BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 23)

Welcome again.

The fantasy football rollercoaster ride continues. We managed an impressive score of 86 points in a week’s average of 57 during round 22. This more than makes up for the previous week’s disappointments and goes to show you don’t always need to make wholesale changes when you have a bad game week.

Yes, sticking is a gamble but so is twisting. Sometimes it’s about looking at your team and the fixture set ahead and trusting the process. Quite often it’s all too easy this pull the changes trigger, and believe me, I was so tempted. Deep breath, nothing drastic and go again. Logic suggested that the rested players in GW21 would be just that, rested, and ready to play in GW22. So it conspired, they played and contributed massively.

What making no changes now gives us is 2 free transfers for the week ahead.

It could have been so much better as well, 86 points included 3 (YES THREE!?) big fat zero’s. Paul Pogba, Sadio Mané and Ben Chilwell all failed to play any part in their respective fixtures. The score is a testament to the strong week the rest of the team had. Special mentions have to go to Rahim Sterling, James Justin and Bruno Fernandes, each scoring well into the teens which is an excellent return.

LOOKING AHEAD

The big news heading into Game week 23 is that Liverpool and Manchester City clash at Anfield. Obviously that is going to mean so many potential point cancelling players for so many fantasy football managers. This means that alot of fantasy teams will contain the maximum 3 players from each team and only one side can truly triumph fantasy points wise. What you gain in one, you will lose in the other. So my question for all you gaffers this week is.

WHICH SET OF PLAYERS ARE CURRENTLY MORE CRUCIAL TO FANTASY FOOTBALL? MAN CITY OR LIVERPOOL?

Things to take into consideration with this question are firstly, Pep roulette. The erratic rotation policy of the city boss and never truly knowing which team he will put out. Secondly, the Salah affect. If you take the Egyptian’s points away from the Liverpool fantasy total, are the rest really worth their weight in gold? Salah is a consistent big point scorer and maybe a big leveller. And thirdly, the current collective form of both sides. Worth thinking about in terms of team selection for this week.

Other fixtures of note to be aware of would be Chelsea away at struggling Sheff. United and (maybe) Tottenham at home to West Brom, who are still without Harry Kane though. leicester are still a consistent shout for potential points as they travel to Wolves.

In terms my team I’ve made some BOLD choices, let’s go.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS

The bonus of making no changes in GW22 means we have 1 extra free transfer to use in GW23. That said, I’ve still made 3 and taken a -4 in the process.

The first and most risky change is Allan Saint-Maximin for the injured Sadio Mané. I can see the raised eyebrows but let me explain. First of he’s a Toon player so my heartstrings are already pulled. Yes using full emotional pull should never be only reason to pick a player in fantasy football. So I go into my second of all. I fancy the French man to start his first game in over 2 months for Newcastle at home to Southampton in, what is, a very important match for the home. Southampton got hit for 9 last time out, perfect time for a tricky pacey winger like ASM to get back amongst the goal and assist trail. He will be a huge differential player, is cheap and is always Newcastle’s most dangerous player when playing. The big risk is whether he will start the match or not. No risk, no reward.

The next change is Manchester United like for like with Rashford coming in for Paul Pogba. This change would have happened a few weeks ago but I had other pressing issues elsewhere. Quite simply, Rashford is a forward in a midfield role and more of a goal threat.

And the final change is another like for like, this time at Chelsea. Rüdiger comes in for Chilwell. Reason being Chelsea’s new boss Thomas Tuchel. He has left Chilwell out the last 2 matches and doesn’t seem to fancy him which is the complete opposite of Rüdiger. I still toying over whether the German will be in my XI or not but Chelsea do have a good clean sheet chance at Sheffield United.

What these 3 transfers also bring to our squad is a massive bank balance in reserve. £6.9 million to be precise. Ready and waiting to be fired for either Kane’s or KDB’s return from injury or when Liverpool have a more Favourable fixture set for Salah.

Fernandes will be captain with my other toon representative, Wilson, the vice. Let’s hope the ASM gamble pays off, I’m quietly optimistic.

CHEST DOWN, VOLLEY.

GW23 SQUAD

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 12)

OVERVIEW: Hello all, welcome.

Where do we start this week? Plenty to discuss. High scoring, lifting the curse, unlucky Ziyech, Bruno Fernandes the sub or maybe the Son faux pas? I think we’ll start positive – It’s got to be LIFTING THE CURSE!

We finally managed to put the armband on the correct arm in game week 11 after what seemed like a million week’s of wrong and costly picks. A Kevin De Bruyne goal, assist and win bonus resulted in 28 glorious points, a relief and a weight lifted from the shoulders like a baron striker ending a goal draught.

That KDB tally helped the team to a very respectable 64 points, which actually brings us nicely on to high scoring. The week’s average was a whopping 62, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a high mean number. I could be way off the mark but I can’t recall the average being in the 60’s too often. Anyone know the record? Anyway, when the mean is high like that, you know the big hitters have had good weeks – Kane, Salah, Son and the afore mentioned De Bruyne all chalking up the numbers. I was initially pleased with my total until I saw the scores of my opponents. Looking deeper at my XI, zero’s for Kilman and Barnes who didn’t play, whilst Ziyech only picked up the 1. Had they contributed a little bit more we would have been looking at a huge week. We can’t dwell.

I had high hopes for Ziyech a couple of weeks ago and it just hasn’t quite happened on a points scoring front, despite his impressive performances for Chelsea. It now looks like he’s picked up another injury which will probably sideline him until after Christmas – that’s 1 forced change this week for sure.

I mentioned last week about how having both Kane and Son in your team at the same time was a risk. This was on the grounds of how costly it could be if Spurs had an off day. Well, on that basis I transferred out Son – how foolish did that turn out to be?! The Tottenham duo scored and assisted each other. Then, to make matters worse, the player I bought in to replace the South Korean, Bruno Fernandes, started on the bench for Man United. You couldn’t make it up especially as I’d been plotting the Bruno move for weeks and had finally manoeuvred my squad around enough to get him in. Luckily enough though, he came on at half time and inspired a Manc comeback salvaging himself a respectable 45 minute, 5 points. Eventful Game week indeed.

Looking ahead to GW12, the fixtures to look out for on the fantasy front have to be Liverpool at Fulham and Tottenham at Crystal Palace. Notable mentions maybe for Leicester home to Brighton and even Arsenal home to Burnley – could this be the week Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang finally starts his season, I’m not saying put him in but he has too much quality to continue this poor form for much longer. The plight of Arsenal this season shows how much they have relied on their talisman in recent seasons. I suppose the same could be mentioned for Alex Lacazette to an extent too.

Also, it’s worth mentioning to you guys, but not my work office rivals, that we have an early start this week as Leeds take on Aston Villa in the Friday night match. This means any changes to your squad must meet the earlier deadline, 18:30 friday tea time I think it is so there’s your heads up – don’t say I never tell you nowt.

PICKS: For the first time in months I’ve had to take a -4 points hit for transfers. One forced change was the earlier stated Ziyech injury meaning he needed replaced. The bottom line is, I needed to get Hyeung-Min Son back into the team. A good manager can admit when he’s made a mistake, my hands are held up. We learn and move on.

Now the problem we had here was, I didn’t have the funds to get the Premier League’s top scorer straight back in having used the budget on Fernandes. Bit of mixing the pack was required so out came Harvey Barnes and in came the cheaper Daniel Podence of Wolves. It’s worked out quite well to be honest. The reason being that Barnes has been left out of Leicester’s starting eleven a few times recently and we can’t be taking that sort risk – we need players who play week in, week out.

Podence, on the other hand, could potentially play more prominent role in Wolves’ campaign going forward with the unfortunate injury suffered to their main centre forward, Raul Jimenez. It’s a -4 I’m pretty happy to take when you break it down into logic.

So, with those 2 transfers I now have a midfield that contains De Bruyne, Fernandes and Son – STRONG is the only way to describe it.

In terms of captain’s pick this week we hope the curse does not return. Kane takes to arm band with Son accepting the vice role. And we save the best bit of team news for last – One TOON player returns to the lineup, Federico Fernandez comes back into the defence following Newcastle postponement last time out. My team felt bare without a beautiful black and white shirt in it. TOON TOON.

RELAX ON THE BALL LADS.

GAMEWEEK 12 starting XI

BLOGIN BETS 21/11/20 (League 2 Special)

This week’s accumulator is £10 @10/1

CHELTENHAM 8/11 (Home v Walsall – KO 15:00)

EXETER 4/6 (Home v Oldham – KO 15:00)

CAMBRIDGE UNITED 4/6 (Away v Southend – KO 15:00)

NEWPORT COUNTY 1/1 (Home v Port Vale – KO 15:00)

CONFIDENCE: 7/10

OVERVIEW: I’ve scowled the usual leagues across Europe in search of something to get excited about and it’s either shortest of short odds or risky risky. Quite often you get weekends where the fixture list is not worth wiping your backside with. It’s a shame seeing as we finally made to the arse end of the naff international break.

Anyway, I had a little look at the lower leagues and realised most of the top teams are playing sides quite low down. Delving a bit deeper into form, odds etc I’ve managed to get a canny looking line from League 2. So here we have it, a League 2 special. Yes I know, there’s nowt special about it, same carry on, £10, 4 teams, all to win. 10/1 is cracking odds in my opinion and here’s why.

PICKS: Cheltenham sit 3rd in the league and have only lost once at home in their last 8 games which includes 6 wins. They entertain a 13th placed Walsall side who have lost their last 3 matches including a defeat to bottom side Southend. HOME WIN.

Exeter are now 13 games unbeaten and sit nicely in the playoff places. They welcome an Oldham side who have to make 500 mile round trip and sit perilously above the professional football relegation zone. HOME WIN.

Newport County are top of the tree and have won their last 6 league matches at home. Although opponents Port Vale sit just outside the playoffs, they are leaking as many goals as they are scoring. 7 home wins in a row incoming for County.

although Southend won their last match against Walsall, they hadn’t won for the previous 16. They sit rock bottom of the table, an ideal fixture for Cambridge who are flying high in 2nd. They have amassed 25 goals in their 12 matches so far only conceding 9. Go on you university toffs, WRAP UP THE ACCA FOR US.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 9)

OVERVIEW: It’s tight at the top, joint top in fact with a real title race beginning to develop in the office. It was 60 points for the boys in black and white in game week 8 which is another decent return, the average being 55. Captain Kane once again came up with the goods bagging a tasty 18 points but it was a player I focused on last time round which gave the most satisfaction. Hakim Ziyech supplied 11 points and I noted that his return from injury could be massive for Chelsea, a wicked left foot and the taker of most of the blues’ set pieces. It’s a great feeling when you spot a little opening and it comes off. I think I was the only manager in our league to bring him in but the problem we have now is that others may now sit up and take notice. They don’t stay hidden gems for long.

Looking ahead to game week 9, it’s going to be one of those weeks. The type of week you deliberate, change, re-change and then change again. The type of week you look at the fixture list and wonder what to do for the best. Even at this time of writing, I’m still not quite sure if my line up will remain as it is. What’s worse, we are coming off the back of the international break, hoping and praying star players have returned unscathed. The flip side of this of course is that sometimes injuries do actually help your thought process. They force your hand when it comes to changes and take you away from the limbo you can find yourself in of not knowing what strategy to play. Fortunately, but Unfortunately for me, there doesn’t appear to be any serious injury doubts so we have the full roster to choose from, this is where selection dilemma/headache comes in, Do we stick with what we’ve got or twist a transfer or two? The questions to be asked are..

Why fix something that isn’t broken? Or try and change things to match it up with more favourable fixtures?

Admittedly, there have been little doubts creeping in. Is this the pressure of a title race? Or just a bad fixture week? The way I see it, a slight the element of doubt isn’t a bad quality to have as manager as long as it doesn’t consume his or her thought process. It shows they’ve accounted for every eventuality but ultimately, the manager will be judged on his convictions and I have made a bold decision this week, one which I will allude to in more detail later.

Fixture wise, Tottenham playing Man City doesn’t help things in terms of my squad. Liverpool – Leicester is just as bad. In fact, If someone offered me the average points total for the week right now I’d snap their hand off, knowing there’s better weeks ahead.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS.

Somebody hold me. I’ve done what I never thought I would. I have not, I repeat, HAVE NOT made any transfers this week. For the first time this season I haven’t brought in a new player. Hey, I mean that’s not a bad thing, some of us managers are just Tinker-men. Look at Pep, just last month he named a unchanged team……. for the first time in 3 years and who’s going to argue with his success. Anyway, there’s a good reason for no transfers this week and it’s to make an extra free change next week. Looking ahead, Man City’s fixtures after this week look quite favourable so being able to bring in a couple of their lads for nowt would be decent.

Ideally though, I wanted to bring Bruno Fernandez this week with Man United at home to West Brom but firstly, I didn’t have the funds available. Secondly, I would have had to seriously rejig the pack, taking various minus points to do so. And thirdly, I didn’t know who to replace. In the end, not worth it and we move on. UNCHANGED SQUAD.

In terms of team news, I’ve brought in Harvey Barnes off the bench for Callum Wilson. Sounds like a weird move but, here me out, Wilson is carrying a slight injury and faces a fitness test whereas Barnes, although away to Liverpool, could have a good point scoring chance. Liverpool are without all their senior defensive line so there maybe goals to be had. This also changes the shape for the first time in months from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2 but look, we are a well drilled side and the lads know their roles, after all we are settled side now.

Mané is captain with Ziyech as vice. And what seems like a week full of firsts, it has dawned on me that with Wilson’s exclusion, it’s the first time this season I haven’t named 3 TOON players in the starting line up, Bruce ball really is taking its toll.

FIRST TACKLE, HIT THEM HARD LADS.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 8 – Wildcard Weekender)

OVERVIEW: Reach the top and the only way is down. Fellow managers full of hate, envy and jealousy all trying their damndest to knock you off your pedestal and so it was. We had one solitary week at the top of the league as our boys only managed a total of 44 points, 9 below the week’s average. Some would say that’s the added pressure of leading the way, I would say just a bad week at the office. We may be (temporarily) removed from our top spot perch but we’ve had a taste of the big time, the office glitz and glamour of being the top dogs and we’re ready for more. All in all we aren’t too downbeat, our time will come again, only 2 points off the summit and, in fact, only 4 points separate the top 3 in our office. It’s a pressure cooker and one we’re relishing.

So looking ahead, this is the week. The week where boys become men, water turns to wine, Kane squares to Sterling. The WILDCARD is played. Baring in mind you get another one in the 2nd half of the season, I reckon this is the best time for a shake up, about a quarter of the way through the campaign. We know who’s been hot and who has not, the form teams, the injuries and just the general feeling of the league starting to take shape. I would be interested to know when everyone feels is the right time to stick or twist.

When is the ideal time to WILDCARD it?

Obviously, it’s all dependant on the start to the season your squad has, early decisions and predictions on players/teams are key. Should your team have a nightmare start or begin to pick up injuries left right and centre then your hand is forced. Before you know it you’ve used your main chip after gameweek 1 and it can’t be helped, after all, that’s what it’s there for. Getting to game week 7 onwards without having to play it and still having the decision in your own hands can only be a good thing and a huge advantage. Luckily that’s where we’re at.

Fixture wise, gameweek 8 looks a tricky one in terms of point scoring. The big 2, Liverpool and City, collide on Sunday so there is potentional for some big players to cancel each other out. Spurs at West Brom has got to be where the money goes with Kane and Son in superb form collectively.

Again we have Friday night matches to kick off the round, not one but two this time. The the first of which starting with an extremely early slot of 17:30. This could mean big trouble for the gaffers who aren’t privy to this key bit of tactical information. Team sheets must be summited by 16:30, have I disclosed this knowledge to my colleagues and subsequent rivals? Absolutely not.

UP THE WILDCARD.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS: So we’ve played the wildcard this week, but how many changes does that actually equate to? Truth be told we’ve had a pretty decent season so far and I’m happy with the majority of my squad. The idea of the wildcard play was to make my squad more rounded rather than have just a great starting 11. Making a sub rather than having to waste a transfer would be very useful going forward so the transfers made in this wildcard are as follows.

  1. OUT – Ward 4.4m (Goalkeeper) IN – Forster 4.0m
  2. OUT – Castagne 5.7m IN – Justin 4.8m
  3. OUT – Williams 4.3m IN – Kilman 4.3m
  4. OUT – Barkley 6.0m IN – Ziyech 8.0m
  5. OUT – Willian 7.8m IN – Barnes 6.9m

Only 5 changes made with the wildcard but without the chip this would usually enforce a -20 point penalty. As mentioned before, I was still quite content with the vast majority my team but what this wildcard has given us is a bit more strength in depth around the whole squad. Of all the changes, Hakim Ziyech excites me the most and getting him in along side what is already a very strong midfield brings a lot of satisfaction. I think he will be a big player for Chelsea in the coming weeks and his delivery from set pieces could be a huge points scorer in both goals and assists.

It was disappoining to see Castagne of Leicester pick up an injury. He has been very impressive since arriving in the summer and it has forced this change but I have no qualms in his replacement. James Justin, also of Leicester, has potentially been one of the young players of the season in the Premier League so far, long may that continue. The inclusion of another young Leicester player Harvey Barnes is a testament to how well they are doing under Brendon Rodgers.

Elsewhere, my 3 toon players all retain their places which we’re thrilled about, big up the TOON ARMY. What I will be looking for this week is a better return from my captain selection, Mané only delivered 4 points last week, when Harry Kane takes the armband this time round we’ll be looking for at least 10, fingers crossed.

ZIYECH ON CORNERS LADS.

BLOGIN BETS 31/10/20

This week’s accumulator pick is £10 @6/1

– DORTMUND 4/11 (Away v Arminia Bielefeld. Saturday KO 14:30)

– CHELSEA 8/15 (Away v Burnley. Saturday KO 15:00)

INTER 3/10 (Home v Parma. Saturday KO 17:00)

LIVERPOOL 4/11 (Home v West Ham. Saturday KO 17:30)

MILAN 4/6 (Away v Udinese. Sunday KO 11:30)

CONFIDENCE: 7/10

OVERVIEW: There’s a real European Super League feel about this week’s accumulator. 5 top sides, all strong favourites, selected from Europe’s best divisions. What could possibly go wrong this Halloween?!

It’s the first time in a while I’ve picked matches spread over Saturday and Sunday, we haven’t had much luck sticking to Saturdays so we are mixing it up again. One thing to note is the line would actually be wrapped up very early on Sunday, the Milan kick off time has an insane 11:30AM slot. Granted we were undone by an early start last time out but, hey-ho, we are a glutton for punishment and Milan are one of the world’s form sides.

So here we go.

PICKS: Dortmund have quietly gone about their business in the Bundesliga since defeat at Augsburg early on, winning their last 4 matches. They travel to struggling Bielefeld who have only won one of their opening 5 games, losing their last 3. AWAY WIN

Chelsea have been a mixed bag so far this season, either inspired or indifferent. We hope for the former as they go to Burnley, a team who haven’t won in the Premier League since January, losing 4 of their opening 5 matches this campaign. The return of Hakim Ziyech for Chelsea should give the blues a big lift. AWAY WIN.

Inter have started this seasons Serie A campaign with 3 wins from 5 with their only defeat coming in the derby against in form Milan. Parma on the other hand have only picked up 1 solitary victory, losing 3 of their matches. Home advantage and general gulf in class should be the difference here. HOME WIN.

Other than the freak 7-2 reverse at Aston Villa, Liverpool’s form has been pretty ominous. Despite not being at their best, they have been pretty ruthless results wise and I would expect that to continue at home to West Ham. The hammers have had some decent results of late but travelling to Anfield is different kettle of fish. HOME WIN.

Milan are now a mighty 30 matches unbeaten in all competitions which stretches back to March, 22 of which have been victories. They are undoubtedly Europe’s form side and will look to cement their place at the top of Serie A with a win at Udinese. The hosts have only managed 1 win in their 5 games, losing the other 4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to do the business, currently the league’s top goalscorer at 39 years of age. Fancy him to WRAP UP THE ACCA early Sunday.

BLOGIN BETS 24/10/20

This week’s accumulator is £10 @11/1

MAN CITY 4/11 (Away v West Ham. KO 12:30

CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1/1 (Home v Bolton. KO 15:00)

MARSEILLE 8/5 (Away v Lorient. KO 16:00)

INTER 3/10 (Away v Genoa. KO 17:00)

LIVERPOOL 2/9 (Home v Sheff United. KO 20:00)

CONFIDENCE: 7/10

OVERVIEW: Before we get into the nitty gritty of breaking down this week’s accumulator, I actually can’t believe how high the odds for this line is. 11/1 is a superb price and I don’t see any reason why this one wouldn’t have a decent chance.

As usual, we have the same carry on, £10 on 5 teams all to win spread right across Saturday, with no two fixtures having the same kick off time. The key fixture for me is meat of the sandwich, the middle game, Marseille away at Lorient. That’s the banana skin here but again, and i will go into more depth later, I see no reason to suggest they can’t pick up the 3 points and the green tick we need.

Obviously another thing to note is there’s an early kick off on the line as well which is usually a no go, but I think it’s a strong enough favourite not to be a worry. So here we go.

PICKS: Man City have actually made an indifferent start to the season by their imperious standards but an early marker away at West Ham is exactly what they need. Talisman Sergio Aguero is now back fit and could be the key in putting together a run of form. AWAY WIN.

Cambridge United are flying in League 2. 4 wins in a row and top of the table, they host a Bolton side who haven’t won in 5 and sit 5 from the bottom of England’s professional pyramid. HOME WIN.

As mentioned earlier, this is the big game of the line in my opinion. A quick glance on paper suggests both Marseille and opponents Lorient aren’t in great form, however on closer inspection, Marseille haven’t been losing games with draws being the order of the day as well as playing some of the top sides along the way. They haven’t lost in 6 league matches and were very impressive against Bordeaux last time out picking up a nice 3-1. What’s more, Les Olympiens have only lost twice in 13 in this fixture so the omens are good. AWAY WIN.

Inter will be looking for a routine win at Genoa. If they are to have serious title aspirations, this is the type of bread and butter fixture they need to be winning. Conte’s side have good reason to be confident, they have won the last 4 matches against their hosts all to nil amassing an average of 4 goals. Genoa haven’t scored a goal since the opening day and the firepower of Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez should be too much for them at the other end. AWAY WIN.

Liverpool actually haven’t won for 3 Premier League games. They have the perfect chance at home to Sheff United who sit second bottom of table and are yet to win in 5 matches played – losing 4. I have no doubts that this match will WRAP UP THE ACCA should we make it this far.

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 3)

OVERVIEW: 64 points and up to 2nd in the office league is a decent return from Gameweek 2 but doesn’t really tell the whole story.

It was another case of what could have been had my captain selection been correct. Last week I’d called for Mané and Kane to come to the party and produce the goods, well they arrived with a fully loaded credit card for a free bar and naturally, I’d captained neither. 21 points for Kane, 16 points for Mané. Sod’s law.

Having said all that, I can’t grumble too much. To get 64 points after 2 of my players scored zero and another 2 only scoring 1 a piece it is pretty pleasing. The REAL disappointment was the poor scoring of my Newcastle players but we’ll try and deal with that issue later.

Looking ahead to game week 3, the fixtures look a total nightmare and it’s a week I’m not looking forward to. Not only are they tough fixtures but the timings of the matches aren’t great either. Not that this matters too much but psychologically you like to get your points on the board early in the weekend rather than playing pressurised catch up late Sunday going into Monday. Damage limitation, digging deep and asking my players to go that extra yard will be the message this week. If we can get through it par for the course I’ll be over the moon with better weekends ahead.

PICKS: The first thing to note is we only have one player playing in Saturday’s round of fixtures so a super Sunday or mad Monday is required. like I touched on before psychologically it’s not great when you don’t have many players playing in the early games of the round and your competitors can steal a march. A clean sheet for Maguire wouldn’t go a miss but going off his performance last week, i’m not expecting much. In fact he would have been out had I not needed more important changes else where.

There are two transfers again this week and with it another -4. Out comes Hernandez of Leeds and in comes his team mate Klich. This is simply because the Spaniard is an injury doubt so it’s pretty enforced. Klich has made a flying start to the season so I’m relatively happy with this one anyway.

The second change is De Bruyne for Aubameyang. This is a big change but pretty necessary because of the fixtures, Arsenal away to Liverpool is as tough as it gets for Auba whilst City at home to Leicester should be a bit more forgiving for KDB. Ideally the 2 players will be in same side in the coming weeks.

Kane, at home to Newcastle, will be captain whilst the afore mentioned De Bruyne will be Vice. Speaking of Newcastle, my 3 toon lads all retain their places but I must say not by choice, it was simply the fact I had to prioritise changes elsewhere. They were all shambolic last week so I’m looking for a big reaction from them at Spurs and whilst Saint-Maximin has a slight injury, he is expected to play. SEE THIS ONE THROUGH LADS.

Gameweek 3 team selection

BLOGIN FANTASY FOOTBALL (Gameweek 1- NEW SEASON)

OVERVIEW: It’s back!! The Premier League fantasy football season returns and with it, the office league. Like last year, it’s £10 entry, winner takes all as well as the forfeit for last place (yet to be decided)

Of the lineups, one team has folded from the 19/20 league. The manager in question went on six month sick, found a new job and did not tell anyone including management he was leaving. That’s the lengths some people will go to to not cough up a couple of forfeit sausage sandwiches.

As one team folds another is formed. A new but experienced fantasy football manager returns after a year out. Solid in stats, numbers and general knowledge, he claims he’s already tinkered with his team hundreds of times – one to be wary of.

Ok, that’s the formalities over. As I mull over that all important first week team, the first thing to note in the 20/21 roster is where are all the TOP STRIKERS?!? And why is Aubameyang listed as a midfielder?!? There seems to be an abundance of first class midfield players but a lack of forwards you’d be confident of bagging serious continued points. That makes me think its going to be a 3-5-2 formation kind of season or even 4-5-1. I’m putting it down to the strange times of 2020 that I’m actually considering one upfront in fantasy football.

Another point that may turn out to be crucial early on is that the two Manchester clubs don’t start their season until later because of various extended European competition jaunts. This means selection in the first week could be very interesting. Picking Kevin De Bruyne is all well and good but picking him in game week 1 will only result in a big fat 0. Do my fellow competitors know or remember this fact? First SILENT TREATMENT of the season early doors.

As ever I’ll always try and sneak in a beloved Newcastle United player but the way the club is being run, being serial relegation favourites year in year out and the general lack of scoring options in the squad, it makes that enjoyable bonus harder by the season and even the week.

If I can utilise the bonus cards better this year, start how i ended last and not get envolved too much in the office trash talk and mind games, THE CASH IS MINE and I’m excited.

THIS WEEK’S PICKS: Hold me for a moment, I’ve managed to get three, yes 3 Newcastle players into the first pick of the season. Whether that’s a good thing or not, who knows? It’s probably edging on the wrong side of risk to be honest but Fernandez in defence could be a clean sheet chance at West Ham. Saint Maximin was a consistent performer and point scorer last season and new signing Callum Wilson goes in up top, mainly due to the budget being spent up in midfield. All set up for a Steve Bruce masterclass of 0 points.

Elsewhere, Mané at home to newly promoted Leeds is a fantastic chance of early points and for that reason he is captain with Aubameyang away to Fulham in a highly questionable central midfield role, the vice.

And finally, a special mention for Willian who was brilliant for Chelsea at the end of last season. Transferred to Arsenal on a free, I think he will make a big impact at the Emirates this year. It could be a one Frank Lampard lives to regret.

BALL DOWN AND PLAY LADS.

GAME WEEK 1 TEAM SELECTION

PIF’d OFF – ASHLEY, AMANDA AND PREMIER LEAGUE INCOMPETENCE

Congratulations to Liverpool on winning the Premier League. And to do so with such a meagre budget, I sincerely doth my cap. Only spending £56 million on a goalkeeper, £75 million on a centre half and £96 million combined on a lethal front three – which, by the way, was excellent value. Five of their key, title winning players, costing in excess of £200 million, mega money in man-on-the-street terms. Put it into context, 5 Liverpool players are worth nearly the total valuation of Newcastle United Football Club – a fellow Premier League member. I have no problem with these facts, it’s the way of football.

Here, however, is where I do have a problem. It’s ok for Liverpool to spend that sort of money, win Champions Leagues, Premier Leagues and add to their already massive, worldwide reputation, gained from their equally big spending glory periods of the 1970’s and 1980’s but it’s not ok, according to them, for a fellow Premier League side to want to able to or have the chance to do the same. If reports are to be believed, it’s claimed that the main stumbling block of the failed Newcastle United takeover wasn’t the appalling human rights record of Saudi Arabia or the ongoing TV piracy debacle but objections to the Premier League from various top 6 sides, namely Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. If true, this stinks of the highest hypocrisy.

It appears to be a case of the Premier League’s elite throwing the toys out of the pram, saying they aren’t playing anymore and Premier League trying to pine to their every whim. Had this been a bid for Man United, one feels the takeover would have been pushed through months ago. Elitism in the elitist conservative state that is England.

Tottenham Hotspur, in fact, have went in the other direction. Not so much spending on players but forking out £850 million, yes, close to £1 billion on a new stadium. I say not so much on players, they could still afford £55 million on Tanguy Ndombele, who, incidentally, seems to be just a bit part player. Eye watering sums. But again, I reiterate, this isn’t the problem as long as other clubs in the Premier League, or any league for that matter, are allowed to be able to do the same.

Quite clearly, Newcastle United don’t have that sort of spending power. Under Mike Ashley, the club has been relegated from the Premier League twice in his 13 year tenure. Again to add some context, the club had only previously been relegated twice in the previous 115 years of it’s existence and have never been lower than now championship level. Newcastle have drifted along, happy with just maintaining Premier League status and the TV riches that come with it. Minimum investment in the team, no investment in the training ground or stadium (other than a lick of paint) and the ever increasing gulf in relations between supporters and those that control the club, widening by the day. The fans are ambitious, the owner is not. That is a poisonous concoction, especially when there’s nothing more important than the football club to the fans in Newcastle, many put through mental turmoil while the Premier League dithered on a decision, adding to the extreme pressures of the ongoing Covid crisis. Newcastle could have been the richest club in the world with a chance to compete with the best and that’s the important thing here, not trophies and winning everything, just a chance to compete and having a club to be proud of once again. This failed takeover feels like a real sliding doors moment.

Should another relegation occur in the coming seasons and it is quite likely, there may not be a return for one of the country’s great clubs but as long as status quo is maintained at the top end of the Premier League, who cares eh???