Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fantasy Premier League 2013-14: Gameweek 20

After a whirlwind semester abroad that feels like a dream and a crazy final week, The Blogger is back. Between more dining choices, lower prices, worse weather and lack of football culture, feelings are mixed about the change. This is as happy as I've ever been though, no denying that. Thanks to all my friends in Korea for patiently putting up with the stadium tours, and Ryan in particular for his photographs.

A plaque with pictures of the 2002 South Korea World Cup squad
Ryan and Aki present to you - The 2002 South Korea squad (can't really see them, huh? :P )

Half the season gone and the Premier League remains frustratingly impartial - 3 bad weeks could put Hull bottom, 3 good weeks could put Newcastle top. Too much wheat, too little chaff. Don't you just love it?

The January wildcard is just a couple of days away, but that doesn't mean you have to play it immediately. If you have a good team now, it might be more prudent to wait before pulling the trigger.

Hope your FPL team is doing well.

Gameweek 20 fixtures

Swansea vs Man City
Arsenal vs Cardiff
Crystal Palace vs Norwich
Fulham vs West Ham
Liverpool vs Hull City
Southampton vs Chelsea
Stoke City vs Everton
Sunderland vs Aston Villa
West Brom vs Newcastle
Man Utd vs Tottenham

Player Picks


Forwards

Luis Suarez (13.3) - After disappointing returns at City and Chelsea, the Uruguayan should be quick off the blocks at home to Hull, and back to being captain material.

Alvaro Negredo (9.8) - City have two home games in the next three gameweeks, and getting only 36 minutes on the weekend should assure his owners and prospective buyers of his game time. His price will only keep shooting up.

Marouane Chamakh (4.8) - Only for the seriously desperate, no doubt, but the least he can do with all the home games in the wildcard period is provide value for money.

Midfielders

Eden Hazard (10.2) - Despite only one striker reaching 3 league goals, Chelsea are just 2 points off top spot. The form of Hazard has been key in making them tick without contributions from up front. He's been playing a lot of minutes in a short period, but it is more likely he will get his rest in the cup than at St. Mary's.

Yaya Toure (10.0) - Rested against Palace and will be the alpha male in midfield again given Silva's suspension. If you haven't the money, Nasri (8.4) is also an option.

Kevin Nolan (6.5) - Is finally coming to grips with playing as West Ham's "striker". Trips to Fulham and Cardiff before a home game look promising.

Chris Brunt (5.0) - Priced very favourably, assisted twice against West Ham and should be on set pieces.

Ki Sung-Hyeung (4.8) - Dead cheap and is playing support striker for a recovering Sunderland team.

Defenders

Matija Nastasic (5.1) - Nastasic is a cheap route into the defence of a City team in imperious form and with good home games coming.

Laurent Koscielny (5.3) - Injury saw his owners and his price drop, and like Nastasic he is now considerably cheaper than his defensive teammates heading into a good run of fixtures.

Joel Ward (4.1) - Crystal Palace face Norwich, Stoke and Hull at home in the next four weeks. Plus, he's cheap.

Kolo Toure (4.5) - Liverpool boast the best home defence in the league and Sakho's injury should see Toure deputise, even if only for a game or two.

Goalkeepers

Wojciech Szczesny (5.8) - Will be a popular pick as Arsenal embark on a great run of fixtures.

Julian Speroni (4.5) - Price, and the aforementioned schedule for Palace.

The Blogger's Team


Waiting on the wildcard. Have had Guzan since forever!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Fantasy Premier League 2013-14: Gameweek 16

With two weeks to go before The Blogger is back at home, the end-of-stay rituals are well underway. Souvenir hunting and gift shopping cut right into the otherwise sacrosanct Thursday, but it was time well spent (They have a pet zoo with dogs, goats, guinea pigs and rabbits on top of a shopping mall!).

Galatasaray's rousing triumph, Napoli's heartbreak and the ucl_fraude clown - It's been an eventful week, huh? It's only going to get better with a December schedule that pits the current top four against each other.

Meme of the week

Gameweek 16 fixtures

Man City vs Arsenal
Cardiff vs West Brom
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
Everton vs Fulham
Newcastle vs Southampton
West Ham vs Sunderland
Hull City vs Stoke City
Aston Villa vs Manchester United
Norwich vs Swansea
Tottenham vs Liverpool

Player Picks


Forwards

Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea and Everton striker

Romelu Lukaku (8.5) - After a couple of wonderful performances away to Man United and Arsenal, Everton host Fulham and Sunderland (who've both been conceding around 2 a game away from home) in the next 3 games and travel to Swansea, who have the third worst home defence in the division.

Wayne Rooney (11.1) - For a team in crisis, 2 away goals per game isn't an untidy record and given the good schedule, the return of the Rooney-RvP partnership could kickstart their season. Wazza has served out his ban for accumulating yellows and is priced much more favourably than the Dutchman.

Steven Fletcher (7.3) - Sunderland have been among the goals lately, and their next two games see them travel to West Ham (who have a bad home defence) and host Norwich (who have a dismal away defence). There is no reason to break the template of success up front for him, but in case you aren't loaded and need a striker, he has potential.

Midfielders

Oscar (8.8) - Oscar made a return to the Chelsea team with an assist in the Champions League. The Brazilian's price dropped by 0.3 during his injury layoff and a run of three home games in four starting with second-from-bottom Crystal Palace looks promising.

David Silva, Manchester City midfielder
Silva lining

David Silva (9.1) - City's matches against fellow top four members are at home (where they have been scintillating), plus they face Fulham on their next trip and Palace at home before the new year. Silva capped his return from injury with a goal in Munich, has averaged 6 FPL points per game this season. A good option for a Gerrard replacement.

Leroy Fer (5.9) - Fer is Norwich's in-form man with 3 goals and an assist over the last 5 matches. The Canaries have two home games (Swansea, Fulham) over the next three gameweeks, including a trip to Sunderland. You could do worse.

Ravel Morrison (5.1) - He's fallen off the suspension tightrope and picked himself up, is cheap and has three home games in the next four starting with basement team Sunderland.

Defenders

Sylvain Distin (5.2) - If you picked up Coleman at 5.0 at the start of the season and still have him, kudos. If not, it's not all bad - Investment and returns on the Toffees defence are set to go up with Everton's (very) favourable schedule.

Mike Williamson (4.4) - With the top four clubs facing each other at least twice heading into the new year, the era of the Cheap Defender is upon us. Newcastle host Southampton and Stoke and travel to Crystal Palace over the next three games. Begging for attention at that price.

Ben Turner (4.1) - Cardiff host West Brom, Southampton and Sunderland over the next four gameweeks, potentially making Turner good value for money.

James Chester (3.8) - His early-season injury saw his price drop to below 4. His return coincided with trips to Arsenal and Swansea, so investors didn't exactly flood the gates. Hull have an outrageous home defensive record (bettered only by Manchester City), and have three home games over the next four gameweeks. Quite possibly the best option around for a fifth defender.

Goalkeepers

Tim Howard (5.8) - The more expensive Tim has a great long-term fixture list and with Everton performing at the level they have so far, he could be a keeper (pun intended)

Tim Krul (5.1) - Came away from Old Trafford with a clean sheet, is cheaper than Howard and has a favourable three matches.

David Marshall (4.6) - Price is on his side, and the schedule could be worse.

The Blogger's Team


The Blogger's Gameweek 16 team
Suarez + Coutinho vs Dawson. Rooney vs Guzan. YOLO.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 15

December brings with it a host of midweek games, and aren't we all the happier for it? Nothing beats starting the day with Premier League football. Waking up at 5 to nachos, dodgy streams and crazy matches? Gimme some of that!

Koala meme reacting to Liverpool-Norwich

Gameweek 15 fixtures

Man Utd vs Newcastle
Crystal Palace vs Cardiff
Liverpool vs West Ham
Southampton vs Man City
Stoke vs Chelsea
West Brom vs Norwich
Sunderland vs Tottenham
Fulham vs Aston Villa
Arsenal vs Everton
Swansea vs Hull City

Player Picks


Forwards

The forward template for success remains the same, though Rooney's suspension, Aguero's tough fixtures and heavenly form vastly push up Suarez's value relative to the others.

Midfielders

Philippe Coutinho (8.6) - Registered an assist in Liverpool's big midweek win following his derby goal, and should extend his run against West Ham.

Eden Hazard (9.6) - Has been mentioned several times here already but it is worth reiterating that he is now Chelsea's main midfield man, has been performing very well and has a good schedule pre-Arsenal.

Barry Bannan (4.4) - A goal and assist in his last three starts coupled with two decent home games either side of a trip to Stamford Bridge makes him a good fifth midfielder to have during this busy period of rotation.

Jonjo Shelvey (5.3) - Notched up 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 232 minutes of action and has a couple of good fixtures to come.

Comment: Ravel Morrison (5.1)'s fifth yellow is great news (for those other than his current owners), as he will be a fantastic cheap buy after GW15 with no suspension worries.

Defenders

Liam Ridgewell (5.1) - Having seen the back of Manchester City, West Brom embark on a hat trick of good fixtures which should see their defenders register some good returns.

Joel Ward (4.0) - Wrote at length about the virtues of picking Gabbidon (now costing 4.1) in a previous post. Expect Palace to follow up the clean sheet against West Ham with another Pulis-cooked shutout against Cardiff.

Ben Turner (4.1) - The Cardiff defender is a fantastic supporting act for Joel Ward, with the two alternating home games against mid-table and lower table teams all the way to March.

Gary Cahill (5.7) - Should continue to feature for Chelsea with David Luiz out injured. Stoke away and Palace home is a tasty recent schedule.

Goalkeepers

Michel Vorm (5.0) - The immediate schedule sees Swansea host Hull and travel to Norwich. Not too untidy.

Boaz Myhill (4.5) - See Ridgewell, Liam

The Blogger's Team


Guzan, Riether, Dawson, Turner, Coleman, Hazard, Ramsey, Coutinho, Barkley, Suarez (c), Remy
I continue to do quite alright with precisely 11 available players each week. Lucky rascal.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 14

Saturday was well-spent even if it meant missing the Premier League games. The most "relevant" thing to take away from daylight was a visit to a museum, where there were some football memorabilia among a few other interesting things.

Korea cheering prop from 2002 FIFA World Cup
A preserved cheering prop from the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which remains Korean football's most glorious month.

Dusk was experienced in the company of the the Olympic Stadium and Olympic Star Street. The Olympic Stadium is a bit run-down since its glory days, with some hockey (think NHL) played outside it by some Canadians the only visible activity that day. Plaques of the Korean heroes from 1988 and other years adorned the Star Street.

The Blogger at the Seoul Olympic Stadium


The World Cup stadium (propped up by the familiar sight of HomePlus) was a good visit as well. Going at night rendered photography a bit pointless, but it was a grand sight all the same. It took a while to walk around the entire stadium. It's a shame the home team could not retain the title, but they have made the Champions League and I wish FC Seoul all the best for next season.

(That is the most I will ever write about me or something I did. Moving on...)

Gameweek 14 fixtures

Crystal Palace vs West Ham
Arsenal vs Hull City
Liverpool vs Norwich
Man Utd vs Everton
Southampton vs Aston Villa
Stoke vs Cardiff
Sunderland vs Chelsea
Swansea vs Newcastle
Fulham vs Tottenham
West Brom vs Man City

Player Picks


Forwards

Any three of Suarez/Rooney/Remy/Aguero/Lukaku form the ideal template forward line at this time.

Midfielders

Ravel Morrison (5.0) - His owners' hearts sank when he wasn't starting, but he redeemed the points with an assist in his 14 minutes of play and should start (and deliver) midweek. The threat of suspension still looms.

Philippe Coutinho (8.6) - Was unable to start against Hull due to a late knock. Should return to the lineup against Norwich and deliver the goods.

Alex Pozuelo (4.2) - A schedule of Newcastle, Hull, Everton home and Norwich away over the next four gameweeks is enticing. Pozuelo has started the last three for Swansea, assisted at Fulham and is really cheap.

Aaron Ramsey (7.4) - Why wouldn't you?

Defenders

John Terry (6.5) - Trips to Sunderland and Stoke (who are found languishing near the bottom of the home attack table) and hosting Crystal Palace over the next three gameweeks makes Chelsea defenders hot premium property. Terry has 2 goals and an assist and has registered 22 points more than second top Chelsea defender Ivanovic.

James Collins (4.3) - Following a shutout against Fulham, hosting Palace is next in line for the Hammers with a home game against Sunderland also in the offing two gameweeks later. Expect Collins to keep delivering.

Jon Flanagan (4.5) - Liverpool have been leaking goals lately, but their home defence remains a force to be reckoned with, letting in just 3 from 6 games so far. The schedule shouldn't put a dent in that record.

Erik Pieters (5.0) - Stoke face Cardiff at home, making him a good short-term choice.

Goalkeepers

Simon Mignolet (5.7) - See Flanagan, Jon.

Petr Cech (6.2) - One clean sheet in the last 8 games isn't a good record but Chelsea should start delivering some shutouts as they face far-from-flashy opposition.

The Blogger's Team


The Blogger's Team
Self-motivation: "Better-looking teams have scored less"