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FPL Gameweek 5 Review – Written by Jack A. Goodwin

 

Ladies and Gentlemen it’s the day you’ve all been waiting for!! My completely irrelevant and unnecessary roundup of last weekend’s FPL action – more importantly, for one week only – Welcome to FantasyYIRMANIA!

We’re here at the sold-out Bang Average Arena with a total crowd attendance of 387,528 fans (actual total attendance of this past weekend’s games).

Today we’ll have teams facing off in some of our most beloved matches as Premier League football goes WWE… and I try to amuse myself with photoshop whilst passing words off as a gameweek review article.

(ED: I mean, it’s my own fault. I knew this was going to be obscure when I agreed to it…)

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Empty Arena Match: Bournemouth v Everton.

We kick off the show before anyone has time to arrive – Bournemouth with by far the lowest attendance of the weekend with just 10K fans in attendance, Watford’s 21K over double that with the 2nd lowest. Those who did make it saw a lovely performance by the home side, Callum Wilson finally doing his job and scoring goals! In other news, Frazer Ramon made his return from injury.

Hardcore Match: Spurs v Palace.

We then bring out the weapons! Spurs & Palace treated us to the most yellow cards in a game this weekend with 7 spread across both teams. There were superkicks, big boots and at one-point Jordan Ayew climbed up the goal post and elbow dropped Erik Lamela. Rumours afterwards suggest that referee Craig Pawson had to confiscate brass knuckles found in the gooch region of Harry Winks shorts but has yet to return them – what are you up to with those there ‘knucks Craig?

First Blood Match: Man United v Leicester.

In what was a very close affair, Mr Perfect himself Harry Maguire faced his former teammates in a match decided by whoever draws first blood (scores first…). It was the Reds who took the win with a hard-fought match where Rashford finally tucked away a penalty and the Old Trafford crowd finally saw a victory at home. Jamie VarDiBiase was apparently furious about the result, immediately banging out Brendan Rodgers after the game.

Handicap Match: Norwich v Man City.

This wasn’t fair as soon as Kevin Friend started the match. Sure, Man City have the brain of Pep mixed with arguably the most in-form team in the world right now – but do they have Teemu Pukki? The odds were stacked against City from the get-go as the Norwich GOAT made his presence known with assists, goals and smiles for everyone. #Pukki4Life.

Last Man Standing Match: Billy Sharp v Danny Ings

Dear God Sheffield United v Southampton is a boring match, right? Right. So boring in fact that an announcement was made prior to kick off at Bramall Lane that the first team to get a person sent off loses. Cue, Billy Sharp. Getting bored himself, he decides to end it locking in the Sharpshooter on Stuart Armstrong– straight red and didn’t give a toss really.

Retirement Match: Unai Emery v Quique Sanchez Flores

Two very separate retirement plans on show – as Quique showed us all why early retirement isn’t always the best option, bringing back his fight for the draw in his Watford’s comeback against Arsenal. Unai on the other hand, demonstrating why early retirement is a valid way out. Arsenal are looking rather naff at the moment, Aubameyang aside, and are in need of improvements quickly with Man United on the horizon in two weeks’ time.

Should have stayed at PSG Unai, you had Neymar…Now you have David Luiz.

Submission Match: Brighton v Burnley

To use John Cena’s famous tagline, Burnley never gave up (John Cena is clearly a massive Burnley fan) When the clock was near its last seconds, Brighton had locked in the 3-points and were packing up, heading up the ramp. Burnley were ready to tap out until Jeff HendRick Rude reversed the hold to steal a point in the dying moments.

 

Weapons Match: Liverpool v Everyone

When you have Firmino, Mane & Salah in your arsenal then you’re bound to be quite the force. So far this season, nobody has been able to step up to the Liverpool trio. Sure, Newcastle managed to grab a cheap goal, it doesn’t matter to Liverpool, they’ll just score more than you…I’d potentially be able to land a lucky punch on Tyson Fury, he’s only going to hit me much harder until I crumble like a tiny child.

 

Goals Count Anywhere Match: Wolves v Chelsea

A feast for those who enjoy Match of the Day. Chelsea were rampant, goals outta nowhere, 3 goals in each half (one was a token own goal for Wolves as Tammy got carried away). With Liverpool incoming, Chelsea had a bit of fun here before they get battered on Sunday by Klopp ‘n Co.

 

Dumpster Match: Villa v West Ham

When we’re told that there’s Monday Night Football we rejoice, work doesn’t seem so bad and drinking in the week is perfectly acceptable. THIS match however, was appalling. A 0-0 finish which deserved nothing more than the 3pm slot on a Saturday to protect our valuable time. Referee Mike Dean tried his hardest to liven up the crowd with a cheeky red card midway through the second half, but it was to no avail. P.s. If you understand the meaning behind me choosing that photo, I like you.

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The show closes with a massive pyro show, no expenses spared here at FantasyYIRMA.

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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11 Unknown Stories About the Current Fantasy FPL Dream Team

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

 

We’re just four weeks into the football season and we already have our breakout stars, our differentials turned goal machines and our overpriced flops. Here we delve in to the current top-11 players of the season so far, and look behind the footballing curtain to see what these guys are really about…

We’ve used the current Dream Team from the official FPL site to compile this list.

Also – as you’ll probably note – we are quite excited by the upcoming launch of FIFA20 and have doctored FIFA19 cards throughout this article in the vein hope that those lovely EA folk will send us a free copy…. SHAMELESS…

 

 

  1. Rui Pedro dos Santos Patrício

Apparently, Rui is just 31 years young – which I for one call BS. Well Rui is quite the hero back home in Leiria, Portugal. From his days as a Sporting Lisbon GK he actually became so loved that one fan apparently funded the commission of a statue of Rui which now resides there, capturing his (again, apparently) “iconic” save from a Griezmann shot back in the Euro 2016 Final. But what I really want to reveal about the 2016 Balon d’Or nominee is that his wife is a sex therapist, if you remember from the Euro’s back in 2016 she famously recommended that Rui & his Portuguese teammates masterbate prior to matches. (Link)

Ed: There’s 10 more of these??

  1. Patrick John Miguel van Aanholt

The cousin of Leroy Fer, Patrick was born in Holland to parent from Curaçao (a tiny island in the Caribbean which for some mad reason is actually a part of the “Kingdom of the Nederland’s”). He shares a birthday with Michael Jackson and famous astronaut Chris Hadfield (August 29th), I am almost certain Patrick is planning a moonwalk for an upcoming goal celebration in homage to his birthday brothers from other mothers. Fun fact, Patrick’s current contract banks him £3.5 million per year, which, to make you feel poor, means that each DAY Patrick earns roughly £15,000.

  1. Lucas Digne

Digne unknown to many is in fact quite the hero – during the appalling terrorist attacks in Barcelona back in 2017, Lucas was in his apartment nearby to La Rambla where the events unfolded and immediately ran down to help out the injured. To this day he never comments on what happened in respect of those lost – which, only makes the lad humbler and more likeable. He may have some Evertonian’s raging however once they notice that he has the words “I Never Walk Alone” tattooed across his waxed chest.

  1. Jannik Vestergaard

Fun fact – I was once a season ticket holder for Borussia Monchengladbach where Jannik was quite the star during his 2-year spell. Back in 2018 the rumour mills were rampant that he was destined for London, with Spurs and Arsenal looking to sign the chap (Link), but Jannik actually went down to Southampton and is still to find his true form. He has a fear of spiders and was told by his first coach at Brondby that he was “too lanky for football” – those two things had no right to be in the same sentence together but here we are. In the 2017 Bundesliga season he was the only player in the entire league to play every single minute of a teams season so he clearly has some stamina. He’s a New England Patriots fan (hence his dog being called Brady – Jannik shares the same birthday as Tom Brady too) which unfortunately makes me dislike him now.

 

  1. Raheem Shaquille Sterling

Jamaican born Raheem was given the middle name Shaquille because his parents were huge Shaquille O’Neal fans, also during the ten seconds reading this sentence Raheem has earned £2.50. This is based on his near £8million contract which is not bad is it? Last year during the build up to the 2018 World Cup, the English press decided to mess up the morale in the England camp by highlighting a gun tattoo on Raheem’s leg, which, turns out has a much deeper meaning about his father. Hard to admit, but all my reading up on Mr Sterling made me realise he’s not a bad guy really – still has a silly run though.

 

  1. Kevin De Bruyne

KDB does not like Thibaut Courtois. Fact. Prior to marrying the now mother of his two children, KDB’s ex-girlfriend admitted to cheating on him with none other than his fellow Belgian. Needless to say, KDB is pretty chuffed that Courtois moved over to Spain last year. Although born in Belgium, Kevin was eligible to play for Burundi due to his mother being Burundian – he opted to play for the Red Devils which was a fair choice if I’m honest. I think we can all agree, his biggest achievement in life was back in August 2014 where KDB was appointed as the Ambassador of Weltvogelpark Bird Sanctuary in Germany.

  1. Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly

Mo is a very religious man, a devoted Muslim who thanks the almighty every time he scores a goal. Interestingly, Mo named his daughter Mecca Mohammed after the Holy site in Saudi Arabia – however he later changed her named to Makkah to distinguish it from Mecca Bingo! Mo as many know is a lovely man, some of his most noteworthy actions are the millions he donates to his home country to fund education, healthcare and to help end poverty – he also famously dropped charges to a thief who robbed his entire family and then actually gave money to the thief to help him become a better person. We should all be like Mo.

 

  1. Sadio Mane

Sadio is the epitome of “follow your dreams”, growing up in Sedhiou in Senegal with his Uncle due to his parents having too many children to be able to look after. Not only that, his family forbid him to play football as it was seen as too expensive. After showing promise with his feet, his local village all came together, family and friends sold their crops to raise money to allow Sadio to train. A phenomenal story from who is now one of my favourite players.

 

  1. Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo

In 2003 I was embarking on a journey to obtain good GCSE results and maybe not end up working in the Boots photo lab (which I did). In 2003, Sergio was taking to the pitch as the youngest professional footballer to debut for Independente in Argentina. He was actually signed by the team when he was just 9 years old back in 1997, at a time I was trying to pack a Charizard and become king of the playground. Somewhere along the way, we both made different decisions in life didn’t we? Anyway, Sergio has been on the pitch as a pro footballer for over half of his life, he married Maradonna’s youngest daughter but has since separated and the childs godfather is none other than Lionel Messi. His nickname “Kun” actually comes from a Japanese anime character from his childhood and the most impressive accolade is of course his FANTASTIC voice https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=hzwWtlSbzng.

  1. Teemu Eino Antero Pukki

If it’s not written in the stats, it sure is in the name. Pukki translates as “GOAT” in his native Finland, for most Norwich fans this now proves true – step aside Cristiano! 13 years ago he actually had a trial with Chelsea FC, but didn’t make the cut – the same scout then brought him to the UK when he signed for Celtic in 2013 as played alongside Virgil Van Dijk. Oh, and Norwich didn’t pay a penny for him. £0 for a Goat? Bargain.

 

  1. Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham

London born Tammy has been a Chelsea project since he was 8 years old, progressing through the ranks until they decided to loan him out to Bristol, Villa then Swansea. Internationally his Dad (Nigerian) is very close mates with the Nigerian Football Federation President who spent years trying to convince Tammy to “become” Nigerian to play for their national team, he even started the papers to do so – but eventually declined and now plays, kind of (2 appearances) for England. He was on the cusp of joining Newcastle on loan last summer before he was advised not to due to being “young and rich in a city known for a great nightlife”.

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.

GW4 Review: Jamie Vardy Crashed the Pukki Party

Written by @JackAGoodwin

This GW4 review is brought to you, in part, by the real Slim Goodwin.

Hi kids, do you like FPL advice?

Wanna see Pukki blank the game and Richarlison score twice?

Wanna copy me and do exactly like I did?

Regret every decision you made this week because you wildcarded…

After news spread this week of a party in the Norwich area getting overcrowded, Jamie Vardy took it upon himself to throw a bigger, better, more familiar party of his own.

Nearly 1 million new people bought a ticket to the Pukki Party which ultimately turned sour when the bubble machines went mental and ruined it. The Pukki train immediately left for the City of Manchester, but many won’t be jumping aboard with fears that the DJ will constantly be playing Blue Moon.

Vardy, to rub salt in the wounds, has also taken his WKD fueled party towards Manchester, his however will arrive at a dysfunctional Old Trafford where the party will likely continue into the night.

Meet John Lundstram, 25 years old.

Fed up with life and the way his FPL career is going, he decides to score against Palace.

But on his way in to 750K more teams since then, he had a sudden change of heart.

And suddenly, the real John Lundstram came into play. (1 point in 2 GWs).

Guess who’s back? Back again…Aguero’s back…tell a friend! We’ve created a problem, ‘cause nobody wanted to see premium strikers anymore – we wanted bargains mixed with expensive defenders & mids, didn’t we? Now we have the conundrum of how to bring in the likes of Aguero, Kane, Firmino & Aubameyang – and the likelihood is that we pulled the trigger too soon on our Wildcards that it’s now near impossible to bring them in without taking a hit. It’s over – nobody listens to techno!

Salah is supposed to be the player who never loses his composure, assists with goals and holding the whole weight of our teams on his shoulders. Going toe-to-toe with Sterling for the armband once again – but unfortunately both players go and blow it!

In GW4 match by match, player by player, whoever we captained our team all fell down. GW1 star player, Sterling. GW2 star player, Pukki. GW3 star player, Salah. Surely one of these three will give us our points return. All three players, combined, scored a total of 11 points – which is 5 points behind GW4’s star player Jamie Vardy.

Sick of terribly forced Eminem song references? Yeah, me too. (ED: Me too)

Elsewhere in FPL we saw clean sheets for Palace, City, West Ham and Liverpool – business as usual then, with those keeping the faith in both ‘Pool and City backlines rewarded (unless, like me, you foolishly picked Laporte in your teams – not aware that he had knees as weak as United’s transfer strategy). Scoring defenders included Vestergaard and his massive head, Geordie Schar and a lovely Zouma own goal (told you he was a bit naff…https://fantasyyirma.com/2019/08/15/5-totally-useless-fantasy-players-from-game-week-1/).

40% of GW4 matches ended in a draw, 50% ended with a home victory with just the one away win for Liverpool. What do these statistics tell us? Absolutely nothing – but you can bet your ass you’ll spend the next two-weeks reading about every little detail from the FPL Twittexpert community and how the statistics suggest that you are a terrible FPL player. As each gameweek passes by, the FPL world has a breakdown, self-implodes on its own advice and steers itself in to wonderful new directions. After GW3 we almost unanimously got bantered into Wildcarding.

We were told that the Pukki Party was going to be a season long banger and expertly informed that Sterling and/or Salah were guaranteed points. The positive takeaway however was that we were convinced that the FPL world is so much more fun when we have it in drawn for us! (shout out to @fpldoodles1 – a pleasant addition to a community needing something different).

Quite astonishingly, even after the poor run of form for Man United as of late, Chelsea and Tottenham sit below them. We’re only four weeks into the season and the only real “in form” teams we can see are the usual suspects of Liverpool & City. Will the International Break give the chasing pack their mojo back? Will we see any last-minute moves away from the Premier League from the likes of Pogba & Eriksen as the Transfer Window slams shut tomorrow (2nd September)?

Finally, will FantasyYIRMA be able to drag-out the Bang Average Podcasts for two whole weeks in the absence of Premier League football! Time. Will. Tell.

…and so the soap opera

Is told, it unfolds, I suppose it’s old, partner

But FPL goes on: da da dum da dum da da da da….!

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.

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 3 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

If you’re like me, things are now suddenly starting to become clear. You’ve made an absolute Horlicks of your team, and not one of the 3,486 draft teams you came up with would have been any good.

Never fear, for I am here! Fresh off tipping pucker Pukki points, and John Egan putting a Cork in the Palace attack, let me guide you towards your Wildcard dear friend…

Defender: Luke Shaw, Manchester United

We don’t have to wait for another couple of weeks to spot one of the first trends of the new season – Crystal Palace are absolute muck. They’re Benteke levels of terrible, which is quite apt, considering. Their only decent player seems to have taken a leaf out of the ‘Chelsea Squad 17/18’ book and they’re as sharp in attack as Donald Trump is intellectually.

Manchester United have signed the world’s biggest forehead for the world’s biggest defender fee, and he certainly seems to have given them some solidity at the start of the new campaign. While last season’s FPL hero Aaron Wan-Bissaka is settling in at right-back, his left-back comrade has been making some impressive forays up his wing, and was showing real sings of attacking promise at Molineux on Monday night.

So a clean sheet is likely, and an assist or goal wouldn’t be out of the question for Luke Shaw this weekend. At least it shouldn’t be as long as Jose has stopped his Vulcan mind-control tactics on poor Luke.

Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

He’s back baby!

KDB was a joy to behold against Spurs last weekend, as he toyed and teased with the European Cup Finalists all evening, notching up two assists.

This week he travels to the South Coast on a pleasant August afternoon to face a Bournemouth side who have conceded to both Sheffield United and Aston Villa already this season. Hmmmm. I don’t think I’m going out on too much of a limb here to say that Aguero/Jesus/Sterling and co may well be firing in quite a few shots this Sunday, and KDB is going to be loading the bullets.

Forward: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool

Here’s a great stat I came across on Twitter this week:

Since joining Liverpool, Sadio Mane has scored in every home game he’s played against Arsenal.

Since joining Liverpool, Mo Salah has scored in every home game he’s played against Arsenal.

Since joining Liverpool, Bobby Firmino has scored in every home game he’s played against Arsenal.

Firmino has opened the scoring in each game. Firmino got a hat-trick last season.

Captain: Harry Kane, Spurs

The second trend of the new season is as obvious as the first. Newcastle United are also absolute muck. Who knew that letting the guile and tactical wisdom of a man who contrived to win a Champions League with Djimi Traore at left-back, and replacing him with a man with the guile and tactical wisdom of Boris Johnson would result in that team looking hopeless immediately?

Spurs are going to batter the bejaysus out of Newcastle this weekend. Pummel them. Hump them. Destroy them.

If you want to go early on your Triple Captain chip, I won’t talk you out of it. There won’t be many more suitable weeks when one of the league’s best strikers faces a home game against one of the league’s worst teams. There’s no rotation risk, no Champions League games coming up, all week to prepare for it….it’s Goldilocks time to be honest. It’s just right.

Outsider: Manuel Lanzini, West Ham United

A cracking assist to get his campaign underway at Brighton last weekend, and now a trip to face a Watford side that have been displaying relegation form since Christmas of last year. West Ham have a host of attackers to choose from at the moment, and Lanzini will be linking and jinking with them all. Any old Iron? Nah, this is a very specific Iron you want on your team.

Draft: Çağlar Söyüncü, Leicester City

I’ll be honest with you. This Lord Farquhar lookalike has a whole load of lines and dots over/under most of the letters in his name, but I lack the technical ability to work out how to type it properly, so if you’re reading this Caglar mate, I apologise. (Ed. I got your back Niall)

But I am tipping you as a great option in Draft, considering you’re filling in the Harry Maguire slab-shaped hole in the Leicester defence.

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 3 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.

Wolves: R.Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Otto, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Jiminez, Jota

Subs: Ruddy, Neto, Cutrone, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vinagre, Adama

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, James, Rashford, Martial

Subs: Romero, Young, Andreas, Mata, Matic, Greenwood, Tuanzebe

 

 

 

Fantasy Football – FPL Gameweek 2 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

The dictionary definition of a ‘Series’ is a number of events of a similar or related kind coming one after another.

Coronation Street has had murders, Ken Barlow affairs and hotpots for decades.

EastEnders has had menacing gangsters, unplanned pregnancies and Ian Beale crying for years.

Emmerdale has had sheep, plane crashes and Marilyn from Home & Away inexplicably roaming around the dales for yonks.

The point is that you know what you’re going to get from a ‘Series’, because you can see the pattern.

Now if you happened to watch the first episode of a new series last weekend called ‘FPL Season 2019/20’ and you think you know what’s coming next, you’re an idiot.

So, put down that Wildcard chip, stop f*cking panicking, and at least wait for GW2 to happen before drawing any conclusions. Remember Steve Mounie? He didn’t turn out to be the next Alan Shearer, did he? Yet he scored two goals in GW1 in August 2017 and promptly stank the place out for the next nine months.

In short, nobody knows what’s coming next. So, with that, here’s my predictions for GW2!

Defender: John Egan, Sheffield United  

The Blades had the best defensive record in the Championship last season, which Egan was at the heart of, and they looked very much at home in the cut and thrust of the Premier League when they visited Dean’s Court last weekend.

This weekend the Premier League returns to Bramall Lane, the scene of the very first Premier League goal in history, scored by Brian Deane past a hopeless Danish keeper called Schmeichel. Clearly that was a sign of things to come in the future, eh?

Crystal Palace are the visitors this time featuring Christian ‘I used to score goals’ Benteke, Wilfried ‘I’m a good player get me out of here’ Zaha, and ‘Mad’ Max Meyer. While their away from was their saviour last season, something tells me that The Hodge has a tougher job on his hands this season, and a bouncing Bramall Lane will be a tough place to perform.

 

 

Midfielder: John McGinn, Aston Villa

This season’s version of Ryan Fraser.

You can thank me next May.

 

 

Forward: Teemu Pukki, Norwich City

Norwich look like they’re going to have a real go this season. They attacked Liverpool with gusto on Friday night, deservedly grabbing a consolation goal which was finished with aplomb by their Finnish finisher Pukki.

This weekend the Geordie Circus rolls into town with Steve Bruce in a top hat and Mike Ashley as usual playing the clown. Carrow Road will be hopping, Delia will have been on the sherry since lunchtime, and by 5pm you’ll be crowing about how this Canary helped you nail GW2.

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Aubameyang faces Burnley at 12:30 on Saturday. I never Captain a player at that time slot, and neither should you.

Sterling/Aguero and friends have a tricky enough looking home game against Spurs. While they may well run riot once more, Spurs are no mugs and may stifle the home side for a while at least.

That leaves Salah at Southampton. He notched there last season when he ran for 50 yards before slotting from outside the box. The Saints were battered by Burnley last weekend and showed defensive vulnerability, and whatever shortcomings you may see in Liverpool so far this season, they look to be as razor sharp offensively as ever.

So, it’s Mo once more.

Outsider: Adrian, Liverpool  

£4.5m to get a guaranteed starter in the best defence last season?

This climate change lark is getting out of hand. It’s Christmas in August FFS!

 

Draft: Moise Kean, Everton 

Everton have signed a young Irish lad from Juventus who should be leading the line very soon and banging in goals for fun.

At least, I’m assuming he’s Irish with a name like Mossie Keane. Wait, what? Moise Kean? Not qualified for Ireland?

Meh, it didn’t stop Tony Cascarino.

 

 

 

 

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 2 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.

Fantasy Football – FPL Gameweek 2 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

The dictionary definition of a ‘Series’ is a number of events of a similar or related kind coming one after another.

Coronation Street has had murders, Ken Barlow affairs and hotpots for decades.

EastEnders has had menacing gangsters, unplanned pregnancies and Ian Beale crying for years.

Emmerdale has had sheep, plane crashes and Marilyn from Home & Away inexplicably roaming around the dales for yonks.

The point is that you know what you’re going to get from a ‘Series’, because you can see the pattern.

Now if you happened to watch the first episode of a new series last weekend called ‘FPL Season 2019/20’ and you think you know what’s coming next, you’re an idiot.

So, put down that Wildcard chip, stop f*cking panicking, and at least wait for GW2 to happen before drawing any conclusions. Remember Steve Mounie? He didn’t turn out to be the next Alan Shearer, did he? Yet he scored two goals in GW1 in August 2017 and promptly stank the place out for the next nine months.

In short, nobody knows what’s coming next. So, with that, here’s my predictions for GW2!

Defender: John Egan, Sheffield United  

The Blades had the best defensive record in the Championship last season, which Egan was at the heart of, and they looked very much at home in the cut and thrust of the Premier League when they visited Dean’s Court last weekend.

This weekend the Premier League returns to Bramall Lane, the scene of the very first Premier League goal in history, scored by Brian Deane past a hopeless Danish keeper called Schmeichel. Clearly that was a sign of things to come in the future, eh?

Crystal Palace are the visitors this time featuring Christian ‘I used to score goals’ Benteke, Wilfried ‘I’m a good player get me out of here’ Zaha, and ‘Mad’ Max Meyer. While their away from was their saviour last season, something tells me that The Hodge has a tougher job on his hands this season, and a bouncing Bramall Lane will be a tough place to perform.

 

 

Midfielder: John McGinn, Aston Villa

This season’s version of Ryan Fraser.

You can thank me next May.

 

 

Forward: Teemu Pukki, Norwich City

Norwich look like they’re going to have a real go this season. They attacked Liverpool with gusto on Friday night, deservedly grabbing a consolation goal which was finished with aplomb by their Finnish finisher Pukki.

This weekend the Geordie Circus rolls into town with Steve Bruce in a top hat and Mike Ashley as usual playing the clown. Carrow Road will be hopping, Delia will have been on the sherry since lunchtime, and by 5pm you’ll be crowing about how this Canary helped you nail GW2.

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Aubameyang faces Burnley at 12:30 on Saturday. I never Captain a player at that time slot, and neither should you.

Sterling/Aguero and friends have a tricky enough looking home game against Spurs. While they may well run riot once more, Spurs are no mugs and may stifle the home side for a while at least.

That leaves Salah at Southampton. He notched there last season when he ran for 50 yards before slotting from outside the box. The Saints were battered by Burnley last weekend and showed defensive vulnerability, and whatever shortcomings you may see in Liverpool so far this season, they look to be as razor sharp offensively as ever.

So, it’s Mo once more.

Outsider: Adrian, Liverpool  

£4.5m to get a guaranteed starter in the best defence last season?

This climate change lark is getting out of hand. It’s Christmas in August FFS!

 

Draft: Moise Kean, Everton 

Everton have signed a young Irish lad from Juventus who should be leading the line very soon and banging in goals for fun.

At least, I’m assuming he’s Irish with a name like Mossie Keane. Wait, what? Moise Kean? Not qualified for Ireland?

Meh, it didn’t stop Tony Cascarino.

 

 

 

 

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 2 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.

This week @JackAGoodwin has decided to write about 5 Totally useless Fantasy Players from GW1. Word of warning – Do Not Pick Them

  1. Oliver Skipp – Midfielder – Tottenham – £4.5M.

18-year-old Oliver debuted in the league last season, with 8 appearances. This season, 1 game, 1 appearance, that’s brilliant right? Well, not so much for 25,000 fantasy managers who picked him in their squads (unless he’s way back in sub #3 position). Fun fact, ‘Skippy’ actually featured in seven different competitions across four age groups in 2018/19. This season, he made his first appearance for Tottenham against Villa in the opening fixture coming on the pitch at 92 minutes. The match ended at 93 minutes. A Solid performance from the lad! (total fantasy points = 1).

 

  1. Bernardo Fernandes da Silva Junior – Defender – Brighton – £4.5M.

We’ll call him just Bernardo shall we, shall we? Can we all agree on that? Well, Bernardo had 22 appearances last season, accumulating a rather terrible 39 points total. This season, surely the Brazilian can inject some flair into the Brighton backline. Not this week he can’t. Taking a page from Skipp’s book he appeared for a total of 1 minute before the final whistle. Hey, it’s an appearance right? He deserves the ice bath afterwards, right? (total fantasy points = 1)

  1. Dominic Solanke – Forward – Bournemouth – £5.5M.

We’ll call him Dominic Ayodele Solanke-Mitchell, shall we? No? Dom is an unbelievably talented 21 year old. But, as we know, if you’re not already at the level of Mbappe, Neymar or Andy Carroll by that age then you’re “never going to make it”! In his 6 years in professional football, Dom has scored a TOTAL of 8 goals – that’s not the best stat is it? So why then did 31,000 people still bring him into their teams? Unsure, to be honest with you there Jack (you all scream). There’s a theme here, as Dom registered 1 minute of playing time in the 1-1 draw to Sheffield United – say it with me guys…. Impact. Player! (total fantasy points = 1) P.s. Dom has an Instagram account, apparently. His Twitter (of 180K+ followers) bio highlights his Insta account with a nice clickable link directly to it so you don’t miss a post. I clicked it. I must’ve been the only soul to do so. 3 followers. 1 following. Sad. Actually what’s happened here, is little Dom has typed his details in wrong – oh how I laughed…

  1. Grant Hanley – Defender – Norwich – £4M.

YES!! A £4M player who actually played for the full 90 minutes! Steady there chaps, Grant had a shocker. He scored the first goal of the 2019-20 Premier League season (into his own net) and went on to concede another 3 goals in the game. This is a man who was club captain and lifted the Championship trophy just months ago with a big ol’ grin across his Scottish face. How the mighty fall eh? (total fantasy points = -2, yes that is a minus before the 2).

  1. Kurt Zouma – Defender – Chelsea – £5M.

Another defensive clanger here as Kurt not only faced the mighty Man United in a 4 goal bashing, but decided he didn’t like the look of Pereira’s shins so jumped all over them in an act worthy of a yellow card. -1 points for the game, -1 points for the 185,000 managers with him in their teams. Here’s something I betcha didn’t know – Kurt’s middle name, is Happy, and in interviews he believes that it is his middle name which makes him so god damn smiley. We’ve all learnt today. Another fact about Happy Kurt, he is named after Kurt Sloane, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character in the 1989 film Kickboxer. What a guy.

 

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.

Gameweek 29 Preview : Written by @NiallHawthorne

Ten games to go. Ten GW’s left. The clock is ticking, and whatever situation you find yourself in, there’s still enough time to change it. Leading your mini-league and on the verge of glory? Time to kick on. 100 points behind your mini-league leader and in need of inspiration? Time to kick on. Bottom of your mini-league and the subject of abuse on an hourly basis? Time to kick on.

Whatever your situation, follow these tips and you’ll be assured to alter your starting position by Sunday evening.

Note: Following these tips can lead to your overall rank going down as well as up. These tips are not regulated by the Financial Authority of Ireland or England.

Hell, they’re barely regulated by @FantasyYIRMA

Defender: Shane Duffy, Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton have found themselves in a bit of a pickle of late. A side that had seemed to the casual observer to be tootling along in the lower reaches of mid-table, under no real threat, find themselves two points from the drop zone. The seagulls have ruffled feathers. However they do have a game in hand on those around them, and this weekend they have a home game against Huddersfield Town. So two games in hand on those around them then.

That may sound harsh on a Huddersfield Town side that just tamed Wolves in midweek, but I’m nothing if not harsh. Brighton will be targeting this game as a ‘do or die’ affair, and they’ll be led in defence by their talismanic defender Shane Duffy. Five goals, two assists and five clean sheets to his name already, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he increased two of those scoring brackets against the Terriers.

Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Eight goals and seven assists in his last 11 GW’s. You can’t ignore that form, particularly when Pogba faces struggling Southampton at Old Trafford this weekend. He was very close to my Captaincy choice this week to be honest with you, that’s how sure I am he’s going to perform.

Pogba has looked so assured and so talented in recent months. It’s a shame then that he’s got the maturity level of a 7 year old told to get off his Xbox. There’s no doubting his talent, but he’s a spoiled brat with an ego so big it’s got its own weather system.

I’m still picking him though.

Forward: Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers

I saw a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in midweek from Wolves fans distraught at the defeat to Huddersfield Town in midweek. For the love of all that his holy, every single one of those moaning should be on their knees thanking whatever deity they believe in that it wasn’t a classic relegation six-pointer they were involved in, which would be the norm for two recently promoted clubs in most seasons. Wolves have massively exceeded expectations this year, as has Raul Jimenez. I may be in a minority here but for some reason I just haven’t bought into his hype, despite his impressive figures. 10 goals and 7 assists in 28 GW’s is sensational. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve had a distrust of all things Mexican since ‘The Night Of 20 Tequila Shots’ in 1999. But they say everyone deserves a second chance, so I’m jumping onboard the Jimenez gravy train. And if the bouncers and owners of The Washington Inn in Cork City are reading this, I surely deserve a second chance by now? Please? That stain must have come out by now?

Captain: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

No change here, he’s facing a Bournemouth side that are leaking goals at an enormous rate. While the Cherries are a much tougher proposition at home, City can temporarily go top of the table for just over 24 hours with a point at Deans Court. I mean, they’re not going to choke now, are they!

Outsider: Chris Wood, Burnley

Despite their recent blip at St. James’ Park, Burnley have become Burnley again thanks to getting back to the very basics. Keep it tight, lump it long, and have two big lads make your life miserable if you’re defending against them. Wood has 6 goals in his last 9 appearances, and Sean Dyche will be growling at his charges to target home games against the likes of Crystal Palace, and to stretch the current 5 point gap to the drop zone.

Draft: Manuel Lanzini, West Ham United

He’s back. He’s good. Get him.

Gameweek Preview Written by @NiallHawthorne

#FPL Preview – Gameweek 28. Written by Niall “Big Balls The Man” Hawthorne

I got an email from @FantasyYIRMA towers on Sunday evening telling me that @FantasyGaffer was selected to do the Preview for GW28. Yet for some reason I just felt like ignoring the instructions of ‘management’ (don’t snigger) and continue on regardless. You should now fully expect me to do the FPL tipping equivalent of diving right over a simple penalty to save, then claim that I misunderstood the email.

Let’s begin…

Defender: Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton Wanderers

You know Matt Doherty has made the big time when he’s featured in an interview on Football Focus and the interviewer admits that the British press have only worked out how to properly pronounce his surname thanks to his stellar success on the pitch. If he was having a mediocre season, they’d still be butchering his name as they did with poor Kevin Moran (NO emphasis on the ‘a’), Paul McGrath (NO emphasis on the ‘th’) Padraig Harrington (I’m not even going to try, you just have to be Irish to know) and Roy Keane (over here there are 6 syllables in his surname when pronounced correctly).

This Tuesday night he and the rest of his Wolf Pack travel to Huddersfield to face a team with one goal in their last six games, and firmly playing for their way out of the squad for next season, or for their place in the Championship squad. Ergo, a clean sheet is probable. Three goals and six assists (2 assists in his last three appearances) add to the rationale behind getting him in your team for this midweek set of fixtures.

Midfielder: Mo Salah, Liverpool

GW24 – James Ward Prowse tipped, and scored

GW25 – Sadio Mane tipped, and scored

GW26 – Paul Pogba tipped, scored twice

GW27 – Sadio Mane – D’OH!

A couple of logical reasons behind this selection – Liverpool play better when the games start coming thick and fast, as they now will do. Salah has one goal in his last five starts, and that’s ‘unusual’, so I’d expect it to change. Oh, and he scored FOUR in the same fixture last season, and also notched away to Watford in GW13. He likes battering hornets.

Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal    

Four goals in his last five starts. Five goals in his last seven starts. He’s suspended for a couple of more Europa League games, making him extremely unlikely to be rested in the Premier League. He’s also facing a Bournemouth side who have conceded a whopping EIGHTEEN goals in their last SIX away league fixtures, resulting in 8 consecutive defeats.

Sometimes the obvious choice is also the right one.

Captain: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City  

Speaking of which…

Two hat-tricks in his last two home games. Gabriel Jesus nursing a hamstring injury, and following hot on the heels of the Wembley injuries to Fernandinho and Laporte, Pep will be loathed to rush Jesus back.

He’s facing a West Ham side with just four clean sheets all season, and a side they shellacked 4-0 in London earlier in the season (although Kun played 80 minutes and didn’t score or assist in that game).

Anyway, speaking as someone who missed the Aguero gravy-train in the last few weeks, I’m not risking it again, and you shouldn’t either.

Outsider: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City  

When you’ve watched football for as long as I have, over the different eras (says I sucking on a Werther’s Original in my rocking chair), you learn that footballers psychology is different than almost any other walk of life. There’s a prime example at Wembley yesterday as Kepa quite clearly defied his manager and refused to be subbed – how that plays out in the next fixture and beyond is going to be fascinating, but I’m 99.9999% sure that it’s the manager who’ll carry the can for that, and not the player, in the long run.

It’s been clear for quite a long time that Jamie Vardy and Claude Puel didn’t see eye to eye, and this clearly affected Vardy’s form. But now that the French Johnny Giles has been guillotined, I’ve a hunch that the old, snarling, gobby Jamie Vardy may well reappear, starting with a home game against Brighton. The caretaker ‘dream team’ of Stowell and Sadler (does this remind anyone else of the Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets?) are almost assured to go back to basics, which will be to play to the strengths of their talismanic marksman.

Oh, and he’s under 5% ownership, so that makes him an outsider. So there.

Draft: Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United     

Why not?

Exactly.

 

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

author

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com.

GAMWEEK 26 #FPL PREVIEW

Written by @NiallHawthorne

If you’re like me then GW25 will go down as the week when your mini-league was won or lost. (Ed. I got 101… great week)

Mine was lost, and I’m grumpy, so let’s get on with it and all agree that Pep Guardiola is a bald, hipster FPL hating spoofer with less morals than Boris Johnson.

Defender: Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Every 20 years or so Ireland produces a full back that does a passable impression of peak Roberto Carlos. Bombs forward, scores loads of goals, provides plenty of assists and is a must have in any FPL team. For example, please refer to D. Irwin, I. Harte and now M. Doherty.

If I were Doherty I’d be eyeballing all those Portugeezers in the squad and telling them that free kicks and spotters are his from now on.

Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

GW24 – James Ward Prowse tipped, and scored

GW25 – Sadio Mane tipped, and scored

GW26 – Paul Pogba tipped, put your house on him.

The last thing Fulham want on the back of 12 goals conceded in their last 5 matches is the newly cocky, swaggering Manchester United strutting into town with Paul Pogba brimming with confidence. Alas, that’s what they face this weekend. 4 goals and 6 assists in his last 8 games sees the mercurial Frenchman prime to do some serious damage.

Can we call Pogba mercurial yet? Based on the dictionary definition his picture should be next to the word, so I say yes.

Forward: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang / Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

Yes, I’m cheating, but I don’t care.

(ED: since writing this post, Aubameyang has been marked as doubtful for the match with uncertainty regarding his availability.)

If you can afford Aubameyang, get him in. If you can’t, get Lacazette in. If you ignore both, then you’re either very brave, very stupid, or both.

Huddersfield have conceded 3 to Manchester United, 3 to Manchester City and 5 to Chelsea in recent weeks, so as another of the ‘Top 6’ roll into town, and their survival prospects are now looking as healthy as the British economy post Brexit, I’m backing Arsenal to gun down the Terriers in a veritable bloodbath of goals and assists.

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

In the same way that many overlooked Aguero for GW25 because ‘he hasn’t banged recently’ or ‘Pep Roulette mate, you’d be mad to rely on him’, the same words of folly should not be applied to Mo Salah this weekend.

Many commentators are proclaiming that Liverpool are wobbling and bottling it big time. Well if two draws on the spin in a season where they’ve lost a single game is ‘bottling it’, then I’m pretty sure a couple of blank GW’s from Salah is going to be seen in the same light by some. More fool them.

Salah got a hat-trick at Deans Court only a couple of months ago, and Bournemouth are one of the least likely teams to produce a classic rear-guard action. Their last four away games have seen them concede 5 to Spurs, 4 to United, 2 to Everton (!) and 2 to Cardiff (!!).

Captain him. If you still have your TC chip, use it. All in!

Outsider: Michy Batshuayi, Crystal Palace

8 minutes played, 4 points bagged.

Palace have been crying out for a reliable goal scorer since Christian Benteke finally realised that he’s a bit sh*t, and this man could well be it. While it’s great to see Conor Wickham finally return from injury, he and Jordan Ayew just haven’t been able to fill the void.

To me the marriage of Batshuayi with a mid-table team like Palace boasting creativity like Wilfried Zaha screams harmony. Be like Commissioner Gordon, and call on Batman in your hour of need.

Draft: Denis Suarez, Arsenal

So, Arsenal finally signed Suarez for a loan fee of £1, with an option to buy for £35,000,001.

Rumours that the powers that be at the Emirates really are smoking something odd and got the wrong Suarez from Barcelona have yet to be confirmed.

He’s not exactly prolific going forward, but he offers another option in the centre of the Arsenal midfield where Torreira has been overworked and Guendouzi has been offered a chance to impersonate Marouane Fellaini. Worth a punt.

GAMWEEK 26 #FPL PREVIEW

Written by @NiallHawthorne

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