– MILLWALL & DONCASTER EACH TO SCORE 1+ GOALS 8/13
OVERVIEW: I’ve had a few messages about when the £100 challenge would continue, it’s been a while since we completed stage 4. As we are now so close to the target I’ve been agonising over the right bet to take us forward but I think I’ve finally found that bet.
This bet won’t take us to exactly £100 but will leave us pretty darn close so one more stage will be required to get to the magic target. However £89.96 is nothing to be sniffed at considering we started with a measly £10. Pulling out that point is perfectly fine if people so wish.
So, Stage 5. All we require is for Millwall and Doncaster to score a goal each in their respective matches this afternoon. Millwall, who is sit in the Championship playoff spots, are home to relegation candidates Barnsley and have amassed 10 goals in their last 6 league matches. Doncaster entertain Crewe who sit just below mid table in league 1. Tellingly, Doncaster have also managed 10 goals in their last 6 league matches. I expect both teams to win never mind get 1 goal each.
Remember, that’s all we need, a goal from each side. What a chance to complete this stage and be within touching distance of £100 mark. GOALS GOALS GOALS.
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, LesOlympiens 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.
OVERVIEW: Another cracking week of fantasy football. 71 points added to the total and maintaining 2nd place in the table – only 4 points off the summit.
Kane and Son, as expected, were the bags men. 13 points for Son and 32 for captain Kane as the skipper selection finally hit the target, yielding a lucrative return. Elsewhere, Maguire bagged at Newcastle which was a bonus. I would have taken him out last week had I not needed more pressing changes in other areas.
Looking ahead to game week 6, first thing to point out is the massive silent treatment in motion. We have a Friday night fixture to kick off the round, do my fellow managers know this crucial bit of information? Do they know any changes/transfers must be in place 24 hours early? I hope not, my tactics are set after a positive week of training and any marginal gain is welcome.
Fixture wise, Liverpool at home to Sheffield United has got to be a points fancy along with Spurs away at Burnley. Captain pick could be vital again as we look to climb to the up to top spot.
TEAM SELECTION: For the first time in a while we are starting a game week with no minus points. I’ve only made one transfer but it’s a massive one. Calvert-Lewin, the Premier League’s top scorer, comes in for Rhian Brewster. I didn’t realise I had the funds available to do this so it’s been a big mistake on my part not making this change week’s earlier. It improves my overall squad and I can now make at least one substitute without having to rely on a transfer. Not only that, we are entering wildcard time territory so should it not work out as planned we can revert and overhaul the whole team in the coming weeks. I mentioned last week that it was extremely rare to be 100% happy with your team, well this week I’m content and quite optimistic. That usually means a nightmare of a round incoming.
Ive gone with an adventurous 3 pronged attack, Calvert-Lewin comes in along side Wilson and Kane. My only quandary was who the Everton hitman was replacing. It was going to be Klich of Leeds but it turns out Willian is a slight injury doubt for Arsenal so it’s he who makes way. HOWEVER, big HOWEVER – BENCH BOOST PLAYED, let’s hope Willian is passed fit and we can score all round. It’s actually the first time this season I’ve changed my formation and it feels good to have that extra forward in the side.
Mané is this week’s skipper, with Kane the vice and its 6 weeks in a row for triple toon players despite underwhelming Bruce Ball on Tyneside.
OVERVIEW: Everyone’s worst nightmare – The international break. The by-monthly nuisance and proverbial pointless bore fest is finally over. I actually couldn’t remember what happened in the last gameweek it feels that long ago. Years passed, a cold dark world, the longest of winters. Did England win? REALITY = 2 weeks.
Anyway, back to business. I’ve checked, recapped and debriefed. 58 points in gameweek 4 was a decent return but again, the captain selection again cost me huge points. For what feels like the millionth week in a row my skipper has produced only 4 points. Of course, Kane and Wilson had 16 points a piece and neither had the armband. If I can buck this annoying trend, a huge points week is incoming.
This week’s fixtures don’t look too bad, Spurs at home to West Ham looks a point scorer but again, the round doesn’t really suit my team. The wildcard was a tempting proposition but lessons learnt from last season suggest it’s still to early to be making that sort of rash decision. The plan is to ride it out a few weeks/months longer and unleash fury around Christmas time when the double game week’s start to kick in. Par for the course is ok for now, it helps when you’re nicely placed in your respective league and not having to force the issue.
This leads me on to the question I really want to ask this week. Are you ever truly happy with your team? 99 times out of 100 the answer is NO and that’s completely fine. I make my changes on a weekly basis and I always feel initially content. A couple of hours later I’ll look again and begin the question the decisions I’ve made, question myself, question life itself.
On past experience, this uncertainty can lead to car crash chip playing and endless negative transfer points. Before you know you’re -16 before a ball is kicked on Saturday. The stars have truly aligned with a blue moon if all the fixtures fall into place to suit your team, it’s extremely rare. What I’ve discovered over the last year or 2 is to accept this and make the most out of where your team will score points that week rather than try to compensate on areas it probably won’t. Obviously this is through trying to utilise your free weekly transfer and your essential captains pick. There’s nothing worse than looking at the week’s up and coming fixtures and realising 2 of your defenders are both away to Manchester City or Liverpool. This is part and parcel of the season rollercoaster and it happens to everyone at some stage. Yes it’s probably going to mean you don’t gain many points in those positions that particular week but, rather than making knee-jerk changes, I now try to see where the others in the team can make up for the likely deficit. Also remembering, those hypothetical defenders away at city only have to play there once a season and they are probably a usual and decent point source to your team. Why take them out for one week when the likelihood is you’ll need them back in the following? Taking a one week hit isn’t always a bad thing. It saves wasting your season-changing bonus cards or taking a minus x amount of points in often unnecessary transfers. Food for thought.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: As mentioned last time out, my squad isn’t strong enough to make substitutions so it’s another 2 transfers this week meaning a -4.
Out comes Aubameyang who is away at Man City and in comes Son who is home to West Ham, a no brainer. The 2nd change is slightly more forced. Kevin De Bruyne is a slight injury doubt and with Pep’s rotation system it’s not worth taking the risk so Mané comes back in after recovering from COVID.
It was a toss up between Kane and Son for the armband but I’ve gone with the former. On previous week’s captain run, it’ll probably be tails when looking for heads but, we are due a luck change so fingers crossed.
Maguire is lucky to retain his place. Only lack of budget and not wanting more negative transfer points has saved him.
AND STILL, we have 3 toon players in the mix and this makes me happy. I fancy Wilson and Saint-Maximin to cause Man U all sorts of problems this weekend.
OVERVIEW: It’s gameweek 4 and this is where the season really begins. We’ve had a look at the early point scorers, who’s in form, whos not, who’s looking likely to be in contention for titles, European spots and relegation places. The league is starting to take it’s shape.
The average point score for game week 3 was 43. I scored 44. Would I have taken that before hand? Absolutely. I said the fixtures were a nightmare and that I would snap the hand off anyone that offered an unscathed week. What’s more pleasing is that I managed that score with 10 men, Saint-Maximin not fit and none of my bench players played.
This brings me on to an important point, do you use your budget on a wide range of players so that you have a stronger bench and squad? Or do you blast it on the best players, have a strong XI and risk a player not playing for whatever reason? Unintentionally, my team is looking that way, meaning if I need to make a change it has to be a transfer rather than a substitution. This usually results in going down the -4 and beyond route. It’s all well and good if your best starting eleven play every week but as has happened in game week 3, I ended up playing with 10 men. Did it matter? Turns out not but in other weeks it’s a weak point that could be costly. Going forward it’s something I will be considering when the time comes to play my wildcard. Not just yet.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: One forced transfer this week. Aubameyang replaces Mané who has tested positive for COVID-19. The original plan was to go unchanged and create an extra transfer for game week 5 but of course availability is a manager’s biggest headache and you just have to deal with these situations head on. Here’s hoping the late announcement of Mané’s absence has gone unnoticed by my fellow gaffers. This week’s silent treatment.
I’m again banking on the fitness of Allan Saint-Maximin at home to Burnley. He is still part of the 3 toon player trio in the side despite their patchy form. Thinking about it, I may be closer to the wildcard than I had anticipated, I’ve snookered myself a bit with weak subs and 3 dodgy magpies.
Aubamaueng will be captain at home to Sheffield United, while Kane will be vice away to another United located in Manchester. Let’s hope we get the luck of the captain’s pick draw this week as this has been a costly swing either way recently.
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.
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.
• OVER 3.5 GOALS 4/7 (Man City v Norwich. Sunday KO 16:00)
• JUVENTUS 2/9 (Home v Sampdoria. Sunday KO 20:45)
OVERVIEW: With La Liga and the Bundesliga finished and this being the final round of Premier League matches, it’s likely to be the last betting matches of the season. Luck has been at a premium since lockdown, the lack of full stadiums definitely having an impact. The general pace of games has been noticeably slower and the obvious removal of home advantage has had a massive say on results. Let’s hope it’s not too long into the new season before we see bums on seats once again and a return to normality.
This week I’ve gone for a big 10/1 shot. 5 selections involving 6 teams, spread over Saturday and Sunday. If Chelsea can sneak by Watford I’m pretty confident so let’s see.
PICKS: Inter have beaten opponents Genoa in their last 3 meetings by an aggregate score of 13-0 and, despite the away sides upturn in form, I expect that to be extended. Inter have secured Champions League football for another season whilst Genoa aren’t safe from relegation, sitting 4th bottom. HOME WIN.
Arsenal are a funny side. They beat Liverpool and City then lose to Villa, very unpredictable. However, Watford’s bizarre decision to sack their manager so late in the season hasn’t seemed to pay off, I think it’s one that will see them relegated. Arsenal to put them to the sword with the shackles off.
Chelsea have won 6 matches in a row at home and that’s why I’ve gone for them here. Not only that, they need a win the guarentee a Champions League spot. It’ll be a tough test against a good Wolves side and this will be a crucial match for the acca. Close home win.
Man City have score 4+ goals in 5 of their last 8 Premier League matches. Norwich have conceded 14 goals in 6 of theirs. Enough said. Over 3.5 goals in this one.
Despite only winning one of their last 5 Serie A matches, a win at home to Sampdoria will clinch yet another Scudetto for Juventus. Sampdoria’s form has been decent since lockdown, securing their league status in the process. I can’t see that stopping the old lady wrapping up the title and wrapping up the acca. YESSSAAI.
OVERVIEW: What a final few weeks of the season it’s been. A massive 90 points in gameweek 37 has all but guaranteed a 4th place office finish. A tremendous effort considering we were second bottom before lockdown and staring sausage sandwich forfeit right between the eyes – An unthinkable outcome. Title winning form since the restart has seen the team safe, form that was a million miles away in early part of the season. Rotation of selection has been key to the turnaround I’ve got to say.
On the pitch, Captain Sterling banged another 34 points while Kane and Laporte both chipped in with 12 a piece. The bonus to come from the round was Burnley keeping a clean sheet and risky selection Pieters bagging a tasty 12. When your luck’s in.
Most teams will be on holiday so there’s bound to be some silly results on the final day. In terms of importance, the last couple of relegation spots, as well as champions league places, are still to be confirmed but looking at the fixture list, there’s not a great deal that stands out other than City home to Norwich. That has to be the place to cash in. Will Pep pick Sterling though? Who bloody knows.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: All being said, I’m going to do something unprecedented in these unprecedented of times….. I going to stick with the same side as Gameweek 37. Hold me, someone.
Sterling will remain as captain and we finish with two Toon boys in the side – Things you love to see. Home to Liverpool is a tough one for the mighty mags but hopefully Liverpool are still in the pub celebrating their title success and Messrs, Saint-Maximin and Fernandez can sneak a few points.
OVERVIEW: Our friend Pep Guardiola has done it again. Sterling hattrick one week and selected as captain for the next……DROPPED. A measly 2 points for his cameo appearance and stuff of fantasy football nightmares. It could be worse I suppose, one player in our league used his triple captain card on him. Shouldn’t laugh.
Overall though, it was another decent week, 56 points despite the lack of captain input. Good returns from front 3: Kane, Rashford and Jesus. Looking ahead to the penultimate gameweek, I’m not too confident looking at the fixtures but if I can maintain 4th position going into the final day, I will be pleased. A week of consolidation I think.
Also, the added inconvenience of the FA Cup gives an extra selection headache as managers rotate around that this game week.
THIS WEEK’S PICKS: Another 2 transfers this time round meaning another -4 hit. It’s been a worthwhile tactic in recent weeks so I’m happy to carry it on. Chelsea being away at Liverpool means I’ve taken out Azpilicueta and Barkley and replaced them with Pieters of Burnley and Zaha of palace. Not ideal if I’m honest, I wanted to bring in Man United’s Fernandez with them being at home to West Ham but available funds would allow.
I’ve risked Sterling as captain again, Rashford will be vice and still we have 2 TOON boys in. There’s a question mark over Saint-Maximin’s fitness but I think/hope he’ll play. BALLS INTO THE BOX, LADS