2013

  • The Special One plays his part in a thrilling end to the season

    Despite all of Jose's mind games about fielding a team of kids, he actually put out a very strong defensive side against Liverpool and played the sort of "19th century football" that he accused West Ham of earlier in the season when they "parked two buses" at Stamford Bridge. At the end of the day of course, the record books won't show the number of buses but the number goals scored and conceded. And why would Jose even think that winning the CL would be easier than winning the Prem? Even if he breaks down Atletico (who play very much like Chelsea, defending deep and breaking fast), he'd still have to contend with Bayern or Real in the final. The way the Liverpool and City have slipped up he's in with a small shout if Liverpool get beat at Palace and City get beat at Everton. Chelsea have a very easy run in against Norwich and Cardiff and they won't slip up against those will they? Or will they?

  • Half a fixture list

    With only 50% of teams playing this weekend who did the best FL managers select / transfer in to make the most of the Gameweek? Chelsea players, Hazard aside are very difficult to pick because the strikers rarely score and the midfielders change more often than most of us change our socks. The obvious choice would have been ManU players given that they were playing the increasingly hopeless Baggies. Why on earth their owner Jeremy Peace got rid of Steve Clark and replaced him with Pepe Mel, a Spanish manager with a very average history in a league that he actually knew something about is anyone's guess. No, he still hasn't won a single game yet. Getting back to ManU, the obvious choice for those FL managers who don't support City, Liverpool or Everton ("Once a Blue, always a Blue" as Rooney once said) was their extremely well paid, follicly-challenged captain-elect. Those that did were rewarded with a goal, an assist and a clean sheet. That's 20 points in the past 2 games for our Wayne however those have been against Palace and WBA. That Europa league place and ITV4 on Thursday nights is becoming more and more a possibility. Fingers crossed eh?

  • Is Sturridge the new Suarez?

    Is Luis Suarez losing his touch and is Daniel Sturridge stealing his place as the FL managers' favourite player? Well, in his last 4 games Suarez has only managed 4 points per game. Contrast that with his golden period in December when he amassed an amazing 71 points in as many games and you can see his fall from grace. He's now the 4th placed Liverpool player in the form table after Sturridge, Gerrard and (yes) Skrtel. Suarez's form has been replaced by Sturridge's with the ex City and Chelsea man averaging nearly 11 points per game since his return from injury in early January. This form hasn't yet hit the selection stats with Suarez still in over 50% of teams whereas Sturridge doesn't even make a third of them and is less popular than his goalie. Shurely shomething wrong?

  • High winds cause chaos - with FL managers!

    Well, we all know what a lot of disruption a bit of wind can cause don't we? For this week's writer it meant no less that 6 first team players and all four subs being just out of the two games that were called off. Good job a tree came down in my front garden and blocked the road or I would have been half way to the game before I'd have known. No doubt Jose will start whinging about City getting an extra bit of rest before Saturday teatime's FA Cup encounter at the Etihad. Is Luis Suarez losing his touch with "only" 4 goals and 5 assists in the past 9 games? His strike partner, Daniel Sturridge has scored 7 and amassed an amazing 59 FL points in the past 6 games compared with his teammate's 40 points. Could there be an argument for making Sturridge the captain of choice in March or could that be the returning Sergio Aguero?

  • The world's turned upside down

    What a week! Liverpool do a City on Arsenal. Free scoring City can't find the net for the second week on the trot. Fulham who couldn't beat struggling League One side Sheffield United manage to get a draw at Old Trafford, but maybe that's not as big a surprise as it once was. West Ham win away. Swansea win a game and Hazard fulfils his potential in style.

  • Chelsea make things interesting

    All talk of City winning the quadruple was quietly dismissed last night as Chelsea exposed the weakness of City's large squad with an elderly, ponderous centre back being employed in a central midfield holding role against a very strong Chelsea team whilst the two full-backs continually neglected their defensive duties. Could this be 1-0 to Chelsea for the rest of the season? If so, fantasy managers could do well to ship in some of their defenders PDQ.

  • Who should be your third striker?

    Most top managers will have Suarez and Aguero in their teams after the January wildcard. The question is who to choose as the 3rd striker. Daniel Sturridge used to be a shoe-in but at £9.3m he's perhaps not good enough value and Adebayor, Dzeko, Agbonlahor, Campbell, Welbeck and Rodriguez are all sub £8m and are looking very good value. We've a feeling that this choice of 3rd striker could make or break the eventual league winners. Watch this space.

  • Strikers' dilemma

    Now then. We've been away for 5 whole gameweeks but whilst things have changed at the top of the EPL in our league it's much of a muchness with the usual suspects still hogging the top 10. Come on you guys in the bubbling under positions - put a bit more effort in!

  • A week of the haves and have nots

    With the 5 contenders for a Champions' League place seemingly set in stone now, success this week was simple. Did you pick Suarez as your captain or not? If you did, you got a player scoring you 48 points. If you chose someone else, you only got 24. If you didn't have the Uruguayan in your side at all (like last week's 3rd placed manager, Peter Bradley) you dropped 15 places to 18th. Looking at his team we think that Peter hadn't realised that there was a full gameweek this midweek.

  • What a week!

    Arsenal concede 6 for only the third time in the Premiership history. City concede more to Arsenal than they had done to every other home opponent all season put together. Liverpool put 5 past Spurs without either Sturridge or Gerrard. (Spurs had only conceded 6 goals in their first 10 games but have conceded 15 goals in their last 5 games). Everton try and emulate City and put 4 past Fulham. ManYoo actually win a game and the biggest surprise of all, Danny Welbeck scores his first Premiership goals since the opening day of the season and Tom "none to" Cleverly scores his first for over a year. Predict that!

  • Suarez or Aguero?

    You may have noticed that Match of the Day conducted a viewer poll this weekend on who is the better striker between Aguero and Suarez. Suarez won hands down with 77% of the vote but let's examine the stats from an FL viewpoint. Aguero has had 20% more minutes played so far but Suarez missed the first five games of the season through suspension. City also have a tendency to rest Aguero once a game is won to help him recover for a Champions' League game in the week, which of course Liverpool don't have to worry about. There is also the added issue of the size of the squad and whereas City can bring on another striker Liverpool aren't quite so fortunate. Suarez is undoubtedly going to get more game time than Aguero and therefore has more chance of picking up extra points however Gary Neville on last night's MNF made the point that City's team will provide more opportunities for Aguero who has scored 12 goals so far with Suarez on 2 more at 14. Compare this with Aguero's best season (2011/12) when he bagged 23 and Suarez's (last season) where he also bagged 23 and you can see that both strikers are well in line for beating those records. Aguero is slightly ahead on assists so far (8 v 7) and they were both about the same in the previous record seasons. Aguero is just above Aguero in the overall points table but when it comes to the form table, he's miles ahead. Overall, you've got to say that the Match of the Day viewers got it just right but the solution for FL managers is easy. Get them both.

  • It's the 3 R's show

    With Sturridge out and Aguero and Suarez not registering on the scoresheet it was left to the 3 R's, Rooney, Ramsey and Remy to win the points. Even that old favourite of FL managers Demba Ba won some points for a change with a goal and an assist. It's probably the best he's ever done in a Chelsea shirt.

  • The season of strange and unpredictable results continues

    Before the weekend, we were saying to our Liverpudlian cousins of both persuasions that the Everton - Liverpool derby had 0-0 written all over it. City v Spurs? Spurs had only conceded 6 goals all season and the last and only time they'd conceded an away goal was on September 1 against Arsenal. Sure, City have a great home form, but they do struggle to break down packed defences. A low scoring game for sure. Newcastle v Norwich? Another whitewash with a resurgent Newcastle knocking a bagfull in against the hapless East Anglians. ManU v Cardiff? This was bound to be a walkover. WBA v Villa? Villa, despite a shaky start hadn't conceded an away goal since August 21 against Chelsea and then they let in 2 in the first 11 minutes.

  • Suarez back on form whilst Aguero toils

    That man Luis Suarez bit his critics right on the arm when he bounced back from firing blanks at Arsenal last week to claim 2 goals and an assist by virtue of a Fulham OG. Suarez looked brilliant on Saturday and in this form what is to stop him getting the golden boot at the end of the season unless he selfdestructs in the January transfer window. This week's other two contenders for captain for the serious managers, Sturridge and Aguero looked like a pair of Jaffa's in comparison. For those who went with one of the contenders at Old Trafford in Giroud, Rooney and RvP there was disappointment all around. I heard a City fan; miffed about losing yet again to their bogey team Sunderland, say that at least they're above United. Newcastle United that is.

  • SAS fail to score for the first time this season

    Prior to Liverpool's away fixture at The Emirate this weekend, only Southampton with the league's best defensive record had prevented Daniel Sturridge from scoring. Not only that, but when his strike partner Luis Suarez returned from his ban, one of the pair have netted each time they have played. Not any more! FL managers, most of whom have at least one of the pair in their side had a big choice to make this week regarding their captain and most of them made the right choice and picked either Aguero or Rooney. Those that chose the Argentinean were rewarded well with him bagging a goal, two assists and a MOTM bonus against a hapless Norwich. If his first goal had not been ruled an OG he could have got more. The little man is not only the FL's overall top points winner but is the top of the striker's form table and second in the value/form table. A must-have acquisition for all of us we think.

  • Who did you choose as your captain in the FL dad?

    Who was your captain this week then? Was it Ozil with 6 points, Giroud with 12 points, Sturridge or Lukaku with 16 points, or did you choose the mighty Suarez with 34 points? It's hardly surprising that in general, those managers who were brave enough to choose Suarez made great strides whereas those choosing one of the others didn't. And it was a brave decision; up until their demolition by Liverpool on Saturday, The Baggies had not only won at Old Trafford but also had only conceded 2 away goals all season. Well done to all those managers who put their faith in the Uruguayan. We'd have certainly bit your hand off to wind back the clock and choose again. Next weekend Liverpool play Arsenal away. Does anyone dare to do it again?

  • The strikers return

    At last we've had a week where the goals scored count more than the clean sheets with only Stoke, WBA and Spurs keeping them.

  • The unfashionable come to the fore

    Southampton have not only risen to 4th place in the league above the likes of City, Spurs, Everton and ManU but they also have the meanest defence in the league conceding a mere 2 goals in 7 games. Last year, the FL managers' most popular Southampton player was undoubtedly Ricky Lambert, but it's not surprising that the top 3 Southampton points winners are Artur Boruc, the goalie and two defenders, Fonte and Lovren. All have way over 40 points and are averaging over 6 points a game. At £5.2m, Lovren has got to be on everyone's transfer target list. Some have already got there evidenced by his popularity going from 3% to 7% last week alone.

  • Lukaku lights up the league

    There have been some strange decisions made by the top clubs recently. Why didn't Wenger buy Higuain for £25m when he had the chance and when he only had one decent forward? Why did Sunderland sell Sessegnon? Why did the Glazers appoint David Moyes when they could have gone for Guardiola, Ancelotti, Mourinho, Blanc or Mancini instead? But the most puzzling question of the lot has to be why did Chelsea let Romelu Lukaku go on loan to Everton? It's not as if Chelsea are exactly flush with decent forwards is it and if Lukaku isn't a ready made replacement for Drogba we really don't know who is. We wonder if TSO will walk out of his next press conference when the cruel journalists put that question to him?

  • Who to choose in the top teams?

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  • Forwards don't deliver the points yet again...

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  • The best defences rule the roost

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  • Game Week 1 Review

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  • The Recruitment International Fantasy Football League 2013-14, Sponsored by Futura Rec2Rec

    Loads of recruitment industry professionals have had a great time over the last football season pitting their wits against each other in the Recruitment International Fantasy Football League.

  • John Hunter holds on to win the league

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  • Manager merry-go-round

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  • Who the ***** is Benteke?

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  • 20 league titles

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  • Double Gameweek

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  • Gameweek 32 Review

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  • Farewell Martin

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  • Dare to be different?

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  • The world will be watching

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