Monday, January 30, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 23 Fantasy Preview

Both Dempsey and Zamora led the demolition of Newcastle.
The title race has reduced down to two-horse race again after Tottenham's defeat at Etihad Stadium enlarged their trail to Manchester City to eight points. Tottenham should still at least sit a comfortable third at the end of this season anyway, with Chelsea starting to secure the last spot of Champions League football.

Liverpool has knocked out both Manchester clubs out of Carling Cup (City) and FA Cup (United) respectively. Carling Cup looks to be on the hands of the Reds already and that title could be a boost for them to end their trophy drought of six years.

The transfer market is creepily silent this year. Even rumours seem to be very little and it is increasingly likely that Gary Cahill's move would be the biggest action this time compared to Torres' and Carroll's mega buck moves last year.

Game of the Week: SWANSEA v CHELSEA
How will SuperVorm fare
against Chelsea?
Interesting meet up as Chelsea will visit one of the hell arena in Premier League - Liberty Stadium.

Swansea has been incredible at home and has only lost one on their territory to Manchester United. They scored clean sheets in 6 of the 11 home games they had played this term, though they did not collect any in their last three home games. Tough task to score for Chelsea.

Drogba is still progressing with Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations so Chelsea will need to continue to rely on £50m striker Fernando Torres to apply offensive pressure. The Spaniard is on a three month goal drought and I am quite negative on his possibility of breaking the duck. Defensive wise, Gary Cahill did not feature on his first league game at Chelsea and it remains to be seen where he fits in Andre Villas-Boas' tactics.

Given that Chelsea's inconsistent away form, I believe Swansea can frustrate the Blues and make the battle for fourth more interesting.

Prediction: SWA 0-0 CHE
Pick: Vorm

Fantasy Game of the Week: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v WIGAN
It's time for Adebayor
to end his scoring
Harry Redknapp will seek to turn the tide in their title hunt as they host Wigan at White Hart Lane.

Gareth Bale is a slight doubt for this game - quoted as "75% playing" for this encounter. Adebayor is available again - a great chance to end his goal drought. Both are great captains for this gameweek.

Hugo Rodallega fired a screamer last week... Well that doesn't happen every week. My vote goes to Tottenham for a strong response after a defeat.

Prediction: TOT 3-0 WIG
Pick and Captain: Bale, Adebayor
Pick: TOT defence
Drop: WIG players

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
  • Valencia - He doesn't promise you great fantasy score but he is consistent.
  • Sessegnon - Plays exceptionally well since Martin O'Neill's takeover.
  • Van Persie - A suspension doubt, but you should captain him if he plays.
  • Carroll - Fits into Liverpool's system finally.
  • Aguero/ Silva - Still the reliable combination.
  • Walcott - On form recently.
  • Keane - Made a spectacular Premier League return.
  • Dempsey/ Zamora - Both should combine again.
  • Kompany - The captain is back to strengthen the back line.
  • NEW defence - Blackburn scores in almost every game.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Kompany - The captain returns (clean sheet returns too).
  • Lindegaard - For sure De Gea will be benched more often after his terrible performance against Liverpool. Out in crutches during training.
  • Sessegnon - His fantasy score is rocketing. Same goes to his price.
  • Valencia - Nani's injury made him an even solid selection.
  • Keane - His influence is obvious.
Yellow light (watch):
  • Van Persie - Suspension doubt.
  • Carroll - Looks to finally fits into the system but Suarez will be released from "jail" soon.
  • Oxlade-Chamberlain - Played fantastically well but god knows what Wenger is thinking.
Red light (sell):
  • Jones - Injured again.
  • Ramires - Injured.
  • Sturridge - His consistent "one game one goal" trend disappeared into nowhere.

Gameweek 23 Dream Team
Kompany -- Assou-Ekkoto -- Enrique
Silva -- Sessegnon (VC) -- Valencia -- Bale
Adebayor (C) -- Van Persie -- Keane
Subs: Vorm -- Evans -- Dyer -- Tate

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 22 Fantasy Preview

Josh McEachran is on loan to Swansea. Great fantasy prospect?
FPLZ wishes a happy Chinese New Year for all Chinese who are visiting this site as there are plenty to enjoy from Premier League this weekend - the title decider game between Manchester City and Tottenham, and also the all time classic between Arsenal and Manchester United.

Transfer News

It's one of the title deciding game as Manchester City takes on third-placed Tottenham at Etihad Stadium.

Emmanuel Adebayor will not be eligible to face his "actual" club as the loan contract suggests. That means Jermaine Defoe will lead the line to face Kompany-less defence. Players like Bale, Van der Vaart and Modric will be very happy to exploit on that weak point of City.

However, one must not underestimate the aura of Etihad Stadium. The Citizens are yet to slip even a point at their home ground, scoring an average of 3 goals per game and conceding only 4 goals in all 10 home games played. Aguero has scored an average of 9.1 fantasy points at home - a possible captain candidate despite the toughness of this fixture.

I hope Tottenham can win the game and take themselves to the summit at May, but City at home is just too strong to be beaten.

Prediction: MCI 1-0 TOT
Pick: Aguero, Silva

Fantasy Game of the Week: NORWICH v CHELSEA
Well, Liverpool are visiting to Reebok Stadium, but I believe the Blues can give something more than the Reds.

Chelsea only managed to grab a 1-0 victory against Sunderland on their last fixture, but Sunderland is a much better team than Norwich under the leadership of Martin O'Neill. Against the Canaries I believe they can deliver more.

Much hopes on attack will be on Fernando Torres who performed a spectacular bicycle kick which deflected and rebounded by Lampard. The Spaniard had also being fouled inside the box twice but were not awarded a penalty for both offences.

Expect the best from El Nino, Lampard, Mata and Sturridge. I still have no clue whether Gary Cahill will be slotted in directly to pair up with Terry, but if he plays I believe Chelsea will not concede silly goals like when Luiz is around.

As for Norwich, there is still a high chance that either one of Holt and Morison to break the duck, but I believe Chelsea will get the much needed three points.

Prediction: NOR 1-3 CHE
Pick and Captain: Torres
Pick: Lampard, Mata, Sturridge

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
  • Gerrard - Should be leading his team to take charge against Bolton.
  • Helguson - Should fire under the better approach of Mark Hughes.
  • Van Persie - Will be looking forward to send Evans to hell.
  • LIV defence - Reliable especially against sides like Bolton.
  • STO defence - West Brom are losing their direction recently.
  • S. Fletcher - Super consistent.
  • Valencia/ Nani - Much to exploit on the flanks against Arsenal's patchy defence.
  • Ben Arfa - Cabaye is still injured so he should get his chance to show off.
  • ARS defence - Too patchy to face Manchester United.
  • BOL players  - Liverpool's defence is just too tough while Bolton's is too weak.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Gerrard - If Liverpool scores, it is most probably his goal or assist.
  • Steven Fletcher - Super ace of Wolves which resembles Van Persie's importance at Arsenal.
  • Dyer - Running on a hot streak.
Yellow light (watch):
  • Torres - Still not trustworthy until he proves himself.
  • Gary Cahill - Never buy before his performance is reviewed.
  • Rooney - His finishing looks really poor recently.
Red light (sell):
  • Yakubu - Suspended.
  • Adebayor - Pretty silent recently plus ineligible to face City.

Gameweek 22 Dream Team
A. Ferdinand -- Skrtel -- Gary Cahill
Valencia -- Gerrard (VC) -- Mata -- Silva
Torres -- Van Persie (C) -- Aguero

Subs: Vorm -- Dyer -- Savic -- Simpson

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Terrible Refereeing: Gameweek 21 Fantasy Review

Why must you @#%&ing steal the limelight every time Mr Phil Dowd?
Poor Decisions
Terrible refereeing ruined a lot of good games this gameweek. Tottenham conceded thanks to one "accused" corner kick, Jonathan Woodgate wasn't even booked for so many dangerous offences he had done, no more red card in Blackburn v Fulham game after Yakubu's despite so many more dangerous tackles than his, and most obviously, three legitimate penalty claims denied in Chelsea v Sunderland game. Three ****ing legitimate penalty claims denied, with one wrongly judged as diving. How can someone as pathetic as Phil Dowd officiate a Premier League game? So many game spoilers.

Aston Villa 1-1 Everton
Not a very surprising result, though Everton deserved more. The build up was impressive by the Toffees, but their finishing ability continues to take them down. Given was splendid too to stop them.

No strong impact from Donovan in this game, so you might wait and watch.

Watch: Donovan, Bent

Blackburn 3-1 Fulham
I feel bad for the 300,000 fantasy managers who brought in the Yak (I was almost one of them but sold him later fortunately) as he got a straight red. Bad luck. However, Blackburn somehow played better with ten men on the field. Dunn scored 13 points which almost tallied to all that he got this season (16 points) prior to the game. Great game by the ex-fantasy-goody.

And Steve Kean survives, again.

Watch: Dunn
Drop: Yakubu

Chelsea 1-0 Sunderland
Torres was spectacular. He attempted a terrific bicycle kick that hit the bar before being tapped-in by Lampard. He was brought down twice inside the penalty box but both offences were ignored and he was even being booked for "diving". Great performance this time around and he might be able to steal the place from Drogba if he continues such great play.

Gary Cahill has officially joined Chelsea and might become a  fantastic fantasy acquisition. If he can create more clean sheets at Stamford Bridge, he is a must buy.

On the other side, it was a good play by Sunderland, but the chances they had wasted made sure that they went home with nothing.

Watch: Gary Cahill, Torres, Sessegnon

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City
The same story again at Anfield. Liverpool controlled the game but were unable to create good opportunity and unable to finish well. Certainly needs a goal poacher at the moment.

The defence was superb as usual and you must be silly to not own at least one of Enrique and Skrtel.

Pick: Enrique, Skrtel
Watch: Gerrard

Manchester United 3-0 Bolton
Should be much easier than what it was. Rooney was at fault for missing yet another penalty. He could have confidence crisis in finishing. Still, he provided two great supplies which then scored two goals for United. But seriously, if he didn't miss the penalty, he would be on a 15 point haul instead of only 6 now.

Evans racked up 6 points again with his superbly cheap price, while Scholes and Carrick's provided abnormal returns thanks to their rare goals.

It's still the same kind of crisis at Bolton anyway...

Pick: Rooney, Evans
Watch: Scholes
Drop: BOL players

Tottenham 1-1 Wolves
Great game by Hennessey to save several critical attempts. The corner was awarded by luck, but the execution was all their credit as Steven Fletcher continued to mark his importance. He has scored 6 goals in last 8 games and looks to be a direct replacement for Yakubu.

Adebayor continues to disappoint with yet another non-productive gameweek. His will not eligible against Manchester City as stated in the loan contract next week. A transfer dilemma for fantasy managers to consider.

Pick: Bale, Fletcher
Watch: Adebayor

West Brom 1-2 Norwich
Two big centre forwards Holt and Morison combined again for the winner while Surman scored a great goal. The Canaries are looking good to stay in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson fails to find a solution to victory as their side got only one point from the last four games.

Pick: Morison
Watch: Holt
Drop: WBA players

Newcastle 1-0 Queen's Park Rangers
Quite a lucky win by Newcastle to be honest. QPR had pushed well and got several great chances which either got squandered or got saved by Krul and his rearguards. You should really spend some time reassessing this team for the next few weeks to see how they perform under Mark Hughes' reign.

Leon Best scored a wonderful solo effort, but otherwise it was defence that brought them the victory.

Pick: NEW defence
Watch: Best, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd, Helguson

Swansea 3-2 Arsenal
Fantastic game by Swansea which outplayed the Gunners' through Barca-esque possession. The ball control was superb as Wenger couldn't find any clue to anticipate the precise passes. Nathan Dyer is the man in form, scoring 23 points in the last two games.

Arsenal's defence was signalling a huge alarm as they become the side which conceded the most away goals (25). In my opinion, they would need two extra defenders which they should get in this transfer window if they are to grab that Champions' League ticket.

Pick: Dyer, Van Persie, Graham, Sinclair
Drop: ARS defence

Wigan 0-1 Manchester City
Finally a win for City after consecutive cup defeats. It was a hard fought victory though, with Silva provided the assist for Dzeko's goal. It was indeed quite surprising to see Silva played almost a full match, plus an assist.

Aguero still couldn't find the blazing feet which scored crazily earlier this season, but hopefully the upcoming easy fixtures will help him.

Pick: Silva

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 21 Fantasy Preview

Thierry Henry enjoying his sensational return after scoring
the only goal against Leeds.
The Mancs are not alone. The title race has officially became a three-horse race following Tottenham's victory over Everton. Interestingly, Benoit Assou-Ekkoto scored fantasy 24 points in this gameweek double. Those who had him must be smiling now.

African Cup of Nations
Numerous players will left the Premier League for a month to play for their country. The big names include Demba Ba, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Cheik Tiote, Gervinho, Marouanne Chamakh, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Adel Taarabt.

Latest News and Transfers

7-Gameweek Fixtures Analysis (Published Monthly)
In heaven run:
  • CHE (SUN, @NOR, @SWA, MUN, @EVE, BOL, @WBA) - Sunderland and Manchester United are tricky, but the rest should be fine. Beware of FA Cup and Champions League games which sandwiched in between though.
  • FUL (@BLA, NEW, WBA, @MCI, STO, @QPR, WOL) - The attackers are more settled. Could be on for a run.
  • MCI (@WIG, TOT, @EVE, FUL, @AST, BLA, BOL) - Quite easy. Beware of rotation policy though.
  • NEW (QPR, @FUL, @BLA, AST, @TOT, WOL, SUN) - The absence of Demba Ba is kindly compensated by a string of favourable fixtures.
  • QPR (@NEW, WIG, @AST, WOL, @BLA, FUL, EVE) - A good platform to begin for Mark Hughes.
  • WBA (NOR, @STO, @FUL, SWA, @WOL, SUN, CHE) - The road is pretty clear for Hodgson.

In hell run:
  • BOL (@MUN, LIV, ARS, @NOR, WIG, @CHE, @MCI) - The second round of the hellish fixtures. Most probably Owen Coyle will be axed in the next two months.
  • LIV (STO, @BOL, @WOL, TOT, @MUN, EVE, ARS) - Things get pretty tough  after Bolton's game with the Carling Cup and FA Cup tie against Manchester brothers the opener. Big test.
  • MUN (BOL, @ARS, STO, @CHE, LIV, @NOR, @TOT) - Tough opponents in the midst of compact fixtures. Big test as well.
  • TOT (WOL, @MCI, WIG, @LIV, NEW, @ARS, MUN) - To face five of the top seven in the next seven games is simply crazy.

Game of the Week: ASTON VILLA v EVERTON
Shay Given could make
a shock return.
Two of the dark horses of previous seasons which have pretty much deteriorated to meet again in the most played fixture in the top-flight league.

Villa would welcome Robbie Keane from MLS, while his teammate Landon Donovan will be playing on the other side. The former certainly was a great striker at Tottenham, while the latter has shown his prominence during his short spell with Everton two seasons ago.

Shay Given is close to recovery and is expected to sit on the bench. On the other side, Distin and Osman would be out for this one but new signing Gibson is ready to take the challenge.

Donovan should add some firepower to wasteful Everton offence, but the lack of players will cause them to suffer.

Prediction: AST 2-1 EVE
Pick: Donovan

Fantasy Game of the Week: MANCHESTER UNITED v BOLTON
David N'gog has scored against
Man Utd before.
The Red Devils surely are looking for a way to escape from the streak of defeats. And luckily, Bolton is there to offer a way.

Bolton got yet another rare victory against Everton, with potential leaver Gary Cahill one of the goal scorer. Don't get blinded though, it was Everton's pathetic finishing that led to the victory.

United might had suffered two painful defeats, but the derby victory against Manchester City has certainly lifted their mood back. Expect strong rebound by Rooney, Nani and Valencia but don't put so much hopes on their leaky back line.

Pick and Captain: Rooney, Nani, Valencia
Drop: BOL defence

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
  • Gerrard - The talisman is as strong as ever.
  • Van Persie  - No problem with Henry ready to help.
  • Aguero  - With Silva expected to feature on the bench, he is the only City man to trust.
  • Bale - Flying everywhere, but beware of a possible rest on the bench.
  • Yakubu - Scoring favourite against Fulham.
  • Adebayor/ Van der Vaart - They won't cool down for so long.
  • Ben Arfa - The scoring hope in the absence of Ba.
  • Ruiz - Has become the architect of the team.
  • LIV defence - The most probable clean sheet of the week.
  • CHE defence - Never mess with Martin O'Neill's Sunderland.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Bale - The bandwagon is still not ended.
  • Sessegnon - Playing with more effectiveness under Martin O'Neill.
  • Aguero - Awesome fixtures ahead.
  • Yakubu - Everyone's picking him.
  • Assou-Ekkoto  - Splendid at both ends.
  • Simpson - Ultra cheap.
Yellow light (watch):
  • Thierry Henry - Still too early to say how effective is him fantasy wise.
  • Donovan - Might be able to boost Everton's goal scoring ability.
Red light (sell):
  • African Cup participants
  • Kompany - Is serving his match suspension.
  • Jagielka - Injured.

Gameweek 21 Dream Team
Enrique -- Evans -- Simpson
Nani -- Bale (VC) -- Mata -- Gerrard
Rooney (C) -- Van Persie -- Yakubu
Subs: Krul -- Ben Arfa -- Savic -- Warnock

Monday, January 9, 2012

News Update: 9 Jan 2012

Why always me?
A summary of highlights occurred over the past few weeks:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 20 Fantasy Preview

BerbaTOP: 6 goals scored in his last 3 Premier League games.
Big shocker on the last gameweek with Manchester United lost to Blackburn at Old Trafford. Berbatov is charging with red hot form though, and looks as if he will win the golden boot if he starts all the remaining league games.

Another big news is the return of the King of Highbury - Thierry Henry to Arsenal in a short 2-3 months loan spell. The French should play a big role in this period as both Gervinho and Chamakh will go to south of Europe for African Cup of Nations.

Gameweek Double
The replacement fixture of Tottenham against Everton will take place this week so remember to stock 3 Tottenham players in your team as they are playing both games this gameweek at home. The options at Everton are much less delicious though.

Soul restored for Liverpool?
Manchester City will continue to defend their top position in a tough game against Liverpool.

Thanks to Manchester United's shocking defeat City should still at top of the league despite losing to Sunderland. They will have stamina disadvantage though - Liverpool played two days earlier than them on last gameweek's fixture.

No injury problems for them so expect the likes like Silva and Aguero to be the key men of the team. Don't put too much hope on clean sheet though, as the captain of the other side - Steven Gerrard - is back and has provided significant impact against Newcastle on last game. Big man to watch.

Bellamy is on red hot form and has a point to prove to Mancini, meanwhile Carroll looks better on last game will high quality supply from Gerrard.

Tight game on hand. I'm predicting points loss for City due to their tiredness and Liverpool's tendency to play better against better sides.

Prediction: MCI 1-1 LIV
Pick: Silva, Bellamy

Assou-Ekkoto is one of the
silent performer at White
Hart Lane.
Well, both games are at home, so you certainly cannot afford to not have Tottenham players.

Bale is stunningly on form and thus should be your captain of the week although Adebayor could as well be one to take the armband. Van der Vaart is also a good choice but I will definitely give the priority to the former two.

I prefer a 2 (attacker) + 1 (defender) setup here so one should take either one of Benoit Assou-Ekkoto or Kyle Walker for this occasion. BAE is the more preferable one here as he's £0.6m cheaper than the latter and scores similar fantasy points.

Both West Brom and Everton have closed down their defences pretty tight lately, but 2 games on hand for a flying team is definitely enticing. All in for Tottenham players.

Prediction: TOT 2-1 WBA, TOT 1-0 EVE
Pick and Captain: Bale, Adebayor
Pick: Van der Vaart, Assou-Ekkoto, Walker

Pick and Drop
  1. Osman - The best performer of Everton for gameweek double.
  2. Baines - Pretty pricey, but a good player to score from set pieces nonetheless.
  3. Yakubu - On fire again.
  4. S Fletcher - Will get plenty of chances in front of fragile Chelsea's defence.
  5. Berbatov - In top form.
  1. STO defence - Blackburn might be on the relegation zone, but that's not the fault of offensive department.
  2. BOL defence - Defence is problematic and is further complicated by Gary Cahill's almost certain departure.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  1. Berbatov - Scored 6 goals already in the last 195 minutes he had featured.
  2. Bale/ Adebayor/ Van der Vaart/ Assou-Ekkoto/ Walker - It's gameweek double folks.
  3. Yakubu - Has started to become the idol of Blackburn.
  4. Bellamy - Should be getting Dalglish's trust after such fantastic performance.
  5. Valencia - Continues to perform consistently.
Yellow light (watch):
  1. Gerrard - The heart of Liverpool is making significant impact upon his return.
  2. Ireland - Led the cast for Villa's famous victory at Stamford Bridge.
  3. Nani - Continues to fire blanks.
Red light (sell):
  1. De Gea - Lindegaard is obviously the better keeper currently.

Gameweek 20 Dream Team
Assou-Ekkoto -- Baines -- Samba
Bale (C) -- Osman -- Valencia -- Silva
Adebayor (VC) -- Van Persie -- Yakubu
Subs: Vorm -- Moses -- Koscielny -- Brown