Friday, December 31, 2010

Gameweek 21 Fantasy Preview

Mario Balotelli
Goals seem too easy for him.
Compact fixtures had caused various unexpected results including Man City's easy demolition against Aston Villa, draws by Man Utd and Arsenal and most shockingly (perhaps not), Liverpool's fall at home against Wolves! Such a miserable month for Liverpool players' owners.

Also on the spotlight are Chelsea's first win after six consecutive winless streak thanks to Malouda and Fulham's stunning bounce with Baird scoring 20 fantasy points!

Will more unexpected results happen at the first and second day of 2011?

Florent Malouda
Will he make it two in a row?
All Games
  • West Brom v Man Utd (1-2) - West Brom's leaky defence will give United the chance to improve their embarrassing away record. Still, don't put too much of hope on them.
  • Liverpool v Bolton (1-1) - The Reds certainly lost very much of their form after that long break.
  • Man City v Blackpool (4-0) - The only question: Balotelli or Tevez? Or both?
  • Stoke City v Everton (1-2) - Should be the last match for Tim Cahill before he leave for Qatar so he should give out all he has.
  • Sunderland v Blackburn (1-2) - Steve Kean certainly is more adventurous than Big Sam at away.
  • Tottenham v Fulham (3-0) - Bale and VdV always take turns so this time it the latter should shine.
  • West Ham v Wolves (2-1) - A victory is a must for the Hammers to survive and this looks very likely at home.
  • Birmingham v Arsenal (0-2) - The big guns were rested last gameweek so three points are certainly Wenger's target.
  • Chelsea v Aston Villa (2-0) - Miserable Villans will provide the platform for the Blues to resume their form recovery.
  • Wigan v Newcastle (2-2) - With N'Zogbia out, Wigan loses the winning edge.

Carlos Tevez
If he plays, he scores.
Captain Picks
  • Tevez/Balotelli - Do you believe Blackpool will get two clean sheets in a row? I don't.
  • Balotelli - This kid certainly look good especially in penalties. He fooled Friedel effortlessly.
Squad of XV
GK: Hart
DF: A Cole, Hutton, Kyrgiakos, Kolarov
MF: Van der Vaart, Nasri, Malouda, Cahill
F: Tevez(C), Berbatov
Subs (in order): Fabianski, Carroll, Pedersen, Coleman

Captain: Tevez
Emergency Captain: Value

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gameweek 20 Fantasy Preview

Cesc Fabregas
Lead the Gunners to win easily against Chelsea.
On contrary to last weekend, snow damaged me a lot this gameweek with figures from the city of Liverpool like Torres and Tim Cahill all absent. Compounded with Nani's illness, I scored the worst gameweek score this season.

Credits to Arsenal for easing a 3-1 victory against Chelsea and making the latter suffer their worst league run since 1999 - six points from eight matches. The Blues' title hunt is officially over - they are now six points behind with one match disadvantage.

A friendly reminder: remember to top up Liverpool players (perhaps Blackpool as well) as they will have two gameweek doubles on January, summing a total of six league matches on the first month of 2011.

Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres
Will they fire up against one of the league's worst defences?
All Games
  • Man City v Aston Villa (2-1) - City has just settled their internal problems while the Villans are facing a downhill fall.
  • Stoke City v Fulham (2-0) - The home team obviously has better form.
  • Sunderland v Blackpool (2-0) - The Black Cats will transfer all their frustrations on the Seasiders.
  • Tottenham v Newcastle (3-1) - Expect demolition from the home side.
  • West Brom v Blackburn (2-1) - I don't think Steve Kean can fill up the boots of Sam Allardyce.
  • West Ham v Everton (1-1) - West Ham will strive to continue their victory but that is too hard against Tim Cahill's team.
  • Birmingham v Man Utd (1-2) - United will be expecting a tough challenge but they should make it through.
  • Chelsea v Bolton (2-0) - This should finally end the Blues' humiliating record.
  • Wigan v Arsenal (1-2) - N'Zogbia and Rodallega are too lonely to face the attacking flairs from the Gunners.
  • Liverpool v Wolves (3-0) - The Reds are well rested for two weeks and will be ready to eat Wolves as their starter of their festive meal.

Rafael Van der Vaart (left)
A perfect return on last gameweek. Will his goal-scoring form continue?
Captain Picks

  • Torres - Wolves are too easy for him.
  • Van der Vaart - Newcastle's defence is easy for him as well.
  • Drogba - Goals will be much needed for him to initiate the rebound of the Blues.
  • Liverpool players - A stunning six Premier League fixtures on January which includes two gameweek doubles.
  • Chelsea players - Now that the toughest run of their season is over, you can expect them to bounce back.
  • Van der Vaart - An amazing return tells you that you simply can't drop him from your squad.
  • Fulham players - Mark Hughes' position is on danger.
Squad of XV
GK: Reina
DF: Kyrgiakos, Huth, Vidic
MF: Van der Vaart, Nani, Nasri, Parker
F: Torres(C), Bent, Drogba

Subs (in order): Carson, Tchoyi, Shawcross, Hutton
Captain: Torres
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £89.2m
Total Team Value: £107.9m

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gameweek 19 Fantasy Preview

Santa Claus hopes that there will be Premier League games to enjoy after his tedious Christmas routine.
Tim Cahill made a number of fantasy managers survived the series of game delays after a fantastic 13 point display from this emergency captain. That makes a great margin between those who own him and those who don't!

And now here comes the busiest part of the Premier League season - Christmas. There will be four games in eleven days, and with the weather still not turning good yet, do take a very good care of your team in this period to win against your rivals in your mini league...

Arshavin and Walcott
Can they get three points as their Boxing Day present?
Arsenal v Chelsea
The Blues will visit to Emirates this Monday as both sides will try their best to avoid being drop out of the title race.

Both teams missed last week's matches due to bad weather. Chelsea will continue to miss Alex and Bosingwa so Ferreira will continue to be the opportunity for Arsenal, especially when Arshavin should be more than familiar than anyone else against extreme weather.

The Gunners' recent meetings against Chelsea have been awful, but I think they will be able to get some advantage this time and sink Abramovich's army.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea

The Rest
  • Fulham v West Ham (1-0) - The Hammers are still struggling to find their form.
  • Blackburn v Stoke City (1-0) - Blackburn still look great without Big Sam.
  • Blackpool v Liverpool (1-1) - Undersoil heating remain a problem for Blackpool's home game. Don't put too much hope on away Liverpool though.
  • Bolton v West Brom (2-1) - The home side is clearly more reliable.
  • Everton v Birmingham (2-1) - Tim Cahill to continue his fine form before leaving for Asian Cup in the next two weeks.
  • Man Utd v Sunderland (2-1) - Welbeck will not be eligible against his former club so Gyan will take the chance. Home side will win though.
  • Newcastle v Man City (1-2) - Tevez has resolved his problems with the club to the skipper should lead the club to victory.
  • Wolves v Wigan (1-2) - Expect N'Zogbia to fire up against one of the poorest defence in the league.
  • Aston Villa v Tottenham (1-1) - Expect no clean sheets from this close and unpredictable game.

Wayne Rooney
Your captain for Boxing Day.
Captain Picks

  • Rooney/Nani/Berbatov - Strong home advantage and motivation for the Red Devils.
  • Tim Cahill - On spectacular form.
Squad of XV
GK: Schwarzer
DF: Samba, Hangeland, Rafael
MF: Arshavin, N'Zogbia, Nani, Tim Cahill
F: Rooney(C), K Davies, Tevez

Subs (in order): Robinson, Albrighton, Coleman, Kyrgiakos
Captain: Rooney
Emergency Captain: Tevez
Starting XI Value: £84.1m
Total Team Value: £103.3m

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gameweek 18 Fantasy Preview

Arsene Wenger
Has to play Barca again in Champions League.

Last week was such a sensational week with Manchester United won Arsenal and cemented a comfortable position for them to win the Premier League.

Unfortunately, things had gone worse for Arsene Wenger as the Champions League round of 16 draw which had commenced just now has put them together with Barcelona. The Gunners' match history against Barca is awful.

Frank Lampard
Back to starting XI to ensure Chelsea remain in contest for the Premier League trophy.
Chelsea v Manchester United
It's now or never for Chelsea as they face Manchester United at Stamford Bridge this weekend to keep their last hope for the Premier League title.

The Blues had only managed to grab six points from the last seven games and that has caused them to drop from first place to fourth. However, things may now go very different with the return of Frank Lampard, which allows the formation of Chelsea's best midfield combination again.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will again miss their playmaker Paul Scholes. His absence means that Chelsea will most likely control possession in the midfield as the likes like Fletcher and Carrick are no match of Essien and Lampard in terms of ball control.

One positive for Chelsea and one negative for Manchester United, I think Chelsea will be able to pick up their first win after one and a half month.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd

The Rest
  • Sunderland v Bolton (1-2) - Sunderland to suffer their first home defeat against one of the best away team in the Premiership.
  • Arsenal v Stoke (2-1) - A tough game for Gunners but they should be able to make it through.
  • Birmingham v Newcastle (0-1) - An unforeseeable game with both sides having the chance to sneak away a victory.
  • Blackburn v West Ham (1-0) - Big Sam had just been fired but they should still be able to survive at home against the team at the bottom of the table.
  • Wigan v Aston Villa (2-1) - It's not easy to deal with N'Zogbia.
  • Liverpool v Fulham (3-0) - Anfield is still a formidable fortress for the Reds.
  • West Brom v Wolves (2-1) - With Odemwingie back on form, the home side have my vote of confidence.
  • Blackpool v Tottenham (1-1) - The Seasiders' game may once again be delayed due to the lack of undersoil heating at Bloomfield Road.
  • Man City v Everton (2-1) - Tevez back to game despite his intention to quit.

Fernando Torres
Does he deserve a trust this week?
Captain Picks
  • Fabregas - The captain is back to take charge of Arsenal's attack.
  • Torres - Both Liverpool's and Torres' home stats are still amazing.
Squad of XV
GK: Robinson
DF: Samba, Kyrgiakos, Kolarov
MF: Fabregas, Gamst Pedersen, Meireles, Lampard, Bale
F: Torres(C), Tevez

Subs (in order): Carson, Dann, Dawson, Welbeck
Captain: Torres
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £87.9m
Total Team Value: £107.1m

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gameweek 17 Fantasy Preview

Samir Nasri
The man of December?
After scoring two incredible goals against Fulham, Nasri continues his fantastic form to take Arsenal to the next round of the Champions League. Van Persie was also on action in the 3-1 victory against Partizan and might pose some form of threat to Chamakh's or Arshavin's position.

On the other hand, Chelsea's awful form was brought into the Champions League as the Blues succumbed to a defeat against Drogba's ex-club Marseille; while on the day before both Manchester United and Tottenham were drawn by their opposition as all four English clubs proceeded to the round of 16 in the European's most prestigious league.

On a side note, all three luxurious fantasy midfielders - Gerrard, Lampard and Fabregas - are set to return to action this week or next. Their past experiences in the cold December may return you with hefty fantasy points.

Petr Cech
Clean sheet-less for six consecutive matches.
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea
London's Sunday will not be cold as Tottenham looks set to take down Chelsea in this red hot derby.

Tottenham may welcome a quick return of Rafael Van der Vaart after continuously injured his hamstring. His presence will definitely add more threat to Chelsea's defence alongside with the offensive suspects of Bale, Lennon and Defoe.

On the other side, the Blues' form are still far from convincing. They have now lost 10 points from the last four premier league games, conceding at least a goal from each of these. The crazy December fixtures for them - Tottenham, Arsenal, Man Utd and Bolton in order - certainly doesn't help.

I think confidence crisis will once again took Chelsea down and Tottenham can at least retain a point at White Hart Lane.

Prediction: TOT 1-1 CHE

Wayne Rooney
The key to take down Arsenal?
Manchester United v Arsenal
The battle for first remains intense this week as Manchester United awaits Arsenal at the Theatre of Dreams.

The Red Devils had just gone to the summit two weeks ago but that was quickly overtaken by Arsenal due to the delay of United's game against Blackpool. But now they will have the chance to regain their position should they win the Gunners this coming Monday.

Wayne Rooney, who has scored in both meetings against Arsenal last season, will be Arsenal's biggest threat. His recent form has been fine, with only goals lacking from him. More importantly, his presence also relieves defenders' pressure against Berbatov, allowing him to attack more freely.

Meanwhile, Wenger's side will have enough confidence to break United's unbeaten spell this season. Samir Nasri has been in an incredible form while Andrei Arshavin finds perfect cohesion with the French. Both of them are winning factor for Arsenal currently in the absence of captain Cesc Fabregas - who will most probably return only on the next match.

Manchester United usually wins important matches at home, and judging Arsenal's poor record in their last 10 games against United and Chelsea - W0 D1 L9 - things should be working for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Prediction: MANU 2-0 ARS

The Rest

  • Aston Villa v West Brom (2-1) - A good chance for Villa to snatch three points with both Odemwingie and Brunt doubtful for this game.
  • Everton v Wigan (2-1) - Both Tim Cahill and Charles N'Zogbia should be on the list of goalscorers.
  • Fulham v Sunderland (1-1) - The draw specialist to draw again?
  • Stoke City v Blackpool (2-2) - The Seasiders to preserve their good away record in the premiership.
  • West Ham v Man City (1-0) - The Hammers to grab the chance to punish City in the absence of their captain Carlos Tevez.
  • Newcastle v Liverpool (0-3) - Torres will want to open a big scoring feast to celebrate for the birth of his son. Newcastle's internal disputes will only make things worse for them.
  • Bolton v Blackburn (2-1) - Bolton to back on track after a miserable week.
  • Wolves v Birmingham (1-2) - Gardner showed some good form last week and I expect that to continue.

Fernando Torres
Newcastle in a big trouble this week.
Captain Picks

  • Torres - Motivated to score and that becomes much easier with Newcastle's managerial problems.
  • Rooney - Good record against Arsenal.
  • Agbonlahor - Time to wake up from his long silence.
  • Torres - With happy feelings comes happy form.
  • Chelsea's players - Bad fixtures ahead.
  • Newcastle's players - Massive uncertainties at St. James' Park.
Squad of XV
GK: Friedel
DF: Kyrgiakos, Baines, Vidic
MF: Maxi, Bale, Nani, Etherington, Cahill
F: Torres(C), Elmander

Subs (in order): Jaaskelainen, Ridgewell, Albrigton, Luke Young
Captain: Torres
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £82.5m
Total Team Value: £102.6m

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Sacking of Chris Hughton and The Possible Return of David Beckham to EPL

Chris Hughton
Got sacked ridiculously.
Newcastle fans are furious as their manager Chris Hughton was sacked.

Why? Because he took Newcastle back to the Premier League? Or because he took the team sitting comfortably at the middle of the league table up till now?

There is growing resentment towards the Magpies' management, with their ace striker Carroll removed from the "untouchable" list in the transfer market.

Whether his successor is Pardew, O'Neill, Shearer or others is not what really matters; the owners of the club have made themselves in a deep shit and they will have to figure out how to escape from it.

David Beckham
To return to EPL?
Meanwhile, David Beckham says that he is ready to return to EPL soon, with Tottenham his favourite destination.

The reason for that is that Beckham's deceased grandpa was a big fan of Tottenham and he wanted Beckham to play at White Hart Lane as the home team.

Does that mean Tottenham will continue to be overflown by attacking talents?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Torment

Fernando Torres
Celebrates the birth of his second child when I needed him the most in my fantasy team.
Another disappointing gameweek for me as I scored below the average again thanks to a couple of absentees including Man Utd's players. Here are the highlights for this week's game:

  • Arsenal climbed to the summit for the first time this season thanks to the delay of Man Utd game and most importantly, Nasri's marvel. The midfielder has now scored eight league goals and racked up 14 bonus points. Wenger can now release Fabregas to Barcelona with relief.
  • Tottenham failed to play consistently again as they have to share one point with Birmingham.
  • Blackburn won much easier than I expected. Robinson picked up another bonus point to lead the goalkeepers' bonus points league.
  • Tim Cahill did rub salt into Chelsea's wound as he assisted for the equaliser against them. Drogba scored, but only from a penalty. Seems like Ancelotti is on danger.
  • Tevez's only goal secured a victory for Man City. He's suspended for next game after accumulating five yellows, so don't transfer him in hastily.
  • Etherington continued his fantastic form to score three in three games but Stoke only managed to earn a draw against Wigan.
  • Odemwingie made a superb performance as his two goals helped WBA to win 3-1 against Newcastle.
  • Henderson scored the only goal to help Sunderland beating West Ham 1-0.
  • Liverpool surprisingly overpowered Aston Villa with three goals in the absence of Gerrard, Carragher and Torres. What's more surprising? N'gog scored 12 fantasy points. Unbelievable.
Anyway, it's a great time to buy Torres this week as he will want to dedicate a goal or two to his new born baby. Good luck.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blackpool v Man Utd: POSTPONED

Snow brings disaster to those who made early transfers to bring in United's players.
A bad news for Nani, Rooney, Berbatov, Vidic etc. owners - their will not play this week due to heavy snow at Blackpool.

This leaves Arsenal's players as the obvious captain selections. Good luck.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gameweek 16 Fantasy Preview

Victor Obinna
Made four for his team mate on a stylish 4-0 victory against Man Utd.
Arsenal is on the driving seat to claim Carling Cup trophy following Manchester United's surprise defeat against West  Ham. Luck has finally on the Hammers side and fellow fantasy managers should be well alerted to start to look for Avram Grant's players - Parker, Obinna, Piquionne, Carlton Cole etc..

Meanwhile, on Europa League we see Manchester City edging Red Bull Salzburg at ease with Mario Balotelli providing two goals. Liverpool on the other hand secured a draw to ensure both English clubs getting through the next round.

Expect more snows to come.
The more important news for fantasy managers, however, is the weather condition in United Kingdom. Santa Claus is coming soon, with snow his first gift. Games may be postponed at last minute so do drag your transfer decisions to the final minutes. Good luck.

Tim Cahill
To rub salt into Chelsea's wound?
Chelsea v Everton
Chelsea will want to end their torment of winless streak at Stamford Bridge but that won't be easy with Everton visiting this weekend.

The Blue Lions are suffering from possibly the worst form since Roman Abramovich's reign. The condition further worsened by its chain reaction which causes the players like Drogba and Kalou to lose their touch of confidence. They certainly looked awful in finishing despite creating numerous chances.

But Everton isn't in a good shape as well. A 1-4 defeat to West Brom at Goodison Park wasn't something that I had imagined. Nevertheless, Tim Cahill continued his fantastic form to score in three consecutive league games.

Despite Chelsea's poor form, I will have to back them to win this as a victory is much needed to prepare them to face the next three league opponents - Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal. Essien is back, and that makes the difference.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Everton

Raul Meireles
Should have score more fantasy points with his kind of performance.
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Injury-plagued Liverpool will be hoping to snatch three points against under-par Aston Villa at Anfield.

The Reds lost their last game against Tottenham despite being the better side. What's worse? They had also lost their vice captain Jamie Carragher. Kyrgiakos is set to take up his position until Carra's return and he is the best bargain in Liverpool's defence.

The bigger question though is whether Joe Cole (4-2-3-1) or David N'gog (4-4-2) will partner Torres. The former is still struggling to find his form at Anfield while the latter might had his confidence stripped after conceding a penalty during his last league game.

On the other side, the Villans were knocked out from the League Cup by their derby rivals Birmingham. Contrary to Liverpool, they are escaping from the injury crises with Gabriel Agbonlahor finally found his boots to score against Birmingham during the tourney. His speed alongside with Ashley Young's and Downing's will give a lot of trouble to Liverpool's slow defenders.

Houllier will be eager to prove himself in front of his former club, but I think the Reds' at home with stamina advantage will stop him to do so.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa

The Rest
  • Arsenal v Fulham (3-0) - No reason to lose.
  • Birmingham v Tottenham (0-2) - I don't think Birmingham has the stamina to hold up Bale, Defoe and Lennon after a Carling Cup fixture.
  • Blackburn v Wolves (2-0) - The Rovers to get tough at home and send Wolves home.
  • Man City v Bolton (3-1) - City on form with Balotelli leading the strike.
  • Wigan v Stoke City (1-2) - The tougher side wins.
  • Blackpool v Man Utd (1-5) - Blackpool is poor at home. Expect the trio of Berbatov, Nani and Rooney to shine.
  • West Brom v Newcastle (2-2) - Pretty tight match-up but it should be a leaky one.
  • Sunderland v West Ham (2-2) - The Black Cats are still unbeaten at home but on-from Hammers should be able to get something away.

Maruonne Chamakh
Gets a captain tick.
Captain Picks
  • Nani/Berbatov/Rooney - Ready to open up a big score line against Blackpool.
  • Chamakh - Strong home advantage against the Cottagers.
  • Liverpool players - Solid fixtures ahead.
  • Gamst Pedersen - Nice fixtures as well. Check his injury status first anyway.
  • Nolan - Tough games oncoming.
  • Van der Vaart - Injured.
  • Arteta - Suspended.
  • Chelsea players - Hellish fixtures ahead. You might want to delay until the next gameweek though.
Squad of XV
GK: Fabianski
DF: Kyrgiakos, Samba, Richards, Vidic
MF: Bale, Nasri*, Nani(C), Brunt
F: Berbatov, Chamakh

Subs (in order): Robinson, Carroll, Etherington, Shawcross
Captain: Nani
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £75.5m
Total Team Value: £96.6m

*Latest news: Nasri is doubtful. Replace him with Arshavin when necessary.

Russia And Qatar The Joint Victors for World Cup Bid

Russia 2018
Qatar 2022
Congratulations to Russia and Qatar for getting the tickets to host World Cup.

Russia will be hosting this major tournament at its cold ground at 2018 and four years later it will be the small-sized country Qatar.

The results are great disappointments to England and Australia, respectively.

What about you?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jamie Carragher Sidelined for Three Months

Jamie Carragher
Now who will become the temporary captain for Reds?
Liverpool's spiritual leader, Jamie Carragher, has to go for a surgery after dislocated his shoulder on the game against Tottenham. It will take approximately three months for him to recover.

This means that the Merseysiders will play without both captain and vice captain up to one month.

Of course, Carra's injury doesn't cause much concern to fantasy managers, although he is owned by 6.3% of over two million managers. What I do concern more is the opportunity that his absence provides - Kyrgiakos to partner Skrtel over the next three months?

We all know how effective Kyrgiakos is in set pieces, and that is proven by numbers - 4.8 points per game is the highest for Liverpool players. Managers could get well rewarded for taking him in now over the next one to two months as the Reds' fixtures get easier.

On the other hand, Van der Vaart is set to absent until the next year, with Bale the obvious replacement.

The Crazy Premier League Weekend and El Clasico

Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid
Ronaldo will regret for what he said before the game.
Unbelievable. The strongest ever Real Madrid in history under the hands of Jose Mourinho still couldn't handle Barcelona. Goals from Xavi, Pedro, Villa (2) and Suarez ensured a perfect victory for the Catalans.

Meanwhile, the Premier League weekend is as entertaining as El Clasico with all 20 teams scored for the first time in the Premier League history. Here are the highlights:

  • Arshavin finally found some great form with a stunning display against Aston Villa. On the other side, Clarke almost made himself the man of the match as he led the Villans to reduce the three goal deficit into one.
  • Big disappointment towards Elmander and Davies as they failed to scored against Blackpool at Reebok Stadium. M. Davies should really pass all his fantasy points to K. Davies since there are only 0.1% of managers benefiting from his 10 points.
  • Everton gave us a big shock to lose 1-4 against West Brom at home. Disgrace. Tim Cahill however continued his consistency with his header goal.
  • Dempsey and Larsson scored one for each side as Fulham and Birmingham held draw at Craven Cottage.

Luis Nani and Dimitar Berbatov
The Bulgarian scored a whopping 25 fantasy points while the Portuguese contributed 12.

  • Who else can be the star of the week other than the five-goal-Berbatov? He became the fourth player and also the first foreign player to score five goals in one game. Fantastic display after a nine match goal drought. Anyway, Blackburn playing style has been awful this season against superior oppositions.
  • Congratulations to Manchester United as this win cemented them two points above Chelsea and also wrote off all the goal difference deficits against the defending champion.
  • Manchester City painfully lost two points after a last-gasp equaliser by Stoke City.
  • West Ham finally escaped from the curse of draws, beating Wigan 3-1. Piquionne, Parker and Obinna were the heroes, as usual.
  • I had correctly predicted one goal each for Bent and Welbeck but Sunderland lost 2-3 to Wolves.
  • Snow didn't manage to halt Chelsea's game against Newcastle but the Blue Lions' lost their lead after another disappointing offensive display by them. Drogba has now goalless for 10 hours and 36 minutes on the pitch - the second worst record of his career.
  • Liverpool got punished for their failure to capitalise golden chances before Lennon scored a stoppage time goal. Johnson did well to control Bale, but Konchesky is just no match for Lennon in terms of speed. Tottenham had once again recovered three points from losing position, accounting for a total of 16 this season.
  • Van der Vaart is injured once again. He will be sidelined for longer this time with his hamstring problem.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gameweek 15 Fantasy Preview

Wayne Rooney
Climbing up hard.
Yes, Wayne Rooney is back but how about his form? Certainly looking good in the Champions League game. Also, Van der Vaart's condition remains unknown so choose Bale if you haven't get both Bale and VdV and decide to get one of them.

Ashley Young
Marked as £80m by Gerard Houllier after being pursued by Man Utd and Liverpool.
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Another frenzy Saturday opener as Aston Villa face Arsenal at the unbeatable Villa Park.

The Villans are yet to lose at their home ground, with a proud record of holding Chelsea and drawing Man Utd after a two goal lead. Things may go pretty tough for them though, with the absence of several key players including captain Stiliyan Petrov (long term knee injury) and Marc Albrighton (appendicitis). However, the arrival of ex-Gunners Robert Pires certainly helps them, both experience and tactics to play against the Frenchman's former employer.

On the other hand, Arsenal continues to miss Thomas Vermaelen and captain Cesc Fabregas for their title conquest. Koscielny is still very unreliable and this big hole may be greatly exploited by Gabriel Agbonlahor. Arsenal will have to rely on Fabianski and Nasri's marvel in both ends to get something from Villa.

I think Villa should be able to at least continue their unbeaten record at Villa Park.

Prediction: AST 1-0 ARS

Gareth Bale
Needs to keep his mind cool after missing a penalty in the Champions League clash against Bremen.
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
Well rested Liverpool is set to snatch something from White Hart Lane as the home side celebrates for their Champions League progress.

Van der Vaart remains a doubt for Tottenham but I don't think that would matter much as they now have a fit Defoe to lead the line. The latter will definitely reduce the number of chances wasted by the team with his clinical strikes.

On the other side, the skipper Steven Gerrard remains injured, but Lucas will be released from suspension to lock Modric's passes. However, it remains a concern whether Carragher and Skrtel/Kyrgiakos can guard Defoe and Crouch/Pavlyuchenko well and whether Glen Johnson can keep up with Gareth Bale's speed.

Liverpool's away form is too pathetic to win this, but I think there's a high chance of drawing. Expect goals from both sides.

Prediction: TOT 1-1 LIV

The Rest
  • Bolton v Blackpool (3-1) - Captain K. Davies or Elmander again everyone?
  • Everton v West Brom (3-0) - Captain Tim Cahill. Quite a big shock if he fails to give us something.
  • Fulham v Birmingham (1-0) - Fulham needs to collect points against weak-at-away Birmingham.
  • Man Utd v Blackburn (2-0) - Those with United's defender should prosper.
  • Stoke City v Man City (0-1) - Tough match-up for City but they shouldn't slip.
  • West Ham v Wigan (2-1) - May be the last game for Avram Grant so he should make it a happy ending.
  • Wolves v Sunderland (0-2) - One goal each for Welbeck and Bent?
  • Newcastle v Chelsea (0-2) - A great opportunity for Drogba and co to signal their return. UPDATE: Heavy snow at Tyneside so expect the game to be postponed.

Tim Cahill
I strongly believe that he will do this in the match against WBA.
Captain Picks

  • Tim Cahill - WBA is totally out of form.
  • Elmander/K. Davies - It's so hard to believe Blackpool defence can hold them up at Reebok Stadium.
  • Nani - Despite Rooney's return, he will still play the most important role at United until the former reaches his prime.
  • Drogba/Malouda - Newcastle's defence is too fragile for them.
  • Elmander/K. Davies/Lee - They lead Bolton's in-form attack.
  • Rafael - Cementing a strong starting position at Man Utd.
  • Rooney - If you believe that he will find his form fast.
  • Fabregas - Injured.
  • Gyan - Doubtful and lost his position to Welbeck.
  • Elmohamady - Lost his starting position surprisingly.
Squad of XV
GK: Van der Sar
DF: Vidic, Baines, Ivanovic
MF: Cahill(C), Nani, Dempsey, Lee
F: Elmander, Davies K., Drogba

Subs (in order): Green, Hughes, N'Zogbia, Coleman
Captain: Cahill
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £84.1m
Total Team Value: £104.4m

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fabregas OUT

Cesc Fabregas
Arsenal's captain will join Gerrard on the sidelines.
Arsenal failed to secure an early progress in the Champions League group stage after a 0-2 defeat to Braga. What's worse? Their emperor on the pitch, Fabregas, was injured.

Fabby will be out for two to three weeks and may miss the important clash against Manchester United. Bad news for his owners.

On the good side, this means Nasri will once again take the central role in Arsenal and bang in lots of points. Time to jump into the bandwagon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Morten Gamst Pedersen

Morten Gamst Pedersen
He is more than his handsome look.
The middle-low price fantasy players steal all the limelight at the middle part of the season. The latest one? Morten Gamst Pedersen, who just scored two against Aston Villa.

MGP was one of the fantasy hotcakes during 06/07 season, ending up with 155 points. He takes brilliant free kicks with Beckham-esque curve. He even scored directly through corners during his younger life before playing at the premier league. His form, however, dipped for the next three years, and also the first ten gameweeks of the season.

His last four games? 10-10-2-16, averaging a handsome 9.5 points per game.

Looks like we finally have somebody reliable in Blackburn's offence. Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Things That You Can Do By Selling Drogba

Didier Drogba
"What's wrong? Why are we keep losing?"
Drogba has been the most terrible investments over the past two months - costing £13m but hardly contributed any. His has been goalless over the past six premier league games he was playing, with fantasy returns of 2-6-1-2-2-2, barely passing two points per game on average. What's worse? Awaiting Chelsea are seven tough games, which in order are:

  • Newcastle
  • Everton
  • Tottenham
  • Man Utd
  • Arsenal
  • Bolton
  • Aston Villa
The Ivorian will still have a fair chance to score in the first three coming fixtures, but I'm not so positive that he will score more than one each. With the aforementioned factors, I think it's time to end the misery of owning Drogba and change him to someone else.

With £13m you can continue to hold an out of form Drogba or:
  • Own the best striker partnership in the Premier League currently - K Davies and Elmander. And you can still have a small change for that.
  • Change Drogba for the in form luxurious striker Fernando Torres, and spend the additional £1.1m on other areas.
  • Change him for one middle price striker (Gyan, K Davies, Elmander, Carroll etc.) and upgrade one £4m defender into a £7m one. Or even two.
  • Change him for one middle price striker as above and make one of your midfielder to become Fabregas.
  • Buy two luxurious goalkeeper (Hart, Cech, Van der Sar, Reina).
There's so much you can do by selling Drogba. So what's your choice?

Saturday Stage

Kevin Davies (13 pts) and Elmander (13 pts)
United they FLY.
A big feast for fantasy managers as most of the fantasy key men have a point burst this weekend. Here are the highlights:
  • Chelsea stumbled again. Birmingham got it right with only one shot and that made it very difficult for the away side. Don't tell me I didn't tip you about this as I even listed Foster as the first choice keeper. Well rewarded with eight points. Surprisingly, Alex started the game.
  • Bolton overpowered Newcastle with both Davies and Elmander scoring two goals and one assist. The duo have been spectacular under Owen Coyle this season. With easy fixtures ahead, grabbing both of them is not a stupid choice.
  • Jonathan Walters came from the bench and returned home with two goals. He may secure a starting spot in the next two to three games so continue to monitor him.
  • Nani didn't reward his fantasy managers despite a 2-0 victory for Manchester United. Rooney was back for the game but didn't make enough impact for the Red Devils.
  • The injury news look like a cheat as Charlie Adam played as for Blackpool as well. Varney again recorded his name on the score sheet.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arsenal: Not There Yet

Younes Kaboul
The hero of Tottenham of the day.
Arsenal once again failed to climb to the summit as they slipped all three points to Tottenham, losing 2-3.

This was a disastrous result for the Gunners, especially after having a 2-0 lead at the end of first half.

Nevertheless, it is a happy day for fantasy managers as all the fantasy favourites like VdV, Bale, Nasri, Fabregas and Chamakh were performing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gameweek 14 Fantasy Preview

Charlie Adam
Our fantasy favourite is set to miss this week's game.
As usual, the international fixtures "killed' some of our fantasy hot picks. Fortunate enough for Torres and Kuyt's owners though as they are both declared fit to face West Ham this weekend. Speaking of last gameweek, it was very disastrous for me as I barely reached 30 when the average score was hitting 50. My latest ranking is double of mine a gameweek before.

Gareth Bale
"Run Forrest run!"
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal will be looking forward to capitalise Chelsea's injury crisis ahead of this weekend's match-opener against their derby rival Tottenham Hotspur.

The best left-wing of the era - Gareth Bale - finally found some form in the Premier League after a 4-2 demolition of Blackburn. Bacary Sagna will struggle to defend him - so don't expect him to get forward often and get rewarded with a goal/assist.

The recent head-to-head match-up shows that the Gunners do have some advantage at home, but you can expect lots of goals shared in between for such intense derby between two attacking sides. Do start all Arsenal and Tottenham's attacking players, if you have them.

Prediction: Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham

The Rest
  • Birmingham v Chelsea (0-0) - It looks like Ancelotti's players will continue to lose themselves without their commanders - Terry and Essien - in defence and midfield.
  • Blackpool v Wolves (0-1) - Blackpool is better at away and Adam will be out for this game.
  • Bolton v Newcastle (2-1) - Can Elmander score his first home goal as Bolton try to improve their home record?
  • Man Utd v Wigan (3-1) - I don't think N'Zogbia can fool around at Old Trafford. Should be three easy points for United.
  • West Brom v Stoke City (1-1) - West Brom to continue their poor form as Stoke finally have some fire power upfront.
  • Liverpool v West Ham (2-1) - It's unpredictable how much damage will Gerrard's absence do but Torres should be able to score one in this game.
  • Blackburn v Aston Villa (0-1) - Looks like the Villans will get their first away win this season as the midfield trio - Young, Downing and Albrigton - are all in form.
  • Fulham v Man City (2-1) - Can Mark Hughes capitalise City's internal problems and take a revenge against them? I say yes.
  • Sunderland v Everton (2-2) - Ecstatic Sunderland will give the Toffees a hard time at the Stadium of Light. Anyway, do you know that Sunderland had only lost once this season?

Luis Nani
Ruined Ronaldo's goal during the international clash against Spain.
Captain Picks
  • Nani - United is a big bully of Wigan.
  • Torres - Almost sure to be the scorer if Liverpool scores.
  • Gerrard - Injured.
  • Chelsea players - Lost their composure due to the absence of key players. They have a crazy set of fixtures ahead.
Squad of XV
GK: Foster
DF: Bosingwa, Vidic, Kyrgiakos
MF: Fabregas, Van der Vaart, Nani(C), Cahill
F: Torres, Elmander, Gyan

Subs (in order): Robinson, Albrigton, Luke Young, Huth
Captain: Nani
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £86.5m
Total Team Value: £105.8m

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Steven Gerrard Injured

Steven Gerrard
He can only sit beside the field for the next three to four weeks.
Liverpool was the latest victim of international schedules as their skipper Steven Gerrard sustained an injury in the 1-2 defeat to France.

This will further deplete Liverpool's recovery from slump. I wonder who will be able to provide those quality passes that Gerrard can do. Shelvey?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chelsea on Danger?

John Terry
Injury could sideline him for months.
Chelsea could be now in a deep, deep trouble with the injuries sustained by its two main centre back - Terry and Alex. The former is out for an unknown period - maybe weeks or months - while the latter has confirmed to out for six to eight weeks.

This means that Chelsea can only continue their games with one natural centre back - Ivanovic. I highly doubt Ferreira's ability to cover up that position.

A very good chance for Arsenal and Man Utd to steal the title away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Onuoha Scored A Messi Style Goal

Nedum Onuoha
How the hell did he do that?
Splendid. Onuoha dribbled past several players before shooting comfortably past Cech. A very classic Messi like attempt.

Chelsea are now trailing in the end of first half, conceding for the first time in Stamford Bridge this season. Take note that if Cech wasn't the man protecting the square, the Blues would have trailed by more than one goal.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Glen Johnson Took A Revenge Against Silly Roy

Glen Johnson
"God damn you Uncle Roy! I'm good at going forward, not parking the bus behind!"
Following Roy Hodgson's public criticise against the English right-back, Glen Johnson returned a favour to him by complaining his boring tactics to the press.

I feel him. He is an offensive style defender and Hodgson's foolish middle-club tactics certainly doesn't suite him and Liverpool at all.

Roy Hodgson, unarguably, is the worst top-club manager I have ever seen since the Premier League era, both on and off the pitch. Pathetic.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ian Holloway Getting Mad

Ian Holloway exploded in front of media after being questioned about the possibility of being fined for making 10 changes in the game against Aston Villa.

I am in full support of him. As a manager, you make the right strategy to get maximum points, and he was only doing that. After all, the likes like Marlon Harewood matches the standard of Blackpool's starting XI.

Salute the legend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gameweek 13 Fantasy Preview

Joey Barton
Punched Pedersen in his last game and banned for three games.
The Premier League will back on action again this weekend with fatigue a major concern for fantasy managers. Be prepared for some unexpected drop-offs and a big number of clean sheets.

Robin Van Persie
Deserves a close monitor by fantasy managers.
Everton v Arsenal
The Gunners will face a tough challenge this week facing the Toffees who is undefeated for seven games.

It's pretty interesting to see how Liverpool and Everton managed to fall into the relegation zone together and then bounce back in style but Everton has been solid recently. Tim Cahill, as always, will be the main threat for Arsenal's defence with his ultimate headers.

As for Arsenal, Fabregas will continue to lead the attack and may as well find himself some goals and assists. Arsenal's second ace, Van Persie is now fit but it's still unknown that whether he will start with or without Chamakh or won't start at all.

I think Tim Cahill will score another header but it will be the Gunners who smile when the match ends.

Prediction: EVE 1-2 ARS

Patrice Evra
Has the possibility to join C-Ron at Real if the Glazers refuse to make sound investments on the squad.
Aston Villa v Manchester United
The Red Devils will have to travel to Villa Park without a big number of injured players.

Evra (ankle) and Rafael (dead leg) are the latest to join Manchester United's red cross army which already contains Rooney, Owen, Hargreaves, Valencia and Giggs. This certainly gives a lot of reasons for the Villans to fight for point(s) against United.

Villa, on the other hand, have Agbonlahor recovered from injury as the home side finally have a fit senior striker available. He may as well lead the line with Young and Downing to breakdown the away side's defence.

With Berbatov losing his form and Nani having just recovered from an injury, I think United will drop more points away. After all, they have only won once on the road this season.

Prediction: AST 0-0 MANU

The Rest

  • Man City v Birmingham (2-0) - Tevez to lead the line and crush the Brums.
  • Newcastle v Fulham (2-0) - Barton will miss the game but Nolan and Carroll will provide the Magpies the edge.
  • Tottenham v Blackburn (2-0) - Van der Vaart scored in every league game played in White Hart Lane and I expect that to continue.
  • West Ham v Blackpool (2-2) - Avram Grant has a lot to think about his side's defence.
  • Wigan v West Brom (1-2) - Odemwingie is back and he should make a difference.
  • Wolves v Bolton (1-2) - I will stick with Bolton, Davies and Elmander who are more consistent.
  • Stoke City v Liverpool (1-2) - It will be disastrous for the Reds to waste their victory against Chelsea.
  • Chelsea v Sunderland (2-0) - Chelsea is still unbeatable at home.

Didier Drogba
"@*#$ you, malaria!"
Captain Picks
  • Drogba - "Malaria will not stop him," claimed Kalou.
  • Tevez - Two-third of City's league goals are either scored or made up by him.
  • Van der Vaart - Still leads the line before Defoe recovers.
  • Gyan - Bent will still out and Steve Bruce may be convinced to play 4-4-2 when he recovers.
  • Tevez - On a very strong position for Golden Boot.
  • Barton - Suspended for three games.
Squad of XV
GK: Hart
DF: Hutton, Bosingwa, O'Shea
MF: Van der Vaart, Nolan, Adam, Fabregas
F: Drogba, Tevez(C), Piquionne

Subs (in order): Krul, N'Zogbia, Konchesky, Luke Young
Captain: Tevez
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £83.4m
Total Team Value: £103.2m

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Tale

Morten Gamst Pedersen
Scores 20 fantasy points in two games.
Here's some updates on the midweek fixtures which ended just now:

  • Aston Villa finally found their gunpowder after scoring only once in their last four games. Downing and Young were the main casts yesterday, scoring 23 fantasy points together.
  • Essien copied Balotelli's showdown by scoring the decisive goal for Chelsea and then got sent off. Fantasy managers who had just bought him will be pretty frustrated.
  • Barton and Carroll combined again to provide a goal for Newcastle, but another brilliant game by Pedersen ensure a victory for the away side. Do monitor Pedersen as he starts to show the form he once possessed in 06/07 season.
  • West Ham were denied a win once again as they held draw by West Brom. Odemwingie is back and converted a penalty for the Baggies.
  • Torres scored again but Wigan only allowed Liverpool to carry one point away. Roy Hodgson once again commented like a middle-low club's manager. Courageously idiot.
  • Chamakh scored Arsenal's fastest premier league goal as Arsenal won 2-0. Will that secure his starting spot?
  • Beckford scored his first premier league goal, finally.
  • The Manchester derby was rather disappointing with no goals to share.