Archives for category: Gameweek Preview

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!! ūüėÄ

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) РWith 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

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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 ūüôā

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! ūüėÄ

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) РWith 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 ūüėÄ

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.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand ¬†I EXHALE!!……!!!!!

Finally, i’m back from my deep, deep slumber!!

Months and months after the last FPL Gameweek post, a bad case of fever and taking the day off is what gets me back here – hopefully for good!!

It was painful to stay away – but i reckon one has to simply make time for ones’ passion, ehh?!

So with further nostalgic mush-mush; let me dive right in the Predictions for Gameweek 3!

Straight off – the match to look out for is the first game this weekend – Manchester City welcome newcomers Hull City at the Etihad..

The Sky Blues will be smarting from their shock defeat to new boys Cardiff City – and will look to hammer in a few goals and target a clean sheet – especially after Manuel Pelligrini’s comments that Joe Hart can’t take his place as City #1 goal keeper for granted.

Everton would be looking for their first win under new boss Roberto Martinez after 2 draws – but will be wary of a Cardiff team high on confidence.

FPL wise – West Ham vs Stoke City should be one to look out for as well – Sam Allardyce’s men will consider anything less than a win a missed opportunity against the usually ineffective Stoke attack – who did miraculously score *two* goals last week!! :O

And finally he two big matches on Super Sunday! And it doesn’t get bigger than Liverpool vs Manchester United at Anfield AND the North London Derby – Arsenal vs a Gareth Bale-less¬†Tottenham at the Emirates.

Expect no clean sheets in the above two matches and plenty to attackers to try their best to get on the score sheet!

Now that the round up’s done – here are my picks!!

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High) – With new manager Pelligrini challenging Hart to justify his automatic selection between the sticks, the English shot stopper will have to be at his best to nail down his spot. Hull failed to score past Chelsea, and their lone goal against Norwich was a penalty. Can Hart notch up another cleans sheet?!
  2. Jussi J√§√§skel√§inen (Medium) – West Ham are a team on the ascendancy. Only 4 points from their first 2 matches will surely have Big Sam huffing and puffing at Boleyn ground. They will look forward to earn their third successive clean sheet – and Mark Hughes’ Stoke City should provide little threat to the target.
  3. Artur Boruc (Low) – Despite having an impressive squad, Norwich City still seem like a which hasn’t found it’s groove yet to accommodate the new summer recruits. Southampton on the other hand, have quietly gone about integrating theirs. A clean-sheet against the Canaries doesn’t seem too far fetched…
  • Defenders:
  1. Pablo Zabaleta (High) – Unless Angel Di Maria joins Arsenal – Pablo will remain everyone’s favourite Argentine in the EPL. To make up for losing his man and conceding three goals against Cardiff – Zabaleta went to the other end of the pitch to make amends – almost scoring and almost setting up a goal in the dying minutes. Not only will he working his hardest to ensure City do not concede at home, his positional awareness might just see him waltz past the Hull back four to score,
  2. Seamus Coleman (Medium) – The Irishman is on a roll! Excellent performances for Club and Country have marked Coleman for glory in 2013. Being a right-back hasn’t stopped him from pumping goals and assists for his team mates. A player with long term prospects this season – a worthy investment.
  3. James Collins (Low) – Yet another FPL prospect who is seemingly flying the radar – with only 6.4% FPL managers having picked the Welsh International – quite frankly an embarrassment! A vital cog in Big Sam’s defense – yet another low priced player to select ASAP!
  • Midfielders:
  1. Theo Walcott (High) – If it’s the North London Derby – AT the Emirates – one person who never fails to tun up is the speedy Englishman. Terrorizing full backs with his frightening pace, Theo has elevated his game to a new level and ensured that he remains an indispensable component of Arsene Wenger’s team.
  2. Kevin Nolan (Medium) – The talismanic Englishman is unquestionably the Hammers’ leader – wearing the Captain’s armband AND leading the players by example. All round action man – Nolan is a natural pick from the Irons’ squad.
  3. Aaron Ramsey (Low) – Yet another Welshman in today’s picks – and yet another Gunner. The 22 year old is seemingly coming back into the form of his life – with 3 goals in as many matches across all competitions. He should be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the arrival of Mathieu Flamini – as he will now have the license to roam in central midfield. Is it borderline blasphemy to suggest Ramsey on form is better than Jack Wilshere?! This season – we shall surely find out!.
  • Forwards:
  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – One thing is for sure – Liverpool will concede finally this weekend and the highest possibility is that the score will be – That Dutch Snake (Jersey #20). But despite that – it will be highly possible that the Man of the Match will be the troubled Wazza. A man who unfailingly turns up at all the right occasions – this game will be now different with the troubled striker having endured a tumultuous summer with never ending transfer speculation. Expect him to to turn it up and take another step at silencing his doubters.
  2. Olivier Giroud (Medium) – Third Gunner in the list!? So what!!? He’s scored 3 goals in the last 4 matches already – and the Emirates is his favourite hunting ground. Being the lone point of attack – now even more after Lukas Podolski’s unfortunate long term injury – expect the burly Frenchman to receive a LOT of service – and he may surely convert a chance or two!
  3. Edin Dzeko (Low) – Oddly, the Bosnian hit-man is almost never given the credit he deserves, despite his habit to score vital goals and vital matches. Priced lower than most FPL forwards, he is embarrassingly the most economical City forward – even behind new signings Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic! Surely an injustice!! But with nwe Pelligrini seemingly having immense faith in Dzeko – he has promised to he will turn back the clock and make the Bosnian the striker who was *expected* to arrive at the Etihad three seasons ago.

So that’s the list of my picks!! How many will deliver and how many will fail!? We won’t be waiting to long to find out!!!

Till the next time – hopefully, next Gameweek itself! May my second innings carry on uninterrupted… ūüôā

– DesiEPLFantasyManager

So i’m back after ANOTHER looooong break… Quite the Tomas Rosicky i am, ehh?! ūüėÄ

And what a time to comeback as well, with a MASSIVE fixture pile up over the next 5 days!! Unless you don’t know already 4 teams play twice over the Gameweek – and what a list of teams to boot: Arsenal, Everton, Fulham and Manchester United.

***Correction – 5 teams, i forgot dear old West Ham!! Sorry Big Sam!!!

MU will look to bury last week’s defeat under an avalanche of goals and 6 points… Arsenal and Everton will both be desperate to earn 6 points and stake their claim for a spot in the Top 4… And Fulham… will keep passing the ball to Berbatov.

The Tyne Wear Derby is perhaps the star billed match of the week, but with both teams hovering very uncomfortably above relegation spots a win will become even more crucial to both teams.

For multiple reasons – Arsenal vs Everton will be the match to look out for. It might just be a “six-pointer” though not in the strictest of senses.

A Toffees win wil inch them close to Europe, put a massive gap between them and Liverpool & boost their confidence massively for the rest of the campaign.

Arsenal Рif they win Рwill overtake Chelsea and Tottenham and the psychological  ramifications of 6 points this week will be **MASSIVE**.

Elsewhere, Wigan will potentially take a break from their Annual Avoid Relegation party and they visit Manchester City – who seem earnest in winning maximum points from the remaining matches.

Wit most of the big matches covered, let me head straight for my picks for this week:

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Joe Hart (High): With a severely over worked Chelsea playing the last match on this week, Hart playing against Wigan seems like a safe bet for a clean sheet. Hart is at the foremost in putting in a shift that’ll make the City supporters and in one of the few players who is still fighting for the City cause.
  2. David De Gea (Medium): After 6 clean sheets in a row, City finally breached the Red Devils defence twice last week. Expect SAF to demand that they embark on a new spree with two easily winnable games against teams who arn’t the most prolific of scores: Stoke and West Ham. With two games to be played, potentially penalty saves might just be a welcome bonus.
  3. Lukasz Fabianski (Low): Hey! i am just as surprised as you are to see Lukasz “Flappyhandski” here – but the Polish keeper has really put in impressive performances to snatch the starting spot away from Wojciech Szczensny. Once again – 2 games, maybe a clean sheet and a potential penalty save. A gamble, but the low price means it might just pay off handsomely.
  • Defenders:
  1. Patrice Evra (High):  The only stumble in this pick Рand i do have my doubts Рis that Evra might just be rested for one of the two matches that MU play. With the title wrapped up, SAF might just let Buttner have a run of two away games against the physically imposing sides. That said, if he does play the Red Devils VC might just contribute to the attack Рadding to his tally of 4 goals and 8 assists.
  2. Thomas Vermaelen (Medium): The Gunners skipper has now got the opportunity to play two games in a week – albeit only due to Per Merstesacker’s suspension. He will be keen to impress & with 2 games, he will get many chances to earn a starting spot. i reckon he will be eager to leave his mark.
  3. Sascha Reither (Low): Imported from FC Koln, Sascha has quickly established himself as a crowd favourite at Craven Cottage. With Fulham playing twice (yeah, it’s a recurring theme in my picks) and the second match to be played at home, he might just turn out to be a smart buy.

***** Note:  Why did i leave out my perennial favourite Leighton Baines you ask, even though Everton play twice and Baines is generally awesome sauce this season?! Answer: He is on 4 Yellow cards Рso a booking at QPR who are a scrappy lot Рwill result in him being suspended for the second match against Arsenal. *****

  • Midfielders:
  1. Santi Cazorla (High): Regular readers (Bless You ūüôā ) will be aware that i’m a sucker for footballers who have special reasons to perform – seminal matches, overtaking/equaling¬†club records, playing against former clubs, personal joy etc. etc…. And also, players who play twice a week are easy shoo ins in my team. Without further ado – i present to you Santi Cazorla – who plays twice *at home* this week AND welcomed his daughter India (Reason No. 1588 to love him) last week after his wife/partner (?!) delivered the healthy baby girl. Soooo – he’ll either score and kiss both his wrists – or score twice for his two kids. My bet for fantasy Captain to boot.
  2. Marouane Fellaini (Medium): Regular readers (Bless You :)) will know that rarely a Gameweek goes where i don’t have multiple Belgians in my Fantasy picks. So Belgian # 2 makes the cut again – Marouane “plays twice this Gameweek” Fellaini; who is back from his suspension and will be raring to contribute to the Toffees cause as they seek to sneak into Europe. Fantasy Captain Choice – Rank 2.
  3.  Damien Duff (Low): It has been ages, but there was once a time when Damien Duff was a high flying winger for played for Chelsea. Therefore Duff ticks two boxes Рplaying twice and playing against a former club. i persist in my belief that Chelsea will be thoroughly exhausted after their lengthy season Рand quite possibly slip up at the later stages when they are least expected to. Fulham are gasping for air and would want to pick up as many points they can at this stage, to stave a potential relegation battle.
  • Forwards:
  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – With That Dutch Snake on a mini drought (i fully expect him to end it over the next 2 games) i would still nominate Wazza for the pick. He’s hungrier to prove himself, well rested and more adept at playing physical sides like Stoke and West Ham. His efforts *for* the team are highly under-appreciated and i wouldn’t be surprised if he sets up team mates more than he scores from now till the end of the season. At least, that’s my take. Also, he’s a bit more economical than He Who Must Not Be Named.
  2. Olivier Giroud (Medium): He’s an Arsenal player… looks like a dream… has the body of a Greek God… Is French.. Smiles like a angel… i’m sorry, whaaatt?!! Oh – and he plays twice this week at home. Yup – THAT is why you should have him in your Fantasy…. Squad.
  3. Victor Anichebe (Low): Anichebe is a Fantasy Manager’s delight.. Costing only 4.3M¬†¬£. And he plays with consistent regularity, now that Nikica Jelavic isn’t on the scincillating form that he displayed towards the end last season. Anichebe wasn’t given many chances at the start of the season, and missed out on a lot of games towards the middle. A run now has seen him contribute with 5 goals and assists. Dirt cheap, play twice – Great buy!

So that’s that…

How many of these will deliver, only time shall tell!!

Till next week..

Cheers,

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

Hello there folks!

i don’t want to brag, but a lot of my picks in Gameweek23 did perform remarkably well… Joe Hart and Leighton Baines with clean-sheets… ¬†Theo Walcott with an 18pt haul, Marouane Fellaini with a respectable 5, Luis Suarez and Romelu Lukaku among the goals and assists…

Could get my picks out for GW24, but it was a week of surprises – what with QPR keeping a clean sheet against Manchester City (!!), Wigan scoring 2 against Stoke, Ryan Shawcross with a goal (!!), Sunderland and Swansea in a stalemate 0-0, and Fulham winning 3-1 over West Ham…

Anyway, here’s a quick look at the fixtures this weekend:

QPR vs Norwich – Harry’s New Boys could claim their second home League victory of this season against a Norwich team which seems to lost some of the early season sheen…

Arsenal vs Stoke РI expected the Gunners to win the match against Liverpool, then have a 0-0/1-1 draw against Stoke. Now,  with the high stakes involved, Arsenal face a must win situation, but i fully expect Stoke to put in a real fight.

Everton vs Aston Villa – i expect Everton to win, but whether they shut out Aston Villa will depend on which side of the bed Christian Benteke woke up today..

Newcastle vs Chelsea – A classic “trap game” – the Toons could spring an upset and pile on the pressure on Rafa Benitez, but i fully anticipate a Frank Lampard goal – quite possibly from the penalty spot.

Reading vs Sunderland – An upset – a rare Reading win.

West Ham vs Swansea – West Ham win; Michu to score.

Wigan vs Southampton – Tooooo close to call, but i’d go for a Saints victory. Wigan will kick start their annual “escape from relegation” ritual next week with a shock result against Chelsea.

Fulham vs Man. Utd – Can Fulham pull off a shock victory?! Unlikely.. but this will be a typical MUtd match – a nervy 3-2 win with at least one RvP goal.. A brilliant performance from Berbatov is probably another guarantee.

West Brom vs Tottenham – Striker less Spurs have recalled Harry Kane, but latest news declare Jermain Defoe fit for this clash. Spurs will look to Gareth Bale to deliver yet another sizzling performance and grab three points in their quest for Champions League qualification.

Man. City vs Liverpool – Man City for the win. Edin Dzeko with a goal or two…

So now that we’ve had a quick look at the games, here are the picks for GW25:

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Hugo Lloris (High)The Frenchman has finally cemented his place as the No.1 at Tottenham, and today will be great opportunity to stamp his authority and silence any remaining doubters. West Brom have been struggling of late, having lost 4 of their last 5 matches. The usually solid Spurs defense could manage a shut out today.
  2. Tim Howard (Medium) – Everton host Aston Villa, and will look to claim all three points in their quest for a top 4 finish. With Villans looking quite lost and the Toffees defense in solid if not impressive shape, this could be their third clean sheet in the last 4 games.
  3. Julio Cesar (Low) – Why Cesar wasn’t awarded all 3 Bonus points after last week’s stupendous performance is beyond me. He single handedly kept David Silva from claiming a hat trick!! Against Norwich, QPR will look to build on their January¬†enforcements¬†with Man Mountain Christopher Samba in the heart of defense.
  • Defenders:
  1. Jan Vertonghen (High)The Belgian has impressed in his first season in the EPL. He has been as important as Gareth Bale in their march towards a top4 finish. Expect him to put in a great shift today once again.
  2. Bacary Sagna (Medium) – The Gunners’ right back is having a torrid season – his slip in the last game led to Liverpool’s opening goal. With Stoke’s forwards rarely threatening to score, i expect Sagna to show us all (and maybe potential suitors in summer) what he is truly capable of.
  3. Christopher Samba (Low) – At 12.5 millions pounds and a salary of 100k, don’t expect Harry Redknapp to give the formed Blackburn Rovers man “time to settle” at QPR. Also, he won’t be caught unawares in the EPL, having left English shores only last January. He will slotted right in the centre of he action, and at the very low price of only 5.0m i fully expect the Congolese international to be a valuable asset – to QPR and to your FPL teams.
  • Midfielders:
  1. Gareth Bale (High) – Some research today confirmed that Jermain Defoe will be available for the match against West Brom. However, Bale’s position as the focal point of Spurs’ attack is beyond doubt. This could well turn out to be one of those games where the midfielder lights up the BPL with a brilliant display.
  2. Marouane Fellaini (Medium) – The Belgian is having a quite run of late, having scored his last goal over 2 months ago. Aston Villa will be the perfect tonic to kick start the new month and a crucial run of games to clinch the top 4 spot for the Toffees.
  3. Yohan Cabaye (Low) – Among the Frenchman who have arrived this year at Newcastle, let us not forget the “dreamboat” who came ashore last season.. Cabaye is already a vital cog in the Toons’ mechanism. With 2 goals in his last two outings, expect Cabaye – NUFC’s set-piece specialist to boot – to lift Alan Pardew’s men away from the relegation battle.
  • Forwards:
  1. Robin Van Persie (High) – If he isn’t in your FPL teams already, then you need to sell off 3 midfielders and get him in already! Agreed.. he costs more than any other player in the league, but bloody hell does he deliver! And now, Wayne Rooney has declared he will be relinquishing his penalty taking responsibilities to the Dutchman. ¬†[http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2013/Feb/wayne-rooney-decision-not-to-take-penalties.aspx] So that means RvP – who is a Manchester United player now – will get at least 10 penalties from now till the end of… February. 45.2% of FPL Managers already own him…. Will i be surprised to find out the number’s doubled by next week?
  2. Olivier Giroud (Medium) – 3 goals, 1 assist – a maximum 6 Bonus Points in the past two weeks – yeah, the Frenchman’s a flop alright. i hope my wife’s like Oliver – wait, that doesn’t sound right.. Surely, he will muscle (or charm) his way into the starting XI against the Rugby team tonight, and chip with a goal or an assist.
  3. Rickie Lambert (Low) – The Saints are looking for their first win under new manager Mauricio Pochettino. Wigan gives them a great opportunity to claim three points. Rickie Lambert will the best man to score goals, set up team mates and take set pieces as well. And with a record as fabulous as “Career Penalties Taken: 33; ¬†Career Penalties Missed: 0” and with 10 goals and 4 assists this season alone, who wouldn’t want Super Rickie Lambert in their team?! Or am i confusing him with some other penalty scoring Englishman?!

So, what do you think? Do my picks pass muster?!

in 48 hours we shall know for sure!

Cheers!

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

i’m no saint – it’s hard to be a blogger, especially with a limited audience… It’s never about the money (take my word, i’m a Gooner) but a little love goes a long way in such endeavours… the loooooong break was a result of a lot of things, but at the heart of it was disappointment.. Hope writing makes me fall back in line…

Speaking of saints – former Saint Theo Walcott has FINALLY ended his transfer saga by extending his contract, and he will stay at Arsenal and be at the very front of “The British Core”, while Saints Manager Nigel Adkins has been unceremoniously dumped by Southampton after a run of 5 undefeated matches…

No round up this week, i’ll dive straight into the selections:

  • Goalkeepers
  1. Joe Hart (High) – Manchester City host notoriously unimpressive¬†travelers¬†Fulham, one week after they managed to keep Arsenal at Bay. With Vincent Kompany’s Red Card overruled, he will be back to help the Citizen’s cause of retaining the League Championship. And it helps that Hart is easily one of the best ‘keepers in the world, let alone the EPL.
  2. Wojciech Szczesny¬†(Medium) – This pick is slightly risky, but if all goes as per script it’ll pay off. ¬†The Pole saved a penalty last weekend which proved he’s no mug in between the sticks.. And with 2 matches to be played by Arsenal this Gameweek, with a clean sheet seemingly achievable in the home match against West Ham, i reckon this a gamble worth taking.
  3. Adam Federici (Low) – Reading travel to Newcastle United at a time when the North East club is free falling into a vortex of relegation battle. ¬†With Demba Ba’s departure, and key players like Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote missing, the Toons are desperately lacking firepower upfront. Can Brian McDermott’s men add to Alan Pardew’s misery?!
  • Defenders
  1. Leighton Baines (High) – Somethings never change.. the number of times i’ve had Baines in my picks and yet i can’t buy him in my squad! Everton take on Southampton mere days after Nigel Adkins was given the boot. David Moyes would want the Toffees to take advantage of their instability. Set piece specialist Baines will look to have a bumper game with assists and goals there for the taking. But can they keep a clean sheet, not if their life depends on it i’m afraid!
  2. Kieran Gibbs (Medium) – Again, a Gunner selected purely because Arsenal play twice this Gameweek. Easily the most impressive of the Arsenal backline, the Englishman is having a terrific season. A goal last week, with assists flowing with some regularity, Gibbs is integral to starting attacks deep in the opposition half. His overlapping runs with Podolski are already impressive and with some practice, his dangerous crosses should regularly find Giroud and Walcott more often.
  3. Billy Jones (Low) – The Englishman has established himself as a near constant presence in the Baggies defence. While not a goalscorer like team mate Thomas McAuley, his ability to read the game and put in crucial tackles and interceptions are essential to the Baggies impressive home defensive record. Against a highly suspect Aston Villa side, Steve Clarke’s men would look for a clinical victory over Paul Lambert’s charges.
  • Midfielders
  1. Theo Walcott (High) – No, this isn’t Gunner bias, not in the least!! If i haven’t told you already, Arsenal play twice this Gameweek, so there! And Theo’s just signed a contract extension. And he is deployed as ¬†a striker these days. So his chances of scoring are higher, and he’s still classified as a Midfielder. “Days after signing a new contract, Theo gives back to his fans by scoring against familiar opponents, Chelsea” – You tell me that headline seems far fetched!!
  2. Marouane Fellaini (Medium) – The Belgian has it a plateau after his blistering start to the season.. A three match ban didn’t help either. Southampton – who’re seemingly in disarray – should provide a great platform for Fellaini to get back in the limelight.
  3. Kevin Nolan (Low) – See?! No bias. West Ham are the other team that play twice this Gameweek, and who else to buy other than their Captain Nolan?!! With The Other Kevin (Noble, for those who came late) suspect, Nolan becomes the focal point in attack AND will take over the set piece duties, if they do arrive. An obvious buy.
  • Forwards:
  1. Luis Suarez (High) – Last week’s battle of the top strikers saw Robin Van Persie emerge the obvious victor. This week the¬†Uruguayan¬†will be keen to set the record straight. Last time he faced the Canaries in the league, he scored a hat-trick, and provided an assist. While hitting those numbers seem unlikely, expect him to put in a match-winning performance nonetheless.¬†
  2. Demba Ba (Medium) – In my books, Ba is now an Undroppable. Every Fantasy team simply MUST have him!! With he boatload of chances that Chelsea create, Ba is a seamless fit at the very top – waiting to poach on every available opportunity. Arsenal failed to mark him the last time they met, and he scored 2. While he was still at Newcastle. i fear for Arsenal.
  3. Romelu Lukaku (Low) – Chelsea seem to have most of their strategies plain wrong. Lukaku is living proof of it. They bought the Belgian (surprise surprise!!), wasted him and then loaned him off to West Brom – where’s he’s been outstanding! He takes on Aston Villa at home, after scoring 2 past Reading last week. Once again, a highly logical buy.

So that’s it! Hope i’m back on Thursday to assess my picks!

***Note: Had Kevin Noble and Lukas Podolski been available, i’d have SURELY picked them! ūüôā

Also, maybe Ben Forster (WBA vs AVFC) instead of Federici as the goalkeeper in the Low department – that’s a close call though.

Cheers!

After a spectacularly fruitful return in the last outing, comes GW17…

Top story for the week – as reported by Captain Obvious – is that Chelsea and Southampton are not playing, so that will create quite the selection dilemma for scores for Fantasy Managers, as the likes of Juan Mata, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic and recently Fernando Torres – will leave a gaping hole in the team sheet, and will lead to major reshuffling to earn a decent score this GW to keep pace with teams who do not feature them…

Also, Southampton have some impressive FF picks РJose Fonte, Nathaniel Clyne, Jason Puncheon, Rickie Lambert Рwho will be unavailable this week as well.

In terms of Fantasy scoring, Liverpool vs Aston Villa and Manchester United vs Sunderland should be the games FF Managers must keep an eye on. Expecting clean sheets for both home teams and a heavy return from Liverpool/United forwards’ shouldn’t be surprise most Managers.

Manchester City are still smarting from last week’s stoppage time loss to United, and will look to make amends at the ground which bolstered their late title challenge last season – Newcastle United. Couple that with the Toons’ woeful form this season, and any dropped points at the Sports Direct Arena will prove to be nothing short of an upset for Mancini’s men.

Norwich have quietly emerged as one of the in-form teams in the EPL, notching up 4 cleans in the last 8 matches that they have gone undefeated, with upset wins over Arsenal, Manchester United (and Stoke City, if i may add..).

Yet another week, yet ANOTHER London Derby as QPR will host Fulham. Will ‘Arry FINALLY lead the Rangers to their first League win this season??!

Stoke City host Everton in match that should threaten Stoke’s 6 match unbeaten run – they have 4 wins and 2 draws – a record matched by only Manchester United. While facing the likes of¬†Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic, expect the Potters to concede goals at the “fortress” that is the Britannia Stadium, but don’t be surprised if they score some of their own via¬†Jonathan Walters, Michael Kightly, Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch.

Tottenham vs Swansea should a match with goals being scored freely at both ends. Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon and Clint Dempsey will all to get their names on the score-sheet while surreally impressive Michu, along with Jonathan de Guzman, Nathan Dyer will look to cause yet another upset in North London.

Arsenal travel to Reading, a few weeks after the miraculous 5-7 Capital One Cup match… That euphoria has settled now that the Gunners have been dumped out of the same by ¬†Bradford City and the under pressure squad will take the opportunity to get back to winning ways at Madjeski against the woeful hosts who look destined for relegation. While there may not be a goal fest like the last time these sides met, an Arsenal win is the least that is expected tonight.

Without further delay,  here are my picks for Gameweek 17:

  • Goalkeepers:
  1. Jose Reina (High)Liverpool, having finally managed to field an injury free back-line,  have chalked up a couple of impressive defensive displays at home. Aston Villa are still looking a like a team bound for relegation, and the Reds should look to notch yet another win in their ascent up the table. Will Pepe finally stop with his erratic goalkeeping habits and add another regulation clean sheet under his belt?
  2. David De Gea (Medium) – The Manchester United goal keeping dilemma seems to have been settled – for now. The Spanish shot stopper has earned his starting spot and should have one of best seats in the house as he surveys the one way traffic that is expected at the other end.
  3. Mark Bunn (Low) – John Ruddy’s absence has led to an abrupt defensive imbalance at Carrow Road, just when they’d chalked up 4 cleans sheets in 5 matches. Mark Bunn faces a Wigan side who are terrible on the road. Can Chris Houghton’s men eke out another 1-0 win over the Latics? i fancy – yes!
  • Defenders:
  1. Leighton Baines (High)Stoke City have arguably the best defensive record (at home) in the EPL, but also one of the worst goal-scoring records (at home) as well. For Everton to win the match, scoring a lone goal might just put the result beyond the Potters. Add to that the possibility that a penalty might just be conceded by the Jolly Green Giants, and Baines’ inclusion makes a lot of sense. Will the man with this page created for himhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/And-on-the-8th-day-God-created-Leighton-Baines-left-foot/155901457798052?ref=ts&fref=ts¬†– strike this weekend?!
  2. Glen Johnson (Medium) – After a lengthy spell of indifferent performances, Englishman Johnson has put ins some of his best performances in the Reds shirt over the last two matches. Before a home match against Aston Villa, now would be a great time to jump on the Johnson bandwagon!!
  3. Sebastien Bassong (Low) – Speaking of bandwagons, Bassong is another player who seems to have stuck a purple patch. 3 goals in the last 5 matches along with a clean sheet, and the returns have been impressive for any Managers who picked up the Cameroonian. His transfer price too has spiked by 0.5M. Seems like a sound investment in my books.
  • Midfielders:
  1. ¬†Santi Cazorla (High) – The Gunners are officially in crisis – for the umpteenth time this season. The¬†diminutive¬†Spaniard has been one of the few bright spots for the Gooners this season. As Wenger’s men look to dig themselves out of yet another hole, expect Santi to take the lead and pave the way for a much needed win for Arsenal.
  2. Yaya Toure (Medium) – The Ivorian returns to Newcastle, 7 months after he won them the match against the Toons and effectively, the EPL title. With a host of forwards lacking form and City playing catch up to United’s 6 point gap at the top of the table, expect Toure to put in an imperious performance once again.
  3. Anthony Pilkington (Low) – The former Manchester United youth player is one of the key factors behind Norwich’s dominant run in the past few matches. An attacking midfielder with an eye for flair, his goal scoring threat and a low price tag make him a great investment.
  • Forwards:
  1. Wayne Rooney (High) – First off, read this –¬†http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9746388/Manchester-Uniteds-Wayne-Rooney-targets-revenge-mission-against-Sunderland.html – Then take into account that Rooney has scored 4 goals and assisted another in the last 2 matches. THEN you tell me it’s not a good idea to appoint him Captain in my Fantasy team. Go on, i’ll be patient……
  2. Jermain Defoe (Medium) – In a season where the headlines are dominated by the likes of Michu, Robin van Persie (ugh!), Carlos Tevez among others, Jermaine Defoe is quietly notching up impressive performances in EPL and the Europa League. Against Swansea, expect the nimble Englishman to break the 10 goal mark this season.
  3. Jamie Mackie (Low) РOwing to injuries to most of the forwards at Loftus road, Mackie Рwho seemingly enjoys the patronage of new boss Harry Redknapp Рwill look to make the most of the chances coming his way. Fulham are hardly threatening when away, and with the Rangers desperately waiting for a win, expect the Scottish international to help the cause.

That’s my take on the Gameweek 17.

Here’s to a bumper return (i need a punch line.. badly!!)

Cheers,

DesiEPLFantasyManager.

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