Thursday, September 30, 2010

UEFA Champions League Review

Samuel Eto'o
The hat-tricker of the week.
A good Champions League matchday for Premier League clubs with a 100% victory. Here are some highlights:
  • Arsenal won 3-1. Arshavin was the key man of the night although he missed a penalty.
  • Terry scored an important opener for Chelsea for a 2-0 victory. Anelka maintained his lethality in Champions League with the other goal.
  • Super youth Javi Hernandez was the decisive man on Manchester's United encounter with Valencia with his only goal of the match five minutes from the clock. The partner for Berbatov while Rooney's absent?
  • Van der Vaart had an memorable Champions League game - first a goal, then a penalty miss and a red card. Still Pavlyuchenko's double from the spot and Gareth Bale's strike ensured a 4-1 victory for the Spurs.
  • Eto'o was the man of Inter with a perfect 10 performance to earn the Italian giant a 4-0 victory while Ibrahimovic saved AC Milan's ass from embarrassment in a 1-1 draw.
  • Real Madrid only managed to win from substitute Angel Di Maria's goal. Barcelona, however, was unable to capitalise their possession advantage and was stuck in a 1-1 draw with Rubin Kazan.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

United Slipped!

Martin Petrov
He's not a City player by now, but United's fans will continue to hate him starting from today.
United had a bright chance to get close to Chelsea and get away from their rivals today, but they failed to capitalise on the advantage. Bolton 2-2 Man Utd.

Martin Petrov scored one and made one, whose performance is equalled by Nani.

A lot of managers will be frustrated to bring on Berbatov who hat-tricked last week. He's spectacular nowadays, but don't get fooled by a single game's performance - both last week's hat-trick and this week's zero.

On a later game Houllier got his debut Premier League victory thanks to Downing and Heskey.

Shocks (Saturday Quick Review)

Steven Gerrard feat. Fernando Torres
Two men is certainly not enough.
Certainly a bad day for all the big teams as none of them managed to snatch three points other than Manchester City which played Chelsea which is a bigger team. Here are the highlights:

  • Samir Nasri caught the spotlight but nonetheless he was firing too late and Arsenal lost 2-3 at home to West Brom. Those who captained him should be more than happy though.
  • Hodgson played some ****ing formation again as Liverpool held draw by Sunderland. Darren Bent provided two goals for the Black Cats, but look at Gerrard and Torres. Both are in form and you should certainly get one of them if you can afford to.
  • Tottenham gave West Ham its first victory of the season, and I was furious about that. A fun fact - 39 shots throughout the game and only one goal scored!
  • Blackburn won Blackpool, as expected. Unfortunate for Charlie Adam's owner though as he own goaled in the expense of -2 points.
  • Both Birmingham v Wigan and Fulham v Everton ended goalless. Those who own Birmingham's and Fulham's defensive line should be happy enough.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mancini And Tevez Combined to Shave Three Points Off Chelsea

Roberto Mancini kicks Carlo Ancelotti behind.
The whole city of Manchester will cheer about it as Manchester City took down Chelsea who was invincible in the Premier League up till the defeat.

Carlos Tevez only goal was enough to put the home side victorious.

Drogba and co were greatly limited by the opponent throughout the game, and Ancelotti's decision to pull the Ivorian out for Champions League certainly busted any remaining hopes for fantasy managers to score more points.

So will City kick start from this game on and march towards the champion? I doubt so, as Chelsea is far more stable. And reliable.

Great prediction from NCNB though for betting for a home win.

P/S: Tevez taught us that one need to shave oneself to shave others.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gameweek 6 Fantasy Preview

Samir Nasri
Is the burden of leading Arsenal's offence too heavy for him?
It was Berbatov who led the gameweek score last week, but still, Chelsea's trio of Drogba, Malouda and Kalou are on the top three fantasy podium and they constitute six of eleven of dream team. Spectacular. Here is my last gameweek's score. I am improving fast, don't I?

Can Joe Hart repeat such an ultimate performance against Chelsea?

Manchester City v Chelsea
The true test for Chelsea begins with a visit to the Eastlands this Saturday.

Chelsea, the old time big money spender, experienced almost the same of the new millionaire army. They both got knocked out from the League Cup and suffer from injury crisis. Ancelotti's side is offensively impaired with the absence of Lampard, Kalou and Benayoun, while Mancini's side is even worse with only three healthy defenders ready for action on Saturday.

We all know how unstoppable Chelsea is currently. The defeat to Newcastle is a misfortune rather than a panicky sign as the Blues were downed to 10-men due to unforeseen injury. While the absence of Kalou will certainly hit them in terms of goals, they will still have too much of offensive quality to not score.

City, on the other hand, has been far from impressing this season. David Silva has a long way to adapt to English football, while the likes like Kolarov, Boateng and Balotelli have yet to show their abilities due to their injuries. Joe Hart has been a genius up till now, but you can't expect the English stopper to perform godly saves week in week out.

While both sides have quite the similar fate this week, the difference between them is Chelsea still has their top scorers Malouda and Drogba healthy, and they have big advantage in charging against the defensively weakened City. They need to beware on Nigel De Jong though.

Prediction: MANC 1-3 CHE

The Rest

  • Arsenal v West Brom (2-0) - Arsenal will experience some difficulty in offence in the absence of Fabregas. It should not be tough though. Nasri is the clear first choice from the team.
  • Birmingham v Wigan (2-0) - Hleb has a good start with the Brums, and I expect him to repeat the feat again.
  • Blackpool v Blackburn (1-2) - I think Blackburn's defence is brutal enough to stop Blackpool.
  • Fulham v Everton (1-0) - With Everton's poor season start, I doubt if they can score any goals.
  • Liverpool v Sunderland (1-0) - I don't have much confidence on the Reds. Torres is one of the good captain this week.
  • West Ham v Tottenham (1-2) - Tottenham is still pretty unpredictable but I think Van der Vaart should be able to offer some stability to the Spurs' performance.
  • Bolton v Man Utd (0-2) - The Red Devils should have no problem of winning this one but do expect for rotation as soon as they achieve a two-goal lead.
  • Wolves v Aston Villa (0-1) - All I can predict from this game is it should be a low-scoring one.
  • Newcastle v Stoke City (2-1) - Another tight match-up which I have no clue.

Fernando Torres
Can you afford to have him given that Drogba is the clear first choice forward?
Captain Picks

  • Nasri - He takes over Fabregas role temporarily.
  • Torres - The Premier League top star is starting to find back the best of him.
  • Torres/Gerrard/Konchesky - The next five games of Liverpool are relatively easy with three games at home.
  • Berbatov/Nani/Scholes - Despite mostly away, Man Utd also has a good run of fixtures.
  • Baptiste - Haunted by injury.
Squad of XV
GK: Foster
DF: Dann, Konchesky, Clichy
MF: Hleb, Nani, Nasri(C), Malouda, Van der Vaart
F: Torres, Chamakh

Subs (in order): Robinson, O'Shea, Luke Young, Carroll
Captain: Nasri
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £78.5m
Total Team Value: £99.6m

The League Cup Miseries

Roy Hodgson wonders what's wrong with his team.
League Cup was in action on the last two days and quite a lot of Premier League teams were left out on their first game. Pretty unusual for me. Here are some of the big ones:
  • Chelsea got knocked out by the old time giant Newcastle. The Blue Lions were forced to play with 10 men in the last 20 minutes because of Benayoun's injury and there were no more substitutions available. Pretty sarcastic though, as Drogba had just released the statement of aiming quadruple a day before.
  • What's worse than got sliced by a team three leagues below of you? Northampton finished off Liverpool in penalty shootout. This is such a humiliation when there were half of the first team playing. Disgrace.
  • Accompanying Liverpool on the exit is their Merseyside counterpart Everton. The defeat leaves Moyes on big pressure, as his best result so far were only two draws.
  • Manchester City is another who got kicked out of the Mickey Mouse tournament. Interestingly they have only three fit defenders currently to face Chelsea this week.
  • On a different fate with them is Manchester United. Despite Ferguson's absence, their side was able to win comfortably against Scunthorpe. Joining them are the Gunners who had swept Tottenham with the same three goals margin.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Five-Star BERBATOV Crushed Liverpool's Defence Into Pieces

Dimitar BerbaTOP
A perfect ten for him.
A dramatic Super Sunday has ended just now with Berbatov scoring all three for United. Here are some of my opinions towards both teams from this match:
  • Torres outshone Rooney, but Berbatov overpowered both. Two headers, one bicycle. You can't do much better in the greatest derby game of England.
  • Joe Cole was quite daring and creative but there were no one who met his minds. Poor link-up play.
  • Liverpool has been very problematic with aerial balls. All three goals conceded were from long deliveries. You send air cannons, and you can blast Liverpool's fort easily.
  • United's defence, on the other hand, wasn't much better. Evans remains to be a bigger threat for United than opponent's striker. Bad sliding tackle which led to the penalty.
  • I am in doubt of Roy Hodgson's plan. Why did he took out Raul Meireles? I knew that Liverpool would lose their shares of possession in midfield after he disappeared, but it was worse than what I thought.
  • Nani had effectively tore Liverpool's left flank and is the second-most important player of United.
  • Steven Gerrard scored two goals despite missing from the field most of the time. Not confident at all to get him anyway.
  • The Red Devils have offence on par with Arsenal and Chelsea, but Ferguson certainly needs to fix his squad's defence to give a challenge on the title.
Steven Gerrard
He kissed again, but this time the screen was bitter.

Saturday Quick Review

Hatem Ben Arfa
Nothing's better than a debut goal of victory.
Hatem Ben Arfa is the man of the day with a incredible long-distance fire which defeated Tim Howard who was brilliant until then. Here are some highlights:

  • Parker scored again! Maybe not as heroic as Peter Parker, but if you are to pick one from West Ham, he's the man.
  • Everton is disappointing. Newcastle basically controlled the game even on the road. Ben Arfa is a superbly cheap fantasy star in making.
  • Van der Vaart opened his score account through penalty, and this is a good signal to buy him.
  • A dramatic day for Scott Dann's owners: first an own goal, then an assist. Still better than other Birmingham defenders though.
  • Odemwingie scored again. A good bargain if you are unable to afford Carroll currently.
  • Ashley Young and Kenwyne Jones were both on the scoresheet. Definitely the first to consider in FPL for respective teams.
  • Arsenal struggling with Fabregas out currently. It should be a minor injury though. UPDATE: Darren Bent scored a last-second equaliser in this controversial game.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gameweek 5 Fantasy Preview

Carlos Tevez
New hairstyle which symbolizes his determination?
English clubs had a mix of fate in European action, but let's forget that and head into Premier League encounters this weekend - we have an England derby this Sunday! Here is my last gameweek's score - I'm satisfied with it.

Joe Cole
Will his return provide the much needed creativity in Liverpool's extremely dull midfield?
Manchester United v Liverpool
A little too early for such important encounter, but let's just focus on the game itself. Both have shabby starts in the Premier League this season, with Liverpool the worse as they failed to convince their fans of their performance both home and away.

For the home side, they had just lost Valencia for "a good portion of the season" but that doesn't account for much difference. The Ecuadorian suffered from a dip of form - alongside with Rooney - and Nani is on his highs. The Portuguese is definitely a bigger threat for newcomer Paul Konchesky with his superb speed.

Another man for United that worth mentioning is Dmitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian is too good for Liverpool's shaky defence to guard off and unless Reina gives a top-class performance again, I won't expect a clean sheet for the Merseysiders.

As for Liverpool, Joe Cole showed his importance to the club again as they overpowered Steaua - even the dull Lucas scored! Liverpool maintained a 100% record at Europa League with his presence. He'll finally have the chance to play his first full league game with Liverpool, but how much impact can he make? I'm on doubt with his teamwork with Gerrard and Torres as they have not really have a good pair up yet.

Meanwhile, his new teammate Raul Meireles, who also joined this summer, seems to have a good start in Liverpool. He's certainly better than Lucas and Poulsen in the CM post and should provide at least some threat from the middle as compared to the former two if he starts.

But let's take a look at David N'gog. His second goal last night was such a brilliance! He's getting more and more mature and threatening. Certainly one to watch if he managed to come out from the bench.

Still, I think Manchester United is too strong at home to not win. Berbatov on form, Nani on form, Scholes on form. No reason not to get this one.

Prediction: MANU 3-1 LIV

The Rest
  • Stoke City v West Ham (0-0) - This game is hardly predictable.
  • Aston Villa v Bolton (2-0) - Villa are yet to fail at home.
  • Blackburn v Fulham (0-1) - Hughes' team works perfectly as a unit, which attracts my vote of confidence.
  • Everton v Newcastle (3-0) - Everton should get their first victory. A good time to buy Arteta in my opinion.
  • Tottenham v Wolves (1-0) - Tottenham is obviously stronger.
  • West Brom v Birmingham (2-1) - West Brom should snatch the chance to win against Birmingham who's weak at away.
  • Sunderland v Arsenal (1-3) - Gyan made an immediate impact, but Fabregas is just too strong for the Black Cats.
  • Wigan v Man City (1-3) - It's time for City to escape from those ridiculous draw and defeat.
  • Chelsea v Blackpool (5-0) - Another thrash in the making. Drogba is the obvious captain choice.

Didier Drogba
The monster is ready to get the captain armband again.
Captain Picks

  • Drogba/Malouda - There are not much weaker oppositions than Blackpool.
  • Tevez - Wigan's attacking football will doom itself in front of Mr Carlito.
  • Arteta - It's only a matter of time for him to start scoring from set pieces.
  • Dembele - Cost-effective striker with Zamora injured.
  • Valencia - Out for this season.
Squad of XV
GK: Cudicini
DF: Luke Young, Faye, Kaboul
MF: Downing, Bale, Fabregas, Arteta, Dorrans
F: Drogba(C), Tevez

Subs (in order): Robinson, Jones, Dembele, Jara
Captain: Drogba
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £82.2m
Total Team Value: £100.8m

UEFA Champions League Review

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Scored in Champions League with FIVE CLUBS.
Matchday 1 of UEFA Champions League ended with little surprise other than Internazionale's draw. Here's some highlights:
  • Rafa seems to have no more magic to cast. He brought Liverpool down together with the two notorious bosses, and now he's still far from spring with Inter Milan. A draw with two goals conceded is such an insult to the formidable squad built by Mourinho.
  • Messi played a prominent role again as Barca won 5-1 easily. His 51% ownership by UEFA fantasy managers is easily justified.
  • Ibrahimovic just doesn't have any problem to play everywhere. His brace against Auxerre is his fifth club to score Champions League goals.
  • Fabregas is just unbelievable. With him Arsenal has every single hope to beat any team in the world. And with him available the likes like Arshavin and Chamakh rarely fails to perform. 6-0, perfect.
  • Chelsea thrashed their opponent again even with Lampard and Drogba absent. 21 goals in five games! Who can stop them?
  • Ronaldo continues his scoring drought. 11 shots against Ajax, nil were scored.
  • Tottenham played an impressive European debut with Crouch heading in a beautiful goal. They only managed to earned a draw though.
  • Antonio Valencia hurt himself after a clean tackle by Broadfoot. The Ecuadorian lost his balance and that cost him half a year away from pitch. Ouch! Good news for Nani owners?
  • A very bad game for Manchester United indeed. They lost two points, and they lost Valencia for most part of the season.
Antonio Valencia
Out of form recently, and now out of field for a long duration. What a pity.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

UEFA Champions League Fantasy

Back with the fun!
You play Fantasy Premier League, but how about a fantasy league with all the famous superstars all around the world? There it is - the UEFA Champions League Fantasy (UCLF).

The rules are almost the same, with most of the World Cup stars available to pick! So why not come and join the fun? The FPLZ code for UCLF is

My advise for the game is to pick players from Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea as the backbone of your team as they are located in such wonderful groups to score fantasy points.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Everton 3-3 Man Utd: In Pictures

Can you believe it? Everton snatched a last minute draw in Goodison Park just now!!! Two goals in a minute! Such an exciting game! Now I'll bring you some narrative of the game in pictures:

Rooney out of the squad in order to protect him psychologically.
Out of form Valencia is out of the squad as well.
Goal (39th minute)! Steven Pienaar scored. Everton 1-0 Man Utd.
Darren Fletcher equalised (42th minute)! 1-1.
Vidic scored through a free-kick header (46th)! Man Utd led by 2-1.
Mr Silky Smooth scored through a beautiful counter (65th)! Man Utd 3-1 Everton.
Yakubu came on. Very effective substitute to give more control to Everton upfront.
Van der Sar performed numerous classic saves and looked too good for Everton to score before the arrival of stoppage time...
Tim Cahill scored with his trademark header with 20 seconds remaining! It seemed hard to change the tide nonetheless, but...
A big mess in United's penalty area and Arteta got a free shot. GOAL! Three goals apiece. United lost two points!
Jonny Evans again looked so shaky in United's defence. One of the main culprit for United's draw.
Despite the draw, I think Liverpool should worry a lot as United's attack is so silky and effective. A big tough test for Roy Hodgson and his squad.

P/s: The pictures used are only for illustration purposes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gameweek 4 Fantasy Preview

Jermaine Defoe
The latest addition in the injured squad. Flirts with the physios for six weeks.
As usual, the international fixtures had drawn quite an amount of star players away from EPL for weeks including Kuyt, Dawson, Walcott and the most recent one, Defoe. This will definitely spoil a lot of managers long term plan and a wildcard might be necessary to rectify the situation. Are you one of them?

Latest news for Walcott owners: you can't keep him as he will not play for up to six weeks. How unfortunate.

Jermaine Beckford
To slice Man Utd again in a different jersey?
Everton v Man Utd
Everton will play the earliest game this week against Manchester United at Goodison Park. Quite interesting to see:

  1. The fans reaction towards Everton homegrown star Wayne Rooney after the exposure of his sex scandal (I like how the hooker compare him with C. Ronaldo);
  2. Whether Jermaine Beckford will crush Man Utd again;
  3. Whether Man Utd will stumble again away from home. The last away game against Fulham was a good example.
Obviously, Mikel Arteta will be the best selection from the Toffees. Everton's last fixture against Aston Villa had seen him delivered three passes whereby all were nicely received by the players and hit the post/bar. His precision has rewarded those who owned him three fantasy bonus points.

On the other side, Rooney has started to regain his form, despite disrupted by his news off the field. If you got the money, you can put him as your second striker (it's inexcusable if you don't own Drogba as your first striker). Still, Berbatov is the cheaper yet effective option.

I think Everton has the chance and while the score it's quite hard to predict, I will go for a draw.

Prediction: EVE 1-1 MANU

The Rest

  • Arsenal v Bolton (3-0) - The Gunners should be invincible at home. You should get at least one of Fabregas, Arshavin or Chamakh for September fixtures.
  • Fulham v Wolves (2-0) - Fulham is obviously the better team and the Cottagers will be at home.
  • Man City v Blackburn (3-0) - City should convert all of their frustration into goals against Blackburn.
  • Newcastle v Blackpool (4-0) - Carroll has a bright chance to lead the premier league scoreboard for at least a short period.
  • West Brom v Tottenham (1-3) - Interesting to see how Van der Vaart perform. Gallas might be too slow to replace Dawson.
  • West Ham v Chelsea (1-2) - I think Avram Grant will give his best to prove himself to Roman Abramovich and to ensure his job security. These motivation might be able to make Chelsea conceding their first goal.
  • Wigan v Sunderland (1-0) - Two surprising victors last matchday meet this week. However, Wigan was the better team last fortnight.
  • Birmingham v Liverpool (1-1) - Torres scored a brace during EURO qualifiers, but Birmingham is quite tough and the players at Liverpool are less creative than Spain.
  • Stoke v Aston Villa (1-2) - Houllier became the new manager of Villa so do expect some changes in the squad. The players should be eager to prove themselves in front of their new manager so I think Villa will win.

Cesc Fabregas
Pick of the week.
Captain Picks

  • Fabregas - The Gunners' skipper should score his first goal of the season this time.
  • Carroll - Against Blackpool, this is a great gamble.
  • Drogba - The usual captain choice.
  • Bale - West Brom is another attacking team with weak defence. Just hope that Tottenham won't shock us again.
  • Fabregas/Arshavin/Chamakh - Three nice fixtures oncoming. With Van Persie injured, Chamakh is a great short-term buy.
  • Dawson/Defoe/Van Persie/Kuyt/Walcott - Injured.
  • Blackpool players - Hellish fixtures oncoming.
Squad of XV
GK: Hart
DF: Hangeland, Williamson, Sagna
MF: Fabregas(C), Malouda, Bale, Ferguson
F: Drogba, Chamakh, Carroll

Subs (in order): Harper, Dann, Figueroa, Albrighton
Captain: Fabregas
Emergency Captain: Value
Starting XI Value: £81.9m
Total Team Value: £99.9m

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Theo Walcott Joins the Red Cross Army

Theo Walcott
Luckily I have not bought him yet.
A bad news for Walcott owners as this red hot lad is injured and will be unavailable for 1-2 weeks.

Luckily, it's only a maximum of two weeks, so you actually can keep him if you have more important transfers to be done.

Robin Hood Out For Six Weeks

Robin Van Persie
Here comes the fragile Dutchman, again.
The Gunners' primary set piece taker has once again out of action for six weeks after limping off from the clash against Blackburn.

He's one of our fantasy favourites. He takes set pieces, and is the cheapest amongst the top four ace strikers. However, his terrible body has devaluated him to £9.8m - £3.1m cheaper than Drogba!

Joining the red cross is his fellow countryman Dirk Kuyt with a shoulder injury. Four weeks for him. Ouch!

That's why I hate international games in between league fixtures. How about you?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dawson Out for EIGHT WEEKS

Michael Dawson
His pain pains a lot of fantasy managers.
The second-most owned defender (23%) - Tottenham's Michael Dawson - has gone injured during recent EURO qualifiers against Bulgaria. A big blow to fellow fantasy managers, including me.

The English is expected to recover in eight weeks, which makes it impossible for us to keep him. Perhaps a wildcard since there will be no more transfers and teams are starting to settle down?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Transfer Deadline Blockbusters

Rafael Van der Vaart
At least he can play Champions League with Tottenham...
Well, the last day of transfer season had quite some dramas, although not really shocking. Let's just see...

  • There are two big last day winners - Birmingham and Stoke. The former got Hleb, Jiranek and Beausejour who are all in their respective international squads. We all know who Hleb is, and this is such an ambitious move for the Chinese-owned club.
  • As for Stoke, they have captured Gudjohnsen, Marc Wilson and Pennant. Two former Premier League players and that should be enough to make sure they stay for another season.
  • Sunderland had spent a ridiculous £13m fee to get Ghana's World Cup star, Asamoah Gyan. I don't think he worth that much but given that Fraizer Campbell suffered a long-term injury in last few days, it's normal for them to be taken advantage of in terms of price.
  • Robinho left City in a fee cheaper than Gyan. He will become a member of the luxurious Milan offence together with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
  • Konchesky officially joined Liverpool as Insua was loaned out to Galatasary. I don't understand why Insua must be shipped out though.
  • No Carlton Cole for Liverpool as West Ham couldn't find a replacement in last minute.
  • Having sent to West Ham and Tottenham on helicopter, Babel decided to stay with Liverpool.
  • And of course, the Van der Vaart deal which was completed just in time before the transfer window shut.
A great time for wildcard guys!