Blog Archives

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.

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.

 

 

GW29 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

I fondly remember the days when you could quietly and patiently build up to a Double Gameweek that would involve some of the biggest FPL hitters in the game.

These days they’re announced about 20 minutes before I put finger to keyboard.

Arsenal and Manchester City will play twice this week. If you have a few of their players in your squad already, good for you! If you haven’t, then you have a decision to make. -4? -8? -12???? With Pep Roulette? Are you bloody mad?

Oh, you’re reading this, of course you are.

Onto GW29!

GW29 Defender: Ben Foster, Watford

I’ve seen that video.

I’ve read what he does for those less fortunate them most.

He’s a fecking superstar. He’s also got 9 clean sheets and 15 Bonus Points this season.

Yes, this is a sentimental pick, but he also shut out Liverpool and has form.

The only downside is that he’s facing Christian Benteke, and he likes to be kind to those less fortunate…

Cue Benteke hat-trick.

GW29 Midfielder: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

Raheem has had a bit of a Premier League break recently, but he is fit and back in action as witnessed at The Bernabeu.

He’s now almost a bit of a differential, particularly in a double gameweek, with an ownership of just 14.8% at time of typing.

He faces the notoriously non-stingy defences of Manchester United and Arsenal. The usual caveats of Pep Guardiola’s fickle finger of fate apply, but if you’re looking to make up ground, what you got to lose?

Plus, he’s off to Madrid this summer, so pick him while you can!

GW29 Forward: Diego Jota, Wolverhampton Wanderers

There’s form and then there’s FORM.

Diego Jota is in FORM. Plundering hat-tricks in Europe, and adding three goals and two assists in his last two league outings.

The fixtures are favourable also as Graham Potter leads his Seagulls to the Wolves. He’s owned by less than 7% of players too. If your mini-league rival has Jimenez, Jota is your man.

GW29 Captain: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal

Did you hear the one about the striker that scored 49 league goals in just over two seasons, playing for a ropey team under three different managers and surrounded by a mix of kids, delicate flowers and spoofers?

You have actually, his name is Aubameyang, and he’s a premium striker in world football. How the f*ck Arsenal have him remains a mystery to me. Imagine if he played in a really good team?

Anyway, that’s enough winding up of @FantasyYIRMA for one paragraph. Auba plays twice this week and the first game is against a West Ham side who have decided that attack is the best form of defence. Against Arsenal this might work, but it might also leave them open to Aubameyang.

The second game is against a Laporte-less City defence.

All aboard!

GW29 Outsider: Ismaila Sarr, Watford

Following his frankly hilarious performance at Anfield a few weeks ago, his Senegalese ‘bro’ Sadio Mane asked Troy Deeney to look after Ismaila Sarr.

Yeah, that worked out well, didn’t it!

Sarr has played over 45 minutes in just 11 league games this season, and has five goals and four assists to his name. With Deulofeu out for the rest of the season, Nigel Pearson will be praying that Sarr remains fit as he’s their main hope of survival.

With an ownership of just 1.5% and a trip to Selhurst Park next up, you could do worse than pick up on Sarr’s coattails.

Then you just need to buy a player called COVID-19 and you’d have opponents avoiding you like the plague.

GW29 Draft: Michail Antonio, West Ham United

I’ve long been an admirer of Antonio. He reminds me of a beefier Stan Collymore in that he’s got all the attributes needed to be a monster of a footballer, but just can’t seem to put it all together consistently.

However, he’s a handful when he does play, and I can see him giving Sokratis/Luiz/Mustafi a torrid time with his pace and power, as West Ham attack as if their Premier League lives depend on it. And they do.

GW29 Preview Written by @NiallHawthorne

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 17 Preview Written by @NiallHawthorne

Christmas as an adult is weird. There’s no other way to say it.

As a child, you had one question at Christmas, namely what Santa Claus was going to bring you.

As an adult, this time of year is a veritable cornucopia of riddles and puzzles and queries that make you want to scratch your head and then tear your hair out.

‘What can I get my beloved so that I still get to have sexual relations in 2020?’

‘Where is the Christmas party being held? What eejit booked that???’

‘They want us to be where at what time? In rush hour????’

‘Who invited them? You do remember that he’s a bit…y’know and she’s very handsy, yeah?’

‘How long is our kids Christmas play? Are they doing a remake of Ben Hur????’

‘Who am I going to Captain in GW17 so I can lord it over my work colleagues at the party?’

Well I can help with one of those questions. For the rest, you’re on your own.

GW 17 Defender: Richard Domingo Barbosa Pereira, Leicester City

As we glance at the fixture list for GW17 there are two standout home bankers where those of us with a weakness for gambling and a fondness for single life will lump all the Christmas budget on a double acca, and then spend 5 hours on Saturday sweating like a Tory at a foodbank.

I was tempted to tip either of the Liverpool fullbacks, but Jurgen is rotating like a Catherine Wheel on New Year’s Eve at the moment due to fixture congestion, so it’s time to tip the team that have no European / World Club Cup commitments, and are putting up the biggest challenge to the Scouse Mentality Monsters. That fixture on Boxing Day looks tastier than your Boxing Day Leftover Sandwich.

Pereira faces struggling Norwich City at the King Power Stadium, and he’s off the back of six positive returns in his last seven fixtures. He’s even picked up valuable bonus points in four of those. Admittedly a return of the Pukki party could leave you feeling as pukey as the morning after your Christmas party, but nobody has conceded fewer than the 10 conceded by the Foxes. A clean sheet beckons, and he may also add to has two goals and single assist so far, this season.

GW 17 Midfielder: Sadio Mane, Liverpool

There’s a video on t’internet of a young scally outside Anfield being interviewed by Redmen TV after a game, about a season or a season and a half ago. In said interview he pronounced quite matter-of-factly that Sadio Mane is the best player in the world.

Oh, how we all laughed. The viewers, the crowd around him and even the presenter!

Who’s laughing now, eh? That kid was a visionary. He knows his onions. Mane has been stellar for two seasons, and his performance against Everton last week was one for the ages.

This weekend he faces rock-bottom Watford, having had a nice little rest last weekend. Liverpool tend to batter Watford at Anfield, as demonstrated by Salah’s haul of four goals a couple of seasons ago.

Watford have a new management and coaching team installed. I don’t want to get too dramatic about this, but their first outing could prove to be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Sadio! Sadio! Where for art thou hat-trick Sadio?

GW17 Forward: Tammy Abraham, Chelsea

While Chelsea are having their inevitable, and quite frankly overdue, first wobble under Frank Lampard, they face a forgiving fixture this weekend as they host Bournemouth.

That’s five defeats on the spin Bournemouth.

That’s Ake-less Bournemouth.

That’s probably Wilson-less and King-less Bournemouth.

I watched their performance at home to Liverpool last weekend, and they gave up. Absolutely and completely downed tools after Ake and Wilson were struck down by injury. That’s not a good sign. Chelsea need to steady the ship after two defeats in their last three, and Bournemouth are presenting them with a nice little float in the doldrums, which ironically could get them out of them…

GW17 Captain: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

I know!

Shocking, right?

Well who else could you possibly captain this week? ELEVEN GOALS AND THREE ASSISTS IN HIS LAST 8 GW’S…84 POINTS IN 8 WEEKS.

He faces Norwich City who have conceded 34 goals in 16 games with just two clean sheets. He has his own record of 11 consecutive scoring games in sight. Leicester have won a club record eight in a row.

Look, you can captain somebody else if you want. It’s a free choice. But Vardy is owned by 50.2% of players, and 99.9999% of those are going to captain him.

So, take a chance if you want. But if I’m right and you’re wrong, it’ll be the biggest display of Red Arrows since the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. Good luck!

GW17 Outsider: Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City

Oh Pep, he’s such a scamp.

He’s like that kid you played football with on the street when you were a child. You know the type – he always had the flashiest, newest football that he insisted had to be used for the kickabout. Yet as soon as his team started to lose, he took his ball and flounced off home, wiping his tears and snot with the back of his sleeve telling anyone who wasn’t laughing at him that he heard his Mum calling him in for dinner.

So now that it seems apparent that the Premier League will lose its Pep next season, and that Guardiola seems resigned to the fact that his team aren’t good enough this season, I expect some different approaches. His future team sheets may well contain a player on the wing called ‘Ah feck it, Mahrez’.

Just 3.5% ownership, he could be a real wildcard for your squad especially when you consider that in just six starts this season he has four goals and 6 assists….

GW17 Draft: Gabriel Teodoro Martinelli Silva

One start. One goal. One bonus point.

When you have Aubameyang and Lacazette in your squad, it takes quite a maverick to decide to give a young kid a run.

However, this kid is decent. And have you seen Freddie Ljungberg recently? Rumour has it that Tom Cruise was his understudy for Top Gun 2, until Freddie decided to concentrate on coaching. THAT’S how maverick he is.

t

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Fantasy Football – Gameweek 17 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.

GW #16 Review: YIMRA TV Box Sets

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

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

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

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

Everton 3 – 1 Chelsea

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

Bournemouth 0 – 3 Liverpool

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

Tottenham 5 – 0 Burnley

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

Watford 0 – 0 Crystal Palace

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

Man City 1 – 2 Man United

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

Villa 1 – 4 Leicester

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

Newcastle 2 – 1 Southampton

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

Norwich 1 – 2 Sheffield United

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

Brighton 2 – 2 Wolves

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

West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal

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

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

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

(here’s a couple of my submissions….)

FOLLOW JACK ON TWITTER @JACKAGOODWIN

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

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

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

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 11 Preview –

Written by @NiallHawthorne

 

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

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

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

 

Defender: Marcos Alonso, Chelsea

 

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

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

 

Midfielder: Youri Tielemans, Leicester City

 

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

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

 

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Forward: Marcus Rashford, Manchester United 

 

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

Hi everybody! I’m a bloody fool!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

But you should captain one of them!

Good luck….

 

Outsider: Kieran Tierney, Arsenal

 

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

Worth a punt?

 

Draft: Dejan Lovren, Liverpool

 

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

 

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 11 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

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

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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