Friday, 17 May 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 38

What a week it's been. The last one belonged to Sir Alex, this is definitely one to savour for Chelsea fans. Another largely forgettable mid-season has been erased by a great finish yet again. Chelsea are the only team in history to be holders of both the Champions League and the Europa League, and the only club in English football to have won every European trophy. Frank Lampard reached his personal milestone of 203 goals, and is staying at the club for another season. The next manager will get 100 million to spend on transfers. Given the dark mood that engulfed the club around this time in November, things are quite rosy and optimistic, and Benitez deserves credit for it.

The game at the Emirates painted a darker tone to the week. Not because of who won, but who lost. I don't think a single person wished this on Wigan (unless you were a Sunderland or Villa fan). Unfortunately, the club that gained global attention for their cup final victory went down because they defended like a Championship team. Joel Robles sobbing like a child into his towel when he was just on loan for 4 months from Atletico Madrid shows the passion each player had for the club.

The big storylines heading into Final Day are Sir Alex's 1500th and final game in charge of Manchester United and the battle for 3rd and 4th place. Most clubs and fans are already in a holiday mood. Be cool, but don't forget you have a fantasy team.

Gameweek 38 fixtures


Chelsea vs Everton
Liverpool vs QPR
 Man City vs Norwich
Newcastle vs Arsenal
Southampton vs Stoke
Swansea vs Fulham
Tottenham vs Sunderland
West Brom vs Man Utd
West Ham vs Reading
Wigan vs Aston Villa

Don't forget that there's an extended transfer deadline this week. It's Sunday 4 PM IST instead of Saturday 4 PM IST, so wait and give yourself enough team to absorb the injury and team news before making final changes.

Player Picks


Forwards:

Sturridge (7.4) - Liverpool should be blasting bottom team QPR into orbit and having scored 5 goals in 3 games, Sturridge should bully the R's as well.

Adebayor (9.0) - After cutting a frustrated figure for most of the season, the Togolese has finally got going. It might be too little too late for Spurs' Champions League hopes, but he should help put Sunderland to the sword.

Aguero (11.1) - City will put Norwich through the wringer in their final home game, and Aguero will be in the thick of things.

Carroll (8.2) - One thing Reading are not known for is defending, particularly away from home.

Kone (6.9) - Villa have the league's worst away defence and Arouna Kone should get in on the act in Villa's final Premier League hurrah.

Midfielders:

Coutinho (7.0) -  Liverpool should be blasting bottom team QPR into orbit and having assisted 4 goals in 3 games, Coutinho should bully the R's as well.

Lampard (8.4) - Between Chelsea's crocked/suspended midfielders and Lampard's form, it's hard to see Frank not starting and scoring in this one.

Walcott (9.2) - Newcastle have let in 9 without reply in their last two home games. Giroud's return makes Podolski a questionable pick for the game but no denying Walcott's assured points.

Nolan (6.1) - Has had a good couple of home games heading into this one, and faces Reading.

Maloney (5.4) - Home to the league's worst away defence is a chance for the Scot to rack up a good final day score.

Bale (11.0) - Of course.

Defenders:

Coates (4.4) - Rodgers chose to troll owners of Enrique last week, but you can be sure Coates will partner in the latter's final game for the club. Cheap clean sheet points waiting for them both, especially given that Remy won't play.

Clichy (5.8) - Clean sheet points there for the taking, plus good attacking potential.

Clyne (4.1) - Stoke have a terrible away scoring record, and it's not like both teams care too much anyway.

Demel (4.1) - Reading are a team centred around their goalkeeper (who thoroughly deserves his England call up) and not their attack, particularly away.

Keepers:

Reina (5.8) - Backing Liverpool too heavily, you say? QPR are away to this team, don't blame me. Plus Liverpool's home defenceis among the league's best.

Boruc (4.4) - See Clyne.

Jaaskelainen (5.2) - See Demel.

The Blogger's Team


I'll have to waste -4 on a keeper. I know.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 37

What a week it's been. The match results have barely registered following the retirement of the greatest manager of modern times, Sir Alex Ferguson. Never has one piece of news created such waves in the world sport, and the world in general (more tweets about this than Obama's re-election!). The tributes pouring in have shown what a popular manager he was among his peers, the players and the fans, while the sense of relief at the same places shows what a great manager he was as well.

The man to lead Manchester United into the new era will be David Moyes. Cue some gloating from my side over this. (Where are my $$$? Gary Neville wouldn't have called it!)

Then again, we have our own teams to lead, don't we?

Gameweek 37 fixtures


Villa vs Chelsea
Stoke vs Tottenham
Everton vs West Ham
Fulham vs Liverpool
Norwich vs West Brom
QPR vs Newcastle
Sunderland vs Southampton
Man Utd vs Swansea
Arsenal vs Wigan
Reading vs Man City

Player Picks


Forwards:

Demba Ba (7.8) - With the Europa League final coming next Wednesday and Torres being the only eligible striker Chelsea have for the competition, Ba is sure to start. Away games to relegation strugglers are usually different gravy at this time of the season, but Chelsea have a mission of their own and having put 8 past Villa in the reverse fixture, should be confident of scoring a few again.

Daniel Sturridge (7.0) - Liverpool will be without Steven Gerrard pulling the strings from deep and that could affect their general play, but the Reds face two below-par defences in the final games and it doesn't get better than this for the price.

Callum McManaman (4.5) - Defensive worries aside, Wigan become free-scoring at this time of the season regardless of the opposition they face, and lots of points have been falling his way in the last three matches. An amazing bargain up for grabs if the gamble pays off, but do you have the b*lls?

Christian Benteke (7.7) - Average 7.75 points in the last 4 home matches. Facing a Chelsea side that might be averse to risking a first choice back four pre-Europa finale. And he travels to Wigan on final day.

Midfielders:

Theo Walcott (9.1) - Has been scoring goals since his return from injury, and Wigan defend terribly.


Gareth Bale (10.9) - An off-day at Stamford Bridge shouldn't take away from the fact that he gets big points most of the time, and Spurs' remaining fixtures are far less illustrious.

Countinho (6.8) - Refer to Sturridge, Daniel

Frank Lampard (8.3) - Benitez said he's the only one sure to start the Villa game. With so much uncertainty over who'll play for Chelsea given the Europa League final, such news is pure gold.

Adam Johnson (6.8) - Has been generally good playing behind the striker under di Canio.

Shaun Maloney (5.4) - Because it's Gameweek 37 and it's Wigan.

Defenders:

Leighton Baines (7.8) - Is having a strong finish to the season, and West Ham aren't exactly free scorers whem playing away. If you're looking to buy Everton based on this and his price is balk-inducing, go for Distin (5.3)

Phil Jones (5.6) - Should play at right back given Rafael's suspension, and the chances of a clean sheet are also good.

Jose Enrique (6.0) - Like Baines, he is having a strong finish and a couple of easy ones coming up.

Dawson (4.5) - Cheap, Tottenham really need the win and Stoke have one of the league's worst scoring records (home or away).

Goalkeepers:

Tim Howard (5.3) - Worth it for this match.

Pepe Reina (5.8) - Worth it till the end

Rob Elliot (4.0) - Cheap, faces QPR, and refer to last 6 words of McManaman, Callum.

The Blogger's Team


My bid to replace Suarez is thwarted AGAIN. This time by Rafael's red card. In comes Jones.

Meme of the Week

The meme is moot now that it's all over, but for 24 hours...

 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 36

Bayern continue to show us just how ruthless they can be, while a late show wasn't quite enough to salvage Real Madrid's campaign. That Mourinho will lead Chelsea into the next season is probably football's worst kept secret even after ITV's unforgivable gaffe (more on that later) concealed the complete details. With QPR and Reading relegated, Champions League qualification and the final drop spot are officially the only plot lines surrounding this Premier League season.


As for the absence - College means work, at some point. Never mind. Just like the best teams always do, we have come back!

Gameweek 36 fixtures


Fulham vs Reading
Norwich vs Aston Villa
Swansea vs Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton
West Brom vs Wigan
West Ham vs Newcastle
QPR vs Arsenal
Liverpool vs Everton
Manchester United vs Chelsea
Sunderland vs Stoke
Manchester City vs West Brom
Wigan vs Swansea
Chelsea vs Tottenham

The Double Gamers


Juan Mata (10.0) isn’t the high-points machine that he was till March, but he is notching up consistent assists and this double gameweek seems made for him and Eden Hazard (9.6) to notch up the points given that they travel to a team that no longer cares, and will contest a high tempo home match that should play to their strengths. In terms of consistent points, little has been going for Spurs besides Gareth Bale (10.6). While the big money is on him, the smart money could well be on the now-fit Aaron Lennon (7.1).

With Aston Villa’s big win on Monday pulling them further away from the bottom three, Wigan will have to go all guns blazing in order to avoid relegation. This negates any possibility of rotation prior to the FA Cup Final. If Swansea are as listless at the DW as they were at Stamford Bridge, having Maloney (5.2) or Kone (6.8) in your team should pay dividends despite the tough Hawthorns trip during the weekend. Speaking of the Hawthorns, Romelu Lukaku (6.7) is on the double too, and on song.

Unlike Wigan, City’s league season is pretty much done and dusted, so expect a fair bit of rotation before the FA Cup Final. It’s hard to guess who will start both games, but if I were to guess, I’d go with Samir Nasri (8.1). Their first game is away to a listless Swansea (have I already said that?), who aren’t too bothered about being tight or scoring. If you have Michu (8.2), keep him, but don't consider buying him even with the double game.

The Other Guys


Villa’s big win confirmed QPR’s relegation. The now infamous image of Bosingwa in peals of laughter after last week’s condemning result goes to show that expecting QPR to play hard for pride when they couldn’t be bothered to play hard for survival is a bit rich. Good news for owners of Arsenal players – expect nice returns from Theo Walcott (8.8) and the Arsenal defence.

The blockbuster fixture of the gameweek is the Merseyside derby – always a fixture littered with action, goals, controversy and cards – your cue to avoid defenders of both teams. Daniel Sturridge (6.9) did a fine job at St. James’ (then again, who doesn’t?).

Newcastle are in dismal form. Last weekend saw them concede their 10th home goal without reply in all competitions. A team that are this dysfunctional at both ends of the pitch can’t be expected to give Sam Allardyce’s boys much trouble at home. Andy Carroll (8.2) will relish this one, while Jarvis (5.5) (who will be up against a second choice right back due to Debuchy’s suspension) wouldn’t be too untidy a pick either.

Christian Benteke (7.6) has turned it on in the last few months and has been instrumental in turning things around for Aston Villa. Even in this week of double gamers, he is surely worth considering. You should definitely hold him if you have him.

The di Canio fever was quelled emphatically by the Belgian tempest at Villa Park. A sober Sunderland, though still in the relegation fight, have shown enough under di Canio to make them favourites for shutting out a Stoke side that struggle to score away. It has to be said that buying someone playing this match may not be the best idea given all the cheap double gamers who’ll get 4 points or more just for showing up.

Reading have a Championship squad and will be in the Championship next season, while Berbatov is an injury doubt for a Fulham side who are on a run of three defeats. As with the Sunderland-Stoke tie, there are better places to look at for this gameweek.

The Blogger's Team


Not yet made transfer. Sissoko -> Maloney? Suarez -> Kone? Both? Neither? Choices...

Meme of the Week


GOTTA LOVE ITV