Blog Archives

FantasyYIRMA GW2 Preview: David Silva to shine for Man City?

Everton: Whatever you do, don’t look down

Image

There’s a curious phenomenon which involves not thinking about something, because if you do then you automatically lose.

I won’t go any further into it for fear that you’ll all join me amongst the ranks of the defeated, but the frankly quite annoying craze does raise the question of just how far you could go if you managed to keep the negatives and their consequences out of sight and out of mind.

Death, taxes and the continued popularity of Justin Bieber can’t be avoided whatever you do of course, but sometimes it is better just to not think about where your actions are taking you because of the added pressure that they create. Success breeds success, but it also breeds expectation.

Everton’s fine start to the season has got some of their supporters thinking about a Champions League place already, just weeks after those same fans were facing the prospect of potentially losing manager David Moyes to Tottenham – one of at least half of the clubs in the Premier League who are better financially equipped for a top four place than the Blues.

That’s not to say that there are at least 10 better teams than Everton in the league at the moment, because clearly there are a lot less.

Second at the start of October is a superb and deserved position for Moyes’ side to be in, with the club’s success a testament to the fine signings made by the manager in the last two transfer windows and his ability to keep hold of his key players.

Outsiders may have seen the summer sale of Jack Rodwell to Manchester City as a severe weakening of Everton’s playing resources, but offer any Goodison Park regular the choice of selling him, Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines or Nikica Jelavic and they’d have driven Rodwell down the East Lancs Road to Manchester themselves.

That one of those players probably needed to be sold is due to the still curiously unreported financial situation at a club which, despite the progress on the pitch, is standing still off it under the ownership of Bill Kenwright.

The theatre impresario made a cameo appearance on Coronation Street earlier this year, and the majority of Everton supporters have long since come to view his insistence that there isn’t a suitable party out there to buy the club and invest in it as a tired old act.

It is for this reason and not for anything that they are doing on the pitch that Everton should just try to keep things ticking over at the moment. Getting up to the higher reaches of the table has been one thing, but staying there will be another once the might of the usual suspects kicks in.

Of course this would be the perfect time for investment to arrive at a club with a talented playing squad, passionate fans and a committed manager determined to succeed for both, but those supporters have long since grown tired of Kenwright’s caution and aren’t expecting radical changes any time soon. In the meantime they can just enjoy the fine football their team are playing.

And they could well go on playing it.

Visits to Wigan and QPR in their next two matches either side of the international break are unlikely to faze this Everton side, and neither will the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park at the end of the month – although the Blues do seem to have a knack of coming up short against Liverpool when many consider them favourites.

That is a negative thought though, and such things should be banned from entering Everton heads. Right now they are one of the big boys of the Premier League and they should go on thinking like that.

‘Taking each game as it comes’ is one of the oldest and most useless phrases in the football handbook, but as long as those games are approached positively then there’s no reason why good runs can’t be extended to be become good seasons.

Just try not to think about what’ll happen to Moyes, the players and the club if it doesn’t though.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 6 preview: Hair today, goals tomorrow?

Image

The trouble with pesky competitions like the Capital One Cup – which still sounds like an employee of the month award – is that they can easily get in the way of your Fantasy Premier League team’s progress.

They can affect the mood of teams in the real thing too, and as such Everton’s week suddenly doesn’t look as rosy as it did when Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) headed in the third of their three goals in the convincing win at Swansea last Saturday.

The cup loss to Leeds in midweek saw the chances of David Moyes making this the season that he picks up a first trophy at Everton effectively reduced by 50%, and the question now has to be whether or not that’ll affect the Blues’ fine league form which has taken them to third in the table after five games.

All eyes will be on Goodison Park on Saturday then, as Everton seek to bounce back at the first time of asking by welcoming Southampton.

As fixtures go it is a pretty decent one to make your recovery from midweek misery, and if you can see them getting over the Elland Road loss quickly then expect the Blues to be flying come Saturday afternoon. With fixtures against Wigan and QPR to come in the immediate future too, it could be a good time to put your faith in Moyes’s boys to earn you points, with Fellaini the man most likely.

That said, Nikica Jelavic (£8.4m) is also primed to return here after missing the Swansea game and only appearing as a substitute against Leeds, whilst those who can afford Leighton Baines (£7.2m) will be getting a severely underrated defender who has already contributed a goal, two assists and two clean sheets this season. He could well be set to add to that tally at the weekend.

Across Stanley Park at Liverpool, things could just be about to change for the better.

Last weekend’s unfortunate loss to Manchester United brought an end to a tricky run of fixtures for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and although the midweek Capital One Cup win at West Bromwich Albion was achieved with a smattering of youngsters, it might just have restored somewhat of a feelgood factor amongst those at the club.

Norwich await in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday, and with the Canaries having only found the net twice in their five league games this season – plus with winnable home games against Stoke and Reading on the horizon – it might just be the time to put your faith in Rodgers’ rearguard.

Injury and rotation issues mean that the only two defenders certain to start for Liverpool at the weekend are Glen Johnson (£6.4m) and Martin Skrtel (£6.0m), and with the pair offering the potential for assist and goal points respectively then either could be good additions. It is further forward where Liverpool could make their mark this weekend though, with Raheem Sterling (£4.6m) still an astute cheap choice and Luis Suarez (£9.4m) ready to fire back at a ground where he scored a hat-trick last season. Those now debating whether or not to stick with Carlos Tevez (£9.9m) could decide to switch to the Uruguayan.

Tevez and his Manchester City team-mates go to Fulham on Saturday, and with City far from certain to get a result there and clashes between Arsenal and Chelsea and Manchester United and Tottenham proving somewhat unpredictable, it might pay to look elsewhere for some points.

With apologies to Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) his goalscoring run has become impossible to ignore, and whilst climbing on board the Fletcher bandwagon has to come with the warning that Sunderland face City away next, this weekend’s fixture at home to Wigan could be the perfect one to see the Scot continue his scoring run.

@Mark_Jones86

Second season syndrome?

All were new signings in 2011/12, and all impressed in Yirma, but can the five players below keep up that form heading in to 2012/13??

Image

Demba Ba, Newcastle, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £7.5m

Few players had more schizophrenic seasons than Ba last time out, as the arrival of a man we’ll mention below saw his goalscoring form at first dry up and then evaporate completely.

It was tougher to find a Fantasy manager without the Senegalese in his team in the first half of last season than one who did have him, as Ba’s goals shot Newcastle up the table and kept several Fantasy bosses scratching their heads over captaincy selections on Saturday mornings.

Then the forward headed off the Africa Cup of Nations in January, returned with his international team-mate alongside him and suddenly the goals dried up.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew had of course decided to alter Ba’s position slightly, and although it must be said that he did still weigh in with some assists, the forward’s impact was seemingly reducing game by game, so much so that the summer of transfer rumours surrounding his exit from Tyneside were hardly surprising.

He stayed of course, but a repeat showing from last year’s dazzling first few months looks unlikely.

Image

Nikica Jelavic, Everton, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £8.5m

Up in Scotland, Jelavic is now merely a substantial if solitary profit in the Rangers accounts, but the happy memories that Gers’ fans had of him are now being shared in the Blue half of Merseyside.

Jelavic’s predatory instincts have unsurprisingly gone down well amongst Everton fans who have arguably not seen a finer forward in Blue since the early days of Wayne Rooney, and the Croatian will be determined to shine in his first full campaign at Goodison Park.

Much was made last season of Jelavic’s instant, one touch finishes, and so whilst you may want to avoid him if you prefer your forwards to be more involved in the play and frequently able to contribute with assists, as an out-and-out goalscorer in a team who will play to his strengths there can’t be many better picks.

After a summer away at the Euros, this campaign will be the ultimate test to see if the Croatian can produce it consistently in Fantasy Premier League.

The early signs are all encouraging ones.

Image

Papiss Cisse, Newcastle, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £9.5m

It can’t possibly go as well for Cisse as it did from January to May. Can it? CAN IT???

The Senegalese’s impact at Newcastle following his transfer from German club Freiburg was nothing short of extraordinary, as goals were scored and records tumbled all over the place.

A clinical, almost effortless forward, Cisse’s performances at St James’s Park (sorry Mike Ashley) have drawn comparisons with Andy Cole’s, and there is no doubt that Newcastle will once again look to play to his strengths as they did so well during the latter half of last season.

However, what with the demands of the Europa League, yet another Africa Cup of Nations coming up in January and now that defenders know his threat a little more, it will be extremely difficult for Cisse to repeat last season’s heroics again this time around.

At £9.5m he’ll have plenty of takers, but expecting him to produce the same fireworks as he did in 2011/12 might just leave you disappointed.

Image

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, Forward – Fantasy Price Tag £11.5m

The moment that Aguero secured the league title for Manchester City in May will be burned into the brains of his club’s supporters’ for a lifetime, and probably the minds of Manchester United fans for even longer.

It was deserved too, both for the club and a player who made the transition from La Liga to Fantasy Premier League with ease ever since he scored twice on his debut against Swansea in City’s opening match of the campaign.

Aguero is a livewire; a player who never gives defenders a second on the ball and leaves them wondering for hours just what they can do to stop him.

Bar Robin van Persie he was the best forward in England last season – that Kyle Walker took the PFA Young Player of the Year award ahead of Aguero isn’t a good advert for the decisions of footballers – and the Argentinean looks more than ready to help his side defend their title this time.

He is a simply brilliant attacker, and one that you need to find room for in any team – Fantasy or otherwise – whatever the cost.

Image

Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, Midfielder – Fantasy Price Tag £7.0m

As this column indicates, Newcastle bought pretty well last season, and there is an argument for saying that Cabaye was the best addition of the lot.

A lively midfielder, the Frenchman showcased more than a keen eye for goal the longer 2011/12 went on, and after a year of getting used to playing against the big-hitters of the league he’ll now have to understand that he is one.

One of the lesser discussed qualities of Cabaye, however, is his toughness. He can mix it in the middle with pretty much anyone, and so seeing as he is highly unlikely to become overawed by the new challenges he faces as he becomes a marked man, there is nothing to suggest that he won’t prove to be a success on Tyneside again.

As discussed above, the rigours placed on Newcastle this season might ensure that they don’t reach the highs they did in the last campaign, but their French midfielder can still impress.

A bargain buy? Oui.

*M

@Mark_Jones86

%d bloggers like this: