Posts Tagged ‘Zaki’

Transfer Window Hits and Misses


The January transfer window just passed saw the lowest spending since 2003, a whole £140m less than last January’s whopping £170m. Clubs have been certainly feeling the pinch and seem to be much more careful with their money. While it’s far too early to judge here are some thoughts on who could be hits and who might be misses.


The Free Transfers

I think Sol Campbell to Arsenal is quite astute and judging by the game and a half he’s played thus far, he looks like he can still cut it in the top flight. Certainly a better option than Mikael Silvestre! Over in Manchester, I was less convinced by City’s signing of Patrick Vieira. I think it will be difficult for him and there will be games where the pace is too much for him. That said, he’ll bring a lot to that dressing room and should be good for cameos where games are being closed out.

sol campbell arsenal

Beats playing for Nott's County.


The Loans

With money a bit thin on the ground, some of the most interesting deals were loans. Landon Donovan looks to have fitted straight in at Everton and I think he’ll do well for the remaining time he’s over here. Senderos from Arsenal is also a good move – the Swiss has stagnated a touch but people think he’s rubbish just because Drogba messed him a few times. Name me a central defender that hasn’t struggled against the Drog.

Bolton have got a couple of good youngsters in Weiss and Wilshere from Man City and Arsenal respectively. Wilshere in particular could be an instant hit if his cameo Carling Cup appearances are anything to go by. Basturk is one of those players who was once good on Football Manager but I’ve never seen him play enough to comment in real life. Fat Sam had a decent track record with signing older creative types at Bolton and the Turk could be sneaky good for Blackburn.

Maxi Rodriguez will be rubbish for Liverpool and Amr Zaki will be rubbish for Hull. Fellow Egyptian Mido might surprise a few people at West Ham. With a £1K a week wage he’s motivated to prove people wrong if nothing else.

wilshere bolton arsenal weiss

I can't decide whether he's disgusted to be holding that shirt or if he's just very cold.


The Cold Hard Cash

The biggest signing was Man City getting Adam Johnson for £6m+. An interesting one this, he’s done well in the Championship this season but I don’t see where he’s going to fit at Eastlands right now. You have Bellamy and Petrov both playing on the left and they’re both playing very well. One for the future me thinks, but he’ll have a great mentor in Petrov who is an excellent left winger.

After much of the window saw both Porstmouth keepers being linked with moves away to the same clubs, it was eventually Asmir Begovic who left, joining Stoke for £3.25m. He was wanted by Spurs too but apparently legged it from the hotel they were putting him up in. I do wonder whether he will displace Sorensen, they seem kind of at the same level to me. It’s a good signing for next season though.

Elsewhere Victor Moses should get lots of opportunity to prove he’s worth £2.5m at Wigan given that Jason Scotland has yet to score this season, while Benni McCarthy should score enough to justify his £1m move to West Ham. Sunderland have got a good prospect in Matt Kilgallon for £2m.

Birmingham had lots to spend but only got some squad depth in the end with Michel and Craig Gardner joining for £3m each. They’ll be useful, nothing more nothing less.

adam johnson

As good as Stewart Downing. Maybe.


Harry Redknapp’s Wheeling Dealing Transfer Merry-Go-Round

Let’s face it, Spurs deserve a whole category of their own. Any team with Harry Redknapp in charge is always likely to make deals but when you cross it with Spurs’ odd transfer policy you’re bound to get some baffling deals. First up, they bought Younes Kaboul back from Portsmouth for about £5m (less if you count what Pompey still owed).

This is by my count the fifth player they’ve bought back in about 18 months (Keane, Defoe, Crouch & Chimbonda the others) and they’d probably save themselves a lot of money if they didn’t destroy careers in the first place. Kaboul has improved but won’t play when everyone is fit, so as usual lots of foresight there. Two right backs (Naughton and Hutton) went out on loan leaving them with only Corluka.

eidur gudjohnsen spurs

Come on Harry, let's not play games. You know you want me.

Gudjohnsen was brought in on loan. I’m not sure about this one, it kind of depends where he plays. He certainly hasn’t been a striker for a few seasons now but is a decent player. I get the feeling Redknapp is addicted to buying players he once liked the look of. Lets be honest now, they don’t really need Gudjohnsen do they, but Redknapp just couldn’t say no to a bit of sexy loan action.

The one striker leaving was surprisingly not Pavlyuchenko but instead Robbie Keane who left on loan to Celtic. You don’t normally loan your captain out do you, but by the sounds of it they were constantly changing the price of Pavlyuchenko. No doubt the same happened with Bentley which is why he’s still there too.

harry redknapp

Buy me Harry, no buy me!


So overall nothing that exciting happened, and as usual the bullshit rumour brigade was full of exactly that – bullshit. There are a few decent signings but you sense everyone is saving their dollar for some post World Cup bingeing. Because of course that’s when the best value can be found…



Fantasy Football – End of Season Review


So the end of the fantasy football season came and went without too much eventfulness. Everything was already wrapped up in our league with the final standings as follows:

League of our own.

A league of our own indeed.

As mentioned before, well done to the Football guy for winning a third straight year. Sportboy P did a Liverpool and put in a title challenge for the first time while it was strange to come third for the first time. I still managed to be in the top 40,000 overall which isn’t too bad all things considered but disappointing as I was pushing the top 1000 mid season. On to some awards.

Player of the season:

Fat Frank Lampard, take a bow. My refusal to bring him in is what did for my title challenge this season. Top scorer in the game and worth every penny (except by me it seems). An honourary mention must go to Steven Gerrard who despite having played 6 games less ended up with only ten points fewer.

I am the best.

I am the best.

Best value player:

Take your pick from any of the Fulham defence. My choice would be the keeper Mark Schwarzer. Just £4m at the start, he was the highest scoring keeper, and second highest defender. The only player in my team all year.

I'm pretty good too.

I'm pretty good too.

Best sub:

I lost count of the times John Paintsil would come off the bench and earn me six points. Every week you’d think Fulham couldn’t keep it up and every other week they’d keep a clean sheet.

Fantasy bike:

Nicklas Bendtner. Flirted with him on three separate occasions, dumped him on three separate occasions…

Biggest flop:

With so few goals in the Premier League this season, plenty of high priced strikers did worse than expected. In this I include Adebayor, Keane, Tevez and Drogba. Ade and Keane still got over 120 in the end so it’s hard to call them complete flops but they did disappoint. Keane Tevez and Drogba both failed to break three figures though so must go down as flops. Perhaps Cesc Fabregas could be on too. He missed 16 games (still got over 100) but he was so so good last year, it was disappointing to see him do so little.

Some help next year please.

Some help next year please.

Best improvement:

Stephen Ireland‘s price rose and rose and rose. He started at just £5.5m and ended up on £7.1m. Perhaps the only reliable Man City player too.

Biggest surprise:

When did Dirk Kuyt become a fantasy stud? 196 points this year from midfield.

Best performance:

Andrei Arshavin, who scored not once, not twice not thrice but four times on crazy April evening at Anfield. Needless to say he got three bonus points for a grand total of 21.

I need 21 fingers.

I need 21 fingers.

Cesc Fabregas award for cheap bonus points:

Frank Lampard with 46.

Biggest fall from grace value wise:

I feel it’s a tad harsh on Ricardo Quaresma to get this as he was probably overvalued in the first instance. He dropped by £1.5m in just three months which is quite impressive really. Special mention too to David Bentley who fell £1.1m (I had him to begin the season!) and Louis Saha who fell £1.3m.

Biggest fall from grace performance wise:

Amr Zaki please step forward. A blistering start of seven in eight including a double at Anfield. Little did we know that just three goals would follow of which none would come in 2009. His season went full circle, starting at £6m, going as high as £7.2m after that start and then dropping all the way back to £6.1m once he fell out of favour by the end of the season.

Best impact:

Andrey Arshavin gets this too, for his 84 points in just 12 games after signing for Arsenal. Take away the first two and last two games and you’re left with 78 in just eight games. He’s guaranteed to be in my team from the off next year.

Finally lets take a look my team in August:

From start...

From start...

and the team I ended the season with: finish. finish.

Pretty different as you can see. The biggest mistake was not having a second big midfieler after Ronaldo who could give me a reliable captain option (i.e no Gerrard or Lampard) and once again I used my wildcard too early. Ah well, bring on next season!


Palacios to Spurs £14million-ish


I think this is a good deal. For Wigan not Spurs though. I can understand Tottenham wanting him as he will beef up their midfield and add some much needed height and power. I assume they plan to play him centrally where they still need a tough tackler. I’m not sure he solves all their problems however – the full back positions are still an issue in my opinion and they probably need another big guy to put alongside Palacios. Using the oracle of Fantasy Premier League (isn’t that how all players are judged these day?!) we can see that he only has one assist and no goals in twenty league appearances this season – so it remains to be seen how effectively he can become Tottenham’s Lampard. He had just one assist last year too. Of course goals and assists aren’t the be and all, I’m just saying if you’re comparing a new signing to someone who has scored twenty goals a season for the past few years, you may want to check the creative record first.

Not Frank Lampard

Not Frank Lampard

As for Wigan, this was an offer too good to refuse. Palacios’ value will probably never be higher so it was a great time to cash in. Steve Bruce will need to replace him but he can make £12million (or £14million depending on who you believe) go a long way. He will probably need to make good use of it when you consider he will likely have to replace Zaki (end of loan) and Heskey (end of contract) come the season end.



Fantasy Football – Gameweek 21


After the Christmas double header of Gameweeks 19 & 20, we had a bit of a break for the FA Cup last week. Our suggested captain choice Steven Gerrard was on fire and scored twice, had three assists and five bonus points over the festive period.

I'm so hot right now

I'm so hot right now

The transfer window has opened meaning previously unconsidered players may get renewed relevance at a new club. Defoe and Bridge aside, there haven’t been too many moves as yet but I’m sure that will change in the next couple of weeks. This week we also have the first instance of a team playing twice in a gameweek with the lucky two being Man Utd and Wigan. They finally fulfil their game from back in the autumn so if you have any of their players, bring them in. On to this week’s picks.



Top 3 alternatives to Ronaldo as Captain:

1. Evra/Man Utd – To be frank you need a damn good reason not go with Ronaldo as captain this week considering Man Utd play twice. Even though he’s out of form he’s their most likely goalscorer. That said, Utd’s defence has been better than their attack recently and the back four are on a run of seven straight clean sheets. After a four game ban, Patrice Evra should come back in at left back and is a decent bet to keep a clean sheet against Chelsea or Wigan. The way Utd’s attack has been playing I’m sure he’ll be encouraged to push forward too.

2. Zaki/Wigan – Back in form with two goals in his last two games. Normally I wouldn’t back him to do anything against Man Utd but Rio is maybe still out and Jonny Evans looked a bit shaky midweek. His other game is against Spurs at home. Even if Ledley King and his Paul McGrath knees play I’d still fancy Zaki to score.

3. Defoe/Spurs – Going by Defoe’s history, where he has scored on his debut for West Ham; Bournemouth; Spurs; Portsmouth and England, you’d have to fancy him again. But is it a debut if he’s played for them before?





Suggested Transfers In:

1. Defoe/Spurs – Even if he doesn’t score tomorrow I envisage him doing pretty well for Spurs, early on at least. He will instantly assume the position of first choice striker and he’ll probably take any penalties too.

2. Man United defenders – It might be a bit late as they’re probably bound to concede some goals after their great run of seven clean sheets. However, with the various injuries they’ve had at the back there are some short term bargains to be found in the likes of Jonny Evans, John O’Shea and even the Neviller (when he plays).

3. Arteta/Everton – Best player on the pitch in three of his last four games. Clean sheets in all of them too.





Players to avoid:

1. Anelka/Chelsea: Big Phil says he can’t play Drogba and Anelka together if Malouda is unfit. If it comes down to one striker against Man Utd, I don’t see it being Anelka. With his price having fallen by 0.3 in two weeks it’s time to get rid before his value drops any further.

2. Alex/Chelsea – With Terry and Carvalho both finally available at the same time, Alex’s little run of games looks to have come to an end.

3. Bent/Spurs – The odd man out in the trio of Spurs strikers.





Weekly Photoshop – Amr Zaki



Not only did we get into the Guardian gallery, we only went and won the first prize of a £100 bet! The only decision left now is what to bet it on.

The theme was Zaki, Amr Zaki. I think avoiding the Eygptian stereotypes is what did it…


Before being reincarnated as a Wigan striker, Amir Zaki was a certain big jawed Bond villain...

Before being reincarnated as a Wigan striker, Amr Zaki was a certain big-jawed Bond villain...


The rest of the gallery can be found here.




Previous entries: Gomes, Maradona, Delap, Adams, Beckham, Ramos.

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