Friday, March 30, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 31 Fantasy Preview

Kenny Dalglish: Man in pressure.
So Chelsea continued their fine run under the lead of Di Matteo. The Blues won their first leg of the Champions League quarter finals with a 1-0 win away to Benfica. Great likelihood to progress, but they are expected to face Barcelona next.

Can Ben Arfa get consistent
Not pretty interesting in terms of the meaning of the battle, but nevertheless this is the most balanced match-up of the week.

Newcastle are back in winning ways, winning the last two games with Papiss Cisse the man. The compatriot of Ba has scored three goals in the last two games and will be the biggest threat of Liverpool's clean sheet points.

Ben Arfa is the other man where you cannot take your eyes off. The talented winger has shown supreme performance last gameweek by getting involved in all three Newcastle's goals. Coupled with Cisse and Ba, the trio has immeasurable potential against Liverpool.

On the other side, Suarez has managed to find some consistency recently, but his explosive potential is yet to be materialized. Can he unleash that against Newcastle? Seems tough when his teammates are not up to his par except Gerrard.

Should be a comprehensive Newcastle victory as Liverpool continues to drop points horribly.

Prediction: NEW 3-1 LIV
Pick: Cisse, Ben Arfa
Drop: LIV defence

Fantasy Game of the Week: MANCHESTER CITY v SUNDERLAND
Carlos Tevez to get a start?
City certainly is not ready to hand the title out as they host Sunderland in the quest of closing down the gap against United.

The Blue Moon's offensive power has been mediocre recently - they had only scored 3 goals in their last three when they had score 12 in their first three games of the season. David Silva seems to be out of magic as the team struggles to find chances.

Aguero is quoted as "75% playing" so maybe you should sell him considering how much better you can achieve via Van Persie and Rooney. Balotelli will be your main man to trust, as the wonder kid is never short of wonders - both on and off the field.

Defensive wise, Kompany is flagged as "50% playing" but given his importance in the team, I think he should start in order to break down Sunderland's offence which has return to its best after as Sessegnon returned from suspension.

City's superb home record should keep their trail within 3 points so put your City players on and hope for the best.

Prediction: MCI 2-0 SUN
Pick and Captain: Balotelli
Pick: MCI defence

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
Dempsey/Pogrebnyak - Superb potential against Norwich.
Van Persie/Rooney - The automatic picks.

Mata - The team are very much settled under Di Matteo.
Jelavic - Seems quite lively recently.
Bale/Adebayor - Expect them to back in form.
Valencia - Never short of magic.

QPR defence - Too poor against Arsenal's offensive standards.
BLA defence - Nothing stops United at the moment.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
Evans - 25 points in the last two games has made him super popular.
G Cahill - Performs impressively under Di Matteo's tactics.
Walcott - Starts for more than 10 consecutive league games.
P Cisse - Cheaper and in better form than Ba.

Yellow light (hold):
Sessegnon - Returned but has back to back tough games.
Jelavic - Looks settled but needs more games to make conclusion.
Suarez - Still waiting for the explosive factor to explode.

Red light (sell):
Enrique/Skrtel - Terrible form at the moment.
Ba - Overpriced compared to his teammate Cisse.
MCI forwards - Overly crowded to get consistent minutes.

Gameweek 31 Dream Team
Assou-Ekkoto -- Evans -- G Cahill
Ben Arfa -- Dempsey -- Bale -- Valencia -- Walcott
Rooney (VC) -- Van Persie (C)
Subs: Al-Habsi -- Pogrebnyak -- Gibbs -- Hibbert

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 30 Fantasy Preview

Get well soon Muamba!
Some meaningful football moments that happened in past hectic week:

  • The cardiac arrest of Muamba definitely tops the list. The 23-year-old English is slowly recovering but God knows whether he will be able to get back to pitch. All the best Fabrice as you united the football arena!
  • Lionel Messi becomes Barcelona's top scorer (234) after surpassing Cesar Rodriguez. The wonder man still has years to break the record again and again and at this rate, don't be surprised if he breaks the 400 goal milestone before he retires.

Game of the Week: Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
Can Lampard push on for 150
fantasy points this season?
One of the famous London derby will take place at Stamford Bridge as struggling Tottenham tries to find a way to escape from their misery.

Tottenham has been performing very awfully since the mid of January, winning only two out of the last nine fixtures. Players have been performing very inconsistently and that makes fantasy selections from Tottenham very difficult. Adebayor could stay silent for a month or two, and then suddenly blasted a 20 point gameweek when you sold or benched him.

Meanwhile, Chelsea has regroup themselves under caretaker manager Di Matteo. The Blues' last game against Manchester City was their first ever defeat under the Italian coach. Senior players who got abandoned by Andre Villas-Boas such as Lampard and Drogba are all performing greatly ever since their manager has been changed.

Expect strong performances by the aforementioned players plus Mata at home. Torres should still be avoided despite man of the match performance at FA Cup quarter finals. Tottenham could give Chelsea a goal or two, but I think the Blues will leave the pitch happily after the game.

Prediction: CHE 2-1 TOT
Pick: Lampard, Mata, Drogba
Drop: TOT defence

Fantasy Game of the Week: Manchester United v Fulham
Valencia - the super consistent
value buy.
Liverpool might have a game against second-last placed Wigan, but we all know how unpredictable the Reds are at league. United's game against Fulham will be the safest bet.

Nani, along with Jones, is expected to be available in this game. I expect him to feature on bench, so start your Valencia, and Young, who missed out last game, with confidence. Rooney is a strong captain choice here - grab him if you can afford to.

Defensively Evans continues to be the most economic choice, though less economic now - he scored on last game and hence has a price bloom this week. Fulham has been shut for two games, but you can't ignore how threatening Dempsey and Pogrebnyak are.

Should be a comfortable win by again by United, but you never know...

Prediction: MUN 3-0 FUL
Pick and Captain: Rooney, Valencia
Drop: FUL defence

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
  • Van Persie  - Villa has only conceded more than two goals once this season, but Van Persie is most capable in handling tough defences.
  • Suarez/ Gerrard  - Even tough they are very inconsistent, it's still a good bet to hold on to.
  • ARS defence  - I don't see Villa's sharpness.
  • LIV defence - Wigan is one of the poorest converter apart from Liverpool.
  • Sigurdsson  - You never know when he will score a brace again.
  • Yakubu  - Bolton might not be in mood to play.
  • BOL players  - High degrees of uncertainty.
  • WIG defence - Unless Liverpool hit posts and bars again.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Valencia - Sits on top of Ferguson's winger pecking order.
  • Sigurdsson  - Best low cost buy of the season.
  • Rooney  - Final quarter of the season is always United's best.
Yellow light (watch):
  • A Young - You never know what will happen when Nani is fit for full game.
  • Dempsey/ Pogrebnyak  - Been shut for two games.
Red light (sell):
  • Silva - His production is far from promising.
  • Ba - Less sharp after went for African Cup.
  • Adebayor/ Bale  - The whole team has been under par.
Gameweek 30 Dream Team
Skrtel -- Evans -- Taylor
Valencia -- Gerrard -- Sigurdsson -- Mata
Van Persie -- Rooney (C) -- Suarez (VC)
Subs: Vorm -- McClean -- McAuley -- Martin

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 29 Fantasy Preview

Di Matteo saved Premier League's pride by progressing to
quarter finals of Champions League.
Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Everton certainly salvaged many double gameweek gamblers. Gerrard got a whopping 22 point gameweek thanks to his hat-trick, while Suarez provided 2 assists to score 14 points. Defenders like Skrtel and Enrique got a clean sheet too. Those who bought them certainly won't be disappointed, although they might expect more.

Meanwhile, Chelsea progressed through the last eight of Champions League in the expense of Napoli after extra time. Di Matteo is certainly on the run now as the new Chelsea coach, having won all games since he took over. Chelsea's players definitely should be on your radar by now.

Frank Lampard: The
evergreen ace.
The greatest test for Di Matteo so far as they visit to Etihad Stadium to salvage their Champions League chance next season.

The former Italian international is rejuvenating the Blues at the moment, as Roman Abramovich's army won in all games under his charge. People are being reminded of Mourinho's era with him - resolute defense, strength battle and aerial advantage all reappeared under Di Matteo.

Senior players like Lampard and Drogba should lead the team again after a fantastic performance against Napoli. Huge pressure for City then, which will be without captain Kompany who is fantastic in positioning.

On the other side, City are losing grip in this concluding stage of the season, suffering two consecutive defeats at Europa League and Premier League. Aguero is unable to show us the super Aguero at the opening stage of the season, while Silva's form is also pretty woeful and has already been overtaken by Dempsey in terms of fantasy scores.

It will be a tough game to call, but as long as Chelsea continues to play Mourinho's style of football, I believe City will slip points again and hand the title to United.

Prediction: MCI 1-1 CHE
Pick: Lampard, Drogba
Drop: MCI defence

Fantasy Game of the Week: WOLVES v MANCHESTER UNITED
Rooney still has hopes
for Golden Boot.
Tottenham are facing Stoke at home but we all know how they struggled recently. Hence I will turn my head to Molineux - where league leaders Manchester United will visit to this week.

Wayne Rooney scored both goals in their victory against West Brom last week. The forward has 20 league goals now and still has chance to pressure Robin Van Persie (25 goals) in the golden boot race. Great motivation then, apart from grabbing the 20th league title for Manchester United.

Another man on form is Rooney's compatriot Ashley Young. The former Aston Villa's ace has got 26 fantasy points in his last two games and is expected to continue such fine run to demolish Wolves. Certainly a tough time for Wolves defenders to mark them both.

I am 50-50 about United's likelihood of a clean sheet, but nevertheless having at least one of the duo mentioned above is a must at this stage. Victory for Red Devils.

Prediction: WOL 0-2 MUN
Pick and Captain: Rooney, Young
Drop: WOL defence

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
  • Van Persie - An automatic choice.
  • Ba/ Cisse - Norwich's defensive history makes them mouth-watering choices.
  • Gerrard - The captain is inspirational.
  • Suarez - He will make QPR defenders look silly.
  • Dempsey/ Pogrebnyak  - The partnership is impressive.
  • Bale - Still reliable, but not reliable enough to be captained.
  • LIV defence - QPR's attack shouldn't be tough for them.
  • STO defence - Tottenham is not expected to disappoint their fans.
  • EVE defence - No one stops RvP.
  • QPR defence - To stop both Gerrard and Suarez is not easy.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Young/ Rooney - On their high.
  • Gerrard - In his cheapest price in these few years and still has skills.
  • Suarez - Points are assured with Gerrard around.
Yellow light (watch):
  • Bale/ Adebayor - Lacking consistencies at the moment.
  • Cleverley  - Returned finally and we shall see how he cope with in these few gameweeks.
Red light (sell):
  • Silva/ Aguero - Not in form and subject to heavy rotation.
  • Kompany - Injured.

Gameweek 29 Dream Team
Evans -- Skrtel -- Assou-Ekkoto
Dempsey -- Gerrard (VC) -- Young -- Lampard
Rooney (C) -- Van Persie -- Suarez
Subs: Al-Habsi -- Moses -- Simpson -- Cuellar

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tidal Change: Manchester United On The Summit

Rooney smiles after taking his team to the top of the league table
with two goals.
The tide has certainly changed. In the beginning of February we expect Manchester City to start to build up some cushion against Manchester United in terms of league points: City's February fixtures are pretty easy, while United's had to play against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham in one month.

The fact is: City not only failed to increase the gap, but lost their lead today after losing 0-1 to Swansea. Impressive display by Manchester United as Rooney and Young continue to sparkle. Great team. Great players.

Now that the role has reversed, I believe Manchester Red will cruise their way to the 20th. Momentum is really important at the final stage of league battle, and United has it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 28 Fantasy Preview

Are you ready for Liverpool's gameweek double?
A pretty catastrophic last gameweek for plenty of managers with fantasy favourites Sessegnon and Dyer being sent off and Ba missing a penalty. Coupled with Kompany's recent injury, a lot of changes will be needed for owners of them. Time for precious wildcard?

At European tournaments, we saw Arsenal being knocked-out gloriously from Champions League after managed to recover three of the four goal deficit against AC Milan at their home turf before half-time but unable to add anymore after that. Meanwhile, Manchester City suffered an away defeat at Europa League and more shockingly, Manchester United conceded three goals at home to fall 2-3 against Athletico Madrid.

Game of the Week: ARSENAL v NEWCASTLE
Oxlade-Chamberlain had a
fine game against AC Milan
in Champions League.
Revenge is a must for Wenger's lads as in form Arsenal strives to take down Newcastle at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners are on a superbly fine run now, killing off both Tottenham and Liverpool in their last two league fixtures. Captain Robin Van Persie is on extraordinary form now. See how he scored twice against Liverpool with such limited chances.

Walcott, Arteta and Ramsey are all quoted as doubtful (75% playing) in FPL - expect some or all of them to play anyway as they combine with in form Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain to provide excellent supplies to their captain.

On the other side, the Ba-Cisse combination will continue to offer major threat, but I see a sweet revenge for Arsenal. Solid victory for Arsenal to put pressure on third-placed Tottenham.

Prediction: ARS 3-1 NEW
Pick and Captain: Van Persie
Pick: Walcott, Ba, Cisse
Drop: NEW defence

Fantasy Game of the Week: LIVERPOOL's Double (@ SUNDERLAND, EVERTON)
Time for Suarez to redeem
Liverpool will get their replacement fixture against Everton this gameweek and this make their players delicious fantasy commodities.

The away game at Stadium of Light against Sunderland will be a tricky one but Liverpool are lucky to face them at such timing. The Black Cats started their reign under Martin O'Neill brilliantly but failed to pick up any win in their last three games. Coupled with the suspension of the team's ace Stephane Sessegnon, the Reds should be able to pick up one point at least.

The Merseyside derby will take place on Tuesday at Anfield. Everton are slowly picking up as the season progresses and they have shown some good results recently. While the Toffees are as mighty as the title contenders, they are tough to be taken down.

Defenders Skrtel and Enrique are must have players as usual, while Suarez should be given the fantasy captain armband for his explosive performance. You never know if he could break the goalpost jinx this week and score a couple of goals this week.

Prediction: SUN 0-0 LIV, LIV 2-1 EVE
Pick and Captain: Suarez
Pick: Skrtel, Enrique, Adam, Bellamy

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:
  • Young/ Rooney  - Expect them to rip off West Brom.
  • Pogrebnyak  - He just don't stop scoring.
  • Mata  - Time for him to lead Chelsea away from slump.
  • Yakubu - Wolves defence shouldn't be a problem for him.
  • Osman  - The first man you should consider for Everton's double with Pienaar being ineligible to face Tottenham.
  • Holt - Should score against Wigan.

  • Kompany - Injured.
  • Sessegnon/ Dyer - Suspended.
  • Aguero - Rotation risk.
  • WBA defence - Expect demolition by Manchester United.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Suarez/ Enrique/ Skrtel  - Good to hold for at least this week.
  • Pogrebnyak/ Dempsey  - Superb form.
  • Young - Replacing Valencia's importance.
  • Van Persie - Captain supremo.
Yellow light (watch):
  • Adam  - Not so good for long term holding.
  • NEW defence  - Not so resolute recently.
  • Aguero - His production hardly meets his price.
Red light (sell):
  • Kompany - Injured.
  • Sessegnon/ Dyer - Suspended.
  • Ba - Pogrebnyak and Papiss Cisse seems to give similar production and are much cheaper.

Gameweek 28 Dream Team
Enrique -- Skrtel -- Evans
Young -- Silva -- Walcott -- Mata
Suarez (C) -- Progrebnyak -- Van Persie
Subs: Mignolet -- Pilkington -- Bosingwa -- O'Shea

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kick-Off: Gameweek 27 Fantasy Preview

A bad England senior team coach debut for Stuart Pearce.
Congratulations to Liverpool to finally win a trophy after so many years. A pretty boring final to be honest, though the extra time and penalty kick sessions were heart pounding. What's the odds of two Gerrards miss penalty together?

On the other story, the England national football team looks to be on big disarray as Pearce was unable to lead England to a win against Netherlands. Scott Parker is chosen to be the squad captain surprisingly though I do not doubt the Tottenham's midfielder ability to lead.

Game of the Week: LIVERPOOL v ARSENAL
Skrtel is playing his best
season ever with Liverpool.
Just championed Liverpool will face Arsenal at Anfield to salvage their chances of Champions League qualification for next season.

The Carling Cup title should definitely boost the Reds' morale, but injury figures were increased after the final tie and that could hinder their chances of winning this one. Daniel Agger will be out for several weeks with injury on his ribs, while captain marvel Steven Gerrard is likely to miss this encounter with a hamstring problem.

Defence will be on huge pressure will Agger not around as Martin Skrtel usually only plays well with the Dane beside him. Upfront Dalglish will have to rely on Suarez and Bellamy again - Carroll looks to be de-synched from the team again after a mediocre display against Cardiff.

On the other side, Robin Van Persie will continue to lead the line and should do a big part for this game in his charge of 200th fantasy points. Walcott, who did brilliantly last week, will be hopeful to continue the feat, although it's still a doubt whether the "one week brilliant, three to four weeks silent" form continues.

I don't expect a clean sheet game to be honest, and Liverpool should retain their undefeated home result while on their way to become the worst undefeated at home record.

Prediction: LIV 1-1 ARS
Drop: LIV and ARS defence

Yaya Toure is a fantastic lad.
The ruthless City is back and expect a slaughtering festival at Etihad Stadium this week.

The return of Yaya Toure certainly marked a great improvement in City's results as they beat Blackburn comfortably last week. Aguero plus one of Balotelli and Dzeko should lead the line and score, so remember to bolster up your attacking force with City's players.

At the back, Kompany will continue to cover his team with his great vision and positioning. Should be a comprehensive clean sheet victory against Bolton which only able to score once in its last four games.

Prediction: MCI 3-0 BOL
Pick and Captain: Aguero, Silva
Pick: Yaya Toure, Kompany, Balotelli, Dzeko
Drop: BOL players

Pick and Drop
Pick and Captain:

  • Pogrebnyak - Two eight-pointer in two games he had played.
  • Yakubu - Should be able to take a charge against out of form Villa.
  • Young - On form as United faces Tottenham which has poor record against them.
  • Richards - Out of Mancini's favour.

Transfer Traffic
Green light (buy):
  • Yaya Toure - Priced attractively.
  • A Young - In form both for club and country.
  • Aguero - Should be having fine games this week and the next.
  • Kompany - Still the best City defender to select.
Yellow light (watch):
Red light (sell):
  • Richards - No starting spot for him.
  • Terry - Out until April.
  • Darren Bent - Injured.

Gameweek 27 Dream Team
Shawcross -- Skrtel -- Simpson
Silva -- Mata -- Young -- Dempsey
Aguero (C) -- Ba -- Pogrebnyak
Subs: Vorm -- Dyer -- Hibbert -- Senderos