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Gameweek 29 Preview: Bunch of Blankers

Hey!

Hey you!

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

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

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

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

Onto BGW29!

Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United

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

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

Midfielder: Adam Lallana, Brighton & Hove Albion

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

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

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

Boom and indeed Tish.

Forward: Michail Antonio, West Ham United

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

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

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

Captain: Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

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

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

GW26 – 19 points. Bale is back baby!

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

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

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

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

Outsider: Dwight Gayle, Newcastle United

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

Your move….

Fantasy Football Preview: Purple Monkey Dishwasher

Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorne

Another GW?

Already?

Oh, for the love of….alright, let’s see what sense we can make of the upcoming games which by my calculations are kicking off before the last week have finished, or that’s how it seems. I know we started the league season a bit later than before, but I didn’t realise we had to make up three months in less than three weeks.

Onto GW22!

Defender: Luke Shaw, Manchester United

Three clean sheets for Luke Shaw in his last four league starts for Manchester United, and this week he’s coming up against a Southampton side woefully out of form. I mean, really out of form. Their most in-form player is Stuart Armstrong and there are about 55 active FPL players with a higher form rating than him.

The menace has been taken out of the Southampton attack since Ings returned from his bout of COVID. Che Adams was benched at the weekend, and Theodore Walcott has picked up an injury.

This should be a straightforward home win for Manchester United as they try to regain their January title in February.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish, Aston Villa

It’s only when you study things in FPL that you realise that we’re seeing some serious anomalies that are flying under the radar.

Did you know that Aston Villa have played eight of their last eleven league games away from home? No, seriously, that’s 8/11 away from Villa Park. Obviously, that’s caused by postponements of two home games, but it may taint our perception of their form.

I fancy Jack Grealish to relish some home comforts this week as they face West Ham who have been cleaning up a massive nosebleed that they suffered after climbing so high up to last weekend. The interview with David Moyes ahead of their clash with a wobbling Liverpool was telling, as he categorically denied that his bang in-form team could even try and compete with a side shorn of every defender to don the LFC kit since Alan Hansen retired.

Villa don’t strike me as having that kind of inferiority complex, and I reckon they’ll take the fight to the Hammers from the off. Grealish has 24 and 15 points at home already this season.

Forward: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool

Liverpool will pick their side for this game with one eye on the tantalising home game against Manchester City in GW23, so this must be considered this week.

Mo Salah played the full match while destroying West Ham United so could be rested, and while the injury to Sadio Mane is described as ‘minor’, there’s a fair chance that he won’t be risked. Therefore, Bobby Firmino looks the logical choice to spearhead the attack against Brighton this midweek. He’s fresh off a goal in GW20 and assist in GW21 and Liverpool have rediscovered their swagger in recent weeks. If they can secure two home wins this week then we’re going to have a title-race on our hands.

Captain: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

Bruno Fernandes is tempting, for reasons outlined above. If Mo Salah starts, he could do naughty, naughty things. However, I’m plumping for the rested Raheem Sterling as Manchester City travel to Turf Moor on a cold and wet Wednesday night.

The traditionalist in me thinks this is a real ‘put it up ‘em’ test for Pep’s men, but history and form has shown that it’s likely to be nothing of the sort. City’s last two visits to flat-cap land have seen them romp home 4-1 and 3-0 victors, and in the kind of form they are currently showing there’s no reason to see any other kind of result.

Outsider: Antonio Rudiger, Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel has moved into Stamford Bridge and is treating his squad like we treat hotel rooms when we first drop our bags – we switch everything on, open every drawer and door, and peruse what channels are ‘free’. Ahem.

Antonio Rudiger has started the last four league games for Chelsea and has three clean sheets to show for it. 1.1% and £4.5m? It would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

Your move…

Fantasy Football Preview: Gameweek 21 – Arsenal, Leicester and Fulham

Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorne

If you’re like me and struggling with FPL in this madcap season, I observed something this week that made me realise that it’s perfectly acceptable to deviate from the ‘norm’ and see the game or even the world in a different way. (This does not apply to anti-vaxxers though, they’re just morons).

My son was on his school Zoom call and his teacher was running a scavenger hunt, where she would name something that the kids would need to find in their home and hold up in front of the camera. She said, ‘right shoe’ and all my son’s classmates took off their shoes to wave at teacher. My son calmly scribbled something on a piece of paper, his shoelaces remaining firmly tied. Puzzled, I stopped to see what he was doing, and then I saw it.

He wrote ‘shoe’ on his paper and held it up to the camera.

I’m still trying to work out if that means he’s going to grow up to be Albert Einstein or Danny Dyer, but either way it reminded me that we all don’t see things in the same way. Throw blueprints and templates out of the window, take a -4 or -8 if you feel like it, and leave £8m in the bank because you don’t want to spend it.

Onto GW21!

Defender: Oleksandr Zinchenko, Manchester City

As Manchester City start their cruise to another Premier League title, their defence has been sensational in recent weeks. Just two goals conceded in their last eleven games is sensational form and makes a City defender a must have.

As per my intro to this week’s column, I’m going to try and do things differently, and therefore I’m plucking for the 0.4% owned Zinchenko ahead of Dias, Cancelo and Stones. A home game to Sheffield United is a slam dunk easy home win with a clean sheet nailed on too. Sheffield United are rock bottom and absolute bobbins. No team leading the league would lose at home to them!

Midfielder: James Maddison, Leicester City

I tipped Raheem Sterling for the midweek games, and an eleven-point haul duly followed. You’re welcome.

This week Leicester City welcome Leeds United to the King Power Stadium, as they try and continue their title charge following a hard-fought point at Everton in midweek. Maddison has been in sensational form recently, and in the absence of Jamie Vardy in the short term, he’ll be looking to step up.

While Leeds have three clean sheets in recent weeks, they came against Burnley, West Brom and Brighton, so….y’know. The attacking threat posed by Leicester City should be a totally different ball game here, and Maddison will be leading the charge.

Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

I do wish Arsenal would make up their mind as to what they are this season. Banter club or top four bankers? Is Arteta the man to lead them to the glory land, or a Fraudiola acolyte? Is their defence bobbins or rock solid?

While youngsters Saka and Smith-Rowe have been grabbing headlines, the oft-derided Alexandre Lacazette has been quietly notching eight goals already this season and is now leading the line in the absence of Aubameyang.

A home game against January Premier League Champions Manchester United awaits this weekend in a fixture that could answer some questions, but in all likelihood, will throw up many more.

Captain: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton

Seven games without a goal in the league for DCL, but he scored eleven in eleven before that, and he’s playing Newcastle United this weekend. Everton sit in seventh position right now but if they win their two games in hand on those above them, could be joint-third and a point behind Manchester United.

Normally even making a point like that would mean instant derision and giggling in my direction, but Everton are managed by Don Carlo Ancelotti, so they cannot be taken lightly.

DCL to bag a brace. You read it here first.

Outsider: Bobby Decordova-Reid, Fulham

Owned by just 1% of players, under £6m and away to Big Sam’s West Bromwich Albion who have a home defensive record as impressive as Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson’s handling of a global pandemic.

Shambolic.

Your move…

Fantasy Football GW20 Preview: Leeds, United and Chelsea

Fantasy Football Gameweek 19: Make Mine A DOUBLE

We approach blank GW18 during blank January at the start of what looks like being blank 2021. At time of writing, some games are still scheduled but could be scrapped just hours before kick-off.

The President of the United States is trying to overthrow his own government, constitution and society, while almost every country on earth is bemoaning the slow rollout of vaccinations that will restore normality to the planet.

It seems to me that we could all use a Free Hit chip this week for our lives, not FPL.

Onto GW18!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Kieran Tierney, Arsenal

Gary Neville may proclaim that nobody grew up wanting to be Gary Neville, but how else do you explain the absolute plethora of class full-backs in British football these days?

England have more quality right-backs than they have Pfizer vaccines. Scotland have two genuinely amazing left-backs at the same time. Poor Kieran Tierney must be cursing his luck to have emerged at the same time as his national team captain and arguably the world’s greatest left-back Andy Robertson.

Whether this happened because of, or despite, Gary Neville, the good thing for FPL players is that they all play for different Premier League teams. Tierney has two clean sheets in a row and faces home fixtures against a Crystal Palace side who have drawn four blanks on the road this season, and Newcastle United who are starting to play Andy Carroll up front.

Oh, and he’s decent going forward too.

Midfielder: Heung-Min Son, Tottenham Hotspur

(DISCLAIMER – This match no longer exists but Spurs now play Fulham so we’re sticking with it)

This is the game that is seemingly under the most threat of a postponement but seeing as the Premier League are making up the rules as they go along, and Jose Mourinho is far scarier than Dean Smith, there’s every chance that Spurs will face a second game in a week against an opponent they can steamroller in their sleep.

The Villa kids gave a fine account of themselves against Liverpool on Friday night, but ran out of steam after half time, and I reckon their little legs will still be gone if forced into action midweek. Heung-Min Son could do terrible, terrible damage to them.

So, you should probably own him, just in case.

Forward: Edison Cavani, Manchester United

I was going to tip Dominic Calvert-Lewin this week as he faces a Wolves side who haven’t kept a clean sheet for ten consecutive league games, amazingly. He’s also trying to come out of his biggest slump this season, stretching back an almost staggering two games without a goal or assist. The fraud.

However, the Burnley v Manchester United match intrigues me. I know many Free Hitters will be looking to triple-up on United assets, but here’s your word of warning – Since Ben Mee returned to the team following injury, Burnley have conceded a grand total of three goals in nine games when Mee and Pope have been together in defence. They’ve faced teams such as Everton, Villa, Wolves and Leeds in that time, teams who have an ability to put the ball in the back of the net with reasonable regularity.

So, I see this game being a bit more of a struggle than some might think. However, it’s United, so Cavani will come off the bench and win it in the 87th minute. Nailed. On.

Captain: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

KDB racked up his fourth double-digit haul against Chelsea last time out, then spent the weekend tormenting Birmingham City like a tabby cat playing with a shrew.

Brighton tend to concede more than one goal against ‘Top 6’ opposition this season (with one notable exception against Liverpool), and they went the full 120 minutes plus spotters against Newport County at the weekend. Hardly the ideal preparation for the run-around they’re going to get at The Etihad.

As a result, it may take until the 60th minute, but I fully expect KDB to haul big against Graham Potters men.

Outsider: Dwight Gayle, Newcastle United

Who fancies one of my patented 0% owned FPL returns? It’s time for another I think, to make it four in less than half a season.

Dwight Gayle away to Sheffield United will score or assist. You heard it here first.

Your move….

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com

Off the back of the release of FPL’s least requested annual jingle

(Which actually the YIRMA boys smashed it with a banger single!)

I thought, scrap the crap graphics lads, raps are simple right?

So here’s GW16’s review titled, “Jack’s Kryptonite”

Written by @JackAGoodwin

I’ve been a bit crap in FPL, but today I’ll preach a sermon

Ain’t much difference between my approach besides this time I keep returning

Maybe it’s because I pick United players, yeah yeah, I see people smirking

The last few years it’s defeated me but this season it’s working!

Crystal Palace 1-1 Leicester

For Palace there was nothing greater than a save from Guaita

The penalty saviour & 2 bonus point taker

Saved the day from Ihenacho’s lazy spot kick

Since Vardy was benched which was a shame because he’d have got it.

The Foxes had 17 shots to Palace’s 4, but they couldn’t hit a barn door

The match ended equal, after Zaha and Barnes scored

Leicester need to ensure they don’t start poor up in Teesside

Their form is dropping and need wins on the board, so they don’t fall behind!

Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa

Some said this season Chelsea will show up…that’s what the talk was about

But now sit 6th with one win in 6 which isn’t nothing to talk about!

It’s awkward how it’s Giroud who scored, Werner’s awful now

I’m sure the board are talking about how to force him out

Meanwhile Villa are flying, 5th in the league deceives the eyes

Cash assisted pass to the back was a gift for El Ghazi to equalize.

Grealish still with kids shin pads is gifted, we all now believe the hype

With the January window open let’s see who’s got the P’s to buy.

Note/ This is harder than it seems.

I think Niall is way smarter than me…

Brighton 0-1 Arsenal

Despite the farcical start from Arsenal they beat Brighton

2 wins on the bounce but still in 13th is hardly exciting

But Arteta’s heart can calm for a second, fixtures are quite enticing

Pending they actually start, Saka & Laca are mighty inviting!

Brighton are hovering above relegation; they’re going down all day

They haven’t any goal threat at all besides Maupay

Stay clear of them in FPL there’s really no more to say

If you still have Lamptey then FPL really isn’t your forte.

Burnley 1-0 Sheffield Utd

In GW16 I broke into the top 10k OR with a GW score of 60

A quarter of my score (15) was delivered all because I picked Mee

Interest in him will rise quickly, 5 returns in 9 games.

Next up is a home match to Fulham is all I’m saying…

The Blades are blunt, just 2 points from 16 games is crap

We don’t own any of their players in FPL I know that for a fact.

If you do, then it’s Brewster, and that’s just to save cash

He’ll be 3rd place in your subs bench and that’s where he’ll stay, last.

Southampton 0-0 West Ham

Anyone else getting bored of this?
Well, this one ended scoreless

Despite the return of Ings

He did nothing in 90 mins

Clean sheets awarded all round though

Hopefully earning a few of you green arrows

Fixtures are now naff for the Saints

So you’d better have an exit plan in place.

(worst one yet…. reaches towards the whisky cabinet for “inspiration” …BRB)

West Brom 0-5 Leeds

So we all have Bamford, see 5-0 and get all elated

Until we realise all he did was assisted 2 and with FPL points only bagged 8

He was outperformed by Alioski and Dallas at the back

Both scoring 12 points with returns in attack

West Brom are looking naff, only player over 1% owned is Button

And he hasn’t even played one minute, zero, nothing!

But if you’re looking for differentials, let me tell you something

They’ve got Arsenal next, so expect West Brom to give the Gunners a thumping!

Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

Here’s my secret, my kryptonite from every season past

I pick many United players because I support them, regardless of the stats

My heart tells me they’ll bang, even when my head tells me they’re naff

But for once, this season, looks like I’m having the last laugh

Everyone has Bruno, he’s the elite FPL commodity to own right?

But I also have Sir Rashford who’s been under the radar for time

7 goals so far, Bruno 10, United are now surprisingly in form

Although Villa next, Liverpool soon so we don’t know what we’re in for

Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool

Liverpool drew, the other 19 team fans erupted as the league isn’t theirs (yet)

Teams will now park the bus against Klopp and couldn’t really care less

FPL clean sheets were a bonus though, a let off if you had them

For most with Salah we’re still puzzled why he couldn’t make anything happen

It’s a blip, Liverpool are too good & Klopp’s men will soon click into action

Although saying that, Southampton next so expect Danny Ings to bag then

You’ll keep hold of Salah, you may even own Mane but sure as hell you wont sack them

But my top tip for 2021. In Manchester RED is the colour in fashion!

Dear god…Why did I do that? (sorry everyone!)

Happy New Year!

Written by @JackAGoodwin

I type these words on the final day of 2020. It can sod off forever.

I also type these words as matches are being postponed with just three hours’ notice, so Caveat Emptor and all that. (No, he doesn’t play right back for Fulham, it means buyer beware). Just rest assured that if matches are called off lastminute.com that my tip would have absolutely smashed it.

Onto GW17!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Ezgjan Alioski, Leeds United

Casuals among you may not realise this but last year’s Lord Lundstram has been replaced by this year’s Stuart ‘JR’ Dallas, a cheap defender playing way up the pitch and delivering goals, assists and clean sheets aplenty.

However, I’m here to get you ahead of the game, so I’m pointing you towards the other rampaging defender in this hilariously fun Leeds United team, the North Macedonian international has two goals and five clean sheets since cementing his spot from GW8 onwards.

He’s £0.3m cheaper and has an ownership of 12% less than his Southfork dwelling mate.

This week they play Spurs at lunchtime on Saturday. Spurs have developed a nasty habit of forgetting that they’re allowed score more than once in a game, with Harry Kane on a run of three blanks. That’s probably because he’s now dropping so deep he’s wearing the keeper’s gloves.

Midfielder: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton

The man. The myth. The legend.

Many of us fondly remember the Gylfi Sigurdsson who plundered nine goals and 13 assists in one season, or the Gylfi Sigurdsson who romped home with thirteen goals and six assists in another season.

He may be back, and only 1.8% of FPL players own him. He also costs less than £7m and faces a West Ham side looking decidedly ‘Moyesey’ in recent weeks. Carlo Ancelotti has found a role for Sigurdsson further up the pitch.

Time to jump on the bandwagon?

Forward: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

This pick is based on the one certain rule of football and FPL:

The game after a goalkeeper has an unexpected worldie, he’s going to turn to jelly the very next game.

Karl Darlow was sensational against Liverpool, much to this writer’s chagrin, but I reckon Vardy will be off his face on Blue WKD and Smarties after being benched last time out and will haul. Bigly.

Captain: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United

Ten goals. Eight assists. Seven double digit hauls. All in just fifteen appearances. It’s outrageous really. Manchester United are in a title fight, much to the astonishment of absolutely everyone.

So, I’m doing what any principled FPL writer that supports Liverpool would do. I’m tipping him as Captain in the firm hope that my quite astonishing FPL juju this season rubs off on him. If it works I’m tipping him as Captain every damn week.

Send all complaints to FantasyYIRMA, FantasyYIRMA towers, Bite Me Boulevard, Co. Kiss My Arse. Postcode: L0 5ER

Outsider: Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal

Martinelli is the big hope down at the Emirates, and has been for quite some time. For me, he’s the undiscovered diamond in FPL. Costing just £4.9m and owned by less than 1% (including yours truly), he has started the last two matches, and is a forward categorised as a midfielder on FPL in my eyes. At the very least he’s an enabler for your squad, but I reckon he could be what many idiots (including yours truly) thought Rhian Brewster was going to be.

Your move….

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com

Fantasy Football: Boxing Day Preview

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