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Gameweek 29 Preview : Written by @NiallHawthorne

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

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

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

Hell, they’re barely regulated by @FantasyYIRMA

Defender: Shane Duffy, Brighton & Hove Albion

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

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

Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

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

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

I’m still picking him though.

Forward: Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers

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

Captain: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

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

Outsider: Chris Wood, Burnley

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

Draft: Manuel Lanzini, West Ham United

He’s back. He’s good. Get him.

Gameweek Preview Written by @NiallHawthorne

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

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

Let’s begin…

Defender: Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton Wanderers

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

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

Midfielder: Mo Salah, Liverpool

GW24 – James Ward Prowse tipped, and scored

GW25 – Sadio Mane tipped, and scored

GW26 – Paul Pogba tipped, scored twice

GW27 – Sadio Mane – D’OH!

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

Forward: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal    

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

Sometimes the obvious choice is also the right one.

Captain: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City  

Speaking of which…

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

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

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

Outsider: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City  

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

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

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

Draft: Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United     

Why not?

Exactly.

 

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

author

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

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

GAMWEEK 26 #FPL PREVIEW

Written by @NiallHawthorne

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

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

Defender: Matt Doherty, Wolverhampton Wanderers

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

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

Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

GW24 – James Ward Prowse tipped, and scored

GW25 – Sadio Mane tipped, and scored

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

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

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

Forward: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang / Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal

Yes, I’m cheating, but I don’t care.

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

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

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

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

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

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

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

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

Outsider: Michy Batshuayi, Crystal Palace

8 minutes played, 4 points bagged.

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

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

Draft: Denis Suarez, Arsenal

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

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

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

GAMWEEK 26 #FPL PREVIEW

Written by @NiallHawthorne

FPL GW25 Preview by @niallhawthorne

Chelsea getting spanked by four goals for the first time in the Premier League since a Labour leader was popular with the public.

Manchester City playing like another league title is that chore you just can’t be arsed with.

Liverpool playing like Indiana Jones grabbing the holy grail, tripping over his own whip and dropping it.

Spurs wildly veering from ‘Spursy McSpursFace’ to ‘Grinding Out Huge Results With A Decimated Squad’.

United winning eight in a row and then producing the kind of result and performance that would make Jose look for the nearest 46A bus to chuck some players under.

How any of us are supposed to make sense of it all is beyond me, but as ever I’m going to give it a try for GW25…

 

Defender: Kurt Zouma, Everton

It’s the first Double GW of the season, so you can’t be surprised, right? But this isn’t just a case of jumping on the first defender I see with two games this week, he’s the most in form defender in the game right now, with 24 points from his last 3 games including 2 clean sheets, a goal and an assist.

Admittedly the second of his matches this week is against Manchester City, but that’s no longer a guarantee of annihilation. Granted it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Ev did what the Ev do best and roll over to facilitate ‘anyone but Liverpool’, but maybe, just maybe they don’t have the collective mindset of an eight-year-old and will turn up on Wednesday night.

There’s also the small fact that it’s a double home match game week for Zouma, with Wolves coming to town on Saturday. He’s £5.0m and under 1% ownership. Food for thought.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane, Liverpool

Last week I tipped James Ward-Prowse in this slot.

You’re welcome.

This week I’m backing Sadio Mane to do the business against West Ham on Monday Night Football. He was the only player who looked any way arsed and/or not sh*tting himself against Leicester City on Wednesday night, and he racked up 16 points against the same opponent on the opening day of the season thanks to two goals and three bonus points.

West Ham have their strengths, but an 11-man behind the ball, stifle the opposition of any space and grind out a 1-0 win may not be one of them (cue a vintage catenaccio display…), so I suspect the Senegalese man may get space to operate in this week.

Forward: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

A double GW against Arsenal and Everton defences…

Do you want me to draw you a fricking map?

Captain: Leroy Sane, Manchester City

32 points in his last 4 GW’s (including his blank on Tuesday night). He’s the form midfielder in the game right now (level with James Ward-Prowse, naturally…), and he’s got two fixtures this week.

Put the armband on him, pray to whatever deity you believe in or think is the least unbelievable yarn, and hope that Pep plays him twice.

Outsider: Peter Crouch, Burnley

Oh, come on, who doesn’t love

Crouchy?

He’s a legend! He looks like a praying mantis, yet pulls Abbey Clancy. He became a cult hero to Liverpool fans who know a class striker when they see one, yet they still loved Crouchy, probably because it took him what felt like two and a half years to score his first goal for them. He also played in a Champions League final!

Oh, and he’s playing one of his old teams this weekend, so he’s bound to score. Although by that logic, and based on the number of teams Crouchy has played for, he could end up the top scorer ahead of Salah.

Draft: Lazar Markovic, Fulham

I’m only including him on this list because I have two points to make:

1. My nickname for him is Countess (Irish historian geeks should giggle at that one, and if you don’t get it, google it…)

2. Fulham’s recruitment policy this transfer window has been HILARIOUS. Babel? Markovic? Schurrle? An eclectic mix of has-beens and never-weres. It’s the footballing equivalent of McBusted.

FPL GW25 Preview by @niallhawthorne

Fantasy Football – Gameweek 21 Preview – Written by @NiallHawthorne

If I don’t see another turkey for as long as I live, I’ll be a happy man. Which is awkward because my FPL team is full of them right now. As we finally get to the end of the hectic festive football period (which started on December 1st according to Sky Sports), the following tips all carry the same caveat:

I have no bloody idea which players are going to be fit / be picked in light of all the games they’ve played in the last 10 days.

Understood? Good, so on we go…

 

Defender: Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea

Keeping the rotation risk in mind, I’ve plumped for a footballer who hasn’t missed a single minute of league action for Chelsea this season. Or last season. Or the season before that. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was crossing in assists for Kerry Dixon back in the day (ask yer Da).

Nine clean sheets in 20 outings has been somewhat embellished by two assists, which is down on his usual level of attacking output (he has at least 5 assists in each of the last three seasons). Therefore, he’s due, and he seems to have a unique ability to set up goals for Alvaro Morata, which puts him in a very exclusive club indeed. No other sod can do it. With the injury to Olivier Giroud at Selhurst Park, there’s a chance that Morata may start against Southampton at the Bridge.

All hail Cesar!

Midfield: Felipe Anderson, West Ham

A wee bit of life advice for you now ladies and gents. Don’t gamble on football, particularly the Premier League. The results thrown up over the festive period have been impossible to see coming, and this weekend there are a couple of fixtures that Mystic Meg would refuse to try and predict. Everton host Leicester City where either team could smash the other, and West Ham host Brighton.

While the Hammers can below hot and cold (as evidenced by their insipid defeat to a previously woeful Burnley), they face a Brighton side who are consistently poor away from home and who travel with as much confidence as a commuter with Northern Rail.

Felipe Anderson has been the standout performer for West Ham this season with a solid 8 goals and 3 assists thus far. His recent form has been strong, and should he be selected I’d be confident he can clip the seagull’s wings to get his 2019 off to a flyer.

Forward: Harry Kane MBE, Tottenham Hotspur

Now I know the name of Harry Kane appearing here will make many of you groan with frustration and disenchantment, and I get it, I really do. In FPL seasons past, there were always ‘star strikers’ you could hang your hat on to do the business each and every week, but this season has been the toughest I can remember to find the right man to lead your forward line.

Aguero? In and out all the time….

Jesus? Christ….

Kane? He doesn’t really play up front anymore, does he…

Aubameyang? Yeah, but it’s Arsenal, innit…

This week I’m torn between Kane and Aubameyang. Harry travels to Cardiff with 4 goals in his last 3 games, and Spurs having scored 10 goals in their last 3 away games. Aubameyang hosts Fulham which looks like a no-brainer, but Fulham have 2 clean sheets in the last 3 and have conceded just once in that spell. Plus, Aubameyang had 13 touches at Anfield, 6 of which were kick-offs…

So, I’m plumping for Harry Kane this week, but I fully understand if you ignore everything I say and go for Aubameyang.

(P.S. I tipped Firmino against Arsenal. Your move, kid…)

Captain: Mo Salah, Liverpool

Remember last season when it didn’t matter who Salah was playing against, he always just delivered? Well his last five GW scores are…

GW16: 21 Points

GW17: 2 Points

GW18: 12 Points

GW19: 12 Points

GW20: 12 Points

Plus, have you seen Manchester City defend recently? They’re jumpier than a racoon on Red Bull at the back. Klopp and his men have a free hit this Thursday and I reckon they’re going to go for it.

Outsider: Tom Heaton, Burnley

The transformation of the Burnley defence from 17/18 vintage of being tight, solid and reliable to the 18/19 vintage of being slapstick, comedic and hilarious was as quick as it was unexpected. It just made no sense.

Then Tom Heaton started his first game of the season after recovering from injury and he keeps a clean sheet while making four saves. I don’t have the Hart to blame just one man for the mess that has been the Burnley defence this season, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the issue may have been.

Is an ownership of 0.1% enough of an outsider for you? Oh, and he plays Huddersfield and Fulham in his next two games.

Draft: Jurgen Locadia, Brighton & Hove Albion

Let’s be honest, your all just waiting for the January transfer window to open wide and lots of new fresh blood you’ve never heard of to fly in, so you can draft them immediately, but until then Locadia will have to do. Happy New Year.

 

Ed: We didn’t get to record a New Year Song this year so here is Niall’s from last year – it’s as good as it was last year so let’s roll it out again!

Happy New Year Everybody! 

Ryan @FantasyYIRMA

 

 

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

author

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

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

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 34/35 Review

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Predicting the end of times seems to be a bi-annual occurrence these days. You can’t go more than six months without some group of crackpots declaring that a random Wednesday is going to see the rapture descend upon us. Four horsemen. Earthquakes. Thanos. Volcanoes. Y’know, the usual feeling you get after 4 days on the tear at Cheltenham and seeing a trailer on YouTube while feeling like death. However I believe that we’re being protected from a grizzly end by a group of people that will always be there for us, always around to pick us up when we’re down, who will ensure that when all hope seems lost, new hope will spring eternal.

The Avengers? Nah, screw that lot, I’m talking about people that have been hailed since time immemorial. May I introduce to you…The Scripture Squad!

Jesus…16 points

Mohamed…15 points

Moses…15 points

Giroud…well, he looks like a God, right? 14 points

Captain Salah has been our hero all season long and nobody in their right mind doesn’t have Cap in their squad. Throw in his Scripture Squad buddies and the last couple of weeks would have seen you ascend up your mini-league tables to your rightful place at the right hand of…whoever is on your left.

Of course the Scripture Squad need allies who are good, but who just aren’t quite ‘superhero’ status yet. (Yes, this is a dig at Hawkeye, deal with it). Step forward Wilfried Zaha. He may have tanked at the Box Office when he got his big budget break at ‘The Theatre Of Dreams’, but he’s proven that in lower budget productions he can bring the crowd to their feet. 16 points in GW’s 34 & 35 may yet see him given one more blockbuster move.

Raheem Sterling amassed a huge 21 points, but there’s something preventing him from full graduation to superhero status. Is it the way he runs? Is it that he should really have had over 30 points? I’m going to compare him to Paul Rudd as Antman. Yes he has ‘skills’ but he’s small and still the guy we’ve all laughed at many, many times. Paul Rudd also appeared in Anchorman, and as a Liverpool fan every time I see Raheem on the TV I shout something that begins with ‘W’ and rhymes with Anchorman.

Ayoze Perez scored 14 points (with 12 points in GW33) but to have had the foresight to stick him in your squad for these last few weeks would have taken some serious ‘Vision’. Ashley Barnes also scored 14 points over the last couple of weeks and has 6 goals in his last 8 GW’s, after a modest season up to that point. Every superhero group needs a ‘plucky’ character, so let’s all hail ‘Plucky’ Barnes, a man with a cap for the Austrian U-20’s and who plays in shorts in Burnley from October – March every year. Now THAT is a Winter Soldier if ever I saw one.

The Scripture Squad have had a spiritual leader for many, many years, but alas he was destroyed last week by the fearful interglactic warlord they call #WengerOut. This has enraged his lead Gunner, Alexander Lacazette, who has taken his frustrations out on everyone and smashed 3 goals for 21 points.

The one they call ‘Guardiola’ has begun to produce FPL superheroes, but not everybody is impressed. The old school English pundits don’t care much for ‘Guardiola’, his philosophies and his different ways. 1,000 passes in a single match? They call him ‘Dr. Strange’, but he can change our very perception of football. For instance the speed with which his pupils rack up FPL points is incredible. David Silva – 10 pts in GW35. Bernardo Silva – 11 pts in GW35. Not just one, but two ‘QuickSilvas’.

However without the bad guys, there’d be no need for the Scripture Squad, and in GW’s 34 and 35, Planet FPL was under attack from another negative point tirade. Kevin Long betrayed those of us who trusted this budget defender who had been drafted in to plug the hole in the defensive Dyche constructed at Turf Moor. An own goal and a score of -1 left many casualties. However GW35 was to prove even more calamitous as two traitors led many of us into negative points. Martin Olsson thought he could pocket two pieces of Silva and get away with it against Man City, but in his 74 minutes of action he was punished by Jesus, conceded four and picked up a yellow card to give him -1 point. Joining him was Pablo Zabaleta who worships false Gods and believes in ‘The Moyesiah’. Such heresy was duly punished thanks to a 4 goal yellow card spanking at The Emirates.

 

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

author

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

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

You can read more from him also on twitter at @NiallHawthorne

His views are his own, because quite simply nobody else would have them!

via Wenger Out and we still pick an Arsenal Player!

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 30 Review

Written by @NiallHawthorne

Regular readers of this column will know that I am firmly of the belief that this game of FPL trolls us, in a myriad of ways, and with no sense of justice or fairness. (Ed: Correct, I am well aware) It’s almost certainly a complex Russian algorithm designed to drive over 5,000,000 of the global population to drink. Combine that with the Russian algorithms that got Trump elected, Brexit passed and Paddington 2 to be ignored for the Oscars, and it’s clear that the ‘Beast from the East’ is not a bloody snowstorm.

Kane picked up 1 point and 1 injury. Aguero injured in training. Salah was crushed under the Mourinho bus. Chelsea clean sheet disappeared in the last minute. Davies not in the squad…As I stood on the ledge of the highest building in Cork I realised that I now know how those traders on Wall Street feel when the market crashes. However I also realised that I have a Free Hit and Triple Captain chip to play, so I’m still here ready to fight on.

Incredibly it’s one of the best weeks of the season for the quantity of players that hit double figures – a whopping 16 players scored 10 points or more. However just 4 of those players had ownership of more than 10%. Damn you Moscow!


David Silva had been absent in recent months due to the premature birth of his child, which as absence notes go is a bloody decent excuse. Genuine thoughts to the family and hopefully things have worked out well in that situation, for David has returned to the Man City team with gusto, and his 16 point haul at The Britannia has brought his team to within 6 points of the title. He’s matched on that points total by Kenedy, the young Brazilian on loan from Chelsea. What’s that I hear you say? Young, talented and not getting a game for Chelsea? He’s the next De Bruyne! Salah! Lukaku! Well he did a decent impression of them this week with 2 goals and 3 bonus points.

I’m not saying that Arsenal have been in poor form, but Barnet (bottom of League 2 with 7 league wins) asked for a behind closed doors practice game to boost their players morale. People see that win over AC Milan as a sign that Arsenal still possess quality, and perhaps they do, but you should remember that AC Milan are playing Fabio Borini at right-back these days, so y’know…Anyway, a friend of mine is in a tight race in his FPL mini-league and took a punt this week when be brought in Peter Cech to face Watford. He was handsomely rewarded with a 15 point haul thanks to a clean sheet and a first ever penalty save at The Emirates. I asked my buddy how that left things in his mini-league and his response said it all: ‘Cech, mate’.

 

                                      HELLO…I PLAY FOR AC MILAN… YES… ME!!

Chris Wood of Burnley scored 2 goals, provided an assist and picked up 3 bonus points, all in the space of 29 second half minutes at The London Stadium. You might think that’s impressive, but you should realise that one of those goals was assisted by West Ham fans invading the pitch, and the other was straight from a corner kick taken from the centre circle. To say things got out of hand on Saturday afternoon is an understatement.

There were tense scenes as a large group of people gathered in front of Lady Brady looking for an improvement in their lives, something to give them hope for the future…but that’s all I can tell you about the next series of The Apprentice. She then went to watch West Ham play and you know the rest.

Finally the South Korean bid for World Domination (see last week’s column) continued as Son scored twice and racked up another 15 points. It’s rumoured that he’ll lead the ‘peace talks’ between Trump and Kim Jong-Un where he’ll immediately raise the average IQ by 147 points. There’s nothing that this boy can’t do.

Henrik Mkhitaryan scored 13 points as he continues to forge an impressive looking partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Now it just took me 4 minutes to type that sentence so if these two do become a goal-scoring/assist-giving double act of note, than I propose nicknames. I’m open to suggestions, and you should send all ideas to @FantasyYIRMA, but I’ll start with Mickey and the PEA.

He was joined on this points total by Serge Aurier who is the FPL equivalent of Russian Roulette. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll grab you points (26 in the last 3 games) but you just know he’s likely to deliver a red card at any minute. The perfect choice for those thrill-seekers out there.

Honourable mentions now for Mustafi, Baines, Rashford, Mahrez, Iheanacho, Shelvey (!), Alli, Willian and Iborra, but I don’t have the time and you don’t have the patience.


Onto our Villains Of The Week, and a strong group this time featuring four players in negative points territory. Young Jordan Ayew has caught the eye of 11.7% of FPL Players as he represents pretty good value for money…until this week when he was sent off after 10 minutes. -2 points for many of us who were also reeling from the Kane/Aguero/Salah/Davies debacle. Cheers Jordan, great timing!

Anthony Knockaert joined Ayew in the red card crucible at Goodison Park to grab himself -1 point and complete a pretty miserable day for the Seagulls. You know you’re having a bad day when you have two players in negative points territory and you’re only playing Everton! Joining his fellow ‘Gull’ is Gaetan Bong who grabbed an own goal to ‘earn’ his -1 point. He must have been dreading the Monday morning review from Chris Hughton. After all, the Seagulls had been flying so ‘high’. I’ll let you work that gag out yourself….

Finally we have Martin Kelly of Crystal Palace, singularly the unluckiest professional footballer playing today. I’m not even talking about his own goal at Stamford Bridge that condemned his side to another defeat and earned him -1 point. I’m talking about the fact that on two separate occasions he’s been at a club which has brought in Roy Hodgson as manager.

 

And nobody deserves that….

 

 

 

Written by Niall Hawthorne.

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

author

Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.

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

You can read more from him also on twitter at @NiallHawthorne

His views are his own, because quite simply nobody else would have them!

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