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Off the Mark: Demba Ba deserves moments in the spotlight, now he needs to leave Chelsea to find more

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group E - Chelsea v Steaua Bucharest - Stamford Bridge

Less is more, some say. It’s why there were only ever 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers and 14 of The Office. As another well-worn saying goes, always leave them laughing.

Sometimes though, just leaving them full stop is the best option.

Up until the past week, Demba Ba has been Chelsea’s best-paid supporter this season, the Senegalese forward afforded one of the best seats in the house as he got to watch Eden Hazard, Oscar and the like strut their stuff and make prolonged assaults on winning both the Premier League and Champions League.

Sure, Ba would get a chance to get onto the pitch occasionally – a few minutes here, a couple of touches there, two goals against Tottenham Hotspur, you know, the usual stuff – but he wasn’t really part of the team. He wasn’t really part of Jose Mourinho’s plans. He was just there. Another name, another number, another pay cheque to a club who can afford to dole out as many as they want.

Mourinho, utilising that special ability he has to put himself at the front and centre of each and every thing that his team does, has often been critical of his forwards this season, but you got the sense that he was never really singling out Ba. Doing so would be like blaming a weatherman for global warming, or Brazil for the Cuban Missile Crisis. It would just look out of place.

Coming off the back of his priceless strike against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, the winning goal that Ba scored against Swansea in the Premier League last weekend was absolutely vital to Chelsea’s title hopes. It has put those hopes back in their own hands, with logic now dictating that a win at Liverpool in 11 days’ time would see them become favourites again.

The Liberty Stadium saw what was only Ba’s third Premier League start of the season, whilst he scored his fourth goal. It was a big goal, but if Chelsea are to overhaul Liverpool and win the league, then how much of a part has he actually played?

The same can be said of the Champions League run too, as we now have the bizarre notion that Chelsea’s two most important goals of the season were scored by a man who has barely featured.

If, as expected, both Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o depart the club in the summer, with a shiny new £50m+ forward brought in – a Diego Costa or a Radamel Falcao – then Ba might well be put under pressure to stay and play second fiddle again. Chelsea would undoubtedly want him too.

But the forward is far too good a player to be forced into this situation again, and regardless of what the club say to him he should look to escape through the transfer window once it opens.

Ba could take inspiration from the man he effectively replaced at Stamford Bridge, Daniel Sturridge, who sensed an opportunity to leave and join a club and manager who believed in him in Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers.

As we saw at Newcastle, a fit, firing and most importantly selected Ba can be one of the best forwards in the Premier League, and he is certain to have more than a few suitors. Everton, should they be unable to secure Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea permanently, and Tottenham, if they are going to give up on the disastrous Roberto Soldado experiment, immediately spring to mind.

Perhaps Ba will decide that he’s had enough of England and leave for pastures new, but that would be a huge shame for Premier League fans if he does.

The forward is a player who deserves to be seen, to be appreciated, and most of all to play.

Come the summer he’ll find himself at front and centre of the shop window, and must hope for a caring buyer.

***

Norwich think it’s all over…

I was at the Fulham v Norwich game on Saturday, and whilst the 90 minutes itself wasn’t the most enthralling, what was perhaps most important was the reaction of the Norwich players come full-time.

Upon the final whistle, the likes of Nathan Redmond, Robert Snodgrass and Martin Olsson looked shell-shocked, with some sinking to their knees. It was as though the club had already been relegated.

With fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to come, many think they already have of course, but is there not the possibility that they could pick up a couple of points somewhere there?

Judging by those reactions, some of the players think they are down already.

***

Fulham can fire at Spurs

West Brom were seconds away from landing our bet last weekend only for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen to equalise late on, and we’re going to take on Spurs again on Saturday.

Fulham make the trip to White Hart Lane desperate for points, and they can pick up something at a ground they won at last season.

If you’re feeling brave, BetMclean.com have Felix Magath’s side at 5/1 to win, although the 11/8 Draw or Fulham Double Chance might be the way to go. They are also 10/3 to win on the Draw No Bet market.

@Mark_Jones86

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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: Bonus Point Review

GW26 Bonus Points

So after all 11 fixtures scheduled for GW26 the completed batch of bonus points have been released.

Bale and Michu will be popular choices for 3 bonus points this week. RVP gets the 3 point award for today’s game against Everton also and this will no doubt be good news to the huge 40% + ownership who own the Dutchman. After consecutive gameweeks without a goal RVP returned to normality this afternoon with a goal and an assist.

Benteke with a goal and 2 BP’s is certainly building on his growing reputation and for Chelsea, Eden Hazard returned from suspension with a Goal, assist and 3 bonus points to round off a great performance.

Davis and Lambert both benefited from Southampton’s fantastic victory against City yesterday also.

As per usual, we would like to hear from you… Who got bonus points that shouldn’t have??

Already there have been grumbles heard about how Ramsey ended up with 3BP’s and Cazorla ?? Do you agree/Disagree.

Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

With Liverpool still to play twice and West Brom and Swansea in action also, GW26 is shaping up to provide some big #FPL scores. How is your team doing so far – tweet us your scores @FantasyYIRMA

@Ryano83

About us

FantasyYIRMA.com established in 2012, is a niche Fantasy Football site focused on providing news, views and insight for the English Premier League. Solid gameweek articles and Club features in addition to a top ranked free to play mini-league makes #FY a must read Fantasy source! Find us on twitter @FantasyYIRMA

Tottenham 2-1 Newcastle

Bonus:

3 BALE

2 DAWSON

1 PARKER

Chelsea 4-1 Wigan

Bonus:

3 Hazard

2 Apilicueta

1 Ramires

Norwich 0-0 Fulham

Bonus

3 Sidwell

2 Hangeland

2 Garrido

2 Turner

Stoke 2-1 Reading

Bonus:

3 Whelan

2 Huth

1 Mariappa

Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal

Bonus:

3 Ramsey

2 Walcott

1 Arteta

 

Swansea 4-1 QPR

Bonus:

3 Michu

2 Hernandez

1 Rangel

 

Southampton 3-1 Manchester City

Bonus:

3 Davis

2 Lambert

1 Dzeko

Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham

Bonus:

3 N’Zogbia

2 Benteke

1 Westwood

Manchester United 2-0 Everton

Bonus:

3 Van Persie

2 Cleverley

2 Giggs

Liverpool 0-2 West Brom

Bonus:

3 McAuley

2 Mulumbu

1 Foster

Liverpool 5-0 Swansea

Bonus:

3 Enrique

2 Suarez

1 Sturridge

 

 Still time to join the FantasyYirma mini-league!!

You can still join the #FantasyYirma mini-league – be warned the competition is tough! The FantasyYirma mini-league is one of the TOP RANKED  in the overall game! Click the link below to Join.

The Official FantasyYirma League is FREE  TO PLAY and has a £50 cash prize for the winner.

Click to Join. http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/15005/join/?autojoin-code=44397-15005

The prize money is provided by the FY Admin team member with the lowest total score at the end of the season…

To take £50 off your mate in a bet is fun- to make him sponsor the league for an entire season …is funnier.

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

January Transfer Window: SLAMMED SHUT!!

Many thanks to the team from @FourFourTweet for submitting this great review of the January Transfer Window

Guest Post by @jonnywarburton

Premier League clubs contemplate future as January Transfer Window concludes.

Deadline day has been and gone with plenty of deals that will impact clubs seasons across the Premier League.

article-2099032-11A71811000005DC-908_468x286

The toughest time to chop and change your squad is in January but many Premier League mangers use this window to bring in extra depth to depleted squads and to find that hidden bargain that can change a season’s fortune. Plenty of teams have been busy over the last couple of weeks and here is the summary of the key ins and outs at every Premier League side.

Arsenal

monreal_1665301a

Current League Position 6th

Arsenal failed to bring in more than one senior player despite persistent links with Barcelona striker David Villa. Nacho Monreal was added late on in the window to provide significant quality at the LB position. Arsenal fans have been crying out for several new signings that will help lift the gunners into the champions league places. Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to spend significantly signals a very frustrating end to the January transfer window.

Verdict

They needed a couple of quality players and to ship out the dead wood from years ago, Monreal is a nice pick up and should adapt to the Premier League well.

5/10

Players IN: Nacho Monreal (10m)

Players OUT: Johan Djourou (Loan), Marouane Chamakh (Loan), Chuks Aneke (Loan), Emmanuel Frimpong (Loan)

Aston Villa

Current League Position 19th

Villa failed to strengthen an inexperienced squad with only one senior signing through Ligue 2 forward Sylla. It is tough to see the Villa staying up with such little experience throughout the spine of the squad. Premier League experience was a must as other relegation candidates spend the cash in a bid to stay up

Verdict

Failed to address the need for experienced players which could cost them their place in the Premier League. Defensive and Midfield quality was a must but instead an unproven Frenchman fits the bill.

1/10

Players IN: Yacouba Sylla (2m) Simon Dawkins (Loan)

Players OUT: Stephen Warnock

Chelsea

demba

Current League Position 3rd

The signing of Demba Ba from Newcastle United was the main signing for the European champions who replace outgoing Daniel Sturridge. Ba proved to be a hit on Tyneside and the talented Senegalese international will be looking to compete with out of sorts Fernando Torres for a regular spot in the Chelsea line up.

Verdict

With Benitez only seen as ‘Interim’ manager, there wasn’t much surprise that the blues didn’t bring in more players to complement their squad.

5/10

Players IN: Demba Ba (7m)

Players OUT: Lucas Piazon (Loan), Sam Walker (Loan)  Billy Clifford (Loan)  Todd Kane (Loan)  Daniel Sturridge 12m, Patrick Bamford (Loan)

Everton

Current League Position 5th

The toffees took the approach of if it’s not broke don’t fix it. They managed to keep hold of key players Baines and Fellaini which will be vital in their push for a European campaign next season. There only addition of the window was young Barnsley defender Stones, who they pipped Wigan Athletic for his signature – one for the future.

Verdict

Quiet window for Everton, which will suit David Moyes down to the ground by keeping his core together.

5/10

Players IN: John Stones (£3m)

Players OUT:  Ross Barkley (Loan) Anton Forrester, Magaye Gueye (Loan)

Fulham

Current League Position 12th

The oldest average aged squad in the league have added younger talents to their side through Frimpong and Emanuelson both on loan. The former Ajax prodigy adds significant experience alongside the midfield powerhouse that is Frimpong. Emanuelson had a OK time in Milan and will be hoping this loan move reignites his career with Fulham. Manolev will offer international experience and is a solid pick up from Holland.

Verdict

Like there two midfield signings in particular and will help bolster the ageing midfield.

6/10

Players IN: Chris David , Emmanuel Frimpong (Loan)  , Urby Emanuelson (Loan) , Stanislav Manolev (Loan)  , Eyong Enoh [loan from Ajax]

Players OUT: David Stockdale (Loan) Stephen Kelly (Loan), Richard Peniket [loan to AFC Telford]

Liverpool

Current League Position 7th

Liverpool splashed the cash for another transfer window with a double swoop of Sturridge and Coutinho. Two quality signings with real technical skill that will be on show for years to come at Anfield. The two young players are the only real business the Reds side have completed despite reported links that Tom Ince was due a return to the club.

Verdict

Spent a lot of money again so it will be interesting to see if it is money well spent, face value looks good.

7/10

Players IN: Daniel Sturridge (£12m), Philippe Coutinho (£8m)

Players OUT: Danny Wilson (Loan), Nuri Sahin , Joe Cole , Adam Morgan (Loan)  , Alexander Doni, Michael Ngoo (Loan)

Manchester City

Current League Position 2nd

 

With no real additions to the Man City squad it is difficult to see City really giving Man Utd something to think about in the final few months of the season. The sale of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan has been met with split views as the hot headed Italian has undeniable talent but an attitude that offers anything from bizarre to crazy just wouldn’t cut it any longer.

Verdict

Relatively quiet month for the club, splashing the cash on a new striker should have been the main focus for the champions to provide significant competition for Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko.

4/10

 

Players IN: Godsway Donyoh

Players OUT: Mario Balotelli (19m) Alex Nimely (Loan)  Godsway Donyoh (Loan) Jeremy Helan (Loan)  Reece Wabara (Loan)

Manchester United

Current League Position 1st

 

The Red Devils sign and loan back Wilfried Zaha to Crystal Palace after beating many top flight clubs for the England internationals signature. The technical winger will become an instant hit at Old Trafford next season with the basis to learn from one of the best managers in the game, the potential is there for Zaha to become a real hit in the North West.

Verdict

Would of liked to of seen a centre midfielder come in to strengthen the squad however the signing of Zaha will prove to be a gamble worth taking.

6/10

Players IN: Wilfried Zaha (£15m)

Players OUT: Davide Petrucci (Loan)  Scott Wootton (Loan)  Robbie Brady, Angelo Henriquez (Loan)  Josh King , Luke McCullough (Loan)  Wilfried Zaha (Loan) Federico Macheda (Loan)

Newcastle

Sissoko

Current League Position 15th

Alan Pardew brought in five senior signings from Ligue 1 which has prompted the call of a French revolution. The signings of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko will be key as both have international pedigree that will emulate the North East club in the coming months. The first French signing of the window was Debuchy from Lille who is well known to be good friends with Yohan Cabaye. A successful window for the magpies as they conclude their business early on.

Verdict

Strengthened squad with real quality players in key areas of the pitch. The bargain of Moussa Sissoko will be the January signing of the window for the Toon – great signing.

9/10

Players IN: Mathieu Debuchy (5m) Kevin Mbabu,  Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara,  Yoan Gouffran , Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (6.7m)

Players OUT: Demba Ba (7m) Conor Newton (Loan)  Xisco, Mehdi Abeid (Loan) Bradden Inman (Loan)

Norwich

Current League Position 14th

Norwich head back to Leeds for another signing with Luciano Becchio the latest export from Elland Road. The Argentine scored a lot of goals in the championship and will prove to be a steady signing for the canaries in an effort to avoid the drop zone.

Verdict

Like the Becchio signing and will be interesting to see how he fairs against top class defenders. Steady Window

5/10

Players IN: Luciano Becchio, Kei Kamara (Loan)

Players OUT: Jacob Butterfield (Loan) Elliott Ward (Loan), Steve Morison, Declan Rudd (Loan), Tom Adeyemi (Loan)

QPR

Current League Position 20th

Rangers add defensive steel through the signing of Chris Samba from money bags Anzhi Makhachkala. The powerful Congo international will prove to be a fantastic purchase in QPR’s bid to avoid relegation. The signing of Samba was prompted due to the retirement of Ryan Nelsen who takes up management with MLS side Toronto FC. Loic Remy swapped the south of France for West London in an £8m move that will provide a genuine goal threat in firing the hoops to safety.

Verdict

Added much needed defensive help which was key to QPR’s transfer window and the experienced Samba will prove to be vital in both penalty areas as the London club attempt to stay up

7/10

Players IN: Loic Remy (8m) Tal Ben Haim, Christopher Samba (12.5) Yun Suk-young, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend (Loan)

Players OUT: Djibril Cisse (Loan)  Frankie Sutherland (Loan)  Michael Harriman (Loan)  Alejandro Faurlin [loan to Palermo], Michael Doughty (Loan)  Anton Ferdinand (Loan)  Jordan Gibbons (Loan)  Rob Hulse (Loan)

Reading

Current League Position 17th

The Royals lie in a delicate position in the table and this has led the club to bring in four players to their first team squad. Reading looked to the lower leagues for the majority of their signings by securing Akpan and Blackman from Crawley and Sheff United respectively. Kelly will add great depth and experience throughout the Reading ranks.

Verdict

Some decent business in this window for the club, still remain to see whether it is will be enough come May.

5/10

Players IN: Daniel Carrico , Stephen Kelly . Hope Akpan , Nick Blackman

Players OUT: Gozie Ugwu (Loan)  Dominic Samuel (Loan)  Jordan Obita (Loan) Michael Hector (Loan)

Southampton

Current League Position 16th

The Saints brought in only one player to help strengthen the defence during the window. Vegard Forren was a man in high demand with Liverpool closely watching the former Molde man. After the departure of Nigel Adkins earlier in the window, it was expected that Pochettino would bring in some of his own players.

Verdict

Expected the new Saints manager to bring in a couple of players but failed dramatically. Will be interesting to see if they have enough in the second part of the season.

3/10

Players IN: Vegard Forren

Players OUT: Dan Seaborne (Loan)  Ryan Dickson (Loan), Sam Hoskins (Loan)  Jonathan Forte (Loan), Steve de Ridder (Loan) Ben Reeves (Loan)

Stoke

Current League Position 10th

The Potters didn’t have too much business to do during January, however the deadline day signing of Birmingham City’s goalkeeper Jack Butland will be a shrewd move. The England international has been in hot demand from the majority of Premier League sides and it was confirmed that he turned down Chelsea. USA international Shea will provide competition down the left hand side of the pitch as the MLS product will look to make his mark.

Verdict

Solid bit of business as Butland will become an International regular for years to come.

6/10

Players IN: Jack Butland (3.5m)  Brek Shea (2.5m)

Players OUT: Michael Tonge, Danny Higginbotham, Rory Delap (Loan) Ryan Brunt, Jack Butland (Loan)  Matthew Upson (Loan)

Sunderland

Current League Position 11th

The Black Cats had a three in three out policy this window with Danny Graham headlining the Sunderland imports. The goal scorer was desperate for a move back to the north east and the signing may highlight a need to help Steven Fletcher out in the goal scoring department.

Verdict

Graham will be a good signing and N’Diaye will provide a dominace in midfield that is much needed for the club.

6/10

Players IN: Kader Mangane (Loan) Alfred N’Diaye, Danny Graham (5m)

Players OUT: Blair Adams, David Meyler (1.5) Ahmed Elmohamady (Loan) Jonny Maddison (Loan) Fraizer Campbell (600k)

Swansea

Current League Position 8th

Swansea City did not bring any players in during the January window however they decided to sell Danny Graham to Sunderland for £5m. Michu still leads the line for the Swans and this was important for Swansea to keep hold of their talisman going into the final months of the season.

Verdict

They have allowed fringe players, to leave, so no major cause for concern.  The Swans just need to keep Michu, injury free, however, the Home fans I am sure would have been hopeful to see an attacking addition to replace Graham and keep Michu company.

4/10

Players IN: N/A

Players OUT: Jamie Proctor,  Danny Graham (5m) Curtis Obeng (Loan) Leroy Lita (Loan), Ashley Richards (Loan), Gwion Edwards (Loan)

Tottenham

 

holtby

 

 Current League Position 4th

AVB beat off competition from many top clubs across the continent by signing German international Lewis Holtby from Schalke 04. English speaking Holtby will offer craft and guile which will provide an added dimension for a loaded squad of attacking talent. A quiet month for Spurs despite their persistent approach for Leandro Damiao that inevitably proved inconclusive in a bizarre transfer saga.

Verdict

Love the Holtby signing but another striker to keep Defoe and Adebayor on their toes would have made it a fantastic window.

8/10

Players IN: Lewis Holtby (1.5m) Zeki Fryers (3m)

Players OUT: Heurelho Gomes (Loan)  Alex Pritchard (Loan)   Jermaine Jenas , Andros Townsend (Loan)  , Tomislav Gomelt (Loan) Simon Dawkins (Loan) , Ryan Mason (Loan)

 West Brom

Current League Position 9th

Very quiet window for West Brom as they held off late interest for want away striker Peter Odemwingie. Sitting steady in mid table, the baggies will look to bolster their squad in the summer.

Verdict

Sold Chris Wood to Leicester but there wasn’t much need to buy after a good start to the season.

4/10

Players IN: Roland Lamah (Loan)

Players OUT: Sam Mantom, Gonzalo Jara, Chris Wood (1m) Dawson (Loan)

West Ham

Current League Position 13th

The Hammers made a couple of signings throughout January and took to the loan market to bolster their squad. West Ham brought Joe Cole back to the club where he made his name. Cole has had a stellar career and the chance to return back to Upton Park proved too much to turn down. Big tackler Pogatetz on loan from Hannover will be a welcome addition to an injury hit defence.

Verdict

Steady if unspectacular business from West Ham, shouldn’t add too much quality to their squad. Cole will be a welcomed signing amongst fans.

4/10

Players IN: Wellington Paulista (Loan) Marouane Chamakh (Loan) Joe Cole, Sean Maguire

Players OUT: Alou Diarra (Loan)  , Stephen Henderson (Loan)

Wigan Athletic

Current League Position 18th

A busy month for Wigan who brought back Paul Scharner on loan from German side Hamburg. The second spell at the DW stadium will prove to be an astute piece of business as they bring in defensive cover for an injury prone defence. The signing of Honduran winger Roger Espinoza from MLS side Sporting Kansas will be a very clever move as a need as he will provide an immediate impact for Roberto Martinez’s side.

Verdict

Small but important business for Wigan who only tinker with their squad over January, add defensive depth which is essential for staying in the division

7/10

Players IN: Angelo Henriquez (Loan), Roger Espinoza (Free), Joel Robles (Loan), Paul Scharner (Loan)

Players OUT: Mauro Boselli (Loan) Rob Kiernan (Loan)

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: 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.

The Lamb’s Wild(card)

As a Derby County fan, @pedro_lamb‘s only involvement with the Premier League is through the Fantasy Premier League game.

An avid FPL player, The Lamb’s imaginatively –titled team Lamb County have managed to claw themselves up to 32,964th in the overall game this season, as well as 149th in Yirma and an impressive third in the Yirma head-to-head league.

With the end of January approaching, The Lamb settled down to make a decision that he knew would make or break his season, his bank balance and his mood until August. It was Wildcard time.

Here are The Lamb’s thoughts – and only HIS thoughts – as he takes on every Fantasy manager’s biggest challenge.

Warning: the following is not for the faint-hearted:

Image

Who needs goalkeepers anyway?

Well it’s January and my head hurts, as I cut, bring in, drop, select, then re-drop, then re-select, finally drop him and then keep the same player I had to start off with……!!! Yep, it’s the pain of playing your January transfer Wildcard.

So I think I have finally decided on my team. One, because the deadline is nearly here, and most importantly two, if I spend any more time on the website I think my boss may sack me.

I have gone for a very radical move. Very radical.

Prepare yourselves…

My team doesn’t have a first choice keeper… Or in fact a second choice keeper…

I have selected two keepers who have more chance of being elected Prime Minister of Greenland than playing for their teams.

If they do play, I would be more than happy to drop them to have the current Prime Minister of Greenland Kuupik Kleist as my goalkeeper.

This bold – some would say visionary – idea has freed up enough funds to have both Mata and Bale in my team.

The more I think about it, not having a keeper, is it such a bad idea? And the answer is No, because even this season’s best scoring keeper Begovic, is averaging less than 4 points a game, both Mata and Bale are over 5 and over 38 Gameweeks, that is an additional 76 points, need I say any more? *Please don’t – Ed.*

The Lamb shoots and scores with another genius Fantasy Football idea. All hail the Lamb. The days of making Lucas Leiva captain and selecting the potentially brilliant Tom Huddlestone are behind me. This one’s a winner.

—————-

Time for a few more Wildcard thoughts.

I have waited as long as possible in case the transfer windows kicks off in a big way, sadly it hasn’t so I won’t be bringing in some of the young guns from the Championship that have been on every transfer gossip page throughout January.

So it looks like Will Hughes won’t be the big gamble for my team, he would have been cheap and made a lot of points, he could be next years must have cheap player, the new Charlie Adam in fantasy football terms!!! You heard it here first folks. *giggles*

The biggest problem with this window has been the unknown factor. Which of the January signings will actually get decent time on the pitch?

Ba is a prime example. He’s cheap and can score, but realistically are Chelsea going to keep Torres and his £50 million price tag on the bench? I can’t see it and I think he is destined to just make weekly cameo appearances.

Then there is Sturridge, but I am sorry you can’t overlook Suarez, he just too good at the minute, and again I can’t see Sturridge playing every game.

As for City, the main problem is ‘will he won’t he?’ It’s everybody’s favourite Italian again.

If Mario Balotelli goes then maybe I will invest in Aguero, but at the moment two games could go by and he’ll only get a few minutes on the pitch.

Also the inconsistent nature of Arsenal means selecting any of their players is going to be a very irritating. Some weeks they will be brilliant and other weeks they bring a whole new meaning to the word awful.

Despite this I suggest picking Theo Walcott. Now his future has been sorted I think this may settle him and the whole squad down, so maybe that famous Arsenal consistency might just return.

———-

No goalkeepers were harmed in the giving of this advice.

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.

 

Premier League: January Transfer Window on its hinges…

The team behind @FourFourTweet are not a bad lot at all!!

Many thanks to @jonnywarburton for submitting this post on the January Transfer Window. Great article. Drop a comment below for your thoughts on the current window- who do you want your team to sign… and who do you think they actually will ?? (If any!)

January transfer window takes shape as clubs start to splash the cash.

Premier League sides scour the market in an attempt to bolster squads ahead of the deadline day.

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With less than a week to go until the January transfer window slams shut, Premier League sides are scrambling around in hope of acquiring some of the hottest properties on the continent. Often transfer values vary from the abnormal to the crazy however some managers have found value for money in the hope of becoming more competitive.

The first significant piece of business involved Daniel Sturridge, a highly rated forward whose career had stagnated at Chelsea. The £12millon transfer to Liverpool has proven to be the most expensive transfer fee up to now. The highly rated star has seen valuable playing time early on in his Liverpool career to help relinquish the pressures on Luis Suarez in providing an attacking threat.

Outgoing from Liverpool has seen Joe Cole return home to West Ham United on a free transfer. After a stint in Ligue 1 last season, Cole had failed to make a real positive impact at Anfield which led to Cole becoming available for transfer. The second spell at West Ham has seemed to reignite his play with two clever assists against Manachester United in the F.A Cup Third Round.

With the transfer of Sturridge to Liverpool, Chelsea were in the market for a striker to compete with out of sorts Fernando Torres. Demba Ba was the chosen man seemingly inevitable that he would leave during the window from Newcastle United due to the £7.5million release clause lying in his contract. The strong forward joined the European champions early in the window and seems to be enjoying his time there by providing two goals on his debut.

The most active club so far in the transfer window has been Newcastle United who have brought in four French players to add to their current crop of stars. Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara have been added to the squad for a little over £15million. The quartet are joining the side hovering above the relegation zone and the Tynesiders will be hoping the signings will help boost the clubs fortunes.

Bottom of the pile QPR added Marseille forward Loic Remy for £8million in an attempt to fire them away from the relegation zone come may. The striker destined for St James Park opted to move to London after significant talks with Tony Fernandes and Harry Redknapp. The player showed his eye for goal through a debut strike away at West Ham United. QPR will be hoping to find more success in the market over the next couple of days.

Manchester United announced the £15million signing of England international Wilfried Zaha from promotion hopefuls Crystal Palace. The winger will return to the London side for the rest of the campaign in a bid to promote his current side. The promising attacker will provide stiff competition with the current crop of wingers at Old Trafford as he makes the step up to the Premier League at the start of next season.

Expect plenty of deadline day deals as this January transfer window finally takes shape. Who will overspend and who won’t spend at all, are the questions many football fans are asking as they hope their club make the signings necessary to improve their fortunes.

By @jonnywarburton

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