The GOONER boy

Going into the game we were the firm favorites having lifted the goal floodgates in the previous weeks and 7 of our players on score-sheet during the interlull. Confidence was sky-high and either a very poor arsenal performance or an absolutely brilliant Watford performance would manage to topple that confidence.

The game was really an affair of two halves. We started the game sharply but for some reason we were slow in rotating the ball and in decision-making, couple that with a very physical, well-organized and spirited Watford team you get a very open game. Both the sides had very good chances; Rambo should have scored but skewed his shot over the crossbar, he had more time than maybe he realized. And it took a last-ditch brilliant interception from Kos to keep the score nil all at the first half whistle.

Many of our stars were very quiet – Theo…

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Arsenal 4 – 0 Villa : Champions ratings.

The GOONER boy

So I planned for something different for the player ratings, instead of my views, I instead contacted many gooners across India and also interviewed aprox. 30 gooners & goonerettes at the screening to get their opinions. I have listed the best quotes from them.

SCZCCHAMPION
 He knew the whole world was looking at him, waiting for a mistake to pounce on. Calmest performance in years.Sudhir (apnaarsenal.com)
He commanded his area like a mother dragon protecting its eggs, swooping in on any crosses that came his wayRohan
An FA cup first choice this season had a gala time throughout the game with some clean collections on Villa’s crosses. Given the nod ahead of regular Premier League goalkeeper David Ospina, this was a stress-free afternoon for the Poland internationalNajeeb
BellerinCHAMPION
 Had a great game with barely any defensive worries. Almost conceded a penalty.Sudhir (apnaarsenal.com)
Love his…

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And just like that – the latest season of the English Premier League arrives!!

The 2014-15 season comes off a truly breathtaking 2013-14 campaign and an equally brilliant World Cup

With over a 100 players arriving and switching teams in the EPL –  this season’s Fantasy Premier League promises to be unbelievably complex to master – with enough good players and combinations to cause insomnia and nightmares you won’t have cause you can’t sleep!! 😀

Arsene Wenger too got in the act with *FOUR* additions to the squad! Manchester City had a “quiet” summer with 6 new players, Liverpool went extra crazy over Southampton with a cart full of players bought from Southampton, Jose Mourinho assembling a scary looking Chelsea team with 3 headline acquisitions. Manchester United, still smarting from last season’s 7th placed finish have bought in a couple of starters but threaten to buy even more in the next few days.

All this and we haven’t even spoken of all player dealings at Hull City, Southampton ( i mean the ones they bought :p), West Brom, QPR etc. Woooof!!

With the obviously eye catching imports like Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera who promise to light up the EPL (and FPL) with their goals and assists – you also have intriguing stories like Bojan Krkic joining Stoke City, Loic Remy being the focal point of the QPR attack after his failed transfer, Yaya Toure seemingly losing some edge after a magical 2013-14 season etc.

With that – and with the kick off for the season’s game a few hours away – let’s dive into my picks for Gameweek1!

Goalkeepers:

  1. Thibaut Courtois (High) – With the ever honest Jose Mourinhno declaring that the Belgian will be the man between the sticks for the first game, and his won willingness to impress on his debut against Burnley – Thibaut seems like a safe bet for a clean sheet. Expect lots of Thibaut-ing memes this season!
  2. Wojciech Szczesny (Medium) – With Crystal Palace in disarray after Tony Pulis’ departure two days before the season opener and the Pole’s personal mission to prove a point after last season’s Golden Glove award, a clean sheet at the Emirates won’t be a surprise against a Palace team not exactly known to be firing on all cylinders when it comes to attack….
  3. Vito Mannone (Low) – Sunderland’s Player Of The Season from 2013-14 will once again raring to take on the EPL head on – and what with the extra pressure heaped on him with the arrival of Costel Pantilimon from Manchester City – a fine goalkeeper on his own. Against a West Brom side not really brimming with confidence, the Italian will have to put in a shift and lay down a marker for the season to come.

Defenders:

  1. John Terry (High) – With an away trip to Burnley on Monday and Blues knowing the results over the weekend, expect Mourinho keep his troops on their toes for a professional win over the newly promoted side. Nothing less than  points will satisfy the Portuguese manager and Captain Jon Terry will be keen to nail down a spot in the starting XI with a performance that befits the armband.
  2. Dejan Lovren (Medium) – After a very public fall out with the fans and the club, Lovren finally secured a move to Liverpool. Ironically, Southampton are the very first team he will face in his first game for the Reds. With a point to prove and keen to impress, a goal scored from a set piece may be a great way to kick off his tenure at Anfield.
  3. Calum Chambers (Low) – With Per Mertesacker not quite match ready and the departure of Thomas Vermaelen not yet addressed, the young Briton will be handed a start in the centre of defense at The Emirates against Crystal Palace. With assured displays in pre season, Chambers might be a great buy for now with assured starts for a few matches at least.

Midfielders:

  1. Aaron Ramsey (High) – The Welshman seems to have started the new season like the last one never ended – with great performances in preseason and a goal vs Manchester City in the Community Shield. With the absence of Mesut Ozil, Ramsey will also have to shoulder Santi Cazorla’s task of creating chances for all of The Gunners’ forwards. A safe bet for the season, and a must buy – for now.
  2. Robert Snodgrass (Medium) – Hull snapped up Norwich’s heartbeat as soon as the Canaries were relegated. Snodgrass has always been a FPL favourite, with consistent performances even last season in the Canaries’ doomed campaign. The Englishman will be keen to repay his fee and a second coming in the EPL will be a great way to kick on.
  3. Daniel Drinkwater (Low) – Leicester City’s creative midfielder will be very crucial to the Foxes hopes of staying afloat in the EPL. Coming off a rather impressive season in the Championship, Drinkwater is a player to hold on for the season ahead.

Forwards:

  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – Love him or hate him, the Englishman is going to stay in the EPL for long. One of the few positives of the failure that was the Moyes era – Wazza has been appointed Captain by LouisVan Gaal. With Robin Van Persie injured, Rooney will be raring to make sure everyone know that he still is the main man at Manchester. With a home game to Swansea, expect him to go ballistic!! My oick for FPL Captain this weekend too.
  2. Emmanuel Riviere (Medium) – The Frenchman arrives from AS Monaco with a reputation for impressively scored goals in Ligue 1. With Newcastle having a surprisingly calm preseason and a fit squad barring a few short term injuries, Alan Pardew will be looking to grabbing a European spot by the end of the season. Riviere and his industry will be very critical for such lofty ambitions.
  3. Bojan Krkic (Low) – Easily the most intriguing signing across the league, the ex Barcelona graduate will find himself far away from the beautiful football of Nou Camp, Ajax and Milan. But with Mark Hughes trying to improve the way the Potters play and with goals under his belt in the pre season matches, Krkic is a sure starter who will be keen to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with.

So there’s that! Hope these picks help you craft YOUR Fantasy team! Hoping for a cracking English season ahead!

Cheers!

DesiEPLFantasyManager

These massive breaks are embarrassing! Don’t reckon these will help kick-start a potential career in sports at all!!

But i – like always – hope against hope that i achieve discipline and can devote a few hours weekly to my blog… If i had a nickel for every time i said that, i could’ve bought a new Lamborghi- never mind…

So – Gameweek 22!!! Where has the time flown by i ask?!! Whhoooooooooosh!!!!

The EPL League paints a pretty picture… cause Arsenal are Top Of The Table 🙂

But with Manchester “99 problems but scoring goals ain’t one” City and Chelsea ” Jose Mourinho still thinks Manchester United are in the title race” FC a couple of points away – this is quite visibly the hottest EPL title race in ages… (Football Cliche #5 already)!!

This week sees the current Top 4 play home matches with all four expected to take 3 points and keep the title race alive for yet another round….

On the other end of the table, relegation battling teams have relatively easier fixtures – except for Cardiff City, they might as well sit at home on Saturday than play at The Etihad with a hope to score points – or even goals….

Biggest match this weekend is ***OBVIOUSLY*** Crystal Palace vs Stoke City… Tony Pulis goes back to – naaaah! 😀

It’s Chelsea vs Manchester United!!!

Jose “mind games” Mourinho with David “never mind” Moyes! (agreed, that was lame… still – its worth it!)

Arsenal *have to* win but trust Fulham to find their inner Barcelona when playing at the Emirates (rolling eyes…)

Anyways – might as well save us a lotta time and jump into my picks!

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High) – With his start of the season wobble fully behind hi,. Hart is now finally reinstated as the No 1 City goalkeeper, having started the last 5 EPL games with the two out of the last three being clean sheets. Pellegrini would be averse to take Cardiff lightly,  but with their juggernaut showing no signs of stopping – at home, in the least – expecting City to keep a clean sheet today wouldn’t be asking for too much.
  2. Simon Mignolet (Medium) – The Belgian’s early season heroics had the world clamoring to get him in their FPL squad. Halfway into the season and his popularity has only slightly diminished, and with Brendan Rodgers looking to challenge for the title picking up clean sheets against teams like Aston Villa at home while Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge scare the living bejeezus out of Bras Guzan.
  3. Julian Speroni (Low) – Tony Pulis hosts his old team Stoke, with his team at the wrong end of the BPL table.  He still knows the Potters’ inside out – and would love to take points off Mark Hughes. Expect an ultra defensive “watching paint dry is more fun than this” EPL slugfest. Wouldn’t be surprised in the least if this ends 0-0.
  • Defenders:
  1. Seamus Coleman (High) – Everton travel to play the Baggies – who play under new coach Pepe Mel for the first time. Having recently lost Shane Long and understandably taking some time to settle under the new boss’ tactics, Roberto Martinez would love to perform a quick smash and grab for 3 points. He shall duly afford all the freedom to his marauding Irishman. Any result other than an Everton win will be considered nothing short of an upset for the European football chasing Toffees.
  2. Aleksandar Kolarov (Medium) – The Serbian has been a proper wild card at his almost 4 year spell at City. Capable of lung bursting runs, shocking defensive lapses and trademark, long range goals, erratic could well be his middle name. But having hit a marginal form of consistency over the past few weeks he now represents an interesting prospect to FPL managers. Could turn out to be a good buy.
  3. Joel Ward (Low) – This could be the under the radar buy that could pay dividends in the short run. Ward was deployed in midfield in the last match with Mariappa covering the RB slot. His versatility is a massive assest – having been deployed across multiple roles in midfield – he could chip in with a goal or an assist.
  • Midfielders:
  1. Eden Hazard (High) – Eden Hazard is a sure bet to score against United *BUT* there is a distinct fear of him being marked out by the defense – especially if Phil Jones is deployed. However,  Mourinho’s new project of turning Hazard into a Ronaldo-esque player is visibly paying rewards. Long may it continue!
  2. Adam Lallana (Medium) – With Southampton in administrative turmoil, Mauricchio Pocchetino will look to steady the ship against Sunderland to prove all is well on the football field. But the inevitable “club in trouble, player exodus” rumours starting already, stories have emerged of the So’ton captain being linked to Manchester United – who could well do with his presence in the centre of the park.
  3.  Mark Noble (Low) – With Kevin Nolan having a melt down too many, it falls to oldboy Noble to lead the Hammers out of the relegation they find themselves engaged in. With a goal in the last match and facing Newcastle at home, he ought to come handy again if Big Sam Allardyce wants to take points off the beloved Alain Pardeux.
  • Forwards:
  1. Luis Suarez (High) – To borrow a fan favourite quote “Was there ever a doubt?!”. The Uruguayan is making writers Thesaurus-es by the dozens in their quest to find new words of praise for the man who is sure to win the Golden Bite  Boot this season. With Daniel Sturridge back in action, this man is every FPL managers’ Captain from now till the end when he leaves for Real Madrid  of the season.
  2. Romelu Lukaku (Medium) – To be honest, Lukaku is definitely one of the reasons Steve Clark got sacked as the West Brom manager. Given a MASSIVE gift in the form of a season long loan of the MASSIVE Belgian, the Baggies finished higher than anyone expected them to last season. And as my penchant for storly lines go, it’s kinda inevitable, ehh?! Lukaku scores, then refuses to celebrate…. Put down a bet on it, would ya?!
  3. Marouane Chamakh (Low) – No! i am not high on sheesha smoke right now… i *have* picked the Moroccan in my FPL picks. To be fair he did go on a three match (*3*) goal scoring run and enjoys the confidence of Pulis like never before. Could nick a header off a set piece 😀

So there’s that!!

Hope you find that useful! i am shedding tears of joy i actually finished this article!

Cliche count – 44.

Belgian Count – 2 (new low record i think!!!)

Please do share – would love all the support and the feedback!

Until next time – and by that i mean next week – hopefully!

Cheers!

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

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