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Written by @NiallHawthorne

The year 2020 is so far beyond weird that it’s laughable. It’s completely bonkers.

Who would have foreseen that the toughest opponent Marcus Rashford would face this season would be Boris bloody Johnson?

Who would have contemplated an entire nation going into mourning because a dolphin has gone off for a swim for a couple of weeks? (If you’re not Irish, google ‘Fungie’ and don’t judge us)

Who would have thought that the fabled Leicester City miracle season would be replicated within five years? Escape relegation by the skin of your teeth, start the next season like a steam-train, get talented yet under-achieving midfielders playing to their full potential, and unearth a lethal striker from the lower leagues….Aston Villa are willing the title this year…

As I said, bonkers! Onto GW6!

Defender: Max Kilman, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nominative determinism is a powerful force. This is the term applied to people who end up doing for a living what their name has always suggested they should do.

  • Hubert Legal is a solicitor for the EU Council.
  • Daniel Snowman wrote a book about the polar regions.
  • A.J. Splatt and D. Weedon wrote a paper together about incontinence.

I’m not sure where the future is going to take Max Kilman, but if he turns out to be the world’s most prolific serial killer, it’s not really his fault, is it?

Before he heads down that road, he’s made a promising start to his Premier League career, with two clean sheets and an assist to his name in his first two appearances. He’s only £4.1m and owned by less than 7% of FPL players, so let’s all enjoy him before he develops a taste for a nice chianti and some fava beans.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley, Aston Villa

Ross Barkley has been holding onto the ‘promising’ tag longer than Boris Johnson has been holding the ‘buffoon’ tag. Eventually though, the tags change.

Ross is entering his TENTH premier league season, so we need to stop calling him promising, and admit that up to now he’s over-promised and under-delivered. Boris Johnson has stopped being bumbling and evolved into pure undiluted evil.

Barkley seems to have licence to bomb forward in this Villa system, and has plundered two goals in two games since he departed Stamford Bridge. He’s got three straightforward home games in the next four GW’s, and is owned by fewer than 3%.

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City  

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

This tip has a 50% chance of getting you 20+ points.

This tip has a 49% chance of getting you 1 point after an 89th minute cameo from the bench.

This tip has a 1% chance of getting you 0 points after Sergio Aguero is revealed to be a surprise entrant in ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ before the weekend.

However, he’s owned by 2.1% of players, Manchester City have no fit strikers available, and you can just smell the potential.

You damn fool.

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Six goals and an assist. Two double digit hauls. One 20-point haul. All in just five games.

This weekend Liverpool welcome Sheffield United to Anfield, and this is a very different Sheffield United to last season’s Sheffield United. The Blades appear dull and blunt.

Much has been made of topsy-turvy start to the season by the reigning champions, however they have played five league games and never failed to score less than twice. Salah and friends were hauled off en masse before the hour mark in Amsterdam, surely with an eye on this clash. Liverpool may also, on a sub-conscious level at least, adopt a motto of ‘we’ll score one more than you’.

This could get very, very messy.

Outsider: Michy Batshuayi, Crystal Palace

Who else could I tip in a column that elaborates on how batsh*t mental this year is, than a player they call Batman?

With Jordan Ayew being all COVID-y, there’s a window of opportunity for Batshuayi to stake a claim for a permanent spot alongside Wilf Zaha. He threw in a cheeky assist in his first start last weekend, costs under £6.0m and is owned by less than 1%.

If you back Batman, you could be Robin a lead on your opponents.

I’ll get my coat.

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.

GW5 Review: Posted After The Final Whistle

Gameweek 5: Spurs, Sheffield United and WBA make the Preview

I think it’s fair to say that we are living through unprecedented times.

In fact, I can’t remember back to a time when things were precedented. I often find myself wondering how historians will view the times we are currently experiencing. How will they view the decisions made by our leaders and ourselves?

I have no doubt that one of the things that will confuse the bejaysus out of them is the decision to proceed with international football during a global pandemic….

The logic behind sending footballers out of their club ‘bubble’ around the globe to play international games that are as important as my opinion on Masterchef Australia (No Poh! No!), leading to an inevitable surge in positive COVID-19 cases which are then brought back into the club ‘bubble’, therefore possibly bursting the bubble of professional football happening at all….

Yeah, onto GW5!

Defender: George Baldock, Sheffield United

I’m not saying that The Blades have had a ropey start to the season, but right now Richard Osman has them written down as an answer on his desk. Yep, they’re pointless.

This weekend they face the only team below them in the table, as Fulham come calling. While The Cottagers racked up three goals at Elland Road in GW2, they’ve been firing blanks elsewhere.

I’ve had to ignore the fact that George’s surname references a very niche fetish, and focus instead on the fact that he has a knack of adding goals and assists to his clean sheet hauls. He’s already notched an assist this season, and he’s due a clean sheet.

Midfielder: Matheus Pereira, West Bromwich Albion

West Brom welcome Burnley to my gaff this weekend, so I may open the curtains to watch them in the garden.

Pereira has started the season strongly with a goal and a brace of assists thus far, and he faces Sean Dyche’s men who have conceded SEVEN goals in their two away games. SEVEN! Imagine conceding that many goals in two away games! What eejits!

Oh….

Forward: Neal Maupay, Brighton And Hove Albion

Here’s a player who is smashing it while flying under the radar of many.

Four goals and an assist already this season, adding to his ten-goal haul last season. He travels to Selhurst Park as The Seagulls take on The Eagles.

Based on knowledge of ornithology alone you’d fancy the Eagles, but have you seen how rowdy the Seagulls have become in recent years? They’d have your fish supper out of your hand and slap you across the face with their wing if you don’t have your wits about you.

Neal Maupay is a French seagull. Just imagine the attitude…

Captain: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

I’ve seen plenty of stats during this interminably daft international break about West Ham United and how sound defensively they have been. Their xGA is tiny, apparently. Their xGF is decent. Their xGEEKS is as yet unknown.

My fantasy football methodology is far more straightforward. Old Moyesey has self-isolated and rid himself of his COVIDness, so he’s back on the touchline and The Hammers are going to hell in a handcart once more.

Harry Kane will profit handsomely

Outsider: Rhian Brewster, Sheffield United

Whether you’re one of those (like me) who has had Rhian tucked up safely on the corner of your bench since the season started, or you’ve taken the plunge once you saw him move to Bramall Lane, welcome to the beginning of the ‘£4.5m Bloody Hell He’s A Bargain At That Price’ adventure.

The kid is a talent, and his first big chance is against at home to a team that has a habit of conceding three goals in every game.

All aboard!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

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.

GW #16 Review: YIMRA TV Box Sets

I know what you’re thinking, thank God Jack had the time this week to provide a thorough picture-full review for our enjoyment. I doubt you ever doubted me.

The powers that be at YIRMA HQ were over the moon with what I prepared for you three (I assume there’s still 3 confirmed readers of this?) this week…

The theme this week is TV Shows, and somehow I found 10 which I loosely tied into the results from the weekend and/or found reason to stick a players head onto a funny picture.

Hot off the press like a Greggs vegan sausage roll you’ve just sat on because you thought tucking it between your legs whilst driving would work – but now you’re left with pastry all over the place frantically crumbing in into the seats – here’s the GW 16 review…

Everton 3 – 1 Chelsea

Fresh from a victory against Villa, Lamp’s & Co rocked up to Everton pretty damn cocky. Duncan Ferguson in the hot seat for the Toffee’s saw Tammy Abraham swagger on to the pitch almost expecting to score. Not today sunshine – Duncan screamed effortlessly. Everton 2-0 up before Chelsea decided to wake up, but it was too little too late as the Toffee’s took the win. In other news, Chelsea financial director Ron Swanson was finally given the green light to make transfers in January and is already eyeing up a move for Chris Pratt & Aziz Ansari – although his first target is Amy Poehler as the new fitness coach.

Bournemouth 0 – 3 Liverpool

Liverpool are unstoppable. Sad, but true. Leicester’s party will only ever be second best to the Scouse rave, won’t it? I will bet anyone a £10 Burton voucher that Liverpool will win the league – that’s right, Burton (menswear). Spiralling back through the results so far, you have to assume that indeed it is ALWAYS sunny in Liverpool – it must be such a happy place (well, half of it) – like being in Denmark but with more robberies and folk you can’t understand. Liverpool performed a common assault on Bournemouth at the weekend, they didn’t see any of this coming. It was an intense 90 minutes that Eddie’s boys just weren’t ready for. “What’s going on, Eddie?” we heard the players cry. Only to be told “it’s alright lads, it’s over now, we can go and beat Chelsea next week”.

Tottenham 5 – 0 Burnley

Speaking of assaults. Jose’s inmates took the socks-of-soap to Burnley – 5 goals with no reply saw the Spurs faithful give Jose a rousing applause when he exited the field. We’re so fickle, us football fans, aren’t we? So, so fickle. Can you imagine any other elite manager on Earth going to a “rival” team and within a weak be 100% applauded? I’m not even talking a little, Spurs fans were loving life – guys you beat Burnley, at home, chill out, man. I would like for you to stare at the photo of Jose and the lads for some 300-400 seconds please. Tell me you wouldn’t watch that show immediately and I’ll hold a mirror firmly in front of your face and show you a dirty liar.

Watford 0 – 0 Crystal Palace

Please refer to the picture which epitomises the meaning “a picture paints a thousand hilarious words”. Palace had 0 shots on target after we all went mental over Zaha because some FPL genius’ decided he’s a good punt. Watford are bottom of the league and still 2.2% of us own Deulofeu (the most owned Watford player in FPL).  2.2% is now too many. Poop Show indeed, back to you Jack.

Man City 1 – 2 Man United

Thanks Jack…Got about a hundred thoughts going on, me. A million thoughts. I got a billion thoughts going on. If you tried to have a thought this morning and you couldn’t: that is because I was having all of them, over Man United somehow beating Man City in front of the world, for realz. I mean, where to dig into this party-sized cheesecake of a moment? Where do I tuck in first? This is the best thing Man United have done since, well, they did it to PSG. I am obsessed with watching this match on repeat. I still cheer every tackle by Wan-Bissaka, still nervous at every City attack (silently chuckling that the players aren’t aware that they will lose this match). It’s a delightful treat I never want to end. Alas, it will end, United will inevitably get beaten by Everton at the weekend. Was a good week though. Oh yeah, the picture…Speaks for itself really doesn’t it?

Villa 1 – 4 Leicester

Yeah alright that’s not a TV show but I couldn’t resist – I saw the poster and couldn’t help popping Rodgers and Vardy’s pouty faces on the bods. Rodgers must one day fulfil his prophecy and win the Premier League. He was born to do it, but the poor sod keeps getting pipped to the post. Once upon a time in Leicester this team swept the League, it’s happening again but only this time there’s something quite special up in Liverpool happening which is the footballing equivalent of party pooping. Sure, Leicester look fantastic. Sure, Leicester look very, very good. And sure, Vardy’s wife is still a little sneaky sausage we will not forgive (yet).

Newcastle 2 – 1 Southampton

Jonjo Shelvey was born to be an extra in British gangster films, but accidently became a high paid footballer instead. Jonjo wasn’t meant to score goals, yet here we are. Jonjo was supposed to be one of those guys in the back of a scene who don’t have any speaking lines, you just “assume” he’s got a foreign accent. Jonjo was built to appear side-by-side with Danny Dyer for a scene where he inexplicably gets punched in the face by a runaway chav in a moment of comic relief. Jonjo was set to earn a decent salary from being that guy who would eventually get a bit-part in Hollyoaks but only last until the Christmas storyline where he gets sent to jail for “life” as he may or may not have been caught giving drugs to the landlord’s daughters underage mate called Sheryl (spelt purposely with an S). Jonjo, is doing bits for Newcastle…And the Hasenhuttl circus rolls on, next stop West Ham.

Norwich 1 – 2 Sheffield United

When I was a kid, I loved wrestling if you didn’t know that already. I would pick my mate up routinely and throw him against the furniture until the sofa broke, someone bled, or my Dad caught and bollocked us – me for tombstoning him onto the carpet, him for being tombstoned (which was fair). What I am trying to say here is, even though Norwich are naff, AND the players are naff – absolutely nobody is getting a whack around the back of the legs for this. Clearly, it’s someone’s fault, right? Has Delia Smith been side-tracked by Christmas Cook Book release deadlines or something? Is Alan Partridge touring the city centre in a massive Pope-mobile? No excuses, someone deserves a sacking! On the flip side, Sheffield have once again found their winning ways after a Newcastle blip and are well in the mix for Europa spots still.

Brighton 2 – 2 Wolves

It’s not necessarily their fault, but the season-so-far journey that Wolves have embarked on is a football version of Frodo legging it out of his mushroom to chase a very posh British dragon screaming “I’m off on an adventure lads!”. Nuno (Gandalf) has convinced us all that this adventure could well be a success – based off last seasons performance they’re aiming to be a top table European-place challenging team for the long term. Last season they relied heavily on Jimenez. This season, he’s got little Bilbo-Jota helping him out and banging in some screamers of his own. Brighton played well, the draw was deserved, but going forward Wolves still look a strong squad but with one eye on Europa in the new year will they get distracted/fatigued/eaten by a massive dragon?

West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal

Arsenal are a right show this year. We blast them, we praise them, we love them, we hate them all within 90 minutes. We dish out the reviews, Arsenal serve it back to us with a panto precision even Christopher Biggins would be impressed with. This week, they started the show poorly, leading us to believe it’s all gone Shane Ritchie in EastEnders (really rubbish to watch). But no, a quick flip-reverse and they go ahead to score 3 and take an easy 3 points away from the London 2012 Olympics Stadium (I refuse to acknowledge any other name for it). We’re fans, at the end of the day, fans just wanting to be entertained. We don’t care if Arsenal have 10 ex-players come and “have a go” at manager this season, we’re not expecting much, who really cares anyway until they hire Sol Campbell?

Lastly a random shout out but one worthy of a mention in my opinion.

@_Bands_FC have this week been collaborating with @OneMinuteBriefs to create some amazing, inspiring and powerful poster art to raise awareness for equality and to stop racism in our wonderful game of football using the concept of Music x Football. A great cause, with some great results – if you haven’t already, go and check them out by searching for #LoveMusicLoveFootballHateRacism

(here’s a couple of my submissions….)

FOLLOW JACK ON TWITTER @JACKAGOODWIN

Written by Jack A. Goodwin -Follow him on Twitter @JackAGoodwin

Jack is an “alternative FPL writer” (Who knew, right?) looking for hidden tales behind the most obscure players, dark humour in the game and the creative storytelling to the most mundane of GameWeeks!

He’s played the official game for over 7 years, running leagues throughout the offices of his day job.

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Fantasy Football – Gameweek 11 Preview –

Written by @NiallHawthorne

 

Many of you now have big decisions to make. Those you have previously chosen have left you down, and not delivered what you wanted. But as ever there’s a chance to change your mind and get it right this time. Who’s going to deliver what you need? Who’s going to make your life better? Who’s going to (finally) deliver on all that promise?

Yep, just as each FPL decision is important, the upcoming General Election in Britain is a once in a lifetime event in terms of importance and significance, and you have a chance to choose your future.

But let’s be honest, your choices for GW11 are significant too, so let’s go!

 

Defender: Marcos Alonso, Chelsea

 

Considering the fact that Alonso missed the first 4 GW’s of the season, his points haul of 36 points in 6 weeks is bloody impressive and too good to ignore.

This week Chelsea are away to Watford who are the lowest scorers in the league this season with a sensationally crap five goals in ten matches. Chelsea and Alonso have three clean sheets in his six appearances, and are aiming for a hat-trick of consecutive clean sheets. Throw in his attacking ambition and this really seems to be a no-brainer this week.

 

Midfielder: Youri Tielemans, Leicester City

 

Last season’s post-January break out star started a bit slowly this season, but just like his team, is now flying high. He has twenty points from his last two outings which have yielded two goals, an assist and two bonus points.

The humiliation that the Foxes inflicted on the Saints should ensure none of them get past the Pearly Gates when the time comes, but that’s a while away, so I suspect that they’ll continue to plunder points and make life hell for opponents. This weekend they visit Crystal Palace, and I’m tipping Tielemans to continue his scorching form.

 

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Forward: Marcus Rashford, Manchester United 

 

Trying to analyse this Manchester United team is like trying to analyse Brexit. Nobody really knows what’s going on, what’s going to happen, and any predictions will make you look like a bloody fool.

Hi everybody! I’m a bloody fool!

The return of Anthony Martial will free up Marcus Rashford to return to his far more effective wide forward role (probably), and United really battered Norwich City last weekend. The two missed penalties spared the Canaries’ blushes, but it did show that United may be finding form going forward.

A trip to Dean’s Court this weekend offers further attacking opportunity. While Bournemouth are off the back of a couple of clean sheets, they’ve been against Norwich and Watford. Boasting about that would be akin to me boasting about my ability to put on my pants every morning. People are grateful, but it’s really nothing more than society expects. The Cherries won’t be keeping a clean sheet this weekend, you can take the word of a bloody fool on that.

Captain: Any Manchester City Attacking Player You Trust Pep To Pick, Manchester City

 

What’s the one thing you don’t want to have to face after you concede 9 (NINE) goals at home in a league game? That’s right, a trip to the highest scorers in the league. Unfortunately for Southampton, it’s even worse, and they face TWO trips to the highest scorers in the league. Football, eh?

This is the biggest no-brainer of the season allied with the trickiest selection dilemma since Love Island finished.

You know City are going to batter Southampton. But who will do the damage? Will Aguero start? If you know he will, it’s Triple Captain territory. But he started midweek (scoring twice) and hasn’t started in the league since 1976 or so it seems. Raheem will fill his boots, yeah? But Pep knows his side will stroll it, so will he rest him? Kevin De Bruyne then! Probably….But if at the end of the match this weekend, it wouldn’t at all surprise me to see Mahrez with 25 points, and all of the above with 1 point each after 90 second cameos off the bench.

But you should captain one of them!

Good luck….

 

Outsider: Kieran Tierney, Arsenal

 

He’s now started playing league games, and only 1.0% own him. Time to get him in, purely for the attacking potential. Also, Arsenal may stumble upon a clean sheet or two in the next few weeks as they face Southampton, Norwich and Brighton.

Worth a punt?

 

Draft: Dejan Lovren, Liverpool

 

A humongous 0.2% of FPL players own him in the classic game, and he seems to be getting the nod over Gomez in the league. If he’s available, get him in. Klopp knows best. So join Mrs. Lovren and Mo Salah and get him in your squad.

 

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 11 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

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.

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