Gameweek 14 preview

Man City v Chelsea
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Spurs v Swansea
Stoke v Burnley
Sunderland v Leicester
West Brom v Watford
West Ham v Arsenal
Bournemouth v Liverpool
Everton v Man Utd
Middlesbrough v Hull

December is upon us. A six week slog culminating in the festive fixtures. You get £60 if you finish as manager of the month. Eyes down.

Whereas Chelsea’s lack of European action seems to be working out just fine – an unchanged first XI for seven consecutive games is a fantasy manager’s dream – the same can’t be said for Liverpool, who despite also being free from foreign travel, are seeing their much vaunted attacking options dropping like flies.

Biggest headache of the week is dealing with the Coutinho injury. The most popular player in the game before last Saturday’s fixture against Sunderland – his value has plummeted by £0.3 million in the space of a few days. Managers were so quick to get rid of him even before the length of the lay-off was announced. Those waiting till the end of the week to make their change might not be able to bring in their desired replacements as a result of the drastic price drop.

As well as the injury to Coutinho, Roberto Firmino also picked up a knock. Daniel Sturridge is out again and there’s no sign of a return for Adam Lallana, although both he and Firmino are tentatively pencilled in for the Bournemouth match. Klopp might have to play some actual defenders and attackers. Divock Origi is in with a shout having scored in both the victory over Sunderland and the League Cup win in midweek. And Emre Can offers a dirt cheap way into the midfield at £4.8 million. He’s started the last six league matches anyway and scored two goals in that period.

Chelsea conceded their first goal in seven against Spurs last weekend and now they come up against a Manchester City side who have only failed to score once this season. Chelsea will undoubtedly name that same trusted starting XI, but Guardiola has been teasing us with some unpredictable line ups of late. Last week Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva started on the bench – Ilkay Gundogan and John Stones didn’t even make it that far. For arguably their toughest game of the season to date, he’s got to name his strongest XI. Shame no-one seems to know what that is.

Away from the top three, who in truth don’t offer much captain material this weekend, Spurs’ home tie against Swansea is definitely worth looking at. There are plenty of armband options and potential Coutinho replacements. With a bit of tinkering, Harry Kane leads the list. His post injury form isn’t bettered by many and Swansea’s defence are the cheapest for a very good reason. If Palace can score four aganst this lot…

Gameweek 13 results

same Uriah Rennie 2nd XI
Neil Greenwood
65 727
same QUEEN OF THE NORTH
DORINE REACHER
66 721
up The Craggy Islanders
Adrian Roche
53 698
down Neil Madrid
Neil Strong
46 695
up Yeboah’s Right Foot
Paul Murray
51 694
down Kebab Eaters Utd
Paul Howard
38 690
down nO fucHs given
Paul Callaghan
42 689
up 4 Fuchs Ake
Jason Earwicker
56 688
down Aquamar 15
Noel Driver
36 687
10  up Hedgehog Corpse FC
Nick Smith
62 686
11  down When Harry met Alli
Trevor Gordon
63 685
12  same 30:19
Darren Lavelle
52 674
13  same greenyteamy
adam greenwood
44 666
14  up Biscuitmen
Chris Morton
61 664
15  up Edgbaston
Micheal Dinneen
54 661
16  down To Elland Back
Alan Hardy
43 661
17  up Rip Roaring Reds
Sean Whyton
64 660
18  up INIT FC
Mustafa khan
57 648
19  up Atlético Chappers
Richard Chapman
59 647
20  up Joey Bosa
Paul Bentz
55 645
21  down RICO UNITED
JASON REACHER
34 643
22  down Go Buffoons Go
Jitesh Lakhani
38 643
23  up Ciderheads
Darren Pope
58 642
24  down Cooksters
Peter Cook
34 636
25  up Crazy Legs XI
David Caldicott
51 635
26  down Your Ad Here
Matthew Hopkins
44 632
27  same FTM
Stu Smith
51 631
28  same Golden Boys
Stephanie Cripps
61 630
29  up Release The Hounds
Paul Mitchell
57 626
30  up Jeff Lamp’s Porsche
David Spinks
57 625
31  up romeoshondavan
Rob Hewer
70 615
32  down Racing Club Skegness
Andrew Swift
42 612
33  up Hucking Fell
P Hawkins
59 608
34  same FC Caligula
Ajay Supeda
53 606
35  down Real Jorvik
Simon Brown
38 599
36  down RG XV
Ryan Garoghan
39 594
37  up Jarvis FC
Matt Jarvis
69 593
38  up Have a little dink
Ian Williams
68 585
39  up jetty city
scott mcgow
66 579
40  down Upper Bullens
Andy Taylor
51 576
41  same Shoelace Untied
Caroline Strong
55 574
42  same Bakerlona
Stuart Baker
56 573
43  down Pretty Schitty City
Alex Michaluk
45 572
44  same Pepe Le Blue
DEAN CRIPPS
56 571
45  down Big White Chiefs
david frankland
42 569
46  same I am not Zlatan
Colin Goulding
66 554
47  up DJ’s Trail Blazers
Danian Jones
60 535
48  down Bermie Utd
Glen Davies
34 520
49  same Bish Bosh Goal
Simon Purnell
41 506
50  same Pudding And Pie
John Seacroft
42 495
51  up bazza 28 united
laura barrett
50 490
52  up Jarv88
Paul Jarvis
60 481
53  down Dj daz
darren frankland
25 457

 

We have our first gap opening up at the top of the table. We’ve a two team brekaway. Uriah Rennie 2nd XI and Queen Of The North move past the 700 point mark with healthy weekly scores of 65 and 66. The gap between QOTN and The Craggy Islanders in 3rd is 23 points. Then only 13 points separate the next nine teams. In fact, an inspired captain choice and prevailing wind could see teams as far down as maybe Rip Roaring Reds in 17th climb the league and land somewhere in the top ten and within shooting distance of the prize money.

November manager of the month goes to Greenyteamy who held off challenges from a number of teams to hold on to the lead they’d established after last week’s matches. Only Yeboahs Right Foot and Hedgehog Corpse of those featured in the monthly table appear in the overall top ten. This may explain the tightly packed nature of the mid table. Other than our leading pair and Hedgehogs, the rest of our top ten had a fairly uninspiring week in which they limped to an around-average score. Much the same as last week. And the week before.

 

same greenyteamy
adam greenwood
44 172
up Hedgehog Corpse FC
Nick Smith
62 168
up Pepe Le Blue
DEAN CRIPPS
56 168
up Biscuitmen
Chris Morton
61 167
up Have a little dink
Ian Williams
68 164
down Yeboah’s Right Foot
Paul Murray
51 163
down Racing Club Skegness
Andrew Swift
42 161
up Ciderheads
Darren Pope
58 161
down FTM
Stu Smith
51 161
10  up jetty city
scott mcgow
66 160

 

 

Buckets stalwarts, Romeoshondavan, scored the highest weekly score. More than half of their 70 point total came courtesy of old faithfuls Sergio Aguero (as captain) and Alexis Sanchez. Before the week started, Philippe Coutinho was not only the most picked player in the game, but also the most transferred in and most popular captain of the week. He lasted 36 minutes. The rap he took to his ankle looks like it might rule him out until the New Year. There was potential for a Sunderland trouncing at the hands of the Liverpool midfield, but it never transpired, and left a lot of managers cursing their luck.

The nine goal thriller served up by Swansea and Palace provided us with six of the ten players who managed double figure scores this week. They’re not among the most popular teams with fantasy managers. I know a couple of Buckets teams have Christian Benteke clogging up their attack. His ownership across the whole game is only at 6%. More surprisingly perhaps is that Gylfi Sigurdsson appears in only 5.2% of teams in the game as a whole. Maybe his value seems a little high. But, he’s a top ten midfielder, has played virtually every minute of Swansea’s last nine games and has contributed meaningful points in seven of them. Basically if Swansea score, he’s usually somewhere in the mix.

 

Player of the week – Fernando Llorente – 15 points. Collected in 25 minutes.

Bargain of the week – Leroy Fer – 14 points. His 5th and 6th goals of the season. Only Hazard and Sanchez have more in the midfield.

Donkey of the week – Kyle Naughton – -1 points. A clean sweep. His fourth donkey in three years.

Goal of the week – Pedro. Finally worth considering him for your fantasy team. At 3m25s

Gameweek 12 preview

Man Utd v Arsenal
Crystal Palace v Man City
Everton v Swansea
Southampton v Liverpool
Stoke v Bournemouth
Sunderland v Hull
Watford v Leicester
Spurs v West Ham
Middlesbrough v Chelsea
West Brom v Burnley

We’ve a mixed bag of casualties and fitness uncertainties courtesy of the international break. Some of the big hitters didn’t even play. The only thing Roberto Firmino and Sergio Aguero need worry about is a touch of jetlag, whereas Mesut Ozil may not have even left the country, having been completely rested for Germany’s two games.  The same can’t be said for Philippe Coutinho or Alexis Sanchez. Coutinho, now the game’s most popular player with a 47% ownership, played virtually every minute of both of Brazil’s games, only coming off towards the end of the victory over Peru on Tuesday. Sanchez allegedly suffered an injury in Chile’s first game of the break, only to take the field in heavy strapping for the second game. He scored two and played 86 minutes. They both appear to have returned injury free, but how fresh?

Diego Costa and Eden Hazard’s values could have gone through the roof given their recent performances, but early injuries tempered the transfer scramble and kept them affordable. Costa was another not to play a minute having succumbed to a groin complaint. Eden Hazard got a knock in Belgium’s defeat of Estonia and came off at half time. Both have declared themselves fit. That’s declared THEMSLEVES fit. Their manager might have other ideas. The extra day to recover should work in their favour. If you were going to go Chelsea mad, it looks like that’s still an option.

Gameweek 11 results

same Uriah Rennie 2nd XI
Neil Greenwood
46 623
up QUEEN OF THE NORTH
DORINE REACHER
59 622
up Kebab Eaters Utd
Paul Howard
69 620
down Neil Madrid
Neil Strong
57 619
same Aquamar 15
Noel Driver
60 615
down nO fucHs given
Paul Callaghan
49 613
same The Craggy Islanders
Adrian Roche
63 609
same When Harry met Alli
Trevor Gordon
56 597
up Yeboah’s Right Foot
Paul Murray
60 591
10  down To Elland Back
Alan Hardy
47 586
11  down 4 Fuchs Ake
Jason Earwicker
50 585
12  up Hedgehog Corpse FC
Nick Smith
66 584
13  down 30:19
Darren Lavelle
46 579
14  same RICO UNITED
JASON REACHER
54 577
15  down Rip Roaring Reds
Sean Whyton
38 572
16  up greenyteamy
adam greenwood
77 571
17  down INIT FC
Mustafa khan
58 570
18  up Cooksters
Peter Cook
74 569
19  down Edgbaston
Micheal Dinneen
57 567
20  down Go Buffoons Go
Jitesh Lakhani
55 560
21  down Joey Bosa
Paul Bentz
50 550
22  down Atlético Chappers
Richard Chapman
48 550
23  up Your Ad Here
Matthew Hopkins
52 542
24  up Jeff Lamp’s Porsche
David Spinks
54 541
25  up Racing Club Skegness
Andrew Swift
87 538
26  down Biscuitmen
Chris Morton
40 537
27  up FTM
Stu Smith
62 532
28  up Ciderheads
Darren Pope
47 528
29  down FC Caligula
Ajay Supeda
52 527
30  up Real Jorvik
Simon Brown
62 526
31  down Release The Hounds
Paul Mitchell
42 526
32  down Crazy Legs XI
David Caldicott
43 526
33  down Golden Boys
Stephanie Cripps
52 524
34  down RG XV
Ryan Garoghan
49 519
35  down romeoshondavan
Rob Hewer
53 511
36  same Hucking Fell
P Hawkins
52 508
37  down Upper Bullens
Andy Taylor
25 485
38  same Jarvis FC
Matt Jarvis
42 484
39  up Shoelace Untied
Caroline Strong
54 483
40  down Bakerlona
Stuart Baker
31 478
41  down Pretty Schitty City
Alex Michaluk
44 477
42  up Big White Chiefs
david frankland
60 473
43  down Have a little dink
Ian Williams
51 472
44  up Pepe Le Blue
DEAN CRIPPS
68 471
45  down jetty city
scott mcgow
41 460
46  same I am not Zlatan
Colin Goulding
47 450
47  up DJ’s Trail Blazers
Danian Jones
55 446
48  same Bermie Utd
Glen Davies
36 434
49  down Bish Bosh Goal
Simon Purnell
44 432
50  same bazza 28 united
laura barrett
31 417
51  same Dj daz
darren frankland
54 406
52  up Pudding And Pie
John Seacroft
51 403
53  down Jarv88
Paul Jarvis
42 395

 

Friday’s preview highlighted the rising stock of the Chelsea team and I don’t know why I didn’t take my own advice. Their fifth consecutive clean sheet and their fifth consecutive victory. They were the only team to keep a clean sheet this weekend. Only 11 defenders collected anything but their appearance points and four of them play for Chelsea. Eden Hazard scored his fifth goal in four games and registered the highest score of the week. His overall performance merited much more than the 19 points he achieved. He’s an absolutely essential buy at the moment.

So, it’s just typical that a two week international break should come along. Although it does give you plenty of time to figure out exactly how to wedge him into your team. But with each passing day there’s the danger that his value will edge higher and higher. It had already jumped from £9.8 to £10 million over the two gameweeks before the Everton game. There’s every chance it’ll increase by the same amount, or maybe more, come the gameweek 12 deadline.  And the same goes for absolutely everybody else in the Chelsea starting XI at the moment from Courtois to Costa.

No less impressive were Liverpool, hammering six past Watford. Their front four all returned double figure scores. It was Philippe Coutinho’s fourth – a feat only matched by Hazard and Alexis Sanchez. Mane, Lallana and Firmino have all managed three each. They occupy four of the top twelve scorers overall – four of the top eight midfielders. If you’ve still got a wildcard, gameweek 12 looks like a perfect opportunity to play it. At whose expense might be better looked at in the preview in a fortnights time. A few injuries to Arsenal, Spurs and City players over the international break will make that decision a bit easier. Here’s hoping.

Racing Club Skegness were far and away our highest scorers of the week with 87 points. There were only two other managers in the 70’s. Greenyteamy opted for Firmino as captain. He contributed 30 of their 77 points. Cooksters 74 points came with a 38 point contribution from Hazard as captain. Skegness also went with Hazard, but also benefited from Coutinho’s contribution, a resurgence from Wayne Rooney on his recall to the Manchester United squad and Sam Vokes’ 11 point return, which puts him at the top of the budget striker picks. His current form is bettered only by that of Costa and Romelu Lukaku.

 

Player of the week – Eden Hazard – 19 points. Goal of the week too.

Bargain of the week – Robert Snodgrass – 14 points. Back with immediate effect.

Donkey of the week – Jose Holebas – -2 points. A lot of managers won’t be happy with him – a form budget defender in a lot of teams. Picked up a ban too.

Goal of the week – Eden Hazard. His second goal from a slightly odd angle.

Gameweek 8 preview

Chelsea v Leicester
Arsenal v Swansea
Bournemouth v  Hull
Man City v Everton
Stoke v Sunderland
West Brom v Spurs
Crystal Palace v West Ham
Middlesbrough v Watford
Southampton v Burnley
Liverpool v Man Utd

It appears most players have returned with a clean bill of health from their international travails, although there’s always a question mark over those flying further afield. Alexis Sanchez and Philippe Coutinho were rested on their return from South America last time and I guess it could happen again. Some teams can afford the luxury of dropping key players with plenty in reserve. That might be a particular annoyance to Sanchez owners with a home tie against Swansea this weekend and the potential for him to fill his boots. Serio Aguero was mid-suspension during the last international break. It’ll be interesting to see how Guardiola approaches the situation. And he did allegedly pick up an injury in Argentina’s first match against Peru, yet still played in their second against Paraguay. Kelechi Iheanacho looks more than a capable stand in these days, although he has been to Zambia and back himself in the last week.

The more serious injury concerns happened within the England squad. Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana are the in form English players of the moment. Neither played either international. Lallana was injured in Liverpool’s last game and Sterling pulled out of the squad. If you believe internet reports, it doesn’t look promising for either player, although Lallana does have a few extra days to prove his fitness. Tom Heaton was also withdrawn after the first qualifier. The competitions leading keeper picked up a ‘minor’ calf injury and is listed as 75% fit. God knows what that really means.

Stoke’s luck could be about to change. Despite the worst goal difference in the league, having scored the least and with only West Ham conceding more, their run of fixtures into December all look eminently winnable. They play seven consecutive games against teams in the bottom half of the table, starting at home against Sunderland this weekend. They’ve yet to keep a clean sheet, but crucially have stopped shipping threes and fours. Shay Given bore the brunt of their worst performances and was replaced by Lee Grant, who in the last two games has accumulated 7 points. He’s another £4 million reserve keeper with almost guaranteed game time. That is until Jack Butland returns – and that appears to be some time in mid November. He keeps a Premier League clean sheet one in every three games. Stoke could be mid table by Christmas.