Thursday, 24 November 2011

Never Manage Alone

I have moved over to over on SBNation.

Please "like" our new Facebook Page:

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Week 9 - Player Picks

Click here for my Week 9 Player Picks over on NMA

Guys; I know many AM Blog readers are still avoiding Never Manage Alone and that's not unexpected - less than 250 people have joined the new site as "members" (which is needed to enable you to post comments) so the "reply count" to posts remains far lower than we've had here since 2009.

Lots of feedback has been posted in the chat room around the fact that you're not keen on NMA because it's too cluttered etc and I don't blame you. Personally I think the site looks far more professional; I accept the transition will take a while but the fact of the matter is it's a better platform for us, it has more features to allow readers to get involved, with the biggest benefit being the "Fan Post"/"Fan Shot" facility, which allows YOU to start your own topics for more direct interaction with a community we're all a part of. 

I will never forget the support and effort you all put in to help me create what we had here, but I hope this week will see more of you move across and help us build something just as special at NMA on SB Nation. Nobody likes change, but if you don't try to improve & progress, then you're standing still. I'm looking to the future now, and I hope you will too.

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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Week 8 - Player Picks

And so it begins...

Look, I know nobody likes change, but I really feel this is a positive move for us all, so I hope you enjoy my opening post of the Never Manage Alone era!


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Never Manage Alone is LIVE

That's right - after months of work is finally live over on SBNation!

If you're wondering what I'm talking about then please read my post from back in August explaining the collaboration:

My Week 8 Player Picks will be up here and on the new site within the next 48 hours but the full transition will probably take a couple of week as we find our feet over on SBNation ... please don't forget Week 8 is Round 2 of The Blog Cup :)


Monday, 10 October 2011

Aguero A Big Doubt For Villa

Manchester Evening News - Sergio Aguero A Big Doubt For Villa Showdown
Sergio Aguero is losing his fight to be fit for City’s clash at home to Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Blues striker has been ruled out of Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Venezuela tomorrow night, with the adductor strain which he picked up during the 4-0 win at Blackburn last week.

Aguero joined up with the Argentina squad after picking up the injury, and was initially optimistic that he would at least be fit for this week’s game.

But the player, expected to fly back to Manchester on Wednesday, could even face a race to get fit for the Manchester derby a week on Sunday.

Damn it - I was quite confident the 14 day break would be enough, but it doesn't sound like Aguero will be risked this weekend with the Manchester derby the following week. I hold him at a £4million discount but - sitting down in in 10,000th place - I'm not sure I want to take any definite zeros, and buying him back at 10ish isn't too much of a hit when you need points now.

If I did make the decision to drop him, I might bring Dzeko in if it looks like Mancini has forgiven him, although Gervinho could be interesting if I can't stretch to Van Persie. What are your thoughts? Will you hang on to him @6 if he's only set to miss one game? Or have you already sold him? If so, who have you chosen to replace him with?


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Stats So Far

BEST XI (3-4-3)
De Gea 92
Williams 62.5
Rangel 56
Jones 54.5
Nani 83.5
Silva 82
Young 77.5
Dempsey 77.5
Rooney 135
Aguero 115
Dzeko 95.5
Van Persie 86
Hart 77.5
Suarez 69
Vorm 68.5
Lampard 67.5
Di Santo 65
Given 65
M.Petrov 63.5
Van Der Vaart 63
Anderson 60.5
Agbonlahor 60
Rooney 22.5
Aguero 16
Dzeko 15.92
De Gea 15.33
Sturridge 15
Zamora 14.75
Adebayor 13.75
Young 12.92
Van Der Vaart 12.6
Van Persie 12.29
Nani 11.93
Silva 11.71
Lampard 11.25
Bramble 11.17
Hart 11.07
Dempsey 10.36
Ba 10

This post has been compiled without any real aim in mind, other than to see if we can draw anything from early season form. Just to get you thinking really, but do any of the these stats mean anything in terms of possible patterns?

We can see that two Swansea players are ripping shit up when it comes to defenders, and many keepers are having a great time - DDG in particular, but also Vorm, Hart & Given - which is very different to last season when most keepers struggled.

It's clear that dropping Silva or Aguero early would've been a mistake at this point, you can see defenders score far less than attacking players (der!) which seems to enforce the reason so many of us spend light on our back three. Premium midfielders are scoring well too, but strikers really are dominating the points thus far, with Rooney & Aguero ahead by miles (despite a zero each already).

Of course, we need to take "price per point" in to consideration before we can make any definitive analysis. It would be great if we had a reporting/stats systems of early values/points to see true patterns of price per point since Week 1, because player price fluctuations are so important in YFF, but we can't without some serious nerdy manual work (and I'm not sure the player values shown on the "weekly" individual player stats pages are 100% accurate anyway), so from now on we need to look to the future based on current prices.

One thing I would think is ... IF you hold DDG, Silva, Aguero, Adebayor & Rooney at their early prices of 6, 8, 6, 6 & 17 (ish) respectively, and they keep their fitness & anything close to their early form (i.e. average points), then you could have a big advantage over other managers in the next few months. But that really is a big IF, and I may be clutching at straws (because I have all four out of the five of them!) :)

Anyway, I'll be back with some more on this tomorrow, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on anything you think you've picked up on.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Aguero Boost For Man City

Manchester Evening News - Aguero boost for Man City
"Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has revealed positive news over the groin injury he sustained against Blackburn on Saturday.

The Blues forward limped off in the first half, and with Carlos Tevez suspended by the club pending an investigation into his actions last week in the Champions League, City's striking options began to look a touch thin.

But Aguero tweeted on Monday that he had linked up with the Argentina squad and will be monitored there. Argentina face Chile on Friday in Buenos Aires before taking on Venezuela on Porto La Cruz on Tuesday."
I'm delighted at this news as I very nearly dropped him to barndoor a replacement, as I feared it could be a long term injury. I'd be surprised if he was actually risked by Argentina but the break should give him time to fully recover ready for Villa at home in Week 8.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Week 7 - My Team

 De Gea

Boyata    Bosingwa    Brown

SWP   Ramires   Silva   Nani   

Adebayor   Aguero   Rooney

I've made a big investment in Man Utd this week with Nani & Rooney and I don't feel I've had to sacrifice too much to do so. I'd like to have had a better defender than Boyata, but he should get plenty of chances to win tackles/block shots, so I'd expect him to at least return his value again. I'm feeling a big win for Chelsea and Ramires seems to be getting forward a lot recently so once his value dropped to 8ish this morning I decided to stick with him, while Bosingwa is held at 7 so it made sense to keep him for the Bolton game. DDG, Brown, SWP, Silva, Adebayor & Aguero are all held a discount and should have decent weeks. I'm pretty happy with it overall.

Please let me know what you ended up with; and good luck!


p.s. I'm getting increasingly pissed off with Chatroll falling over every Saturday; does anyone know of any decent alternatives that can integrate with Blogger?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Rooney & Hernandez Fit For Norwich Official - Rooney & Hernandez Fit For Norwich
"Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez are fit for tomorrow. They trained very well yesterday, which is pleasing. We'll hopefully have Jonny Evans back too." Official - Team News
"Walcott, Gervinho and Koscielny will all be late tests and very late decisions. Saturday or even Sunday morning. Walcott looks the most likely to have a chance. Koscielny maybe less. He is recovering well but the game may come too soon." - Dzeko Apologises to Mancini
"Mancini said he was "furious" with the striker and he reiterated at a team meeting on Thursday that he would not tolerate any more of his players disputing his decisions. The club have decided not to fine Dzeko but he has been warned about his conduct and is hoping to make amends at Ewood Park."

This changes things but I'm out of the office for the day so I'll need to have a proper look at my team later.

Please can I ask you to add any important team news you read about/hear about to the comments sections below and I'll look to summarise everything when I'm home tonight.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Week 7 - Player Picks

Week 6 was a massive disappointment as my decision to go with Rooney over Van Persie cost me 34 points, undid a lot of the great progress I'd made in Week 5 and left me right on the edge of the Top 10,000.

It's been boom or bust for me in the opening six weeks of the season; 3 weekly scores of between 60-75 points and 3 weekly scores of 115-135 points. I could really do with another bumper score so Week 7 is a chance to bounce back and again it's another single week for all teams. There are seven teams in particular that have my attention...

Stand-Out Fixtures
MAN UTD v Norwich
MAN CITY @ Blackburn
CHELSEA @ Bolton

No surprises here as the 3 teams with the pick of the fixtures make up the current top 3 in the Premier League. Norwich have been playing well but Manchester United will be frustrated after 2 draws in a row and I'm expecting them to hand out a bit of a thrashing at Old Trafford this weekend. Manchester City head to Ewood Park to face 3rd from bottom Blackburn and Chelsea travel to to rock-bottom Bolton. It is advisable to have at least one representative from each of the top 3, ideally two if you can fit them in/afford them.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Game Over For Tevez

Roberto Mancini revealed that striker Carlos Tevez refused to come onto the pitch in Manchester City's UEFA Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich.

The Italian admitted in his post-match interview that the Argentine striker 'let his side down' after staying on the bench and will never play for the club again.

Makes it easier for fantasy managers, but just shows what a complete mess Tevez has made of his career in the past 12 months. Utter waste of an immense talent.

It gets better...

There was more trouble for Mancini when striker Edin Dzeko shouted at his manager when he was substituted in the 56th minute and then threw his tracksuit to the floor.

Mancini stated: "Dzeko had a poor game. In terms of being unhappy, it should be me, not him. This is the last time with me a player will do this."

There were also reports that Dzeko, Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta were all involved in an angry confrontation with Mancini as the second half wore on. Mancini's assistant David Platt had to try to restore some sense of order as the bizarre scenes raged but City were in chaos on and off the pitch.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Week 6 - My Team

A bit late, but just for the record, my final Week 6 team was:

De Gea, Boyata, Santos, Bosingwa, Wright-Phillips, Adam, Arteta, Silva, Adebayor, Aguero, Rooney 

From my Friday Update post:
"I stuck with Rooney over Van Persie in the end but I've put a £10 bet on Van Persie to score two or more goals so that should soften the blow if he goes points crazy against Bolton." 

Rooney's no-show hurt badly, especially with RvP hitting 2 goals (although I won £44 from my bet!), Santos was also benched, so I sit on just 58 points with Wright-Phillips to go today. I also missed the barndoor yesterday, d'oh,

Hope the week has treated you better?


Friday, 23 September 2011

Week 6 - Update

Quick run through of the news on this Friday afternoon....

My fear in the week that David Luiz will replace Jose Bosingwa appears unfounded as Luiz played 120 minutes in the Carling Cup. With Alex suspended for a sending off in that match it should be the usual back four of Bosingwa, Terry, Ivanovic, A.Cole. Drogba is back the squad but Torres should continue with Mata in support.

Martin Skrtel and Charlie Adam are both available after serving their suspensions against Brighton. Steven Gerrard has a chance of starting after getting 20 minutes in that match but another appearance from the bench seems more likely. Martin Kelly is fit to return at right-back and Dirk Kuyt is rumoured to replace the increasingly disappointing Andy Carroll in support of Suarez.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Week 6 - Player Picks

I'd been a very happy chap for the past few days after rather successful weekend all round, but I'm not particularly happy today after seeing Spurs crash out of the Carling Cup on penalties to Stoke City last night. I've probably raised this point on the blog in the past, but I'm going to raise it again.

At the start of each season there are a maximum of 4 trophies available to an English top-tier side - the League title, a European Cup, the FA Cup & the Carling Cup. Now the League title is obviously out of the question for Tottenham and Redknapp is playing a youth team in the Europa League at the moment. He'll probably take it seriously if we get through the group but with 16 matches plus drop-outs from the Champions League to join later on, it's very tough to go all the way. The FA Cup is a complete lottery due to the number of teams and rounds, so the Carling Cup is Tottenham's best chance by far to get to Wembley and win some silverware.

Many people see it as a joke competition but two of the greatest days I've had as a Spurs fan were seeing my team beat Leicester to the trophy in 1999 and Chelsea in 2008. I can't help but feel we threw it away last night by resting the majority of our best XI against a Stoke side (also in the Europa) who were close to full strength, and I just can't see the logic.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Week 5 - How Did You Do?

After a tough start things are finally on the up; 133 points in Week 5, a great win for Tottenham over Liverpool and a major milestone for the blog as we passed TWO MILLION page views - I don't think I'll have many better weekends this season. The 133 could've been 150+ had Rooney not slipped over/hit the post, but complaining would be greedy. I'm in to the Top 8,000 and hopefully I can push on from here.

We saw a real classic between Manchester United and Chelsea, played at such a pace and packed full of drama - goals, chances, misses and contentious incidents - it was the Premier League at it's best. Manchester City's 100% record is over after Fulham fought back from 2 goals down, Blackburn came from behind to beat Arsenal, all three promoted took 3 points, while Bolton & West Brom lost again to end the weekend in the bottom two spots. A cracking weekend of action from top to bottom.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Week 5 - So Far

That's a bit better ... 59 points so far thanks mainly to Petrov, Santos & SWP, but Baines & Ward did little. Again, unexpected results (Arsenal, Bolton & Wolves all losing) is affecting returns across the board.

I'm up from 20,000th to 8,500th overall with DDG, Silva, Adebayor, Aguero & Rooney to go, so I'm really pleased with that. Is this the week things start turning around? I hope so!

I didn't make a single barndoor switch as I didn't feel there was anyone I desperately needed at this stage, but that could change after Sunday's games.

How did you get on today?


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Week 5 - My Team

 De Gea

Santos   Boyata   Baines

Wright Phillips   Ward   Silva   M.Petrov

Adebayor   Rooney   Aguero  


What did you end up with?

Cheers, AM

Friday, 16 September 2011

Week 5 - Update

Wow, this is a tough one. We have almost no decent news from the manager's press conferences today; there's loads of uncertainty over who will/won't start so it makes it difficult to give you decent advice. I'll just go with what we have been told and make a few assumptions, and maybe we can discuss things in the comments section/chat-room.

First up, it appears that Steve Fletcher is really struggling to make it for Wolves game vs QPR - he hasn't trained all week, so that means Kevin Doyle will need a new partner. As I mentioned in my Player Picks, Stephen Ward is the favourite to be that partner and as a midfielder listed below 6 he could be cracking value. It's not 100% but I may take the gamble as he'll definitely play left-back if he doesn't start upfront and he has scored already from that position this season. Jarvis it fit to start so he'll join a strong midfield including Hunt (who has trained without issue this week) and O'Hara.

There's a decent chance we'll get the Arsenal team news before tomorrow's deadline (Twitter is our best bet from around 11:45am) but we can already take an educated guess on the line-up. I think Gibbs may keep his place as he's done nothing wrong, but Santos is a real option for Wenger now he's made his debut in the Champions League. Ramsey is a big doubt so Benayoun should get a start (bargain @ 3). Gervinho and Alex Song are back from suspension but Verm & Wilshere are out.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The YFF Blog Cup - 1st Round Results

It's taken me bloody ages, but I can finally reveal The Blog Cup 1st Round Results.

The cut-off to qualify for Round 2 was...

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Week 5 - Player Picks

I'm away on a work football tournament today and tomorrow so this post is being researched & written on my iPhone, which is not easy! For that reason I can't add any anaysis but I'll look to do it tomorrow evening if I can (though with The Blog Cup results to calculate & publish too it will be a push). I'm sure some people will be unhappy but it's better than nothing at all.

Here's how I see the Week 5 fixtures...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


So Week 4 is over and a distinctly average 115 points leaves me 19,000th, already 150 points off the Top 50 - sh*t! - I may take a few risks in Week 5 in an attempt to get back in to contention. I'm considering taking another punt on Leighton Baines ... thoughts?

As for The Blog Cup, I'll be waiting a few days before calculating the results, just in case there are point adjustments by Yahoo (I had to re-do them twice last year and it takes ages!), so expect them on Thursday. Week 5 Player Picks should be up tomorrow afternoon.

How did you get on in Week 4? Are you confident of making it through to Round 2?


Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Day In The Life....

12:00 - Feeling insecure as I'm pretty sure up to 5 of my player may not play. Also, Spurs are a crappy shambles and could lose, in fact 3 defeats from 3 is almost certain, relegation looms and I wish I didn't write a blog about this stupid game.

14:15 - Kick girlfriend out of the house so the lads can come round for Soccer Saturday. Dream team are in (Le Tiss, Merse, Phil T, Charlie Nich); What can go wrong?

14:30 - Team sheets are in, everyone but Nasri starts for my XI, and that includes Aguero. Guilty that I stated my fear that he could be rested in my update post? Yes. Bothered that he isn't and I have him? Hell no. Spurs' line-up looks good, Jarvis doesn't start = bonus.

15:45 - Everything going ok. Aguero has scored, Spurs aren't losing but sound dodgy, as do Arsenal, Liverpool are behind. This game is alright I suppose.

16:45 - Delight, Aguero hat-trick, 2 assists for Silva, 1 for Nasri, 2 clean sheets for Arse defenders, Spurs win from nowhere, Liverpool lose and my arrogant 'Pool fan mate shuts-up for 5 minutes about how it's "our year", I'm in dreamland, text my Wolves fan mate a picture of Adebayor, he cries, I laugh a lot. This game is freakin' awesome.

17:30 - Points come in, I'm on 85, up 11,000 places and in to the top 9,000, overtake most people in my private league, beers flowing, loving life. RvP did nothing, disappointing, but who cares? Bolton is a tough place to go, Rooney & Hernandez won't do much. On train to London for mate's birthday in rapturous glee.

18:00 - Get to London, f**k it, 0-3 to United after 30 minutes, Hernandez & Rooney in the goals, all that hard work is going out the window. This game can be rough, and I blame everyone.

18:01 - Drink...

19:30 - 0-5 United, 2 for Hernandez, Rooney hat-trick, good to have De Gea for 20 points but not having Wayne hurts... down to 20,000th in the space of 2 hours. Mates I gave grief to earlier are now 30 points ahead of me. I hate them and this game.

19:31 - Oh well, Spurs won

19:32 - Drink...

00:44 - Home late. Drunk. Angry Girlfriend. I tell her I want to write a blog post and watch Match Of The Day.

00:45 - Sofa-bed tonight.

105 points never felt so shit, but the ups and downs is why we love the game! Would I change anything? Probably not. Will my girlfriend change me? Almost certainly, but I'll confirm in the morning :)

How was your day?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Week 4 - My Team

De Gea

Gibbs    Mertesacker    Riise

Walcott     Silva    Cabaye    Nasri

Mata    Van Persie    Aguero

Major, major investment in Man City & Arsenal this week; I know if either team performs poorly or either manager decided to rotate a few players then I'm in serious trouble.

I had the added problem (as I'm sure many of you did) of this morning's price changes leaving me with a team in negative funds, so I had to drop Richards down to Mertz to enable me to save - thanks Yahoo.

Next week we have Arsenal at Blackburn, in-form Wolves at home to QPR, Man City at Fulham, Bolton home to Norwich, Villa home to Newcastle & Everton home to Wigan, so I'll be looking at those teams on the barndoor.

Let me know your team - and good luck, especially if you're in The Blog Cup!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Week 4 - Update

There is a word that every fantasy manager in the world lives in fear of, and it's a word I'm reading and hearing an awful lot this Friday afternoon. The word is 'rotation', and it's being used to describe Roberto Mancini's plans for Manchester City's game again Wigan on Saturday.

The Manchester Evening News has suggested that due to their international exploits both Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero could be given a rest to ensure they are fresh for Napoli in the Champions League. Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Adam Johnson are all being mentioned as possible replacements, but the worst thing about it is it's all unconfirmed. My gut feeling is Aguero gets a rest and Dzeko continues, but it really is just a guess so it'll be tough to pull the trigger on dropping the little Argentinian.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Week 4 - Player Picks

Woohoo! The international break is over, fantasy football is back, we have a full programme of Premier League fixtures and it's also the 1st Round of The 2011/12 YFF Blog Cup. That's a big weekend in anyone's book!

I've had not time to write a proper intro to this post as I've been busy getting things in place for the start of the competition (organising 1400 teams across 14 blog leagues is a chore) and I had to speed through my analysis, but hopefully you'll let me off.

Let's get things going with a look at the Week 4 Fixtures where we have another single week for all teams:

The 2011/12 YFF Blog Cup

It's that time again; The 2011/12 YFF Blog Cup is here and it's bigger than ever...

1400 team, 8 rounds, 1 winner!

This all started two years ago with 300 teams, growing to 800 teams last year, but having joined forces with Jeremy & Neal this year we have taken things to a whole new level. At set points throughout the season we will have weekends where the Top Weekly Scores from our FOURTEEN blog leagues go through to the "next round". It's a knockout so once you're out, you're out!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

New Players Added

Yahoo are on it again - the new signings from deadline day are already being added to the game and of course those "new" to the Premier League are entering at very reasonable prices.

Which of them take your fancy? Mertesaker at 6.02? Drenthe at 5.99? Ruiz at 6.78? And what about those who've switched EPL clubs? How will Arteta & Benayoun fit in at Arsenal? Crouch at Stoke? SWP at QPR? Hutton at Villa?

Below is a full list of the deadline day deals, both in & out of England's top tier, just in case you missed any:

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Week 3 - How Did You Do?

An amazing weekend of Premier League football, I'm sure you'll agree, as Manchester's United & City made a real statement of intent to rest of the competition. Neal has written an excellent summary of the events over on Fantasy EPL, so I recommend you head over there and have a read when you get a chance.

Fantasy EPL - 10 Thing We Learnt: Week 3

It may have been a rotten weekend for Spurs but I had a better fantasy weekend, breaking 100 points for the first time this season despite 3 of my players scoring 2 points or less. My Week 3 total of 122 (mainly thanks to Rooney) moved me up 18,000 places to just outside the top 20,000, still absolutely miles behind the leaders, but moving in the right direction at least. Unfortunately I missed Sunday's barndoors including Dzeko @ 9 - so that could prove costly.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Week 3 - My Team

De Gea

Richards   Brown   Bosingwa

Cabaye   Watson   Silva   Sessegnon

Ageuro   Suarez   Rooney

I'm pretty pleased with what I've ended up with this week after making a few changes to my Friday team, aided by those random price fluctuations at 9am this morning.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Week 3 - Update

Apologies for not updating my Player Picks post this week; I have very little spare time at the moment and as I explained earlier this month it's one of the reasons collaborating efforts for the Never Manage Alone blog (to be launched later this season) makes so much sense. On the occasions I don't have time there will be other knowledgeable folk on hand to cover for me, and vice-versa.

Anyway, I am back on this Friday afternoon to update you on all the team and injury news you need to know as we move quickly towards the Week 3 deadline. As always it will flow in drips and drabs throughout the day so I'll get things up as I read/hear about them. Here we go...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Week 3 - Player Picks

Week 2 was another very tough fantasy week for me and I currently sit in an all time low position of 39,000th. I had been convincing myself this was happening purely down to the lack of home wins, and in Week 1 that was probably kinda true, but last week was different. I realised that I made changes to my team based on other influences, such as other people's teams in the chatroom/comments section, and that's something I never normally do.

My decision to go with N'Zogbia over Bent was one of the those changes and looking back (as I mentioned in the "My Team" post) I just don't know why I went with it when the two players cost the same amount. Also, my decision to spend big money on Baines; he was a good pick but I had to make too many changes to accommodate him and this made me feel uneasy throughout Friday and Saturday morning, but again for some reason I stuck with it. This week I'm sticking with my gut instinct and hopefully that will see a change of fortune!

So here we go, starting with a look at the Week 3 fixtures:

Monday, 22 August 2011

Week 2 So Far

Saturday must go down as the worst fantasy day I have had since I started playing this game 8 years ago. It started with Wes Brown's -4 as Newcastle grabbed a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light and went steeply downhill from there. For me and for many others it was the 2nd disappointing weekend in a row.

It's no coincidence that the generally low scoring continues as we've had just 3 home wins from 9 games so far in Week 2. Combine that with the 1 home win from 9 games in Week 1 and it's easy to believe there's a trend developing. I'm still convinced the correct long-term strategy is to bank on home players, it's just taking a while to get going this season

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Oh Dear

Worst. Week. Ever.

Week 2 - My Team

 De Gea

Richards   Brown   Baines

Moses   Silva  Cahill   N'Zogbia

Sinclair   Torres   Aguero

I'm not sure about things this week; I've got a bad feeling I'm going to regret not have Darren Bent, but he's almost always fantasy poison when I pick him, so I chose N'Zogbia as my Villa player and took a punt on Sinclair as my 3rd striker. I have a slight concern over Torres but hopefully Villas-Boas gives him another chance - if not I think a lot of us have gone with him, so the hit won't be too bad.
Picking Baines put a bit of a drain on my funds so he really better be worth it, Cahill is feast or famine and if De Gea does poorly I'll be OK with it because it would mean Spurs actually did something at Old Trafford! The rest is fairly self explanatory - I left 2.2 in the bank due to the overnight discounts and deciding to stick with what I had rather than making changes for the sake of it. Hopefully I'll see an improvement over my Week 1 performance.

On the barndoor I'll be looking to bring in more Chelsea players, as they face Norwich at home in Week 3, but other than that there's not a whole lot to get excited about. I guess Wigan at home to QPR could be worth a look, maybe Liverpool at home to Bolton, but that's it really.

Please let me know your Week 2 team and who you're thinking about on the barndoor - and good luck!


Friday, 19 August 2011

Week 2 - Update

I get the feeling it's going to be a busy day at work and a busy day of team and injury news, so please bear with me; I'll get things updated as quickly/often as possible. Straight in to it...

- A big blow for Manchester United - Nemanja Vidic has been ruled out for up to 5 weeks with a calf injury. Rafael is already out for a few months but better news is that Rio Ferdinand will probably only miss the Spurs game as his hamstring is not as bad as first feared. Evra is also back, so it looks like it'll be Smalling, Jones, Evans, Evra this weekend, with Fabio on the bench.

- Rafa Van Der Vaart played an hour of Spurs' 5-0 hammering of Hearts last night, scored a goal and looked excellent, so you can add him to the premium midfield options for Week 2 alongside Lampard, Malouda, Young & Nani. Defoe, Bale, Lennon, Kranjcar & Walker all looked sharp and all of sudden I feel less miserable.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Week 2 - Player Picks

The dust has settled on Week 1, we've accepted that most of us did pretty poorly, but it's a new week and it's time for blog readers around the globe to put their disappointment behind them and start the march back towards the Top 50/Top 500/Top 1000 or whatever personal target they've set themselves for this season.

I'm sure we're also all hoping to see a better weekend of Premier League football, after 5 draws and just 18 goals from the opening weekend proved a bit of an anti-climax. In terms of excitement from a personal stand-point it helps that Spurs will finally be in action, although a trip to Old Trafford is hardly the ideal start; especially with Man City to follow in Week 3.

Anyway, from a fantasy perspective I definitely feel like there is a better selection of fixtures this weekend with no fewer than 6 games looking like they have a reasonably clear favourite. Let's get in to them right away...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Week 1 - How Did You Do?

I'm off work sick at the moment so haven't got the energy to post a long review of Week 1, but I've got out of bed to write a brief summary and at least provide a starting point for discussion in the comments section.

The first eight matches were a bit of an anti-climax, as a lack of goals and the absence of a home win on Saturday or Sunday meant low fantasy scores all-round. Manchester United were the only "big name" to take 3 points while QPR looked out of their depth, being hammered at home.

It was left to one man to light up the opening weekend and he did so despite only 30 minutes of pitch-time. Sergio Aguero is going to be a star on these shores and his 2 goals and assist helped Manchester City to a 4-0 win over Swansea. Goals from Silva, Dzeko and clean sheets for Hart and the City back four meant an explosion of fantasy points across the board.

You're probably pretty frustrated if you didn't have Aguero (especially if you went with Gervinho instead) but you shouldn't be because really you made the sensible choice. Mancini stated that he wasn't ready to start and would probably only get 30 minutes, so it's natural for a fantasy manager to go for a certain starter instead. I'm sure, you've barndoored him now, so there'll be plenty more points coming our way over the next 37 weeks!

I was sitting on a woeful 39 points on Monday and ended the week on 72 thanks to Dzeko and Silva. A fairly rubbish opening week and I'm still annoyed I went with Agger over Richards, but it could've been worse. I missed the barndoor on Saturday and Sunday due to other commitments but brought Richards and Aguero in last night.

I'm going back to bed now; let me know how you did and who you brought in for Week 2 and I'll read all about it when I wake up!


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Week 1 - My Team

 De Gea

Agger   Vermaelen   Riise

Silva   Taarabt   Young   Duff

Gervinho   Carroll   Dzeko

First team of the season - and I quite like it. The late fitness test for Van Persie put me off spending 22 on him in the end, so I now expect him to score a hattrick.

The only thing missing really is a City defender, I was 0.13 away from going Verm to Richards. Duff is a hunch pick, Gervinho is a bit of a shot in the dark, the rest feels solid. I concentrated on players I was pretty certain would start so I'll be annoyed if more than 1 doesn't. I also went for defenders who I thought could get me attacking points or come up with a goal rather than worrying too much about clean sheets.

Next week Chelsea are at home to West Brom, Man Utd at home to Spurs, Man City are away at Bolton & Villa are at home to Blackburn. I'll probably be looking at these four teams on the barndoor.

Let me know your team...and good luck all!


p.s. Sorry that Chatroll went down, it seems to do it at the worst times!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Week 1 - Update

This post is usually an update on injuries, general team news and my own latest team, but I have an additional update for you today - and it's a big announcement regarding the future of this blog. You may have already read this news over on Jeremy & Neal's site but in case you haven't, please head over to FantasyEPL to read their 'Never Manage Alone Edition' of 'The Week Ahead'.

Now I'd alluded to a partnership when we released our Season Previews and I'm delighted to confirm that within the next few weeks myself, Jeremy & Neal at Fantasy EPL and Ibracadabra at Never Captain Nicky Butt (who focuses on the Official Premier League game) will be joining forces. From this point Neal has explained things in perfect details, so I will quote him and then explain how this will affect readers of this blog.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Week 1 - Player Picks

Week 1 is almost upon us, but sadly the usual excitement about the start of a new Premier League season has been overshadowed by the riots here in England. The country is in turmoil and all Police efforts are understandably focused on things other than stewarding sporting events.

As yet there's been no confirmation regarding postponements but a statement released earlier today by the Premier League suggested some games in London are at risk. That would mean Tottenham v Everton, Fulham v Aston Villa and QPR v Bolton. However, with all games still on I have to write this post as if all games will go ahead.  

UPDATE: Spurs v Everton POSTPONED. Other 9 games are ON.

Now this will be one of the most difficult post I write this season. We have no real idea of starting XI's, we have no true indication of the form or fitness of individual players, we have no way of knowing if new signings will adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, so it's very difficult to produce a list I feel 100% confident with. However, having analysed the Week 1 Fixtures in a previous post, I've identified the sides with favourable matches (Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal & Fulham in particular) and put together my recommendations based on that.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Season Previews - Part 4

The final part of our Season Previews written by myself, Jeremy, Neal & Ibracadabra and hosted on Fantasy EPL. Covering each Premier League club in alphabetical order these previews give an overview of last season's performance from a real-life and fantasy perspective, predictions for the coming season and players to look out for/avoid in both the Yahoo and Official fantasy formats.

Links to the last 5 Swansea > Wolves are below - hope you enjoy!

Season Preview - Swansea

Season Preview - Tottenham

Season Preview - West Brom

Season Preview - Wigan

Season Preview - Wolves


Monday, 8 August 2011

Season Previews - Part 3

Less than a week to go until kick off as we move on to Part 3 of our Season Previews written by myself, Jeremy, Neal & Ibracadabra and hosted on Fantasy EPL. Covering each Premier League club in alphabetical order these previews give an overview of last season's performance from a real-life and fantasy perspective, predictions for the coming season and players to look out for/avoid in both the Yahoo and Official fantasy formats.

Links to the next five covering Newcastle > Sunderland are below - hope you enjoy!

Season Preview - Newcastle United

Season Preview - Norwich City

Season Preview - Queen's Park Rangers

Season Preview - Stoke

Season Preview - Sunderland


Arsenal Suffer Triple Injury Scare - Triple Injury Scare
Arsenal have been rocked by three fresh injuries to Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs with the season less than a week away.

Van Persie scored in the Gunners latest preseason defeat to Benfica and unfortunately for Wenger the 27-year old picked up a knock.

"It is an ankle problem, I don’t know how bad it is," Wenger told "Gibbs has a muscular [thigh] problem and Vermaelen has a slight back problem."

Three players I was set to pick in my team for the opening weekend now appear to be doubtful and may need to be replaced, although I'll wait for a more thorough assessment later in the week before dismissing them completely. I do find it amazing how many Arsenal players suffer injuries and the frequency of them - many reoccurring. What is going on in regards to fitness, conditioning, recovery etc? Questions have been asked before and they need to be asked again as the problem isn't going away.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Week 1 - Fixtures

Those of you who have been readers of the blog for the past two seasons will know I begin my analysis of the forthcoming fantasy week by going through the Premier League fixtures (usually within my Player Picks post). Unfortunately a 2010 ruling meant that if I wanted to list the fixtures on this blog I would have to pay a licence fee to the Premier League (I'm sure they really need the money) which would add up to hundreds of pounds per season.

I can't afford to do this as I spend all my spare money on beer - but I can link to the information, so click here to view Week 1's fixtures. Of course they also appear in the bottom right of Yahoo's 'Team Manager' page, which is handy as you can refer to them as you select your players. As you will see, Week 1 is a single week for all teams.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Season Previews - Part 2

We move on to Part 2 of our Season Previews written by myself, Jeremy, Neal & Ibracadabra and hosted on Fantasy EPL. Covering each Premier League club in alphabetical order these previews give an overview of last season's performance from a real-life and fantasy perspective, predictions for the coming season and players to look out for/avoid in both the Yahoo and Official fantasy formats.

Links to the next four covering Everton > Manchester City are below - hope you enjoy!

Season Preview - Everton

Season Preview - Fulham

Season Preview - Liverpool

Season Preview - Manchester City

Season Preview - Manchester United


Final Blog Leagues

Due to overwhelming demand the very final Blog Leagues, numbers 13 & 14, are open. These are for people who didn't get a space in the first 12, any duplicate teams will be removed. Taking a place will enter you for the massive 1,400 team Cup Competition later in the season. Details below:

YFF Blog League 13
Group ID#: 7658
Password: rooney

YFF Blog League 14
Group ID#: 7659
Password: drogba

These will definitely be the last as all my Yahoo IDs are now full up!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Season Previews - Part 1

Firstly, thank you to everyone who signed up to join one of the Blog Leagues - it was incredible that we were able to fill 12 leagues in just 5 days and it's left me feeling really excited about the new season, especially with a monster 1,200 team Cup Competition to look forward to!

I'd hinted at a partnership in the Blog League post and I can now reveal a bit more. The coming season will see a collaboration of efforts working alongside two men you know well, fellow Yahoo Fantasy bloggers Jeremy & Neal at Fantasy EPL and Ibracadabra at Never Captain Nicky Butt whose focus is the Official Premier League game.

We start with Part 1 of our Season Previews which were written as a team and are being hosted on Fantasy EPL. Covering each Premier League club in alphabetical order these previews will give an overview of last season's performance from a real-life and fantasy perspective, predictions for the coming season and players to look out for/avoid in both the Yahoo and Official fantasy formats.

Links to the first five covering Arsenal > Chelsea are below - hope you enjoy!

Season Preview - Arsenal

Season Preview - Aston Villa

Season Preview - Blackburn Rovers

Season Preview - Bolton Wanderers

Season Preview - Chelsea


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Aguero Added...

@ 6.55. Nice!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Join The Blog Leagues!

The Blog Leagues Are FULL!!! I will now check all 12 to see if any teams joined more than one league, and remove any duplicates. This may release a few extra spaces, I'll let you know...

YFF Blog League 1
Group ID#: 4842
Password: prem

YFF Blog League 2
Group ID#: 4843
Password: blog

YFF Blog League 3
Group ID#: 4844
Password: ball

YFF Blog League 4
Group ID#: 4845
Password: footy

YFF Blog League 5
Group ID#: 5085
Password: blog

YFF Blog League 6
Group ID#: 5086
Password: footy

YFF Blog League 7
Group ID#: 5088
Password: prem

YFF Blog League 8
Group ID#: 5089
Password: ball

YFF Blog League 9
Group ID#: 5781
Password: shoot

YFF Blog League 10
Group ID#: 5887
Password: group 

YFF Blog League 11
Group ID#: 6517
Password: footy

YFF Blog League 12
Group ID#: 6518
Password: blog

As usual there will be Cup Competitions run between the teams in the leagues, so be quick and PLEASE don't join more than one league, even if you have multiple teams; it's unfair on others. I will be checking team names and usernames when all of the leagues are full and any teams found to be in more than one league will be removed completely.

You'll notice that these are no longer named "AM" Blog Leagues and the reason for this will be revealed in the coming days. I will say that there is some exciting news on it's way regarding a new partnership for the coming season... please keep checking back!


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Aguero To Finalise City Move

Telegraph - Aguero to finalise £35m City move
Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero is confident his £35 million move to Manchester City will be completed today after he arrived in England to meet club officials.

The 23 year-old Argentina international was at City's Carrington training ground this morning having cut short a holiday in his homeland to fly in to finalise contract negotiations and undergo a medical.

"Just arrived in Manchester to finalise the details of signing with City," Aguero wrote on Twitter. "Everything is going very well! I'll tell you more in a while."

Aguero at 6.04? Don't mind if I do!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

N'Zogbia Set For Villa Move

Sky Sports - N'Zogbia set for Villa move
Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia could become an Aston Villa player by the end of the week, the Midlands club have announced following the agreement of a £9.5million fee.

N'Zogbia is now due to discuss personal terms with Villa and then undergo a medical before the deal is complete.

This is essentially a done deal, and so Aston Villa repair some of the damage done by the loss of Ashley Young & Stewart Downing. Expect N'Zogbia to take up set pieces, with Albrighton lining up on the opposite wing for the new season, and to be honest I don't think that's too much of a downgrade.

Both players have great delivery, will be keen to impress their new boss and I'm expecting strong fantasy performances from both. Darren Bent should continue to thrive as the spearhead of the attack and will of course take over full-time penalty duty with Young out of the picture. I'll be looking at Villa players in the opening few weeks as they have quite a nice start to their schedule (away to Fulham in Week 1 but then home to Blackburn & Wolves in Week 2 & 3).

It's not such a happy story for Wigan Athletic, losing the man who was the difference between relegation and survival in the final months of last season. With N'Zogbia in the final year of his contract Dave Whelan obviously felt he had little choice but to take the cash on offer, but the key to this is how they invest it.

Roberto Martinez is a bright young manager and will try to bring in a replacement/s who will play football the right way, but with their best player gone, paltry crowds and another relegation battle on the cards, how attractive are Wigan to potential signings? It's set to be another tough season for the Latics but they have the chance to start it well - they face the three promoted sides Norwich, Swansea & QPR in Week 1, 2 & 3.


Feel free to join the Blog Facebook Group - we've passed 1400 members & it's always great to add more! You can also follow me on Twitter (@nikarg)!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Yahoo 2011/12 Is Open For Business!

It's back! Yahoo has opened it's doors for the new season so you can now register your team, start picking players and joining leagues:

You'll see some changes including a new user interface (shown above) and a new "Top Players" section which details the top points scorers from past seasons, split by position. It's our first sign of a proper stats/reporting section and hopefully this can be expanded in future to allow us to filter/sort by assists, successful crosses etc.

Other than that you'll notice that De Gea is set to be a season keeper for most managers, priced under 6.00 to start with and you may also notice the first mistake by Yahoo... that Gareth Bale is currently missing from the game altogether; I'm sure it'll be rectified shortly (Update: and it has been; the delay was because he was being recreated on the game as a midfielder)

There will be Blog Leagues set up, but not for the time being, as the format for the coming season is still being decided. I'll ensure I give you all plenty of notice so that you can be ready to join once they're available.

Until then, enjoy tinkering with your teams ... 24 days to go!


Feel free to join the Blog Facebook Group - we've passed 1350 members & it's always great to add more! You can also follow me on Twitter (@nikarg)!