Friday, May 27, 2011

The Final Countdown

Who will conquer Europe?
We're just slightly more than a day away from this grand finale? Who is your team?

For me it will be Manchester United - never underestimate the home advantage.

I hope there won't be any Oscar-esque performance.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gameweek 38 Fantasy Preview

So fast, we're reaching the end...
The end is so near, indeed. So how's your position currently? You've only one last week to improve your rankings, it might not help much, but it's better than nothing. At least make sure that there's a good ending will you?

Much drama are still going on at the final gameweek of the season, this includes:

  • Race for third / Champions League direct qualification (Man City v Arsenal)
  • Race for fifth / Europa League qualification (Tottenham v Liverpool)
  • Survival battle (Blackburn v Birmingham v Blackpool v Wolves v Wigan, three spots for five)
  • Golden boot battle (Carlos Tevez v Dimitar Berbatov)
These will guarantee excitements and goals galore during this weekend. Invest more on the front!

Tevez and Van Persie
Photoshop makes the impossible possible.
Battle for Third (Man City v Arsenal)
Both sides will travel as the Gunners make a visit to Craven's Cottage whilst the new FA Cup champions make their way to Bolton.

Arsenal's form recently has been very dismal, managing to win only twice since March. Terrible defence and mentality has caused the team to suffer heavy slip-ups despite stunning form of Robin van Persie. That is also the reason why Manchester City has gone one point ahead of the London giants despite falling far far behind them for a major part of the season.

Speaking of their opponent, Fulham have been enjoying steady form recently. Barring the 2-5 defeat to Liverpool, the Cottagers have only conceded two league goals at home this year. Not a good news for Wenger.

Arsenal will desperately need three points to avoid cancellation of their pre-season revenue-generating tours, but with the current squad morale, I am very negative about that.

On the other hand, the Manchester Blues are on G6 currently after adding another trophy to their cabinet since 35 years ago. Coupled with Carlos Tevez's equaliser against Berbatov on the Golden Boot race, City are certainly high on morale to finish their season in style. More importantly, City's defence are more solid than the Gunners.

Bolton have good results at home just like Fulham, but defensive wise I'd say City should get at least the same point(s) from Bolton as Arsenal get from Fulham.

Fulham 2-1 Arsenal
Bolton 1-1 Man City
Man City secures third place.

Liverpool are outnumbered in terms of league points.
Battle for Fifth (Tottenham v Liverpool)
Europa League seems pretty slim for the Reds as they travel to Villa Park for a hard battle when Tottenham will sit comfortably at home playing against Birmingham.

Kenny Dalglish's legendary return was spoilt last week with a defeat at Anfield to Tottenham. The result has effectively give way for the latter to fifth, which means that Liverpool will need to pray that Tottenham will drop points in order for them to progress to the Europa.

Needless to say, Aston Villa is always a tough team to beat. Houllier will continue to absent, but still with the likes such as Ashley Young and Darren Bent, there will be great pressure for Liverpool's defenders.

On the other hand, Birmingham are well known for their stunningly poor away form, and it is quite a humiliation should Tottenham fail to bag three points on the closing game at White Hart Lane.

Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool
Tottenham 3-0 Birmingham
Tottenham through to Europa.

Mick McCarthy
Looks forward to stay for another year.
Battle for Survival
Wolves v Blackburn: Head to head fight for survival. The victor will surely stay, while a draw will most probably make at least one of them stays. The Rovers have problems to score, so I think Wolves will have a very positive chance to stay.

Birmingham: As written above, the Brums are stunningly poor on the road. Pretty negative on their survival, unless the two clubs just below them suffer defeats.

Blackpool: It's one of the club that I wouldn't want them to relegate. Blackpool has been showing some pretty attractive football with their offence. People like Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell give Premier League some fresh breath. Unfortunately, their sluggish defence won't help them. Their opponent, Manchester United may have already won the league title, but the Red Devils still have reason to play their best. The starters want to warm up for Champions League final; the benchwarmers want to prove something to Sir Alex Ferguson. Goodbye Blackpool.

Wigan: Tide changes pretty quick. The comeback victory against West Ham has given them some momentum  this week, and given Stoke's collapse in the recent showdown against Manchester City, Wigan will have quite a chance to sneak away with at least one point for survival. Don't be too confident though, as Stoke rarely  give points to their visitors.

Wolves 2-1 Blackburn
Tottenham 3-0 Birmingham
Man Utd 2-1 Blackpool
Stoke City 1-1 Wigan
Blackpool and Birmingham relegates.
Wolves, Blackburn and Wigan stays.

The Rest
Everton 2-2 Chelsea
Newcastle 1-2 West Brom
West Ham 2-1 Sunderland

Dimitar Berbatov
Desperately needs a start to fight for golden boot.
Golden Boot Battle
There might be two golden boots this season, and that's interesting.

Carlos Tevez plays on the road, but his home-away goal of 13-8 shows that his away goal efficiency is only slightly lower compared to home. And given City's determination to protect their third position, Tevez should score at least one.

Dimitar Berbatov plays at Old Trafford. He picked 17 of his 21 league goals here - obvious home advantage. But he rarely plays since April, losing his place to Chicharito - a major doubt. However, he's very prolific in bullying the weak - one of the good captain this week. The Bulgarian should definitely get a starting position this time, but whether or not he will get quality support from second string players remains a question.

Pretty unpredictable in my opinion, I give up on predicting this and it's up to you guys.

Carlos Tevez
Just goals away to enjoy his best Premier League season.
Captain Picks

  • Berbatov, Tevez - Fights for golden boot.
  • Berbatov - Flies high.
Squad of XV
GK: Gomes
DF: Dawson, Hangeland, Fabio
MF: Modric, Dempsey, Malouda, N'Zogbia
F: Berbatov, Tevez, Odemwingie

Subs (in order): Begovic, Adam, Huth, Walker

Monday, May 16, 2011

Goodbye West Ham

Avram Grant
Relegates for two consecutive years.
Goodbye, the Hammers. They looked good to drag their relegation at least until next week by leading 2-0 by half-time, but a stunning comeback from Wigan has confirmed their drop in advance.

So now five teams are still on the fear of relegation - Blackburn, Wolves, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan. What's your opinion? I believe the bottom three will stay as what it is currently.

Also featuring today is Liverpool's shocking defeat to Tottenham. They are certainly playing bad, playing without luck, and playing with the ref against them. All their hard work since Dalglish's takeover may end up with nothing.

Remember to climb back soon, West Ham, for I will miss you...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stats Comparison for Winter Signings (Forwards Only)

Just for your reference.

Verdict: Suarez is a must for next season given his incredible influence on the field.

A Day (Year) for Manchester

Giggs, Ferdinand and Vidic
Celebrate the day in history for United.
Balotelli and Yaya Toure
Celebrate for the latter's trophy-lifting goal.
It must be a year for Manchester. Manchester United, after securing a 1-1 draw against Blackburn, has officially claimed the 19th top-flight league trophy for the club and become the most successful club in England's history. Chelsea must have thought that they still have chance when Blackburn led by 1-0, but a late penalty has ensured that the Red Devils take what that's required to drive the trophy back to Old Trafford.

On the other hand, Manchester City claimed a must needed victory against Stoke in the FA Cup final after quite an exciting game at Wembley. This ended their trophy drought for 35 years. Coupled with a ticket to UEFA Champions League, this is such a fantastic year for the Manchester Blues.

It's all but Manchester. Congratulations for both sides and celebrate the day!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gameweek 37 Fantasy Preview

Roberto Mancini
Job done. Congrats.
Yes. Manchester City are through to the UEFA Champions League qualification for the next season thanks to Peter Crouch's disastrous own goal. Tottenham are now on the brink of having no European fixtures next season as they are now two points behind fifth-place Liverpool, with a visit to Anfield coming on this week.

But what's most importantly this week is the almost for sure possibility that Manchester United will set a new milestone of becoming the best club in the English football history with 19 top-flight league titles. This will be a great, great moment for the Red Devils.

Luis Suarez
Becoming Anfield legend fast.
Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
The race for fifth may come to a conclusion this week as Liverpool will host currently sixth-placed Tottenham at Anfield fortress.

The Reds has unleashed incredible offence since last month, scoring 17 goals in the last five games. Luis Suarez continuously destroy opponent's defence with his creative runs, while Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez has shown supreme goalscoring ability with the former scoring 9 goals in the past 8 games while the latter hat-tricked twice in two weeks.

Tottenham, however, in on the very opposite form. They are now on a five-match victory drought and that's the main reason why they are out of the race for fourth in a blink of an eye. Defence is now a big headache for Harry's squad as the side has conceded an average of about two goals per game since April.

It'll be hard for me to believe that Tottenham can defeat Liverpool at Anfield with the Reds already beaten Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City easily here. A victory is expected to Kenny Dalglish's side.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham

The Rest

  • Blackburn v Man Utd (0-1) - The Red Devils are motivated to confirm their title soon.
  • Blackpool v Bolton (2-0) - Blackpool desperately need the three points.
  • Sunderland v Wolves (2-2) - Sunderland has found back a little bit of form recently.
  • West Brom v Everton (2-1) - Expect WBA to continue their supreme form.
  • Chelsea v Newcastle (3-0) - Newcastle is just too poor on the road. A win might retain the Blues' slim chances for title and also will secure their second place from Arsenal.
  • Arsenal v Aston Villa (2-1) - The Gunners' homeground is still quite hard to breakthrough. The Emirates has not been conquered since November.
  • Birmingham v Fulham (1-0) - Defence v defence. Expect the narrowest margin between both sides.
  • Wigan v West Ham (1-2) - Relegation six pointer. If West Ham fails to win, it's a goodbye for sure, so I think they should fight out all their best.
  • Man City v Stoke City (2-0) - It's City's last home game. I expect them to play nicely even though with their second string players after the FA Cup against Stoke also.

Didier Drogba
"I am the king!"
Captain Picks

  • Drogba/Lampard - Newcastle comes with poor defence.
  • Suarez/Kuyt - Incredible partnership.
Squad of XV
GK: Hart
DF: Ivanovic, Roger Johnson, Clichy
MF: Lampard, Adam, Kuyt, N'Zogbia
F: Drogba, Suarez, Van Persie

Subs (in order): Foster, Hitzlsperger, Fabio, Flanagan

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maxi Rodriguez Scored Another Hat-Trick

Maxi Rodriguez
Got another match ball in just two weeks.
Unbelievable. Maxi Rodriguez, the one who's on the start-sub fence for most part of the season, explodes with an unstoppable form as he scored his second hat-trick in two weeks time with Liverpool beating Fulham 5-2 on the road.

First he eclipsed Hernandez's fastest goal of the season which was just created one day before, and then he completed his hat-trick with a long range cannon. He is definitely so so confident recently.

Can Maxi book a starting spot in the next season with his resurgence of form? Still looks negative for me with Carroll, Suarez and Kuyt standing firm on the trident front.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Man Utd Cruise to the 19th

Wayne Rooney v David Luiz
The one below is actually above.
Congratulations, Manchester United. Unless somethings as dramatic as Arsenal v Liverpool happens later, the Red Devils will be six points clear from Chelsea - which resembles 99% chance of surpassing Liverpool and becoming the greatest club in England, at least in terms of trophies.

Chelsea was playing so awful in the first half and they really deserve to trail by two goals. Great job again by Chicharito and Rooney. They will continue to play the leading role in United's next season.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gameweek 36 Fantasy Preview

Wayne Rooney v Lionel Messi
The replay of 09 Final will commence at Wembley.
Therer you go. Barcelona v Manchester United. La Liga #1 v Premier League #1. Great match-up promised. Hopefully I will be watching a football game then, not a battle for Oscar awards.

Last week it was Kuyt and Suarez who led the show, as expected. However, Simon Davies stole the gameweek #1 with 16 fantasy points as Fulham will host Liverpool this week. Interesting.

This week will only be more exciting with Tottenham and Manchester City's going head-to-head on their replacement fixture and Chelsea visiting Old Trafford in an attempt to drag the Red Devils down from the summit. Great great fights are promised.

Fernando Torres
Can he conquer Old Trafford like what he has done before with Liverpool?
Manchester United v Chelsea
Climax of the season. Should United wins, the title goes to them for sure; should Chelsea take three points, they will be on the driving seat to recrown themselves.

Ferguson has deployed his second string players against Schalke during the second leg of the Champions League - a decision which both rested his players ahead of this game and allowed benchwarmers to express themselves. That is, Chelsea won't have any fitness advantages against them.

On the other hand, while Chelsea has already recorded five consecutive league victories, their actual performance on the field were less convincing. They could have easily lost to West Ham should the Hammers were able to grab their chances, while the win against Tottenham was just so controversial.

Both are very good at defence, but Chelsea have to keep attack to continue their title hunt. A scoring draw for me.

Prediction: Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea

The Gameweek Doublers
  • Manchester City (Everton @ away, Tottenham @ home) - Not an easy one for a double. Everton are tough, as always, while Tottenham will have all the reason to give out all of their hearts for the game. Prediction: Everton 1-1 Man City, Man City 2-2 Tottenham
  • Tottenham Hotspur (Blackpool @ home, Man City @ away) - Should be very comfortable against Blackpool. You should pool at least one of the Tottenham attackers. Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Blackpool, Man City 2-2 Tottenham
The Rest
  • Aston Villa v Wigan (2-0) - Ashley Young to send Wigan down?
  • Bolton v Sunderland (2-0) - Sturridge is doubtful. If he starts he is one of the captain material for this week.
  • Newcastle v Birmingham (2-0) - As usual, Birmingham fails to impress anybody away.
  • West Ham v Blackburn (2-1) - Win this or get lost. A game of unrivaled importance for the Hammers.
  • Wolves v West Brom (1-2) - Farewell game for Big Mick?
  • Stoke City v Arsenal (2-3) - Proceed with caution. Stoke had been causing troubles and troubles to the Gunners every time they met.
  • Fulham v Liverpool (2-2) - Craven Cottage is never a fun place to visit.

Sylvie Van der Vaart
Captain his husband.
Captain Picks
  • Van der Vaart - Double game with one against one of the poorest defence in the league.
  • David Silva - Dictates City offence in the absence of Tevez.
  • Van der Vaart - Tottenham still has reason to win.
  • Toure Yaya - Cheap and effective.
  • Nani - Less influential now with Valencia on form.
Squad of XV
GK: Jaaskelainen
DF: Kolarov, Dawson, Gary Cahill
MF: Silva, Yaya Toure, Van der Vaart, A Young, Modric
F: Bent, Van Persie
Subs (in order): Friedel, Ameobi, Walker, Coloccini

Captain: Van der Vaart
ECS: Value