Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Week 17 - Tuesday

One moment of quality in a match desperately lacking in excitement, it's the reason Fernando Torres is probably the best striker in the world.

I was really looking forward to watching the game last night but it was one of the most boring games I've seeen this season. It wasn't even a case of the teams cancelling each other out, they just both played poor football. A draw would've been fair, but Villa didn't do enough as the home team so if one team were going to grab all 3 points I would've preferred it to be Liverpool.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Week 17 - Monday

Another fantastic day of Premiership football yesterday, as Manchester City start to look like a side that really can break the top 4. But what about Spurs? Could they also be in with a shot of a Champions League?

...probably not, but it's bloody exciting!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Week 17 - Sunday

The end of "Phase 1" for Week 17 & once again it has not gone too well for me. I only had 3 Arsenal players on Sunday, & they combined to give me an extra 28 points for a haul of 75 so far.

I still have another 19 fixtures for my players to play, but Rooney, Almunia, Diaby & Fabregas killed me yesterday as I dropped outside the Top 2000 for the first time since the first few weeks. Hopefully I can have a bit of a fightback in the next phase of games as I did in the last double week - I need it.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Week 17 - Saturday

A tough day in the Premier League, with only 12 goals in 8 games...5 draws, only 3 wins & 7 teams keeping clean sheets.

In such a crazy season it's a bit of a disappointment that Boxing Day was lacking in action, but there are still 2 big games to go today which could help turn things around!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Week 17 - My Team


Alexander  Vermaelen  Faye  Steinsson 

Etherington  Arshavin  M.Taylor

Klasnic  Santa-Cruz  Eduardo

Finally set on my team after lots of chopping & changing this morning, and I decided to go with 4-3-3.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Week 17 - Brief Summary

Very very quick summary guys...I'm still stuck on what to do.

The best I could do in 15 minutes is breaking it down from almost 70 down to 35 players..

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Week 17 - Player Picks

Christmas is here!

As you can imagine, I'm unbelievably busy with it being 2 days to go. I still haven't finished my shopping, I have loads of work to finish before the seasonal break & I'm also undecided on what to do about my fantasy football team this week after Yahoo confirmed it as a triple week.

As well as all this, I suddenly remembered this morning that I write a blog so I needed to get my players picks post done's a stressful time of year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Week 17 - TRIPLE WEEK!

Yahoo have updated the fixtures for Week 17 & it seem to confirm it will be a Triple Week for Arsenal, Stoke, Fulham & Bolton.

This confirmation adds an extra dimension to what was already a tricky double week. Do we load up on triple gamers? Or do we assume that very few players are likely to play in all 3 games, making double gamers just as valuable?

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Blog Cup - 3rd Round Results

So with the Wigan v Bolton match postponed I've been able to calculate The Blog Cup 3rd Round Results a little earlier than planned...and it's bad news for me as I failed to make it in to the Top 60.

UPDATE: Last night Yahoo corrected a mistake where they gave Jerome an assist when it was actually Benitez. This correction has changed the cutoff point by 0.5 to...

Week 16 - Sunday

This week I scored 30 Points...let that sink in for a minute. THIRTY POINTS.

Have you stopped laughing yet?

Week 16 has turned in to the worst week I've ever had in my 6 years playing Yahoo Fantasy Football. I remember scoring 49 a couple of years ago but that was the only time I've failed to pass 50 (as far as I can remember).

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Week 16 - Saturday

Not really sure what to say about today. It has to be one of the lowest point scoring Saturdays in Yahoo Fantasy Football history. I sit on 20 points from 6 players...5 to go & one of them is Juliano "aint gonna get a game, what were you thinking AM?" Belletti. Yet I've only dropped 150 places....why? Because pretty much everyone else had an absolute shocker.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Week 16 - My Team


Alexander  Neill  Vermaelen

O'Hara  Milner  Belletti  Arshavin

Drogba  Defoe  Rooney

Not particularly pleased with my final team this week. Having so many players at big discounts means I can't lose them & this also means I don't have much room for manoeuvre when it comes to my strikeforce & midfield.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Week 16 Summary & Week 17 Preview

The deadline is fast approaching & I've got plenty of decisions still to make. I always like to try & cover all the teams with good fixtures games by having at least 1 player from each, but I'm struggling to find a way of doing this for Week 16 as I'm holding a lot of players at big discounts.

Anyway, here are the 24 players still under consideration...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Week 16 - Players Picks

First off, a quick bit on Wednesday night's games.

I had a fantastic "2nd phase" for Week 15 with 6 goals coming from Rooney, Valencia, Kranjcar (2), Alexander & Defoe. Add to that my joy at Spurs' performance as they crushed Man City 3-0 & it's been a fine midweek!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Week 15 - Tuesday

I was going to wait until the points were up to write this post, but I realised I could still write a summary & then add to it later.

4 games & 12 goals with wins for Birmingham, Man Utd, Bolton & an increasingly impressive Aston Villa. West Ham, Sunderland & Blackburn all had poor evenings & Wolves put their reserves out.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Drogba Dilemma

There have been some excellent posts in the comments & chat in the chat room regarding the game's top scorer; specifically by those who still own him at 10.66. The dilemma people are facing is whether to hang on to Didier Drogba during the African Cup of Nations, where he is likely to miss 4 Chelsea games.

Now, I had already assumed that I would sell him as I didn't think I could afford to take 4 weeks of zeros, but J Dunn & The Tigers have looked at the stats in detail & come up with some very interesting analysis.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Week 15 - Sunday

Only one game on Sunday & it was another nail in the coffin that is Liverpool Football Club's season.

For 45 minutes I thought that was the best I'd seen Liverpool play since their great run back in April/May; they made life impossible for Arsenal with their pressing, played neat, quick football & fully deserved their half time should've been more than 1-0.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Week 15 - Saturday

Firstly - how awesome is the Premier League?

Nobody can predict what may or may not happen this season...Villa beat Man Utd at Old Trafford, depleted Everton hold Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Spurs lose at home to Wolves (bollocks), Bolton draw with Man City, Figueroa scores from his own half, Hull & Blackburn draw 0-0 (okay, maybe it's not that unpredictable) - but it really is the pinnacle of sporting entertainment at the moment & for pure excitement it's unrivalled in my opinion.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Week 15 - My Team


Vermaelen  Bassong  Alexander

Valencia  Mikel  Larsson  Kranjcar

Drogba  Rooney  Defoe

Not much time today guys, so a quick summary of my Week 15 team.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Week 15 Round-Up & Week 16 Preview

I had my work Xmas party last night so I'm sitting here with one terrible hangover. This will not be my finest piece.

First off, head over to Jeremy & Neal for a look at "The Week Ahead"...done? Right, now a quick summary of the 22 players I'm still considering from my initial list of almost 50...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Week 15 - Player Picks

The double week we've all been waiting for is almost upon us & if you play Week 15 correctly if could help turn your season around.

You'll find that a lot will change over the Xmas & New Year period. We have 2 double weeks coming up in the next month, but people are always busy at this time of year so it often means they don't have the time to do much research on their team. If you can find the time you'll find yourself rising up the rankings as we enter 2010.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Week 15 - Yellow Card Risks

I must point you all towards an outstanding piece of research by Alien2005 over on the fantasy football forums.

I had planned to put together a list of all the players at risk of being suspended for the 2nd game of the double week if they are booked in the 1st game, but he has done all the hard work himself & it really is fantastic stuff!

Injury Update 08/12/09

From the ever-excellent comes some fantastic injury news for Tottenham fans & more terrible injury news for Man Utd fans:

Monday, 7 December 2009

The AM Challenge Cup - 1st Round Results

So, it's taken me longer than I thought, but finally I've compiled the results for the 1st Round of The AM Challenge Cup. Did you make it through!?

See below for the full table of results....

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Week 14 - Sunday

Only a quick post tonight - what an unbelievable game at Goodison today. I bet the last 20 minutes were great viewing for Everton fans/neutrals & a point away is rarely a disaster, but for me it feels like a defeat...definitely 2 points dropped.

Week 14 - Saturday

Week 14 has been a slightly better week for me so far.

I ended Saturday with 78 points, with decent contributions from Richard Dunne, the quite excellent James Milner, Rooney, Vermaelen, Nasri, Alexander & O'Hara. Drogba was dissapointing & Kirkland received negative points for a loss after going off injured with the score at 1-0.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

The Jimmy Bullard Appreciation Post

For once, sod fantasy football...

Jimmy Bullard is a LEGEND.

Week 14 - My Team


Vermaelen  Alexander  Dunne

Milner  Nasri  O'Hara  Duff

Defoe  Rooney  Drogba

No Fabregas. Mistake? Maybe, but with Fabregas in my team I had to have a filler (well, a midfielder at 5.89) & couldn't fit a Villa player in. With no Abou Diaby or Song I feel Fabregas could be dropped deeper alongside Denilson, nullifying his threat slightly, so I made the sensible choice. As we all know, the sensible choice isn't always the most successful - you always need luck.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Week 14 Round-Up & Week 15 Preview

24 hours 'till deadline & once again it's proving a very tricky week....

Firstly, I've been really pleased with the feedback from my guest slot on The Week Ahead, with lots of positive comments on here & on FantasyEPL. I hope the experiment has led to new readers for both blogs!

Now so let's focus on whittling down my initial list of 45 to the remaining players I'm still considering:-

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Arsenal Injury Update

From the Press Association:

Arsene Wenger's problems this week have mounted with the news England winger Theo Walcott has picked up a hamstring injury and will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash against Stoke.

Walcott, 20, played the second half of the 3-0 defeat by Chelsea on Sunday, with Gunners manager Wenger then selecting his fringe players for the Carling Cup loss to Manchester City by the same scoreline. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Week 14 - Player Picks

Bit of a twist this week, as I was invited to be the guest writer of The Week Ahead over on "The Original Bloggers" (Jeremy & Neal's) excellent Fantasy Premier League Blog...

...obviously, I jumped at the chance!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Injury Update 01/12/09

From the injury files over on

Isn't it lovely when we can bring you some good news?

Well, that's good news if you're a Chelsea fan, or Ashley Cole, and we can only assume that he's reading. So hello Ashley, but you can skip over this next bit if you want, because obviously you'll already know it.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The AM Challenge Cup

As promised, as an alternative to The Blog Cup, we now approach Week 14, which is the 1st Round of The AM Challenge Cup. 

600 team, 6 rounds, 1 winner!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Week 13 - Sunday

Chelsea are in a league of their own - you won't see any other team go to the Emirates & tear Arsenal apart like The Blues did today. It wasn't just the scoreline, but the overall dominance over the 90 mins. It was men against boys & I was very impressed, as I'm sure you all were. Unlucky Gunners :)

Didier Drogba continues his phenomenal form with another 2 goals & a haul of 26.5 points as he shot up to £21.65m. He has now scored 72 points more than any other player in the game & helped salvage my week as I scraped 80 points to end in 1800th, down 350 places from the beginning of the week

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Week 13 - Saturday

Okay, I'm back. Apologies about yesterday, the issues have semi-resolved themselves this morning (thanks for the messages guys & for keeping the great discussion up in my absence) always helps take my mind off problems, so time for quick review on Saturday.

Lots of points about - unfortunately not for me. I finished Saturday with 54 points, dropping 500 places.

Week 13 - My Team


Vermaelen  Baird  Alexander

 Dempsey  Dunn  Ireland  Duff

  Defoe  Adebayor  Drogba

After loads of chopping & changing yesterday, I ended up with exactly the same team I had after the barndoor closed on Wednesday night.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Week 13 Summary & Week 14 Preview

Friday...didn't I once say you should never make changes on a Friday? So why am I sitting here with only 5 "keepers" in my team leaving me chopping & changing the 6 remaining places every half an hour or so? The one positive thing is my initial player picks list has been whittled down from 45 to 22 players.

Here it is, with a brief explanation of the remaining issues I'm dealing with as we fast approach the deadline for Week 13.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Week 13 - Player Picks

Finally Week 12 is over & the Blog Cup 2nd Round results are up, so I can now concentrate on Week 13 with my passage to Round 3 safetly secured! :)

After pretty much ending last week where I started it, just inside the Top 1500, I really need to push on. It's back to a single week for Week 13 which I think we all prefer & as always there are a huge number of picks to consider with a great variety of fixtures.

Here are the 40 or so players currently under consideration:

Week 12 Round-Up & Blog Cup Round 2 Results

Once again, the Wednesday of a doublegamer saves my week!

I moved from 49 points to 107.5 thanks to a combination of Schwarzer, Duff, Dunn, Geovanni & Dempsey. Heitinga got me negative points, Bullard didn't play & Zamora may as well not have played but overall I have to be satisfied as I moved up 500 places from the weekend's disaster. I finished Week 12 where I started it - just inside the Top 1500.

There were points all over the place last night - Fulham defenders, Stephen Hunt, Louis Saha & Andy Dawson  - but also points to be lost for Zayatte owners (own goal, penalty conceded, yellow card...ouch!).

On the barndoor I grabbed back Dempsey who I sold at the weekend (Bullard has to be dropped for this move) & I brought in Chris Baird for now, but that was all. That pretty much sums up Week 12, so now we move on to the Blog Cup 2nd Round Results. There were 200 teams remaining from Round 1, the Top 100 now go through...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Impressive Impressions

Completely irrelevant, but I saw these on YouTube & they made me laugh so thought some of you may also find them funny :)

Just to add relevance to this post, i'll mention my plans for the next couple of days. Usually you'd expect to see my Player Picks post up on a Wednesday, but because we still have fixtures tonight I've decided to delay them until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Injury Update 24/11/09

Lots of interesting injury news from today:

Monday, 23 November 2009

Injury Update 23/11/09

As ever, from

Things just don't get any better for Liverpool, do they?

Rafa Benitez has taken an 18-man squad to Hungary for their rather important Champions League game agaisnt Debrecen on Tuesday, which the maths enthusiasts among you will realise offers them absolutely no room for manouvre.

Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Yossi Benayoun and Dan Agger (despite his head injury suffered against Manchester City) have travelled, but Fernando Torres and Albert Riera have stayed at home.

It's not entirely clear at this stage why Riera has not even made the trip, as the Spanish winger was on the bench for the City game at Anfield, but that inclusion was ahead of schedule after his hamstring injury suffered against Birmingham.

Possible reasons/ill-informed speculation whistling around the F365 office are that he tripped on his way to the bench on Saturday, or that he suffered a bad reaction to the horse placenta massage he was 'treated to' in Serbia last week. Obviously, like proper journalists, we'll let you know when we find out.

Edit: Apparently Riera has stayed at home for 'further treatment' on that twangy hamstring. Told you we'd let you know.

Another man who is closer to Stanley Park than the Hortobágy national park (thanks Wikipedia) this week is Ryan Babel, whose ankle was crunched at Anfield on Saturday.

Speaking of mischiefs suffered in that game, Manchester City captain Kolo Toure was forced off the pitch at half-time, but don't fret City fans - he's on the mend.

According to the City website, the club's medical staff have reported that Toure has made a 'good recovery' since Saturday, and it's not expected to trouble him for too much longer.

While we're on the City site, Martin Petrov may well be back in training by the end of the week, after he strained knee ligament while away with Bulgaria, and Sylvinho will be back breathing down Wayne Bridge's deeply average neck after his calf problem was declared done and dusted.

The next big game in that fair city will be the Merseyside derby next weekend, and Everton could have Steven Pienaar back for that one.

Pienaar has been absent since the end of September with a knee knock, but David Moyes said today: "Steven is the only one who is near coming back. He will hopefully train this week and we'll take it from there."

Here's a thing - some positive injury news from Arsenal. Seriously.

Having missed the defeat at Sunderland with a foot problem, Kieran Gibbs is back in the Gooners' squad for their Champions League game against Standard Liege on Tuesday.

Down to the south coast now, and you may have spotted that David James missed Portsmouth's defeat to Stoke after some discomfort in his calf during the warm-up at the Britannia.

Paul Hart played down the injury, but Pompey are obviously a bit worried about it - they have recalled Asmir Begovic from a loan spell at Ipswich, despite having Jamie Ashdown and Antti Niemi in their goalkeeping ranks.

Danny Murphy and Andy Johnson could face Blackburn on Wednesday after Fulham boss Roy Hodgson confirmed the duo have come through training 'totally unscathed'.

The Cottagers have been without midfielder Murphy for almost two months after their captain sustained a knee ligament problem.

Centre-forward Johnson has been missing for more than a month as a groin problem has kept the former Everton man on the sidelines.

But the pair have returned to full training and Hodgson is considering their selection as he prepares a side for Blackburn's arrival at Craven Cottage.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Week 12 - Sunday

1 Game Played
5 Goals
7 Shots on Target
1 Match Winning Goal
4 Corners Won,
1 Successful Cross,
1 Pass Intercepted
Total = 63.50 points

An absolutely extraordinary performance, rewarded with the highest ever points total in the history of Yahoo Fantasy Football. I doubt it'll ever be beaten. Huge congratulations if you had him - I obviously didn't but I'm not annoyed, just a very happy & very proud Spurs fan sitting at my laptop this evening...

9-1 - unbelievable! The whole team were exceptional (Defoe, Lennon & Kranjcar in particular) & had it not been for Chris Kirkland it could've honestly been 12-1 or more - he made at least 3 world class saves. The rest of the Wigan team should be ashamed of themselves for what happened in the 2nd half.
Spurs move in to 4th & it should be noted that we are there having been without Luka Modric since August. Liverpool tend to mention missing Torres or Gerrard as reasons for their terrible form, but to me Modric is "our Gerrard", our best player, so to be doing so well without him is really pleasing.

Moving away from Spurs, Blackburn had a great win 0-2 at a woeful Bolton, and once again my reluctance to go with the cheap keeper has backfired, with Robbo keeping a very rare clean sheet. I had Dunn who was superb again, but there were also great points for Roberts due to an assist, Brett Emerton & an amazing 18 for Nelsen. The final game was a 1-0 win for Stoke, with Fuller scoring the winning goal. Great points for Sorenson due to his penalty save from Boateng, with handy contributions from Wilkinson & Collins.

So we are now left with the 2 double games on Wednesday, in which I have 8 players to go. I currently sit on a frankly appalling 50 points, so I need to pray these players can get me up towards 100 for the week. I don't think it'll be enough to get me through to the 3rd round of the Blog Cup, but you never know, Geovanni could score a hattrick? ;)

On the barndoor I grabbed Defoe, Adebayor, Ireland & Robinson. I'm also hanging on to Dunn & Duff given their fixtures, but I may well jump ship on Alexander. Vermaelen & Drogba will stay. Not sure what to do about Jimmy Bullard seeing as his next game is at City, but it appears he could be returning to a points machine, so I'll make a decision nearer the time. I'd also really like a Man Utd player at Pompey but not sure who (Rooney, Valencia?)...Adebayor & Defoe won't definitely stay, they were only grabbed to give me the option...Defoe's price has gone up to £22m, surely the biggest jump ever?

How have you done, & who have you grabbed? Did you have Defoe!?


Week 12 - Saturday

Does somebody want to explain to me how I managed to move up 50 places in the overall standings with only 32 points? Seriously. How?

It was a very weird week. I went to the pub last night after the 3pm kick offs finished thinking I'd drop outside the Top 2000 with only 1 goal, but I end up in 1400th place. I'm not sure what's happened...some people must've had absolute shockers! At least the results were good news for Spurs, with Arsenal losing & Villa, Liverpool & City drawing, meaning we could go 3 points clear in 4th today with a win vs Wigan.

The only players breaking 20 were Malouda, Essien & Van Der Sar & I can't imagine many people had them. Anyone investing in single gamers from Arsenal such as Eduardo must be furious, but Joe Cole & Kalou owners will be pleased as both returned far more than their value.

So where did my 32 points come from? Well, certainly not from Schwarzer (-3) or BobbyZ (-2.5). How the bloody hell does someone score -2.5 when they didn't get booked? Rubbish. Jimmy Bullard helped me out with his goal but I was disappointed with only 12.5 points, Dempsey grabbed a handy 8 but I took a zero for Drogba & Duff, 0.5 for Geovanni & Vermaelen.

Alexander weighed in with 5 points but the unexpected bonus was Johnny Heitinga with 11. That's as good as a goalscoring performance & only 1 point less than the Zayatte (who did score). I actually think Heitinga is the sole reason I've gone up in the rankings  & I can't really take credit as it's one of those lucky picks...if I'd had the money I would've gone for Paintsil (0) or Konchesky (3)!

I have Dunn to come today then 8 more players on Wednesday, so I have to believe I can still reach 100 points which might be enough for the Round 3 of The Blog Cup, but it's going to be tough.

Next week we're back to a single week -  I really don't like double weeks so I'm relieved. On the barndoor I grabbed Ireland but that's pretty much it as I missed Valencia. Robbo will probably be in goal, Verm & Alexander are likely to stay, Carlton Cole & Adebayor could be up front with Drogba (although I'd like Rooney) & I'm thinking Duff & Dunn may stay in midfield. As always, lots will change between now & next week.

How did you do? Who have you got left?


Saturday, 21 November 2009

Week 12 - My Team


Vermaelen  Heitinga  Alexander

Dunn  Bullard  Duff  Dempsey  Geovanni

Zamora  Drogba

Despite being burnt by going with Friedel in the last double week, I still went for Schwarzer, grabbing him at just under £9m on the barndoor. I may have gone for Myhill had he been confirmed as fit, but the doubt means the only other option was Robinson & Blackburn (2 away games) have only won once away from home in 8 months. No thanks!

In defence I decided to hang on to Vermaelen & Alexander. Dropping them for 1 double-week would've been crazy after all the good they've done for me. I hope people have dropped Verm as he's due a goal & as I said to some of the guys on the chatroom last night, I've never seen a defender so natural in front of goal! Alexander is held at £5.7m playing at home, in midfield & always has a chance of a penalty. Heitinga was never my first choice but I preferred him over Nelsen & Givet. I would've loved a Fulham defender but they all ended up out of my price range.

In midfield I'll have a familiar line-up to many of you with the 4 DGers: Dunn (always does well for me), Bullard, Dempsey & Duff. Duff may not play both games, but he'll get at least 90 mins (probably at home to Blackburn) & at £10m he's good value in a home game.

My final spot is a gamble...Geovanni. He may not even play from the start vs West Ham, but if he does he takes penalties, takes free kicks (although he'll now share them with Bullard) & is capable of that little bit of magic, so he could pay off. He could also flop of course, but I preferred him to Roberts due to the 2 home games. However, I may regret choosing him ahead of Eduardo. I'll mentioned I was sad to lose O'Hara as I had him at £2.5m discount, but I'd be happy to pick him up again at around £7m-£8 once his run of fixtures improves.

Finally, up front I decided to hang on to Drogba & get Zamora in. BobbyZ is in great form & was a no brainer at under £8m. Drogba is only due to miss one game & then has upto 8 games before he's off to the African Nations...that's almost quarter of the season, so in my opinion it would be crazy to drop him at 10.66 just because he's missing one week. One big reason O'Hara had to go was because I was keeping Drogs, meaning I needed a double gamer to make up for him missing a game.

So that's it, 3-5-2, 8 double gamers (4 Fulham, 2 Hull, 1 Blackburn, 1 Everton) with Vermaelen, Alexander & Drogba filling the final 3 spots. Hopefully it'll be enough to get through Blog Cup Round 2!

I imagine people will have very similar teams this week - I'd be interested to hear your teams & find out who you're thinking of picking up on the barndoor? For me it'll be Man City & Man Utd players...


Friday, 20 November 2009

Week 12 Round Up & Week 13 Preview

This has been the most difficult week for me since I started writing the blog. I've had no laptop to write on & I've been away with work, meaning I've been unable to keep up with news & unable to write posts to my usual standard. The good news is things should be back to normal next week, with my new laptop due to arrive & I'm back in the office! Now, Week 12 - I've narrowed down my list of 60+ players to 25.

I had been thinking about Myhill, but now he's been confirmed injured the only other cheap double gamer is Robbo. Everyone knows how I feel about Robbo (you probably feel the same!), so it's 99% likely to be Schwazer.

I'm probably hanging on to Alexander, not sure about Vermaelen as he's gone off the boil a bit, so i'll probably add Konchesky, Heitinga or Samba. I'd like 2 DGers if possible, which means Verm will have to go.

J Cole
Bullard & Dempsey are definitely in, then I really want Joe Cole but can't find a way to fit him in at the moment. Dunn & Duff are both possibles. I had been considering Tim Cahill but it sounds like he's a doubt. I wish I could stretch to Fabs or Arshavin, but I can't quite find the cash.

With the news that Drogba is going to be back in a few days it makes me think I'll keep him at £10m. He's been an outstanding performer & he'll still have 7 (possibly 8) more games before the African Nations so I think may ride out the zero this weekend. Zamora is great value so he could make it, then I may look at Eduardo or Kalou. I'm still holding Roberts, but he's likely to go.

I still have 4 or 5 big decision to make before deadline - I wanted to go 3-5-2 but if I'm hanging on to Drogba I may go 3-4-3. What are peoples thoughts?

Now a quick look at Week 13:

Saturday, 28 November 2009
Aston Villa v Tottenham, 17:30
Blackburn v Stoke, 15:00
Fulham v Bolton, 15:00
Man City v Hull, 15:00
Portsmouth v Man Utd, 15:00
West Ham v Burnley, 15:00
Wigan v Sunderland, 15:00

Sunday, 29 November 2009
Arsenal v Chelsea, 16:00
Everton v Liverpool, 13:30
Wolverhampton v Birmingham, 12:00

I don't have time to analyse players for the barndoor, but you'll want to be picking up up Man City, Fulham, Man Utd, West Ham players. Liverpool could also be worth a look at depleted Everton if they get all their players back (Torres included). Sadly, I may even recommend Villa players as Spurs struggle up there.

So that's it. How is your team looking?


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Injury Update 19/11/09

Rafa Benitez has a problem: he won't be able to blame injuries this weekend if it all goes wrong for Liverpool again.

Steven Gerrard has already declared himself fit for action against Manchester City and the word in the papers is that Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Albert Riera and Alberto Aquilani may also play.

Torres was pictured back in training on Wednesday afternoon and it seems likely that he will, at the very least, be on the bench this weekend. Well, maybe.

Meanwhile, The Times reports that 'Aquilani is being lined up for his first starting appearance for Liverpool having had the carrot of a potential place in the Italy World Cup squad dangled in front of him'.

The final decision is apparently dependent on two things: Aquilani 'coming through Liverpool's two remaining training sessions unscathed' and the fitness of Benayoun and Riera.

'The pair had been expected to be out of action for up to a month with hamstring tears, but the club are optimistic that they will be fit enough to feature against City less than two weeks after they were injured,' Barrett reports.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes expects Gareth Barry to shrug off a groin problem and face Liverpool on Saturday.

Barry, who was close to joining the Reds from Aston Villa last summer before moving to Eastlands in May, suffered some discomfort following England's defeat by Brazil in a friendly last week.

Hughes said: "Gareth came back from the international with a little bit of soreness but it should not be a problem for the weekend."

The good news for Manchester United is that Nemanja Vidic is reported to have come through unscathed from 60 minutes of action for Serbia in their friendly with South Korea last night.

The bad is that The Sun is reporting that Rio Ferdinand is out for the rest of the year.

'The England centre-back has been told he needs another six weeks of rest and physio work before his back will be strong enough for Premier League football. Rio had hoped to be back by the start of December. But by the time he plays again, he will have missed at least 15 matches,' it reports.

Rather disconcertingly it also describes United's medical team as 'baffled' by Ferdinand's continuing injury woe and claims that 'one theory being looked into now is that he might need his hip realigned'.

Ouch to that.

Relief for Arsenal with the news that Kieran Gibbs has only suffered bruising to his foot.

According to The Independent, 'Gibbs will miss Saturday's game away at Sunderland. He will be fit to play against Standard Liège next week but given that Arsenal only need a single point from their two remaining Champions League games to qualify it is likely that he will be rested with a view to him being ready for the Chelsea match on 29 November.'

Such is the length of Arsenal's injury list that it's darn hard work keeping up with who is on it let alone how long they are expected will be on it, but the Press Association has taken a look and reckons that Denilson's 'recovery has gone well and should be available when domestic action resumes at Sunderland', Theo Walcott's 'knee problem is expected to have cleared up by the end of the month - which could come just in time for the clash with Chelsea' and Carlos Vela 'could be another whose recovery is sped up for the trip to the Stadium of Light'.

On the down side, Abou Diaby is predicted to be out for a few weeks with his thigh problem. It is, of course, debatable whether Diaby's absence could ever be described as a downer.

Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole is hopeful he will face Wolves on Saturday despite suffering from a depressed fracture of the tibia.

Cole originally picked up the injury in the Champions League win over Atletico Madrid last month and required a pain-killing injection to take on Manchester United before the international break.

However, Cole has been training normally with Chelsea this week and has been made a protective shinpad to wear in matches.

"I started training for the last two or three days and I'm feeling better," Cole told Sky Sports News.

"I've had a special shinpad made for my shin and hopefully I'll be selected for Saturday.

"I've had a week's rest now, so it feels a little bit better and I've got to wear a shinpad to cover the knock.

"I've been playing with it and it did affect me a bit, but now I'm over it and I hope the shinpad can help.

"Hopefully, I'll be in the squad or the team on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Chelsea captain John Terry also took part in training on Wednesday after being forced to sit out England's defeat by Brazil due to a minor injury.

And a quick word on Fulham. It's believed that Danny Murphy should be fit for the game with Birmingham this weekend having missed the last five games with a knee injury.
Only a quick post tonight due to my well known laptop issues, but tomorrow I'll sum up my Week 12 thoughts & get a Week 13 Preview up. It may not be until the evening though (around 7pm UK time).

My own issues are: what to do with Drogba? We're getting no news & I don't trust The Sun! Will Duff play on Saturday after playing extra time? Possibly not with Murphy back. Will Jason Roberts start 2 games? Do I keep O'Hara & Alexander? 3-5-2 or 3-4-3?


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Week 12 - Player Picks

Firstly - a rehash of my Week 12 Preview from 2 weeks ago:
Week 12 will be Round 2 of The Blog Cup, in which 200 people remain. There is an international break first, so you have plenty of time to think about your team, but it's interesting to note that it's a double week for 4 team so keep that in mind for the barndoor.

Saturday, 21 November 2009
Birmingham v Fulham, 15:00
Burnley v Aston Villa, 15:00
Chelsea v Wolverhampton, 15:00
Hull v West Ham, 15:00
Liverpool v Man City, 12:45
Man Utd v Everton, 17:30
Sunderland v Arsenal, 15:00

Sunday, 22 November 2009
Bolton v Blackburn, 13:30
Stoke v Portsmouth, 16:00
Tottenham v Wigan, 15:00

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Fulham v Blackburn, 20:00
Hull v Everton, 19:45

Double teams: Hull (2 decent home games), Fulham (1 away, 1 home), Blackburn (2 away), Everton (2 away).

Other decent fixtures - Chelsea home to Wolves, Man United home to Everton, Spurs home to Wigan, Stoke home to Portsmouth, Arsenal at Sunderland.
So what's changed in the 2 weeks since I posted this? Well - loads of injuries, including significant ones to Lampard, Drogba & Arsenal's entire squad including Van Persie. However, I still fancy the same teams to rack the points up this weekend. As I said yesterday I only have an hour to write this due to work commitments & a broken laptop, so here goes...

Schwazer - DGer in a team with a solid defence, but he's costly & we all remember what happened when we picked Brad Friedel in Week 10...
Myhill - Cheap DGer with 2 home games. Risk, but good value & should be back from injury
Robbo - Cheap DGer with 2 aways, bigger risk than Myhill
Fulop - Cheap, home to depleted Arsenal, could be a huge risk but not many will pick him (including me), but I know we have some risk taking blog readers :)
Sorenson - Home to Pompey.

Hughes - Consistent points scorer with 2 games & a decent price
Paintsil - & another
Konchesky - & another
Baird - Bargain, but watch his starting status with Murphy's return
Zayatte - Somehow racks up points so worth a look for a double week
Gardner - Captained Hull vs Stoke, 2 games & cheap...but injury prone so might not play both
Samba - Constant menace in the box, DGer, good point scorer, very tempting
Givet - Great value DGer
Nelsen - Cheap DGer but travels back from New Zealand
Heitinga - Cheap DGer but Everton have 2 tough away fixtures
Baines - Very expensive but his average almost returns his value & another DGer
Distin - I'd go for Heitinga ahead of him
Verm - Due another big week soon & has the pressure on him to score with no RvP :)
Alexander - I'm tempted to hang on to the penalty scoring midfielder
Ivanovic - If you have him at discount hang on to him
Alex - Good choice if Terry remains sidelined
R Johnson - I keep not picking him & he keeps picking up big points, even without a clean sheet
Mears - Another good point scorer at a good price

Bullard - The 2 week break since his proper comeback for Hull should've given him enough time to improve his fitness further & Phil Brown will be looking for him to inspire the team. Great pick with 2 home games.
Dempsey - Playing almost as a 2nd striker at the moment, getting forward in a Lampard/Cahill type of way. Another very tempting DGer
Duff - Keep an eye on team news as the Duffman has been struggling. If he's fit, he should be in your team
Dunn - I've picked him twice this year & he's done a job for me both times. Blackburn have tough fixtures but he'll pick up points as the set piece taker
Cahill - Dangerous pick; it could be 20 points or -5, but could be a nice risky one to take on
Fellaini - Yellow card magnet but he's cheap & a DGer who'll cause problems from set pieces.
Pienaar - Could be back & therefore a great option
Rodwell - Good DG filler
Geovanni - Can Phil Brown play Geovanni, Bullard & Hunt in the same midfield? Possibly not, so if Geo is pushed forward to support the striker then he's another tempting DGer
Hunt - Unlikely to get any set pieces with Bullard & Geo about, but will always put in a shift & pick up phantom points
A Reid - Arsenal can't defend set pieces. Reid is one of the best set piece takers in the league.
Etherington - In form & home to Pompey
J Cole - Potential bargain pick of the weekend at just £6.6m. With no Droga, Lampard or Ballack he surely has to play against Wolves?
Fabregas - No RvP will mean everything will go through Fabs, including set pieces. Never a bad pick
Arshavin - Could be pushed further forward after impressing for Russia
Nasri - Or Rosicky
Rosicky - Or Nasri ;)

Anelka - The top striker pick this week if you're getting rid of Drogba. Could have a field day vs Wolves; he's better than any double game option in my opinion.
Zamora - I've always thought Zamora was rubbish, but in the past 2 months he's been excellent & with 2 games it's hard to ignore him
Roberts - Ulimate barndoor/points chasing pick. I have him at £6m but I'm not sure he'll start 2 games. Even if he did I'd probably rather pick Joe Cole.
Saha - A player in Saha's form would normally be a no brainer, but Saha is made of sticklebricks so I'd be surprsied to see him complete 2 games. Could still be good for a goal or 2, but I reckon...
Yakubu - ...the Yak could finally start a game, and if he see game time in both he's a bargain! Risky bargin.
Defoe - Due a goal home to Wigan 
Eduardo - With no RvP, surely now is his time to shine? Unlucky not to score 2 vs Wolves, great choice.
Bent - Will cause Arsenal problems with his pace in behind the back four
Rooney - vs Everton. Once a Blue always a Blue? Say no more.
Kalou - Could get a rare start, so if you can't afford Anelka...
Benitez - Finally got his goal vs Liverpool & I expect he'll go on to score 10-15 goals this season. Still cheap!
Beattie - Home to Portsmouth
Jan Vennegoor - Bottom of the basement DGer

So...there are 60 odd players in that list & they are all players that have been or still are under consideration for Week 12.

The big problem I have is Drogba. I'm still holding on to him & the news I'm hearing is that he has a chance of being on the bench this weekend. To me that means he's only going to miss 1 game max, so I may hang on to him. Chelsea know he'll be gone for a month in January so they'll want to eek out every possible minute/goal/fantasy point from Drogs before he jets off. It's a decision I'll finalise on Friday afternoon/Saturday morning.

Other than that I'm expecting to field a minimum of 6 double-gamers, possibly as many as 8. I'm concerned over the return of Danny Murphy - who will drop out? I'm thinking Baird (as he's been playing midfield), but there's no guarentees. What about all the returning International players like Duff, Dempsey, Nelsen etc? And how will Phil Brown fit all of those flair players in to one midfield? I guess we wait for team news on Friday & cross our fingers!

Are you still in the Blog Cup? Who are you picking up in Week 12? What are you doing with Drogs? Have I missed anyone?


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Injury Update 17/11/09

Firstly, the injury news from
Sounds as if Dimi Berbatov's knee injury is more serious than first suspected.

The Manchester United striker has been struggling with the injury for a while, and it forced him to miss the recent defeat at Chelsea.

It's now been revealed that he is suffering from fluid on the knee and an operation is a possibility.

An 'Old Trafford insider' is quoted by The Sun as saying: "It is causing quite a bit of discomfort, which is worrying" while a concurring Independent declares, in rather greater depth, that 'the knock Dimitar Berbatov received in United's 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on 31 October has exacerbated a fluid on the knee condition, which may require surgery. The striker is with the Bulgarian squad for tomorrow's friendly in Malta and may play a part, and there are hopes he might be nursed through his injury.'

Steven Gerrard has declared himself fit for Liverpool's must-not-lose fixture with Manchester City.

He's also admitted that he really shouldn't have played against Birmingham last week.

"I felt very tired after the game, as I wasn't really ready to return and I'd done very little training in the three weeks beforehand.

"It took me two or three days to recover from that game but I have spent the past week doing strengthening work and I'm feeling a lot better now. I'm looking forward to the weekend. There's no mental hurdle to cross. It's a case of so far so good and the aim now is to make sure I get a good week's training under my belt so I'm ready for the game with City."

Gerrard could be joined by Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson for that game.

Rafa Benitez says: "Agger is okay. He had a small problem with his back but he's training. It was a very good decision from Denmark's manager (to withdraw Agger) because he is much better now. I think he'll be okay for the weekend.

"Johnson has been training. Not full sessions, but training, so hopefully he'll be okay for the weekend too."

But the bad news for Pool is that David Ngog broke his nose whilst on France Under-21 duty. And no, he didn't do throwing it himself to the ground. The Daily Mail says that it actually happened when he was 'hit in the face by a ball during a training session on Sunday'.

But Benitez says: "We know Ngog has broken his nose but it's not serious. I am not sure yet because we haven't seen him but I think he'll be okay, it won't be serious."

Things are clearing up at Chelsea - with Ashley Cole coming through a training session on Monday that has been described as 'intense' by the Evening Standard.

There are still doubts over John Terry (ankle), Didier Drogba (rib) and Michael Ballack (knee), but none of the trio have been ruled out of the game against Wolves this weekend.

The number of Arsenal players currently injured is now up to 11 after Abou Diaby pulled out of the France squad for the second leg of their play-off against the Republic with Ireland.

It's not known yet how serious the injury is.

For the record, the other ten Arsenal players currently listed as crocked by the club are: Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott, Denilson, Armand Traore, Gael Clichy, Lukasz Fabianski, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere and Johan Djourou.

If you select them in a 3-4-3 formation, you can make a pretty handy team out of that lot.

Now - I'm having real problems this week as I'm away with work AND my laptop is broken, making it almost impossible to write my usual weekly posts (never mind pick my team!). I'm going to try & write my Week 12 Player Picks in my lunch break tomorrow but it won't be extensive as usual, so any help our regular readers can provide in the comments/chat forum would be greatly appreciated this week.

What are people going to do about Drogba? I'm personally going to wait until definitive team news on Friday. And how many double gamers are you going for?

Remember Week 12 is Blog Cup Round 2.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Injury Update 16/11/09,17033,16989_5697361,00.html

The headline injury news from the international weekend is that Arsenal have a huge striker problem to contend with after Robin Van Persie was ruled out for at least a month - and most likely far longer than that - after rupturing ankle ligaments. With Theo Walcott a near-permament crock this year, Carlos Vela back on the sidelines, and Nicklas Bendtner undergoing a groin operation last week, it leaves Arsenal with just Eduardo to lead their attack. And how likely is it that he will manage to last even a few games before breaking down again?

But it's not just Arsenal who are fretting over the fitness of their star striker.

The Suns says that Chelsea, already rocked by the loss of Frank Lampard and the withdrawal of John Terry from England's friendly with Brazil, could be without Didier Drogba for three weeks with a broken rib.

'A scan carried out by the club showed Drogba suffered only bruising after clashing with United defender Jonny Evans. But SunSport can reveal a further X-ray done by Ivory Coast doctors confirmed the worst,' the newspaper reported at the weekend.

Quite how Evans escaped scrutiny over his challenge is, however, something no scan will be able to reveal.

In any case, the likelihood is that Chelsea will resume the league season next weekend without Drogba, Lampard, both of their first-choice full-backs, and possibly Terry as well. So it's probably just as well that their opponents next Saturday as one of the league's lesser lights in Wolves.

Now this sounds nasty. According to Germany coach Jogi Luuuuuurve, Chelsea's Teuton-in-chief Michael Ballack has a problem with his knee, and will therefore miss their game with Ivory Coast on Wednesday.

Luuuuuuurve said: "He has an infection in the back of the knee and there has been a reaction. After consultation with the doctors - I also spoke to Michael Ballack - I have decided that he will not play.

"He needs two or three days of rest. It makes no sense to take risks, also in terms of Chelsea as they have quite a few games leading up to Christmas and afterwards."

The weekend did, however, bring some good news on the injury front because..
Tottenham have scotched talk that Carlo Cudicini would never play football again following his road accident by predicting that the Italian will make a full comeback.

"Both specialists are extremely pleased with the result and expect a good recovery," Wayne Diesel, head of Spurs' medical services, told the club's official website. "Carlo is in a lot less discomfort and is in good spirits." Cudicini arrived at White Hart Lane in January following a decade at Chelsea and has made eight appearances to date.

Another man who might be slightly happier this morn is Alex Ferguson, assuming that the fitness of Dimitar Berbatov is something that makes him happy.

The Bulgarian star of the Godfather Part III has missed United's last two games with knee issues, but he now claims he has recovered fully and will play for his country this week.

"I received a kick in my knee during the Blackburn match and I needed some rest and some treatment, but I'm okay now and I'll play in Malta," Berbatov told the Bulgarian press, which obviously we're keen followers of.

The Bulgaria squad sounds like a dangerous place at the moment. Martin Petrov looks like he'll face a spell out after twanging his knee while on international duty.

He'll therefore miss the next couple of weeks for Manchester City, but given that he hasn't been in the team much lately, that won't be a crushing blow.

Back to Blighty now, and Steve Bruce is not the happiest of bunnies. Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon had his arm broken by an errant Jermain Defoe kick, and it looks like it will be next year before he's back.

Bruce said: "Craig's injury is the most disappointing thing to come out of the last couple of weeks.

"It looks as if it's going to be three months. We've not had much luck in that respect - that's two serious injuries in a month."


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Van Persie "Could Miss Rest Of Season"

Massive blow for Arsenal:
Arsenal's Premier League title hopes suffered an enormous setback last night when striker Robin van Persie sustained a serious ankle injury in Holland's friendly international match against Italy in Pescara.

Van Persie was rushed to hospital after just 12 minutes of the game when he collapsed to the ground following a heavy challenge from Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk said: 'I was shocked when I saw it. It doesn't look good. I feel very sad for Robin and Arsenal.'

Van Persie is expected to be examined in Amsterdam today by renowned ankle specialist Professor Niek van Dijk. The surgeon has previously treated Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen.

A team doctor said he feared Van Persie had ruptured ligaments in his ankle, an injury that would keep him out for at least three months. But if further examination reveals the ankle is broken, the star could miss the rest of the season.

Van Persie has scored eight goals for Arsenal in this campaign and his impressive run of form - his goals have all come in the last 11 matches - has prompted many observers to cite Arsenal, currently in second place behind Chelsea, as title favourites. But that dream looked in ruins when the striker screamed in agony as he was carried from the pitch on a stretcher.

The loss of Van Persie will be a bitter blow to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has had to bear the brunt of criticism while waiting for five years of rebuilding his team to bear fruit. Only two weeks ago Wenger revealed how much he dislikes November because it always seems to bring injuries.

His complaint came after he lost left-back Gael Clichy with a back injury, while Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner also picked up knocks. Now van Persie's setback will confirm the Frenchman's worst fears about this period.

The 26-year-old's injury is also a major blow for Holland just seven months before the start of the World Cup.
Huge blow for the bloke & a major fantasy football asset gone but with Bendtner out too it surely makes Eduardo a fantastic option.


Friday, 13 November 2009

Injury Update 13/11/09


Is there an end in sight yet for Rio Ferdinand's injury woe? 

Perhaps, but only perhaps, because The Guardian reports that the Manchester United defender has 'seen a specialist about his back issues and been placed on a new course of treatment to try to spare him a significant lay-off.'

The newspaper says that Ferdinand has been given an injection with a course of pain-killing jabs to follow but that 'the latest treatment, however, is regarded as "non-guarantee" and Ferdinand will be monitored closely to see how his body reacts before it is decided when he can resume full training.'

And if that wasn't disconcerting enough...

'He has been warned it may be several weeks before he is able to return to the team, or potentially longer if there is no improvement, and there are serious concerns about the length of time it is taking to diagnose exactly what is troubling him.

'His dedication is not being questioned at Old Trafford but there is genuine concern that he might be reaching a point in his career where the wear and tear on his body makes the most expensive defender in the world a player in decline.'

Chelsea's Frank Lampard, on the other hand, is making a fast recovery from the thigh injury that may or may not have been caused by the FA flying England to the Middle East in economy style.

While a couple of newspapers on Friday morning predicted that he would be out of action for eight weeks and a couple said he'd be sidelined for six weeks, England boss Fabio Capello says it might not even be half as long as that.

"I think he will be out for two or three weeks," said Capello. "It is a little problem with his muscle."

Capello rejected suggestions the plane on which they flew to the Middle East was to blame for the problem.

"It is the same plane (we used to fly to) Trinidad and Kazakhstan," he said.

Birmingham striker Garry O'Connor is set to miss around four months and is likely to need another operation because of complications arising from his groin injury, manager Alex McLeish has revealed.

The 26-year-old had an operation on a groin problem last season but that has now caused problems with the player's hip.

McLeish told "In all likelihood, the big 'un has got to go for an operation and we could be talking three to four months."