|03 Nov 12:45||Man Utd||2 – 1||Arsenal|
|03 Nov 15:00||Fulham||2 – 2||Everton|
|03 Nov 15:00||Norwich||1 – 0||Stoke City|
|03 Nov 15:00||Sunderland||0 – 1||Aston Vil|
|03 Nov 15:00||Swansea||1 – 1||Chelsea|
|03 Nov 15:00||Tottenham||0 – 1||Wigan|
|03 Nov 17:30||West Ham||0 – 0||Man City|
|04 Nov 13:30||QPR||1 – 1||Reading|
|04 Nov 16:00||Liverpool||1 – 1||Newcastle|
|05 Nov 20:00||West Brom
Thanks to current Yirma champion Tom for providing his insight into the season so far. Tom finished in the top 250 last season (Out of over 2.7m players) We are already contemplating copying his team 😉
First of all, an apology for my reply to a question raised in my previous post. I believe I advised the unfortunate user to watch out for Cazorla and Giroud of Arsenal, only for me to go and start with Podolski on opening day.
It’s an interesting time as after only 3 weeks we’ll see a massive differentiation of wildcard use. Some will have played it, some will be playing it right now in this two week window, whilst others attempt to hold their nerve and save it for a rainy (or, as the case may be, snowed off) day. There is no correct strategy here but whichever direction you go in, ensure you have a mixture of the players in form mixed with those who may be creeping under the radar with excellent fixtures coming up.
I’d imagine the likes of Michu, Hazard and Tevez will have found their way into just about every team by now so I won’t mention them. Any player who has scored a goal thus far will have been brought into the limelight so the likes of Nolan, Fellaini, Piennar, Fletcher, etc) will also be making their way into squads, but what about those who haven’t fired yet?
An obvious example of an underperforming team is Tottenham. I haven’t given up on them yet and with Adebayor surely pushing for a start this weekend, things will improve. Dempsey may or may not prove to be a hindrance but I believe there are goals here if you are brave enough to pick a Spurs attacking player.
As a Villa fan I tend to stay away from what inevitably turns to disappointment, but signs of life have surfaced and the team outclassed Newcastle last time out and were held to a draw only by a rocket from Ben Arfa. I’m not sure I’d advocate shelling out on Bent or Bentake up top just yet, but there are certainly goals to be had with a fantastic upcoming schedule.
On similar lines, Dimitar Berbatov poses some interesting questions. It’s another wait and see but if he can get regular games and dictate play surely he’s in line for a great season. Cisse and Ba didn’t become terrible players overnight and should pick up last season’s goalscoring exploits very soon, whilst Danny Graham must be given a little faith despite being completely overshadowed by his midfield so far.
And what about Robin Van Persie? A player plucked from obscurity and thrust into the Premier League spotlight. Well, not quite. I don’t believe in ‘must have’ players in this game, especially at his extreme price when we don’t know how he fits into plans when Rooney comes back and Champions League rotation kicks in. Saying all that, I have him slotted neatly in my team and it would be hard to recommend against him for anyone with a wildcard this week. For those without, I wouldn’t break the rest of my team just to have him no matter what he does against Wigan this weekend. After that fixtures stiffen up and rotation is right around the corner.
I’ve avoided the wildcard this week despite some obvious flaws in my squad. The first bullet point in my last post argued that you should pick players who will play. So naturally I stuck De Gea in goal. Ryan Bennett was an unfortunate pick as he was replaced by newly signed Bassong at Norwich after the GW1 window shut, whilst my GW3 signing Ashley Williams has now been left at the heart of a completely shattered defensive unit. Apart from that I was extremely fortunate to start with Tevez, Hazard and Michu which meant that I wasn’t chasing bandwagons and had the pleasure of seeing other teams panicking to transfer them in. For those yet to wildcard, I salute you, and I hope we will be able to keep up and make our move later in the season? This is where the men are sorted from the boys.
Around this time last year, when we thought we’d seen him kick a ball and/or opponent for the final time, we were hearing from one man an awful lot more than we were used to.
You suspect that it was a little forced, and that Paul Scholes didn’t exactly want to hold court on issues ranging from life under Sir Alex Ferguson to the trophies he’s won to the reason why he retired from playing for England so early, but when you’ve got an autobiography to sell there are certain sacrifices to be made.
It’s doubtful that Wayne Rooney sees them as sacrifices though.
The international break – a break he has sat out following the nasty thigh injury he picked up against Fulham – has seen Rooney plugging his latest book My Decade in the Premier League, the third autobiography from his money-spinning deal with publishers Harper Collins signed in 2006.
The reviews haven’t exactly been stellar, with the book’s serialisation offering up the ‘fascinating’ insights that Rooney once returned to training following a summer holiday unfit and overweight, and that he could barely stomach seeing Manchester City winning the league last season. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time it isn’t.
Whilst the book does offer us a timeline of Rooney’s career ever since he joined Manchester United in 2004, it will be unable to shed light on the most interesting period of those eight years. Namely right now.
Ferguson – who is believed to privately see Rooney’s injury as a blessing in disguise given that he once again returned from his summer break in less than top condition – made huge statements in the summer with the captures of Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie, the former a shining light in one of the most entertaining sides on the continent over the past couple of years and the latter a prolific goalscorer who is already well on his way to becoming a Premier League icon.
The question of where these purchases left Rooney was almost immediately raised, and although Manchester United’s strongest team would still surely find room for their No. 10, the belief that the forward is undroppable rather quickly evaporated. Suddenly Rooney would have to work harder than ever before.
So perhaps it isn’t the best time to be rolling out another book, specifically one which points out that one of your major flaws is an apparent aversion to staying healthy when out of your manager’s gaze.
Such decisions are likely to be taken out of Rooney’s hands of course, but at a time when actions need to speak louder than words, the forward is creating an awful lot of noise.
Scholes quickly went back to letting his football do the talking following his return to the game and to the Manchester United team back in January, and Rooney could do worse than follow in his team-mate’s footsteps when it comes to ensuring that the chapters in future tomes will be successful, Old Trafford-based ones.
At the end of the current season there will be two years left on the contract that Rooney earned after so much dramatic posturing at the end of 2010, with the entry into the final 24 months of a deal traditionally the moment when key, difficult decisions have to be made about a player’s future – unless you’re Arsenal of course.
Rooney will be 27 next month, and with United never likely to be able to get more money for him than they could command in the summer then a key decision might have to be made, a decision that could be made easier if Kagawa and van Persie turn out to be the success stories they are threatening to be.
When he’s fully fit Rooney will be back in the United and England teams, but as the man himself seems so keen to tell us, just when that will be is up for debate.
He can talk a good game, but Rooney now needs to get back to playing one.
Gameweek 3 preview: The value of Sterling
What were you doing when you were 17? Actually, on second thoughts I don’t want to know.
Whatever it was, unless you’re Michael Owen or Steven Gerrard it’s unlikely that you were running about the Anfield turf with a brilliantly youthful innocence and what looks to be a genuine love of seeing the ball at your feet.
Raheem Sterling has got that, and he showed it during his 90 minute display in the red of Liverpool against Manchester City last Sunday afternoon.
Now this is a Fantasy football blog. We are here to try and give you advice about what to do with your team. So of course I’m not going to say that Sterling should immediately be transferred in and made captain ahead of Liverpool’s match with Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, but the teenager’s £4.5m price tag should raise interest from Fantasy bosses who like to get a squad player who will provide real value.
Thinking long term, Sterling’s value will only go up, and so if you can afford the luxury of bringing in a player who will supplement your squad rather than star in it, then there aren’t many better choices than Liverpool’s new young talent.
The team he plays in looked good last weekend, and there will be many who fancy them to beat a so far scoreless Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, when Nuri Sahin (WHY IS THERE STILL NO PRICE??) is likely to make his English and Fantasy football debut against the team he looked set to join all summer, especially with Lucas Leiva now injured again. Martin Skrtel (£6.0m) remains a popular choice despite last weekend’s error.
His backpass allowed Carlos Tevez (£9.5m) to score at Anfield, and with the Argentinean’s value already up by £0.5m since the start of the season, Fantasy bosses would be wise to add him to their squad before it’s too late. Tevez is a good bet to impress when City host QPR at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
Just what their neighbours Manchester United will do following the injury to Wayne Rooney remains to be seen, although the blow creates a perfect opportunity for the Fantasy game’s most expensive player Robin van Persie (£13.1m) to settle into his stride at his new club, whilst Shinji Kagawa (£8.6m) is another who could thrive in Rooney’s absence. United should beat Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday.
Gameweek 3’s key problem is the absence of a Chelsea fixture of course – although Eden Hazard could still find a way to make an assist – and so if Fantasy bosses have a free transfer available and the funds to bring in a big name for one week only, they could well settle on Tottenham’s fixture against Norwich at White Hart Lane.
Spurs have misfired under Andre Villas-Boas so far, but with Emmanuel Adebayor (£9.6m) and Rafael van der Vaart (£8.9m) looking to fire against the Canaries that could all change here. Gareth Bale (£9.5m) might be the man to turn to if you can afford to replace Hazard and then buy him back at an inflated price though.
Elsewhere, many Fantasy bosses will be looking a Newcastle’s home match against struggling Aston Villa as a chance for Papiss Cissé (£9.5m) to rediscover last season’s prolific goalscoring form, but it is Hatem Ben Arfa (£7.6m) who has picked up the most points in the Magpies team and could be set to impress again.
It has been Swansea and Everton who have impressed everyone this season, and although both have winnable games again this weekend, it is the Blues players who travel to West Brom who might offer the prospect of more points in the long-term.
Marouane Fellaini (£6.8m) and Nikica Jelavić (£8.5m) have started as they mean to go on.
Gameweek 2 preview: Forwards to earn their Spurs?
Maybe earning his Spurs is a bit less important to Emmanuel Adebayor than earning AT Spurs, but after completing his move to White Hart Lane from Manchester City at least he’s added another quality striking option for Fantasy managers.
The Togoloese forward (£9.5m) is likely to go straight into the squad for Saturday’s clash at home to West Brom after eventually turning his loan switch into a permanent one, with ‘Ade’ adding much needed strength in depth to Andre Villas-Boas’s striking department after the Portuguese was left with just Jermain Defoe (£7.5m) as a solitary senior forward for last weekend’s loss at Newcastle.
Defoe scored there of course, and he’ll be looking to take that form into the meeting with the Baggies, where he could still start despite the arrival of his new/old team-mate.
The England man continues to be linked with moves away, but it is unlikely that you’ll see Defoe depart North London at least until Villas-Boas is able to bring in yet another forward, and even then all talk of a transfer seems premature.
Now nearly 30, Defoe has seemingly spent a career on the fringes despite consistently finding the net.
There always seems to have been the feeling that managers can do better than him – either at club or international level – but with Adebayor likely to take a while to settle in after having no pre-season to speak of, Spurs are sure to have to turn to him over the coming weeks. Their next four matches see them face West Brom (h), Norwich (h), Reading (a) and QPR (h). The potential for goals is there for all to see.
That should draw you towards Tottenham’s forwards – perhaps with your Sergio Aguero money – and also to the men playing behind them. If Villas-Boas is to persevere with just the one attacker, then Gareth Bale (£9.5m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£9.0m) and Rafael van der Vaart (£9.0m) will all be looking to get into scoring and assisting positions behind him.
Elsewhere this Fantasy weekend, the lack of a double Gameweek, the advice to avoid Chelsea players who’ll be inactive next weekend and some very intriguing fixtures make it somewhat of a tough one to predict.
After losing so heavily at West Brom, it would be just like Liverpool to bounce back and get a positive result against Manchester City, but it would take the most confident of Fantasy bosses to turn to the likes of the £9.5m pairing of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez against the champions, despite City’s concession of goals against Southampton and the Liverpool pair’s rest from the trip to Hearts in midweek.
City will miss Aguero of course and so a stalemate could ensue, which is probably what Arsenal would settle for from their tough trip to Stoke where Gunners forwards should probably be avoided.
Manchester United will be determined to bounce back from their loss to Everton on Monday, and with many put off by Robin van Persie’s price tag (£13.0m) it could well be the other home debutant Shinji Kagawa (£8.5m) who impresses against Fulham at Old Trafford, where it goes without saying that the Whites’ players who impressed on the opening day against Norwich – Mladen Petric (£6.0m), Damien Duff (£6.0m) and Alex Kacaniklic (£4.5m) – will find it tougher to shine again.
Other opening day stars Michu (bumped up to £6.7m) and Marouane Fellaini (£6.5m) could have it a little easier at home to West Ham and away to Aston Villa respectively, whilst in the battle of the two teams beaten 5-0 last week, it could pay to focus on QPR’s players ahead of those from Norwich.
Junior Hoilett (£6.5m) – a scorer home and away against Norwich for Blackburn last season – might well shine the brightest.
Gameweek 1 preview: The story of the Blues
By now you’ll have clocked it. There can’t really be a Fantasy player who hasn’t.
The 2012/13 season will kick-off with the European champions gracing us with a double Gameweek.
It can’t really get any better can it? You’ve got all those great Chelsea players to choose from and the chance to score double points with each and every one of them, and quadruple with your captain – be it Eden Hazard, Juan Mata or Ross Turnbull. The world is your expensive, Russian oil money-purchased oyster.
Yet is it that simple? Chelsea’s matches against first Wigan and then Reading certainly look winnable, but players should be mindful that the price for the Blues doubling up on Gameweek 1 is that they’ll miss out on Gameweek 3, when Roberto di Matteo’s side (if he’s still there by then) will have swanned off to Monaco to take on Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.
So the question facing Fantasy bosses all summer has been whether or not to load up on Chelsea players for the first couple of Gameweeks or to stay away. The answer can be found in an annoying club song, because as far as this Gameweek is concerned – Blue is the colour.
Chelsea’s best players are all expensive enough for you to easily be able to find replacements once they miss out on playing in that third Gameweek, and so at least two and perhaps three of Di Matteo’s boys should be in your starting XI come the big kick-off on Saturday.
As for who those players are, well the Blues’ midfield can now be considered a minefield due to all the players that they have at their disposal in there, and whilst it’s tempting to go with the £9.5m pair of Hazard and Mata, perhaps the old stager Frank Lampard (£9.0m) could come up trumps at the start of yet another campaign.
The usual suspects at the back for Chelsea will feature heavily on plenty of Fantasy teamsheets, as will Fernando Torres (£10.0m), a strong captaincy choice at the start of a huge season personally.
As is the nature of the game, when one team has a double Gameweek then another must too, and its newly-promoted Reading who take the honours as 2012/13 kicks off.
They won’t be expected to take anything from Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, but their Saturday fixture at home to Stoke does offer the potential of a clean sheet for goalkeeper Adam Federici (£4.5m, and a useful substitute in your team) and the defenders. They are likely to start with a back four of Ian Harte, Alex Pearce (both £4.5m), Kaspars Gorkss and Chris Gunter (both £4.0m).
Further forward, the Russian Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m) has proved popular due to his success at Fulham last season, whilst midfielder Danny Guthrie (£4.5m) is a good signing for the Royals and has a goal or two in him.
Elsewhere across the division as the big kick-off approaches, the potential for a stalemate between Newcastle and Tottenham should have you looking at nobody but goalkeepers and defenders from the pair, whilst wins are predicted for Arsenal and Liverpool as they start the season at home to Sunderland and away at West Brom respectively. Reds new boy Joe Allen (£5.5m) has proved a popular buy with one in four of Fantasy players selecting him.
Manchester City start the defence of their crown with what could be a goal-filled success at home to Southampton – Carlos Tevez, at £9.0m, looks even more of a steal after that Community Shield goal – whilst Manchester United can take advantage of Everton’s often slow start to the season when they go to Goodison Park on Monday night.
All eyes might be on Robin van Persie (£13.0m) there, but it is the return of Nemanja Vidic (£7.0m) which should have Fantasy bosses cheering.
Follow me on twitter @Mark_Jones86
To join the free Fantasy Yirma mini league on the official Premier League game follow this link. Remember Free to Play … £50 to the winner!! What’s to lose?? http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/15005/join/?autojoin-code=44397-15005
In the past 3 seasons of official fantasy football game Tom K has been exceptionally consistent. 3 top 10,000 performances culminated last year with an unbelievable finishing place of 204th with a massive points tally of 2306.
Let’s put this in perspective people 204th out of 2,500,000+ is not bad at all!!!
We wanted to put Tom on the spot and ask him for some insight on how he manages his teams – he did not disappoint. Here are his thoughts on how to go about looking after your fantasy team and maximising opportunities….
The guys from Fantasy Yirma asked me to write a few notes about how I play the game (and somehow managed to gain top spot in their league last season and the crisp £50 that comes with it!) so here is some insight into how I did it.
Fantasy Premier League veterans will learn nothing new here, and those who take massive selection gambles will be disappointed, but sadly the best way to mini league glory is often the slow and steady approach.
With Gameweek 1 being so important to a Fantasy season, the best piece of advice would be to not leave team selections until Saturday 18th August. Anyone who played last season will know the shambles that took place from about midday on the Friday before kick-off when the FPL website imploded leaving many with skeleton teams. Do not make the same mistake again!
More seriously, I haven’t scouted too many players in detail so I won’t mention specifics as the Yirma boys do a fine job of that themselves.
I am a hugely conservative player so most of what I am about to write is common sense but as that often goes out of the window in Fantasy Football selection, here are a few random thoughts:
- 1. Pick players who start for their clubs. Easy. It’s a squad game and you should make the most of all 15 spots (with the possible exception of second keeper if you have a top quality option as first choice). There are base price options in defence and midfield so if you are looking at this range ensure the guys you are going for actually start.
- 2. Don’t make transfers based purely on price rises/falls early in the week. It is so much more important to have a full strength team rather than an extra 0.1 in the bank, and the risk with an early transfer is that if anyone else is struck down or goes missing then you might be tempted to take a points hit to make amends. Which leads me on to…
- 3. Points hits are often unnecessary. You get a free transfer every week so points hits should only be used in exceptional circumstances. I took two last year and by having a full squad to pick from it’s easy to avoid. Rolling transfers over and using two free transfers at a time is far more sensible.
- 4. Forward Planning. Make transfers with the next five or six gameweeks in mind. Look at fixture schedules to make sure you will be happy with the player for a number of weeks as other priority transfers will crop up all the time.
- 5. Don’t waste the wildcard! I used mine along with many others in Gameweek 36 last season and it made such a difference in getting over the line. Some will argue about getting a bit of extra cash by using it early but for me it isn’t worth it. Save it for the winter or spring and you won’t regret it. Using it for Gameweek 2 is a colossal waste, you have had all summer to tinker so put that itchy trigger finger away.
- 6. Let new players Settle. Let players adjust to the league before taking the plunge. Having a midfield of Hazard, Kagawa, Michu, Cazorla and Holman might be end up being incredible but have a couple of safer picks alongside the new boys just in case they are bedded in slowly by managers or don’t fire from the start. By all means if you like the look of them (I certainly do) then have a couple but remember they are a risk.
Big thanks to Tom for taking the time to submit this post. Best of luck this season – but let someone else win! 😉
To join the free Fantasy Yirma mini league on the official premier league game follow this link. Remember Free to Play … £50 to the winner!! What’s to lose?? http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/15005/join/?autojoin-code=44397-15005
A quick look at some of the new signings who’ll be making their Fantasy Premier League debuts this season. Can they cut it in Yirma?
Olivier Giroud, Forward, Arsenal – Fantasy Price Tag £9.0m
A Thierry Henry or a Jeremie Aliadiere? A Robin van Persie, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, or a Francis Jeffers, Kaba Diawara and Christopher Wreh?
Arsenal’s signings can be somewhat hit and miss, but Giroud joins Fantasy Premier League following two prolific years in France, where he helped unfancied Montpellier to win the league last season (an amazing achievement kind of on a par with say, Everton, winning it over here) and he’s bound to have an impact on the Gunners whatever happens with Van Persie.
A big, physical forward, Giroud was seen coming off the bench for France at the Euros – he missed a sitter against Sweden, but don’t let that put you off – and whilst his price is likely to put off all but the most confident of Yirma managers, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on after he’s had a couple of months to settle into life in England.
Marouane Chamakh has put him in his team already.
Shinji Kagawa, Midfielder, Manchester United – Fantasy Price Tag £8.5m
Kagawa is potentially the signing of the summer so far, for a number of different reasons.
Commercially, he’ll fill the Park Ji-Sung sized hole in United’s Asian market, but the Japanese international is much, much more than just a shirt selling signing.
As a key part of the Borussia Dortmund side which won back-to-back German titles, Kagawa scored goals, made assists and linked up the play brilliantly, something that he could do again for United if given the chance.
The trouble is, with Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young already competing for two spots on the wings and Wayne Rooney guaranteed to start upfront with Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez ready and willing to partner him (oh yeah, Dimitar Berbatov is still there too), just where will Kagawa play?
He might be seen from the bench in the opening weeks of the season as he searches for a position in United’s and your team, but the man from Japan has the quality to eventually make an impact.
Fabio Borini, Forward, Liverpool – Fantasy Price Tag £8.0m
Strictly speaking this isn’t the Italian’s Fantasy debut, as he got 37 minutes – and four points – for Chelsea in 2009/10, but the 21-year-old looks destined for a bigger impact this time around.
As Brendan Rodgers’ first signing for Liverpool, the forward will be eager to repay the trust of a man he’s already played for in Chelsea’s reserve side and at Swansea on loan, and with the Reds all set to play Rodgers’ attractive, possession-based style of football, the youngster is sure to have a key role in the side – certainly more key than Andy Carroll anyway.
Nine goals for Roma in Serie A last season after largely coming off the bench show that he knows where the net is, but Borini could also rack up the assists playing in one of the wide positions in Liverpool’s front three, with his partnership with Luis Suárez looking particularly attractive.
As always with new signings there is a danger that Borini won’t hit the ground running, but crucially he already knows that he’s got the confidence of his boss, and at 8.0 he might prove to be a bit of a bargain.
Eden Hazard, Midfielder, Chelsea – Fantasy Price Tag £9.5m
Look how many midfielders Chelsea have got! Just look at them!
They might have more players in there than more than a few countries have got representing them at the Olympics, but undoubtedly Hazard is the most intriguing ahead of the new season – considering that it’s likely to take the Brazilian Oscar a few months to settle in.
Hazard will be ready from the off though, and after months and months of transfer speculation the Belgian could well be ready to show just why he was the man everybody wanted.
Chelsea’s double gameweek in the first week of the season will have already drawn Yirma managers to their players, and Hazard might just hit the ground running in the same way that Deco did when he first joined the Blues in 2008 and immediately went into everyone’s fantasy teams.
The danger is that Hazard dips in form after that initial impact, but the warning to fantasy managers is already there.
Pick him from the start, or you may be sorry.
Lukas Podolski, Forward, Arsenal – Fantasy Price Tag £8.5m
The 27-year-old Podolski reached 100 caps for Germany during Euro 2012, an amazing achievement whatever your age, but have Arsenal signed the player who performs so consistently for his national team or the one who couldn’t save Cologne from relegation last season?
Podolski struggled the last time he made a big move – to Bayern Munich in 2006 – and after he returned to Cologne with his tail between his legs many in Germany wondered if he was able to handle the big time.
He’s more mature now of course, and is likely to start on the left of Arsenal’s front three when they kick-off their season.
He’s not going to be a prolific goalscorer, and his assists rate is sure to depend on whether or not Van Persie is around to finish off the chances he creates, but if Podolski finds his feet then there’s nothing to suggest that won’t be a good addition to any team at a reasonable price.
He’s an improvement on Gervinho anyway, although whether that’s praise or not is debateable.