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.

The four of us are brining our three sites together to create what we hope is a bigger, better one. We are joining forces with and will be hosted on their cutting-edge platform. The SB stands for Sports Blog and SBNation aggregates sports blogs across many sports. They are concentrating heavily on developing their coverage of soccer and we are excited to be part of that growth.

Our association with SBNation will give us the opportunity to collaborate with people who write dedicated blogs on Premier League teams, MLS teams, and over time on other topics specific to the beautiful game. Over time we hope to find ways to give our readers a progressively better experience as we all figure out how to work together. We are in the closing stages of moving onto the platform and getting ourselves oriented to the new publishing tools. We will certainly let you know when the switchover becomes official.

The Name
A new site requires a new name. The common theme that unites all of the things we love about the blog and all the big changes that are happening is again, that the experience is more fun together and that the more people and resources we can bring to you, the better. For those of you who have been with us for a while, we thank you for helping us get where we’ve gotten and hope you continue to participate and enjoy. For those who are finding us for the first time, we hope you like what you see. For all of you, we hope that now you know this community is here, you’ll Never Manage Alone.

So yes, within the next few weeks the YFF! Assistant Manager Blog will no longer be updated and a new blog will be formed named Never Manage Alone. There is no doubt I feel sadness that this chapter is closing, but the sadness is massively outweighed by the excitement I feel about what lies ahead over at SBNation.

Truth be told, the amount of effort it was taking to run things myself had gone beyond what I have time for (you will have noticed the weekly 'Player Picks' towards the end of last season often came without any analysis) and with my day-job becoming more demanding and wedding plans on the horizon, there was a realistic possibility of shutting down this blog at the end of last season.

It was only when discussions began earlier this year about a potential collaboration that everything started to make sense; I realised a partnership would enable me to continue blogging and that a new site with the combined efforts of myself and three knowledgeable, talented football writers would enable us to cover a far broader spectrum of the football world and enable us to delivery a better quality experience for our readers.

To everyone who has read and contributed to the Assistant Manager Blog over the past 2 seasons, I cannot thank you enough for helping me build this incredible community. Without your loyalty I would never have made it past the first month, so I hope you will come with me to 'Never Manager Alone' over at SBNation when the switch occurs later this month - and help us build something even greater!

Now lets got on with the football - and it's update time. I'll add to this throughout the day...

Injury Update/Team News

- First off, it has been confirmed that the only game postponed due to the riots is Tottenham vs Everton, so you can ignore players from these two sides. The remaining nine Premier League fixtures will go ahead as planned.

- On to team news, and we start at Arsenal. As expected Cesc Fabregas & Samir Nasri have been excluded from the squad to face Newcastle as they're set to seal their moves to Barca & Man City within the next 48 hours.

- Better news for Gunners fans is it appears Thomas Vermaelen, Robin van Persie and Kieran Gibbs have all been passed fit. Wenger confirmed this on yesterday evening and it will probably mean a serious reshuffle of fantasy teams around the globe. Arshavin is also ready despite a knock picked up for Russia, and Walcott is in the squad after recovering earlier than expected.

- Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez are both lacking match fitness and Mancini has stated they are "not ready for 90 minutes" so you'd imagine Dzeko & Balotelli start against Swansea. Richards should start at right-back.

- Kenny Dalglish had suggested Luis Suarez will be involved but would not confirm whether he'll start, so Andy Carroll seems the safer bet if you want a Liverpool striker in your team. Gerrard & Skrtel are out, Glen Johnson faces a late fitness tests, otherwise expect a back four of Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio (I'm assuming Enrique was signed too late to feature?).

- Ferguson has confirmed Patric Evra is a big doubt but didn't let on who would replace the Frenchman if he doesn't make it. One would guess Fabio at left-back, but Evans could also play there. No word on whether it's Smalling or Rafael at right-back, so probably best to avoid. Young & Nani are both set to start, Rooney will lead the line, Hernandez is out.

- Fernando Torres is in the Chelsea squad after recovering from a mild concussion but Drogba is being tipped to start ahead of him in Andres Villas-Boas' 4-3-3 formation. David Luiz is a doubt, Bosingwa should take the right-back spot with Ivanovic out and Daniel Sturridge is suspended after his sending off at the end of last season.

- Further Arsenal Update - Wenger has revealed in his press conference that Van Persie and Gibbs will have late fitness tests. They'll probably make it but it is a concern.

More news and analysis on team news injuries here:
ESPN Update

and here:
Fantasy EPL Injuries & Suspensions

Finally, I've decided not to list my current team in Week 1 as everyone is paying the same price for players and therefore there's a chance of lazy people directly copying me. To be honest I'm still deciding; first week is always a tough one.

Good luck!


p.s. If you play the Official Fantasy Premier League game then we have a private league set up from last season which has renewed - the code is 16242-231725.


Anonymous said...

so this blog will be terminated?

Chikuera [AM.Blog]

DeviLxDeviL said...

Sound awesome about the partnership. But hmm why don't you remain this site...

Assistant Manager said...

This blog will probably stay online but it will no longer be updated with any content once the switch takes place later this month. From that point onwards my Players Picks/Update posts etc will go directly on to 'Never Manager Alone'. I hope I'll have your support over on the new site!

Ian Sanderson said...

Very sad news.
This blog, written soley by Nic, is by far the best for YFF, other contributers will diminish rather than enhance the quality.
I do, however, understand that it was getting too much and obviouly Mrs AM has shown who wears the trousers :)
See you at the new blog despite the awful name.

Syd with a 'y' said...

Hi Nik,

Sounds like good news all round ! Thank you for all of your hard work in figuring out who the good players are each week and generosity in sharing your knowledge with us.

I didn't follow NCNB but I've been reading Jeremy and Neal for the last couple of seasons too. As long as you're still doing the player picks, all is good in the world (Jeremy falls in love with players too easily ! ;-)

You've improved my knowledge of the game and made it far more fun to follow.

Give the man a hand...

Assistant Manager said...

Thanks guys!

I understand nobody likes change, but hopefully you'll all enjoy the new site once it's up and running. Not everyone will like the name but everyone will remember it, which is pretty important!

I can also assure you that I will still be doing my Weekly Player Picks over on NMA.

Bitsketchy said...

Hi Nik,

I was just wondering - I wrote some interesting articles (well they were deemed interesting by the forums) over at last year and I plan on doing quite a lot more statistical analysis this season. I don't intend on keeping that blog running (it really does take a lot of work doesnt it!) but wondered if you wanted me to send you any highlights that I come up with? If so let me know -

Looking forward to the new format....

Scott said...

AM - bummed to hear of the shake-up in the blogosphere but I certainly understand the administrative demands that manning the ship must place on you...I can only hope that some of the elements that make this blog superior to all others (namely the chat room and sense of community) will migrate over to the new site. I worry that the special feeling of this blog will be lost or, at the very least, diluted as a result of the "merger" (if for nothing else because the focus will be on two different fantasy games, not solely the YFF game) but I will remain cautiously optimistic that it will endure. And shame on you for "getting in bed" with a Gooner. ;)

On to this week...I really had settled on a line-up that I was pumped up about that included VdV and BFAY in MF which obviously had to be reshuffled with the news of the match postponement at WHL. However, with the report that Gibbs and RvP are both fit, I think I found a way to fit in both RvP and a BFAY (who I still do prefer to Nani despite the Community Shield match)...very happy/satisfied with this team for the opening weekend:

Riise Gibbs Aurelio
Silva Taarabt Moses BFAY
Dzeko Carroll RvP

Assuming I can get comfortable with Aurelio starting at LB, an provided there are no definitive pronouncements re: Aguero today, this cod very well be my inaugural team of the season.

Doctor Teeth

Ken M. said...

Personally, at my age change comes slowly. Still trying to figure out my VCR.

Hopefully we won't lose you Nik in the new world of the (NMA). When ever possible let us know your in there with some personal observations possibly stamped with the (AM) logo following some picks or profiles?

Personally I think a better name for the new site would have been...

copycats paradise?

Disclaimer: The above comment is intended as a joke and the author in no way accepts responsibility for it's interpretation or even the content itself.

Good luck everyone this OPENING WEEK!

devil may cry said...

Like what most of us here i feel sad hearing this blog will be discontinued but i'm glad for your new partnership with other awesome parties to create a new website. Hope i won't miss this website too much after using it for 2 seasons.

Anyways how's your team shaping up after the update, Nik? I'm thnking of slotting in RVP and Gibbs after they have been declared fit :)

Papa Bear said...

Well...i am extremely happy at the move...i always was with neal and Jeremy and then started reading AM two season now....but going back n forth from site to site was kinda tedious too :)...

So i am greatful for ONE BIG SBNATION BLOG....and with the Nick guy i think i might try the official league this season too...

Thanks and i look forward to the future

Macgill said...

Currently on

Agger Richards Vermaelen
Taraabt Silva Nani Moses
Gervinho Suarez Dzecko

But with the news that RVP, Walcott, and Arshavin are all fit it makes me a little nervous about Gervinho which has me thinking of a possible switch of Richards, Vermaelen, and Gervinho to Gibbs, Riise, and Ba

My only comment on the closing of this blog and the beginning of a new one is that I would have chosen a name that didn't have such a team bias. Man Utd and Everton fans probably won't appreciate the new name. Other than that I'm excited to see what happens although I will agree with everyone that I'd love to see your suggestions starred.

The Relegated said...

Thanks for a great blog. Will definitely be migrating. Any news on Suarez or Aguero (or any Pool or Man City Strikers)?

Assistant Manager said...

Post updated with more news - pls see above.

Macgill - re: the NMA name, none of us are Liverpool fans, so despite the similarity to a certain chant I can't see there being any bias in the name. We thought it was quite witty and basically sums up the point of the blog, but as I said, some people won't like it. The fact it's drawing comments (positive and negative) is probably as good thing :)

DJ PIGG said...

Your input (and that of J&N) has been invaluable over the last two seasons; there's no way I'd not follow you on to Never Manage Alone!

I've a 70th birthday to go to tomorrow afternoon (with an ex-Tory MP and a police officer in attendance!) so I'll not be able to follow events as they unfold. It's going to be AGONY!!!

Good luck everyone!

Macgill said...

Very true, and in no way is the name of the blog going to affect the great content I'm sure it will produce!

@The Relegated -

Suarez is "in contention"

Which I think suggests he will probably be starting as he was easily their best player down the stretch last year.

As for Aguero, I've read in a couple places that Mancini is saying that he may play but if he does it would most likely only be for 45 minutes. Doesn't sound too promising

Anonymous said...

Currently sitting upon:

De Gea
Riise/ Gibbs/ Fabio
Taarabt/ Downing/ Young/ Duff
Dzeko/ Gervinho/ Carrol

Not too sure whether to swap Duff out for Etherington. I'm just not convinced that Duff will have a high enough scoring week.

Anonymous said...

so who's going to start in the arsenal midfield, nik?

Assistant Manager said...

An update - Wenger has revealed in his press conference that Van Persie and Gibbs will have late fitness tests. They'll probably make it but it is a concern...

Alex said...

moses or dzeko? moses had great performances during preseason while dzeko still hasn't impressed. any opinions?

kendo said...

I was in spain this week and watched the villareal game Moses played well and scored

Thomas said...

No enrique is in the squad for tomorrows game

DavidKBritt said...

Congrats on the upcoming virtual move, Nik. The only thing I hope for NMA is that you and J&N keep independent views. Having the two sites was great as a way to get a second opinion on things. I wouldn't want to see them merge into a single viewpoint.

As to the upcoming week, I've got:

Richards, Gibbs, Kelly
Taarabt, Ramsey, Silva, Nani
Gervinho, RvP, Holt

Heavy on Arsenal, I know, but I like their chances against what seems to be a weakened NUFC side even away from home. I think that's the prime match of the week, mostly because it's impossible to figure out who will get the points for ManC.

Anonymous said...

Riise, Aurelio, Richards
Taarabt, Silva, Watson, O'Hara
RvP, Balotelli, Carroll

Quite a conservative line-up with a few less-picked players throw in to see if they paid off. I actually dreamt that Gibbs will get red against Newcastle, that's why I am avoiding him. Not sure not I didn't dreamt that Balotelli get red, seems the more likely of the two to get one...

AdmiraLord Nelson said...


Im Suares (I was torre$) said...

Sounds awesome Nik! Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

My strange lil team

J.Riise D.Agger K.Gibbs
A.Taarabt V.Moses A.Young F.Malouda
M.Balotelli E.Dzeko A.Carrol

Geoff said...

Love the combo Nik! I've been following Neal and Jeremy for a while, and have respected NCNB for a while. I think the new format will be great, and frankly, as a Liverpool fan I love the new name.

You guys provide a standard of excellence that makes the fantasy experience all the more fun. Bravo - and good luck on your upcoming marriage! Coming up on 5 years myself - marriage is great.

chrism said...

Hey Nik,

I understand. But you have been a blog superstar, the stud in the EPL blogosphere. You are going to miss the love.

Serious question, what is going to happen to the chatroom or what should happen, you can reply here and on Hans chatroom regular facebook page.

all the best

Ban said...

Cheers Nik!

You are the best! Really!

For the previous season, I got into first place for my private group with this blog!

Even will no longer be updated with any content once the switch takes place later this month, but I believe wherever you are, your soul, your spirit with with us!

Here, I am Ban. As a supporter here! As a joker in chat. What a FAMILY chat i had for the previous season. Thanks NIK! Hope You get it!

Smile, It is Simple!

greginho said...

is ba or holt a better pick

Azree_Msia said...

Dear all,

Please join Predator League Malaysia.

Group ID: 512
Password: 12345678

Now we have 99 teams. Need one more team

Thanks in advance

Ken M. said...

O'Hara possibe injury/knee.

Check injury reports.

Just saw this.

kwyjibo said...

Best of luck, Nik, with the new blog. Can't make everyone happy, but you gotta do what you gotta do. As someone with a full time job and two kids, I know exactly what it's like to have no time! So, I understand that it's tough to keep the blog going on your own. Looking forward to the new blog!

On to football. Made a whole bunch of changes. Because of the time zone, deadline for me is 7 in the morning, so not sure if I will wake up on time for any last minute news. So this might be it:


Here is an interesting stat:

David de Gea conceded more goals from shots outside the area (11) than any other keeper in the Spanish league in 2010-11

And, it showed with that shot from Dzeko. Then again, at that price, I think he's a season keeper. Especially after all the keeper problems last season, it would be great to just stick to one this year and not worry about it.

Well, most of all, GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

skkmanteiv said...

Which one is better in these two?
Vermealen + Rampsey + Dzeko + Young
Gibbs + Smalling + Aguero + Nani

Thank you,
Good Luck Everyone

Eldwin said...

Aww Nik, I really loved this blog! Your weekly analysis is so different than others in that you actually have detailed explanation/reasonings to your picks. I've went to others, some are just discussion with people posting their lineups, but yours is by the far the best I've stumbled upon.

That being said, I will still follow you to the new site! :)

madness said...

Yaya or Dzeko ?
I personally like Yaya much more but then again, Dzeko is a striker...

gunner said...

guys plz help dzeko or hoolahan??? i already have silva

Louis said...

Based on injuries etc I have come up with the following team.

De Gea
Riise, Gibbs, Bosingwa
Nani, Silva, Taraabt, Moses
Rooney, Dzeko, Gerviniho

What do you think?

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