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.

On to the task at hand.

MAN UTD v Bolton
ARSENAL @ West Brom
SPURS v West Ham

United were hardly convincing last night & Bolton are on a good run, but they tend to get the job done at Old Trafford. Arsenal need to snap out of their funk now to keep up their title & I think they will with a win at the Hawthorns. West Ham have had a bit of revival but Spurs should have too much for them at White Hart Lane & I fancy Aston Villa to beat a Wolves side who have the worst away record in the league.

Should Win
LIVERPOOL @ Sunderland
EVERTON v Fulham
BLACKBURN v Blackpool

If Liverpool can keep up the tempo they showed vs United then I see a narrow away win for them at the Stadium of Light, with Suarez likely to shine again. Fulham are another team who find it difficult away from home so I think Everton will edge it, and I'm tipping Blackburn to scrape the 3 points vs Blackpool in a huge relegation battle at Ewood Park.

Chelsea v Man City
Stoke v Newcastle
Wigan v Birmingham

Chelsea have been on a great run recently but Man City will pack the midfield and make it very difficult to break them down, so I see a draw in the big game this weekend. Stoke v Newcastle & Wigan v Birmingham have 1-1 written all over them.

With all that in mind...

Van Der Sar


Van Der Vaart
A Young

Van Persie

That's it - I'll try to add my analysis for each position later tonight or tomorrow.

My team currently:

Friedel, Kolarov, Smalling, Walker, Hitzlsperger, Nasri, Young, Van Der Vaart, Bent, Suarez, Defoe

1.3m left in the bank.

My keeper, defence & Hitz will stay, but the rest is open to change. I accept I need to find a way to fit Nani and/or Van Persie in. This will probably mean dumping VDV and/or Ashley Young and I'll probably downgrade Nasri if RvP comes in. I'm not sure which striker to drop or exactly how my team will end up looking, but there's certainly a lot to think about.

I'll leave it there, but please check back on Friday for my update post containing all the important team and injury news. Until then, please let me know how your Week 30 team is shaping up!



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

RvP or Roo?

Anonymous said...

RvP/Hernandez or Roo/Bent

Anonymous said...

kolarov walker smalling
vdv adam meireles hitz
rvp ba suarez.
no chelsea,man u,city attacking player..
hope van persie will bounce back at his full price

Es Azman said...

My team atm :


kwyjibo said...

Great post, Nik. How can one NOT be affected by the images coming out of Japan, regardless of if you have personal ties to the country or not. It's truly a horrendous event, and they are still not out of danger. I can't even imagine what it must be like to experience something like that first hand.

Peace to all.

Anonymous said...

hey AM

what are your views on baines(arteta is injured) and giggs/valencia?


PBS said...

will Valencia play?

kwyjibo said...

OK, on to Football ...

What do people think of Demba Ba? 4 games, 4 goals, 13.88 points average. Still fairly cheap. Maybe the match-up isn't the best this week.


Osman is my only hold-over from the double week. I think he might be worth keeping @7.73. Thoughts?

If I drop VdS to Friedel, I can upgrade Ba to RvP, but still not enough for Nani. I'll have to think about that one.

Anonymous said...

second 2nd batokalf... hahaha

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post Nik. My prayers go out to all of victims and families affected by this natural disaster, and I hope Abidal and Robson make full recoveries.

On a more optimistic and fantasy football related note, my team is:

David Luiz / Smalling / Walker
VDV / Hitzlsperger @5 / Osman @6 / Nasri
Bent / Suarez / RVP @ full price (ouch)

1.13 in the bank

Should I swap RVP with Rooney? What about Charlie Adam? Any advice/comments on my team would be appreciated.

Hope all is well with everyone,


Anonymous said...

Top post Nik.

I'm having real trouble trying to decide my team this week, there are simply too many good options. Whatever you do, you're bound to miss out on a high scorer. I'm currently settled on:

Kolarov Walker Smalling
Nani VDV Hitz Nasri
Bent Defoe Hernandez

I like this team, but i'm uneasy with not having Young, Persie and Rooney.


ayb50 said...

no mention of the brutal killing in libya and some other middle eastern countries/

Anonymous said...

is Olsson a good choice ?
blackburn defender
any comments
and wat about fabio ?

Ken said...

Prayers for the people of Japan.....Hopefully the loss of life will be limited against the predictions, as property (in time) will be replaced. Families..I cannot even imagine.

A tip of the hat to you Nik for encouraging us to keep whats important in clear view during this time, and the times that are sure to follow...

Prayers to you also and your family, that they never see such a day.

Anonymous said...

It's worth to mention that Paul Scholes will be suspended for the next 2 games due to YC accumulation. Thanks AM for the great picks! always.


Anonymous said...

you just did ayb50

How about Beausejour at Birmingham. 2 goals in 2 games. I have him at 7.68 and up against Wigan. Current team.

Luiz Heitinga Bale
VDV Hitz Kuyt Lamps Osman
Defoe Suarez

Kuyt may go and Beausejour comes in. That would give me an extra 2.01 to play around with.

Up to 435th

Anonymous said...

ayb50 - I think the fact he posted this was a kind gesture, he can't list every global issue.

Thanks for the thoughtful post Nick, and great picks as always.


Anonymous said...

And great post AM - All my sympathies to our brothers in Japan and Family/Friends. Wish them the best in these dark times.


MPFC/KPM said...

Five game touchline ban for Fergie time. Also fined $30k, but that is walking around money for Fergie so I doubt it will impact him greatly.

Just curious, when Fergie is not on the touchline, is "Fergie time" still in effect?,19528,11661_6817025,00.html

Linesman said...

Thanks for a wonderful post Nik! My family's from Japan and everyone we know of is prayers and thoughts go out to all those affected, as well as the people recovering in NZ. I cannot begin to imagine what people are going through both physically and emotionally after such an ordeal.

As for my team

Kolarov Smalling Walker
Hitz Young Silva VdV Nasri
Suarez RvP

I have Silva at 7, but I will probably drop him. I could swap him straight for Valencia or think about reshuffling my midfield...

Two big decisions I'm juggling are Rooney for RvP and Bale for VdV. What do you think?

Ken said...


We offer our thoughts and prayers from within..

Not by instructing others to do so.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers to all those affected and to those that will be affected in the future from these tragic events.

Ive managed to fit both RVP and Nani into my team thanks to a cheap keeper and 4 cheap defenders.

Kolorav Smalling Walker Heitinga
VDV Nani Hitz
RVP Suarez Bent

Id prefer not to have 4 defenders and would like to drop Heitinga but that would require me to downgrade VDV RVP or Nani so i may leave it. What do you guys think?


Anonymous said...


If both at full price.

Drop Nani
Add A.Young
Use extra funds to drop Heitinga
Add Luiz

Goals seem to be for M.U Strikers lately

Anonymous said...

Thanks, i do have both at full price and if i were to drop one it would be Nani for sure. I like Luiz but if i drop Heitinga id prefer to add another mid and go with a 3-4-3.


Kellz said...

@AM: All players the same except for my Howard/Lampard versus your Fridel/Nasri

Best of luck sir :D

Martin said...

Luiz/ Huth/ Walker/ Bale
Pedersen/ Valencia/ Richardson
Bent/ Gyan/ Suarez

With plenty of cash to play around with..

Gyan could go for Ba or Chicarito

Richardson could go for a midfielder worth 10-ish

For some reason I fancy Sunderland this week though

Backcountry Dave said...

Just came across this on the Guardian site and felt I should pass it along. Amazing animation of Gareth Bale against Inter.


Backcountry Dave

Anonymous said...

Last one promise. Just can't help myself.


Maybe drop Nani
Add either Adam/Nasri

If you have zero in bank then you should have about 8.43 with dropping Heitinga.I like Maxi Rodriguez/Liverpool. Got a hunch.

If you have a nice 1.5 in the bank + 8.43 then I suggest Giggs.

Nani/Heitinga or Nasri/Giggs. No funds left Nasri/Rodriguez

gman26 said...


Welbeck is my one surprise pick, I guess. But liking the team. Don't we always have high hopes though?

Anonymous said...

Kolarov Walker Figueroa
Nani VdV Hoillet Hitz A.Young
VanPersie Chicharito

I dropped Luiz because i see a lot of cards in the Citeh/Chelsea match. i'm worried about chicharito cos you don't know what SAF will do.

Ebi/Den of Thieves

Anonymous said...

Who's this Hoilett guy and why is everyone picking him?

Anonymous said...

Very well put thoughts, AM. Since donating to relief efforts is as easy as sending a text I hope everyone here will contribute what they can.

How about Kevin Phillips as a cheap filler up front? I read he's agitating for more playing time. At 1.79 if he gets a SOT he's more than paid for himself, and if he scores ... Could be this year's Tuncay, and gives you more than two points to spend elsewhere over Carew. Who knows when Stoke will score again in the league?

Anonymous said...

Let me qualify my comment abt Stoke ... they haven't scored a goal in open play since January 4.

Joshua said...

Are you still bullish on EVDS even with the injury "crisis" afflicting the back line of Man U? No Vidic, Rafael, O'Shea, or Ferdinand.

Raconteur said...


Been trying to figure out how to contact you privately, as I thought this clip would make a great blog post in itself (if you can place YouTube Videos on blogspot) rather than just a link on a comment.

The animation is incredible, and the soundtrack and commentary made me tingle, even though i'm not a spurs fun, so I hope it has the same effect on you:

Great to see you mentioning Japan, Abidal & Robson in your opening paragraphs. These events & other things in my life have really made me think recently about the fragility of life and made me change some of my attitudes to start achieving things I keep putting off.

Assistant Manager said...

Thanks for all the positive responses guys.

Raconteur - it's great isn't it mate! I became aware of the Bale animation via Football365 last week. It truly is stunning and I recommend anyone who hasn't viewed it click the link provided.

Anonymous said...

My apologies for not knowing how all of the different tournaments link together with the EPL but will RvP be suspended for this week's game because he received a red card in the FA Cup v Barca?

- Toekicker

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on Heitinga getting more run with Arteta being injured?



LC said...

Hi guys

My team for this week is

Smalling, Walker, Kolorov
Nani, Lampard, Rodwell, Sandro, Hitzelsperger
RVP, Suarez

I know i have 2 fillers in Rodwell and Sandro but i think Nani and RVP will go very big this week. Lampard is @17 so im gonna keep him as Chelsea have a double week in a few weeks and Chelsea have good match ups.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...


RvP is NOT suspended for league matches.

And from Fantasy Football Scout: Phil Neville is a doubt for Everton after suffering a hamstring injury against Liverpool which also saw him miss the visit of Birmingham. He should come in at right-back and replace Tony Hibbert in the side, with Johnny Heitinga continuing in defensive midfield alongside Jack Rodwell.

Looks like Heitinga could be a good filler but he does have an average of 1.33 for a reason...

Anonymous said...

do you think Chicharito will be rested for the weekend? Berba hasn't played in a while and I don't want to put Chicharito in my team if he's not starting.

Anonymous said...


My team

Huth, Walker, Evra, Vidic
Adam, Pedersen, Etherington, Brunt
Jerome, Bent


Anonymous said...

Kolarov Smalling Dawson
Nani VDV Nasri Hitzlsperger
Suarez RVP Bent

Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

how long is Toure's ban? need to decide if I keep Lescott at 6.2 ?

Anonymous said...

@ToeKicker: Definately a lot of difference between the Champions League and the FA Cup, had it actually been the FA Cup then yes, but since it was a European Competition the answer is no, not suspended.

Anonymous said...


Smalling, Walker, Coleman

Giggs, Nasri, Clevery, Etherington

Rooney, bent, Defoe

Pls comment

Anonymous said...

pls help me.bale or rvp.thanx for urs helps

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the RvP clarification.
My Team:
Kolarov - Walker - Smalling - Heitinga
VDV (@6) - Nasri - der Hammer
Bent - Defoe - Suarez

Still have 16.84 left in the bank. Any suggestions? Change Defense or drop Defender to include another middie but who to drop?


Anonymous said...

currently at:Friedel

K.Walker G.Bale J.Heitinga

R.Van Der Vaart S.Nasri T.Hitzlsperger D.Etuhu

Luis Suarez J.Carew R.Van Persie

Tayo said...

@ Toekicker,
"Still have 16.84 left in the bank"... Are you kidding me??? If true, then upgrade Heitinga to Bale (confirm Bale's training ground injury status though...)

@ AM,
You're the man! But when will you be 29?

My thoughts go out to all the victims of natural and man-made disasters world-over!!!

Let's spread LOVE, not hate...

Best regards to all!

(Port Harcourt).

Birty said...

Wonder if 'Arry will do us all a favour on friday and tell us what his starting line up is for the game against the 'Ammers? I can't decide between Bale and VdV (both at full price).

Also a warning to other manager's I've picked Darren Bent and he's never done well when I've picked him.

Anonymous said...

@ToeKicker: I would definately drop Heitinga
(3.76) for Nani (19.11) A.Young (16.81) with the available funds.

Anonymous said...

wonder why S.Downing not in the list? Is he injured?

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, and O'Hara as well. anyone can confirm?

madness said...

LOL. sry Toekicker, but that RvP question had me in stitches. :D

Ken said...


Problem is, that it looks like everyone's team.
Heitinga..filler/zero (or worse) if not a clean sheet?
VDV...not sure but love match up
Adam...Hope the time off gives fresh legs..worried about yellow cards or worse.
A. Young...should be good
Hitz...Going with the flow
Bent...(WTF)has never done well with my team/everyone seems to have him/Can't find anyone so far to replace him, but continue to TRY. Have at 10.52
Defoe..picked up on door,but would really like to know (IF) he is truly a good start?
Suarez..Like him more all the time especially at current price.
Only .25 left in bank.

When I first look at my team I see a lot of potential for goals/points.

If I look at it for more then 1 minute I hate it.

I need to take chances. Currently 5th but only 63 points between 5th & 2nd in my league.

Is this the week to move ahead or just try and keep pace????

Ken said...

Sorry, but I just have to comment.

16.84 left in bank?????

Misprint I hope.

I guarantee you will get a zero with that investment.

Anonymous said...

how about torres AM? is he a good pick & will score?

Jon said...

@ Ken

An alternative to Bent at that price would be Hernandez - in good form, has a good match-up, and seems to have got ahead of Berbs.

But then, none of that guarantees him to start! Who knows what goes on in the mind of SAF?

Ken said...


Thank you. Hernandez was very much on my radar but I also have (small) concern about playing time as you mentioned. M.U Games to follow make him even more of a good choice but then we are back to playing time.

Must say I am considering Giggs at midfield to replace Bent and use slightly extra funds to help at defense but there is little to go around. My discounts mean little to me at this point as they are few and far between. It is shoot from the hip from here to the end...

Good luck to you

Anonymous said...

What about getting Carroll now that he seems to be back for Liverpool? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Nani Nasi Yossi Habsi Persi Vieri. lol.

Lamin said...

Great post as always, Nik.
I think Suarez will do well Fantasy-wise but I think Liverpool @ Sunderland will be a closer to a draw than a 'Pool narrow win. Despite their recent revival, Liverpool are poor on the road

Anonymous said...

nasri or adam??plsssss help me...

Anonymous said...

Nani if you have the funds...Adam if you have to sacrifice other good players.

Anonymous said...

Nani/filler or VDV/Wilshere ?? Who has the better matchup Nani or VDV?

Canton Gunners

Anonymous said...

"16.84 left in bank????? Misprint I hope. I guarantee you will get a zero with that investment"

I won the week last week and had 7.1 left, so it's possible to do well, or get very lucky :-)

Ken said... harm ment. I'm Jealous that's all.

Not quite sure if I have ever had more then 1.0 left after picking a team.

Hopefully, one day I will have the same problem.

Apology if I sounded/implyed anything other the envy..

Good luck this week

Anonymous said...

From BBC live text:

"Fifteen starts for Mario Balotelli in a Manchester City shirt, which have brought eight yellow cards and two reds. There's something just not quite right about that boy. I worry about him".

I don't think anyone is questioning his talent but guy is clearly a complete liability

Anonymous said...

My team

Empty Empty Empty
Empty Empty Empty Empty
Empty Empty

What do you guys recommend to make this better?

davis said...

Rather than your controversial 3-4-2 formation, I'd risk putting 11 players out and go for

Player Player Player
Player Player Player Player
Player Player Player

Hope this helps.

Ken said...

Some green beer...........

Anonymous said...

Balotelli is a complete and utter cu*t. Go spread the word. Inter did well to get rid of this troublemaking moron. Totti had the right idea...


Anonymous said...

Wow Liverpool sure do suck! Maybe Welbeck and Gyan aren't looking too bad at ~10...

Anonymous said...

Difficult to pick a team this week, lots of good options which inevitably means missing out on some big scorers. My current team (will probably change):

Hitzlsperger/Van der Vaart/Valencia/N'Zogbia
Van Persie/Bent/Suarez
2.59 left in bank

Valencia won't get 90 minutes, but he will probably see some game time and only needs to get 7 points to return his value, which frees up funds for RVP and VDV.

capiTeno said...

suprise of the week = sandro @4.08

Anonymous said...

For those of you looking for a discount defense to fit in the likes of Nani and RvP and VdV
Friedl (3.5)
Wilson (2.94)
G. Caldwell (3.64)
Heitinga (3.76)

A little different than the Howard, Walker, Smalling, Luiz line-ups.

I think all have a decent chance at a CS and should all return their value this week.


Anonymous said...

Is my squad good?
def: g.caldwell smalling luiz walker(they're all cheap :D)
mid: nasri nani rodwell
frd: RVP hernandez suarez

WHo should i change?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone mention Albrighton? He is much cheaper than Young and Downing and can do as well. I'm also considering Fabio as a variation of David Luiz.

My current team:

Anonymous said...

Comment this squad PLEASE
gk: friedel
def: caldwell luiz smalling walker
mid: nasri nani downing
frd: suarez carew rooney

or with rodwell and without carew?

Anonymous said...

how bout LAMPARD n BECKFORD? please comment on this...

D2D said...

Please help...

Which of the 3 should I choose at full price?

1. Nasri
2. Bent
3. Defoe

I am leaning towards Nasri, but I already have RVP in my side. Bent and Defoe can be hit or miss but they are against weak oppositions.

Anonymous said...

how bout downing????

Anonymous said...

just the japanies are human other not!! :S

Anonymous said...

Saved Team is
smalling heitinga walker
vdv lamps hitz Beausejour
defoe suarez rvp.
2.6 left

I could drop rvp and go 352 with nani in midfield.


Anonymous said...

Ignoring price, who do you guys think will get more points - N'Zogbia or Adam?

Ian Sanderson said...


Anonymous said...

Any comments are welcomed !
Thanks !

Kolarov - Smalling - Heitinga
Hitzlsperger - VDV - Nasri - Silva
Rooney - Suarez - RVP

andy said...

my team....

van der Vaart/Nani/Hitzlsperger

Anonymous said...

I have never posted on here but I have been reading your columns for the past 2 years. I think you had a very good column by starting it out with what is happening in real life instead of the fantasy world. I have been sending my prayers to the people involved in this horrible disaster since it happened. It is great to be playing fantasy sports but enjoy the people in your life since you never know what will happen next for you or them.

Great post and please pray for anyone involved in it no matter how a person is affected by it. These people need all the help that anyone can give to them.

On the other side, your fantasy posts are always great and I enjoy reading them every week to figure out my team and how to play the game. You do a fantastic job on it.

Anonymous said...

Everyone likes Smalling Heitinga and Walker. Iffy? Hit and miss? Cheap yet unproductive? This is a result of constantly changing lineups in an effort to get DGs the last few weeks. Not enough moolah left to make a good line up for the remaining season.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I really feel sorry for the Japs. I'm sure they could never have done anything to deserve such a fate.
That's why the Chinese are doing so much to help out too!

Anonymous said...

will Nani start?

Ken said...

To the (anonymous) person who has posted what I see as a disgusting post,(JAPS?)

Couious: What is your Heritage? Care to let everyone know your name? Team name?
I would like to be able to identify you so I can take whatever steps are necessary to avoid you.

Hard to do when you cower behind anonymous while throwing out such despicable rhetoric.

My apologies Nik: I understand that this is not the place for this. I will make every attempt (NOT) to repeat this situation...

Wang said...


kendo said...

Smalling isn't gonna return much for a lot of us just swapped osman for Valencia ?

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