Posts Tagged ‘bonus points’

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 33 Preview

02/04/2010

I get rid of Lampard. Drogba and Rooney don’t play. My nearest rival suddenly has 56 cheap points though auto-sub captain. Not impressed. I should know by now that Fat Frank always comes back to bite me. I’m not letting another title slip away due to not having him. Back in he comes.

As you can imagine last week was pretty horrific and basically Martin Olsson and Niko Kranjcar saved my lead being completely wiped out. It’s down to 47 points now and with a few big players getting injured it will be interesting who people choose to step up to the plate.

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Gameweek 32 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Frank Lampard fantasy football

Maverick won't leave Fat Frank out again.

It was the Frank Lampard show last week as Aston Villa personally decided to gift him 28 points as he scored four goals, assisted another and thus got three bonus too. 28 points is ridiculous from one game and I think that may well be a new record. I don’t think Ronaldo ever got that high. Rooney of course got 32 in a gameweek earlier this season but that was of course over two games.

Malouda helped himself to 17 in the same match while Tevez scored a 12 minute hat-trick for a cheeky 16. Lampard has now beaten his overall score from last season by reaching 228 and there are still six games left. Might he challenge Ronaldo’s record of 280-odd points from a couple of seasons ago?

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Three Captain Choices:

1. Tevez/Man City – With the top two playing each other, Arsenal players being at the risk of rotation and Arteta being a doubt we have to look elsewhere for our captain choice. Tevez got three goals last week which was interesting as Adebayor played alongside him. Burnley away this week so more goals should be forthcoming.

2. Torres/Liverpool – Torres has six goals and nine bonus points in five games and while Birmingham away is a tough match, I feel if he plays he’s more than likely to score.

3. Arsenal players – A slight risk of the big guns being rested here given Arsenal play Barcelona on Tuesday. A big victory should be on the cards given it’s Wolves at home but it’s tricky deciding who will play. Bendtner could be rested so perhaps look at the remaining midfielders who are still fit.

Carlos Tevez Man City

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Nasri/Arsenal – With both Fabregas and Arshavin out for the season (though it could only be three weeks with the latter) someone has to step up in the Arsenal midfield. With Fabregas having dominated league proceedings up until now, it’s quite hard to judge alternatives. Diaby is the highest available scorer but has been quiet for a few weeks now.

Denilson sits a bit too deep to regularly be on the assist sheet, leaving Samir Nasri as the most interesting alternative. He scored last week against Birmingham as well as having some fine performances when replacing Fabregas. He’s £7.9m and worth a speculative add.

2. Dunn/Blackburn – After being a week away from fitness for about two months, Dunn finally made his return four games ago. He’s been particularly impressive in the last two matches with three goals and six bonus points. Blackburn are safe and he’s still pretty cheap so could be good as a fourth/fifth midfielder for the rest of the season.

3. Torres/Liverpool – Your replacement for injured Rooney.

samir nasri arsenal

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

Easy ones this week.

1. Fabregas/Arsenal – Done for the season.

2. Rooney/Man Utd – Out for three weeks or so.

3. Aston Villa players – They fell away this time last season too. Deja vu?

fabregas fantasy football captain

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

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Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 30 Preview

12/03/2010

I kept putting it off because I knew it would happen. But last week I could wait no more and finally got rid of Darren Bent in exchange for Nicklas Bendtner. It’s not that I doubted Bent’s ability to score but there’s only so long you can wait for Sunderland to win a game.

One hat-trick from Mr. Bent later and I wish I somewhat regretted the decision (despite NB’s five points against Burnley). Going into the rest of the season it was a move I wanted to make as Bendtner plays every week when fit and is so very cheap, thus allowing improvement elsewhere.

Getting a combined total of 38 minutes out of Rooney (injured), Drogba (no game) and Fabregas (one assist before injury) meant the weekly score was low at 41 points. I lost 12 points with Pompey’s last-minute consolation vs Birmingham but overall it was a week to get through as best you could.

It’s all in preparation for Wigan and Villa playing twice this week before the mighty gameweek 31 where TEN teams play twice. Leagues will be won or lost right there.

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Gameweek 29 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

mikel arteta everton

Maverick thinks Arteta is almost as good-looking as he is.

After being a bit of a fantasy god in the first season (06/07) I played (every week he’d assist a Joleon Lescott header) Arteta has had his fair share of injury problems in the three years since. Still a top player but often out for long periods.

This season was no exception but he has recently returned to full fitness and reminded us all of just how good a player he is. 18 points against Hull through two goals, an assist and three bonus points. He does tend to be a bit of a bonus point magnet when he plays and should be a good points scorer for the rest of the season.

Darren Bent pushed him hard this week with a 16 point hat-trick, while cheap strikers that you’re not likely to have followed with Nugent getting 14 and Jerome 13.

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Three Captain Choices:

1. Milner/Aston Villa – Two games this week, against Stoke and Wigan away. While Villa have been better away than at home, I’m reluctant to suggest a defender for two away matches. Milner has cooled off recently but is now their top points scorer and most likely to produce this week.

2. Drogba or Lampard/Chelsea – A home game against West Ham is a near banker for Chelsea, despite the useless Ross Turnbull (even worse than Hilario) set to play in goal. Lampard scored twice in the defeat to Man City but I still am more inclined to captain Drogba given a choice between the two.

3. Rodallega/Wigan – Games against Bolton and Villa. As always, you never know which Wigan will turn up but the beauty of them having two matches is that they should perform in at least one. N’Zogbia has been a little quiet since his bonus point binge a month ago so I’ll suggest Rodallega who got nine points against Liverpool last week.

James Milner Aston Villa

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Aston Villa players – All about forward planning this week. Ten teams play twice next week so you’ll want to stock in order for a big week 31 score. Best option of all are Aston Villa players who have an unprecedented double double – four games in two gameweeks! I’d say go with attacking players like Milner/Young/Agbonlahor/Downing for this week’s away games and top up with defenders next week for the two home matches.

2. Everton players – A decent game against Birmingham this week followed by Bolton and Man City next week. I’d waver more towards the midfielders give the choice. Arteta will see a lot of pick up this week but justifiably so, while Pienaar offers cheaper but perhaps better value. Jack Rodwell is back in the picture too and before his injury was playing 90 minutes every week for only £4.3m.

3. O’Hara/Portsmouth – Ten bonus points and two assists in his last six games. Yes Portsmouth are rubbish and will be relegated soon but at home they still usually score. They have two home games next week (one against Hull) and O’Hara is only £4.5m leaving you to upgrade elsewhere.

Ashley Young fantasy football

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Fulham defenders – They had a nice little run of games from which I picked up two sets of four clean sheets from five games but their Europa League exploits look to be catching up with them. Still worth a bench spot but there’s no need for me to have two players any more. Shorey might find he loses his place to a returning Konchesky.

2. Gerrard & Torres/Liverpool – Overpriced and underscoring. Pompey at home is a last chance saloon in terms of fantasy relevance this year.

3. Fabregas/Arsenal – Before you all get in a twist I’m just suggesting getting rid for this week and next before bringing him back in week 32. He definitely won’t face Hull and then has an admittedly good match against West Ham in week 31. In that time however Frank Lampard will play three times. Also, the last time Wenger said an Arsenal player had a small, small calf strain, Eduardo ended up being out for a month. Depends how much money you stand to lose on him I guess..

shorey fulham

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 28 Preview

26/02/2010

Going into Tuesday night I was rather concerned. Captain Rooney had done nothing against Everton and it seemed like I was due for my usual poor week after a good week. I needn’t have worried in the end. A Rooney double from two Valencia assists and five bonus points between them meant my score jumped to 81 for the week. Not great, but not too bad all things considered.

The Carling Cup final this week means Aston Villa and Man Utd don’t play and neither do Hull or West Ham. I imagine lots of people have brought in the likes of Milner and Agbonlahor after their week 27 exploits but that’s a little silly as they’re going to miss next week too. I can just about put a full team out this week but that depends on one or two injury concerns.

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Gameweek 27 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Antonio Valencia Man Utd

Maverick approves of Valencia's second Top Gun.

Antonio Valencia justified the four point hit I took to bring him in with 16 points with three assists and a couple of bonus points too. I imagine he’ll be back ahead of Nani now in the terms of the starting XI. There were some big scores right behind him with Givet, Rooney and Downing all getting 15 points. Nine other players got into double figures.

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Three Captain Choices:

A little trickier this week with no Man Utd, a tough away match for Arsenal and a testing home game for Chelsea.

1. Drogba/Chelsea – Man City are a decent side but rubbish away from home. It will be interesting to see how Mancini lines them up after they lost at Stoke in midweek. Drogba might not have got the better of Lucio on Wednesday but a Premier League defence shouldn’t pose too many problems. Certainly not one with Lescott and Toure in the middle anyway.

2. Kuyt/Liverpool – Not someone I’m particularly keen on but there really are few obvious captain choices this week. Liverpool have improved in recent weeks and should beat Blackburn at Anfield. Torres is still out injured (though may be a sub) so Kuyt is probably the biggest goal threat.

3. Bent/Sunderland – Surely they have to win sometime right? 13 games is the longest winless streak this season but Fulham at home is a fair opponent if you’re trying to break that run. Risky, if nothing else…

Didier Drogba Chelsea

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Hilario/Chelsea – With Cech out for a few weeks this could be a sneaky way to get some cheap clean sheets. Chelsea admittedly don’t play next week but their games after that are relatively straightforward. A little pricey at £4.9m but cheap for a Chelsea defender.

2. Bale/Spurs – I never thought I’d be recommending him here but to his credit he’s finally over his jinx of not being on a winning Spurs team. Tottenham are pretty tight at the back right now and Bale has been getting bonus points galore in the last five matches (10). He doesn’t really assist (first one last week) but could be a good differential in a mini league.

3. Kalinic/Blackburn – It seems many people who have had Darren Bent since the start of the season are finally looking to get rid of him. With Sunderland playing terribly and his value dropping, the need arises for a cheap third striker. Kalinic has quietly been playing pretty well with a couple of goals recently and some bonus points too. He won’t score many more this season but might be worth keeping an eye on.

hilario

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Crouch/Spurs – Despite featuring in every Spurs match this season, has only five goals and just one since Christmas. Pavlyuchenko’s recent form might push him out of the side.

2. Adebayor/Man City – A three match ban means he’s out till gameweek 32.

3. Cech/Chelsea – Out for a month.

peter crouch spurs

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 26 Preview

09/02/2010

The gameweeks are coming thick and fast at the moment and with the FA Cup this weekend and the Champions League not resuming until next week, there’s a full set of midweek matches to gorge over. It’s like Christmas all over again.

Week 25 was reasonable enough but a score of 50 points was a point below average but relatively speaking my second worst of the season (rank: 1,244,616). Captain Rooney saved the day but I regretted not going through with my plan of bringing in Drogba for Tevez. Still ranked in the top 10,000 overall so it’s not too bad but that’s two shoddy weeks out of three. Need to up my game.

It’s a double gameweek for Bolton, Man City, Stoke and Wigan. Not the best selection of teams but more on that later.

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Gameweek 25 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

top-gun-etherington-stoke

Maverick thinks you should at least face the camera if you win Top Gun. Not going to happen often if you're a Stoke player is it?

Stoke won handsomly at home against Blackburn and Etherington ran the show with a goal, assist, clean sheet and three bonus. 14 points for a player who’s still very cheap at just £5.5m. It was his first big game for a while, but Etherington has been steadily consistent and seven assists for the season is higher than most.

Elsewhere Fox of Burnley made his first fantasy impression with 13 against West Ham. Not bad for a first go. As predicted in last week’s captain picks, Drogba destroyed Arsenal with two goals and the man of the match for 13 points while Rooney got a phantom assist to go with his goal and bump his total to 11. Kevin Phillips scored twice for 11 points too.

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Three Captain Picks

1. Tevez or Adebayor/Man City – Easily the strongest side playing twice but due their inconsistency you can only really look at the attacking players. Tevez had a super run of form but now hasn’t scored in three while Adebayor has scored two games running since returning from Angola. Those two things may be linked but either way I think that there’s enough to go round against Bolton and Stoke.

2. Etherington/Stoke – Always go with a man in form. The nippy left winger had his most productive game of the season at the weekend and now faces Wigan and Man City, both sides being notorious for leaks at the back. I would back him for an assist and perhaps a cheaky bonus point too. Might have to wait until the City game to ge tit though – Stoke have only scored four away goals all season.

3. N’Zogbia/Wigan – I would have put Bolton’s Cahill as an option here but he’s now injured for a few months. Instead we’ll go for one of the only two Wigan players worth captaining. N’Zogbia has been at the heart of all Wigan’s best moments this season and for a struggling side they at least score some goals. Rodallega could also be an option but I’ll be bringing in the winger this week.

Emmanuel Adebayor Man City

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Drogba/Chelsea – Stating the obvious but the quicker you get him back in, the more money you’ll save. The double against Arsenal should have convinced you. Watch Lampard’s preformance drop now that he’s back.

2. Bolton players – Six games in the next four gameweeks. Plenty of value to be found even if Gary Cahiill is now out. All the games bar Man City are against sides around them and Owen Coyle has already had an impact with their first two clean sheets of the season in the last three weeks.

3. Arsenal players – Just because they’ve been handed consecutive lessons by Man Utd and Chelsea doesn’t mean they aren’t still viable fantasy options. 60 goals scored and a very easy run in (just Man City (H) and Spurs (A) left of the top eight) means you should still have one or two players in your team. Bendtner, Ramsey, and Diaby are all cheap and worth keeping an eye on.

Didier Drogba Chelsea

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Arshavin/Arsenal – I’ve given him weeks and weeks but finally had to get rid. You can’t have that expensive a player not producing week in week out. One goal in nine I believe. Still has a high score overall but there are better ways to invest £10.5m. Now watch him score a hat-trick against Liverpool!

2. Aston Villa strikers/wingers – Scored in just one of their last six league games.

3. Cahill/Bolton – Out for the season if it wasn’t already obvious from the previous mentions.

arshavin arsenal

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 25 Preview

05/02/2010

After a bit of shoddy week 23, things were back to relative normality in week 24 with a score of 77 points. I guess Chelsea let down many owners with their non-performance against Hull and it was a certainly a surprise to see goals conceded in both games. I had Fat Frank as captain who scored a disappointing seven points, but you have to assume he’ll get back to more productive ways shortly.

I had spent eight points bringing in a trio of Hunt, Lampard, Anelka and 29 points was just about acceptable from their six games. I had loads of Sorensen points marooned on the bench for the umpteenth time this season but I was pretty pleased overall. Ten extra points gained on the guys behind me in our league, 44 overall now – slow and steady does the job!

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Gameweek 24 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

gabby agbonlahor aston villa

Maverick thinks you should smile if you've won Top Gun.

Something isn’t right when Chelsea play twice and none of their players top score for the week. Aston Villa’s Gabby Agbonlahor scored twice against Fulham and got himself three bonus points for a total of 13, which seems like the lowest for quite a while. It’s certainly his highest score of the season and is more than his total for the last six weeks combined!

Following closely behind him were Hunt and Mouyokolo of Hull with 12 each. Hunt in particular is developing a nice line in performing in double gameweeks. Tim Cahill got 11 and there were four players on ten points.

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Three Captain Picks

1. Drogba/Chelsea – Arsenal got tonked 3-1 by Man Utd last week and lost 3-0 to Chelsea earlier in the season. They meet the Blues again on Sunday and will face chief tormentor Didier Drogba. He’s scored ten goals in eleven games against the Gunners and marked his return to Premier League action with a midweek goal against Hull.

The only way picking Drogba as captain is a bad idea is if there was some kind of Phil Senderos curse on Arsenal which ensured Drogba always scored (usually while tormenting the Swiss) which has now been lifted with his departure to Everton. Unlikely I know.

2. Rooney/Man Utd – I’d wait until Saturday morning just to make sure there’s no chance of Rooney being rested for this home game vs Portsmouth. With Man Utd’s upcoming schedule being quite tough, it could be an ample opportunity for Fergie to give him a breather. You probably have nothing to worry about but he has to stop scoring sometime, right? To be honest it probably won’t be vs Pompey will it?

3. Bent/Sunderland – They have been terrible recently but Sunderland have to win soon. Wigan are really hard to judge on any given week so perhaps a cheeky risk on Bent might be an option? He’s been regularly scoring despite the Wearsiders’ woes and could be good value this weekend.

Didier Drogba Chelsea

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Potential Transfers In:

A look at some deadline day signings that could prove good fantasy wise.

1. Shorey/Fulham – A fantasy favourite of mine a couple of season ago for his regular assists, his move to Fulham should provide him a chance to get back into that habit. With Konchesky out for the foreseeable a left back spot is there for the taking (he started midweek). Fulham play attractive football and given playing time, he should get a handful of assists plus a few clean sheets for good measure.

2. Moses/Wigan – I think this could be quite an astute signing by Roberto Martinez. Listed as a £5.5m midfielder, he’ll surely get some chances up front with Rodallega. Jason Scotland has yet to score in the league so it’s not as if his place is secure. On a team with few stars, Moses might shine.

3. Gudjohnsen/Spurs – I’m not sure how much he’d play when Lennon, Kranjcar and Modric are all fit but you never know what Harry Redknapp is thinking. £6m for a Spurs midfielder is pretty good value and whilst he won’t score many now that he plays a much deeper role compared to his  early days as a striker, he could be good for some assists and bonus points.

shorey fulham

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Stoke goalkeepers – Work out which one of Sorensen and Begovic is first choice before playing/transferring them. We should know after this weekend.

2. Kaboul/Spurs – Won’t be first choice. I think.

3. Defoe/Spurs – Before anyone reconsiders, the midweek hat-trick was against Leeds. Leeds play in League One. Defoe is a flat track bully.

sorensen

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 24 Preview

30/01/2010

After the highs of a 145 point week 22 came a somewhat disappointing gameweek 23, where I scored a bang on average 37. Whilst I had a full team playing, there were no Chelsea players in my side and none of my six attackers got more than four points. It was my fourth worst performance of the season, judging by how many people scored more (1,033,779 no less).

Anyway, there’s still a lead in my private league so I won’t dwell too much. A couple of blocking transfers and things should be tasty this week. Four teams play twice, most significantly Chelsea so it’s probably time I overcame my yearly aversion to having Fat Frank Lampard in my team.

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Gameweek 23 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Frank Lampard fantasy football

Maverick's thinks he overpriced but begrudgingly gives Fat Frank thumbs up.

Frank Lampard has found some form whilst Didier Drogba and scored two goals for the second week running. This time he added an extra bonus point and clean sheet for a total of 16 points. That’s 30 in two weeks but lets see how he gets on once Drogba returns to the team against Hull in midweek.

Elsewhere it was all about the midfielders last week with Cahill getting 14, Malouda and Gamst Pedersen scoring 13, and Lee of Bolton getting 10.

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Three Captain Choices:

1. Lampard/Chelsea – Four goals in two games and plays twice this gameweek against Burnley and Hull. Can’t say fairer than that. Drogba’s return against Hull might impact returns from the second game but overall you’ll be hard pushed to find a better captain option this week. Anelka’s a slightly riskier option.

2. Tevez/Man City – After three straight man of the match awards, the little man only scored 2 points against Everton in gameweek 23. A midweek Carling Cup goal suggests he’s still in form and a home game against Portsmouth should see a good return.

3. A Fulham defender – Home games against Villa and Portsmouth. They’ve struggled a little with the injuries they’ve suffered but are still a formidable outfit at Craven Cottage. Hangeland is the obvious choice but Baird or new Man Utd signing Smalling are cheaper alternatives.

Frank Lampard Chelsea

Gets a Captain's tick.

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Three Suggested Transfers In:

1. Wigan and Fulham players – Both sides have four home games in the next five. Players like Rodallega, N’Zogbia, Zamora and Duff should be on your radar.

2. Campbell/Arsenal – If his two recent games are anything to go by then he’s in pretty good shape. Vermaelen hasn’t got a broken leg after all but you’re never far from an injured defender at Arsenal so he’s one to keep in mind.

3. Wilshere/Bolton – The precocious Arsenal teenager has joined Bolton on loan till the end of the season. He hasn’t quite made the appearances expected this season but the loan should provide him with a ‘finishing school’ as Wenger put it. Only £4.3m, he could be a good 5th midfielder.

Bobby Zamora Fulham

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Kuyt/Liverpool – My latest vendetta. Avoided him all last season when he was on fire and he’s become one of those players I just don’t really like from a fantasy perspective. I needlessly brought him in last week and he’s gone straight back out. At the end of the day, even though he’s playing up front right now you just can’t trust Liverpool.

2. Everton players – After this week face Liverpool (A), Chelsea (H), Man Utd (H) and then Spurs (A). Ouch.

3. Bent/Sunderland – He’s still great value but I worry how long he can do it on his own for Sunderland. After a promising start they’ve been in wretched form for about ten games now. Might be time to cash in?

Drik Kuyt

Are you taking the mick?!

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 9

16/10/2009

There were a measly 33 goals last week (down from 37 the week before) and even a couple of clean sheets! Might the entertainment be winding down?! No, of course not but I do think slowly but surely we’ll start averaging under three goals a game. While there were a few 2-2 draws, it was Arsenal’s 6-2 demolition that really bumped up the average.

I somewhat regretted bringing in Torres for Van Persie given their respective weeks (2 pts/7pts and a price rise) but while the Spaniard has a somewhat tricky run I think long term he will score more points. This week I am getting rid of one of my big two midfielders. Will it be Lampard? Will it be Gerrard? You’ll just have to wait till Saturday to find out, even though I actually made the change last Monday!

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Gameweek 8 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Maverick approves of not having to produce a new image for Fabregas

Maverick approves of not having to produce a new image for Fabregas.

Yes, I was lucky enough to watch Cesc Fabregas‘ destruction of Blackburn in person but not lucky enough to have him in my team when he once again scores 22 points for most and 44 for those sensible enough to have him as captain. Let me assure you that it will be third time lucky and I will snag that next high score. I hope!

He took a different route to 22 this time via four assists, a goal and three bonus and thus wins the Top Gun award for the second time this season. I told you to get him for last week. I just wish I had taken my own advice. For what it’s worth Zayatte and Dunne were next with 12 and 11, the former achieving that rare feat of being a defender who gets taken off while keeping a clean sheet.

On to the tips…

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Three Captain Choices:

1. Fabregas or perhaps Arshavin/Arsenal – A case of after the Lord Mayor’s show? Perhaps, but that’s not to say Cesc still can’t get a good score this week. Birmingham are the visitors to the Emirates tomorrow and with their defence being pretty solid I think this may be a game where you pick a midfielder as captain rather than a striker.

Fabregas will be rested after missing the second of Spain’s internationals for personal reasons and you have to fancy him to dictate things against Birmingham’s somewhat workmanlike midfield. Arshavin is a good alternative option as his dribbling skills might be the key to opening things up. His direct opponent is Steve Carr after all.

2. Berbatov/Man Utd – With Rooney possibly a doubt due to his calf strain, the onus falls on the Bulgarian to continue his good recent form of two in two and produce a match-winning performance against Bolton. Gary Megson’s side had a good result against Spurs last week but they’ll be no match for Utd at Old Trafford. Berba scored against Bolton last season and if his reputation as something of a small game player is anything to go by he should be a good shout in this match.

3. Dunn/Blackburn – A gamble but if you consider that he has three goals in four games and faces a Burnley side terrible away from home, it’s suddenly not that far fetched that he could have a good weekend.

Gets a Captain's tick

Gets a Captain's tick

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Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Baines or Saha/Everton – I don’t really buy Heitinga despite his two straight assists. He’s an accident waiting to happen and I would avoid him. Baines on the other hand is very much to his Wigan form of a few seasons ago and has been for a while now. He has much of the set piece duty while Arteta is still out and with games against Wolves and Bolton coming up, has a good chance of clean sheets. Similarly, Louis Saha should relish facing those teams and will look to add to his five goals. He’s a good alternative at £7.2m if Bent is now out your price range.

2. Adebayor or Bellamy/Man City – Many of you will already have Adebayor in your team so this may not apply but he could be someone to bring in if you’re concerned over Rooney’s form or Torres’ run of games. Man City’s next four games are Wigan (A), Fulham (H), Birmingham (A) and Burnley (H) and while a couple of those sides are tough to break down, I’d imagine Adebayor will be the striker to get the goal in a 1-0 win. His price has gone back down to £10m too. Bellamy too has been on fire recently and fully deserves a starting spot. Between them they should be scoring the bulk of Man City’s goals in their upcoming fixtures.

3. Geovanni/Hull – About the only player worth having from Hull (though I suppose Zayatte merits a mention) and about the only player in form for Hull. He has two goals in two games and home matches against Portsmouth and Stoke coming up in the next few weeks.

Might be worth a pick.

Might be worth a pick.

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Three To Avoid:

1. Wolves players – Whilst the likes of Ebanks-Blake and Kightly have been making their comebacks for Wolves, their upcoming fixtures are horrendous. Everton (A), Villa (H), Stoke (A), Arsenal (H), Chelsea (A) is not a run where you can easily identify point scoring opportunities. I’m sure they’ll score a goal or two along the way but good luck trying to predict the scorer.

2. Upson/West Ham – Judging by the 10,000 people who have got rid of him this week, it seems he is in quite a few teams. West Ham have been a shadow of the side that did so well last season and have let in eight goals in three games. This is strange considering the 4-5-1 Zola employs but with games against Stoke away and Arsenal at home unlikely to bring clean sheets for now Upson is too highly priced at £5.7m to warrant inclusion.

3. Kranjcar/Tottenham – According to Physioroom Modric is back next week apparently.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 8

02/10/2009

Gameweek 8 and some interesting fixtures this weekend. A big four clash, plenty of tired teams who were involved in midweek European competition and some good opportunities for the cellar dwellers to pick up some victories. There were 37 goals last weekend and some high scores fantasy wise. Here’s to more of the same.

Gameweek 7 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):

Maverick approves. Sort of.

Maverick approves. Sort of.

It was a battle of the strikers this time round as three players fought to win the award but ultimately if you score four goals there’s a 95% chance you’ll be top scorer for the week. Keane‘s quadruple against Burnley coupled with three bonus points made for a grand score of 21 and with it the Top Gun award.

In a way this feels quite a low score for so many goals but I guess that will always be the case for strikers. Looking back at Arshavin’s four goal haul against Liverpool last season, it also brought him 21 points. It would have been 25 in his new midfielder classification.

As I was saying, two other strikers ran Keane close this week. Torres scored the easiest hat-trick of his career against Hull and also got three bonus for 17 while on Sunday Darren Bent saved many a fantasy team’s weekend by grabbing 18 points via three assists, a goal and three bonus against Wolves. I don’t think anyone was expecting that good a haul from him!

Elsewhere John O’Shea got the classic defender’s combination of winning goal, clean sheet and three bonus for 15, while Tevez, Jones, Petrov and Babel all got 12+. A mention too for Thomas Vermaelen who was the first Top Gun winner to get more than two points the following week. He kept a clean sheet for six.

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Three Captain choices:

A big four matchup between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday means we should probably avoid Torres, Lampard, Gerrard et al. After both teams unimpressed during midweek Champions League and with Chelsea also on the back of a league defeat at Wigan, there may well be an avoid defeat at all costs strategy. A low scoring encounter is certainly on the cards meaning we have to look elsewhere.

1. Rooney/Man Utd – The hairy, screaming one faces Sunderland at Old Trafford this weekend and is a good shout to score I’d say. Sunderland have been very average at the back despite the arrival of Michael Turner and have the sixth worse defensive record with 11 goals conceded so far. It’s their attack which has got them up to 8th. Rooney has six goals in his first seven league games and is now centrepoint of United’s attacking play. Do you really see John Mensah stopping him? Nope me neither.

2. Arshavin or Van Persie/Arsenal – The Gunners have won both home games so far and Blackburn have lost both away games. For all Sam Allardyce’s success against Arsenal over the years, I genuinely don’t see his side getting anything on Sunday. Van Persie has been Arsenal’s best attacker this season without actually getting that many goals but he did score against Fulham last weekend and Olympiacos in midweek. Arshavin too has quietly got himself three goals recently so perhaps is finally hitting some of the form of last season. I’ll be going to this match so am hoping for a few Arsenal goals.

3. Saha/Everton – The oft-injured striker has had a great start to 2009/10 and has scored five in five (he missed Fulham). Stoke are terrible away from home – for some reason they just can’t replicate the form they show at the Britannia and I expect an Everton victory here. Always back a striker when in form. Baines, Cahill or Fellaini are also good shouts in this game.

Gets a Captain's tick

Gets a Captain's tick

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Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Fabregas/Arsenal – Yes he’s a very expensive transfer in, but my thinking is to replace Gerrard or Lampard with him. Arsenal’s next five are Blackburn, Birmingham, West Ham (A), Spurs and Wolves (A) all of which are winnable, most of which are easy. Lampard (see transfer out) hasn’t been scoring at all (goals wise not points wise), while Gerrard has to play deep for the duration of Mascherano’s absence. Fabregas has scored or assisted in his last three and should continue his good form. Just a thought.

2. Reid/Sunderland – Steve Bruce commented the other day about how Andy Reid has been Sunderland’s best player for the past month. Who am I to argue. The man who used to be really fat but is now just big-boned has three straight assists, plus a goal and three bonus in the last few weeks. He’s a bargain too at £5.3m.

3. Benayoun/Liverpool – Ok, so my attempted reverse jinx clearly failed last week as Benayoun got himself two assists for eight points. I will now attempt the opposite and start recommending him and hope he suddenly stops producing for Sportboy P’s side. I’m still not entirely sure he has the consistency over the course of a season but he is a good player capable of big games (see the 24 points against Burnley) and Rafa has at least realised that he’s a better option than Ryan Babel.

Might be worth a pick

Might be worth a pick

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Three to avoid:

1. Lampard/Chelsea – As I mentioned above, I’m not convinced Lampard is a player to have right now. Let’s look at what he’s done this season. He only has one goal (a penalty) but he does have four assists which is second after Giggs. His eight bonus leads midfielders but five strikers have more than that and he lies eighth overall with 42 points.

Watching a fair amount of Chelsea this season, he doesn’t seem to be getting into as many scoring positions as last year and I mentioned in Monday’s Six Pointer that part of this may be Chelsea playing two strikers again. I’m not saying get rid of him and don’t replace him, I’m just saying that don’t think you can’t just because he’s Frank Lampard.

In his defence his overall score is good and perhaps I’m being hasty but I think in terms of value if nothing else, there are currently better players out there. Just remember Ronaldo last season where people were hamstrung by the fear of not having him when you’d actually have been better off investing in someone a fraction cheaper and spending the rest elsewhere. Looking at the transfers out, it appears 24,000 people think so, the most for a midfielder this week. One to monitor.

2. Defoe/Spurs – Another player who you might think I’m crazy for suggesting to get rid of but it might be a good time. He’s just broken his hand, his value has gone up to £9m and as the Football Guy and I were discussing, Defoe has always been a very streaky player. Six goals in six games or something similar but then nothing for ages. You realise he hasn’t scored for two weeks right? Maybe it’s already begun. Cash in.

3. Sunderland players – Man Utd and Liverpool up next.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?

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T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 7

25/09/2009

After much talk, I went and used my wildcard last week and am much happier with my team for it. There has been nothing to suggest the there will plenty of clean sheets this season and it appears that in general teams are going for it a lot more. Whilst I think the big teams will start despatching poor sides with ease later in the season, I don’t think we’ll see anything to match Man Utd’s ridiculous clean sheet run of 08/09.

Anyway I decided to sacrifice most of my expensive defenders as well as one pricey midfielder (Arshavin) in order to get Rooney and Van Persie/Adebayor(once he’s back) up front. I still have Lampard and Gerrard plus Darren Bent so all in all quite pleased. Getting rid of Arshavin was something I was unsure of but at the moment he’s not producing and is getting injuries. I still think he’ll be pushing 200 points come May but for now I’ll run with the in form strikers.

I did think about trying to get Cole or Johnson in there but I think the former won’t keep up his goalscoring while the latter is too expensive now. I was also pleased that the leader in our league Amer, who you may remember has been as high as sixth in the world, also played his wildcard. I don’t especially like the changes he made and am still confident he can be clawed back despite a lead of 90 points. Of the main people I think only Sportboy P is yet to use his so we’ll see how long he waits.

Gameweek 6 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise approves):

Maverick denies the accusation that the Top Gun award is designed to favour Arsenal players.

Maverick denies the accusation that the Top Gun award is designed to favour Arsenal players.

An Arsenal player wins it for the third time this season as 19 points come from Thomas Vermaelen who scored twice against Wigan and kept a clean sheet too. He only got one bonus point and having been at the game I think that was fair. He scored two good goals but there were more important players who contributed to the 4-0 win.

It’s a little tricky with Arsenal players this year as there are quite a few who are capable of random bursts of points scoring (see Diaby in week 3) but there’s a lot more fluidity (and rotation) in the new formation meaning you’re never quite sure who’s going to come up trumps. I could quite easily imagine Arshavin, Eduardo and Van Persie all winning the Top Gun award before the season is out.

Elsewhere James Milner continues to increase his influence at Villa with 14, Ryan Giggs got three assists in the Manchester derby for 14 and Torres scored two great goals against West Ham for 13.

Interestingly, every single recipient of the Top Gun award has stunk the place out the following week – Fabregas 2pts, Johnson 1pt, Diaby 2pts, Cole 1pts, Benayoun 2pts. It looks like the Football Guy’s decision to bring in last week’s Top Gun Vermaelen could well backfire. Expect two solitary points in a 2-1 victory!

Three Captain choices:

1. Torres or Gerrard or Johnson or Kuyt/Liverpool – You should really have one of these guys in your team if you any ambitions for winning private leagues and with a home game at Hull it’s take your pick as to who you think will cause most damage. Torres is back in form and Hull have a shocking defence, Gerrard has been on the verge of a huge week for a while now, Dirk Diggler Kuyt has scored two weeks running while Johnson is very likely to get a clean sheet and assist.

2. Defoe/Tottenham – Ickle Defoe was quiet against Chelsea but has a home game against Burnley this weekend. Burnley are no pushovers of course but I’m pretty sure this game will have goals in it, hence Defoe is as likely as anyone to be amongst them.

3. Baines/Everton– Portsmouth are fast becoming the team where you pick whoever is playing against them as captain. Six straight defeats and I don’t see Everton not beating them to make seven. Baines is in great form and has assists in three straight games. Clean sheet + assist? A good chance I’d say. If you’re feeling adventurous pick Saha, Yakubu or Bilyaletdinov.

Gets a Captain's tick.

Gets a Captain's tick.

Three to bring in:

1. Giggs/Man Utd – Old man Giggs has shown that he still runs (metaphorically at least) the Man Utd midfield. His set-piece delivery is still second to none and he got three assists last week. While I don’t think he can maintain it for the whole season, it’s worth getting him in for the time being. He’s only £7m which is excellent value. Fletcher is worth considering, but he doesn’t contribute much beyond the odd bonus point (last week’s double aside).

2. Bilyaletdinov/Everton– The injury list at Goodison Park is always quite large with any number of players out. This guy was signed in August for £10m or so and he has impressed in his two cup games so far with five, yes five assists. A bit of set piece specialist by all accounts he’s only played two league minutes so far but I expect he will get more shortly. Worth a punt at £6.5m with four very favourable fixtures coming up. Put that in your spellchecker and smoke it!

3. Barry/Man City– Fast becoming the bonus point machine at Eastlands. I think the pattern will go something like this: if Adebayor scores he gets three bonus, if he doesn’t but City still win then Barry will. Not very scientific but still.

Might be worth a pick.

Might be worth a pick.

Three to avoid:

1. Foster/Man Utd – I still have him but every passing week I’m less impressed. I’m very tempted to cash that £5m in, get a second cheap keeper who saves enough to make up for fewer clean sheets and invest the rest elsewhere. VDS isn’t that far away from being back either.

2. Bolton players – Booed off the pitch last week and the next five games are quite tough (Birmingham A, Spurs H, Man Utd A, Everton H & Chelsea H). I can see them getting no more than two points and it wouldn’t surprise me if they lost all five.

3. Benayoun/Liverpool – Not because he isn’t a good player, but the 24 point week is the exception rather than the rule and I would much rather have the more consistent Dirk Kuyt in my team (and regular readers will know my irrational fantasy hate for Dirk). Benayoun strikes me as someone who will always be the guy who assists the assist, i.e. the guy who gets no points.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?

T.

Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 4

28/08/2009

Quick one this week as we preview gameweek 4 which comes before another lengthy international break. I’m beginning to be tempted by the wildcard but I think I’ll hold off until after the transfer window shuts and the league resumes in a couple of weeks. With the free transfer rollover, keeping the wildcard is less attractive and I think the time to use it will be sooner rather than later.

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Gameweek 3 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves) – Abou Diaby

Maverick liked Diaby's performance against Portsmouth.

Maverick liked Diaby's performance against Portsmouth.

I don’t think anyone was expecting Abou Diaby to walk off with the award despite Arsenal’s home game against Portsmouth. Two goals and three bonus saw him score 14 points, just edging out Wayne Rooney and Kenwyne Jones who both got 13.

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Three Captain picks:

1. Lampard/Chelsea – The Blues’ midfielder has been pretty quiet so far this season as Ancelotti has been shuffling his midfielders about. He started at the tip of  a diamond against Hull but was deeper against Sunderland. He faces Burnley at home this weekend and I imagine they will play quite deep, thus perhaps stifling Drogba and Anelka. This would leave it open for Fat Frank to score some good points. That’s my theory anyway.

2.Adebayor/Man City – Mark Hughes’ side are away from home but they play Portsmouth who have just sold their best centre back to Everton. This on paper would leave Adebayor with the perfect opportunity to add to his two goals already this season.

3. Rooney/Man Utd – Even though I think Arsenal will get a positive result against Man Utd, Rooney always seems to do well against them. He’s made an impressive start to the season too with three goals and six bonus points in three games.

Right pick

Gets a captain tick.

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Three to bring in:

1. Distin/Everton – David Moyes’ new signing will slot straight into Joleon Lescott’s position at the heart of the Everton defence. Even though they’ve lost both games so far, the upcoming fixtures are quite favourable for the Toffees and Distin is a bargain £4.9m.

2. Evans/Man Utd – Not as much of a bargain as last season but with Ferdinand out so often he’s always worth having on your shortlist. Rio is currently not due back for another three weeks so Evans might be a good short term measure, even with a international break coming up.

3. Warnock/Aston Villa – Someone to keep an eye on. Aston Villa have had issues at left back but Warnock is a very good player who should slot straight in. He also does a nice line in midfield play so could occasionally play further forward. Hold on until Villa’s form settles but at £4.9m he could potentially be a good buy.

Might be worth a pick.

Might be worth a pick.

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Three to avoid:

1. Lescott/Man City – £7.3m for someone who’s moved from Everton to an arguably less solid team in Man City? No thanks.

2. O’Shea/Man Utd – No longer going to play now that Wes Brown and Jonny Evans are fit again.

3. Wigan players – I have a couple in my team as they’re quite cheap but they are yet to produce consistently. The midweek Carling Cup defeat showed it might be a while before Roberto Martinez gets them playing like Swansea last season.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?

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T.


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