Tag Archives: Manchester United

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. 

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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)

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An Alternate Pecking Order…


How it Works:

This is our attempt at ranking the sides according to their expectations with position 10 being a perfect meeting of predictions with reality, position 1 representing maximum outperformance and 20 signalling quite the opposite. For example, United and City were largely expected to compete for the title, hence they’ll be stuck mid table in our rating system, and Swansea/Norwich were expected to take their parachute payments straight back to the Championship, meaning they’ll feature towards the top.

 

#toonarrific

#toonarrific

1. Newcastle.

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 having laid the blueprint for those perennially facing the malaise of mid table to step up as realistic challengers to the traditional top 4. See more around about here:

2. Norwich

I’ve revisited a feature in fourfourtwo from July 2011 that included all 10 football “experts” tipping the Canaries to face the drop. Not so. Mr Lambert has combined the three elements of a successful first season in the top flight: a goal scoring striker (Holt), Solidity at the back and Determination/Self Belief. Norwich have epitomised efficiency; beating the teams below them at home, and turning Carrow Road into a tricky encounter whether your name is RVP or Gary Caldwell.

3. Swansea

In a similar vein to Norwich, the Swans have proven that Welsh football does deserve its spot in the English top flight. Bringing a fluid style to the League, Brendan Rodgers has given supporters a refreshing change from the typically drab brand served up by some of the sides adjacent to the Welshmen on the table. As with Norwich, they’ve secured their defence first, with Ashley Williams surely developing into one of the more underrated players in the league. Next they’ve added proven creative quality all over the pitch, particularly with the mercurial Sigurdsson since January. Lastly they’ve made the Liberty into a place of respect and trepidation for visiting supporters.

4. Arsenal

The North Londoners were coming off a somewhat tumultuous summer and were facing constant taunts about their youth and lack of physicality when that 8-2 happened. The Gunners displayed a resolve that many believed they were incapable of, to turn their campaign into a success having ensconced themselves squarely into European football for next year. They’re just a decent centre back and a Wilshere away from a serious title challenge in 2013. While 4 may seem a tad high, rewind to September and you’ll recall the back pages awash with the demise of the Emirates and Mr Wenger.

5. Tottenham

While Spurs now have a veritable title contending squad on paper, their current disappointing standing should not undermine their outperformance for the majority of the season. Much maligned in recent times, the Yids have surely been distracted by off-field managerial developments, undoing the considerable progress made in the first 2 thirds of the league. With the easiest run in, the Londoners could still secure the coveted fourth position that could be crucial in retaining the spine of their carefully constructed side.

6. West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies have avoided second-season-syndrome with aplomb under the masterful guidance of Woy. They continue to operate within the tightest of budgetary constraints and have uncovered even more quality free-bees in Gareth McAuley and Billy Jones. They look to have established themselves as part of the Premier League furniture; the way it should be for a club with such a richly developed history. Improving on 11th and 47 points from last time around will be an outstanding achievment.

7. Manchester City

I’ll put the blue half of England’s footballing capital just ahead of their red counterparts, as even though several pundits predicted Tevez et al to win from the outset, actually following through, and putting the title within their own grasp with 3 fixtures remaining is another story all together. Distracting European struggles and the oft unfathomable off field antics of Super Mario and his golfing buddy in Tevez couldn’t sway Mancini from his own rights of passage. Most importantly, the Blue Moon Rising looks set to continue, with a 2013 that could see further development both on and off the pitch.

8. Manchester United

Sir Alex and his boys are tracking squarely to where we expected and slot neatly into the striker’s jersey. Disappointing cup and European adventures have marred a season that has produced results, but has been enveloped by a pervasive backwards looking bias with the continued dominance of Scholes and to a lesser extent Giggs. A major plus is the flourishing partnership between Welbeck and the hairy-again Rooney – but their season hasn’t been anything spectacular.

9. Chelsea

With an ageing squad many feared the worst, but the revelation of Mata, the obvious benefit of experience and the defiant change in fortunes under Di Matteo, has seen Chelsea finish the season in a strong manner. While missing European football would be nearly calamitous for our favourite Russian oligarch, the Blues have beaten Barcelona somewhat convincingly in Europe and could still lift the much sought after symbol of power that is the European Cup. So much relies on the final month of the playing year for this side that will surely undergo a rampant reconstruction through the summer.

10. Everton

It still bemuses to watch the Toffees struggle through January, leading to rumblings about the Moyes’ use by date and the shoestring budget, before predictably embarking on their customary second half run that includes big team scalps and persistently positive results. Lower-top half with a decent cup run is getting a little predictable and if marked improvements aren’t forthcoming over the next 2 seasons, the Blues will begin the slide downwards. This is not a league for standing still.

11. Sunderland

The Wearsiders have made progress under O’Neill but have somewhat failed to capitalise on their outstanding vein of form over the festive period and sit in a disappointing lower half position. Not too much to report here – bang on average for me.

12. Fulham

Fulham could easily be lower, but expectations of a realistic European push should be tempered with the addition of a new manager and an array of fresh faces gracing Craven Cottage. In promising signs for the future, many of their signings have shown enough to suggest an optimistic outlook. The continued development of Dembele into a proven talent (should progress to Ben Arfa next year), Dempsey into a genuine top-liner (should progress to Arteta next year) and Pogrebnyak into a prolific sharp-shooter (should progress into Ba/Cisse next year) could spell a strong challenge in 2013 from the noisy neighbours from London.

13. Wigan

In Roberto Martinez, Wigan has one of the finest young managers in football and their apparent survival for another season can be largely attested to the gaffer and his swelling reputation in the game. On paper the worst squad in the league, Wigan haven’t really progressed, nor digressed through 2011/12 and could find themselves feeling a form of final day deja vu.

14. QPR

The Premier League new boys were expected to be the strongest of the sides coming up, but for much of the season the R’s have struggled to build any form of momentum. In saying that, their best run has developed at the pointy end and Mark Hughes is using every reserve of his managerial experience to build a case for 2013 in the top division. With serious financial investments being made, it is disappointing to see the side still scrapping for survival, but in the end, 17th and up will be acceptable.

15. Bolton

Bolton’s primary objective from the outset will always be 40 points as quickly as possible and a team of their calibre should not be struggling as they are. Bolton have been entrenched in the relegation doldrums for more than 50% of the footballing year and if they return to the first division, it will be due to inept off-field dealings that saw the departure of Elmander and Sturridge without replacements – leaving an attack devoid of quality in Klasnic, N’gog and Kakuta. Could easily be lower than 15th.

16. Stoke

The Potters invested heavily with a number of seemingly astute purchases of proven top-flight quality. Tony Pulis’ fantastical ride may be grinding to a halt, however, with a year of taking steps firmly in the wrong direction. Europe was simply too much to ask for a seemingly ageing and threadbare squad. Their no-frills and, more than occasionally, dour style has lead to more detractors than supporters, as the likes of Swansea have shown it is possible to survive without wasting on average 13.8% of your games on Rory Delap’s arms. Distinctly below average.

17. Blackburn

When it emerged that Steve Kean’s new employers were unaware of the possibility of relegation, the tone was set for an overwhelmingly forgettable campaign for all those involved. There have been few protagonists from this sorry saga to emerge with any flicker of credibility, maybe Hoilett and Yakubu are the only ones, and while still undecided, relegation seems deserved for this season of underperformance.

18. Aston Villa

Villa were a difficult team to place. Almost everyone questioned the arrival of the Big Eck to the Midlands, but I’m sure few could sincerely predict the woeful events that have followed. Watching the Villians is a truly difficult thing at current, with consistent fan discontent from the terraces juxtaposed with a non-existant goal threat on the pitch. Villa Park has become the worst place for football and is a crude characterisation of everything that is wrong and outdated with the English game. Too many quality departures over recent years.

19. Liverpool

So much has been written that any expansive comment feels unnecessary. In a year that produced such rampant, flagrant spending and such inept on field performances only Liverpool and their continued arrogance could ensure they dominate footballing rhetoric. Welcome to mid table anonymity Mr Dogleish.

20. Wolves

In the end, it wasn’t third time lucky with the West Midlander’s challenge whimpering into submission with the shambolic Terry Connor at the helm. Wolves were devoid of creativity up front, apart from the sometimes dangerous Fletcher, and were woeful at the back with summer signing and captain Roger Johnson becoming the home fan’s boo boy early on in the piece. With stadium expansions well underway, the club could face serious financial struggles over the next 5 years.

So there we have it:

Newcastle, Norwich, Swansea, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Brom take the European places with a season of outperformance. City, United, Chelsea, Everton, Sunderland, Fulham and Wigan are aligned with pre-season hypotheses. QPR, Bolton, Stoke, Blackburn, Villa, Liverpool and Wolves end a diffcult season.

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A Tribute to Marouane…


Mr Fellaini

Mr Fellaini

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

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Best Team for six pence


Team of the year with no player from the big 6:

Krul

Simpson Collocini Huth Baines

Mulumbu Barton

Sessegnon Cabaye Walters

Long

Subs: Johnson (Norwich) Johnson (Wolves) Diame, Moses, Vorm, Agbonlahor, Yakubu, Williams (Swansea) Mackie, Ba

Manager: Pardew

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chillin’ out ya’llllllllz – Team of the Year with a Player from Every Side


Team of the year with a player from each side. cool:

Al Habsi

M Richards Collocini Vidic Enrique

Sessegnon Barton Parker Mata

Van Persie Long

Subs: Agbonlahor, Walters, Vorm, R. Johnson, Eagles, Yakubu, Dembele, Fellaini

Manager: Paul Lambert

 

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