Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gameweek 31 Fantasy Preview

Robin van Persie
Sustained an injury but the club is optimistic that he will play this Saturday.
So the international games are over and we've lost one of the best fantasy commodity - Gareth Bale. Meanwhile, Liverpool has also confirmed the loss of Martin Kelly for the rest of the season. With Van Persie, Tevez and some other big names doubtful for the game this weekend, it will be a major headache for fantasy managers.

The Dutch were obviously the strongest team this week, with Premier League stars Dirk Kuyt and Van Persie both on the score sheet. Carroll has also scored his first goal since he left Newcastle. But can they bring their form back to their clubs? We shall see.

Scott Parker
Can his form halt United's progress?
All Games
  • West Ham v Man Utd (2-2) - United stumble at away. That's too usual.
  • Birmingham v Bolton (1-0) - Bolton has nothing much to fight for. That's very opposite for the Brums.
  • Everton v Aston Villa (2-1) - Everton has been pretty solid at Goodison Park recently.
  • Newcastle v Wolves (3-1) - Big Mick will miss Kevin Doyle.
  • Stoke City v Chelsea (2-3) - Carlo will certainly want to retain his chance to win the Premier League.
  • West Brom v Liverpool (1-2) - The golden trio - Suarez, Carroll and Kuyt will outshine Roy Hodgson.
  • Wigan v Tottenham (1-2) - Spurs must win this if they are to feature in the Champions League next season.
  • Arsenal v Blackburn (3-0) - Obviously the match of the week. Unfortunately Van Persie is doubtful, and there will be a dilemma of whether or not to captain him.
  • Fulham v Blackpool (2-1) - Charlie Adam has been declared fit to face Fulham, but I still expect a home win.
  • Man City v Sunderland (2-1) - The Black Cats' form is too bad for Manchester City to lose.

Dirk Kuyt
Possessed by Superman recently.
Captain Picks

  • Van Persie - Should bang in a couple of goals, if he features.
  • Kuyt/Suarez - This partnership is in incredible form.
  • Van der Vaart - Bale will out for this one, so it's all his show again.
  • Kuyt/Suarez - Too great to miss.
  • Lampard/Luiz - Easy games ahead.
  • Meireles - With the strikers on form, there's less reliance for his offensive service.
Squad of XV
GK: Foster
DF: Ridgewell, Coleman, Carragher
MF: Nani, Parker, Kuyt, Lampard, Van der Vaart
F: Van Persie, Suarez
Subs (in order): Almunia, Best, Jose Enrique, Aaron Hughes

Captain: Van Persie
ECS: Value

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fantasy Pit Stop 2: End-Season Deciders

Honour or humiliation, which path do you choose?
Taking the chance of this international break, let's have a look on the must-haves so that you can end your fantasy season in style...

In reversed order of importance,

5. Marinho David Luiz
Obviously has great future with Blues.
Simply amazing. He joined Chelsea on the same day with £50m Fernando Torres, and the results? Torres is still waiting for his first goal, but this defender has already scored two!

Still not convinced? Of all four Premier League games he has started with the Blues, he scored two goals, grabbed two man of the match and took full three-points bonus twice. Incredible statistics for a newcomer, honestly.

Solid at the back yet sharp up front. He deserves to be your primary defender to finish the remainder of this fantasy season. Marinho David Luiz.

4. Luis Suarez
Establishing himself as the legend of Anfield in the speed of light.
For your information, Liverpool's league performance in 2011 is the second best - trailing behind leaders Manchester United. If Kenny Dalglish is the one who gets the biggest share of credits, then Suarez must be the second.

Started four and came from the bench once, his performance is even more superior than David Luiz's: two goals, three assists and a total of 32 fantasy points - averaging 6.4 points per game. A great figure especially when he is still yet to produce unproductive fantasy points of two and below.

What's more? His reality performance on the field suggests that he can actually do more than what he is doing in fantasy currently. Just from these five games, he has already committed several goal attempts on posts/bars, completed a world class dribbling skill against Manchester United, and scored a zero angle goal!

Here you have it. Luis Suarez, the Hand of God II.

3. Charlie Adam
Blackpool must have already been relegated by now if not for his presence.
Just returned from suspension, and 15 points is what he rewarded to those who keep him. Who else if not Adam?

In fact, there's no ace in Premier League teams who is more influential than the Tangerine's skipper. Adam is the joint top goalscorer and also top assister of Blackpool. The more incredible statistics? His whopping 43-point bonus - which leaves Tevez (29 bonus points) and others far behind! And with Blackpool still struggling for survival, you can only expect to get more from this Scottish.

A game decider, a set-piece taker, a commander with great vision, an incredibly cheap fantasy midfielder who provides great fantasy returns. Take Charlie Adam in and you will never regret about it.

2. Luis Nani
Too consistent to drop.
56% of fantasy managers do not own Luis Nani, and I wonder why.

Out of 26 matches he played, he has contributed an insurmountable figure of 16 assists. Added with his goals tally of nine, it means that the Portuguese is providing about either a goal or an assist on the average per game! His 23 bonus points don't seem too bad as well.

He might be restricted to play the football that he wants to play by Ferguson, but with so many clinical strikers upfront and a strong back line behind, you can hardly find someone who is more important than Nani in your fantasy team.

Luis Nani - strong and consistent, as Manchester United does.

1. Robin van Persie
Nobody is fearful as him in the Premier League currently.
He only ranked sixth in points per game figure, but that's not quite a good reference. Out of 16 games he played only nine of them exceeded 70 minutes, and if we calculate his points per game based on those nine (where he scored 82 fantasy points), it's a great score of 9.1! Now you understand why I put him first don't you?

The Dutch has been far more influential than skipper Cesc Fabregas since 2011, scoring 11 league goals and 5 assists in only eight league games! Not only that, the Robin Hood of Emirates has also grabbed five three-point bonuses - something that's only matched by Charlie Adam in 2011.

Soccernet described him as "With pace and skill in abundance, this forward can change a game in an instant with his ability to achieve the improbable. He is technically excellent with the vision to unlock a defence too." His fragility has always been the downside of owning him, but with such excellent form, it is a risk that we cannot afford to forgo.

Robin van Persie, the best player in Premier League in the second half of 10/11 season.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday Sparks

Luis Suarez
Steals the headline with his zero angle goal.
Another interesting Premier League weekend as Arsenal slipped unexpectedly. Here are some highlights:

  • Berbatov once again showed why he deserved to be nicked Berbatop as he decided the game from the bench. Johnny Evans's red card once gave Bolton the light of winning the game, but the Bulgarian acted as a black hole and sucked all the hopes away.
  • On a side note, Nani continues to provide great value to his fantasy managers with nine points in total. Really a bad fortune for those who sold him earlier.
  • Arsenal collapsed like nobody as they dropped another two points to West Brom. In fact, they were lucky to snatch one from the Hawthorns after trailing 0-2.
  • A good thing to note though, Van Persie continues to show his imperialism at Arsenal. Still one man is not enough to save a team from failing.
  • Green's godlike show has helped West Ham to salvage a point from White Hart Lane. His actions were well rewarded with 11 fantasy points.
  • In addition, Bale was looking good with his return and you might need to him to finish off your season with a good result.
Charlie Adam
The commander is back to lead the show.
  • Charlie Adam's return is so pivotal for Blackpool as the skipper took the Tangerines two goals ahead only to be drawn by Blackburn. Still great performance by him with 15 fantasy points.
  • Stoke got a solid solid win against Newcastle. The best thing about it? Clean sheet of course!
  • One thing note mentioning: Walters, Pennant and Higginbotham scored 40 points in total from this game!
  • Cleverly made himself the man of the match as he led Wigan to reverse Birmingham's one goal lead.
  • Coleman and Baines continue to become the main fantasy force of Everton as both of them picked up eight points in their win against Fulham.
  • Still it's a good result for Dempsey's fantasy owners with his goal.
  • Aston Villa lost surprisingly at home to Wolves. Without scoring any goals. Shameful.
  • Luck was totally against Sunderland just now as Steve Bruce used two of his subs in the first thirty minutes and another before the 60th for all his injured players. And Mensah was even sent off for a soft challenge.
  • Great work for Suarez anyway for his incredible zero angle goal as he continue his great Liverpool record, both in reality and fantasy.
  • After a hat-trick, Kuyt continues to provide great fantasy returns as he scored another double digit today.
  • The Chelsea-Man City encounter is going on now and let's see what Tevez-less City can do. UPDATE: David Luiz scored his second goal for Chelsea to further embarrass Torres's goal drought.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gameweek 30 Fantasy Preview

Have you done your part to help Japan?
Well before I start, I hope you guys can mourn for a minute and pray for Japan. Hope that they will get out of the shadows of earthquake soon.

Three Premier League clubs have reached the last eight of Champions League this season. Interestingly, Manchester United and Chelsea will face each other on the quarter-finals to ensure at least one English clubs reaching the semis. Unfortunately though, both Europa candidates of England were knocked out yesterday.

On a side note, Manchester United will undergo possibly their toughest period of the season during the next few weeks with an injury-plagued squad and the absence of Sir Alex Ferguson on local match-ups. Can Arsenal take this advantage and smile at the end? It'll be interesting.

Roberto Mancini (left) and Mario Balotelli
Guess he doesn't love Mario anymore after all the trouble the lad gave him.
Chelsea v Manchester City
The battle of filthy money. Chelsea will sit at home, and things doesn't look too good for Mancini.

The Eastlanders had just knocked out from Europa Cup with a silly red from Balotelli; the Blues, on the other hand, continue to march on their Champions League journey with an aggregate score of 2-0. Pretty opposite fate.

With no major injury woes for both sides, I personally will go for a win for the resurging Chelsea.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Man City

The Rest
  • Tottenham v West Ham (2-2) - The Hammers will continue to attack crazily for their survival.
  • Aston Villa v Wolves (1-1) - The Villans are not consistent enough to gain my trust.
  • Blackburn v Blackpool (1-1) - Both are struggling to keep themselves in the Premier League. The return of Charlie Adam should help.
  • Man Utd v Bolton (3-2) - There are severe injury crisis for United, but the Red Devils' offence and the power of Old Trafford should be enough to cover that.
  • Stoke City v Newcastle (2-1) - The Potters are always better at Britannia.
  • West Brom v Arsenal (2-3) - Things might no be easy for Arsenal. Van Persie should shine.
  • Wigan v Birmingham (2-1) - Three points are just so important for Martinez's side.
  • Everton v Fulham (2-0) - Cahill might be only on the bench but I think the home side should be able to win even when without him.
  • Sunderland v Liverpool (1-2) - Carroll will make days a lot easier for Liverpool attackers.

Antonio Valencia
Will he steal Nani's limelight?
Captain Picks
  • Van Persie - Good against leaky Baggies.
  • Rooney - On great form.
  • Adam - The head of the Tangerines is back.
  • Lampard - Back to his best.
  • Valencia - Back and sharp.
  • Van Persie - Too good to miss.
  • Bale - Returns.
  • Djourou - Out for season.
  • Toure - Suspended indefinitely.
Squad of XV
GK: Howard
DF: Huth, Coleman, Alcaraz
MF: Nani, Lampard, Hitzlsperger, Adam, Nasri
F: Rooney, Van Persie
Subs (in order): Begovic, Walker, Smalling, Rodallega

Captain: Rooney
ECS: Value

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Five Match Ban for Fergie

Sir Alex Ferguson
Things are not going well for him currently.
The FA has officially sentenced a five-match ban for Sir Alex Ferguson for his misconduct after the match against Chelsea.

This may cause some performance degradation for United's fantasy players. After all, he is the only reason why United is still a dominant Premier League force when the squad now is much more inferior than the Red Devils five years ago.

Halt your United's fantasy purchases, for now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Three Gone, One Remaining for Gunners

Fabio da Silva
Starts to show his value just like his twin brother.
Arsenal lost their third title hopes after losing 0-2 to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

This will be another big psychological blow to the Gunners after the defeat against Barcelona at Nou Camp in which they had zero shot attempts.

To add the agony, Johan Djourou dislocated his shoulder in final minutes and that will rule him out for the rest of the season.

You have so salute Sir Alex Ferguson. With seven defenders on field, he was able to destroy Wenger's title ambition.

Let's see which side will collapse in the final quarter of the Premier League season.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Liverpool 3-1 Man Utd: The Aftermath

Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles
One scored three, the other cleared two from the line.
Liverpool claimed an easy yet controversial revenge against Manchester United to make the Premier League battle more exciting. Here are some of the big stories of the game:
  • Dirk Kuyt hat-tricked? Never know he can, with such ease.
  • Suarez was my man of the match with his unbelievable dribble across United's fragile defence without both Ferdinand and Vidic. He is very heroic indeed and reminds me of Tevez.
  • Meireles deserved his one point bonus this game. Despite not being so effective up front, he cleared two very important attempts from the Red Devils.
  • A nightmare for Luis Nani. Assisted one for his opponents and got injured seriously. Ferguson will be anxiously waiting for the Portuguese's injury assessment.
  • Carrick was awful. He was one of the main reason for United's defeat as the midfield was totally owned by Lucas and Gerrard.
  • Smalling and Rafael were both decent, but with such substandard defence they can't do much.
  • Chicharito continues his supreme goal efficiency after adding a consolation goal at last minutes of the match.
  • And of course, Phil Dowd  the referee was controversial again against Manchester United, but there was never a perfectly fair football.
A great game to celebrate the birthday of Kenny Dalglish.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gameweek 29 Fantasy Preview

Martin Kelly
Guess that he's not lonely with so many players such as Van Persie, Fabregas, Cahill etc. accompanying him on the sidelines.
Thank you for staying loyal with FPLZ as we now enter the decisive period of the season. The following weeks will be very crucial in determining your fantasy excellence.

February has been a fantastic fantasy month for me as I am scoring a hefty 338 points in this single month, resulting a February rank of 548. My overall ranking has also rocketed from 218,183 to 27,445. It must be the best fantasy position I have ever achieved ever since I played FPL.

But there will be hell lots of headaches in managing my fantasy team in March, with the number of injuries and suspensions. And I believe it will cause a lot of trouble to you as well. Now let's see some of the best fantasy commodities who are with the red cross army currently:
  • Van Persie (six weeks)
  • Kelly (three weeks)
  • Tim Cahill (three weeks)
Combined with the suspension of Adam and Vidic, those who own plenty of them must be feeling the pressure of doing multiple transfers. Do remember that Everton and Birmingham are playing twice this week. Good luck.

Dimitar Berbatov
Will he score goals start?
Liverpool v Manchester United
Kenny Dalglish will like to seek for a revenge for the defeat his suffered from his debut return as Liverpool manager this week against Manchester United.

Numerous big stars will miss out on this grand fixture including Kelly, Agger, Ferdinand and Vidic. Carroll is expected to feature on this game and it is sure that he will capitalise on the absence of United's best centre backs if he does feature.

Meanwhile, the one and only player who has hat-tricked Liverpool this season - Berbatov is doubted to get a spot to play against Liverpool. United is expected to play with five midfielders and if that's the case, I have to say that Rooney who's in better form should start.

In the absence of Vidic and Rio, I think it's hard for United to get away from Anfield with any points. Neither Smalling/O'Shea nor Smalling/Brown combination makes me feel confident.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Man Utd

The Rest
  • Birmingham v West Brom (2-1) - The Brums to win. A solid one.
  • Arsenal v Sunderland (3-1) - With Bendtner on form, the Gunners can forget about Van Persie now.
  • Bolton v Aston Villa (2-2) - The Villans clearly have better form, but remember that Bolton is fighting for a Europa spot currently.
  • Fulham v Blackburn (1-0) - Time to escape from draw streaks for the Cottagers.
  • Newcastle v Everton (1-0) - Somehow I feel that Everton will fall on this one.
  • West Ham v Stoke City (3-0) - Demba Ba and Hitzlsperger are too strong at the moment.
  • Man City v Wigan (4-0) - Clearly the most fantasy friendly match of the week. But it's still unsure who will lead the line.
  • Wolves v Tottenham (1-2) - It will not be easy for Tottenham against a team that fights for survival.
  • Blackpool v Chelsea (2-3) - The win against United will give the Blues a lot of confidence to win this one.
  • Everton v Birmingham (1-1) - It's expected to be a narrow scoreline.

Nikola Zigic
The tower is on red hot form.
Captain Picks

  • Tevez/Balotelli - Obvious choices this week. Of course, Tevez is always the safest bet.
  • Bendtner - Arsenal's supply will focus on him.
  • Zigic - Huge potential with a gameweek double.
  • Everton players - Good run of fixtures ahead.
  • Birmingham players - Same reason as Everton.
  • Bendtner - Leading the line for Gunners.
  • Hitzlsperger/Demba Ba - On their highs.
  • Van Persie/Kelly/Tim Cahill - Injured.
  • Kolo Toure - Suspended due to drug violation.
Squad of XV
GK: Foster
DF: R Johnson, Baines, Zabaleta
MF: Arteta, Hitzlsperger, Lampard, Nasri
F: Zigic, Tevez, Bendtner
Subs (in order): Szczesny, Coleman, Dempsey, Djourou

Captain: Tevez
ECS: Value

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chelsea Eased Arsenal for Their Title Hunt

David Luiz
Scored his first goal for Chelsea faster than Fernando Torres.
The title race just got more interesting as Manchester United was beaten by Chelsea 1-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Rooney opened the game with a fantastic goal but it was later equalised by David Luiz. The Blues then surpassed United with Lampard's penalty.

This means the Red Devils remain four points above Arsenal, with the latter having played less one game. Exciting championship battle waiting ahead.