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Week 1 Premier League Fantasy Review

Follow the story of an avid fantasy player through the Premier League season. Join this weekly edition for the best in tips, strategy and heartbreak. 


Current Lineup:

Federici (Foster)

Pearce Ivanovic A. Cole (Hangeland McCartney)

Bale Arteta Silva Ramires (C) (Guthrie)

Petric Bent Tevez

Gameweek 1 Review:

70 points first up in a solid start to the year for Woy’s Wandering Wonderboys. The move to spend big on the pair of Chelsea defenders paid serious dividends, with Ivanovic, in particular rampaging to 24 big ones. This is largely against our philosophy of scrimping on shot stoppers and defenders, so it was pleasing to see the gamble bear fruit. Our midfield drastically underperformed, particularly with the erroneous selection of Ramires to wear the armband. With Guthrie cooling his heals, despite a barnstorming 9 points for the 4.5 budget option, it was disappointing that our highly fancied Brazilian featured against reading. His quick 57 minute cameo cost us 19 points, as Cole was our next in line to the leadership throne. Nevertheless, goals from 2 of our 3 strikers is pleasing – and we still have cash in hand to hit the transfer market. New boy Petric was a particularly astute selection; if we’d say so ourselves.

Gameweek 2 Preview:

Looking forward, several of the big sides have difficult fixtures, with City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle players particularly facing a difficult weekend. Additionally, United have traditionally struggled against the Cottagers, and the Gunners travel to the Britannia for a marked clash of methodologies. This leaves Tottenham as the only serious certainly, but even they face a buoyant Albion who possess dangerous attacking threat. Jermaine Defoe has a simply astounding scoring record against West Brom, but the recent acquisition of Adebayor means Defoe becomes a more risky prospect. Of the remaining fixtures, we’re backing Swansea, Sunderland and Everton to earn 3 points respectively.

Team Composition:

With Chelsea’s double gameweek done and dusted, it’s time to shed some of our London bias. Moving forward, with Mancini confirming the long term injury to Richards, we like Zabaleta over the next 2 months or so and will be a good replacement for Cashley at the back. While the Argentinian may not bring immediate results to your fantasy table, we need to shed Di Matteo’s players before their gameweek 3 blank. If you favour a top down approach to your selections, as we do, where you first choose a winning side and then pick the best options from that outfit, then Swansea should be top of the bill. Laudrup’s men have a string of home games over the next 6 weeks and a favourable draw coming up. With Sinclair looking to move on, the Swans offer a veritable smorgasbord of potential at low valuations. Routledge is our pick of the bunch.

Our other team in focus is the Toffees, who are traditionally undervalued by the men that matter. Pienaar looks to have picked up where he left off, with only an inspired de Gea keeping his tally to a measly 3 points. Despite being perennially slow starters, Moyes’ men have the softest draw imaginable, making any one of Everton’s midfield, as well as new boy Mirallas highly attractive.

Short Term Trade:

Our short term trade comes from a match up of the two worst performing sides of the opening weekend. We’re tipping QPR to bounce back away from home and fancy Adel Taarabt to lead the charge. Amazingly, 21% of the R’s successful passes were to the Moroccan against Swansea. We’re backing any creative player, with this type of service, to provide a return. With City, Chelsea and Spurs to follow, except Mark Hughes to have his charges well and truly up for their trip to Norwich. His forthcoming fixture run keeps him labelled as a short term, speculative buy.

Long Term Trade:

Rafael Van der Vaart looks drastically overvalued at current, with the Spurs man banished to the sidelines by AVB. Additionally, Spurs are linked with a raft of attacking options, making VDV’s place in your side, at a whopping 9.0, simply untenable.

Tip of the Week:

Liam Ridgewell has always been a fantasy favourite, but with the strict defensive structures of Roy Hodgson replaced by a fluidity unseen at the Hawthorns since the Mowbray days, look for Ridgewell as a cheap and promising defensive option. He fits our investment thesis of maintaining a bias to full backs over centre halves, and is employed under the tutelage of a man renowned for his “back-half coaching”. Against Liverpool, Liam popped up around the attacking 18-yard box frequently, giving us a cheap exposure to a Leighton Baines type option.

Gameweek 2 Team:

On a short term view, we’re hopeful for Gareth Bale who is up against Steve Reid, who struggled against Glen Johnson last Saturday. We’re giving him the armband, and hoping for a 20 point return. We also fancy Hangeland to cause the out of sorts and injury riddled United defence problems from set pieces, giving the defensive stalwart a starting berth for the first time this year. We’re also going for that Zabaleta trade – because who wants Ashley Cole in your side anyway…

Foster (Federici)

Hangeland Ivanovic Zabaleta (Pearce McCartney)

Bale (C) Arteta Silva Ramires (Guthrie)

Petric Bent Tevez



Top Players by Club – Part 2 of 4

Welcome to our look at the players that made the Premier League as watchable as ever, earned the respect of their peer group and endeared themself to their club’s fanbase – here’s our top player from every side:


Marouane Fellaini Everton

our fave

In a season not dissimilar to last year, or the one before that, or any year during the Moyesian Era, the Toffees have been highly watchable, relatively competitive and mid table once more. Marouane Fellaini sits front and centre of a resurgent second half of the season that has seen the blue half of Merseyside salivating over their future prospects. Look no further than the Old Trafford frenzy that saw us a little overwhelmed with:

YEEHHHHH!!!! If Everton aren’t your new second team then step right up onto the bandwagon and join our merry forray as we celebrate a title race in earnest. AT LAST! Indeed, we could sharpen our focus onto Fellaini’s fuzzy frock that seemed to give the impetus for a transcendental performance of epic proportions. The Belgian provided the best display from a box to box midfielder that I can care to remember and has afforded pundits from all points of the Earth a Monday night/Tuesday morning to relish. Thanking you.

No longer do we have to feign interest in the scramble for 4th, or the glamour of the scrap between teams like Bolton, Blackburn and Villa to put themselves through another season of abject disappointment in the top flight.

I love you Marouane

Enough of that then…


Clint Dempsey Fulham


Fulham have had a tumultuous year. At times devastatingly efficient, and at others, drastically lacklustre, Craven Cottage has certainly not been easy viewing for Fulham fans. Martin Jol has revamped his side with new faces with difficult names such as Progrebnyak, but more importantly, new positioning for several outstanding prospects. Swapping Belgian connoisseur, Dembele, with the swashbuckling Dempsey, has been a masterstroke, with Dembele developing towards a Xabi Alonso type figure, while our pick of the bunch, in Clint Dempsey, has been simply rampant. The American has been a revelation, completing a rights of passage towards European action at one of the supposed big four. Apparently Fulham are resigned to losing the man from the big US of A, already lining up new Dutch talent. They’ll have enormous size 14s to fill, however, with Dempsey’s return of 17 goals, 7 assists unparalleled within a mid-table outfit.


Martin Skrtel Liverpool Blindfold Defender

explains everything

In truth, few players to pull on the famous red in 2011/12 deserve positive recognition, but of the maybe 3 players to enhance their reputations, Martin Skrtel has been the unclear standout.  Skrtel has displayed the consistency that his salary warrants, but not much more. Resolute in the air, adhesive across the park (save the Drogba FA Cup goal) and dangerous aerially at the set piece, Skrtel has done more than simply offer a grammar-defying surname.  Liverpool’s defence was hailed as the finest in the land on FFTD before Brazilian road block, Lucas, was forced from the stage by injury. Since then, Skrtl and Agger have established a robust centre pairing that at least bodes well for seasons to come. Marto deserves the plaudits for not dropping his standards under trying conditions.

Manchester City

Yaya Toure Man City Ivory Coast


It continues to astound that an air of negativity persists around Eastlands. City may have tipped their, at times, substantive lead into the garbage, and disappointed in Europe, but if you’ve been hiding in Hungary with Zoltan Gera, that Blue Moon progressing on its lunar orbit. Seriously progressing. Mr Mancini deserves much of the credit for banding his combustible set of stars into a committed unit. Despite golfing sojourns and the Balotelli, City have been the most dominant side throughout the year; irresistable across the pitch. From the ever-reliable Joe Hart to the ruthless Sergio Aguero, so many in their squad deserve a mention in this column; the ultimate accolade.

But there can only be one winner, and it has to be Yaya Toure who has been talismanic, providing a sturdiness across the centre of the pitch. One of Toure’s most striking strengths remains his discipline – fulfilling clearly defined roles for the team – never more evident than against Newcastle, where he wallowed, poised and ready, as a deep lying midfielder, until with startling effect, he was released forward to overwhelm the opposition and effectively win the title. Toure’s presence seems to preside over contests, with the Ivorian providing crucial interventions at key moments and discerning nuances within the ebb and flow of contests to utilise in his side’s favour. Opta Stats has developed a new methodology for determining the most impactful talent, citing the value of particular actions as variant. For example, the volume of goals is less important than the volume of winning goals, meaning the value of a goal is not a constant (scoring a winner is more impactful than Dzeko’s 6th in their 6-1 demolition). In this measure, it was Toure who featured atop the Man City combatants and near the summit of the wider Premier League pool of employees. To one of the more likeable figures in the English game, we salute you.

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The journey to SA 2010

Author’s note: As I will not always have immediate access to a computer whilst on my travels, my blog posts may be slightly out of date by the time you read them. However, this should only make them more interesting as they will effectively be an historical account of events, a la Herodotus, rather than a mere up-to-date blog.

As I sit outside Gate C6 at Bangkok International Airport, 24 hours before the World Cup kicks off, I can’t help but reflect on how different this World Cup experience will be for me compared to four years ago.

Back then, having already spent the previous five months living in the UK , I arrived in Holland about 10 days before the Cup kicked off to watch Australia play a friendly against the Dutch. We then followed the Socceroos to the small German city of Ulm, home of Albert Einstein, to cheer the boys on in their final warm-up game against Lichtenstein.

This time it’s more of a precise, in and out mission. Arriving in South Africa on the day the tournament starts, I’ll pretty much only be travelling tot he places where I have tickets go games. Hardly any sightseeing is planned, save for three days in a game park before the match against Serbia in Nelspruit.

In 2010, I’m not even staying for the duration of the tournament. I’m booked to fly out after the round of 16 – any more annual leave days off work would be unpaid.

Just as this tournament will be so different for me and countless other fans, so too will it be for the Socceroos themselves. This time, they can’t go in with a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality – once the Australian public tastes success, they expect it to stay. This time, we won’t be so much of an unknown quantity – teams are wary of us now.

Most importantly, this time we aren’t riding a wave of euphoria after qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years via an intense penalty shootout against bitter rivals. Rather, we ground out results of a lengthy period, becoming one of the first team to qualify for the World Cup finals via a boring draw in a far-flung Gulf State.

Let’s just hope that this time, the Socceroos display all the skill, guile and passion that served them so well in 2006.

Update: I have now arrived in South Africa and the atmosphere is amazing. The country is truly behind their team in a way that is uniquely South African. Oh, and did I mention that I met Emanuel Adebayor at the airport? Your correspondent: he brings you all the big names in football.

Further update: I have found it nigh on impossible to upload any images or video so far. Something is wrong with this computer. Humblest apologies.

Faking Your Way To The Cup (via )

So we’ve been featured by our buddies at The JC:

Moving up in the world! We’re now called experts!

Faking Your Way To The Cup Every four years, Australian sports fans are vindicated by the arrival of the World Cup onto their TV screens at all sorts of ungodly hours of the morning. Arguably the most exciting athletic event because unlike the Olympics, even an idiot can figure out how a ball is meant to go into the back of a net, amongst all the hoo-hah of highly-paid players taking dives, penalties, and in the case of Zinedine Zidane, headbutting each other to the ground … Read More


Bikkiez – Socceroo Mash Up

This is simply beyond outstanding – going up the charts in no time! The Voice of Australian soccer epitomised a footballing nation making their big entrance onto the world stage in ’06. Hopefully we’ll hear similar commentary against Germany in just a few days!

Check out his skills on our great friend Facebook

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Why So Much Negativity? (via NotTheFootyShow)

NottheFootyShow is a quality blog run out of Perth. I couldn’t agree more with these sentiments.

Just trialling “rebloggin” which lets me be lazy and still get news to you…

Can someone please answer why every story on South Africa and the 2010 World Cup being run on television is Australia takes such a negative approach? Most of the issues that have been and are being raised have existed in the country for a number of years, it is not like they have suddenly been discovered, so why the sudden interest? As someone who travelled to this country extensively for 12 years, it is extremely sad. South Africa is a wonderful … Read More

via NotTheFootyShow