Thursday, 11 February 2010

Week 22 - Wednesday

Once again it was another unbelievable night of Premiership action; only 1 of the Top 8 sides were able to claim victory, as the title race was blown wide open once more.

Arsenal were the side that may have forced there way back in to it, as they gave Liverpool a 1-0 reality check at the Emirates in a game of little quality with both sides well short of their best.

Meanwhile, Chelsea suffered a shock defeat at Goodison - anyone who saw the Toffee's pathetic showing at Anfield 4 days earlier could not have predicted this, especially once Chelsea took the lead, but as we've said countless times this season is completely unpredictable and Everton's season is well and truly back on track. United couldn't fully capitalise, despite a respectable 1-1 draw at Villa having being reduced to 10 men from 20 minutes onwards. They actually dominated the game after this so you have to feel Nani's stupidity has cost them 2 vital points.

I mentioned reality checks earlier, and this was no better demonstrated than Spurs at Wolves. When I saw the teamsheet before the game I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. No Modric, no King, no Crouch, no Palacios, Kaboul at rightback, Gudjohnson starting his first game for months (surely you give him a few substitute appearances first to allow him to adjust?) and bloody Jermaine Jenas on the pitch.

I can only assume Harry Redknapp was resting players ready for the FA Cup tie at Bolton this weekend, but he got it badly wrong as we were comfortably beaten by a hard working Wolves side for the second time this season.

Only Bale & Gomes can come out of the game with any praise as the players wilted on a cold night, on a bad pitch, just like the Spurs of old. Just to clarify what a missed opportunity this was, a win would've put us back 2 points clear in 4th with a better goal difference than those around us. Now we're down in 6th & I'm fearing our season is on the brink - we are clearly not good enough for a Champions League place.

In the other 2 games, Blackburn & West Ham gained vital wins vs Hull & Birmingham respectively, with Diamanti & Carlton Cole impressing prior to the double week

In fantasy terms I was pleased the Drogba / Rooney goalfest didn't materialise as I dropped just 112 places despite only grabbing 5 points from Bale. With 9 players to go next week I reckon I've got a realistic chance of ending the week in the Top 1000 for the first time since August.

As for Week 23, Nani's sending off was significant as a 3 game domestic ban makes Valencia a huge pick for the double week. Vidic's non-appearance spreads doubts over his fitness, Giggs picked up an arm injury & Berbatov was benched, so at the moment the only players who seem likely to start two games are Van Der Sar, Evra Valencia, & Rooney.

Carrick & Fletcher also have a decent chance, and maybe Evans, but you have to have doubts over Wes Brown & Rafael. Perhaps Park? Only Ferguson will know, but with the Champions League tie with Milan & the Carling Cup Final vs Villa surrounding the fixtures, it simply adds to the confusion.

As for West Ham, I see Cole as their Number 1 striker so I've brought him in for the double week. I guess Diamanti, Ilan & Mido will take turns supporting him while McCarthy is injured & I'd expect Diamanti to start the home games vs Hull, but I'd be very surprised to see him play at Old Trafford. At £13m on the BD (£17m now) I don't think he's worth it for the double week. The only other West Ham players to interest me would be Scott Parker & Matthew Upson.

Because of the doubts/lack of options I don't think it's as important to have all double gamers. I can see myself maybe going for 5 doubles & then 6 singles. From the single games you have Arsenal home to Sunderland, Chelsea at Wolves & Villa home to Burnley as stand-out fixtures, so players like Fabregas, Bendtner, Rosicky, Drogba, Malouda, Zhirkov (if Cole is out), Rosicky, Milner, Downing, Young, Agbonlahor, O'Hara & Etherington are all options if you can find the cash.

My current unconfirmed team: James, Bale, Upson, Evra, Etherington, Adam Johnson, O'Hara, Valencia, C Cole, Bendtner, Rooney

Still holding Hutton, Drogba & Wes Brown behind the scenes. Upson might go back to Hutton so I can upgrade Johnson to a Villa midfielder, but there's still loads to think about & plenty of changes to make.

That's probably going to be it for posts from me for the next couple of days, unless I see any injury news that I feel you need to know. We still have 5 days until the final games of the week (Wigan v Bolton & Stoke Man City) & over 9 days until the next deadline. Before then we have the FA Cup so I'll post about the fall-out from that over the weekend. Please make sure you join the blog Facebook Group if you haven't already so any new posts appear on your wall!

In the meantime, let me know how you're getting on and how your team looks after last night's fixtures. Are you concerned about United players being rested for the West Ham game with the Carling Cup Final just a few days later? Or Will Fergie prioritise the League?


p.s. In all the confusion I had forgotten Week 22 is the 3rd Round of The AM Challenge, with 250 teams left in it! Obviously we still have 2 fixtures to go, but I might spend tonight working out the early "cut-off" point to give you an idea of how you're doing. Remember, only 125 teams go through...


init said...

Nice post AM, thanks for all your help...

Currently sitting with a ManU-fest inspired by a deep lying need to have Drogs and Rooney next week...but I do agree that there are lots of risks in both the teams, and West Ham's second game being ManU away means not really much of a double week for them!


I don't like it and it will definitely change lots. Anyone with any inspired options?

imues said...

my team next week:

i got 2.44 left, might downgrade cole and upgrade arshavin to fabregas..

Kernal_Panic said...

A bit off topic, but...

A 'lively' debate has broken out on my personal league about how much time is devoted to this game. Having counted all football related activity, I confessed to spending about 6 hours a week mucking about with this. Suddendly all hell breaks lose, and acusations of anorak start flying about. I am beating the bunch of losers by about 150 points, so it could just be a case of sour grapes. But I was wondering how long do most people here spend sorting out their team?

Thanks again to AM for this great blog, I for one will missed the anon wankers, just because I like to read AM's put downs. Bash one out to the transformers... classic.

Mike B said...

I usually spend any time a game is on, and for about 30 minutes after messing around with my team. Then there's the hour before deadline, and any time i see injury news affecting me.

My girlfriend hates it haha.

Any extra messing is when i'm doing other stuff on the net though, the team seems to pop up and i have it there in the background.

Made lots of changes last night actually due to the Nani red card and various price drops and hikes.

As much as Diamanti is a risk, he was playing regularly for the Hammers recently until he got that minor injury, he got put right back in the team when he was fit, he inspired them to a massively important victory last night, he shoots alot, wins corners, crosses etc, and... plays in a midfield role so is perhaps less likely to be in competition with the new strikers. I'm gambling on him.

With Berbs sitting on the bench last night, that was all i needed to drop him and stump up the extra cash for Rooney.

Valencia is in too. As is Fabregas.

Pending even more changes :P

Hutton, Bale, Shorey
Valencia, Fabregas, Parker, Johnson
Bendtner, Rooney, Diamanti

I might try and scrape the funds together to upgrad bendtner to Cole, who i have still saved at 8.80.

Ian Sanderson said...

A good question KP

I usually spend only 10 minutes changing my team on the barn door, then only tweak it if necessary.


During the week, I daren't add up the minutes spent working out what my team will be for the week to come. Not sure it would come to your 6 hours though.

Anonymous said...

As a Spurs fan I was the same as you AM - seen the team sheet and could not believe it. Your right about Gudjohnson, Chuck him on with 20 to go and see what comes out. If we dont beat Bolton on Sunday then we will have dropped 3 points and jumped out of the cup thanks to Harrys squad rotation.

Only good thing for me to come out of that game was seeing Wolves new midfielder (Guardiola?? Sp?) He looks a very good find.

Anonymous said...


I agree that you must be an anorak spending 6 hours a week on this - you must be single, unemployed & lonely :)


DJ PIGG said...

I've a good reason to spend ages (possibly more than 6 hours) every week sorting out my team - I'm in a private league run by my employer and I'm currently 200 points ahead of the rest!

I can't afford to slip up now!

Kernal_Panic said...

@ Camper lol

No, married, fully employed, and active social life (well as much of one that i can manage with four kids)
To quantify the six hours, i've included all footy related activity, watching matches, following espn on saturdays, and reading this blog.
as for the anorak mantel, i wear it with pride.

Assistant Manager said...

Great question's a tough one. I probably spend around 8 hours a week writing the blog, but as for picking my team I probably spend a few hours + barndoor work.

Alot of the time I don't start really working on my team until after I write my player picks, then I go crazy on Thursday night, chopping and changing things.

I'd say per week...
- 6 to 8 hours writing the blog (maybe more in a Blog/AM Cup week due to calculations)
- 1 hour+ of barndoor work (more in a double/triple week as there are more barndoors)
- 2 to 3 hours actually picking my team on Thursday/Friday.
- Untold amount of time in the Chat Room!

Last year when I didn't have the blog I'd spend literally hours picking my team, 6 hours+, every week without fail. Now doing my research and writing "Weekly Player Picks" alone takes 3 hours+ so my team has become a bit of an after thought.

Could that be why I'm doing worse? I have thought about that, but honestly I just think I made silly mistakes selling players at the wrong times earlier in the season.

I also feel some weeks I over-think/over-analyse things. Rather than go with hunches I end up changing my mind based on other facts & it almost always backfires.

A good example...some guys from work (non YFF players) recently found out about my blog so said they wanted to join up to Yahoo to challenge me. We started in Week 16 & I started a new team (separate YahooID) so we'd all start on zero points.

I spend less than 5 minutes picking this team each week, do no barndoor work, I just chuck in some hunches and click "Save"...

...In the 6 weeks so far, my "2nd" team has outscored my main team 4 out of 6 weeks!

I think that tells you everything you need to know about the secret to the game. Go with hunches, don't over-think things & make sure you get some luck! ;)


p.s. My girlfriend is proud of how successful the blog has become, but she also hates the amount of time I spend on it (and football as a whole)!!!!

Anonymous said...

I probably spend 30 minutes a week, which is no doubt why I'm currently ranked around 2,200. But when I spend more time I don't think it pays off... you guys have become my cheat sheet; I read AM, read comments, synthesize advice... and follow some hunches. When I over-think things I tend to do stupid stuff like selling Drogba when I had him cheap.


Anonymous said...

By the way - never heard the slang use of "anorak" before. Now looking forward to using it. Jeff

Anonymous said...

^ is it a coincidence that last year my second team(created for only the second half) was way better than my first; it was also a very "liberal" one where i just "threw" players out with no regards on discounts. seemed like a real good method.

Anonymous said...

~Newbie@3:13 PM

Anonymous said...

A M. there is something i never understood and maybe u or someone else on here can explain it to me. Why pick attacking players that are playing against the keeper that u pick. is it that u dont expect them to score and just pick up ghost points? for e.g. you have crystal eth(stoke) who plays against james (pompy)

p.s. great blog keep up the good wrk. I spend abt 5hrs a wk picking my team reading ur post maybe i should take less time cause the more i change the more points i drop. e.g. crystal eth for petrov :(
my team for wk 23 is
D. James
T. Vermaelen(6.02)/G. Bale(2.65)/P. Evra
F. Malouda/S. Nasri/D. Fletcher/Antonio Valencia
D. Drogba(10.66)/W. Rooney(16.37)/Carlton Cole

*red eyes*

Naning said...

Wow.. I envy you, holding Rooney at 16.37 and Drogs at 10.66... That really frees up cash.

Bradley said...

174.0 with 6 to go next week. I'm currently 891st but not sure how. Maybe I'm not overthinking as much as I used to. Mostly it's probably just luck. Right now I'm afraid I'll meet the same fate as the priest in _Caddyshack_.

I'd rather not think about how much time I spend on YFF and the PL. :) I'll have to add "anorak" to the list of British slang I've picked up from here or PL match commentary ("gone all pear-shaped" is one of the first and still the favorite).

My BD team thus far:


I have Rooney at a big discount but sadly Drogba at only a small one. AJohnson and Diaby are the most likely to change. Given the expense of squeezing in Drogba, I'm surprised at how little I hate this line-up. It's not a good sign though; the better I like my team, the worse it seems to perform.

AdmiraLord Nelson said...

my team next week so far:

Bale Hutton Mouyokolo
Cesc Ether Arteta Rosicky
Drogba Rooney Kalinic

I know there are some risky picks but I dont see myself changing it at all.

Mike B said...

Wow so many injuries!

Giggs with a broken arm.

Ashley cole out for 3 months with a fractured ankle! I hope he makes the world cup.

Arsh with a hamstring.

Song with a knee ligament problem.

This surely makes Park, Rosickly, Walcott and maybe Zhirkov now cheap viable options from top 4 clubs.

Anonymous said...

is zhirkov the only replacement for ashley cole?

Anonymous said...

zhirkov is very tempting at 4.90. ancelotti could also slot ferreira in though, esp in an away game. S.P.

Anonymous said...

damn- zhirkov's classed as a midfielder. :( .
cheap defenders are getting very hard to find. it's much easier to find a cheap m/f ( walcott, rosicky , wilshere, weiss, maxi, aqui, adam johnson- btw think he needs a fantasy nickname a.j isn't unique enough ! ) or striker ( kalinic/bendtner ) S.P.

bean said...

Zhirkov is kind of tempting, but hard to know how his point production will be playing LB (seems he's always come on in midfield this season). I would think he's pretty guaranteed to start there, just don't know if he will produce much without clean sheet points. Maybe he'll be a crossing machine, who knows..

I think Walcott is a great pick for this week. Seems the logical replacement for Arshavin, but i guess it could just as easily be Rosicky getting the spot on the right...

right now, i'm looking at:

Rafael Bale Shorey
Valencia Fab Ether Zhirkov (or Walcott/Park/AdamJohn)
Drogba CC Bendt

this would mean dropping Tevez, which I'm not sure of.. see what he does in the third match.. and not sure about Bendtner, he played like shiite, but sooo cheap

btw - the question about how much time spend on fantasy footy, that would be too scary for me to actually answer.. way too much time!

ToffeeDave said...

@KP i spend maybe around the same time, but as for just reading football news/anything related with footie is way more than 6 hours. I have a part time job, full time school, a girlfriend, a band, all that fun stuff and it is my way of relaxing. Instead of watching that prime-time tv show, I'll read up on my footie or check my fantasy team. I bet on my private laegue so I spend a bit more than average on YFF. I can't always spend that much time though as earlier in the year I barely had a chance to change anything and spent <1 hour on YFF.

Saul said...

Hey I spend a lot of time creating my team but I'm not sorry for fact it's pretty relaxing and a good healthy hobby to have. I do it at work...when slow of course, and probably spend overall between chatting and getting advices from this site and Jeremy & Neal's about 7 hours a week.

Well from the information I've gathered, below is the team I'm considering...

Etherington/Park/Carrick/Downing or Parker

Lots of united players and Chances are Rafael, Carrick and Berbatov only start 1 of the 2 games but I like it because if I do good with this forward line I can gain ground over my oponents...well here's to hopping that Drogba and Rooney disappoint haha. What do you guys think?

shor said...

Most competitive YFF managers spend excessive hours or even days managing their YFF teams, to the detriment of their work or social life :)

However if you want to cheat and spend the least amount time possible to achieve max points, here is the easiest way:

1) Read AM's weekly 'Player Picks' post to get a general idea of matchups and a comprehensive pool of good potential picks

2) Head on over to the S11 forums or if you can read Chinese, the forums and check out their 'rate my team' sections

3) Select your team

Why this method?

In Yahoo's top 50 leaderboard, I recognized over 50% of the managers as either or S11 members. These managers stand out as both come from a forum community that allows other managers to 'rate my team'. These RMT sections make it easy to see consensus picks, contentious picks, sleeper picks and filler picks.

Of course, skill and luck still come into the equation, but I think its by far the 'fastest' system to selecting a decent team.

It's done good by me so far (top 200 last season, 117th currently)

Thanks for the hard work AM and I agree - you should definitely not over-analyze, always go with your initial gut feel!

Anonymous said...

Rooney/C. Cole


(3.2 available, Delph? as a filler)
Rooney/C. Cole/Agbonlahor

or Malouda for Diaby?

Any suggestions on the above or other players to drop or pick up would be appreciated?

Paul G

Gasper said...

I usually spend a couple of hours to set up my team. I've only discovered this blog a couple of months ago and it helps me a lot. Thanks AM!:)

My team for next week
Bale, hutton, vidic
fabs, ether, rosicky, carrick
ccole, berb, bendt

Stile have around 4 to spend.ΕΎ

I decide to drop roony in 6 or 7 week because all my friends had him. I only had him when he scored 4. :) Since then I overtook them by 200 points, mostly courtesy to mfs like Dunne and Boateng.

Jon said...

Got to say that I am going with Zhirkov @ Wolves. Guaranteed starter for less than 5, he certainly won't need to do much to return his value. Whether he is a long-term fixture remains to be seen, but for this match-up he's a gift. And the spare cash helped me upgrade Brown to Evra ...

Currently with
Verm, Bale, Evra;
Rosicky, Valencia, Park,Zhirkov;
Drogs (18.5), Rooney, Tuncay (@1 - come on!!)

Kukuski said...

@ Jon:
Waoh! Tuncay @ 1 ==> I admire your patience & steadfastness.......

@ AM et al:
By the way YFF is the healthiest hobby I've discovered in a long while:
==> No more major heart-aches from Arsenal
==> No more excessive outings (I got to make sure my teams are in order...)
==> Just love the feeling of topping my local league
==> And all that pratically free of charge
==> Etc.

Take care guys et bon week-end !

Manager, Kukuski FC.

Kukuski said...

Here is my proposed team for the coming week:
VDS / Bale, Brown, Evans, Hutton / Carrick, Parker, Fletcher, Faubert / Rooney, Cole / @ 99.78.

Guys, please rate my team.
I'll be back shortly for your comments on my team.
Many thanks in advance!
And best regards to all,

Manager, Kukuski FC.

Ian Sanderson said...

This could be a blow for some of you...

Tevez out of Tuesday's game.

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