Wednesday, 30 June 2010

One Year On

Hi guys - my incredible Glastonbury adventure is over and I return to reality with England's World Cup adventure well and truly over. The 2010 tournament was an utter disaster for my country, but I've found that I've been able to enjoy the competition far more since England were deservedly knocked out 4-1 by Germany on Sunday.

England's campaign was a shambles from start to finish, but whether the finger is pointed at Capello or the players is anyone's guess. It probably falls somewhere in the middle, but this group of players have now repeatedly failed under several quality managers so I feel the only way forward is to do what Germany have done and start giving younger players a chance - Johnson, Rodwell, Gibbs, Young, Agbonlahor etc

Moving on...the 7 days spent unable to do any transfers/subs for my McDonald's fantasy team game saw me drop from 100th to 300th in the AM Blog, but I'm still going have a go at getting my squad sorted for the Quarter Finals with the aim of finishing in the top half of the league. Only 9 players from my squad are still in the competition, so some serious rebuilding is required!

Anyway, whilst I was away I realised the blog passed it's 1 year birthday - what a hectic year it's been! I'm really looking forward to the final stages of the World Cup before a short break and the start of the new Premier/Fantasy season when the blog will be back in full swing again.

Please let me know how you've been getting on in the World Cup Fantasy game? How are your predictions looking? My prediction was Spain to win it, Villa top scorer, which still looks possible...but Argentina, Brazil and possibly Germany may have something to say about that.


Monday, 21 June 2010

See Ya...

Just a quick post to let you know I won't be around for the next week due to Glastonbury, so you won't see any new posts until next Tuesday at the earliest.

England aside I'm really enjoying the World Cup now, the majority of games over the past week have been hugely entertaining and I'm annoyed I'll now be missing a week of crucial matches. Portugal were scary today, but we'll have to wait & see whether it was a one off - let's be honest, North Korea were shambolic.

In fantasy terms It's great to see our Blog Leaue is ranked as the 5th best league overall - effort from all the guys at the top!

Personally I've moved up to around 110th, but made the error of leaving Ronaldo on the bench today (well - it's an error unless Villa scores a hatrick tonight!), so expect to fall tonight. I won't be able to make any substitutions now, so I expect to return well down the league by next week! It's annoying as I'd just felt I'd got the hang of being successful in the game, but these things happen.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the next 7 days of football as the group stages reach their climax and the Round of 16 begins...see ya in a week!


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Not Good Enough

I had decent hopes for England in the 2010 World Cup. Don't get me wrong, at no point did I think we could win the tournament - eventually we would play, and be beaten by, a far better side. However, last 8 was possible and if we played to our maximum and the draw was kind, then last 4 could happen - that would be a wonderful achievement and a wonderful summer. In fact, my prediction spreadsheet (which I filled in as honestly as I could) had us knocked out by Brazil in the semi-finals.

I watched the draw with the USA last Saturday and thought we looked rusty but we were the better side, had more possession and more chances - Tim Howard was man of the match for a reason. A point was far from a disaster against a more than decent side, and I fully expected us to take control of the group with a 2-0 win over Algeria, not because I'm arrogant, but because we have some very good players and a very good manager. How wrong was I...

Friday, 18 June 2010

It's Alive!

After the first 5 days of the 2010 World Cup largely disappointed, I think it's safe to say it is now well and truly up and running...

We had a fantastic day of football on Wednesday, as a very impressive Chile side defeated Honduras 1-0; it could and should've been 3 or 4. Then, the shock I think the tournament needed, as Spain were beaten 1-0 by a well organised Swiss side. Spain dominated the possession throughout but aside from the goal the best chance fell to Derdiyok, who hit the post and then couldn't turn in the rebound. Spain now face a tricky task to top the group, and a last 16 match vs Brazil is now a real possibility!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Round 1 Draws To A Close

A quick reminder that after the first 2 fixtures of the day (the final round 1 group games: Honduras v Chile and Spain v Switzerland) we will enter Round 2 of World Cup Fantasy Football for the South Africa v Uruguay game.

The deadline for Round 2 is 15 minutes prior to kick off this evening, and you can make your changes/free transfer/additional transfers by clicking the R.2 tab above your team page.

I've had a very disappointing start, so unless David Villa scores a couple today I'm looking at around 75 points for Round 1, which will leaves me well down the table. I can't see how things will get better as I'm going to be at Glastonbury Festival next week - no access to the internet for 5 days means no blog updates and no substitutions!

How are you getting on?


Monday, 14 June 2010

4 Days In...

So what does everyone think of the tournament so far? I've actually been a bit disappointed with the quality of football on display up to now, with the exception of Germany & Messi. We've yet to have a really good game as yet, with teams looking nervous and a lack of attacking intent.

Is it the pressure of the tournament and the importance of not losing the first game? Are they having problems dealing with the new Adidas ball? Who knows, but I'm sure things will improve as teams find themselves in "must-win" scenarios in the next round of group games.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The World Cup Begins

Finally the waiting was over...after the opening ceremony we saw South Africa take on Mexico in the opening game in front of 90,000 fans (and 90,000 vuvuzela horns by the sounds of things). It was a great start to the tournament as the game swung both ways over the 90 minutes. Mexico were hugely impressive in the first half as their movement & use of the ball allowed them to run rings round their hosts, and they were unlucky not to go in a couple of goals up with Dos Santos running the show.

I was watching the game with a group of mates and at half time we all agreed we wanted South Africa to get something from the game for the good of the tournament, as an opening defeat would be sure to dampen what appears to be a fantastic atmosphere. We got our wish, as the second half was a complete turnaround with the African side dominating, playing with pace and passion, culminating in an outstanding opening goal from Tshabalala which sent the stadium in to raptures and created the most amazing noise I ever remember hearing when watching a match on TV. The World Cup had begun.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

World Cup FF - Provisional Squad


Maicon  G.Johnson  Lahm

Schweinsteiger  Sneider  Lampard   Ribery

  Messi  Fabiano(C)  Villa

GKs - Mucha, Escober (filler)
DFs - Zambrotta, Assou-Ekotto, Belhadj, Smith (filler)
MFs - Cahill, Hamsik, Clapham (filler), Yun Nam (filler)
FWs - C.Ronaldo, Welcome (filler)

This is what I'm looking at on my team/squad pages at the moment - I think it's ok (5 fillers, 18 as genuine options) but it's probably not my final squad (RvP may come in). Anyway, I honestly don't think we'll know exactly how we should be picking teams until after the first round of games are completed & we can analyse the scoring.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Fantasy World Cup Is Open

Just a quick note to confirm that the McDonald's FIFA World Cup game is open for business after the squads were confirmed on Friday. It's now up to you to assemble a squad of 23 in preparation for 11th June.

The website:
The code to join the Blog League: 107956-25552

We have almost 400 teams in the league already & there's no limit, so please join us!

As you're aware I don't actually have experience of this fantasy game, it's my first time playing it too, so it's unlikely I'll be posting up any players picks posts or anything, but I'll post my squad up once I've selected it & give league updates etc. To be honest I'm just too excited about the World Cup & I'll be watching pretty much every game, so I don't think I'll have time for much blog writing over the next 4 weeks! 

If any of our readers have any player picks/tips then please feel free to post them in the comments section below this post & I'll hopefully be able to chip in with some advice of my own once I've sat down & looked at the options over the next 48 hours!


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Bloggers of the Round Table 2: Top 4 Pretenders

Following on from the first Bloggers Round Table on Liverpool (which you can read over on FantasyEPL) is our second discussion. A reminder of the people involved in this project
  1. Mike Hynter - Writer at EuroSport and part of the team that produces The Fantasist;
  2. Nik Argiropoulos - Me! Author of the YFF Assistant Manager blog;
  3. Susiendran Karunananthan - Author of the YFF Scout blog;
  4. Mohamed Kileeny - Reader of FantasyEPL and Top 100 finisher in the YFF game this season;
  5. Jeremy Spitzberg - Co-blogger at Fantasy EPL;
  6. Neal Thurman - Co-blogger at Fantasy EPL;
I'll leave it to Neal to introduce what I thought was a really interesting topic....

Neal: I am going to nominate James Milner as the topic of this next post and even get more specific about what he means as a symbol of the ability of each of the current pretenders - AST, MAC, LIV - to challenge for a Champions League spot for next season OR the ability of England's highest profile club - MAN - to attract and pay top level talent given their financial situation, their location, and the higher taxes imposed on footballers in the UK compared to elsewhere in Europe.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Bloggers of the Round Table 1: Liverpool

To keep things interesting over the quieter summer months, Neal & Jeremy suggested a "bloggers round table" could take place to discuss a number of topics via email, which I thought was a great idea & it's something we started to put in to practice a few weeks ago.

Firstly, the people involved -
  1. Mike Hynter - Writer at EuroSport and part of the team that produces The Fantasist;
  2. Nik Argiropoulos - Me! Author of the YFF Assistant Manager blog;
  3. Susiendran Karunananthan - Author of the YFF Scout blog;
  4. Mohamed Kileeny - Reader of FantasyEPL and Top 100 finisher in the YFF game this season;
  5. Jeremy Spitzberg - Co-blogger at Fantasy EPL;
  6. Neal Thurman - Co-blogger at Fantasy EPL;
The first topic raised by Neal was...Liverpool.  His questions? What did we think SHOULD happen at Liverpool over the summer?  What did we think WILL happen at Liverpool? You can read our opinions over on FantasyEPL via the following links:-

The Fate of Liverpool? : Part 1
The Fate of Liverpool? : Part 2
The Fate of Liverpool? : Part 3
The Fate of Liverpool? : Part 4
The Fate of Liverpool? : Part 5 

Hope you enjoy the read - I certainly enjoyed being part of the discussion. Since the first round table we've had further debate on the subject of the 'Top 4 Pretenders', which I'll be posting up on this blog later in the week.

What are your opinions on the Liverpool situation?


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

England's Final 23-Man Squad Announced

Theo Walcott is a surprise omission from England's 23-man World Cup squad, with Darren Bent, Adam Johnson, Scott Parker, Michael Dawson, Leighton Baines and Tom Huddlestone also missing out. 

England's 23-man squad for the World Cup finals:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).
Defenders: Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).
Forwards: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).
What do you make of the final decision by Capello? Is Walcott unlucky? Why Wright Phillips over Adam Johnson? What did Warnock do to get the nod over Baines?