BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 30)

It feels like a long time ago and the dust has settled but the disappointment lingers. As predicted, game week 29 was truly awful and has subsequently left us nearly 60 points behind the office leader with only 8 gameweek’s left to play.

With a -8 starting point our lads only managed 21 points for the week with Harry Kane bagging 14 of them. It makes for truly dire reading and is possibly my worst ever return for a fixture set in FPL history. Putting my faith in Newcastle players was a monumental mistake and definitely a case of the heart ruling over the head, an absolute FPL no no. Like Steve Bruce, I have become the fantasy April fool.

If we add a little more context however, the game week average was only 25. In normal circumstances our score wouldn’t have been too bad. The problem was, my 2 main title rivals scored a very impressive 71 and 61 respectively. An average week for them would’ve made our average score week totally fine. Would having Son fit have made that much of a difference to us? With that gap in score lines, probably not.

We did feel this week would be a poor one from our point of view. The fixtures or lack of, the availability of our squad, it all had the hallmarks of a nightmare incoming and so it proved. Obviously the key factor was not being able to foresee the points deficit we now have to claw back, I was thinking it was going to be around the 30 mark. DOUBLE THAT. DISASTER.

We need to get the player’s heads up, take our medicine and move on. There’s still a lot of points to play for and our rivals in question will have to make changes going forward. Yes, we will have to take a few risks but the aim now is to claw 10 points per week back. How? I’m not sure but it’s only a captains pick difference and is by no means impossible. We may have to look down the differentials route in the coming weeks and you know what, I love trying to find the gems. This season we’ve had a pretty good record in the regard.

LOOKING AHEAD.

As bad as our game week 29 was, the squad we have does still look decent for the upcoming fixtures. Our biggest concern, as always, is Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. This week is no different and trying to predict the rotation will be made harder by the fact they have a Champions League match in midweek. With the league all but wrapped up, you’ve got to think the Easter eggs will be firmly placed in the European basket. Is it even worth having City players in your squad at this stage? Definitely a question to be answered.

Man United at home to Brighton and Chelsea at home to West Brom look the pick of GW30, I would predict Bruno Fernandes will be a lot of managers captain this week and quite possibly mine. Do I take the risk and go for a differential though? Food for thought.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS

Only 1 transfer this week despite the game week 29 debacle. Importantly, there’s no minus hits in hope that the others have made changes and we already start to eat away at the deficit.

The change is Calvert-Lewin (home to Crystal Palace) coming in for Vydra which many would agree is a no brainer.

We now have a relatively strong bench which has enabled us to retain the Manchester City players. KDB and Gundugan will be in my XI but in the event of Pep roulette we should have decent auto back up subs.

I have played it safe with the skipper and gone with Bruno, while Kane takes the vice. In terms of our TOON representatives, Willock and Fraser will sit on the bench. The magpie’s form is abysmal and they don’t look like they’ll get another point, I just couldn’t afford (negative points wise) to replace them.

FIRST AND SECOND BALLS.

GW30 squad list

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 29)

Rocky times ahead ladies and gentlemen, I’ll briefly summarise GW28 and move straight into the eye of the week 29 storm.

We managed to maintain a slender 1 point lead at the top of the office leaderboard after the latest round of fixtures. In the end, 51 points in a week’s average of 43 was a decent return. Of course Pep did his usual trick and rested a few including my captain Kevin De Bruyne – nil point!! But, an excellent score from John Stones and a surprising 5 points from auto-sub Vydra just about salvaged what was shaping up to be a disaster. That, incidentally, leads me to game week 29. THE NIGHTMARE IN WAITING.

LOOKING AHEAD.

There are only 4 matches on the set list of GW29 which, in itself, is absolutely scandalous. It’s the kind of week your free hit chip is built for but, unfortunately, ours is long gone. With my Steve Bruce head on ‘we need to find another way’🙄

When Heung-Min Son pulled up against Arsenal the other day the magnitude of our plight really started to hit home. At the time, the South Korean was a one of only 4 players pencilled in our side for GW29. Now that he is almost certain to miss the coming fixtures we are, as it stands, down to 3. 3 representing players for a full game gameweek?!?! Unfeasible, unthinkable and a potential undoing of a season’s good work.

Last week’s decision to make 0 changes in order to gain an extra free transfer was a good one. It means we can make two transfers instantly and take our team up to 5 players with no penalty. At the time, it would have been 4 to 6 but didn’t take into account any potential injuries which could occur. What happens? Son’s crocked and it’s disarray. As I see it at the moment, we have only 2 potential ways of playing this.

The first would be only using our 2 free transfers but only starting the game week with 5 players. Advantages being no negative points hit and minimal squad disruption for the weeks ahead. The disadvantage quite clearly being a massive 6 players short of a full team.

The alternative second would be to use our 2 free transfers and make 2,3, maybe even 4 more changes on top of that. The advantages being a near full starting team, matching rivals up like for like. The clear disadvantages being a big negative point start and breaking up a strong squad.

I’m hoping a 3rd scenario will put into my head before I make any changes and we’ll be exploring more potential permutations but, putting the hard hat on and taking a sitting duck battering is looking the most likely option this week. Anything more than a -8 starting point would probably be pretty pointless (literally) and would disrupt our team too much for the coming weeks. The most amount of participants we’re looking at this week is 7. Not great but hopefully any lasting damage to our season will be minimal.

Scouting intel tells me my 2 main rival teams already have 8/9 players ready to start for them and with a transfer or 2 they will probably now have a full 11 a side team. This is where a well rounded squad comes in handy, we have been relying on a strong 11 for the majority of the season but at the value detriment to the bench as a result. Any changes we’ve made have invariably been full blown transfer rather than substitutions. I know my colleagues have been making little weekly tweaks in preparation for this spanner in the works game week and I have to take my hat off to them for that. We have been left in a pickle with only ourselves to blame.

In terms of the fixtures, they aren’t even great and certainly not a set you could make a long term plan from. Look for yourself..

  • FULHAM V LEEDS
  • BRIGHTON V NEWCASTLE
  • WEST HAM V ARSENAL
  • ASTON VILLA V TOTTENHAM

Where are the points at there? This could be our saving grace, a low scoring week is what we need here. There’s not a great deal to write home about that’s for sure but having only 5 players available to play is a problem regardless of the fixture quality. Had the matches been more pleasing on the scoring eye, I would have taken the starting points hit and matched up no questions asked. As it is, all I’m doing is asking serious questions with little few answers. What to do?!? At this point of writing, I haven’t a clue.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS.

So, after much intense deliberation, it’s 2 free transfers……… plus a -8 start for god sake. And we still only have 7 players involved. In terms of selections for a game week this is possibly the WORST I’ve endured in FPL. We start with 4 zero’s on the card and -8. Laughable really but if I can stay within 30 points of the top of the table after the week I’ll be very pleased.

The all important transfers are Cresswell, Tierney, Targett and Willock coming in for Son, Digne, Williams and Mitchell. The thinking here is that I’m predicting a low scoring week in terms of goals so I’ve tried to load up with decent defenders. Its making me ill to think I won’t be playing a goalkeeper.

In normal circumstances the changes I’ve made would be pretty decent but this isn’t a normal week and my hand has been forced. In terms of a captains pick, I’ve gone for the safe option of Kane but I may change that closer to the deadline.

Looking for a positive to end on, from our 7 players, 2 are TOON representatives. Is that a positive?!? I guess that sums up the week’s plight.

DIG IN, DEFEND.

GW29’s PITIFUL SQUAD

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 28)

Hi all. Welcome.

We’ve reached the summit. An outstanding score of 89 points in week’s average of 60 saw us reel in the 12 point deficit to lead the office league by 2 going into game week 28.

Great stuff but what remains to be seen is, how long will this lead last? I’m not too sure. In fact, skipping over a week and into game week 29 things are looking bleak and it’s one that, if I don’t make some thoughtful changes, could derail my season completely. As it stands that week in question only has 4 fixtures on it’s list and my current squad would only have 4 representatives. With no wildcard or free hit remaining it’s going to take some astute planning of GW28 with 29 fully in mind. How I’m going to do it? Not a clue at this moment in time. I mentioned last week, that every week will likely begin with a negative starting point until the end of the season and that prophecy is likely to live up to the billing. What I must do is incorporate some of GW29’s changes into this week so minimise the hit.

In terms of our scorers for the week just gone, the big hitters all produced. Kevin De Bruyne (captain) Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane all pulled excellent scores out the bag. That is in contrast to the defenders who only mustered 6 between them, roles definitely reserved from the previous week. Seasons really do swing in roundabouts.

LOOKING AHEAD

As just mentioned, we aren’t just looking at this coming week but also the week after. Only having 4 fixtures for a match set is just ridiculous and getting as many players into my squad from those 8 teams is going to be a monumental task. I could just write off that GW completely and take the hit but I know my rivals will be looking to capitalise. I need to find a way of minimising the damage – I sound like Steve Bruce🙄

Spurs play Arsenal this week in the North London derby which is a tough fixture but they are on a good run and, more importantly, have a fixture in GW29. That is one avenue I’ll be definitely looking down when making my transfers. Crucially, we already have 2 Tottenham players in the squad. Arsenal play in both weeks so that is also a possibility but maybe they will be in next weeks changes.

If we are looking at only game week 28, I would be looking at Man City at Fulham, Man United home to West Ham and Leicester at home to Sheff. United. Neither of those sides have a fixture in game week 29. Do I just play this week as it is and make huge changes and a huge point hit for GW29? This set of dilemmas is actually worse than anything a double game week could produce and there are so many different ways to approach it tactically. Picking the right approach is tough.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS

So……. after much thought, mental turmoil and exploring most of the permutations, I decided to make…….. NO TRANSFERS OR CHANGES!

All talk about taking minus hits every week from now till the end of season goes completely out of the window. When I looked at my team and the fixture set they all had for 28, it was all very conducive for good point scoring. Yes, it leaves us short for game week 29 but what making no changes this week gives us is 2 free transfers when we will need it most next week. 2 freebies and a couple of negative hits should see us scratch together a team for the 4 fixture week.

Who’s to say players I could have potentially bought in this week with next week in mind get injured or pick up a suspension. The Premier League could also add fixtures to that game week so we will just sit tight and see what happens. We are airing slightly on the side of caution this round but the fixtures always dictate the selections and we’ll deal with game week 29 when it comes around.

Even the captain pick remains the same, KDB has the armband with Bruno waiting in reserve. In terms of TOON representation, Fraser remains the sole flag flyer in black and white.

MARK YOUR MEN.

GAME WEEK 28 squad list.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Double Gameweek 27)

Can we chill yet? The double game week of 26 was absolutely mind boggling on all fronts. Triple captains, pep roulette and inevitable injuries all playing a big part in and long and weird fixture set. The general consensus seems to be one of underwhelming disappointment across the board for a lot of managers. It was a game week that was billed as the greatest ever but the average score, although it is high at 75, contradicts that massively considering nearly all the teams played twice. The question this week is

ARE DOUBLE GAMEWEEKS MORE OF A HINDERANCE THAN A HELP? Let me know.

Having said all that, am I happy with our team’s performance and points outcome? Absolutely. We’ve made good ground scoring an excellent 109 points and subsequently cutting the office league leaderboard to just 12. Ironically, that 12 points is the minus starting point we took with 4 transfers but it was necessary. We wouldn’t have been anywhere near the 100 point mark without it. Speculate to accumulate and all that.

The triple captain card used on Harry Kane yielded 24 of the points total which, when using that chip, you would expect as a bare minimum. In all honesty, I would have liked a bit more from it but maybe that’s just shameless greed. The big points came from our 3 defenders; Maguire, Stones and Digne, all of whom scored double figures which I’m obviously thrilled about. The latter, Digne, was an inspired change and inclusion who turned out to be an excellent differential – Excuse me while I pat myself on the back.

Scoring 100+ points in any week is a superb return and is usually the result of a collective team contribution. It turned out to be just that.

LOOKING AHEAD.

There’s yet another double gameweek in GW27…….. for Manchester bloody city. Is it even a doubler? Pep has two world class sides at his disposal which he tends to utilise when his team have more than 1 match in a week. This was evident in game week 26 and will likely be the same in 27. That’s not to say you shouldn’t pick City players, quite the opposite, they are in blistering form and are probably the only team worth watching in the league – A league they will win at a canter. It’s simply picking the right ones which is the difficulty.

Elsewhere, it’s back to basics for the rest. Spurs at home to Crystal Palace could be a point scorer along with Liverpool versus Fulham, despite the reds very patchy form. Outside shouts would be Arsenal at Burnley, the gunners have had a few decent results of late, someone like Saka maybe a good option and wouldn’t break the bank.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS

It’s another negative start for us this week, a theme that will likely be running until the end of the season now. Our bench is simply too weak to make substitutions. This time it’s a -8 so a slight improvement on last week.

Vrydra of Burnley replaces Dominic Calvert-Lewin as a cash make way. This make way was to supplement the return of Kevin De Bruyne who comes in for Rashford. The third and final change is TOON related, Ryan Fraser comes in as straight swap for fellow magpie Allan Saint-Maximin who has taken another tumble. It’s a good chance for the Scot to show what he can do, bag me some points and you know my Newcastle United representation is important despite the team’s clear short comings and poor performances on the pitch. Hey ho.

These changes mean we revert to a 3-5-2 formation – The same again from the defenders would be very welcome.

In terms of captaincy, KDB will be the skipper purely on the grounds he has a (small) chance of playing 2 games in the week. Kane will be vice.

TIKI TAKA PASS PASS PASS

1 YEAR UP

Hello all.

We are approaching a whole year of this blog. A blog that all started over a prospective takeover of Newcastle United and some of the failings of the (then and still) club owner Mike Ashley. A year on, it’s about the only thing that remains unchanged in the world, albeit with added nightmare of the club now starring down the barrel of relegation again.

In that time, football has been halted, restarted and, at grassroots level, halted twice more as the pandemic strengthened it’s grip on everyday life. Games played in empty stadia has made for a tepid spectacle with the video assistant referee giving extra added nonsense. But, silver lining, at least Liverpool’s first title in 30 years turned out to be a damp squib and their defence of it even more so.

CHANGES AFOOT.

I’m looking at a few tweaks to the blog going into year 2. The blog itself will be still be predominantly football based but I want to broaden some subject matters by adding things such as TV, Films and Games, as well any other sports or general happenings that may be interesting or amusing.

This will include a site name change and revamp. Quite frankly, the site name is awful and I cringe every time I have to type or read it out. It was rushed in its inception and coming up with names isn’t a strong point of mine. After all, my daughter was known as the girl for nearly 24 hours after birth the poor bairn. Anyway, it will be RIP Blogintofootball *shudders down the spine*

No doubt I’ll come up with something equally as bad so any title suggestions or logo designs would be great, just @me if you have something strong, bold, witty or unique – Etch your name in a little bit of history.

SMALL FOLLOWING

We’ve gained a nice little following over the last 12 months, more than was expected. (which was about 10) I get a fare bit of interaction with the Fantasy Premier League pieces which is great fun and a bit of daft carry on. That will of course continue for the rest of this season and into next. Maybe if enough of the followers are up for it, I may even start a site mini league and incorporate it into the blog.

SATISFACTION

Writing stuff down about football when you have a spare hour or 2 is just great. Most of what I write is complete and utter shit but it’s good fun, I wish I had the time to post more often. If anyone out there would like to write any pieces for the site feel free to send me anything you like. It, quite clearly, doesn’t even need to be good, as long as it’s interesting or funny I’ll post it, with accreditations of course. Just don’t expect too much coverage or feedback… unless it’s about fantasy football, it still baffles me how popular FPL is world wide. Play your bench boost at the wrong time and Anwar from India will be sure to let you know right away, suggesting a bullet point plan for the following fixture set…… Appreciate that Anwar but I still scored 80 odd points that week😉

Anyway, I’ll finish in the only way that’s appropriate, STEVE BRUCE HAS TO GO, YESTERDAY.

Catch you on the flip side and remember to STAY WITH YOUR RUNNERS.