Posts Tagged ‘sorensen’

Season Previews 2010/11 – Stoke



Last Season: 11th

New Signings: Cuvelier, Nash

Key Player: Matthew Etherington

One To Watch: Tom Soares

Needs A Big Year: Sanli Tuncay

Would Quite Like: To be given credit for something besides Delap —> big man’s head. Might help trying some different tactics besides Delap —> big man’s head.

Just keep wasting 30 seconds a throw.

Prediction: 10th

Thoughts: I find it hard to like Stoke. It’s partly because they know what Arsenal’s weaknesses are and ruthlessly expose them every time the Gunners visit the Britannia. It’s partly because one of their central defenders put one Arsenal’s best prospects out for nine months with a filthy tackle. It’s partly, well, they’re just not a likeable club.

Credit must be given to Tony Pulis, who has slowly been improving Stoke season by season but you feel that until they play some more expansive football, they’re not going to be recognised for their efforts. Stoke should absolutely play to their strengths but they can’t complain if people say they play crap football.

Whilst there are some quite creative players at the club, most notably Etherington and Tuncay, plan A seems to predominantly be to hit it direct to Fuller or Beattie. This has resulted in quite a contrast between home and away form, with just four victories on their travels last season, as home teams dominate possession and Stoke fans can’t play as much of a part.

Stoke do seem to be looking to get the next level, given some of the players they’ve been linked with and some of the transfer fees suggested. Someone like Kenwyne Jones or Carlton Cole would be a good signing given the circumstances (unglamorous club/no European football yet) and they probably will improve, though perhaps only by a place or two.


Fantasy Premier League – End Of Season Review 09/10


So another year of fantasy football ended last Sunday without too much drama. A solid final week meant I held on to my league lead and won it for the first time in the four seasons we’ve played.

Victory at last.

It was an entertaining season and at one stage looked to be a four-way title race. That said I don’t think I let go of the lead since about week 19 so without gloating too much victory is deserved. I was kind of limping to the finish line for the last few weeks and dropped from a position of 7,264 as late as gameweek 31 down to a final ranking of 24,501 out of 2.3m+. Not my highest ever position but still very good and just outside the top 1%.

Sportboy P came a worthy second while longtime leader Amer came third. Too many transfers and dodgy captain choices cost him and he couldn’t pick it back up. Three time winner the Football Guy had his worst ever season in fifth. I expect him to bounce back next year.

On to some awards.


Player of the season:

Frank Lampard wins this for the second straight season. I learnt from my lesson last year and made sure he was in my team when in mattered, not least for the run in. Top scoring player by 42 points and his total of 284 is quite incredible. I only realised while writing this that it’s the highest ever score in a fantasy season, edging out Ronaldo’s 283 points in 2007/08.

I think it was Chelsea’s sheer volume of goals that did it, as although he ‘only’ scored 22 (compared to C-Ron’s 31) he weighed in with a season high 17 assists (only 8 for CR). If you factor in that he wasn’t even the highest recipient of bonus points, or that he played neither game vs Wolves, you start to wonder whether a 300 point season is possible.

An honourable mention too for Cesc Fabregas who matched Lampard for points per game and got the second most bonus points this season but due to his various injuries missed eleven games thus ended up with  214.

Frank Lampard fantasy football

Maverick's 2009/10 Top Gun.

Best value player:

Thomas Sorensen is the clear winner here, gaining 164 points for his measly £4m initial price tag. He even saved three penalties this season. Joe Hart was also a big plus here, with a lower score but higher price rise over the course of the season.

However I think the best bargain to be had this season was Darren Bent. Costing just £7m to start with, he banged in 24 goals for a frankly average Sunderland side. He was quieter in the second half of the season when Sunderland went on a long winless run and Drogba/Rooney/Tevez was the way to go but picked it up again in the final few games.

bent sunderland

Bargain of the season.


Best sub:

Birmingham defenders were this year’s Fulham, providing regular clean sheets at a bargain basement price. Though they faded somewhat once they hit 40 points, they were a great option.


Fantasy bike:

There wasn’t one single player I kept bringing in this season, but looking back it seems Drogba, Lampard and Tevez were all transferred in on three occasions. With expensive players all generally performing this season, you could usually mix and match as fitness and suspension dictated and not have to worry about losing money.


Biggest flop:

Many of last season’s flops bounced back, not least Fabregas, Tevez and Drogba. For his price tag Steven Gerrard has to be up there. A victim of Liverpool’s poor season; he was generally pretty useless until about gameweek 32, before an end of season points binge.

Elsewhere big things were expected of Andrey Arshavin after last year’s four-month cameo but I thought 135 points was poor while Dirk Kuyt has gone back to being a plodder. You could argue Van Persie and Torres were disappointing but everyone knows they’re injury prone. When they played they both had a high points per game average – 5th and 6th overall.

arshavin arsenal

Could have done so much more.


Best improvement:

The way of looking at this is rise in value over the season. Here Richard Dunne and Didier Drogba are the winners, just edging out James Milner. All three had terrific seasons and the former two rose by £1.8m in price.

I would say Dunne was the most unexpected, and he picked up Martin Laursen’s tendency for being a bonus point machine while captaining Aston Villa at centre back. That said, clever old me came up with this gem of a prediction about Drogba in one of my previews.

"I no longer think the Ivorian has the ability to get 20 goals a season."

Good thing I realised the error of my ways!


Biggest surprise:

The under performance of Gerrard – previously a lock for 200 points. Gareth Bale post January (116 points) compared to pre January (2 points).


Best performance:

Last season’s high was 21 points from Arshavin. I think this score got beaten six times this year. In reverse order:

Joint 3rd: Benayoun and Kalou – 24 points

2nd: Defoe – 25 points

1st: Lampard – 28 points versus Aston Villa through four goals, an assist and three bonus. Needless to say that was one of the few weeks he wasn’t in my team, let alone in my team as captain.

Credit to Fabregas for getting 22 twice and Rooney for getting 32 in a double gameweek.

And Arshavin’s high score this season? 11…


Cesc Fabregas award for cheap bonus points:

Wayne Rooney with 46 (matching Lampard last year). Cesc was second with 41.

rooney man utd

Bonus. Om om om.


Biggest fall from grace value wise:

Biggest price drop was Diamanti of West Ham and surprisingly Nicolas Anelka. Both went down £1.2m. I assume the latter was a victim of people going with the three highest scoring strikers and just sticking with them. Of the other renowned players Carrick fell by £1m while Arshavin again plays a part here, falling £0.9m.


Biggest fall from grace performance wise:

Aaron Lennon was fantastic until December, then got injured and only returned for the last few games. Perhaps it’s a little harsh to include him here. Jermain Defoe on the other hand had 14 goals before January and just four afterwards. Antonio Valencia was also pretty poor in 2010 with just four assists and no goals.


Best impact:

Gareth Bale was immense after the turn of the year, scoring well over 100 points. I didn’t bring him in though due to his price.

From a personal point of view I was pleased with the transfers of Martin Olsson and Adam Johnson. The former was listed as a £3.8m defender yet played in an advanced midfield role, while the latter made a big impact after joining Man City in the January transfer window. Both were nice differentials who scored steady points in the run in.



I mentioned the Drogba one earlier and how I fancied Anelka over him this season. Other specials included tipping the likes of Ebanks-Blake, Zhirkov, Scotland and Robinho while being negative on players like Bellamy, Lennon and Valencia. In my defence, I had Milner, Bent plus more expensive guys like Fabregas and Rooney to have good seasons.


Finally lets take a look my team in August:

fantasy premier league week 1

Ebanks-Blake, what was I thinking?!

and the team I ended the season with:

fantasy premier league week 38

The league winning side.

Pretty different as you can see. I think Sorensen was the only player to make it through the season without being transferred out, surviving even the wildcard. I played a three-man defence for much of the season and given how well strikers did it was usually three up front.



Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 25 Preview


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


Are you taking the mick?!



Fantasy Premier League – Gameweek 2


Hot on the heels of gameweek one comes some midweek action for gameweek two, though with teams involved in European qualifiers, it means there are only six Premier League games:

  • Birmingham v Portsmouth
  • Burnley v Man Utd
  • Hull v Tottenham
  • Liverpool v Stoke
  • Sunderland v Chelsea
  • West Ham v Wolves


Last week was always a tough one to call, Lampard did bugger all as captain but you would have got decent points with the Rooney or Fulham defender choices. As far as my tip to avoid Arsenal players, the less said about that the better!


Gameweek 1 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves) – A new feature inspired by the Cristiano Ronaldo award for fantasy excellence over at the Football Guy’s site. This week’s top scorer was Cesc Fabregas who scored 22 points with two goals, two assists, three bonus and a clean sheet point (he came off) in Arsenal’s 6-1 destruction of Everton. It was a fifth of his total score last year and has already beaten last season’s top individual score of 21 by Andrey Arshavin!

Maverick approves of Fabregas

Fabregas takes Maverick's breath away.


On to this week’s picks.


Top Three Captain Picks:

1. Gerrard/Liverpool – Rafa Benitez’s side can’t be that bad again, right? As in any week, first point of call in choosing a captain is to see which top four sides have home games. Liverpool face Stoke on Wednesday and will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing defeat against Spurs. They did draw this game last season, which make me a touch wary but I think that Gerrard should get some positive points against Stoke. I prefer him to Torres in this fixture just as I think Stoke’s defenders could shut the Spaniard out.

2. Any defender/Man Utd – I don’t think Man Utd will beat Burnley heavily, the Clarets’ first game at Turf Moor will have a terrific atmosphere which should help the Owen Coyle’s men perform above themselves. I don’t think they’ll be able to breach the Utd defence, even with all their injuries but they should keep the score down to maybe 1 or 2 -0. In that respect I think it’s better to pick a Man Utd defender than it is to go for Rooney etc.

3. Gomez/Wigan – I like to use the third pick for a more risky proposition and true to form I suggest Jordi Gomez for Wigan. He was very good in the defeat of Aston Villa and has an arguably easier match against Wolves at home on this evening. He scored against them last season in the Championship and should run the show again tonight. I’d be tempted by Jason Scotland too but he’s not guaranteed to start.

Gets a captain tick.

Gets a captain tick.


Three Potential Transfers In:

1. Shawcross/Stoke – I was debating whether to pick him or Faye (both £4.5m) in my initial team and I plumped for the latter. Annoyingly,  there was a ten point difference between the two after Shawcross scored against Burnley and got himself some bonus points to get 15 in total. They both scored three times last year but I think Shawcross is the slightly better bet long term. Stoke’s fixture list is mixed going forward, Liverpool then two easier games followed by Chelsea, Bolton and Man Utd. Pulis’ side rarely gets hammered though so it’s not much of a risk. There’s even the rumour that he could join Man Utd as cover!

2. Fabregas/Arsenal – Bit obvious this one seeing as he just scored 22, but I think he’s been a bit overlooked this season as people get excited over Arshavin. He’s still going to take most of the indirect free kicks as well many corners so assist potential is high. He loves a bonus point too, even when he doesn’t do anything. He won’t score more than about eight to ten goals but most of Arsenal’s best stuff will go through him. Some big games are coming up for them and he tends to perform quite well in them if history is anything to go by. He’s still £0.5 cheaper then Arshavin too (for now).

3. Noble/West Ham – Scored 14 points against Wolves and is arguably West Ham’s best midfielder. More interesting for the fact he’s their penalty taker so an increased chance of adding to his goal tally. Just £6m too.

Might be a worth a pick.

Might be a worth a pick.


Three To Avoid:

1. Aston Villa players – Awful against Wigan and with tough games against Liverpool, Fulham and a Birmingham derby coming up, unlikely to be getting worthwhile points anytime soon.

2. Anelka/Chelsea – You can’t judge too much on an opening game but he was disinterested and not especially involved in the action against Hull. It look like Drogba has reclaimed his status as number one striker at the Bridge. Perhaps give it another game or two but if he hasn’t scored by the time they

3. Spurs strikers – Defoe and Keane surprisingly started against Liverpool, Crouch will probably play against Hull. No one really knows what the plan is going forward. Pavlyuchenko has to get some games too. Avoid them all for now, pick Modric if you want a Tottenham attacker.

Are you taking the mick?

Are you taking the mick?



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