Tag Archives: EPL

Transfer Focus: Who’s hot and who’s not? – Part 1


A big welcome to Football for the Day’s latest literary addition to the blog. Bringing a focus on fantasy football, this Newcastle enthusiast lists Xisco, Albert Luque and Boumsong as personal deities. And who are we to judge…

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Who’s hot?

Adam Johnson on Tyneside

Adam Johnson on Wearside

Adam Johnson: The English winger’s time at the Etihad can be described as tumultuous to say the least. Mancini’s inability to accommodate him into an appropriate formation meant that the winger spent much of last season watching from the stands. Johnson’s move to Sunderland will allow him to play a key role in a team that’s on the up. With the astute Martin O’Neill building a promising squad, Johnsons marauding runs down the flank will be seen more frequently this season. At only £7m, we see Johnson as great value for money and provides an exposure to the Mackem’s offensive line. With only 2.5% of players including Johnson in their team, we see him as a solid differential buy whose popularity is bound to increase.

Moussa Dembele: A prominent figure amongst the ever growing Belgian contingent in the Premier League, the creative midfielder makes for a good bit of business by Levy & Co. With a burgeoning reputation that has seen him evolve from just another Eredevisie import into a top class Premier League player, he is undoubtedly someone all fantasy managers will be casting their eye over. Our only hesitation with Dembele, is the uncertainty as to just where he will fit in to AVB’s agenda at the Lane. Moussa’s sublime finish on the weekend went a long way to dampening fears that his historically poor scoring record would transfer with him to North London. At £6mil we see Moussa as a good low cost option, but we would recommend holding off a purchase until gameweek 6, at which stage a more thorough investment appraisal can be formed.

Dimitar Berbatov: Dimitar Berbatov’s transfer to Fulham signals the end of his playing hiatus and his return to the world of fantasy football. With his return to the scene, we would like to remind you just how prolific he has been since arriving in England from Germany. In the 6 years that Berbatov has played in the Premier League (including last season where he made only 12 appearances) he has averaged just shy of 140 points. Costing £6.9mil Berbatov represents good value for managers looking for a traditionally reliable source of points. Berbatov’s adventures at Craven Cottage are more than likely to be a little less fruitful than previous clubs, but his importance to the Cottagers cant’t be overlooked, with significant game time being all but guaranteed. For us, it’s more a matter of when the Berbatov bandwagon will gather pace, more than if. With glimpses of brilliance in his cameo last week, we have faith that this will come sooner rather than later. That’s why we’re saying pick him up now while the differential is still there.

Eden Hazard: Another member of the Belgian entourage plying their trade in the Premier League, Hazard represents what could well be the most exciting signing of the season. In the 3 games that we have seen Eden play, his tally of 6 assists and 1 goal has meant that he has been an instant success for those that took the gamble on the £9mil man. His tendency to provide the decisive pass as well as his silky footwork has provided more than a headache for Premier League defenders. With this taste of things to come, we see his continued evolution as pivotal to the fortunes of Robbie di Matteo’s men – making him our number 1 Chelsea buy. With a hefty following already, signing Eden would hardly separate you from the rest. In spite of this we find him an irresistible purchase and place him very high up our midfielder priority list.

Who’s not

Gylfi Sigurdssonn

The Sig

Gylfi Sigurdsson: The Sig was one of last season’s biggest revelations. After making and maintaining a more than impressive start to his fantasy career, his move to Tottenham has cast serious doubt on whether he will be able to replicate his point scoring form this season. While being the lynch pin for Swansea served him well, will the presence of bigger and better names at his new club have a damaging affect on his fantasy exploits? We believe that this, along with competition from fellow new boys, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele, will all but ensure that Sigurdsson won’t provide the same return that he did last year. At the lofty price of £9mil, despite finishing last season valued at £5.6mil, we see little logic in opting for The Sig, especially when someone like Bale is available for £9.4mil. Steer clear.

Scott Sinclair: Sinclair’s first full season in the Premier League caught the eye of all fantasy managers. His speed and flair not only made him enjoyable to watch, but also a highly acquired fantasy pick. With his move to the Etihad this Summer, we see his outlook as significantly dimmer. With Mancini beginning to employ a 3-4-3 formation, we can’t see Sinclair playing much more than a peripheral role in Citeh’s bid for back to back titles. Mancini’s likening of him to Adam Johnson does not present favourably in our eyes ,as it intimates he’ll be contributing in a similar way. At £6.7mil he remains reasonably priced, but his lack of assured playing time makes him a no-go from us. With a high uptake of 7.2%, we anticipate a spike in the number of transfers out this gameweek as well as a significant dip in his total score this year.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

WEEK 2 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:

Foster (Federici)

McCartney Ivanovic Walker (Hangeland Pearce)

Bale (C) Arteta Silva Ramires (Guthrie)

Graham Bent Tevez

Gameweek 2 Review:

Gameweek 2 was slightly underwhelming with a total of 44 points, but our move to pay a premium for Graham instead of Petric produced an immediate result. The second round was always going to be a round of reshuffle for Woy’s Wandering Wonderboys following our frugal approach in the opening round. We’re cashed up and looking to invest in a seller’s market full of new talent and bargain prices. Foster, Ivanovic, Tevez and Graham were the main contributors, while Silva, Ramires and Bale continued to underperform. At FFTD we’re looking for a vast improvement in our midfield, partiuclarly having missed the strong start made by new boys Hazard and Michu, as well as our long time favourite in Fellaini: http://footballfortheday.com/2012/04/26/a-tribute-to-marouane/ Fellaini continues to be deployed up front, and despite new boy Mirallas’ strong performance midweek, it’s hard to overlook the Belgian for value for money. For the second consecutive week, strong returns from 2 of our 3 strikers have kept us well in touch in our league.

Gameweek 3 Preview:

Gameweek 3 sees a potential boost to the bigger name players with City, Spurs and United all facing promising fixtures. Chelsea are obviously a side to avoid, but we prepared for that last week, and will continue to shift our exposure away from the London outfit. With a decidedly poor opening by Villa, Newcastle could provide upside momentum, with Fulham and Swansea facing winnable matchups. Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and WBA players look slightly unattractive at current prices. Looking further forward, an international break looms on the horizon, meaning holding fire on any big transfer ploys could be the conservative ploy.

Team Composition:

At current, our composition looks solid, if unspectacular. We’re most worried about our lack of exposure to some of the most promising point-scorers, most pertinently RVP. With Rooney out for an extended period, RVP could provide value despite his astronomical price tag. Our team is steeped towards a midfield bias, which we are comfortable with. In saying that, Arteta could be on thin ice after missing at least one golden chance over the weekend and losing the free kick duties to Santi Cazorla. Over we are looking to make a straight swap in that area of our side. We still fancy Zabaleta, but are hesitant to add further defensive investment spending, while Swansea and Everton retain the best 6 game outlook in terms of fixtures. Everton, particularly, must be squarely in the radar of potential bargain hunters.

Short Term Trade:

This week’s short term trade has to be Romelu Lukaku at West Brom. The on loan Chelsea man has failed to break into the first team as yet, but with Shane Long featuring mid week, we saw this as a signal of Steve Clarke’s intent to give the big fridge from the Bridge his first home start. Lukaku was dominant in his cameo at Spurs, proving a menace to an experienced Tottenham centre-half pairing. The young starlet looks a veritable talent, with touch, strength and a dazzling turn of pace to worry the best. Lukaku’s 4 shots in 32 minutes gives him the highest ratio of any frontman in England. Additionally, the Baggies have a soft short term fixture list, so this high risk play could produce significant dividends over the medium term horizon. Hooroo.

Romelu Lukaku Chelsea West Brom

The Big Fridge from Stamford Bridge

Long Term Trade:

For the second week in a row, our long term trade is a sell option on a highly popular player. Surprisingly 22% of fantasy managers have opted for Ryan Shawcross, but with a horrific fixture list and rumours of personnel changes at the Brittania, we’d steer clear at all costs. Stoke’s midweek loss to Swindon should not be overlooked, as a full strength back line shipped 4 goals against their League One opposition. Defending is often an endeavour of confidence, as much as skill, and Stoke seem to be seriously lacking that commodity. Wigan away from home may look a potential 3 pointer for the Potters, but with Kone opening his account alongside a seemingly rejuvenated Di Santo, we can’t see a clean sheet or any return from Shawcross. As a footnote, don’t be fooled by Michael Kightly’s strong start either, as we see him fairly valued at current levels.

Tip of the Week:

An indirect beneficiary of the Rooney injury will be Shinji Kagawa, who is now assured of a consistent starting berth in the United attacking set up. Kagawa should have had a second on the weekend after clattering the woodwork and as the Japanese import settles into the English brand, his returns should only increase. At 8.6, Kagawa marks an attractive entry point to opening a United position and we’ll be considering him in earnest this weekend.

Gameweek 3 Team:

On a short term view, we’re hopeful for Gareth Bale for a second week running. We’ll be handing the armband responsibilities to Carlos Tevez, who should extend his scoring spree against a disjointed QPR side. We’ll be looking for a 20 point minimum from our skipper once again. Despite his gameweek 3 blank, we’ll be sticking with Ivanovic, as Hangeland has a favourable fixture against the Hammers, providing ample return potential as a replacement. As mentioned above, we favour Cazorla, or Kagawa over Arteta, but unfortunately, selling Ramires will leave us slightly short for capital. Further, our midfield provides something of a conundrum, stuck with a Reading replacement in Danny Guthrie. Our two options are to deploy a flat back four with Bale, Kagawa/Cazorla, and Silva sitting just in front. Secondly, we could look at exiting Darren Bent, in addition to Ramires, in a paid transfer, to free up cash for our desired midfield reshuffle. We’re a bit hesitant to add a third budget forward option, and are quietly optimistic at Bent’s future prospects. Cazorla’s higher valuation together with his tough fixture list and a stuttering Arsenal attack tips the balance towards Kagawa. Being 0.3 short, we’ll look to offload Pearce for a cheap defensive option. With Richard Dunne still absent, Nathan Baker could be our man.

Foster (Federici)

Hangeland Ivanovic Zabaleta (Baker McCartney)

Bale Arteta Silva Kagawa (Guthrie)

Petric Bent Tevez (C)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Top Players by Club – Part 3 of 5


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:

Manchester United

Wayne Rooney Soccer Football Man United

wayne’s alternative pasttime

Ultimately, the Red Devils season has culminated in trophy-less disappointment. Further, the 2011/12 campaign was emblazoned with teething pains through a period of transition and evolution. With the noisy neighbours proving more deafening than irritating, the continued overarching shadows of Giggs and Scholes presiding over a dormant, unexciting midfield and the archaic Sir Alex, who’s tactical mismanagement has become a regular feature at Old Trafford, United have done well to challenge in earnest. With hindsight, Ferguson’s flippant disdain for a true holding midfielder in that Everton game, saw Fellaini reinvigorate the title race in a rampant display. And it was another Ferguson blunder, using the ignominious Park instead of Valencia, within a 5 man defensively steeped midfield, belying the brash confidence (sic: arrogance) that has typified United previously, that ultimately surrendered the title to City, when they met at close quarters.

If there are signs of creaking emerging from the titanic Manchester United bandwagon, then it has been their chief lieutenant in Wayne Rooney that has been tasked with keeping the vessel afloat. While Valencia took out the less official plaudits, the FFTD finger points at Rooney, with his swag of goals and constant energy about the park. Often it was Rooney who was willing his comrades to greater efforts with his demonstrative gesticulations that became an all too regular feature. Surely it is unfair to judge Rooney with a different yardstick to other Premier League front men at the behest of reputation and expectation? We’ve read articles suggesting Wayne’s efficiency and the impetus behind his goals have been less important than others, but in a year of comparative mediocrity and few genuine stand-outs, we’ll take England’s Wayne Rooney please and thank you.

Newcastle

Newcastle Football Soccer Graham Carr Transfer

a portrait of excellence

It’s difficult to recall the seemingly dire context that the Geordie’s season was facing from the outset. With the departure of Barton, Carroll, Enrique and Nolan (amongst others) prior to the season and the arrival of almost no one, save for unknowns such as Cabaye, many were predicting a difficult period for Mike Cashley and his boys. Further, there were murmurs of discontent around the tactical nous of Alan Pardew, who had been labelled as dour and unimaginative, pointing to a season of discomfort on Tyneside. Much has been written around the Moneyball renaissance of the club, laying the blueprint for those perennially facing the malaise of mid table to step up as realistic challengers to the traditional top 4.

More has been said as to the transfer dealings of Alan Pardew and his management team than most English clubs, particularly one that was ensconced in relative anonymity last year. And most of it has been sceptical, at best. What is clear, is that the burgeoning reputation of Graham Carr, as some sort of super-talent-scout seems warranted. Since joining in February 2010 it is clear that Carr has made building a French connection his top priority signing Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux, Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan in that period. French talent is generally considered affordable, both in terms of wages and initial fees, and technically proficient. Going the other way has been a stream of house hold names: Barton, Carroll, Nolan, Harper, Enrique and Smith – the majority English, and all sold for exorbitant amounts. With the recent addition of Cisse, Newcastle have the spine of a side ready to continue to challenge going forward. At full strength, we see little difference between Liverpool, Spurs and the Black and Whites on paper, and this is an almost thaumaturgic feat given their championship status so recently. To this end, we’ll break convention and acknowledge Carr’s under-appreciated efforts.

Norwich

Grant Holt Norwich England Striker

that’s his name…

This year’s Premier League fairytale is undoubtedly the emergence of Grant Holt from the backwaters to the cusp of Euro 2012. The striker has seen 8 previous clubs, has been employed as a tyre fitter and appeared in Perth’s second division for Sorrento. Perth, Australia that is. The list of former clubs reads as a roll call of industrious, workmanlike and unfashionable outfits, including Workington, Halifax, Barrow and Rochdale. We won’t shove any morals of perseverance, or fate down your eyes, but instead, we’ll just thank Mr Holt for making every park footballer BELIEVE.

QPR

Jamie Mackie QPR English Premier League

where’d he go?

Predicted to be the strongest of the newly promoted sides, the R’s endured a miserable campaign that saw them escape relegation through some less than exemplary refereeing decisions at Stoke, made against Bolton, while they played City. Confusing. Anyway, we’d love to pick Joey Barton, and surprisingly we feel we could actually make a case for the infamous tweep, but instead, to ensure we don’t completely marginalise our burgeoning fan base, we’ll pick Jamie Mackie for this prestigious honour. Mackie has epitomised the endeavour and resilience that fellow promotees in Swansea and Norwich have enjoyed from the majority of their employees. Unfortunately for the Londoners, Mackie was at times the sole provider of the tenacity required for premier league survival – and in the end, it was survival by the smallest of margins. Look no further than Mackie’s gut-running/lung-busting/stomach-turning effort against City to be in a position to complete the header that afforded us with the golden finish. Mackie was player of the year when the Hoops came up, and if anyone can find out who it was this year, we’d be greatly appreciative.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Gareth Bale: Spurs’ 40m Ticket to the Big Leagues


Gareth Bale Tottenham Spurs Heart

an everlasting love?

The love bearing Gareth Bale will be one of Europe’s hottest prospects over the forthcoming summer of transfers. Bale’s Tottenham exploits have seen him fill the gossip inches in many a tabloid over the previous 2 seasons and get ready to see his name continually with your daily English Breakfast. But for Football for the Day, the Welsh national has under delivered to the Yids of North London and England’s declining managerial patriarch in Harry Redknapp.

Make no mistake, Bale is one of England’s most dominant wide players, possessing the skill and speed to ghost past players with apparent nonchalance. In that taxi for Maicon game, on an extraordinary Italian evening, Gareth forged his reputation as a genuine top liner in the Premier League. Indeed, 2010/11 was a year of brilliance with the resurgent Spurs left edge being front and centre.

More Gareth Overleaf….

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Big Andy, Little Luis, King Kenny in The Liverpool Circus


Andy Carrol Liverpool Football English Premier League

#bigandyliverpoolnumber9

This is undoubtedly Liverpool’s poorest season in the Premier League era. Prior to a ball kicked in earnest the ingredients seemed well balanced: a Kop hero at the helm, significant investment in on-field talent and a promising blend of youth and experience. How things have changed…

At FFTD we have certainly shared in the tribulations of Andy Carroll as he has stumbled through his first Premier League campaign on Merseyside as if being led by Jose Enrique’s daughter while blindfolded and on stilts. The sympathetic view regards England’s most expensive player as a work in progress and a scapegoat for a typically scathing media. Others have pointed to his exorbitant price tag as a negligible factor; something uncontrolled by Carroll creating unrealistic and impossible to fulfill expectations. Whatever the paradigm, A. Carroll is the laughing stock of the world wide web and the emblem of anti-Liverpool sentiment (accompanied by Suarez) much to the chagrin of reds across the planet.

Big Andy was snatched in a desperate last ditch deadline day scramble for a ready made Fernando replacement. While 35 large was excessive even for a league spiralling out of financial rationality, many pundits listed his arrival from Newcastle as a favourable dealing: strong, pacey, good feet and a devastating left peg – Peter Crouch times 5. What was to ensue is common knowledge, but we feel critiques have been continuously amplified out of proportion. Commentators should disregard his price tag for now, as that figure will be amortised over the entirety of his Liverpool career, and instead focus on the deeper-seeded problems at Anfield.

Compared to the good ol’ days on Tyneside, Liverpool’s number 9 has faced worse service than at a Fawlty Towers inspired B & B. Persistent injury complaints to Stevie G and the disappointingly ineffective Charlie Adam have curbed the stem of incisive delivery into forward lying positions. Indeed, the return of Gerrard has afforded Carroll with his best opportunities in a red shirt, and therefore his most promising displays – using deft touches to release the ever-dangerous Suarez. The Carroll/Suarez partnership has been a rarity across the season in a bane for supporters. The pairing is certainly still in its infancy, but has shown fleeting moments of endeavour and adroitness. The flourishing Rooney/Welbeck attack should be an archetypal blueprint. Most tellingly, Suarez, seemingly not someone to give plaudits lightly, is on record with:

 ‘I hope Andy plays with me all matches, he helps me in game’

In their pairing up front, King Kenny has a platform on which to build a more telling challenge next year. This year’s missing piece, rather than efficiency in front of goal, has been creativity in the middle together with the absence of Lucas to provide some solidity in front of a struggling back four (but that’s for another inquiry). Forthright transfer dealings could arrest their worrying slump towards mid table and replace the substandard, such as Downing, with genuine European talent. An attacking marshal in a central role as well as a crafty winger with trickery and a turn of pace are on top of the Anfield shopping list. To give them a hand, because we know they’re reading this, we’ve selected an eclectic mix of some realistic options for the Reds. If this doesn’t propel us into the upper echelons of footballing analysis…

Gaston Ramirez

It is surprising that more gossip fails to circulate one of Europe’s finest prospects in the 21 year old Bologna midfielder. Ramirez may be suited to the English brand with his powerful 6 foot frame and ability to legitimately fulfill a role without the ball. Gaston has continuously been compared to Kaka since bursting onto the scene, in terms of his graceful flair on the ball and his reportedly unflappable temperament. This trait would be a welcome asset to a growing collective of ill-disciplined players led by the pest that is Suarez. A number of other factors point to this deal being successful: Ramirez continues the Uruguayan flavour and should connect with Suarez and Coates, something that should not be understated, at just 21 he fits with Dalglish’s commitment to youth in his recruitment ideology and finally, a bid of £16.3 million is rumoured to be in the bolognaise stained hands of Bologna already.

Estimated Price: £16m                                                                          Rating: 8/10

Scott Sinclair

Sinclair has been at the fulcrum of an eye-catching season from the Welsh Premier League newcomers this season. 7 goals in 22 appearances is noteworthy enough, but he is ensconced in the top 10 for chance creation and assists across the league. While new arrival, Sigurdsson, may be a more convincing option, we think the Icelandic starlet will go to a bigger club with Champions League action, leaving Sinclair as a realistic investment. There are a number of drawbacks however. First, Sinclair’s strength is his penetrating runs from the left towards goal, more so than his delivery from wider areas, something Liverpool could use more desperately. Second, he has flourished in a 4-3-3 abundant with crisp passing and committed movement, two things that do not necessarily fit Liverpool’s attacking idiosyncrasies. Worth a look though.

Estimated Price: £6m                                                                            Rating: 6/10

Younes Belhanda

This Moroccan midfield maestro is a genuine contender as a long-term replacement for the ageing Gerrard. England’s biggest clubs have been lining up for Belhanda’s autograph for some time now, with the Montpellier man seen as a long term replacement for Scholes at United and previously Fabregas at Arsenal. But apparently, Liverpool are finally beating these clubs to something. Younes knows his way to the back of the net too, with 12 goals to accompany his 6 assists in his 30 games in Ligue 1. Newcastle have shown the worth of French imports in their midfield and if John Henry is to break the bank this year, it would be difficult to move past Belhanda. Prepare to see this name in your gossip columns over the months to come.

Estimated Price: circa £20m                                                               Rating: 9/10

Belhanda Montpellier Liverpool Zidane

A talent not to be ignored...

Matt Jarvis

Some of my Liverpool supporting friends have bemoaned that Jarvis is just the sort of player their club will sign – and we tend to agree. 2012’s Charlie Adam, Jarvis is too good for the championship, but too expensive for the mid table club he deserves. Instead, Kenny will come to the rescue, signing another overrated Englishman without any considerable raison d’être. Jarvis is the definition of the word “useful”, but offers little more, and his signing would mark a step sideways at best. While he has been more prolific than Downing, with 7 goals for the debacle that is Wolves, this prospect would be scant improvement to the squad. This will happen – just you wait.

Estimated Price:  £4m                                                               Rating: 4/10

Royston Drenthe

England’s visiting Real Madrid player, adorned with a simply stunning given name, has shown glimpses that would fulfill Liverpool’s lacking. Drenthe is a consistent nightmare for defenders, something that Anton Ferdinand, most particularly, would substantiate. While not necessarily a weakness on the red half of Merseyside, Drenthe adds a set piece menace to accompany his attacking repertoire. On the negative, Royston saves us from a half-hearted attempt at defending by keeping this element completely absent from his game. Additionally, he seems easily flustered on the pitch, a quality that in tandem with the child-like Suarez could be too much to bear for a restless fan base. If the Everton loanee is considered as a replacement for the departing Kuyt, then two more opposite propositions would be difficult to find – something that, along with his lackadaisical attitude, could seriously hamper any efforts to endear himself to a Kop favouring hard-working and dogged performers. Off-field issues may be noteworthy.

Estimated Price: Free                                                                                 Rating: 6/10

Junior Hoilett

If the PFA’s prize for young player of the season was a genuine accolade (maybe youth was determined by years playing professionally, rather than years of age) then Blackburn’s biggest weapon would head the list. Without even a mirage of attacking support from his contemporaries, save the Yak’s three game mid season rich vein of form (HAH!), the Canadian has been a clear standout amongst the shambolic on and off field season served up by Venkys and Steve Kean. Liverpool seem an appropriate destination for the championship-bound Hoilett, but several clubs will be throwing their cheque book at the out of contract winger. With his 3rd season of English football under his belt, Mr Hoilett could be the best possible option to Liverpool’s woes.

Estimated Price: Free Transfer                                                          Suitability: 9/10

 
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,