Monday, 30 November 2009

The AM Challenge Cup

As promised, as an alternative to The Blog Cup, we now approach Week 14, which is the 1st Round of The AM Challenge Cup. 

600 team, 6 rounds, 1 winner!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Week 13 - Sunday


Chelsea are in a league of their own - you won't see any other team go to the Emirates & tear Arsenal apart like The Blues did today. It wasn't just the scoreline, but the overall dominance over the 90 mins. It was men against boys & I was very impressed, as I'm sure you all were. Unlucky Gunners :)

Didier Drogba continues his phenomenal form with another 2 goals & a haul of 26.5 points as he shot up to £21.65m. He has now scored 72 points more than any other player in the game & helped salvage my week as I scraped 80 points to end in 1800th, down 350 places from the beginning of the week

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Week 13 - Saturday



Okay, I'm back. Apologies about yesterday, the issues have semi-resolved themselves this morning (thanks for the messages guys & for keeping the great discussion up in my absence)...football always helps take my mind off problems, so time for quick review on Saturday.

Lots of points about - unfortunately not for me. I finished Saturday with 54 points, dropping 500 places.

Week 13 - My Team


Kirkland

Vermaelen  Baird  Alexander

 Dempsey  Dunn  Ireland  Duff

  Defoe  Adebayor  Drogba

After loads of chopping & changing yesterday, I ended up with exactly the same team I had after the barndoor closed on Wednesday night.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Week 13 Summary & Week 14 Preview


Friday...didn't I once say you should never make changes on a Friday? So why am I sitting here with only 5 "keepers" in my team leaving me chopping & changing the 6 remaining places every half an hour or so? The one positive thing is my initial player picks list has been whittled down from 45 to 22 players.

Here it is, with a brief explanation of the remaining issues I'm dealing with as we fast approach the deadline for Week 13.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Week 13 - Player Picks


Finally Week 12 is over & the Blog Cup 2nd Round results are up, so I can now concentrate on Week 13 with my passage to Round 3 safetly secured! :)

After pretty much ending last week where I started it, just inside the Top 1500, I really need to push on. It's back to a single week for Week 13 which I think we all prefer & as always there are a huge number of picks to consider with a great variety of fixtures.

Here are the 40 or so players currently under consideration:

Week 12 Round-Up & Blog Cup Round 2 Results


Once again, the Wednesday of a doublegamer saves my week!

I moved from 49 points to 107.5 thanks to a combination of Schwarzer, Duff, Dunn, Geovanni & Dempsey. Heitinga got me negative points, Bullard didn't play & Zamora may as well not have played but overall I have to be satisfied as I moved up 500 places from the weekend's disaster. I finished Week 12 where I started it - just inside the Top 1500.

There were points all over the place last night - Fulham defenders, Stephen Hunt, Louis Saha & Andy Dawson  - but also points to be lost for Zayatte owners (own goal, penalty conceded, yellow card...ouch!).

On the barndoor I grabbed back Dempsey who I sold at the weekend (Bullard has to be dropped for this move) & I brought in Chris Baird for now, but that was all. That pretty much sums up Week 12, so now we move on to the Blog Cup 2nd Round Results. There were 200 teams remaining from Round 1, the Top 100 now go through...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Impressive Impressions

Completely irrelevant, but I saw these on YouTube & they made me laugh so thought some of you may also find them funny :)



Just to add relevance to this post, i'll mention my plans for the next couple of days. Usually you'd expect to see my Player Picks post up on a Wednesday, but because we still have fixtures tonight I've decided to delay them until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Injury Update 24/11/09


Lots of interesting injury news from football365.com today:

Monday, 23 November 2009

Injury Update 23/11/09


As ever, from football365.com

Things just don't get any better for Liverpool, do they?

Rafa Benitez has taken an 18-man squad to Hungary for their rather important Champions League game agaisnt Debrecen on Tuesday, which the maths enthusiasts among you will realise offers them absolutely no room for manouvre.

Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Yossi Benayoun and Dan Agger (despite his head injury suffered against Manchester City) have travelled, but Fernando Torres and Albert Riera have stayed at home.

It's not entirely clear at this stage why Riera has not even made the trip, as the Spanish winger was on the bench for the City game at Anfield, but that inclusion was ahead of schedule after his hamstring injury suffered against Birmingham.

Possible reasons/ill-informed speculation whistling around the F365 office are that he tripped on his way to the bench on Saturday, or that he suffered a bad reaction to the horse placenta massage he was 'treated to' in Serbia last week. Obviously, like proper journalists, we'll let you know when we find out.

Edit: Apparently Riera has stayed at home for 'further treatment' on that twangy hamstring. Told you we'd let you know.

Another man who is closer to Stanley Park than the Hortobágy national park (thanks Wikipedia) this week is Ryan Babel, whose ankle was crunched at Anfield on Saturday.

Speaking of mischiefs suffered in that game, Manchester City captain Kolo Toure was forced off the pitch at half-time, but don't fret City fans - he's on the mend.

According to the City website, the club's medical staff have reported that Toure has made a 'good recovery' since Saturday, and it's not expected to trouble him for too much longer.

While we're on the City site, Martin Petrov may well be back in training by the end of the week, after he strained knee ligament while away with Bulgaria, and Sylvinho will be back breathing down Wayne Bridge's deeply average neck after his calf problem was declared done and dusted.

The next big game in that fair city will be the Merseyside derby next weekend, and Everton could have Steven Pienaar back for that one.

Pienaar has been absent since the end of September with a knee knock, but David Moyes said today: "Steven is the only one who is near coming back. He will hopefully train this week and we'll take it from there."

Here's a thing - some positive injury news from Arsenal. Seriously.

Having missed the defeat at Sunderland with a foot problem, Kieran Gibbs is back in the Gooners' squad for their Champions League game against Standard Liege on Tuesday.

Down to the south coast now, and you may have spotted that David James missed Portsmouth's defeat to Stoke after some discomfort in his calf during the warm-up at the Britannia.

Paul Hart played down the injury, but Pompey are obviously a bit worried about it - they have recalled Asmir Begovic from a loan spell at Ipswich, despite having Jamie Ashdown and Antti Niemi in their goalkeeping ranks.

Danny Murphy and Andy Johnson could face Blackburn on Wednesday after Fulham boss Roy Hodgson confirmed the duo have come through training 'totally unscathed'.

The Cottagers have been without midfielder Murphy for almost two months after their captain sustained a knee ligament problem.

Centre-forward Johnson has been missing for more than a month as a groin problem has kept the former Everton man on the sidelines.

But the pair have returned to full training and Hodgson is considering their selection as he prepares a side for Blackburn's arrival at Craven Cottage.

Cheers,
AM

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Week 12 - Sunday


JERMAIN DEFOE
1 Game Played
5 Goals
7 Shots on Target
1 Match Winning Goal
4 Corners Won,
1 Successful Cross,
1 Pass Intercepted
Total = 63.50 points

An absolutely extraordinary performance, rewarded with the highest ever points total in the history of Yahoo Fantasy Football. I doubt it'll ever be beaten. Huge congratulations if you had him - I obviously didn't but I'm not annoyed, just a very happy & very proud Spurs fan sitting at my laptop this evening...

9-1 - unbelievable! The whole team were exceptional (Defoe, Lennon & Kranjcar in particular) & had it not been for Chris Kirkland it could've honestly been 12-1 or more - he made at least 3 world class saves. The rest of the Wigan team should be ashamed of themselves for what happened in the 2nd half.
Spurs move in to 4th & it should be noted that we are there having been without Luka Modric since August. Liverpool tend to mention missing Torres or Gerrard as reasons for their terrible form, but to me Modric is "our Gerrard", our best player, so to be doing so well without him is really pleasing.

Moving away from Spurs, Blackburn had a great win 0-2 at a woeful Bolton, and once again my reluctance to go with the cheap keeper has backfired, with Robbo keeping a very rare clean sheet. I had Dunn who was superb again, but there were also great points for Roberts due to an assist, Brett Emerton & an amazing 18 for Nelsen. The final game was a 1-0 win for Stoke, with Fuller scoring the winning goal. Great points for Sorenson due to his penalty save from Boateng, with handy contributions from Wilkinson & Collins.

So we are now left with the 2 double games on Wednesday, in which I have 8 players to go. I currently sit on a frankly appalling 50 points, so I need to pray these players can get me up towards 100 for the week. I don't think it'll be enough to get me through to the 3rd round of the Blog Cup, but you never know, Geovanni could score a hattrick? ;)

On the barndoor I grabbed Defoe, Adebayor, Ireland & Robinson. I'm also hanging on to Dunn & Duff given their fixtures, but I may well jump ship on Alexander. Vermaelen & Drogba will stay. Not sure what to do about Jimmy Bullard seeing as his next game is at City, but it appears he could be returning to a points machine, so I'll make a decision nearer the time. I'd also really like a Man Utd player at Pompey but not sure who (Rooney, Valencia?)...Adebayor & Defoe won't definitely stay, they were only grabbed to give me the option...Defoe's price has gone up to £22m, surely the biggest jump ever?

How have you done, & who have you grabbed? Did you have Defoe!?

Cheers,
AM

Week 12 - Saturday


Does somebody want to explain to me how I managed to move up 50 places in the overall standings with only 32 points? Seriously. How?

It was a very weird week. I went to the pub last night after the 3pm kick offs finished thinking I'd drop outside the Top 2000 with only 1 goal, but I end up in 1400th place. I'm not sure what's happened...some people must've had absolute shockers! At least the results were good news for Spurs, with Arsenal losing & Villa, Liverpool & City drawing, meaning we could go 3 points clear in 4th today with a win vs Wigan.

The only players breaking 20 were Malouda, Essien & Van Der Sar & I can't imagine many people had them. Anyone investing in single gamers from Arsenal such as Eduardo must be furious, but Joe Cole & Kalou owners will be pleased as both returned far more than their value.

So where did my 32 points come from? Well, certainly not from Schwarzer (-3) or BobbyZ (-2.5). How the bloody hell does someone score -2.5 when they didn't get booked? Rubbish. Jimmy Bullard helped me out with his goal but I was disappointed with only 12.5 points, Dempsey grabbed a handy 8 but I took a zero for Drogba & Duff, 0.5 for Geovanni & Vermaelen.

Alexander weighed in with 5 points but the unexpected bonus was Johnny Heitinga with 11. That's as good as a goalscoring performance & only 1 point less than the Zayatte (who did score). I actually think Heitinga is the sole reason I've gone up in the rankings  & I can't really take credit as it's one of those lucky picks...if I'd had the money I would've gone for Paintsil (0) or Konchesky (3)!

I have Dunn to come today then 8 more players on Wednesday, so I have to believe I can still reach 100 points which might be enough for the Round 3 of The Blog Cup, but it's going to be tough.

Next week we're back to a single week -  I really don't like double weeks so I'm relieved. On the barndoor I grabbed Ireland but that's pretty much it as I missed Valencia. Robbo will probably be in goal, Verm & Alexander are likely to stay, Carlton Cole & Adebayor could be up front with Drogba (although I'd like Rooney) & I'm thinking Duff & Dunn may stay in midfield. As always, lots will change between now & next week.

How did you do? Who have you got left?

Cheers,
AM

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Week 12 - My Team



Schwarzer

Vermaelen  Heitinga  Alexander

Dunn  Bullard  Duff  Dempsey  Geovanni

Zamora  Drogba

Despite being burnt by going with Friedel in the last double week, I still went for Schwarzer, grabbing him at just under £9m on the barndoor. I may have gone for Myhill had he been confirmed as fit, but the doubt means the only other option was Robinson & Blackburn (2 away games) have only won once away from home in 8 months. No thanks!

In defence I decided to hang on to Vermaelen & Alexander. Dropping them for 1 double-week would've been crazy after all the good they've done for me. I hope people have dropped Verm as he's due a goal & as I said to some of the guys on the chatroom last night, I've never seen a defender so natural in front of goal! Alexander is held at £5.7m playing at home, in midfield & always has a chance of a penalty. Heitinga was never my first choice but I preferred him over Nelsen & Givet. I would've loved a Fulham defender but they all ended up out of my price range.

In midfield I'll have a familiar line-up to many of you with the 4 DGers: Dunn (always does well for me), Bullard, Dempsey & Duff. Duff may not play both games, but he'll get at least 90 mins (probably at home to Blackburn) & at £10m he's good value in a home game.

My final spot is a gamble...Geovanni. He may not even play from the start vs West Ham, but if he does he takes penalties, takes free kicks (although he'll now share them with Bullard) & is capable of that little bit of magic, so he could pay off. He could also flop of course, but I preferred him to Roberts due to the 2 home games. However, I may regret choosing him ahead of Eduardo. I'll mentioned I was sad to lose O'Hara as I had him at £2.5m discount, but I'd be happy to pick him up again at around £7m-£8 once his run of fixtures improves.

Finally, up front I decided to hang on to Drogba & get Zamora in. BobbyZ is in great form & was a no brainer at under £8m. Drogba is only due to miss one game & then has upto 8 games before he's off to the African Nations...that's almost quarter of the season, so in my opinion it would be crazy to drop him at 10.66 just because he's missing one week. One big reason O'Hara had to go was because I was keeping Drogs, meaning I needed a double gamer to make up for him missing a game.

So that's it, 3-5-2, 8 double gamers (4 Fulham, 2 Hull, 1 Blackburn, 1 Everton) with Vermaelen, Alexander & Drogba filling the final 3 spots. Hopefully it'll be enough to get through Blog Cup Round 2!

I imagine people will have very similar teams this week - I'd be interested to hear your teams & find out who you're thinking of picking up on the barndoor? For me it'll be Man City & Man Utd players...

Cheers,
AM

Friday, 20 November 2009

Week 12 Round Up & Week 13 Preview


This has been the most difficult week for me since I started writing the blog. I've had no laptop to write on & I've been away with work, meaning I've been unable to keep up with news & unable to write posts to my usual standard. The good news is things should be back to normal next week, with my new laptop due to arrive & I'm back in the office! Now, Week 12 - I've narrowed down my list of 60+ players to 25.

Schwarzer.
Robbo
I had been thinking about Myhill, but now he's been confirmed injured the only other cheap double gamer is Robbo. Everyone knows how I feel about Robbo (you probably feel the same!), so it's 99% likely to be Schwazer.

Paintsil
Konchesky
Zayatte
Samba
Givet
Nelsen
Heitinga
Verm
Alexander
I'm probably hanging on to Alexander, not sure about Vermaelen as he's gone off the boil a bit, so i'll probably add Konchesky, Heitinga or Samba. I'd like 2 DGers if possible, which means Verm will have to go.

Bullard
Dempsey
Duff
Dunn
Geovanni
J Cole
Fabregas
Arshavin
Bullard & Dempsey are definitely in, then I really want Joe Cole but can't find a way to fit him in at the moment. Dunn & Duff are both possibles. I had been considering Tim Cahill but it sounds like he's a doubt. I wish I could stretch to Fabs or Arshavin, but I can't quite find the cash.

Anelka
Zamora
Roberts
Saha
Eduardo
Kalou
Benitez
With the news that Drogba is going to be back in a few days it makes me think I'll keep him at £10m. He's been an outstanding performer & he'll still have 7 (possibly 8) more games before the African Nations so I think may ride out the zero this weekend. Zamora is great value so he could make it, then I may look at Eduardo or Kalou. I'm still holding Roberts, but he's likely to go.

I still have 4 or 5 big decision to make before deadline - I wanted to go 3-5-2 but if I'm hanging on to Drogba I may go 3-4-3. What are peoples thoughts?

Now a quick look at Week 13:

Saturday, 28 November 2009
Aston Villa v Tottenham, 17:30
Blackburn v Stoke, 15:00
Fulham v Bolton, 15:00
Man City v Hull, 15:00
Portsmouth v Man Utd, 15:00
West Ham v Burnley, 15:00
Wigan v Sunderland, 15:00

Sunday, 29 November 2009
Arsenal v Chelsea, 16:00
Everton v Liverpool, 13:30
Wolverhampton v Birmingham, 12:00

I don't have time to analyse players for the barndoor, but you'll want to be picking up up Man City, Fulham, Man Utd, West Ham players. Liverpool could also be worth a look at depleted Everton if they get all their players back (Torres included). Sadly, I may even recommend Villa players as Spurs struggle up there.

So that's it. How is your team looking?

Cheers,
AM

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Injury Update 19/11/09


From football365.com
Rafa Benitez has a problem: he won't be able to blame injuries this weekend if it all goes wrong for Liverpool again.

Steven Gerrard has already declared himself fit for action against Manchester City and the word in the papers is that Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Albert Riera and Alberto Aquilani may also play.

Torres was pictured back in training on Wednesday afternoon and it seems likely that he will, at the very least, be on the bench this weekend. Well, maybe.

Meanwhile, The Times reports that 'Aquilani is being lined up for his first starting appearance for Liverpool having had the carrot of a potential place in the Italy World Cup squad dangled in front of him'.

The final decision is apparently dependent on two things: Aquilani 'coming through Liverpool's two remaining training sessions unscathed' and the fitness of Benayoun and Riera.

'The pair had been expected to be out of action for up to a month with hamstring tears, but the club are optimistic that they will be fit enough to feature against City less than two weeks after they were injured,' Barrett reports.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes expects Gareth Barry to shrug off a groin problem and face Liverpool on Saturday.

Barry, who was close to joining the Reds from Aston Villa last summer before moving to Eastlands in May, suffered some discomfort following England's defeat by Brazil in a friendly last week.

Hughes said: "Gareth came back from the international with a little bit of soreness but it should not be a problem for the weekend."

The good news for Manchester United is that Nemanja Vidic is reported to have come through unscathed from 60 minutes of action for Serbia in their friendly with South Korea last night.

The bad is that The Sun is reporting that Rio Ferdinand is out for the rest of the year.

'The England centre-back has been told he needs another six weeks of rest and physio work before his back will be strong enough for Premier League football. Rio had hoped to be back by the start of December. But by the time he plays again, he will have missed at least 15 matches,' it reports.

Rather disconcertingly it also describes United's medical team as 'baffled' by Ferdinand's continuing injury woe and claims that 'one theory being looked into now is that he might need his hip realigned'.

Ouch to that.

Relief for Arsenal with the news that Kieran Gibbs has only suffered bruising to his foot.

According to The Independent, 'Gibbs will miss Saturday's game away at Sunderland. He will be fit to play against Standard Liège next week but given that Arsenal only need a single point from their two remaining Champions League games to qualify it is likely that he will be rested with a view to him being ready for the Chelsea match on 29 November.'

Such is the length of Arsenal's injury list that it's darn hard work keeping up with who is on it let alone how long they are expected will be on it, but the Press Association has taken a look and reckons that Denilson's 'recovery has gone well and should be available when domestic action resumes at Sunderland', Theo Walcott's 'knee problem is expected to have cleared up by the end of the month - which could come just in time for the clash with Chelsea' and Carlos Vela 'could be another whose recovery is sped up for the trip to the Stadium of Light'.

On the down side, Abou Diaby is predicted to be out for a few weeks with his thigh problem. It is, of course, debatable whether Diaby's absence could ever be described as a downer.

Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole is hopeful he will face Wolves on Saturday despite suffering from a depressed fracture of the tibia.

Cole originally picked up the injury in the Champions League win over Atletico Madrid last month and required a pain-killing injection to take on Manchester United before the international break.

However, Cole has been training normally with Chelsea this week and has been made a protective shinpad to wear in matches.

"I started training for the last two or three days and I'm feeling better," Cole told Sky Sports News.

"I've had a special shinpad made for my shin and hopefully I'll be selected for Saturday.

"I've had a week's rest now, so it feels a little bit better and I've got to wear a shinpad to cover the knock.

"I've been playing with it and it did affect me a bit, but now I'm over it and I hope the shinpad can help.

"Hopefully, I'll be in the squad or the team on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Chelsea captain John Terry also took part in training on Wednesday after being forced to sit out England's defeat by Brazil due to a minor injury.

And a quick word on Fulham. It's believed that Danny Murphy should be fit for the game with Birmingham this weekend having missed the last five games with a knee injury.
Only a quick post tonight due to my well known laptop issues, but tomorrow I'll sum up my Week 12 thoughts & get a Week 13 Preview up. It may not be until the evening though (around 7pm UK time).

My own issues are: what to do with Drogba? We're getting no news & I don't trust The Sun! Will Duff play on Saturday after playing extra time? Possibly not with Murphy back. Will Jason Roberts start 2 games? Do I keep O'Hara & Alexander? 3-5-2 or 3-4-3?

Cheers,
AM

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Week 12 - Player Picks


Firstly - a rehash of my Week 12 Preview from 2 weeks ago:
Week 12 will be Round 2 of The Blog Cup, in which 200 people remain. There is an international break first, so you have plenty of time to think about your team, but it's interesting to note that it's a double week for 4 team so keep that in mind for the barndoor.

Saturday, 21 November 2009
Birmingham v Fulham, 15:00
Burnley v Aston Villa, 15:00
Chelsea v Wolverhampton, 15:00
Hull v West Ham, 15:00
Liverpool v Man City, 12:45
Man Utd v Everton, 17:30
Sunderland v Arsenal, 15:00

Sunday, 22 November 2009
Bolton v Blackburn, 13:30
Stoke v Portsmouth, 16:00
Tottenham v Wigan, 15:00

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Fulham v Blackburn, 20:00
Hull v Everton, 19:45

Double teams: Hull (2 decent home games), Fulham (1 away, 1 home), Blackburn (2 away), Everton (2 away).

Other decent fixtures - Chelsea home to Wolves, Man United home to Everton, Spurs home to Wigan, Stoke home to Portsmouth, Arsenal at Sunderland.
So what's changed in the 2 weeks since I posted this? Well - loads of injuries, including significant ones to Lampard, Drogba & Arsenal's entire squad including Van Persie. However, I still fancy the same teams to rack the points up this weekend. As I said yesterday I only have an hour to write this due to work commitments & a broken laptop, so here goes...

KEEPERS
Schwazer - DGer in a team with a solid defence, but he's costly & we all remember what happened when we picked Brad Friedel in Week 10...
Myhill - Cheap DGer with 2 home games. Risk, but good value & should be back from injury
Robbo - Cheap DGer with 2 aways, bigger risk than Myhill
Fulop - Cheap, home to depleted Arsenal, could be a huge risk but not many will pick him (including me), but I know we have some risk taking blog readers :)
Sorenson - Home to Pompey.

DEFENDERS
Hughes - Consistent points scorer with 2 games & a decent price
Paintsil - & another
Konchesky - & another
Baird - Bargain, but watch his starting status with Murphy's return
Zayatte - Somehow racks up points so worth a look for a double week
Gardner - Captained Hull vs Stoke, 2 games & cheap...but injury prone so might not play both
Samba - Constant menace in the box, DGer, good point scorer, very tempting
Givet - Great value DGer
Nelsen - Cheap DGer but travels back from New Zealand
Heitinga - Cheap DGer but Everton have 2 tough away fixtures
Baines - Very expensive but his average almost returns his value & another DGer
Distin - I'd go for Heitinga ahead of him
Verm - Due another big week soon & has the pressure on him to score with no RvP :)
Alexander - I'm tempted to hang on to the penalty scoring midfielder
Ivanovic - If you have him at discount hang on to him
Alex - Good choice if Terry remains sidelined
R Johnson - I keep not picking him & he keeps picking up big points, even without a clean sheet
Mears - Another good point scorer at a good price

MIDFIELDERS
Bullard - The 2 week break since his proper comeback for Hull should've given him enough time to improve his fitness further & Phil Brown will be looking for him to inspire the team. Great pick with 2 home games.
Dempsey - Playing almost as a 2nd striker at the moment, getting forward in a Lampard/Cahill type of way. Another very tempting DGer
Duff - Keep an eye on team news as the Duffman has been struggling. If he's fit, he should be in your team
Dunn - I've picked him twice this year & he's done a job for me both times. Blackburn have tough fixtures but he'll pick up points as the set piece taker
Cahill - Dangerous pick; it could be 20 points or -5, but could be a nice risky one to take on
Fellaini - Yellow card magnet but he's cheap & a DGer who'll cause problems from set pieces.
Pienaar - Could be back & therefore a great option
Rodwell - Good DG filler
Geovanni - Can Phil Brown play Geovanni, Bullard & Hunt in the same midfield? Possibly not, so if Geo is pushed forward to support the striker then he's another tempting DGer
Hunt - Unlikely to get any set pieces with Bullard & Geo about, but will always put in a shift & pick up phantom points
A Reid - Arsenal can't defend set pieces. Reid is one of the best set piece takers in the league.
Etherington - In form & home to Pompey
J Cole - Potential bargain pick of the weekend at just £6.6m. With no Droga, Lampard or Ballack he surely has to play against Wolves?
Fabregas - No RvP will mean everything will go through Fabs, including set pieces. Never a bad pick
Arshavin - Could be pushed further forward after impressing for Russia
Nasri - Or Rosicky
Rosicky - Or Nasri ;)

STRIKERS
Anelka - The top striker pick this week if you're getting rid of Drogba. Could have a field day vs Wolves; he's better than any double game option in my opinion.
Zamora - I've always thought Zamora was rubbish, but in the past 2 months he's been excellent & with 2 games it's hard to ignore him
Roberts - Ulimate barndoor/points chasing pick. I have him at £6m but I'm not sure he'll start 2 games. Even if he did I'd probably rather pick Joe Cole.
Saha - A player in Saha's form would normally be a no brainer, but Saha is made of sticklebricks so I'd be surprsied to see him complete 2 games. Could still be good for a goal or 2, but I reckon...
Yakubu - ...the Yak could finally start a game, and if he see game time in both he's a bargain! Risky bargin.
Defoe - Due a goal home to Wigan 
Eduardo - With no RvP, surely now is his time to shine? Unlucky not to score 2 vs Wolves, great choice.
Bent - Will cause Arsenal problems with his pace in behind the back four
Rooney - vs Everton. Once a Blue always a Blue? Say no more.
Kalou - Could get a rare start, so if you can't afford Anelka...
Benitez - Finally got his goal vs Liverpool & I expect he'll go on to score 10-15 goals this season. Still cheap!
Beattie - Home to Portsmouth
Jan Vennegoor - Bottom of the basement DGer

So...there are 60 odd players in that list & they are all players that have been or still are under consideration for Week 12.

The big problem I have is Drogba. I'm still holding on to him & the news I'm hearing is that he has a chance of being on the bench this weekend. To me that means he's only going to miss 1 game max, so I may hang on to him. Chelsea know he'll be gone for a month in January so they'll want to eek out every possible minute/goal/fantasy point from Drogs before he jets off. It's a decision I'll finalise on Friday afternoon/Saturday morning.

Other than that I'm expecting to field a minimum of 6 double-gamers, possibly as many as 8. I'm concerned over the return of Danny Murphy - who will drop out? I'm thinking Baird (as he's been playing midfield), but there's no guarentees. What about all the returning International players like Duff, Dempsey, Nelsen etc? And how will Phil Brown fit all of those flair players in to one midfield? I guess we wait for team news on Friday & cross our fingers!

Are you still in the Blog Cup? Who are you picking up in Week 12? What are you doing with Drogs? Have I missed anyone?

Cheers,
AM

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Injury Update 17/11/09


Firstly, the injury news from football365.com
Sounds as if Dimi Berbatov's knee injury is more serious than first suspected.

The Manchester United striker has been struggling with the injury for a while, and it forced him to miss the recent defeat at Chelsea.

It's now been revealed that he is suffering from fluid on the knee and an operation is a possibility.

An 'Old Trafford insider' is quoted by The Sun as saying: "It is causing quite a bit of discomfort, which is worrying" while a concurring Independent declares, in rather greater depth, that 'the knock Dimitar Berbatov received in United's 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on 31 October has exacerbated a fluid on the knee condition, which may require surgery. The striker is with the Bulgarian squad for tomorrow's friendly in Malta and may play a part, and there are hopes he might be nursed through his injury.'

Steven Gerrard has declared himself fit for Liverpool's must-not-lose fixture with Manchester City.

He's also admitted that he really shouldn't have played against Birmingham last week.

"I felt very tired after the game, as I wasn't really ready to return and I'd done very little training in the three weeks beforehand.

"It took me two or three days to recover from that game but I have spent the past week doing strengthening work and I'm feeling a lot better now. I'm looking forward to the weekend. There's no mental hurdle to cross. It's a case of so far so good and the aim now is to make sure I get a good week's training under my belt so I'm ready for the game with City."

Gerrard could be joined by Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson for that game.

Rafa Benitez says: "Agger is okay. He had a small problem with his back but he's training. It was a very good decision from Denmark's manager (to withdraw Agger) because he is much better now. I think he'll be okay for the weekend.

"Johnson has been training. Not full sessions, but training, so hopefully he'll be okay for the weekend too."

But the bad news for Pool is that David Ngog broke his nose whilst on France Under-21 duty. And no, he didn't do throwing it himself to the ground. The Daily Mail says that it actually happened when he was 'hit in the face by a ball during a training session on Sunday'.

But Benitez says: "We know Ngog has broken his nose but it's not serious. I am not sure yet because we haven't seen him but I think he'll be okay, it won't be serious."

Things are clearing up at Chelsea - with Ashley Cole coming through a training session on Monday that has been described as 'intense' by the Evening Standard.

There are still doubts over John Terry (ankle), Didier Drogba (rib) and Michael Ballack (knee), but none of the trio have been ruled out of the game against Wolves this weekend.

The number of Arsenal players currently injured is now up to 11 after Abou Diaby pulled out of the France squad for the second leg of their play-off against the Republic with Ireland.

It's not known yet how serious the injury is.

For the record, the other ten Arsenal players currently listed as crocked by the club are: Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott, Denilson, Armand Traore, Gael Clichy, Lukasz Fabianski, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere and Johan Djourou.

If you select them in a 3-4-3 formation, you can make a pretty handy team out of that lot.

Now - I'm having real problems this week as I'm away with work AND my laptop is broken, making it almost impossible to write my usual weekly posts (never mind pick my team!). I'm going to try & write my Week 12 Player Picks in my lunch break tomorrow but it won't be extensive as usual, so any help our regular readers can provide in the comments/chat forum would be greatly appreciated this week.

What are people going to do about Drogba? I'm personally going to wait until definitive team news on Friday. And how many double gamers are you going for?

Remember Week 12 is Blog Cup Round 2.

Cheers,
AM

Monday, 16 November 2009

Injury Update 16/11/09


http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,16989_5697361,00.html

The headline injury news from the international weekend is that Arsenal have a huge striker problem to contend with after Robin Van Persie was ruled out for at least a month - and most likely far longer than that - after rupturing ankle ligaments. With Theo Walcott a near-permament crock this year, Carlos Vela back on the sidelines, and Nicklas Bendtner undergoing a groin operation last week, it leaves Arsenal with just Eduardo to lead their attack. And how likely is it that he will manage to last even a few games before breaking down again?

But it's not just Arsenal who are fretting over the fitness of their star striker.

The Suns says that Chelsea, already rocked by the loss of Frank Lampard and the withdrawal of John Terry from England's friendly with Brazil, could be without Didier Drogba for three weeks with a broken rib.

'A scan carried out by the club showed Drogba suffered only bruising after clashing with United defender Jonny Evans. But SunSport can reveal a further X-ray done by Ivory Coast doctors confirmed the worst,' the newspaper reported at the weekend.

Quite how Evans escaped scrutiny over his challenge is, however, something no scan will be able to reveal.

In any case, the likelihood is that Chelsea will resume the league season next weekend without Drogba, Lampard, both of their first-choice full-backs, and possibly Terry as well. So it's probably just as well that their opponents next Saturday as one of the league's lesser lights in Wolves.

Now this sounds nasty. According to Germany coach Jogi Luuuuuurve, Chelsea's Teuton-in-chief Michael Ballack has a problem with his knee, and will therefore miss their game with Ivory Coast on Wednesday.

Luuuuuuurve said: "He has an infection in the back of the knee and there has been a reaction. After consultation with the doctors - I also spoke to Michael Ballack - I have decided that he will not play.

"He needs two or three days of rest. It makes no sense to take risks, also in terms of Chelsea as they have quite a few games leading up to Christmas and afterwards."

The weekend did, however, bring some good news on the injury front because..
Tottenham have scotched talk that Carlo Cudicini would never play football again following his road accident by predicting that the Italian will make a full comeback.

"Both specialists are extremely pleased with the result and expect a good recovery," Wayne Diesel, head of Spurs' medical services, told the club's official website. "Carlo is in a lot less discomfort and is in good spirits." Cudicini arrived at White Hart Lane in January following a decade at Chelsea and has made eight appearances to date.

Another man who might be slightly happier this morn is Alex Ferguson, assuming that the fitness of Dimitar Berbatov is something that makes him happy.

The Bulgarian star of the Godfather Part III has missed United's last two games with knee issues, but he now claims he has recovered fully and will play for his country this week.

"I received a kick in my knee during the Blackburn match and I needed some rest and some treatment, but I'm okay now and I'll play in Malta," Berbatov told the Bulgarian press, which obviously we're keen followers of.

The Bulgaria squad sounds like a dangerous place at the moment. Martin Petrov looks like he'll face a spell out after twanging his knee while on international duty.

He'll therefore miss the next couple of weeks for Manchester City, but given that he hasn't been in the team much lately, that won't be a crushing blow.

Back to Blighty now, and Steve Bruce is not the happiest of bunnies. Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon had his arm broken by an errant Jermain Defoe kick, and it looks like it will be next year before he's back.

Bruce said: "Craig's injury is the most disappointing thing to come out of the last couple of weeks.

"It looks as if it's going to be three months. We've not had much luck in that respect - that's two serious injuries in a month."

Cheers,
AM

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Van Persie "Could Miss Rest Of Season"


Massive blow for Arsenal:
Arsenal's Premier League title hopes suffered an enormous setback last night when striker Robin van Persie sustained a serious ankle injury in Holland's friendly international match against Italy in Pescara.

Van Persie was rushed to hospital after just 12 minutes of the game when he collapsed to the ground following a heavy challenge from Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk said: 'I was shocked when I saw it. It doesn't look good. I feel very sad for Robin and Arsenal.'

Van Persie is expected to be examined in Amsterdam today by renowned ankle specialist Professor Niek van Dijk. The surgeon has previously treated Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen.

A team doctor said he feared Van Persie had ruptured ligaments in his ankle, an injury that would keep him out for at least three months. But if further examination reveals the ankle is broken, the star could miss the rest of the season.

Van Persie has scored eight goals for Arsenal in this campaign and his impressive run of form - his goals have all come in the last 11 matches - has prompted many observers to cite Arsenal, currently in second place behind Chelsea, as title favourites. But that dream looked in ruins when the striker screamed in agony as he was carried from the pitch on a stretcher.

The loss of Van Persie will be a bitter blow to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has had to bear the brunt of criticism while waiting for five years of rebuilding his team to bear fruit. Only two weeks ago Wenger revealed how much he dislikes November because it always seems to bring injuries.

His complaint came after he lost left-back Gael Clichy with a back injury, while Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner also picked up knocks. Now van Persie's setback will confirm the Frenchman's worst fears about this period.

The 26-year-old's injury is also a major blow for Holland just seven months before the start of the World Cup.
Huge blow for the bloke & a major fantasy football asset gone but with Bendtner out too it surely makes Eduardo a fantastic option.

Cheers,
AM

Friday, 13 November 2009

Injury Update 13/11/09


From football365.com

Is there an end in sight yet for Rio Ferdinand's injury woe? 

Perhaps, but only perhaps, because The Guardian reports that the Manchester United defender has 'seen a specialist about his back issues and been placed on a new course of treatment to try to spare him a significant lay-off.'

The newspaper says that Ferdinand has been given an injection with a course of pain-killing jabs to follow but that 'the latest treatment, however, is regarded as "non-guarantee" and Ferdinand will be monitored closely to see how his body reacts before it is decided when he can resume full training.'

And if that wasn't disconcerting enough...

'He has been warned it may be several weeks before he is able to return to the team, or potentially longer if there is no improvement, and there are serious concerns about the length of time it is taking to diagnose exactly what is troubling him.

'His dedication is not being questioned at Old Trafford but there is genuine concern that he might be reaching a point in his career where the wear and tear on his body makes the most expensive defender in the world a player in decline.'

Chelsea's Frank Lampard, on the other hand, is making a fast recovery from the thigh injury that may or may not have been caused by the FA flying England to the Middle East in economy style.

While a couple of newspapers on Friday morning predicted that he would be out of action for eight weeks and a couple said he'd be sidelined for six weeks, England boss Fabio Capello says it might not even be half as long as that.

"I think he will be out for two or three weeks," said Capello. "It is a little problem with his muscle."

Capello rejected suggestions the plane on which they flew to the Middle East was to blame for the problem.

"It is the same plane (we used to fly to) Trinidad and Kazakhstan," he said.

Birmingham striker Garry O'Connor is set to miss around four months and is likely to need another operation because of complications arising from his groin injury, manager Alex McLeish has revealed.

The 26-year-old had an operation on a groin problem last season but that has now caused problems with the player's hip.

McLeish told www.bcfc.com: "In all likelihood, the big 'un has got to go for an operation and we could be talking three to four months."

Cheers,
AM

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Get Well Soon Carlo



I'm sure you'll join me in wishing Carlo Cudicini a quick recovery:- 
Tottenham goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini has fractured his wrists and injured his pelvis after he was involved in a serious road accident on Thursday.

The 36-year-old Italian goalkeeper was admitted to hospital and underwent scans under the supervision of the club's medical staff.

Cudicini's BMW superbike collided with a Ford Fiesta on Forest Road, Walthamstow at 10.30am.

The former Chelsea star's injuries were initially described by the police as 'possibly life-changing'.

A police spokesperson confirmed: "A 36-year-old male suffered injuries described as possibly life-changing and was taken to an East London hospital for further assessment and treatment."

A spokesperson for Tottenham, who later confirmed the goalkeeper had fractured his wrists and injured his pelvis, said: "We can confirm Carlo Cudicini was involved in a road accident this morning. The club doctor is with him at hospital where we await the result of scans and tests."

The female driver and a child passenger walked away from the car - which was described as a 'write-off' - and did not need hospital treatment. 

Other injury news from football365:-
Bad news for Chelsea on Wednesday night, or, to be more precise, bad news from Chelsea on Wednesday night with the club themselves confirming that their defender Jose Bosingwa will be out for around three months after undergoing surgery on his left knee.

A statement released on the club's official website read: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Jose Bosingwa underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this week. His recovery time will be approximately three months."

However, the same statement also included the reassurance that Ashley Cole will not require surgery to sort out his leg injury while it seems as if there shouldn't be much concern about Didier Drogba's withdrawal from the Ivory Coast squad for this weekend's World Cup qualifier with Guinea.

The Daily Star says that Chelsea are 'confident' and 'optimistic' that he will be passed fit for their game with Wolves when the league season resumes next weekend.

Unfortunately, good news is conspicuous by its absence for Liverpool.

The Times says that scans have confirmed that both Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun tore their hamstrings against Birmingham and will be out of action for a month.

The newspaper also says that 'Fernando Torres has begun a rehabilitation programme aimed at curing a longstanding groin problem and the Spain forward could be unavailable for up to two weeks.'

Gulp.

And there's still more. Rafa Benitez has admitted his concern at the recurrence of Daniel Agger's back problem on Monday night and the defender has pulled out of Denmark's friendlies this week. So the only ray of meagre comfort is that Glen Johnson's thigh complaint is not thought to be serious, though scans will reveal the full extent of the damage later this week

Cheers,
AM

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Injury Update - 11/11/09


From football365.com

The good news for Man United fans is that Dimitar Berbatov is likely to be fit to face Everton next weekend as he has informed the Bulgarian FA that he will face Malta in Sofia next Wednesday, though he will miss a friendly this weekend.

He is currently in Manchester undergoing treatment on his knee injury but will play in seven days' time.

Ji-Sung Park will also play for his country against both Denmark and Serbia after missing six weeks of club football with a knee injury.

"I am in good enough shape to play in the friendlies," Park said. "If it is possible, I want to play in both matches."

Everton 'keeper Tim Howard has been added to the list of Toffees in the treatment room with a foot injury that will keep him out of the United States' upcoming internationals.

He apparently has 'damaged fibres on the underside of his foot' - which sounds awfully like a ladder in his sock.

He should be okay to face Manchester United on November 21, while Leon Osman (ankle), Steven Pienaar (knee) and Phil Neville (knee) are all pencilled in for returns in that game.

Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray has reassured fans that the latest setback in his comeback from a long-term knee injury is only a minor one.

Murray, who has been out for nearly a year after rupturing his patella tendon while on loan with Hereford, started for the reserves in their 2-0 win over Birmingham last night and lasted just 23 minutes before being withdrawn.

"I just felt a little bit of discomfort in the early stages and the medical team felt there was no point in trying to carry on and play the 90 minutes and take any risks," he told www.wolves.co.uk.

"It's better to take the precaution, see how things settle down and then carry on my rehab."

Manchester City winger Martin Petrov has pulled out of international action with a knee injury. He will stay at a Barcelona clinic and then return to Manchester for further treatment while his teammates go on their jollies to the Middle East.

Talking of which, Robinho was apparently fit enough after his ankle injury to take part in training in front of City's new owners. He even led the jog around the pitch for a few seconds at least.

Cheers,
AM

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Injury Update 10/11/09


From football365.com

Bad to worse for Liverpool? Apparently so because Rafa Benitez is fearing the worst for Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun after they were injured against Birmingham on Monday night.

According to the club's official website, Benitez 'fears both wingers tore their hamstrings' in the 2-2 draw.

"Riera had the same problem as before. The players are sometimes available but not 100 per cent ready. We thought he was okay but in the end you can see he wasn't," Benitez bemoaned.

"Yossi has the same problem as Riera. Some players are playing too many games in a row. They are working very hard and so you always have this risk. I think both will have tears."

As for Fernando Torres, who missed the match, there's no guarantee that will be fit for the Man City clash in two weeks either.

"Torres had no confidence and said he couldn't play, so we started the treatment yesterday," reported Benitez. "He has to work with the physios and try to improve and be ready. We are not talking about an operation at this moment, we're talking about treating him properly. I don't know if he will be ready for Man City. The only thing I can say is we're talking about two or three weeks working with the physios. We haven't got a deadline, we just need to see how he is every day."

The only bit of good news delivered by the Pool manager concerned Steven Gerrard. "I think he will be okay," said Benitez. "We have to check. There's small things but I think he'll be okay."

Seems as if the seriousness of Ashley Cole's foot injury has been exaggerated.

According to The Daily Telegraph, 'It has now been decided by Chelsea's medical department that Cole requires rest. It had been feared that the 28 year-old would be out for six weeks but Chelsea are being far more optimistic. With the international break, the club hope that Cole may miss only the Premier League match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Champions League tie away to Porto.'

However, the Telegraph also says that 'first-choice right-back Jose Bosingwa may also be out for at least another month. The Portuguese international underwent an exploratory procedure yesterday to find out why his knee is not responding to treatment although it is still hoped he may be able to recover without having to undergo surgery.'

Nicklas Bendtner says he needs surgery on his injured groin.
"I will have an operation. I don't know how long I will be out," the Arsenal forward has been quoted as reporting.

If accurate, it's highly unlikely he will play again this year. However, Arsenal are well stocked with players who could play on the right of their front three, which is where Bendtner has been playing this season, and The Daily Mail reckons that Theo Walcott will make his return on November 21.

Cheers,
AM

Week 11 - Monday


Week 11 came to a close with a thrilling clash between Liverpool & Birmingham at Anfield. The game finished 2-2 & I don’t think anyone can deny Liverpool deserved at least a draw after dominating possession throughout, but there is plenty of controversy over the N’gog penalty decision

N’gog did dive – he flung himself in the air when there was no contact so it isn’t a penalty. However, if he doesn’t jump out of the way then I imagine Lee Carsley’s desperate lunge (which got nowhere near the ball) is going to cause N’gog some serious damage. It’s more the way he flung himself in the air that’s the issue, but if you look at what Darren Bent did against Spurs the only difference is Bent has used his experience to ensure Gomes has caught him by leaving his leg trailing, while N’gog did not. The young Frenchman will be labelled a cheat while Bent gets away with no criticism, so I have some sympathy.

In fantasy football terms there were decent points for Dann, R Johnson, Benitez, Jerome, G Johson, Lucas, N’gog & Gerrard, but again no clean sheets for any defenders. The fact I only dropped 60 places over night suggests not many people picked up many points (Benyoun with just 3) although a special mention to Roger Johnson who again scored 10 points & really has been a consistently outstanding performer so far this season.

We have no games this weekend so there won’t be too many posts until next week, although I’ll keep you updated on injury news & any views on the World Cup Play-Offs / Brazil v England friendly. Until then keep the comments coming regarding your Week 12 team as I’ll have more time to reply with less posts to write...you’ll also find me over on the chat room a fair amount which is really going well with some great discussions.

A reminder that Week 12 is Round 2 of The Blog Cup which 200 of us are still part of & the 1st round of The AM Challenge is pencilled in for Week 14 which should give us the time to fill the last few spaces of Blog League 6. If you haven't got a space in any of the leagues yet then please join with the details below:

Group ID: 23246
Password: yahoo
 


Cheers,
AM

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Week 11 - Sunday


Another excellent day of Premiership football as Chelsea stretched their lead at the top of the table to 5 points with a 1-0 win over Man Utd.

I didn't have any players (other than Drogba who gained his worst score of the season) but I enjoyed the game as both teams showed real passion & the game pinged from end to end. To be honest I thought Man U were slightly the better side but the current Chelsea squad tend to grind out wins in tight games. I will say I thought the referee was shocking - I lost count of the number of basic decisions he got wrong (for both teams) throughout the game.

In terms of my team I had a decent day as Matt Etherington scored, adding 16.5 points to my weekly total & Rodallega a further 10.5. I end the week on 73.5 points which would normally leave me disappointed, but due to it being a generally low scoring week it has actually moved me 500 places up the rankings in to the 1400th place. I'll fall a bit after the Liverpool game tomorrow but should still enter Week 12 in the top 1750 or so.

On the barndoor I decided I'm likely to go 3-5-2 due to the excellent midfield options available & my team will probably contain at least 7 double gamers. I grabbed Schwarzer, Nelsen, Duff, Dempsey, Bullard & Roberts, and I'm glad I did as all their prices have risen quite significantly.

I may well downgrade Schwarzer to Myhill & lose Roberts but as we don't have any games for 2 weeks it's not something I need to worry about right now. I did think about Saha on the bd but I'm aware the Yak is back so with his injury record he may only play 1 of the 2 games (possibly away to Man Utd).

With my current team I still have £6m in the bank so I may look at a way of getting another Chelsea player in for the Wolves game...possibly Lampard although he may prove too expensive in a double week. I really don't want to lose my huge discounts on Alexander & O'Hara so it's very possible they stay (along with Drogba & Verm). Samba, Zamora, Konchesky, Paintsil, Geovanni & Hunt are other players I'm considering.

That's if for now - just a reminder that Week 12 is Round 2 of The Blog Cup which 200 of us are still part of & the 1st round of The AM Challenge is pencilled in for Week 14 which should give us the time to fill the last few spaces of Blog League 6. If you haven't got a space in any of the leagues yet then please join with the details below:

Group ID: 23246
Password: yahoo


How did you get on in Week 11? Have you got anyone left to play  in the Liverpoov Birmingham game? And  who came in on the barndoor?

Cheers,
AM

Week 11 - Saturday


Bloody Shay Given. I've written countless time that I hate spending money on keepers because they almost always disappoint me. In previous seasons I would always pick the cheapest keeper I could buy that I didn't think would get hammered 4 or 5 nil but this year I've tried to pick point scoring keepers in the hope I may be able to turn regular Top 500 finishes in to regular Top 100 finishes.- I think I'm going to go back to the tactic of picking cheap keepers.

It was a strange Saturday. I only scored 46 points but somehow moved up 400 places in to the Top 2000, proving it was a very low scoring week. My big decision was to avoid Fabregas or Van Persie & in my opinion it was justified in the end. They returned 20 points combined so were nowhere near worth spending £40m on (thank God!).

I've mentioned Given, but Alexander again helped me out with another penalty. He's probably a season keeper for me as he always has a chance of a penalty but he's also started taking free kicks around the box too & seeing as I hold him at just £5.5m I'd be crazy to drop him. I (along with plenty of other managers) was on the verge of securing 6 clean sheet points for Gibbs & Vermaelen, but a last minute consolation for Wolves made it 0 & 3.

In midfield O'Hara continued to put up fantastic points & again he's a player who'll stay at just £5.7m. I bigged him up when he first joined Portsmouth & told people to buy him so I hope others took my advice. Dunn was also well worth the money but Harry decided that Niko Kranjcar should stay on the bench. The fact he came on for 20 minutes & almost scored twice as Spurs turned the screw on Sunderland proves he should've been on from the start.

Upfront only Adebyaor has played for me so far & he was a wast of space as he barely toughed the ball all game. I was very lucky he was awarded an assist as otherwise he would've received almost zero. I doubt I'll pick him again as he appears to be back to his lazy ways. I really can't stand him.

With Drogba, Rodallega & Etherington to come I have to hope I can get up to around 70 points which I feel will be a par score for the week. Rodallega was my big hunch pick this week so he's the man I'm really relying on to score a brace vs Fulham. I picked him ahead of Defoe which so far looks wise as Defoe scored the same as Adebayor.

One quick note - isn't typical that I drop all my Villa players aftr a double week only for Young, Milner, Agbonlahor, Friedel score 20, 21, 13.5 & 11?

So far on the barndoor I haven't done much other than grabbing Jason Roberts for £6m after his double (with a double week for Blackburn) & Ryan Nelsen. I'm having trouble deciding on exactly who to pick up but Robbo, Myhill, Duff, Dempsey, Geovanni, Hunt, Bullard, Zamora, Johnson, Lampard & Fabregas are some of the players I'm considering.

How has your week gone? Who's in on the barndoor?

Cheers,
AM

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Week 11 - My Team


Given

Vermaelen  Alexander  Gibbs

Kranjcar  Dunn  O'Hara  Etherington

Drogba  Adebayor  Rodallega

The first thing you'll notice - I have neither Cesc Fabregas nor Robin Van Persie. It's a huge call & one that could see me falling a long way down the rankings if Arsenal turn it on at Wolves, but I had a lot of fun picking my team this week not having to worry about ploughing £40m in to 2 players. Even if both players score a goal, it's possible they won't return their value...I just have to hope they don't go crazy & return 30 points each!

In goal I've gone for Shay Given on the barndoor. I haven't had much luck picking keepers this season but City should keep a clean sheet. My defence contains my only 2 Arsenal players, Vermaelen + Gibbs & I decided to hang on to Alexander at £5.5m - a penalty taking defender playing in midfield was too good to let go with so few clean sheets around for other defenders.

My midfield contains 4 set piece takers: O'Hara, Etherington, Dunn & Kranjcar. All 4 are capable of returning more than their value with their fixtures & I'll need to hope they do to make up for the points Fabregas is sure to rack up. Kranjcar was very nearly replaced with Martin Petrov, but I decided I wanted 1 Spurs player & I already had 2 City players.

Upfront I have Drogba & decided that I needed a Man City striker - step forward Adebayor. My final spot cam down to Defoe or Rodallega & I've gone for the Wigan man. Fulham travel back from Roma with a fair number of injuries & rarely do well after Europa Cup games, especially away from home so I think Rodallega has a great chance of a goal or 2. I think Defoe will score too, but as a Spurs fan I'll get joy from that anyway (plus I have £10 on him scoring), so I'm certainly hedging my bets!

So I have: 2 Arsenal players, 2 City, 1 Chelsea, 1 Spurs, 1 Wigan, 1 Portsmouth, 1 Blackburn, 1 Stoke, 1 Burnley...a nice spread of players which will hopefully give me a number of chances if 1 or 2 particular teams don't perform.

Good luck to everyone! Let me know your team & who you're planning on picking up on the barndoor. I'd also like to hear your opinions on going without RvP & Fabregas - have I made a terrible mistake? It's certainly a choice I feel very nervous about...

Cheers,
AM

Friday, 6 November 2009

Week 11 Injuries


This is my last post until the deadline tomorrow. Here are all the known injury doubts & suspensions at time of writing:-

ASTON VILLA
Suspended: Beye & Petrov (both one match)
Doubtful: Gardner (groin), Heskey (back), Milner (calf)
Injured: Davies (shoulder), Downing (foot)
BOLTON
Suspended: Samuel (one match)
Doubtful: Riga & Shittu (hamstring)
Injured: Davis (knee), J O'Brien (knee)

BLACKBURN
Suspended: None
Doubtful: None
Injured: Grella (thigh)
PORTSMOUTH
Suspended: None
Doubtful: Piquionne (neck), Utaka (groin)
Injured: Finnan (groin), Hreidarsson (foot), Diop (fitness)

MAN CITY
Suspended: None  
Doubtful: Bridge (knee), Santa Cruz (ankle)
Injured: Ball (foot), Onuoha (thigh), Robinho (fitness)
BURNLEY
Suspended: None
Doubtful: Jordan (thigh)
Injured: Paterson & McCann (knee), Rodriguez (ankle)

TOTTENHAM
Suspended: None
Doubtful: Corluka (illness), Lennon (ankle)
Injured: Bassong (hamstring), Giovani (ankle), Modric (broken leg)
SUNDERLAND
Suspended: Cana (one match), Jones (three matches)
Doubtful: None
Injured: Cattermole (knee), Mensah (calf), Zenden (hip)

WOLVES
Suspended: None
Doubtful: None
Injured: Foley (knee), Iwelumo (foot), Jones, Ward (both knee)
ARSENAL
Suspended: None
Doubtful: None
Injured: Bendtner (groin), Clichy & Denilson (both back), Fabianski (thigh), Djourou, Walcott (knee), Traore & Vela (groin/fitness), Wilshere (ankle)

CHELSEA
Suspended: None
Doubtful: Bosingwa (knee), Mikel (ankle), Zhirkov (knee)
Injured: None
MAN UTD
Suspended: Neville (two matches)  
Doubtful: Berbatov (knee), Giggs (hip), Vidic (calf)
Injured: Ferdinand (calf/back), Hargreaves (knee), Park (knee), Wellbeck (knee)

HULL
Suspended: Geovanni (one match)
Doubtful: Bullard (shin), Myhill (knee)
Injured: Ashbee (knee)
STOKE
Suspended: None
Doubtful: Diao (calf)
Injured: Amdy Faye (back)

WEST HAM
Suspended: None 
Doubtful: None
Injured: Ashton (ankle), Boa Morte (knee), Cole (hamstring), Davenport (leg), Dyer (hamstring), Ilunga (hamstring)
EVERTON
Suspended: Bilyaletdinov (three matches)
Doubtful: Pienaar (knee)
Injured: Anichebe, Arteta, Jagielka, Neville & Vaughan (all knee), Osman (foot)

WIGAN
Suspended: None
Doubtful: None
Injured: Figueroa (knee)
FULHAM
Suspended: None
Doubtful: A Johnson (shoulder), Murphy (knee)
Injured: Duff (Achilles), Kallio (Achilles), Stockdale (knee)

LIVERPOOL
Suspended: Carragher (one match) & Degan (three matches)
Doubtful: Aurelio (calf), Dossena (groin), Torres (groin),
Injured: Gerrard (groin), Johnson (calf), Reira (hamstring)
BIRMINGHAM
Suspended: Ferguson (one match)
Doubtful: O'Connor (groin), Fahey & Tainio (both knee), Martin Taylor (ankle)
Injured: Murphy (knee)

If there are any injuries or suspensions you think I've missed then please add them to the comments section below. I'll be back with My Team tomorrow at midday & I'll probably be in the Chat Room later this evening.

Good luck!

Cheers,
AM

Week 11 Round-Up & Week 12 Preview


Firstly i'll round up where I am for Week 11. The majority of you will have seen my Week 11 Player Picks post with 50 players in, but i've narrowed that down to 24 possibilities (with a few new entries). You'll notice that I've avoided Chelsea & Man Utd players (apart from Drogs), but that's only because it's going to be heated & is too tough to call...I'm sure it's going to be a cracking game!

Given
Kirkland


It's going to be Given in goal unless I decide to go with both Fabregas & RvP, in which case i'll need the £3m received for downgrading to Kirkland. Robinson is out of my thoughts as I reckon Pompey can win at Blackburn.

Vermaelen
Gibbs
Alexander
Nelsen
Cueller
Spector

Verm & Gibbs will almost certainly be in my team, so then it's just a case of choosing if Alexander stays or if I go with another option with a chance of a clean sheet. Spector & Cueller are 2 options not on my original player picks list, but I think they both represent great value & they're in consideration.

Fabregas
Benayoun
O'Hara
Petrov
Hunt
Etherington
Larsson
Dunn
Kranjcar
Babel

These are the 10 midfielder vying for 4 spots (possibly 5 if I go 3-5-2). I think even at £19m that Fabregas is great value - he's hitting the form of his life with 2 more goals in midweek & I shudder to think what he could do to Wolves. O'Hara is probably in, so then it comes down to trying to get set pieces takers in & Babel could come in as a handy filler to allow further purchases.

Van Persie
Drogba
Adebayor
Defoe
Tevez
Rodallega
Benitez

After missing Van Persie on the barndoor I probably can't afford him. As I've written previously I don't think having both in vs Wolves in necessary, especially at a cost of £35-£40m+. So if I don't stretch for him then it's Drogba (obviously) and then 1 of Adebayor, Defoe or Rodallega. I may also go for Benitez as I think he'll cause Liverpool's defence (which could be without Johnson & Skrtel as well as the suspended Carragher) all sorts of problems.

So those are the decision left to make, with plenty of injury & team news to come this afternoon which is only likely to add confusion.

Now, a brief look at Week 12 which will be Round 2 of The Blog Cup, in which 200 people remain. There is an international break first, so you have plenty of time to think about your team, but it's interesting to note that it's a double week for 4 team so keep that in mind for the barndoor.

Saturday, 21 November 2009
Birmingham v Fulham, 15:00
Burnley v Aston Villa, 15:00
Chelsea v Wolverhampton, 15:00
Hull v West Ham, 15:00
Liverpool v Man City, 12:45
Man Utd v Everton, 17:30
Sunderland v Arsenal, 15:00

Sunday, 22 November 2009
Bolton v Blackburn, 13:30
Stoke v Portsmouth, 16:00
Tottenham v Wigan, 15:00

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Fulham v Blackburn, 20:00
Hull v Everton, 19:45

Double teams: Hull (2 decent home games), Fulham (1 away, 1 home), Blackburn (2 away), Everton (2 away).

Other decent fixtures - Chelsea home to Wolves, Man United home to Everton, Spurs home to Wigan, Stoke home to Portsmouth, Arsenal at Sunderland.

I'll be looking at Fulham players (Schwarzer, Zamora, Duff, Paintsil), Hull (Myhill, Hunt, Bullard, Geovanni), Blackburn (Dunn, Nelsen, Givet), Everton (Saha, Heitinga)  & then look to get 1 or 2 of Rooney, Giggs, Lampard, J Cole, Defoe, Lennon, Kranjcar, Etherington, Rosicky, Nasri, Fabs, RvP. I think striking the right balance is going to be extremely tough.

That's it for now. Week 11 team/injury news will be up later this afternoon.

Cheers,
AM

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Injury Update 05/11/09


Injury round-up gathered from football365.com:

Rio Ferdinand will miss Manchester United's trip to Chelsea on Sunday but Darren Fletcher will be available despite admitting that he will require an operation to cure a long-lasting ankle problem.

While The Sun says that Ferdinand will be out of action for six weeks due to his bad back, the impression made by The Times is that it is even more serious than that.
 

'Ferdinand will miss United's Barclays Premier League top-of-the- table match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and could face weeks on the sidelines - and possibly surgery - after finally deciding to address an injury that has plagued him since last December and contributed to his poor form this season,' it reports

'The Times revealed in September how, despite claims to the contrary, Ferdinand's back complaint had not gone away and was becoming a serious cause for concern for United - and England before the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer - with specialists struggling to determine the exact nature of the problem,' it reports.

As for Fletcher, United fans should not be losing much sleep just yet. The Scot's admission that he is struggling with the injury concluded with the assurance: "It should be OK to the end of the season. That is the plan, to get me through to the summer and do something then."

Meanwhile, in case you missed it on Wednesday, Sir Alex has told MUTV: "Hopefully Vidic, Giggs and Berbatov will be ready for Sunday. Gary is suspended so John O'Shea will be ready to play."

Almost-no news is good news for Chelsea with the club not reporting any problems after their game in Madrid.

The only update has been provided by Jose Bosingwa with the right-back waiting on results of tests on his knee. The former Porto man insists there is no guarantee he will require an operation to put things right, but he accepts that he must follow whatever advice he is given. "It's all up to the doctors, but I'll accept the best solution," Bosingwa said in the Daily Express.

From the sounds of it, Aaron Lennon will still be absent when Tottenham face Sunderland this weekend.

"We just don't know how long it will be before Aaron is back," said Harry Redknapp. "We will have to wait and see how he gets on this week."

However the good news for Spurs is that Jonathan Woodgate is "back in contention" - which is just as well given that Sebastien Bassong pulled a hamstring in last week's North London derby - while Luca Modric has finally returned to light training. But he'll still be short of fitness for the Sunderland game.

In a piece of news nobody was expected, Arsene Wenger has reported to Arsenal's official website that none of his players were injured this midweek.

Seriously, read it for yourselves:

'The Arsenal manager lost no-one from Wednesday's win over AZ Alkmaar'

And although nobody on their current injury list will return for the trip to Wolves, the club have also reported that Armand Traore (now back up to Kieran Gibbs at left back with Gael Clichy out for two months) and Carlos Vela 'are close to comebacks' while Denilson will return to training in the second week of the international break with Theo Walcott joining in one week later.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is poised to gain one striker but lose another this weekend.

Emmanuel Adebayor is set to return to the side for Saturday's Premier League clash at home to Burnley after missing the goalless draw at Birmingham four days ago with an ankle injury.

Club skipper Kolo Toure also seems set to face the Clarets after he joined Adebayor on the sidelines last weekend with a heel problem.

However, Roque Santa Cruz is likely to miss the match at Eastlands after sustaining an ankle injury at St Andrew's which forced him off midway through the second half.

Hughes said: "Roque hasn't trained since the weekend. He got a really bad bang on his ankle. He's got a lot of blood in and around the area that needs to come out. We need to shift that and we're hopeful he will be able to train tomorrow, but we'll have to wait and see.

"Ade and Kolo have trained for the last couple of days. They've had a couple of sessions and there was no reaction today from the work yesterday. The feeling is they will be okay for the weekend."

Left-back Wayne Bridge has joined Santa Cruz in the treatment room with a slight strain above the knee.

"Wayne hasn't trained either since the weekend," Hughes said. "We're hoping he will train tomorrow, but again we'll see how he is. We're hopeful he'll be okay."

Robinho, meanwhile, is now doing "field-based work" as he closes in on a return to action after more than two months out with a stress fracture of the ankle.

Wolves striker Chris Iwelumo is facing several weeks out of action after damaging the metatarsal he fractured during the pre-season summer trip to Australia.

The Scotland international started his first Barclays Premier League game against Stoke last weekend and impressed during the 2-2 draw.

But Iwelumo suffered the setback after Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and Wolves central defender Christophe Berra landed on his foot.


Finally, Rafa Benitez has admitted that both Steven Gerrard & Fernando Torres may need surgery. Torres was pictured arriving at a Liverpool hospital on Thursday afternoon

Hope this helps! You can find my Week 11 Player Picks post HERE.

Blog League 6 is filling up quickly with only 14 spaces left, so if you don't have a space in one of the leagues yet then be quick as this is definitely the final one. Details below:

Group ID: 23246
Password: yahoo


Also, if you're on Facebook, please add yourself to the YFF Assistant Manager group by clicking on the Facebook box to the left of this post. It will help me to put some faces to names & also allow me to alert you when I post something I feel is really important.

How's your team shaping up?

Cheers,
AM

Week 10 – Wednesday


I'd been looking forward to West Ham v Villa all week & the game was a cracker... 2 penalties, a sending off & a last minute winner for the Hammers from substitute Zavon Hines.

In the end, choosing double gamers was more-or-less the right choice for me. I wound up with 40 points from last night for 127 points in Week 10, moving up 1300 places in one night which is really 800 places from where I was sitting when the week began last Saturday lunchtime. I now sit just outside the Top 2000, but it could’ve been so much better.

15 points from Ashley Young could’ve been 30+ if he’d converted his penalty, with an additional 10 points instead of -6, but I can’t be too disappointed. Agbonlahor did a fine job with 2 SOTs & an assist, while Dunne chipped in with a useful 6 points & if West Ham hadn’t scored with the last kick of the game it would’ve been 7 points for Friedel instead of 1. Going with Friedel over Green seemed the sensible choice, but it didn’t work out as the latter returned 7 saves including one from a PK.

The real killer was my decision to go with Diamanti instead of Noble. Another sensible choice in theory, as in recent weeks we’ve seen Diamanti steal corners, free kicks & penalties away from Noble, but football is unpredictable & Zola’s decision to keep the Italian on the bench infuriated a number of fantasy managers. It’s the difference between -1 and 33 points for the week. If things had gone my way it could've been 150+ week (Milner not playing didn't help), but I can't get too caught up in "ifs, buts & maybes"...I should be happy to have moved up 800 places in Week 10.

My attentions can now fully return to Week 11, & you can find my Week 11 Player Picks post here. At the moment I’m trying to fit both RvP & Fabregas in my team, but it may have to be one or the other. I’ve even considered picking neither & spreading the wealth across my team but surely that would be crazy? I’d like to hear your opinions...

Finally, Blog League 6 is filling up quickly with only 18 spaces left, so if you don't have a space in one of the leagues yet then be quick as this is definitely the final one. Details below:

Group ID: 23246
Password: yahoo


Cheers,
AM

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Week 11 - Player Picks


As I'm writing this all I can think about it tonight's West Ham v Villa match. So far the double week loading hasn't worked because so many single gamers performed, but a goal or clean sheet for any of my players tonight and suddenly it could be 110-120 point week - more than respectable.

Anyway, I'm having a really busy week so I haven't been able to go in depth on all my player picks this week. It can take me 2 or 3 hours to write my usual article & it's time I just don't have at the moment. However, here is my list of the 45 players I feel it's worth considering:

KEEPERS
Given - Pick of the week with a home fixture vs Burnley. Wish I'd had him last week but at least I barndoored him
Robinson - Bargain basement keeper with a home fixture, but Pompey could spoil the party as their form continues to improve.
Sorensen - An alternative to Given. Stoke face Hull who haven't scored a goal in over a month.
Kirkland - An alternative to Robinson. Wigan are far more consistent at home & Fulham don't always travel well.

DEFENDERS
Vermalen - A few quiet weeks so probably time he popped up with a goal.
Zabeleta - Home fixture to Burnley & has his place back from Richards
Gibbs - He'll replace Clichy for the next month & represents great value.
Givet - Good points scorer with a home fixture
Nelsen - Rubbish points scorer but a home fixture and cheap
Skrtel - Should be back to face Birmingham at home.
Alexander - Penalty taker. Nuff said.
Heitinga - Still returning decent points each week & playing further forward
Wilkinson - Always scores well, but beware the returning Robert Huth
Bridge - Nice home fixture to Burnley
Kyrgiakos - Will probably play with so many Liverpool defenders out & great value

MIDFIELDERS
Fabregas - The premium midfield choice at Wolves, but I don't feel you NEED to have him in away games, especially not at full price
Lampard - Back in form & will score goals no matter the opposition. I wouldn't get him in at £21m mind.
Etherington - Stoke's set piece taker & has had a couple of good games. Will cause Hull nightmares.
Rosicky - Should be back for the Wolves game
Nasri - Ditto
Benayoun - With Gerrard in trouble it'll be down to Yossi to create & he normally comes through in home games.
Hunt - No Geovanni & no Bullard means Hunt will be  back on set piece duty.
Kranjcar - Dropped at Arsenal in favour of packing the center of midfield but should be back vs Sunderland
O'Hara - Set piece taker I'm holding at £5.5m. I'll be hanging on to him for some time & he's not a bad choice, even at full price
Dunn - Home fixture & he'll get forward, but Blackburn aren't in great form
Aquilani - May be forced in to the team vs Birmingham, probably on set piece duty if Gerrard is absent & very cheap.
M Petrov - If it was guaranteed that he'd start for City he'd be the first name in my midfield this week. But he's not, so at £10m+ is a big gamble
Larsson - I expect his corners & freekicks to cause Liverpool all sorts of problems
Milner - If back to fitness he's a decent pick at home to Bolton
Rodwell - Filler returning his value.

STRIKERS
Van Persie - The obvious choice. He's in fantastic form & faces Wolves. If you have him at £17m then you're laughing but I find it hard to recommend spending almost £23m on him. Arsenal don't always dominate teams away from the Emirates & at his current price you pretty much need 2 goals for him to return his value.
Torres - Tends to destroy teams like Birmingham at Anfield but doubts over his fitness mean you're taking a gamble splashing £19m on him.
Drogba - Unplayable, undroppable.
Adebayor - Been in poor form or missing completely, but should be back this weekend & he'll be looking to bully a Burnley side who hate playing away.
Rodallega - Disappointed last week but he loves to shoot & he's at home. I expect him to score
Defoe - Back from his idiotic suspension & owes the fans one as we went on to lose both league games he missed. He also will have noticed a certain Michael Owen starting to score goals, so a timely reminder to Capello could be in order.
Tevez - An alternative to Adebayor & good value.
Dindane - Points chasing at it's finest, but if you have him at £7m he's not the worst choice.
Eduardo - Should get a start with Walcott & Bendtner out, very cheap
Bellamy - Another alternative to Adebayor
Cole - Home game vs a struggling Everton
Agbonlahor - Home game to Bolton
Bent - Would love to score at Spurs, and will come up against a pretty generous defence
Saha - Facing West Ham
Benitez - Will cause Liverpool's makeshift defence problems
Beattie - Playing Hull
Diamanti - If he starts!

The obvious choice this week is to get Van Persie & Fabregas in, banking on Arsenal to wreck Wolves, but they're going to take over a third of your budget so if either don't perform then you're going to be struggling to reach the 100 point threshold. For that reason, don't feel you have to break the bank to get them both in - there's nothing wrong with spreading the money about a bit & as you can see there are loads of good striker options to choose from.

How's your team shaping up? Anyone you feel I've missed?

Cheers,
AM