Less can sometimes be more.

By Christmas in our private "mates" leagues we usually know whom the best three contenders are going to be at the end of the season and the rest of us start to lose interest and stop doing our teams each week. We guess that you all must go through the same thoughts?

In past years we’ve started a new competition for the second half of the season called the Losers’ League where everyone outside the top 6 can enter and this gives another chance to those who previously had no chance and prolongs participation and interest.

This year, some bright spark came up with the idea of not only running a Losers’ League but also a £6.5m league. What that means is that you can’t buy a player who costs more than £6.5m when you buy him. This obviously creates challenges in the striker department and the better midfielders are also out of reach but it does mean that you can get almost any goalie or defender that you want. It even means that the standard 3-4-3 formation also goes out of the window and is replaced by 5-3-2 or even 5-4-1 because the better players are obviously the defenders.

It’s thrown up quite some results to date with loads of managers commenting that their cheap teams are doing better than their normal teams. We did a bit of number crunching and came up with the fact that the average difference in performance between the normal teams and the cheap teams was less than 3% or 1.5 points per game. The leader of our cheap league has £14.5m in the bank.

Now it gets interesting.

Should we as managers dispense with the accepted fantasy tactics of spending big on strikers and goal scoring midfielders and buy great goalies and defenders instead? We could have 2 good midfielders and fill up the rest with players at the top of the value tables, buy a couple of good strikers and a cheap one to use up that £14.5m. That might change given the form of both Kane and Austin this season to one expensive striker and 3 good midfielders.

Food for thought for next season eh?

In our league the inevitable has happened. Last year’s winner, Jay Egersdorff has leaped four places to take the top spot. We did warn you some weeks ago about Jay creeping up on the rails. Jay was smart enough to include the in-form Benteke but not quite brave enough to captain him. We wonder if that may change next week? Poor Oli Ottey is doing a passable impression of Liverpool last season in leading for so long and then ending up a bridesmaid. Oh dear. And we have a new name in the Top 10. In gameweek 10, Joe Stevens was our Page 2 pacesetter. Now he’s up there with the big boys. Well done Joe.

The top 10 are as follows:

Jay Egersdorff

Matt Newman

Oli Ottey – Goodman Masson

John West – Meridian

Marcus Francis

Sam Bisgrove

Eddy Dowling

Paul Harron

Paul McCarthy

Joe Stevens

Manager of the Week

Nathan Greene won this same award just 11 gameweeks ago and looking at his team, you have to wonder why he’s not a bit further up the table than his current 16th place. He’s got a superb midfield of Hazard, Silva, Coutinho and Ramsey, and with Benteke and Aguero up front alongside Ivanovich and Courtois in defence you can see why this millionaire from Dubai has done so well this week.

Another brilliant week Nathan. 

Page 2 Pacesetter

With 81 points in 88th place we find Charlie Walker. Charlie gained nearly 3/4s of his points from just 3 players – Benteke (c), Sanchez and Myhill. The rest of his team didn’t do very much including Rooney and Mata. When we saw his team name was Kinkladze’s Army, we just assumed he was a City fan, but no self respecting City fan would have TWO United players in their team.

We think we should be told, Charlie.

The Best of the Rest

My Key’s Mark McNee has had a superb week with 78 points. In fact, if he’d have done a little bit better he would have gone all the way to Page 2. A midfield of Silva, Ramsey and Sanchez coupled with Benteke up front got him a lot of points, but we were wondering that as an Arsenal fan, what’s he doing captaining the out-of-form Harry Kane?

Well done anyway Mark. BTW, who’s your Scottish team? 

Taxi for...........

Taxi for Tim Krul......

Krul is undoubtedly a fine keeper but when he’s in a Newcastle side that could just be this season’s team that falls from grace having previously looked safe, he’s a liability. As a goalie, Krul was famously brought on in the final minute of extra time in Holland’s World Cup QF game against Costa Rica purely for his skill at saving pens. Still picked by 13% of managers, he’s scored just 23 points in the last 10 games as Newcastle have lost their last 8 on the trot.

Boas Myhill at £0.3m cheaper might be tempting for some but with games against both Arsenal and Chelsea coming up we’d dodge that one. At the same price, Casper Schmeichel’s games against Southampton, Sunderland and QPR look a lot more enticing.

Team names please

Now we’re at the business end of the season we’d like to remind all those who have a chance of a prize that we need your agency name as part of your team name. It’s the only way we can ensure that we are paying the prizes out to the correct managers and that those managers are genuinely in the recruitment industry. Thanks.

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