Blog Archives

Written By @NiallHawthorne

You may be astonished to learn that this writer is in fact a supporter of Liverpool Football Club. I know, I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock.

I had never witnessed my team lose five consecutive league games at Anfield, until this week. All this comes just a year after I saw the greatest Liverpool team of my lifetime capture a league title with the highest points total in the clubs’ history.

That’s bonkers.

It does teach us a very valuable life lesson though: Cherish the good times when they happen.

Too often when we find things going our way, we waste that time worrying about how we can make things better. I finished in the top 20k last season in FPL, and spent weeks bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t finish higher, couldn’t crack the top 10k. This season I can’t crack the top million, and I look back now and realise how good I had it.

Whether it’s in life, FPL or following the trials and tribulations of your football team, cherish the good times because you never know when they’ll be gone, possibly for good.

Onto GW27!

Defender: Lucas Digne, Everton

Clearly you should have at least one Manchester City defensive asset this week as they play twice and don’t really concede goals anymore, so I’m assuming that you have your Pep Guardiola voodoo doll ready to stick pins into as he breaks your FPL heart with nary a thought for your mental health, the monster.

Lucas Digne is someone you should consider squeezing in alongside those City players. In just 19 appearances this season he has 8 assists and 4 clean sheets, including three on the spin heading into GW27. While his fixture away to Chelsea looks tricky, Thomas Tuchel’s men have failed to score more than once in their last three appearances.

Tuchel against Ancelotti in a Top Four tussle could mean that goals are rarer than a Covid vaccine in a EU country.

*sigh*

Midfielder: Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

If there’s a chance, even the smallest tiniest chance, that the ‘old’ Gareth Bale is back then I defy you to give me a single reason why we all shouldn’t have him in our team immediately.

The signs are there. His performance against Burnley last week was bordering on vintage Bale. With Bruno Fernandes being deprived of penalties, and consequently Manchester United starting on one of their ‘Ole runs’ a swap from Bruno to Bale could be the masterstroke you require to win your mini-leagues and the admiration of all your peers (or be mocked mercilessly for being a damn fool).

Forward: Michail Antonio, West Ham United

Consecutive returns from fixtures against Spurs and Manchester City is ample evidence that Antonio should be firmly on your forward radar once more.

While he can be infuriatingly injury-prone (he’s missed nine league games this season) he has started eight of the last nine games.

This week he faces the ever-welcoming Leeds United defence who have conceded 44 goals this season, with only West Brom having a worst defensive record. More on that later.

Captain: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

While you know that you’re going to be uttering Pep’s name in less than complementary terms this week, you must have KDB this week, surely?

A Manchester Derby that he’s nailed on to start, followed by a Southampton side that have developed a penchant for taking a walloping, this is the week when you stick KDB in and pray to all your Gods that Pep plays ball.

Oh, and he’s owned by less than 15% of players, which is stark raving bonkers if you think about it.

Outsider: Kyle Bartley, West Bromwich Albion

Stop laughing, I’m deadly serious!

Two clean sheets in his last three and this week he faces a Newcastle United side that have all their attackers injured (except for Joelinton but does he even count?) and Steve Bruce is picking on little Matt Ritchie on the training ground.

Big Sam needs a win here and the first step to winning a crucial relegation six-pointer is not to concede.

Your move….

FPL GW24 Preview

Written by @NiallHawthorne

This past week has been difficult as yet another lockdown drags on interminably in my part of the world, and most likely in yours too. It seems clear to me that people are getting tetchy, cranky and downright moody, not just at the COVID restrictions, but at anything and everything they see.

Be kind, people.

If you think a certain football manager is bitchy to reporters, there may be a reason behind it. If you think that dancing nurses or police officers are a disgrace because they should be working 24/7 instead, keep your scathing criticism of front-line heroes to yourself. If you think that Pep is an absolute tool because he benches your Double Game Week Captain at least once this week, then bite your tongue and…..actually, no, that’s allowed. The swine!

Onto GW24!

Defender: Ben Mee, Burnley

Two games this week for the Burnley centre-half, as he faces a Zaha-less Crystal Palace and a Fulham side who have blanked three times in four games. There’s a cracking chance that Ben Mee records two clean sheets and nods one in from a corner.

Owned by 4.3% of the now EIGHT MILLION teams in FPL, he could be a real differential for you. Or me. No, not Mee, me. Yes, me. Or you, with Mee. No, not with me, with Mee. Yes, you.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

So which Manchester City midfielder will play 180 minutes this week and score the most points?

Sterling? Gundogan? Foden?

This is the ultima Pep Roulette round. We’re all going to have the defensive City asset and whoever gets the midfield asset bet to pay off will be rewarded with green arrows.

I’m plumping for Raheem Sterling myself. He’s got half the ownership of Ilkay Gundogan so that could help if you go against the tide. Four goals and an assist in his last five starts, and when you see Sterling tapping in from a yard out, you know he’s the right Man City man for your team. Even he can’t miss from there.

Forward: Patrick Bamford, Leeds United

When you select a player for your side in FPL and watch him trotting around the pitch barely trying a leg, it’s a bit frustrating, isn’t it?

You won’t get that with Big Pat Bamford though. He picks himself in FPL and plays like it. That’s good enough for me.

Captain: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United

Bruno will score more points in a single game than any DGW player this week.

That’s a bold statement, but one I firmly believe. West Bromwich Albion are as weak defensively at The Hawthorns as I am when arguing with the missus at, err, The Hawthorne’s. Shambolic, nonsensical and a bit pathetic. And as for West Brom…

24 goals conceded by The Baggies in their last six home games, and they now face the deadliest FPL asset in the game. I might even Triple Captain him y’know.

Outsider: Allan Saint-Maximin

Some may say that the injury to Callum Wilson spells the death-knell for Newcastle United this season, but where some see problems, I see opportunity.

It’s now time for the other attacking Toon assets to step up, and the 2.4% £5.1m ASM could be well worth a punt for the next few weeks.

Your move…

Written by Mr. @NiallHawthorne

Another GW?

Already?

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

Onto GW22!

Defender: Luke Shaw, Manchester United

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

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

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

Midfielder: Jack Grealish, Aston Villa

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

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

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

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

Forward: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool

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

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

Captain: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

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

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

Outsider: Antonio Rudiger, Chelsea

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

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

Your move…

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

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

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

Onto GW18!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Kieran Tierney, Arsenal

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

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

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

Oh, and he’s decent going forward too.

Midfielder: Heung-Min Son, Tottenham Hotspur

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

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

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

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

Forward: Edison Cavani, Manchester United

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

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

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

Captain: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

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

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

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

Outsider: Dwight Gayle, Newcastle United

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

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

Your move….

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

Written by @JackAGoodwin

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

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

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

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

Crystal Palace 1-1 Leicester

For Palace there was nothing greater than a save from Guaita

The penalty saviour & 2 bonus point taker

Saved the day from Ihenacho’s lazy spot kick

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

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

The match ended equal, after Zaha and Barnes scored

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

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

Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note/ This is harder than it seems.

I think Niall is way smarter than me…

Brighton 0-1 Arsenal

Despite the farcical start from Arsenal they beat Brighton

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

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

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

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

They haven’t any goal threat at all besides Maupay

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

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

Burnley 1-0 Sheffield Utd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southampton 0-0 West Ham

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

Despite the return of Ings

He did nothing in 90 mins

Clean sheets awarded all round though

Hopefully earning a few of you green arrows

Fixtures are now naff for the Saints

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

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

West Brom 0-5 Leeds

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

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

He was outperformed by Alioski and Dallas at the back

Both scoring 12 points with returns in attack

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

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

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

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

Man Utd 1-0 Wolves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

Written by @JackAGoodwin

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

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

Onto GW17!

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Defender: Ezgjan Alioski, Leeds United

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

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

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

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

Midfielder: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton

The man. The myth. The legend.

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

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

Time to jump on the bandwagon?

Forward: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

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

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

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

Captain: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United

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

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

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

Outsider: Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal

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

Your move….

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com

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.

GW4 Preview

Written by Niall Hawthorne

The big debate in the world of football this week has been the handball rule, and its application in the Premier League this season. The debate itself has borne remarkable similarities to the debate around Covid-19 restrictions. If I had a euro for every person I heard bemoaning the handball law or the ‘lockdowns’, I’d be rich enough to buy myself a Covid-free island and spend all day every day recreating Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ against the actual Peter Shilton. What larks!

My point is that it’s easy to give out about ‘rules’ that you don’t agree with. It’s a damn sight harder to come up with a plan yourself. Don’t agree with the handball law as it stands? OK then, how should it be?

The most common refrain to that question is for referee’s and lawmakers to ‘use common sense’. Yet we’ve had decades of experience of common sense and judgement being lambasted by every pundit in the land when they didn’t agree. In fact, it sounded exactly like it has for the past week!

Don’t agree with the lockdown restrictions and feel that we ‘must learn to live with the virus’? Great, tell me how. Go on, I’m waiting. Remember though, unless you’re a fan of eugenics, or believe that a form of apartheid should be implemented against the aged or vulnerable, then you must protect them while ‘living with the virus’. Not so easy now, is it?

In summary, it’s easy to chastise those who come up with plans, it’s far hard to come up with plans to replace them.

Which reminds me that I should really tell you how to plan for GW4!

Defender: Timothy Castagne, Leicester City

Now here’s a man who likes to make a good first impression.

A goal, three assists, a clean sheet and four bonus points in his first three outings will certainly get you attention. He faces back to back home games against Claret and Blue opposition with West Ham and Villa calling to the King Power stadium.

West Ham are first up, and they are the antithesis of consistency right now. (On a side note, I reckon ‘antithesis of consistency’ would make a great name for an up and coming band). One minute they’re getting walloped by Newcastle, then they shellac Wolves while their gaffer watches on at home with a mug of Ovaltine, which they then follow up by getting chewed up and spat out by the Toffees.

Could Castagne be the new Alexander-Arnold? Can you have a ‘new’ Alexander-Arnold when the old one is only 21? Am I confused?

I’m saying ‘Yes’.

Midfielder: Adama Traore, Wolverhampton Wanderers

A player who has disappointed thus far this season, but who has a huge opportunity to impress against a frankly hilariously poor Fulham side who stutter into Molineux.

He’s going to get those naturally muscly limbs oiled up nicely before taking his place in the front three as an ‘out of position FPL dream’ should, before racking up at least 10 points.

On a side note, if you are watching this game, keep an eye out for Scotty Parker’s clobber. A double-breasted cardigan and a tie-pin wider than your tie? Relegate them now. Disgraceful.

Forward: Anthony Martial, Manchester United

No logic here, just pure gut instinct.

‘Tony’ has been abysmal thus far this season, but then again, that’s what he does, isn’t it? He’s due, is what I’m saying. A classic ‘Super Sunday’ slot at home to Spurs should be enough to get him to switch his FPL owners from screaming “Merde” to whispering “Ooooh la la, c’est magnifique”

Keep an eye out also for Eric Dier and any unplanned toilet breaks. If he’s defending the wrong end, it’s a long way to the tunnel and the bathroom…could get messy.

Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Pop Quiz:

Q1: Who has completed the most passes into the penalty area in the Premier League this season?

A: Mo Salah

Q2: Who has received the most passes in the penalty area in the Premier League this season?

A: Mo Salah

Q3: Who has carried the ball into the penalty area the most in the Premier League this season?

A: Mo Salah

He’s doing alright this season. He faces an Aston Villa side who have beaten Sheffield United and Fulham thus far, flying high with 6 points. Of course, Sheffield United and Fulham have been bobbins this season, so they have a false sense of security and Liverpool are going to batter them.

Outsider: Andre Ayew, Crystal Palace

Just the one assist thus far, however he now faces a wonderfully enticing run of fixtures, starting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. You should back a striker facing that defence! Also, all the attention will be on the impressive Zaha, so I fancy Ayew to nip in and steal the glory.

On a personal note I can’t wait for Frank Lampard to have a pop at Roy Hodgson on the side line. He will you know, he’ll actually pick on an old man. He’s that far up his own arse is Frank.

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.

Gameweek 38+ Preview

Written by @niallhawthorne

And now, the end is near
And so you face the final game week
My friends, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which players you should seek
I’ve lived a season that’s full
I transferred each and every player
But more, much more than this
Let’s end this niiiiiiiightmare

Just over two weeks short of a full calendar year ago, Liverpool faced Norwich City at Anfield. Pukki-mania was starting, Divock Origi was scoring and stadiums were full of actual, real people. It seems like a different time, a different era, but it really was ‘this season’.

To those of you who have stuck with us through thick and thin (I’m thick and Ryan’s thin Ed. getting there), I’d like to thank you. These tips may not always have worked out, but quite a few did, and some were absolute doozies. It’s been a pleasure.

Now onto GW38+ and let’s try and wrap things up in style. Also, because I know many of you reading this will be doing so in a desperate bid to catch up in a mini-league, I’m only going to tip players with under 10% ownership this week. (Let’s face it, everyone wants City players against Norwich, and everyone’s going to pick the same few).

GW38+ Defender: Federico Fernandez, Newcastle United

3% ownership, two goals, three assists and eight clean sheets.

This Sunday he’s going to face the Premier League Champions Liverpool, and they are going to be so not-arsed and/or hungover, it’s going to be hilarious. Also, their away form in recent months has been atrocious. One win, one draw and three defeats in their last five away games.

So, go on, bag yourself a (Steve) Brucie Bonus and live life on the edge.

GW38+ Midfielder: Lucas Moura, Tottenham Hotspur

Whisper it quietly, but has Jose found his feet at Spurs?

Undefeated in five league games featuring four wins in that time, and three clean sheets. That’s edging towards ‘Special One’ Mourinho and away from ‘Mid-Life Crisis’ Mourinho.

This week they travel across London to Selhurst Park to play a team that have not so much gone to the beach in recent weeks, as they have bought a condo in Malibu and moved there with their girlfriend, leaving old Uncle Woy forlorn and sucking on a now bitter-tasting Werther’s Original. Seven defeats on the spin for the Eagles, with 17 goals conceded.

4% ownership for Moura and just £7m, this is a pretty easy transfer to make, especially on the back of his double-digit haul last time out.

GW38+ Forward: Troy Deeney, Watford

Three teams go into the last day of the season as a Premier League team, and only one will remain so by 5.30pm on Sunday evening.

Watford are currently managed by Troy Deeney Graham Stack and Hayden Mullins, after their decision to sack Nigel Pearson with two games to go. Many felt it a weird thing to do, but Elton John is rumoured to have put a large wager on Watford for the Premier League 2020/21 season at 5000/1 so maybe there’s some logic behind it.

In any case, Deeney has been a hero for the hornets in dramatic last-day drama before, and I reckon he can do it again here. David Luiz was impressive in recent matches against Liverpool and Manchester City, so based on all previous evidence throughout his career, he’s going to step on a few rakes this Sunday.

Deeney to bang in a brace with just 1.2% ownership. You’ll be buzzing as much as the Hornets.

GW38+ Captain: Callum Wilson, Bournemouth

Motivation.

Twelve months ago, after the season he had, Callum Wilson would have been confident that even if Bournemouth were relegated, he’d be purchased for £20m – £30m quid by a mid-table Premier League outfit, and he’d continue to bask in the ‘Best League in The World’ spotlight.

As we know, a lot can change in a year. Now Bournemouth are staring right down the relegation barrel, and due to COVID Finances, there’s no guarantee that anyone will be splashing the required cash to keep Callum in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

A season or two in a non-Premier League Bournemouth side in front of 11,000 punters can alter people’s perception of you quite dramatically, so you can see where Callum Wilson is getting his motivation from this Sunday.

I reckon he smashes in a couple and shows the kind of form that made him an England International. It’ll count for nowt mind you, as Bournemouth are doomed. DOOMED I TELL THEE!

GW38+ Outsider: William Smallbone, Southampton

How do I top my pick from last week?

To remind those of you who may have missed it, I tipped a player with 0.0% ownership (Podence for Wolves) and he gone and done a goal. I’ll be dining out on that one for years to come, let me tell you.

This week I must improve on that. So, I’m going to tell you that William Anthony Patrick Smallbone is going to assist a goal for Danny Ings in the 78th minute, before netting his first league goal in the 85th minute, to clinch a 2-1 victory for Southampton against Sheffield United.

If this comes off, I may retire. See you next season!

Lineups from 14:00

Brighton: Ryan, Schellotto, Dunk, Webster, Burn, Mooy, Propper, Gross, Bissouma, Maupay, Trossard

Subs: Button, Duffy, Lamptey, Stephens, Mac Allister, Murray, March, Montoya, Connolly

Arsenal: Leno, Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Subs: Martinez, Medley, Tierney, Maryland-Niles, Willock, Ozil, Nelson, Martinelli, Nketiah

Written by @FantasyGaffer

Fantasy Premier League is returning to action on 17 June – hardly noticed it was gone at all to be quite honest – and the Bang Average Podcast team are churning out Bang Average content at a Bang Average pace. Interns are typing as quickly as their unpaid fingers can strike the keys on their self-funded computers from the cozy confines of our offices, adjacent to the pork rendering plant.

If you’ve missed the very good news, increasing the number of unpaid interns has allowed us to increase the number of months our Patreon content may remain free to you, the discerning though morally compromised reader.

So sign up today at the FantasyYIRMA level for access to all of our articles, podcasts and Slack channels.

No charge until July 1. We’re certain you’ll have cancelled membership by then.

PLAYING TIME AND PLAYING WITH PROJECTIONS

Here are 36 players with scores projected without clean sheets or goals allowed; RotoWire’s full ranks do include those things but I actually prefer these without those numbers. Some names seem to be in order, some names stand out like an Ewok on a football pitch. Bang. Take that, Ryan Fraser.

It is, of course, nearly impossible to project 900′ for any player that isn’t a goalkeeper. The fixture lists show 48 hour turnaround on matches, often involving vital clashes with rivals for European spots, or within the relegation battle.

Read More.

FPL ENDGAMGE: CHURNING YOUR ROSTER

92 matches is all that remain for your FPL draft destiny – unless you happen to be playing draft on the Official site in which case you’ve been snapped out of existence. So what’s a good manager to do? First of all you’re going to need to set aside a lot of time to be playing. Second, you need to understand how the various teams are adapting to this reality and adapt yourself, quickly.

Finally, you will need to develop a ruthless business efficiency in the mold of Jack Welch, or at the very least his protégé Jack Donaghy. Trim the fat from your squad. Injured players coming off significant periods of rehab aren’t getting you 90′ three times in six days. That ‘high upside, never plays’ guy isn’t someone you can hold onto when you’re only starting nine players in GW34+.

Read More.

20-TEAM DRAFT RECAPS AND REST OF SEASON VALUE

Are you a sadist? Sorry, meant to type: do you enjoy FPL Draft scored with Togga base scoring? Has the absence of fantasy football got you clawing at your neck in a very crackheadish manner? Do you enjoy endlessly staring at a shared doc waiting for something, anything to appear to signal the passage of time? Have we got an article for you.

The rules of these leagues are simple: draft is seven rounds, draft no more than five at any one position, and you’re starting any five players players you like regardless of position (with auto subs and one INJ roster spot). Want to start five between the sticks? Goalkeepers Union on line one. Playing the 0-0-5 made famous in many a Saturday morning kick around? We’ve got Joelinton and Billy Sharp primed and ready to fire. Using Togga base scoring, and commencing leagues with the June 17 EPL kickoff’s, this is the Red Bull Flutag of FPL draft.

Read More.

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