are unlikely to be on the agenda, both could find themselves in the points come the end of the afternoon.

Elsewhere, both Chelsea and Manchester United face winnable looking home matches against West Brom and Norwich respectively, but both sides go into the contest with forward issues. Rafael Benitez is again faced with the dilemma over whether to choose Demba Ba (£8.0) or Fernando Torres (£9.3m), whilst there is an injury doubt over Robin van Persie (£14.0m) for United. None of the trio can be trusted confidently.

Monday night sees Manchester City travel to Aston Villa, and whilst Yaya Toure (£7.7m) and Carlos Tevez (£8.7m) regained some lost friends with goals in the 2-0 win over Chelsea last time out, it is the fact that City kept a clean sheet in that game which should perhaps be of greater importance.

Defender Pablo Zabaleta (£6.2m) was a key element of that shutout, and given that he has now started City’s last 15 Premier League games the Argentinean is again likely to be an important part of the visiting back line.

Against a Villa side who have often struggled for goals this season, Zabaleta can keep things tight at the back whilst impressing further forward too.

@Mark_Jones86

Fantasy Premier League: DON’T BLAME DAVID DE GEA

Fantasy YIRMA : Guest Post

If you would like to submit a guest post for the FantasyYIRMA.com site please contact Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com or on twitter @FantasyYIRMA

DON’T BLAME DAVID DE GEA

by Adam Zdroik

And that’s why everyone likes double Gameweeks. Even though Liverpool put in a sub-par effort against West Brom in their first match of Gameweek 26, they helped out Fantasy owners with a 5-0 win over Swansea. While Swansea lost that match, they won 4-1 in their previous game.

Basically, all of the players that were favorites to be top captains last week did well and that’s why Fantasy squads averaged 65 points.

Luis Suarez didn’t score against WBA, but had a goal and two assists against the Swans. That’s the line for pretty much everyone on the Reds and it’s the opposite for Swansea players. Michu had two goals and an assist against QPR, but didn’t even play against Liverpool.

Now we have to deal with the aftermath. Neither Liverpool or Swansea have a match in Gameweek 27, which means you’re going to have some high-priced players on your bench, or you’re using your wildcard if you have one.

Considering most owners already used their wildcard, I’ll focus more on what to do with what you have.

If you have Michu, Suarez and Steven Gerrard, you’ll need to get rid of at least one of them. There’s no way around it because that’s going to leave roughly 30m of the 100m (variable depending on team) on your bench.

Not including Michu, there are four players on Swansea that are owned by at least nine percent of people. Michu is owned by 49 percent, almost half of the owners at premierleague.com.

Surprisingly, Liverpool is at the same amount of ownership with Suarez, leading the way at 36 percent. That means there are 10 players not playing this weekend in the Premier League who are owned by at least nine percent of the Fantasy community. Throw in the rest of those team’s squads still owned by plenty of people and you have a good amount of transfers happening this weekend.

WHO TO GET?

GK, David de Gea, Manchester United, 5.5m
The Spaniard has two straight clean sheets in the league and is no doubt United’s number one keeper at this point. He was the main reason United didn’t lose against Real Madrid in their Champions League match.

United’s upcoming schedule is one of the best: At QPR, vs. Norwich, at West Ham, vs. Reading, at Sunderland. The Red Devils have a chance to get clean sheets in all of those matches and De Gea will benefit the most. At 5.5m, his price tag is at the cutoff of the maximum I want to spend on a goalkeeper. He’s going to be the best option for the next five weeks. That’s worth my money.

David de Gea isn’t the one to blame anymore. Photo Credit: Dudek1337

DEF, Davide Santon, Newcastle, 4.9m
He’s one of Newcastle’s cheaper defenders and plays in a very attacking role, which led to two assists for him most recently against Chelsea. With friendly fixtures and a squad that’s playing a lot better after the transfer window, now is the time to buy into Newcastle defenders.

Upcoming fixtures include road matches at Swansea and Wigan, and on home soil against Southampton and Stoke City.

MID, Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle, 6.1m
Three Premier League matches, two goals and two assists. That’s all you need to know right there. Sissoko has come into the lineup and immediately made a difference for Newcastle. His price is much cheaper than all of the top dogs, yet he could easily provide the same kind of numbers.

FOR, Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, 11.9m
Supposedly Rooney had a sinus infection and missed United’s FA Cup match against Reading last Monday, but I wouldn’t be worried about it. He’s started in three straight league matches and is a couple million less than Robin van Persie, which makes him the easier addition.

As you can see, Manchester United and Newcastle players are in the best situations to succeed for the next month and the players listed above would be the best moves for your squad to make if you want to succeed.

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal, 5.3m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, at QPR
  3. Tim Krul, Newcastle, 5.2m, vs. Southampton
  4. Mark Schwarzer, Fulham, 5.1m, vs. Stoke City
  5. Adam Federici, Reading, 4.4m, vs. Wigan

Defenders

  1. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, at QPR
  2. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, at Norwich
  3. Nacho Monreal, Arsenal, 4.2m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Rafael, Man United, 6.0m, at QPR
  5. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Aston Villa
  6. Brede Hangeland, Fulham, 4.8m, vs. Stoke City
  7. Davide Santon, Newcastle, 4.9m, vs. Southampton
  8. Gareth McAuley, West Brom, 5.2m, vs. Sunderland
  9. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at West Ham
  10. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, vs. Chelsea

Midfielders

  1. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 10.0m, at West Ham
  3. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.7m, at Norwich
  4. Santi Cazorla, Arsenal, 9.3m, vs. Aston Villa
  5. Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle, 6.1m, vs. Southampton
  6. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.1m, at Man City
  7. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Chelsea
  8. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.5m, at Man City
  9. Yaya Toure, Man City, 7.7m, vs. Chelsea
  10. Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, 6.6m, vs. Southampton

Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.0m, at QPR
  2. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Aston Villa
  3. Olivier Giroud, Arsenal, 8.0m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, at QPR
  5. Sergio Aguero, Man City, 10.9m, vs. Chelsea
  6. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Man City
  7. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, at Arsenal
  8. Edin Dzeko, Man City, 7.5m, vs. Chelsea
  9. Adam Le Fondre, Reading, 4.9m, at Wigan
  10. Romelu Lukaku, West Brom, 6.5m, vs. Sunderland

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  2. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  3. Robin van Persie, Man United
  4. Lukas Podolski/Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
  5. Sergio Aguero, Man City

Aston Villa is brutal on the road and Arsenal should be able to get out of their slump in this one. Walcott has three goals and three assists in his last five matches and many haven’t been better than him. Because of this, I am dethroning RVP as the top captain option for the week. Villa has allowed the most away goals and Arsenal has scored the second-most home goals this year. Walcott will be around for at least one goal.

Bale is playing amazing right now, which is why managers from all of the biggest clubs are looking to call his name, including Pep Guardiola soon to take the helm at Bayern Munich. Bale had two free kick goals in Tottenham’s Champions League match which doesn’t happen often. He has scored his club’s last six goals in all competitions. That says enough right there.

RVP is still great, don’t worry, but his numbers haven’t been as good or consistent since Rooney returned. Not to mention, Danny Welbeck is also getting a lot of time up front. Nevertheless, Van Persie scored and assisted on United’s only two goals in their last league match.

These two forwards should be in for a nice match as long as Arsenal doesn’t take the day off. As said before, Villa allows a ton of goals on the road, which means Podolski and Giroud shouldn’t have any problems. One of those five-goal games would help them right now. The Gunners have actually scored at least five goals in five matches this year. That’s a lot.

There’s going to be goals in the Man City-Chelsea match and Aguero gets the edge over the others. This is a last-ditch captain option and I would only advise it if you like to play risky, or if you need to move up about 100 spots in your league.

*Stats up-to-date as of Feb. 18

@RotoZdroik

Adam joined RotoExperts in 2008 as a member of the Scout/Player Updates Team. Throughout the years, Adam has written articles encompassing a number of sports. If you like your Fantasy advice full of numbers and straight to the point, look no further. Find him (@RotoZdroik) on Twitter, to get a daily take of what’s happening in the sports world

 

The official FantasyYIRMA Gameweek 27 Preview will be available on Thursday 21st February

Fantasy Premier League: GameWeek26 overview from @RotoZdroik

Thanks to @RotoZdroik for his guest post looking at Gameweek26.

When playing Fantasy Soccer (ed. Football!?!?!), there are two things you have to focus on when building your team: Form and Value. If you’re grabbing players because they have a lot of total points, it doesn’t really work out most of the time.

The first example is Michu, who hasn’t scored since December, a stretch of seven games. Even with that stat, there was close to 100,000 people that added him in the month of January because he’s still near the top of the charts in total points.

Another player is Carlos Tevez, who’s owned by 23 percent of people at premierleague.com. Tevez has zero goals and three assists since Dec. 9. In Man City’s last six matches, he only has three starts. That’s telling you something right there, and even his starts have a lot to do with Sergio Aguero’s injury.

Branislav Ivanovic is one of the most expensive defenders in the game and is owned by 24 percent of players. He has a lot of points because of his four goals and one assist on the year. Can you really count on that for a defender, though? Two of those goals came in the first two games of the year. He has had more than two Fantasy points just once since Dec. 23. Chelsea’s defense has been a question mark of late, giving up eight goals in their last four matches. Why is he still owned by so many people? He’s a waste of money.

Cases like these can be found across all positions and owners aren’t doing anything about it. They just assume a player is good because of his name or that he has a lot of points and that sooner or later, he’ll come around again. You can’t play Fantasy with that kind of mentality. You need the best possible team every week, not one scattered with underperforming, expensive players.

Here are some guys that are in form and deserve your attention.

Julio Cesar, QPR, GK, 5.0m, 3.8% owned

He has four clean sheets in his last five matches which says everything you need to know. Is there a reason Ben Foster is on more teams that Cesar, yet costs the same? Foster hasn’t had a clean sheet since returning from injury, that’s eight straight games.

How about Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic, who’s owned by over 25 percent of players? A lot of people probably got him when he was cheaper, but he’s 5.8m right now and not everyone got him at the beginning of the year at 4.5m. Stoke’s defense has disappeared in the new year, giving up goals in seven straight games including a stretch of 15 goals in five games. He’s not close to being a good option even with their upcoming schedule.

Ben Davies, Swansea, DEF, 4.6m, 12.9% owned
His ownership rate has picked up a lot lately which is good to see. I say this stat often, the Swans have allowed fewer goals on the road than any other club. They were very close to another clean sheet this past weekend, but Andy Carroll finally stepped up.

Michael Dawson, Tottenham, DEF, 4.5m, 2.3% owned
Why is a starting Spurs defender only on two percent of teams? He’s been injured a lot this year, but he’s probably going to be the starter for the rest of the year as long as he stays healthy. Dawson is by far the cheapest of the bunch on the Spurs backline.

These two players lead to question why Ryan Shawcross is the most owned defender. He falls in line with Begovic. The Stoke defense is in a slump. People have been dropping Shawcross for the past month, but he’s still on close to 29 percent of squads.

Much like Ivanovic, teammate Ashley Cole is also hugely overrated. Chelsea’s defense is in a funk and Cole costs 6.5m, which no one can really justify. He’s on 15.1% of teams.

Frank Lampard, Chelsea, MID, 8.5m, 4.5% owned

Midfielders are a little harder to look at because most of them are living up to their pricing, but one of them that isn’t getting enough attention is Lampard. He is somehow being underrated right now. He and Steven Gerrard have taken a drink from the fountain of youth and are two of the hottest players in the game. Lamps has seven goals in his last eight starts.

On the other end of that is Yaya Toure, who is still on 15 percent of squads even though he’s been away in Africa for the past few weeks. Even so, he’s played in 800 more minutes than Lampard and has less Fantasy Points. Toure is a great player, but not overwhelming in Fantasy. He costs the same as Marouane Fellaini (last week’s Fantasy leader) and is only 0.8m cheaper than Lampard. Why spend good money on a player that isn’t worth it?

Another midfielder that can be looked at is recent transfer Moussa Sissoko, who is very close to being a forward for Newcastle. While he’s only played in two Premier League matches, he’s already shown what he can do with two goals and an assist. At only 6.0m, a lot of people will be looking to add him to their squads.

Victor Anichebe, Everton, FOR, 4.4m, 2.4% owned

The fact that he’s still owned by less than three percent of people is mind boggling. Not only does he have three goals and four assists in his last eight matches, he has sort of taken over Nikica Jelavic’s spot as Everton’s starting striker. The guy is currently at 4.4m. He would be your third forward and he’s doing better than Demba Ba (26.9% owned) at Chelsea. I told everyone Ba was overrated a few weeks ago and he’s only backed up my statement with just one league goal in a Blues uniform.

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, FOR, 6.6m, 5.1% owned

I already mentioned how there are a lot of overrated forwards in the game. Benteke is probably the most underrated of them all, mainly because no one is paying attention to Villa as they are headed for relegation. Benteke has been a great option almost all season long and he’s only getting better. He has six goals and an assist in his last five matches. Villa has not won any of those games, but he’s still fighting.

It makes you wonder what people are actually looking at when setting their lineups and making transfers. Benteke is on 17 percent less squads than Tevez, it makes absolutely no sense. The season is running to an end, don’t be stuck with overpriced, overrated players at the end of the year.

WEEKLY TIP

There are no weekly rankings because you should pick up all of the players I listed above. Also, there’s only one thing you need to know this week, Liverpool and Swansea have a double gameweek.

Liverpool gets two home games against West Brom and Swansea. Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard will be at the top of a lot of lists this week. At 5.0m, Jamie Carragher is also a good grab as he’s started in three straight matches.

Swansea gets QPR at home and then travels to Liverpool a week later. QPR has had trouble scoring and now there are rumors of Loic Remy being out for up to two months. The Swansea backline already got enough promotion from me, but Gerhard Tremmel could also be a good pick at keeper if Michel Vorm misses more time. I talked badly about Michu earlier, but with two matches this might be time for him to break out of his slump. If you go the cheaper route, the Swans have four other viable midfielders that cost less than 6.0m.

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

 

  1. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
  2. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
  3. Robin van Persie, Man United
  4. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  5. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  6. Wayne Rooney, Man United

 

Suarez didn’t get anything last week at Manchester City, but it’s almost a certainty that he will in these next two home matches. If you have Suarez, you are captaining him even if RVP is in your squad. In his last three home games, Suarez has four goals and two assists.

Gerrard, who is suddenly the No. 2 overall midfielder, is right behind Suarez for the armband. Just take a look at his goal against City and you won’t have any questions about him. Much like Suarez at home, Stevie G has three goals and four assists in his last four home matches.

Once again RVP was held without a goal or assist, however he surprisingly finished with three bonus points against Fulham. Rooney has taken the lead as of late, but it’s unlikely Van Persie will go three straight matches without hitting the score sheet, especially with a home match. Everton just gave up three goals to Aston Villa if that says anything about their defense at the moment.

Any other week, Mata might be the No. 1 captain option with the way he’s playing. He’s the top midfielder by 18 Fantasy Points and isn’t slowing down even after picking up a knock on his ankle last week. The Spaniard has a goal in three straight matches and now gets a weak Wigan defense at Stamford Bridge.

Bale is carrying Spurs on his back with two vital goals in the past two weeks. They return home to face a hot Newcastle club that just took out Chelsea. Bale’s speed is unmatched and this one could turn out to be an up-and-down, higher scoring game. Tottenham’s last four matches have resulted in just five total goals, but Newcastle’s play as of late should provide for more excitement.

Rooney had to make this list because he’s at home and has scored United’s last three goals. Although I still wouldn’t put him over RVP for captaining.

*Stats up-to-date as of Feb. 4

@RotoZdroik

Adam joined RotoExperts in 2008 as a member of the Scout/Player Updates Team. Throughout the years, Adam has written articles encompassing a number of sports. If you like your Fantasy advice full of numbers and straight to the point, look no further. Find him (@RotoZdroik) on Twitter, to get a daily take of what’s happening in the sports world

GW24/GW25 Wrapped up and Delivered: Guest Post from @RotoZdroik

Guest Post from www.RotoExperts.com

Don’t forget to check out the official FantasyYIRMA preview also available now “GW25 Gareth Bale to sting the Hawthorns”

GW24/GW25 Wrapped up and Delivered

We’re in super speed this week as there are only two days between Gameweek 24 and Gameweek 25. Here is a very quick 10-game review from the midweek matches.

Villa headed toward relegation. Newcastle is alive. QPR playing tough. Man City lackluster. Stoke City lost its defense. Wigan still fighting. Sunderland needs another scorer. Swansea is better than you think. Arsenal comeback. Liverpool lose two points. Everton led by Baines. West Brom still struggling. Norwich shows some life. Tottenham saved by Bale. Fulham better at home. West Ham terrible on road. Man United likes playing from behind. Southampton not an easy win. Reading has another ridiculous come back. Chelsea has another late draw.

See? Now you know everything that happened on Tuesday and Wednesday and it only took a minute.

FORM AND FIXTURES

Here are seven clubs that I would like to highlight because you need to pay attention to them for Fantasy purposes.

The first four are known commodities and are at the top of the table for a reason. The bottom three are not talked about enough and deserve some mentioning.

Club

Last 6 Matches

Random Stat Fixtures
Manchester United

16

Last loss: Nov. 17 at FUL, vs. EVE, at QPR
Manchester City

13

4 wins last 5 matches vs. LIV, at SOT, vs. CHE
Tottenham

12

3 straight draws at WBA, vs. NEW, at WH
Everton

11

1 loss in last 12 vs. AVL, at MUN, at NOR
Reading

11

1 loss in last 6 vs. SUN, at STK, vs. WIG
Swansea

10

9 goals allowed on road at WH, vs. QPR/at LIV
QPR

6

Unbeaten in 4 straight vs. NOR, at SWA, vs. MUN

 

I’m starting with QPR first because no one is talking about them. No one gave QPR a chance against Manchester City and yet they stopped the giants from scoring. Of course if you listened to Premier League Plus last Friday, you wouldn’t have been high as on City as we predicted a draw.

 

I’ll start with their defense. Julio Cesar may be old, but he’s still a great keeper. Why else is Real Madrid trying to pick him up? QPR now has three clean sheets in their last four matches. More importantly, those three clean sheets have come against Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City. No one else in the league has had a similar stretch.

 

On the other end of that, their offense has been struggling, but still gets some looks. Adel Taarabt is their best attacker and had a few chances against City. At 5.7m he is still a great value. Loic Remy scored in his debut and also deserves a look.

 

Get a Swansea defender on your squad. In 12 road matches, they have allowed just nine goals, best in the Premier League. It wouldn’t hurt to add one of their defenders who are all under 5.0m. Ben Davies is the most desirable as he gets forward a lot. One thing to keep an eye on is Michel Vorm and his transfer status. There are reports that Man United and Barcelona are fighting for the keeper. That would mean that Gerhard Tremmel would get the permanent job in net at 4.1m. Also, they have a double in Gameweek 26 so that’s something to prepare for.

 

One of the bigger surprises in the above table is that Everton and Reading have the same amount of points in their last six matches. The overall difference is that Everton has a 12-spot lead in the main table.

 

Reading has a favorable upcoming schedule, which only helps. They have two home matches against Sunderland and Wigan and then go on the road to a struggling Stoke. Adam Le Fondre has not started in a while, but he has five goals in the last three matches. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get the start against Sunderland. Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak also deserve a look. If you need a fifth defender, there’s no reason not to go for someone on their back line as they are all 4.0m or less.

 

Tottenham still needs to be looked at even though they are coming off three straight draws. Their next three opponents (WBA, Newcastle, West Ham) have been struggling and that should open for at least one or two wins in the upcoming stretch. Michael Dawson is a great value at 4.5m and should be looked at no matter what your situation.

 

Looking at the two Manchester’s, the safe route will be to go for United players. They get Everton, Fulham and QPR while City has to face Liverpool, Chelsea and then Southampton on the road.

 

The conversation between Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie has never been stronger after Rooney nabbed a brace against Southampton. As he is a little cheaper, there is a good reason for people to get Rooney over RVP. Here’s some more reasoning behind that decision.

 

Take a look at my rankings below and some of the points I just made are reflected into them. Cesar and Tremmel are at the top of the goalkeepers list for a reason. Those are just two examples, but there are plenty more players to get on clubs you normally don’t think about.

 

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. Julio Cesar, QPR, 4.9m, vs. Norwich
  2. Gerhard Tremmel, Swansea, 4.1m, at West Ham
  3. Tim Howard, Everton, 5.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, vs. Liverpool
  5. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, at Fulham


Defenders

  1. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, at Fulham
  3. Ben Davies, Swansea, 4.3m, at West Ham
  4. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, vs. Liverpool
  5. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.1m, at Newcastle
  6. Fabio, QPR, 4.2m, vs. Norwich
  7. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Stoke City
  8. Phil Jagielka, Everton, 6.0m, vs. Aston Villa
  9. Phil Jones, Man United, 5.6m, at Fulham
  10. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at West Brom


Midfielders

  1. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.1m, at Newcastle
  2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.4m, vs. Stoke City
  3. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.8m, at West Brom
  4. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.6m, vs. Aston Villa
  5. Adel Taarabt, QPR, 5.7m, vs. Norwich
  6. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Liverpool
  7. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool, 9.4m, at Man City
  8. Michu, Swansea, 8.3m, at West Ham
  9. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.5m, at Newcastle
  10. Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, 6.6m, vs. Chelsea


Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.1m, at Fulham
  2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.5m, at Man City
  3. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Newcastle
  4. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, at Fulham
  5. Carlos Tevez, Man City, 8.9m, vs. Liverpool
  6. Sergio Aguero, Man City, 10.9m, vs. Liverpool
  7. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Stoke City
  8. Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham, 8.2m, at West Brom
  9. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, at Everton
  10. Adam Le Fondre, Reading, 4.7m, vs. Sunderland
  11. Rickie Lambert, Southampton, 6.4m, at Wigan
  12. Steven Fletcher, Sunderland, 7.1m, at Reading

 

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United
  2. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  3. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  4. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  5. Luis Suarez, Liverpool

 

My captain rankings look very similar to last week’s. This is mainly because we are more than halfway through the campaign and we know who the best players are. In addition to that, the big name players are all performing up to their potential ,which never seems to happen. Of course after saying this, one of these guys will get hurt or go on a cold streak.

 

Surprisingly, the only player that didn’t back up my rankings last week was RVP. He had a few chances, but was denied by keeper Artur Boruc. While his 10-game scoring streak was snapped, you don’t have to worry about him because of that. No one else in the league has had a 10-game scoring stretch. Van Persie had to be stopped at some point. Fulham plays solid defense at home, but that shouldn’t matter against the Red Devils.

 

Mata had a slow start to the season, which saw his value dip as low as 8.9m. Hopefully, you picked him up then because his value has only gone up since. The Spaniard now costs 10.1m and for good reason. He has at least two bonus points in six of his last nine matches. That usually means good things. Chelsea is on the road, but I wouldn’t put money on Newcastle holding them to a clean sheet.

 

Walcott deserves the next spot in my rankings for two reasons: He’s on fire and Stoke’s defense has been non-existent as of late. Walcott has now scored in three straight matches and has seven goals and five assists in the past eight games. Once a solid defense, Stoke City has allowed 15 goals in their last five matches.

 

Gareth Bale is fast and he has a great left foot. That was all on display in his equalizer scored at Norwich on Wednesday. Spurs are on the road again and against a very questionable defense in West Brom. While the Baggies are in the top half of the table, they have allowed more goals than any other club also in that position.

 

I pondered leaving Suarez off this list mainly because Man City has four straight clean sheets. The problem with that is they haven’t played Luis Suarez in those games. Suarez is on fire with six goals in his last five matches. City has to give up a goal at some point.

*Stats up-to-date as of Jan. 30

(ed. Since time of article, it now looks as if Mata may miss the GW25 fixture)

By @RotoZdroik

About the Author

Adam joined RotoExperts in 2008 as a member of the Scout/Player Updates Team. Throughout the years, Adam has written articles encompassing a number of sports. If you like your Fantasy advice full of numbers and straight to the point, look no further. Find him (@RotoZdroik) on Twitter, to get a daily take of what’s happening in the sports world.

Fantasy Premier League: Tips out for YIRMA

Tips out for Yirma

Don’t forget to check out the official FantasyYIRMA preview also available now “GW25 Gareth Bale to sting the Hawthorns”

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Both @pedro_lamb and @mark_jones86 reckon Arry’s wheeling and dealing won’t save QPR from a loss to Norwich

GAMEWEEK 25

Here within the Fantasy Yirma administration team, we like to pretend we have money. With that in mind we have devised a FY Tipster selection competition.

The loser from the Admin team at the end of the season will pay the £50 prize fund for the mini league!!

Here’s the current standings after Gameweek 24:

FY Tipster GW24 Spend GW24 Return Total Spend Total Return  Difference
@pedro_lamb £30  £28 £720 £761.28 +£41.28
@mark_jones86 £30  £0 £720 £527.19 -£192.81
@ryano83 £30  £0 £720 £803.66 +£83.66

Rules

Each player must place three £10 bets (Monopoly) per gameweek. (SINGLES ONLY/ PL Only)

The bet can be on any individual result/market/outcome with the only proviso being that you must stipulate the odds at time of selection submission and it must be from the same odds provider.

In practice this means your three £10 bets can be across three fixtures or three markets within one match.

Get your tips out for Yirma!!!

Gameweek 25 tips:

@pedro_lamb

£10 Norwich (-2.0) to beat QPR 25/1

£10 Stoke to beat Arsenal 7/1

£10 Fulham v Man Utd Draw 3/1

@mark_jones86

£10 Norwich to beat QPR 3/1

£10 Newcastle to beat Chelsea & Papiss Cisse to score anytime 6/1

£10 Luis Suarez anytime goalscorer (Man City v Liverpool) 15/8

@ryano83

£10 Southampton to beat Wigan 5/2

£10 QPR to score the first goal v Norwich after minute 28 23/10

£10 Spurs (-1.0) to beat West Brom 3/1

We want to hear your thoughts.. Drop your bets in the comment section below…

Fantasy Premier League: GW24 Insight from @RotoZdroik

The guest posts have been coming through thick and fast of late and here at FantasyYIRMA we always welcome good content!

Adam is a staff writer from www.RotoExperts.com – an extremely well respected Fantasy sports site based in the USA. Delighted to feature his thoughts on the upcoming fixtures in GW24.

As always if you have an article you would like to feature on FantasyYIRMA email Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com or contact us via twitter @FantasyYIRMA to discuss.

The Return of Steven Gerrard

FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Maybe Demba Ba isn’t worth it.

Wait, what?! Am I saying that the 500,000 people that grabbed Ba last week made a mistake? Yes, sort of.

Ba basically started in every match at Newcastle because he was their best chance at scoring. Chelsea plays more games (FA Cup, Capital One Cup, Europa League) and has a deeper roster. Ba will not be starting every match, which is what we saw this past weekend. Fernando Torres was rested for a few games, but got the start against Arsenal. Ba will definitely get his chances to score, but at 8.9m do 37 percent of owners need him on their roster? No. Forwards like Rickie Lambert, Christian Benteke and Dimitar Berbatov will get more playing time and score plenty at a cheaper value.

Don’t spend on defence.

This wasn’t really something we just found out, but it’s still important and something you need to know. Look at these numbers at each position.

No. 5 Goalkeeper: Jussi Jaaskelainen, 83 Fantasy Points
No. 15 Goalkeeper: Ben Foster, 54 FP (29-point difference)

No. 5 Defender: Daniel Agger, 84 FP
No. 30 Defender: Ashley Williams, 62 FP (22-point difference)

No. 5 Midfielder: Eden Hazard, 122 FP
No. 30 Midfielder: Damien Duff, 72 FP (50-point difference)

No. 5 Forward: Steven Fletcher, 112 FP
No. 20 Forward: Peter Crouch, 74 FP (38-point difference)

I used different numbers at GK and FOR because obviously, there are fewer players at those positions. It’s pretty evident where you want to spend your money and it’s not either defensive position. Going even further for goalkeepers, Joe Hart costs between 1-2m more than every other GK in the game and he’s still only the third best.

Why is Leighton Baines the third most owned defender when he’s also the most expensive? He’s not RVP. Everton actually had a streak of 16 straight games without a clean sheet which makes that even more questionable. Save a couple million and buy someone like Joey O’Brien who only has 16 less FP. That price is the difference between having Suarez or Nikica Jelavic on your squad. That’s a big difference.

 steven_Gerrard

Steven Gerrard looks to be back to his golden days. Photo Credit: Ruaraidh Gillies

Midfield is the way to go.
Van Persie and Luis Suarez are the top strikers in the Fantasy game, far and away. Those two have a chance at scoring in every single match no matter where or who they play.

I mentioned Ba earlier, who’s the second most owned forward. Carlos Tevez, Jermaine Defoe and Fernando Torres are next in line in ownership percentages. Tevez has fallen off lately and is getting outscored by Edin Dzeko as of late, not to mention Sergio Aguero just returned from injury. Defoe has one goal in his last eight starts, which isn’t going to cut it. Torres is Torres.

Why not focus on the top echelon of midfielders who have been dominant this season? Mata leads the way along with teammate Eden Hazard. Gareth Bale is always a threat and Theo Walcott is playing in a new role and is scoring for fun. The latest Spaniards to have taken the Premier League by storm are Michu and Santi Cazorla.

I can keep going with this list too. David Silva. Marouane Fellaini has been great this year. Aaron Lennon is having one of his best years in the BPL. Adel Taarabt has bonus points in five of his last seven matches.

The return of Leiva Lucas has given Steven Gerrard a more attacking role and he’s relishing it, looking like the Gerrard from his 2008-09 days. This current scoring version of Gerrard, we have not seen in a long, long time. All of a sudden, Stevie G has four goals and eight assists in his last 10 games. He had just two goals and three assists in the first 13 games. In the two previous campaigns, he had combined for only nine goals and seven assists. We are now in the days of Gerrard.

There are so many midfielder options right now that you should be starting four or five every week and if you aren’t, you’ll be left in the dust.

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, vs. Southampton
  2. Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, at QPR
  3. Asmir Begovic, Stoke City, 5.8m, vs. Wigan
  4. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham, 5.9m, at Norwich
  5. Petr Cech, Chelsea, 6.4m, at Reading

Defenders

  1. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, vs. Southampton
  2. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, at QPR
  3. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.1m, at Reading
  4. Phil Jones, Man United, 5.6m, vs. Southampton
  5. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, vs. West Brom
  6. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at Norwich
  7. Glen Johnson, Liverpool, 6.4m, at Arsenal
  8. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Liverpool
  9. Sascha Riether, Fulham, 5.0m, vs. West Ham
  10. Ben Davies, Swansea, 4.3m, at Sunderland

Midfielders

  1. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.0m, at Reading
  2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.4m, vs. Liverpool
  3. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, at QPR
  4. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.8m, at Norwich
  5. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool, 9.4m, at Arsenal
  6. Michu, Swansea, 8.3m, at Sunderland
  7. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.6m, vs. West Brom
  8. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.4m, at Reading
  9. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham, 7.2m, at Norwich
  10. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.4m, at Reading

Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.1m, vs. Southampton
  2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.5m, at Arsenal
  3. Edin Dzeko, Man City, 7.5m, at QPR
  4. Carlos Tevez, Man City, 8.9m, at QPR
  5. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, vs. Newcastle
  6. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, vs. Southampton
  7. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Reading
  8. Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 9.5m, at Reading
  9. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Liverpool
  10. Nikica Jelavic, Everton, 8.0m, vs. West Brom

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United
  2. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  3. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
  4. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  5. David Silva, Man City

Robin van Persie will be playing at home against a club that has allowed the second most goals on the road this season. It doesn’t get any better than that. RVP has 10 goals in his last 10 league matches to go with four assists. He leads the Premier League in goals and has the second most assists for a forward.

While there are some nice matchups this week, it might be harder than you’d think for choosing your captain outside of RVP. Man City has a tricky road battle against a QPR side that has been playing well. Arsenal and Liverpool face each other at the Emirates. Tottenham travel to Norwich, a team that’s struggling, but has also only allowed 13 goals in 11 home matches. Chelsea have what looks to be an easy match at Reading, but the Royals have been playing well as of late, winning three straight matches in all competitions.

Reading may be playing better, but I’m still going with Mata as the second best captain this week. He’s been extremely consistent as of late with four goals and five assists in his past nine matches. That includes a goal or assist in five straight road games.

This next choice is the toughest. I’m going with Luis Suarez because I think there will be goals in that game and he and Daniel Sturridge will cause problems all day for the Gunners back line. Not to mention Suarez is on fire with six goals and two assists in his last six games.

Walcott is in that same conversation with Suarez. He’s playing a more central role which has opened up opportunities for him. He’s scored at least six Fantasy Points in six of his last seven matches and one of those was a 26-point outburst. Liverpool has been better defensively in recent weeks, but this road test could bring trouble.

My last choice goes to David Silva. He deserves it after last week’s two-goal performance against Fulham. The absence of Yaya Toure allowed him more range in front of the net. Even though QPR will be a tough task, City should be able to score at least once and Silva will be around it.

*Stats up-to-date as of Jan. 28

By @RotoZdroik

About the Author

Adam joined RotoExperts in 2008 as a member of the Scout/Player Updates Team. Throughout the years, Adam has written articles encompassing a number of sports. If you like your Fantasy advice full of numbers and straight to the point, look no further. Find him (@RotoZdroik) on Twitter, to get a daily take of what’s happening in the sports world.

 

FA Cup magic makes FPL points disappear!

With it being an FA Cup weekend there is excitement, supposed magic in the air and the potential for some major upsets and great fixtures. It does mean however that there are no Premier League fixtures this week so no Fantasy Premier League. There will be a full GW22 preview coming in time for next weekend and a club insight article from Fantasy Yirma ‘Pundit’ @Mark_Jones86.

 

For keen FPL managers all eyes will surely be watching out for the final score coming from St. Mary’s Stadium this weekend. Southampton take on Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday with both teams aware that they will play each other in the league in GW22 thanks to their rearranged fixture.

 

This match will only go ahead however if it is not a stalemate in the Cup game. In this scenario the FA Cup game would be replayed on January 16th instead of the rearranged league fixture.

 

Fingers are crossed that there will be a winner in the cup game between Southampton and Chelsea meaning that GW22 suddenly turns into a Double Gameweek!

 

Southampton are away to Aston Villa and Chelsea are away to Stoke in GW22 at the minute – throw in the potential for a Chelsea / Southampton game and suddenly we are faced with FPL questions like “Should I take a chance on Torres?” and “RAFA ROTATION….Which of his bucket-load of midfielders will get the gametime across a double gameweek??”

That is just the starting point.. Fonte , Puncheon  and Lambert all have merit for consideration in the event of a DGW…

Combine this with the fact that GW23 sees Arsenal and West Ham with a DGW, the African Cup of Nations kicks off this month and the small matter that a January Wildcard is now available and to be perfectly honest – It’s probably a good thing there is no Premier League fixtures this weekend!!

There are difficult decisions ahead.

 

 

However while there may be a few challenges in the next few GWs for everyone, it is a proud day for the team at Fantasy Yirma. The FY mini-league has made it into the top 5 “best leagues” on the official fantasy.premierleague.com website.

FY

FYI: Our mini- league is still open for anyone to join and have a go, but be warned…the standard is extremely high…

 

 

Completely FREE to PLAY with £50 for the winner. The official Fantasy Yirma mini-league is still available to join!!

 Click the red picture below to Join.

 

 Ayw09AaCIAAzxAc.png large

 

It is great to see so many people involved in our league doing so well. Looking at the players who make up the top 15 of the Fantasy Yirma mini-league and it is extemely impressive that all of them are in the top 1000 globally out of more than 2.5m players that is certainly an achievement! Leading the charge in our league is team Wallofame who is having a great season so far sitting on 1,314 points which is 28th in the entire game…

 

  # Team Manager GW TOT
1 Wallofame Sir Alex Jnr 92 1,314
2 Ravel M FC Saugaat Ranjan 79 1,313
3 Rocky’s X1 Rocky Ogle 79 1,305
4 Fluorescent Lampards Eli Lourie 69 1,284
5 TerrorToon joe p 78 1,277
6 Colbert Nation Tom Kingscott 93 1,277
7 The Cucking Funts Richard James 64 1,265
8 Anthony’s Wingers Didier Drogba 94 1,264
9 juniors Ray Harding 81 1,263
10 Nortei Nortey Chris Galloway 85 1,262
11 Skycat Richie Browne 78 1,258
12 DreamKillers Sarnab Das 87 1,257
13 real kaka krakers mell hyzam 78 1,251
14 Grande Elias Team Jorge Pacao 78 1,249
15 [MUSVN] Tom Nguyen Bui Huynh 104 1,246

 

 

So enjoy the magic of the FA Cup this weekend because next week – FPL is back…and back with a potential DGW vengeance.

 

Ryan

 

@FantasyYirma

Chelsea: Three is the magic number

Image

For Chelsea fans, the good things are coming in threes.

The club have won three of the last eight Premier league titles, there’s only been once this season when they didn’t take three points from a league game, and they’ve only conceded three goals at home and three goals away during their unbeaten first eight league fixtures.

Key to that success has been the terrific trio of attacking midfielders who appear to have the fate of their side at their feet.

In Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar the Blues possess the kind of talents that the rest of the Premier League can only dream of owning.

They don’t come cheap of course – with the trio costing around £80million to unite – but with Mata the oldest at 24 and Hazard and Oscar both just 21 it’s not inconceivable to believe that they’ll all be strutting their stuff at Stamford Bridge for the best part of the next decade. If you’re a Chelsea fan and that didn’t get you licking your lips then I suggest you might like to try another sport.

All three stars have taken the spotlight at some stage already this season, with Hazard shining in his first weeks in English football, Oscar delivering a scintillating Champions League debut at home to Juventus and Mata currently enjoying the limelight thanks to a series of impressive displays and goals over the past few weeks.

The Spaniard had a restricted beginning to 2012/13 following a 12 months which saw him complete his debut Premier League campaign, become an FA Cup and Champions League winner, score in and win the Euro 2012 final and then compete for his country at the Olympic Games, but now his true quality is shining through and Chelsea are reaping the benefits.

The manner in which his two goals transformed last weekend’s 2-1 deficit at Tottenham into a 3-2 lead had a kind of quality about it that you often only associate with championship winning teams, and if Chelsea carry on like this for much longer then it surely can’t be long before they are installed as favourites to win the league ahead of the Manchester clubs.

The chance to get one over on one of them comes on Sunday when Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge for probably the biggest game of Hazard and Oscar’s fledgling Chelsea careers so far.

The Belgian and the Brazilian might have been playing second and third fiddle to Mata’s leading man in recent weeks, but all three have the quality to decide a game which, given United’s recent defensive problems, looks to be Chelsea’s for the taking regardless of their Champions League loss in Donetsk on Tuesday night.

The attacking nature of his trio might have led Roberto di Matteo to occasionally rein them in, but the platform provided by the solidity of John Obi Mikel and the energy of Ramires behind them allows Chelsea’s fab three to be let off their leashes. It is a setup which means that the pressure to score goals isn’t suffocating Fernando Torres the way it used to do, whilst it’s also made Frank Lampard realise that he might as well start getting comfortable on the substitute’s bench.

Di Matteo has fielded the three stars in matches at Arsenal and Tottenham this season, and so a home game against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side isn’t likely to see him abandon the approach.

Beat United and Chelsea suddenly go seven points clear of them, whilst increasing their opponents’ league defeats this season to three.

There’s that number again. Chelsea fans won’t tire of seeing it throughout the season.

By the end of it though, if their star trio can keep on performing there is every chance that they’ll see their team at number one.   

@Mark_Jones86

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