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?