Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Week 32 - Player Picks

What a disappointing end to a fantastic Champions League run for Tottenham Hotspur. The 2nd leg in North London next Wednesday is now a formality - this one is over. 4-0 did not flatter Real Madrid at all, they battered us in a way that was reminiscent of Barca's domination of Arsenal last month in a completely one sided game.

I knew we'd been in poor form so I'd predicted a defeat last night against a far superior side, maybe a couple of goals if we kept our discipline, 2-0 or 3-1, giving Harry a slim chance to turn it around at White Hart Lane. Sadly any hope of keeping things competitive were blown out the water thanks to two moments of stupidity from Peter Crouch, and to be honest it was all a bit embarrassing from then onwards, with the final 30 minutes really hard to watch.

It would be great to salvage some pride with a win next week, but you can see this Spurs squad is running on empty now and with 4th place looking further away by the week I'm fearful this was a one-off adventure. It makes me sad thinking that could be the case, because I've loved seeing my club up against the very best in Europe for the first time in my life.

If we do want it again then a monumental effort is required to lift the players for the final 8 league games. We probably need 6 wins to have any chance of another Top 4 finish, but With Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea & Liverpool still to play you have to be realistic, it's extremely unlikely.

City look set to grab that final spot, and their ability to offer Champions League football alongside mega-wages will mean they'll finally be able to attract the very best. With Liverpool sure to be stronger next season it will become incredibly difficult to crack the elite, which could mean Bale, Modric & VDV start looking elsewhere. It's such a fine line between success and failure, and unfortunately Spurs are set to end the season on the wrong side of that line.

Anyway, before I start crying, I'll move on the upcoming fantasy week. It's Week 32, a single week for all teams ahead of a double week for Arsenal, Chelsea & Birmingham in Week 33. It's important to keep that in that mind when picking your teams. With only a few weeks to go it's time to forget about discounts and pick players based on match-ups if you want to make a late surge up the rankings.

This week's fixtures:

Stand Out
MAN UTD v Fulham
ARSENAL @ Blackpool

I can't see Chelsea or United slipping up, and despite Arsenal's troubles they're up against a team in free-fall who can't defend, so it should be a comfortable away win.

Should Win
TOTTENHAM v Stoke (please!)
BOLTON v West Ham
ASTON VILLA v Newcastle

Spurs need the fans to really get behind them on Saturday and I think the may just be able to scrape a narrow win here. I expect Sunderland to snap out of their slump withh Gyan & Wellbeck causing problems & reckon Bolton & Villa can edge past their opponents thanks to home advantage.

Liverpool v Man City
Blackburn v Birmingham
Wolves v Everton

Very hard to call these either way, so I'd predict score draws all round.

Now, the players...


If you have money burning a hole in your pocket for Week 32 then Chelsea's Petr Cech is the top keeper pick this weekend with an easy home against Wigan. If you can't stretch that far then Almunia represents decent value at Blackpool. Holloway's men love to shoot so there'll be plenty of save points on offer, and I'm convinced Arsenal will win so I think he has a decent chance of a positive score to follow on from the clean sheet / 11 points picked up vs Blackburn.

Don't like Almunia? Then Brad Friedel could be the way to go at home to Newcastle. Villa are starting to get their defenders back which will make them more solid & he's dirt cheap, so I'm seriously considering him as an option. Sunderland's Mignolet is the final keeper option, home to West Brom. His value plummeted after the 5-0 hammering at City last weekend, but generally he's been in great form and he could be a nice pick to separate you from the crowd.


David Luiz was cup-tied out of last night's Champions League game but he'll return to the side this weekend, Ivanovic likely to move out to right-back & Bosingwa dropped. Bale is expensive but Stoke play centre backs at full back so he's likely to have the beating of whoever he faces - provided he overcomes the bout of cramp he suffered towards the end of the Madrid game. I also quite like Patrice Evra as an option - he's dropped in value after his penalty give-away at West Ham, so he's now affordable for the home game against Fulham.

Kolarov continues to pick up points thanks to set pieces so he'll always do well, even without a clean sheet, while Kyle Walker has been consistent since he joined Villa on loan from Spurs and has a decent home game. Gary Cahill is a bit of a hunch - he's quite pricey (out of my range) but I have a feeling he'll pop up with a goal this weekend so he could be worth the gamble if you have the cash & Phil Bardsley has been playing very well, has dropped in price after conceding a penalty last week & Sunderland have a nice fixture.

Now we come to the confusing bit - how will Manchester United line-up defensively? We know Evra & Vidic will play, but will Fergie play Ferdinand again or let him rest before the CL 2nd leg? It's an important decision as so many of us are holding Smalling at a big discount. If Ferdinand does play, then we need to know who plays right back - last night it was Rafael but he went off injured, so Fabio could be a great alternative to Smalling if he's brought back in. If all this fails & you need a cheap defender to fill that spot then Heitinga is your man.


Frank Lampard was terrible last night & I think we may be coming to the end of him him being able to perform at his very best against the very best teams, but he'll still fill his boots against the minnows, making him a fantastic pick for the game against Wigan. Nani has been benched the past couple of matches but I'm certain he'll come back this weekend & he could be on penalties if Rooney's suspension is confirmed, while Cesc Fabregas @12 is as cheap as he's been for ages and we all know his quality, so I'm seriously considering him for what will be an open game at Blackpool.

Ashley Young disappointed many managers two weeks ago with a paltry 2.5 points, but he was better at Everton on Saturday and he always gives you a chance of big score with corners, free kicks & penalties. Valencia is fantastic value at his current price representing a far cheaper alternative to Nani if you can't stretch that far, Walcott will get plenty of space to run in to at Blackpool so I prefer him to Nasri this week & Hitzlsperger didn't do much in Week 31 but it was a tough game, I'd expect more from him at Bolton.

You'll notice VDV is missing this week, and that's because the guy simply isn't fit at the moment. He'll probably play and he could score well, but I can't recommend spending £15m on a player who is struggling to complete 45 minutes. I can recommend some less obvious pick: the increasingly impressive Junior Hoilett at home to Birmingham, Sunderland set pieces taker Jordan Henderson, Jamie O'Hara at home to Everton, Tom Huddlestone (who I believe will be brought in to freshen things up) & our old favourite Bily, who had a great game against Villa last weekend and should keep his place at Wolves.

Van Persie



Wayne Rooney's two match suspension has been confirmed so Van Persie becomes the number one striker pick this weekend, with Hernandez also a fantastic option as he should lead the line at Old Trafford. Torres had another poor game last night but I'm thinking Ancelotti might give him another go as he won't have a better chance than Wigan at home to get his first goal and break the hoodoo. If not, Drogba is due a big match, but you'll need to find £18m to bring him in.

I like Gyan as an option for Week 32, I think his movement will cause West Brom's defenders loads of problems and he seems to work well with the returning Wellbeck, so I could see a goal for each of them. Sturridge is another interesting pick as he's having a great spell at Bolton and with all three of these men priced under £10m there's plenty of variety to choose from.

Darren Bent could be worth a go at home to Newcastle (although you know it's either a goal of a zero with him) and Suarez (still priced at £8m) will want to impress the Anfield faithful in their big game against Man City. Beware, his price will likely shoot up to £15m as he plays his seventh game and is averaging 12 points per week.

That's it for another week!

Obviously we have Champions League injury fallout which could still have a big bearing on whether all the above players are good picks come the weekend. For that reason, please check back on Friday for my full update post containing all the latest team news.

This is the team on my page currently...

Almunia, Smalling, Kolarov, Luiz, O'Hara, Hitzlsperger, Valencia, Lampard, Suarez, Rooney, Van Persie

However, now Rooney's suspension has been confirmed & if Ferdinand is set to replace Smalling then I'm considering quite a few changes:

Friedel, Fabio, Kolarov, Luiz, Hitzlsperger, Valencia, Fabregas, Lampard, Suarez, Hernandez, Van Persie

I haven't made up my mind on Almunia or Friedel yet and I may even switch Suarez to Gyan or Sturridge as Liverpool have a really tough game. These are decision's I'll save until nearer the deadline.

How's your team shaping up?



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

No nasri this week AM?

Anonymous said...

Always hated to see AM bloggers doing this every week. Now it looks like i'm one of them.

Anonymous said...


Linesman said...

Kol Luiz Rafael
Adam Lamps Valencia Hitz
RvP Suarez Chico

Looks like Rafael is back today. I have Downing in the background who I may switch for Adam. Blackpool's upcoming games are looking pretty favourable, but if I'm going to drop him for my DG team I will go with Downing.

AdmiraLord Nelson said...

Correction...that game was not reminiscient of Barca's domination of Arsenal as both of those teams were not as talented as Arsenal and Barcelona.

Assistant Manager said...

Matt, you don't need to correct me because talent has no relevance to the comparison I was making regarding domination - and you know it because I know you watched both games. Madrid had 30 shots to Spurs' 4, and 65% of possession. Barca had 29 shots to Arsenal's 0 and 67% possession. Stop being pedantic!


AdmiraLord Nelson said...

lol....lost 4-0 to a club who lost 5-0 to a club who we beat 2-1

Assistant Manager said...

And we beat you 3-2, so you must be fucking shit too

AdmiraLord Nelson said...


Assistant Manager said...


Anonymous said...

My screen's steaming up here ;)

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Arsenal are gonna to win the quadruple this season, and then Spurs fans can shut their mouths.

What's that?

Oh... :(

Butch Wilkins said...

stay on your feet.

Anonymous said...

Technically arsenal lost 1-3 to the club who beat Madrid 5-0. We're clearly dealing in home games, and that marks a significant advantage.
For what it's worth, Spurs had extremely shitty luck and they defended a 0-1 with 10 men admirably until the 2nd half goal. Then shit really hit the fan.

Arsenal had jack. Woulda been 0-3 if it weren't for Barca deciding to up the ante and score an own goal.

I'd take a 0-4 and 4 attempts on goal anyday over 1-3, and zero attempts

Advantage Spurs, in the battle of the London Lamenting Losers.

- Conveniently anonymous :)

Anonymous said...

I think I got a pretty solid Line up:


Ken said...

In my opinion Nik is a great ambassador for the Spurs. A true fan who can (and does) call it both ways. Rare indeed.

A few followers of other teams who support their clubs on this blog ( how diplomatic) remind me of my ex-wife...

Enough said.

FLScott said...

Gone Chelsea heavy, but I think I'll do OK? Comments welcome as always.

M. Almunia

G. Clichy
David Luiz
J. Terry
B. Assou-Ekotto

T. Hitzlsperger
Antonio Valencia

L. Suárez
D. Drogba
F. Torres

I have zero confidence in this, but frankly I've been suckin' it up lately and this may be just what I need!

Cheers and good luck to all.

Mell 10-11 said...

Really sad for the Spurs lost, but mathematically they are not out of the equation yet, remember Inter guys?:D

Anonymous said...

@ Admiral...We (Newcastle) took 4 points of u guys...and as per your calculations would mean....wait for it....wait for it....Newcastle are the best team in the world....ever. Hehe

Anonymous said...

@admiral nelson

stop supporting arsenal please, u're a shame to all of us

Anonymous said...

any reason for nani been benched for 2 games?


Anonymous said...

Nani not fit in my view.

How about Van Der Vaart? Is he injurt?

AM, answer my question, pls..

Anonymous said...

rooney's two match ban is confirmed.

source :!/GoalUK

rwlwhite said...

Anonymous @7:50 AM, if you read the article you'll notice AM does mention Van der Vaart

Nik, this time of season is always annoying for me. I'm currently 1845th and making any headway now is especially difficult as we've had 30 or so weeks of people getting to know who's going to score the points, so its often likely that the top Yahoo teams consist of roughly the same players. No difference here really; my current team is as follows:

Kolarov, Luiz, Walker
Valencia, Fabregas, Lampard, Wilshere
Suarez, RVP, Hernandez

It depends on team news re: Man U defenders though as I have Smalling at discount, so if he plays, I'm likely to drop Walker (at full price) and upgrade Wilshere. As much as I love Jack as a player, he just isn't scoring the points he deserves. I'm almost thinking he's the next Paul Scholes (fantasy-wise) - bosses the play but only gets the occasional assist and gets minus points for fouls because he's so committed! As a lot of commentators are saying at the moment, he is an exceptional talent, he just needs to add goals to his game, and then Arsenal can capitalise on Fabregas' transfer value!

Anonymous said...

Is it save to have both friedel & walker? if villa let in one i miss a CS for the both of them. I could change to almunia but seeing b'pool likes to shoot he is bound to let one slip.

Anonymous said...

Hi AM,

Thanks for the full player review. I understand that you don't have time for it all the time but they really are good so wish you can do it more often.

Anonymous said...

Great post, the blog back to it's best, thanks Nik

Ken said...


May still switch Ba for Bilyaletdinov but feel he (Ba) will get a couple shots on goal even at a tough Bolton home side.

I would like to switch to Almunia but fear that his potential over the next 3-games could be sitting well in the minus side. I see it as a big risk at this time. I say 3-games because I am sure most will consider keeping through the doubles week?

Reluctantly keeping Koscielny but will move him quickly if I need to.

Holding Adam (I do not want to drop) and Smalling until all this weeks information is in.

Good luck everyone...

Anonymous said...

Nik, Matt... It's a circle that will never end.
Eventually you can keep working that circle until you reach a conclusion that Almeria is the best team in the world :)

Regarding this week's team, I've been lost all week trying to take a decision on who to start up front with Suarez staying in the team until the end of the season, I gotta chose 2 out of Gyan, RVP, Torres & Hernandez. Until now it's RVP and Torres.
Even more, I believe that Blackpool's loss to Arsenal cannot be that bad at Bloomfield Road and Adam will definitely score some points as he always does (9 points in his team's goaless game last week) so basically I'm keeping him for sure especially that I have him for 13ish

As of now the team looks like this:

Kolarov, Luiz, Walker,
Adam, Valencia, Lampard, Reo Coker (obvious filler),
Suarez, RVP, Torres

Let's see how it goes...

Anonymous said...

If I wanted to drop Adam though, it looks really attractive switching from Adam/NRC to Henderson/Evra. Thoughts?

kwyjibo said...

@rwlwhite - you are 1845th? I am 1845th! Cheers!

My only consolation is somehow, barely, staying on top (tied for first) of the AM.Blog Fantasy CL group. Had a big lead drop to one point before this week, and now lost that last point. Fergie's Fledglings, who ever you are, good job! You'll probably take it since I screwed myself by using my wildcard I'm stuck with eliminated players.

Oh well, back to YFF. Currently:


Still holding Osman at a discount, he's scored well 4 weeks in a row, but also annoying me with constant yellow cards. He may go. We'll see.

LC said...

What about Adam to Fabricass?


Anonymous said...

Good post Nik! Tnx
but i really not fan of tottenham, and l love REAL MADRID, i hope Mancity best4
cheers Cronal

greginho said...

anyone think valencia will start?

vous en prie said...

Hey all - no love for Coleman any more? I'm holding him at 5.74, and he's been popping up and scoring nicely over the season, but I don't see anyone else really holding him. Am I missing something? He used to be all the rage on these pages (or at least a little bit of the rage, anyway).

greginho said...

vous en prie keep coleman at that cost, i think he got too expensive for the rest so nobody thinks about him. he is performing right now and you have a weapon no one else has.

Anonymous said...

Why not Van Der Vart?

Ken said...

Maybe someone could explain this continued love affair with Torres. Granted, he is a great player and plays on a top team..But he scores (1) point and only drops slightly in price where someone like C.Adam, a good player on a struggling team, scores 9 and drops (2.88).

I know we can discuss being over priced or under priced but, for the life of me I cannot come up with another player who given the same performance record as Torres over the past several weeks, who is not just holding his ground on price but is many managers pick to start...and at a time where discounts are being tossed aside on steady players to hit the "hot hand" down the stretch.

I know after posting this he will get 3-goals but based on all I read on a daily basis I just would like to know why?? I know he is "do" but based on my last several weeks I am do a 150 point week.

Just confused...nothing more.

bobb said...

maybe i'm stupid here, but anyone think that ferguson might play kuszczak against wigan, as van der sar was still struggling with his thigh (?) during the chelsea game and he may want to let him recover/not risk him for the next one?? Never going to be set in stone I know, fergie doesn't tend to let us know these kind of things, but I think I might take a punt... worst that can happen is a 0 i suppose...

Anonymous said...

I only have one decision left to make..who to replace Smalling with. I've got plenty of cash - 10.29. It's between A.Cole, Coleman, G.Cahill and Evra. I'm leaning towards Cole as he's most likely to get a clean sheet. This would mean going down the shit or bust route of doubling up on the Chelsea clean sheet, but sod it..i love a gamble.

Kolarov A.Cole Luiz
Adam Lampard Hitz Valencia
Suarez Persie Gyan

0.01 in bank. This will be my team barring injuries/team news, and possibly Cole.


fank said...

suarez-gyan-van persie


Might need to get hernandez involved though.

it'd be fabio/suarez for hernandez/heitinga though which doesn't sound too appealing...

or drop cech,


i don't know, I'm confused!! HELP!

fank said...

oh shit, sorry fabio in place of evra above. i bloody wish....

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked who no Van Der Vaart.


I thank you.

Anonymous said...

yeap, tough week this one...

need a little help here:

fabio, adam, suárez or

walker, valencia, torres

thanks in advance, big FAB week ahead...


SfSS said...

I really like my team this week, hope it reflects on score sheet in the end
Kolarov Luiz Heitinga
VDV Lampard Valencia Fabregas
RVP Sturridge Hernandez

Anonymous said...

Thinking about Aurelio (3.87), at least will be keeping an eye on further news as he appears to be training again:

With Agger, Johnson and Kelly all out he may get the nod - in the alternative it would be danny wilson who also might be attractive (filler) at 4.68

L.A. Phallusy

FLScott said...

@ Ken - You're so right mate, but here I go with Torres in front. I think it's just about time him and Drogs make something happen, and get things working again for Chelsea. And my god sir, if it doesn't happen at home against Wigan, then it is going to be awhile.

And of course the double week, and of course (you're right again) his price should damn sure be lower.


Anonymous said...

Spurs were brutally exposed on tuesday. Yes, playing for 10 men for so long was of course a massive disadvantage, but Madrid were all over them from the first kick of the game. Spurs beat an Inter Milan side playing terribly under Benitez, and a poor AC Milan side, and suddenly everyone declared a Tottenham love-in. Now they have faced one of the big boys and were ruthlessly schooled. So long spurs, you've had a one-shot season in Europe like Newcastle and Spurs, now it's back to being Man Utd's feeder club and Arsenal's bitches for you guys again.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add, I have a tiny penis

Assistant Manager said...

We're all proud of you for admitting that Mr Anonymous, well done!

LC said...

Hi guys.

Not too sure on my team yet. defence does depend on smalling.

Currently i have

Luiz, Kolorov, Heitinga
Fabregas, Hitz, Lamps, Valencia
RVP, Torres, Hernandez.

I have in the background, Smalling @ 4, Suarez @ 7 and Friedel @ 3.

Im considering going back to Suarez and removing Torres then swapping Heitinga for Steinson (Bolton)

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

AM, do you really think ferdinand will play with the 2nd leg of cl around the corner? Dont understand the smalling sell-off . .

Anonymous said...

Guys please helpp..
Hoilett or henderson or hitz ?!

Anonymous said...

I've got a rather large one, it's a bit lop-sided though...

Anonymous said...

@kwyjibo: I am the manager of Fergie's Fledgings. Honestly my knowledge of European football is still lacking, compared to the EPL. Didn't really notice that I am tied on first place. I still have my wildcard though. Don't really need it tbh as transfer costs are only 2 points.


Mell 10-11 said...

Its getting tight down the basement and interesting European quest we have there between Chelsea, City and Spurs.

Spurs are having three straight home games next but do their defense too leaky, AM?. There is a doubt on Smalling playing time regarding Rio availability. I do feel Sir Alex might rested him though

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8.47am: Why are you telling us all these? Show it to your GF instead.

Anonymous said...

No mention of VDV!.....what's going on?!!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10.49am: I'm telling you this because you love it. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

baps said...

quick question... am i mental for thinking i might pay 8.25 for robinson in goal at home to blues?

blues have got most their strikers out +no bentley, jiranek and a whole host of others....


not sold on it really.

to anon 12:50. there is mention of VDV, and also any lack of fondness for him is based on the fact he's probably not quite fit at the moment, looking a little jaded, as mentioned he could still score well at any oment, but there are lots of other good options, so it may not be worth the risk (unless you hold him at 6.xx obviously)

denil - i'm liking hoilett at the moment, although i am a blackburn fan, and he's about the only attacking threat going on at the moment for us. saying that hitz is 5.28, so it depends if you need the 2 mil difference....

baps said...

sorry, note on my own comment, crass overuse of the word 'moment' for some reason. I do apologise, not sure what came over me...

Anonymous said...

Hoillet is the man without a doubt.

Anonymous said...

I'm expecting a draw between United/fulham. So this is my team atm

Kolarov Luiz Elokobi
VdV A.Young Valencia O'Hara
VanPersie Gyan Drogba/Anelka

Anonymous said...

Anybody else picking Torres??? Maybe I'm stupid after his poor run of form, but I have a real hunch he will score against Wigan.

Ken said...

I recommend seeing a doctor about that hunch...

There was this guys once from Notre Dame who also had one. I believe he plays for Arsenal now.

Simply amazing!

Anonymous said...

Kolarov Luiz Vidic
Nani VDV Fabregas Hitzelperger
Suarez RVP Hernandez

Anonymous said...

Yeah his favourite position is hunch back...boom boom :P

why couldn't I resist?


Anonymous said...

Kolarov@4 Luiz Smalling
Valencia Walcott Lamps Bily
Suarez@7 VanP Gyan

Might still go for Torres instead of Gyan and will wait to see on Smalling. Can switch Walcott down to Fab4 if necessary.


Anonymous said...

why anelka's face always flash in my head everytime someone mention Quasimodo

Anonymous said...

i already have RVP and Chicharito. 1 spot goes to who? torres or gyan or SEB?

AdmiraLord Nelson said...

to anonymous....that's Admiral "LORD" Nelson and man up and expose yourself....

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