Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Week 31 - Player Picks

After my break from blogging I'd hoped to have time to write a proper intro on the state of the Premier League this week, but unfortunately work is mental at the moment ,so I've had to keep it short.

To sum things up, there are eight weeks of the season to go - the title is still up for grabs, 3 teams are fighting it out for the last Champions League spot and the bottom 10 clubs are all in a relegation battle. Great stuff, and I'm sure we're in for a gripping conclusion!

Now straight in to it, starting with the fixtures...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I'm Back

Thanks for all your responses to the "Regrets" post guys. There were some great stories & I'm sure it made you all feel a bit better when you realised that every single one of your fellow fantasy managers has had at least one total nightmare moment this season!

As you'll be aware I'd taken a week break from blogging, but I'm back now so you can expect the Week 31 Player Picks tomorrow night/Thursday morning. Until then I wanted to ask you another question...

Is anyone considering Manuel Almunia @ 4.5?

Yes, I know he's quite awful, but he's at home to a quite awful Blackburn side. Howard & Harper are the other options I can afford, but I might go with the Arsenal man if he's set to keep his place ahead of Lehman.

Am I madder than Mad Jens to consider a goalkeeper who couldn't honestly claim "making saves" or "decision making" were strengths of his? If I go through with it, is it destined to become another story to add to my regrets this season? Who are you going with?


Wednesday, 23 March 2011


A bit of a different style of post to fill this week & I'm hoping it might prove entertaining - in a depraved kinda way. Seeing as we have a blank weekend ahead of us (in terms of Premier League fantasy fixtures) & therefore no player picks/update posts for 10 days, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on our seasons so far - although sadly I'm focusing on the negatives!

I have a question for you all. With 30 weeks gone & only 8 weeks to go, what have been your BIGGEST fantasy regrets/mistakes/nightmares this season so far (oh yes, there's still time!)? The ones when your heart has sunk as you watch the week unfold in front of you? Being in the chat room as everyone else had a certain player who you dropped just before dealine?

Look, I know we all have loads of annoyances each week. I see so many comments like "oh man, I had him until just before deadline, but dropped him for xxxx" & on some occasions this is true. But on others (and probably more often than not) it's a defensive thing to make ourselves feel better, as in all honesty we never seriously considered the alternative who just had a cracking week. I know this, because I do it, and hundreds of others have admitted they do the same - it's a natural reaction in all walks of life. But I'm not asking about these..

Monday, 21 March 2011

Week 30 - Quick Review

This is a quick post to summarise how things went in Week 30. But first things first, congratulations to Matt Jarvis for his first full England call-up. One of my best mates is a Wolves fan & a blog reader, so he asked me to mention this momentous event in the history of Wolverhampton. Done.

Now, all the points are in after a typically unexplained delay by Yahoo, and overall it was quite a low scoring week. Some of the most fancied picks flopped - specifically Ashley Young & Darren Bent, as well as Nasri, Lampard, Torres & Hernandez - but there were some big points for others; Charlie Adam & David Luiz being the stand-out performers. Honourable mentions to Nani, Suarez, Pennant, Coleman & Hoilett, who all picked up decent scores.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Week 30 - My Team

Friedel, Heitinga, Smalling, Kolarov, Walker, Hitzlsperger, Van Der Vaart, Nani, Defoe, Suarez, Van Persie

No time to do any more to my team yesterday evening or this morning, so I left it how it was. Obviously I'm missing Ashley Young & Darren Bent, but I'm happy with the overall balance.

Please let me know wphat you ended up with - and good luck!


Friday, 18 March 2011

Week 30 - Update

Real Madrid vs Tottenham Hotspur in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League - it doesn't get much better that for a Spurs fan!

Admittedly the draw today has probably ended any hopes of reaching the final at Wembley - even if we get past Real it would probably be Barca in the semis - but it's been a great journey & I'm looking forward to it's exciting conclusion.

I'd like to go in to more detail about the draw (specifically THAT tie between Chelsea v Man Utd) but I've had a rotten day at work followed by my car breaking down on the way home, so I need to get right in to the latest team & injury news as we approach the Week 30 deadline.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Week 30 - Player Picks

I normally write a purely football related introduction for these posts, but it's been a week for some perspective.

Less than a month after New Zealand was hit by an earthquake which killed close to 200 people, Japan has been hit by tragedy on an even larger scale as an earthquake & tsunami has left thousands dead and thousands more missing. There are many other awful examples, and the utter devastation occurring around the world is shocking. My heart goes out to the victims, their families and anyone affected by these tragic events.

The week has also brought extremely sad news from inside football. Barcelona's Eric Abidal has been diagnosed with a liver tumour and will have surgery later this week, while former Manchester United & England captain Bryan Robson has been diagnosed with throat cancer. I wish them both a full & speedy recovery.

Taking all this in makes you realise how brittle our existence is and how little the game of football matters in the grand scheme of things. But football does do one very important thing - it brings people together, from all walks of life and from all around the world. The global following of this blog is a prime example and I'm sure some of our readers have been affected in some way by the disasters. I pray you and your families are safe, and my thoughts - and I'm sure the thoughts of all our followers - are with you.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Arsenal Close In On Lehmann Deal

From BBC Sport: "Mad" Jens To Return

Arsenal are close to signing 41-year-old Jens Lehmann for the rest of the season, BBC Sport understands.

Injuries to Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone have left Manuel Almunia as the only fit keeper.

The ex-Germany keeper played 199 times for Arsenal between 2003 and 2008 but has been a free agent since retiring in 2010 after two years with Stuttgart.

If the deal is done in time, Lehmann is likely to be included in the squad for Saturday's trip to West Brom.

This has made my day!


Nani Returns To Training

Nani returns to training -
Nani handed Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson a boost on Monday morning by returning to training.

The Portugal winger was not expected to be back until after the international break.

He suffered a gashed leg following a challenge by Jamie Carragher in the defeat by Liverpool last week.
Sounds like he has a chance of facing Marseille and is is likely to be ready for Bolton at the weekend. Are you still hanging on to him at discount?


Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Blog Cup - Semi Final Results

Want to know the 20 teams who have made it through to the final?

Well, see below... :)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tottenham v AC Milan

A mate of mine (lets call him James) was surprised that anyone saw the first leg 0-1 win - for Tottenham over AC Milan - as a shock. He told me Milan were a poor side, that Italian football is a dying art and tonight would be easy. He was wrong; it wasn't easy, and that's down to three things he forgot (or dismissed) - history, heritage and experience. That surprises me, because as a Liverpool fan, he must know how important those three attributes can be for a club.

Manchester United are not a great side currently but they are able to win games purely for these reasons - their aura or "who they are"- and they could win the title this season. Their experience helps them in the big games and for the big run-ins. Spurs are only the 5th best side in England - why should we assume they are better than the great AC Milan, a team topping Serie A, with an attacking line-up of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Alexandre Pato? They shouldn't, but much of the press (and James) assumed just that.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Champions League & Stuff

A nice distraction from the disaster that is Week 29 & it should be an absolutely cracking midweek of football.

I think Barca will win tonight but my prediction is 2-1 in 90 minutes, meaning extra time & possibly penalties to decide things. I hope I'm right so we experience some pure football theatre & I definitely think Arsenal have a chance of sneaking through. It'll be interesting to see whether Van Persie makes an appearance just 8 days after tearing a knee ligament - it's a huge risk if he does.

I'm slightly worried about Tottenham v Milan tomorrow because everyone seems to be writing the Italians off before a ball is kicked. If there's one team who never make it easy for themselves it's Spurs, and I'm expecting a topsy-turvy clash, but hopefully the return of Bale & Van Der Vaart will ensure we have enough to make through to the Champions League quarter finals.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Week 29 - My Team

Howard, Kolarov, Coleman, Ridgewell, Baines, Osman, Bentley, Arteta, Carew, Zigic, Saha

Sorry for the late post, I've been busy. Awful start, no Coleman, no Zigic, -2 for Ridgewell, Carew subbed. Oh well, there's always game two, but it looks like it's going to be a terrible terrible week!

Your team?


Friday, 4 March 2011

Week 29 - Update

I'll start things off with a piece of news I've literally just read - David Luiz is a doubt for Chelsea's trip to Blackpool. This information comes from Fantasy Football Scout who was astute enough to watch Ancelotti's press conference this afternoon.

Apparently "There's hope he could make it" but that's as much as we have & it leaves those holding Luiz with a tricky decision to make in this double week. Mikel is also a doubt - but nobody cares. Blackpool are without the suspended Charlie Adam & DJ Campbell, so I'm sure Ian Holloway is fearing the worst here after Chelsea looked close to their best on Tuesday.

Everton manager David Moyes has reported no new injury concerns, meaning Tim Cahill & Fellaini are the only men missing from the squad to face Newcastle. I'm thinking a midfield of Coleman, Rodwell, Arteta, Osman is likely, although Bily comes in to contention too. It'll be Saha + 1 upfront & I'd expect that '1' will be Beckford over Anichibe given his two goals against Sunderland last weekend.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Week 29 - Player Picks

Finally - after 28 weeks - Manchester United are starting to wobble. Wednesday's defeat at Stamford Bridge (a cracking match by the way) was their second in four league games and with trips to Anfield (without Vidic or Rio), the Emirates and the reverse fixture with Chelsea still to come, as well as some tricky matches against teams fighting for survival, it's perfectly conceivable that they will lose more matches. But does the result in midweek throw Chelsea back in to the title race?

No, not in my opinion. If Chelsea were 2nd then I'd offer them a slim chance of overturning the 12 point gap (with a game in hand), but because Arsenal sit between them & United, they're relying on not one, but two teams blowing it; I just don't see that happening (I'm ignoring Man City because they've played a game more and have a weaker goal difference). For what it's worth, I still believe Fergie will seal a record breaking 19th league title to overhaul Liverpool, but Arsenal will be right with them until the end and the race for the Champions League spots between Chelsea, City & Spurs adds an extra bit of spice to the run-in... not forgetting the unbelievable scrap at the bottom with 6th place and the relegation zone separated by just 10 points!

Anyway, Chelsea's win meant the loading up on Manchester United players didn't work out as well as it could've, but there were still plenty of decent scores about and I ended Week 28 on 137 points and 60th overall. It was of course a Blog Cup week, but as has become the norm I won't be calculating the semi-final results until next week to be sure Yahoo don't ruin things by making adjustments - make sure you check back here on Monday!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Sorry if you've arrived expecting the usual Wednesday evening Player Picks post, they're delayed by 24 hours this week, expect them tomorrow afternoon - thanks guys!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Van Persie Out For A Minimum Of 3 Weeks

Robin van Persie will be missing for at least three weeks with the knee problem he picked up in the Carling Cup Final.

The Dutchman got the injury while scoring Arsenal’s equaliser late in the first half. He soldiered on until the 68th minute before being substituted.

He has to go now I'm afraid - even if you have him @9.