Monday, December 28, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Gameweek 19 Preview: IEFSA Fantasy Cup

A Marko Arnautovic goal and an Alberto Moreno clean sheet helped me achieve the win over @TomSunderland_ just two days ago. That victory doesn’t move me up any positions in the table, and I still sit in 10th with nine wins and nine defeats to my name. As I mentioned in my previous post, this victory was crucial to keep pace with the leaders (is 15pts off top keeping pace?), as seven of the other teams in the Top 10 had victories also.
But Gameweek 19 offers us a little respite from the pain of looking at the league table, because this is the first round of the IEFSA Cup. Last season I lost in the final and I’ll be hoping for a similar run this year, but hopefully go just one better. With the quick turnaround in matches and my internet acting up (I live in Japan, it shouldn’t be like this!), this will be a quick preview.

In the First Round of the cup, I’ve been drawn against………

@DFS_hambazaza’s Team
I beat @DFS_hambazaza in Gameweek 16 thanks largely to Arnautovic gaining over ten points. His side may sit bottom of IEFSA with only one win, but his side will surely be up for the cup? Sergio Aguero is due back for Man City, and he is a player who could win a matchup all on his own if in the mood. So I’m well aware of the threat that @DFS_hambazaza poses over the next three days of Premier League fixtures.
No Cup upsets this week please
What I Need To Happen

Aguero looks likely to play against Leicester City, if he is kept quiet that would make my life a whole lot easier. I’ve been talking about a number of my players being due a goal or two over the last couple of weeks. So if one or two of them could step up for their respective clubs this Monday that would be great. I’m looking at you, Ayew, Wijnaldum and, dear oh dear…. Memphis Depay.

Looking further ahead, and the need to get a full squad of players playing week in week out, I’ll be looking to aquire another defender of the free agent list. Carl Jenkinson may have gotten 45 minutes for West Ham last time out, but baring a long term injury to one of the fullbacks, he doesn’t look like getting back into the Hammers back four any time soon.

Gameweek 18 = 7 from 7

What more needs to be said? When you’re good you’re good! Let’s try and replicate this feat with this week’s cup games. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter for all the ups and downs of cup action. Plus, follow me @GarryIrwin for all the corresponding downs and ups!

Good Luck Everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 18 Preview

I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas festivities and are adequately prepared for the thick and fast football coming over the New Year. Unfortunately the holiday period got off to a bad start last weekend as @nikarg defeated my side by an agonising 3.3 pts after my players failed to register a single goal or assist. @nikarg had a Wayne Rooney assist to thank for his win, the first time Rooney has helped a team to win since….. ummmm, I don’t know, perhaps September?

This week I get a chance to get back to winning ways when I face @TomSunderland_ Tom might be second from bottom of the league, but he did win his previous matchup and he would have beaten me last week too.  A win could see my squad move up to ninth, but a loss would more than likely move me team down to eleventh and far too many points off the summit to worry about winning the league for another year.

@TomSunderland_’s Team
A great Goalkeeper in Arsenal’s Petr Cech sits behind a back three of players who are pretty much nailed on starters for their clubs for Tom’s side. Two of these four players, Azpelicueta and Walker, have home fixtures that look like they could throw up a clean sheet or two. His Midfield is a bit harder to pin down. The player with the most appearances for his side this season, Leicester’s Daniel Drinkwater, will be unavailable this week. The rest of his options could well be propping up benches up and down the country this weekend. On the flipside though, three of them could well start, and then I’ll be in trouble.

Nine of his goals have come from his two Forward players, Arouna Kone and Anthony Martial. Martial should start up front for Manchester United when they travel to Stoke City. But Kone could have his place under threat for Everton’s trip to Newcastle from Kevin Mirallas. The Belgian scored last time out against Leicester, whereas Kone hasn’t scored since his hattrick against Sunderland on November first.

What I Need To Happen
If @TomSunderland_ is hoping for Martial to shine against Stoke on Saturday lunchtime, I’ll be hoping that Memphis Depay does the same. Martial’s place is surely more secure than Memphis’s, but with Luis van Gaal really needing to pick up a win, perhaps the manager will try attacking en masse for this game. If he does go this route, and I’ll be delighted if he does, perhaps this will cost Schweinsteiger, another player on my roster, his chance of starting.
Will the Guus get cooked this Holiday season?
That would leave my midfield scrambling around for starters. Aston Villa have a home fixture against West Ham. And after a promising result last time out for the Villains, I could play my two Villa players (I know, I know!).  Hopefully I will need only one, as Wijnaldum and Andre Ayew have home games, and are due a goal or two before the year is out. In goals I will be hoping for a clean sheet from Chelsea to mark Guus Hiddink’s first game in charge.

Only three correct predictions from seven last week. @Smokey_Loogy was toppled by @FantasyYIRMA in a really tight game. While @DanRiccio590 was beaten by @RotoWireAndrew in another closely fought contest. This week will be easier to predict surely! Follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of all this week’s games, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter also @GarryIrwin.

Good Luck Everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 17 Preview

A win! My team posted almost 30pts less than the week before, but this time a victory was achieved. I still sit 12 points behind league leader @Smokey_Loogy back in 10th place. An Allan Nyom assist and clean sheet for Watford did the damage for me last weekend against @DFS_hambazaza. The 45.2 pts gained would have beaten eight teams in the IEFSA League last time out, but I will surely need to top that total this week against @nikarg, as his side averages 48.7pts per week.

The big news in the Premier League this past week was the dismissal of Jose Mourinho by Chelsea. He becomes the fifth managerial casualty of the season.

Quick Pub Quiz Fact: Chelsea were the first team to sack a manager in the Premier League era back in 1993. After they fell away from the title race post-Christmas, they gave their manager the boot in February. That man? Ian Porterfield!

@nikarg’s Team

In a very tight league, @nikarg is three points off the top in sixth place. He has a squad peppered with great performers. In goals he has the highest scoring shot stopper in the game in Jack Butland at Stoke City. He has seven clean sheets and has only conceded 14 goals in 16 starts. He doubles up with Stoke players at the back with Glen Johnson. The Potters host Crystal Palace on Saturday in a game where a clean sheet is surely a possibility. Up front he will be hoping Wayne Rooney is passed fit for the Manchester United game against Norwich. If he isn’t he can put in Joel Campbell in his Forward slot.

His midfield has contributed a huge amount of assists so far this season. Albrighton (6), Eriksen (6), and Sissoko (5) have each more assists than all my midfielders combined. He also has Matic of Chelsea in his midfield, it will be interesting to see how he will respond to the appointment of a new manager at Stamford Bridge.

What I Need To Happen

Chelsea will have a new man in the dugout this weekend picking the starting eleven, but will surely stick with Thibaut Courtois in goals. They face Sunderland at home in a real relegation six pointer! Hopefully they can post a long overdue cleansheet. Elsewhere at the back I have Nyom and Moreno facing each other when Watford host Liverpool on Sunday. A boring nil all draw would be most welcomed. My remaining defensive slot has drawn blanks for the last few weeks, so I’ll be hoping that with the spate of injuries West Ham have suffered lately, that Carl Jenkinson can get back into the Hammers side.
For those paying attention, Garry Monk got the chop after Swansea won 3 in 16!
No goals last weekend for my side, surely this will not be the case this time out. Memphis could well be in the United team as they host Norwich. Georginio Wijnaldum scores all his goals at home and the Toon host bottom placed Aston Villa in the Premier League’s Saturday evening kickoff. Andre Ayew will have a chance to get back on the scoring charts when Swansea host West Ham. Arnautovic has five goals this season and will perhaps get some chances to add to this against Crystal Palace.


Another week, another four correct coupled with three wrong. It’s very hard to make predictions in this league, so to keep track of how well my predictions are doing (not doing!) please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. Follow me on Twitter @GarryIrwin for the ups and down of my unpredictable, yet terribly predictable, midtable fantasy team.

Good Luck Everyone

Friday, December 11, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 16 Preview

Are you sitting comfortably?

Good. Let me tell you a story of Fantasy Football woe. Last weekend my side posted a rather impressive 71.2 pts; my second highest score of the season. A score good enough to beat fourteen teams in the IEFSA league that very week. It included three goals scored, and for once I didn’t leave any points sitting on the bench. But…….. I was facing @Smokey_Loogy and his side went out and scored 76.3 points! It catapulted him to first place in the league, leaving my side twelve points behind in 10th place.

Perhaps I should look on the positives? If my team can get that kind of score every week, they will surely win more than they lose. So this week, we pick ourselves up and face @DFS_hambazaza. His team props up the league after a run of 13 losses on the trot. All that means though is that he is surely due a victory. I will have to do everything to make sure that this week’s match is not it.

@DFS_hambazaza’s Team

His side has struggled because of injuries to key players. Up front he can call on Sergio Aguero, but with him starting only nine games this season, @DFS_hambazaza has to fall back on Steven Fletcher (injured), Steven Naismith (3rd/4th choice striker for Everton) and Andy Carroll (one goal all season). He also has Lewis Grabban of Norwich, but he has only one goal and can’t seem to break into the Canaries starting eleven.

Pocchettino plays Trippier in the Europa but not the Premier League
The player who has played the most for him is youngster Matteo Darmian of Man Utd. He has started 12 games, but he is injured this week, meaning @DFS_hambazaza will have to start Kieran Trippier. The problem is, Tottenham don’t seem to want to start Trippier!

He must be really disappointed in his midfield. No goals and no assists from the trio of Gardner, Mirallas and Routledge. All three are playing away from home this week, so he will be really up against it if he is looking for them to get the points he needs to win this week’s matchup.

What I Need To Happen

I need his players to continue their inconsistent run of starts. As mentioned, only one player, outside of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, has started more than ten games. His keeper heads to Crystal Palace this week and I will hope he struggles to get to his average weekly points total of 4.4 points.

My side has a few player starting issues of its own. Schweinsteiger is suspended for Man Utd’s trip to Bournmouth. While Forward Joshua King is a doubt with concussion, while also having his place under threat by Glenn Murray who scored the winner for the Cherries against Chelsea last week. Man Utd also have a pretty mean defensive, perhaps I should be looking to Arnautovic to get the goals for my side again this week.

At the other end of the field, Courtois is back between the sticks for Chelsea. He should start this week as they travel to table toppers Leicester City. I believe he will be kept busy, and maybe he can keep a clean sheet for Mourinho’s beleaguered side.


Four right and three wrong again last week; with a lot of tight matchups where a goal could have swung the tie. @Smokey_Loogy and @RotoZdroik are the two form teams in the league. Will they continue their streaks? Make sure to follow @THE_IEFSA to keep up with the drama. Follow me on Twitter @GarryIrwin also and keep tabs on my inevitable euphoria or heartbreak!

Okay! This week’s predictions! Good Luck everyone.

Friday, December 4, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 15 Preview

I gambled last weekend and it didn’t pay off, as a result I took my second heaviest defeat of the season. Unfortunately, because I hoped that Memphis Depay would use any minutes he got against Leicester City to good effect, I left Schweinsteiger on the bench, who then goes and scores. I also left Fabian Delph (goal) and Joshua King (assist) on the bench. With these players in my starting line-up I could have overcame @RotoZdroik and the goals his team got from Lukaku and McArther.

This week I’m pitted against the most in form team in the league in @Smokey_Loogy. He has managed to rattle off five wins on the bounce. Thanks again fixture gods!! It is a tough matchup because his team is built on scoring goals. One of his Forwards has more goals than my three forward players combined. Plus, the rest of his team ain’t too shabby either.

@Smokey_Loogy’s Team

Up front he can play both Watford forwards, who are bang in form at the moment. Ighalo and Deeney have 12 goals and five assists between them. They are at home on Saturday against a Norwich team yet to keep a clean sheet on the road this season, so they will be fancied to get on the scoresheet again. @Smokey_Loogy has four Crystal Palace players in his squad. Yannick Bolasie averages the most points per game for his side with over 7. Palace travel to Everton for a three o’clock kickoff on Saturday too. A tricky fixture, but you never know what Alan Pardew has up his sleeve and Palace have a pretty good away record.

Will Alan Pardew have his head in his hands at Goodison this week?
His defensive options all average over 5pts a game. He could well go with two Palace defenders, but would he be confident that they could keep Lukaku, Barkley and others quiet? He probably has more confidence in his Liverpool players. The Reds travel to lowly Newcastle United on Sunday. Jürgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into one of the form teams in the Premier League. Mignolet in goals should be fancied to frustrate the Toon, while Philippe Coutinho (if fit) is a constant threat at the other end of the pitch.

What I Need To Happen

If Norwich could somehow keep Watford’s two hot strikers from scoring this weekend that would be great. If Newcastle could upset the form book and overturn Liverpool, with perhaps Wijnaldum getting on the score sheet, that would also be great. Everton are surely too hot for Palace to handle at the moment, so a nice boring  1-0 Toffees win would be good in that match-up, as long as Seamus Coleman doesn’t score!

As for my side? Well…. Who to pick? My selections were all wrong last weekend, but should I stick with some of those players? Memphis will surely get some proper game time now that Wayne Rooney has been ruled out with injury. Schweinsteiger was Man Utd’s player of the month for November, so should surely be starting for my team in a game at home to out of sorts West Ham. Chelsea have finally started to keep some clean sheets and will be expected to do so again at home to Bournmouth; so I would anticipate Begovic to gain some points. While leaving Joshua King on the bench for my side.

Which player to play in my remaining M and OF positions? Delph may start for Man City against Stoke, but should I be playing Arnautovic in that game, as the Potters are the home team? That game is the early kick-off, so it could set me up for the remaining games, or, it could set me back.


Four correct and three incorrect last week. Some games were mighty close, while others were less so. @nealjthurman would have beaten my side last week, but he ended up losing to @Smokey_Loogy by nearly 30 pts! Gulp! How are you supposed to predict games when that kind of thing is going on! Regardless, I’m going to try again this week. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with all of these matchups and also to follow me! @GarrryIrwin.

Good Luck Everyone

Saturday, November 28, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 14 Preview

Two goals last week helped my team see off @RotoWireAndrew by nearly 30 points. Andre Ayew ended a recent barren spell, while Memphis Depay found himself on the team sheet and then on the scoresheet for Man Utd. That victory puts my side to 7-6 and up to the heady heights of 9th! This week’s match-up is against a team three points and two places above mine.

Only nine points separate the top 11 teams in the league, so any victory is vital, especially at this stage of the season if you want to be in the mix for honours in 2016. Week 14 serves up a game between my side, off the back of two straight wins, and @RotoZdroik, who himself has rattled off three wins in a row. So far this season he has scored 28 more points than me overall, thanks to some of the star players he has lining out for him.

@RotoZdroik’s Team

In goals he has the third highest scoring goalkeeper in Heurelho Gomes of Watford. He has kept five clean sheets and made 40 saves so far. He is also one of only two goalkeepers to save a penalty this season. In defence he has two players who average more points per game than his goalkeeper; Eric Dier of the stingy Spurs backline and Man City’s Bacary Sagna. He has three other capable defenders vying for that third Defensive spot on his roster, but this week I expect him to stick with Damien Delaney of Crystal Palace, as they host Newcastle United on Saturday.

"I'm dropping you for Aiden McGeady"  *probably not going to happen
His other big star player, who is bang in form too, is Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian's 9 goals so far this season are only bettered by Jamie Vardy. This week Everton travel to the worst defence in the league at Bournemouth, where he will be fancied to add to his tally. He has plenty of other goal threats on his team too; Defoe has chipped in with four goals, Dier and Sigurdsson both have two goals each. Elsewhere in Midfield sits Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, who has three assists but no goals so far, and will probably be extra determined to find the back of the net after doing everything but score against West Brom last weekend.

What I Need To Happen

Memphis Depay to keep his place. Although after a poor outing midweek in the Champions League, I’m in doubt as to whether Luis van Gaal will trust him in the top of the table clash against Leicester City in the Saturday evening kickoff. Bastian Schweinsteiger seems to have a more secure place in midfield. But I will probably put Arnautovic up front, Stoke travel to lowly Sunderland, and leave the flex OF position free until the teams are announced for the game at the King Power Stadium at 5:30.

The old adage of goals winning games will surely mean I need my side to outscore Lukaku. If Bournemouth could somehow keep him quiet that would be great. But if not, I will surely need Ayew to step up again; or perhaps Wijnaldum could rediscover his goalscoring touch as Newcastle battle to move out of the relegation zone. If not goals, then cleansheets could be the route to victory. I have two defenders playing at home, Moreno and Jenkinson, while the third travels to Aston Villa, who are the lowest scorers in the league.


Four correct predictions last week. Not the worst week, but not really anything to write home about either. It just goes to further prove how unpredictable this league becoming. Anyone can beat anyone, but that won't stop me from telling you who is going to beat who this week! So without further ado,

And please, don’t forget that to be able to keep up with all the scores in these matchups over the weekend, you simply have to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. Oh, and follow me @GarryIrwin!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 13 Preview

I hadn’t much time to celebrate my tight victory in week 12 when the international break came and tried to cripple my defence. Nyom is a doubt for this weekend after he missed both of Cameroon’s World Cup qualifiers because of a mix up with documentation and travel arrangements. The Cameroonian FF could prevent him from playing if they wanted, but they will probably let it slide. On a far more serious note, Jordan Amavi will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his knee while playing for France. The left back has been one of the few bright spots for Aston Villa and his absence leaves my side with only three fit defenders, unless I bring in cover from the waiver wire this week.
This week I face one of the few teams that sit below me in the table (I’m still 11th!), but @RotoWireAndrew’s two victories this season are a little harsh on his side. Andrew has had to face the most difficult fixture list in the league. He has the most points against at 668; compare this to @nikarg whose record is 8-4 and has conceded a much lighter 520 points. Andrew’s team has scored the most points of the bottom five and is surely best placed to make a run up the table.

@RotoWireAndrew’s Team
A spate of red flags and an Eric Lamela suspension has depleted Andrew’s options this week. But he does have a number of players with potential to turn in a star performance or two, and with goals being crucial to chances of victory in this league, Benteke and Wickham up front could well be due some goals.

Looking around his squad and he has a lot of names form the big clubs who usually turn in good average points per week.  Andrew is sure to miss his best performer this week in Theo Walcott though. The Arsenal man is still a week or two away from a return. His other Arsenal player is Monreal who averages nearly 6 points per game and is his top scoring defender. The Gunners face a rather goal shy West Brom this weekend, so a clean sheet is not out of the question. Another player who has a favourable fixture, so it would seem, is Pedro of Chelsea. He will be up against Norwich at home and will fancy improving on his 6.15 pts per game.

What I Need To Happen
Good news on the Memphis Depay front, as injuries to Martial and Rooney has left Luis van Gaal looking to his squad for goals. Memphis will need to take the chance any minutes afforded to him can provide. Watford away is a tricky fixture for most sides though; the Hornets have only conceded four goals at home all season. I’m hoping he’ll start in the early Saturday kickoff, otherwise I’ll have to rely on Ola Toivonen up front; and no one should have to write a sentence like that!
Are Goals imminent for Memphis Depay? Will he even start??

I cannot stress enough how important goals are in this league.  My two top scorers, Wijnaldum and Ayew have two home fixtures for their sides and I will be looking to them to spearhead my points tally for gameweek 13. If those two fail to shine, perhaps Stoke’s Marko Arnoutovic can add to his three goals this season when The Potters travel to Southampton. While goals are foremost in my mind, a clean sheet would not be unwelcomed, and Chelsea will be fancied to gain one at home to the Canaries for my goalkeeper Begovic.

Gameweek 12 was a mixed bag of predictions. Four right and three wrong just goes to prove how tough it is to cement a victory in this league. The first 11 teams are separated by only nine points, while a quick glance at the form table shows that @FuzzyWarbles and @Smokey_Loogy are out in front, but only on the back of three wins each.
Here are this week’s predictions. Good Luck Everyone, and remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on twitter to keep track of all the Fantasy Football action.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 12 Preview

No goals and no assists last weekend saw my team lose by almost 15 points.  This leaves me still sitting in eleventh but 12 points off the pace. It’s proving difficult for anyone to get momentum together. @wrigavin has seen a league best three victories on the trot propel his side to three points clear at the top of the league. In second place is this week’s opponent for my side, @DanRiccio590, Dan’s team has scored the most fantasy points of the sixteen teams in the league. He averages 57.6 points a week, so I can’t go another gameweek with no goals and only three shots on goal!

My players are losing form at just the wrong time. Gameweek 9 the team posted the highest points total, the following week a win was secured with the fourth highest total of the week, then last week a defeat was all but assured with a points total that would have only beaten three other teams in the league. Since the start of the season I would have beaten @DanRiccio590 only four times out of eleven weeks. The fantasy gods are clearly out to get me this year, it will take a herculean effort from my team to get a win this week, but are they up to it?

@DanRiccio590’s Team
From Goalkeeper to Forward, Dan’s squad is ridiculously good. De Gea plays in goals for the meanest defence in the Premier League, while Wilfried Bony currently leads the line for the team with the most goals. He has two players who have scored over 100 points this season, Payet and Pelle. At the back he has one of the most inform defenders in Chris Smalling.

Looking at his midfield, either side of the inform West Ham man Payet, he has two players who have yet to show what they can do in front of goal this season; Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri. They face each other in Saturdays late kickoff. I’m hoping they don’t start a goalscoring stretch this weekend. Other players that make up his squad could easily come in and make a good showing if he needs them; Schneiderlin, Schlupp and Shawcross look to have favourable fixtures this week and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have increased their points average come Saturday night.

Another plus for Dan is that he only has to put up with one Aston Villa player, whereas I have to juggle three of them! Villa, who are bottom, host Man City, who are top, and if @DanRiccio590 is leading in our matchup by this game's kickoff on Sunday, I may not be able to turn it around if I have to cross my fingers for a big Villa win.

What I Need To Happen
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve three Villa players playing on Sunday afternoon. So, indeed I will be crossing my fingers that they can summon some of that new manager bounce with the appointment of Remi Garde. The Frenchman never finished lower than fifth after three years of managing Lyon. If he can replicate that with Aston Villa……. well, if he can replicate that with Aston Villa, he’ll have to be made a Saint, as that would be proof of some sort of divine miracle. If Garde is to be beatified by Christmas, he may need to beat Man City this weekend.
Remi Garde, Miracle Man?
Another small miracle this weekend would be to see Memphis Depay on the team sheet for Man Utd against West Brom. The Dutchman is just back from a slight injury and perhaps he will given some minutes at the weekend. I won’t be sending players out against @DanRiccio590 on a perhaps though, so Arnautovic will more than likely be leading the line for me. This is problematic though, as I have Begovic in goals for Chelsea, so it’s a case of wanting a nil all draw with lots of shots and lots of saves in that matchup. Though if Arnautovic was to break out and score 5 goals, I might see that as acceptable.

Goals are what my team needs. If you don’t score you might as well chalk another one down in the Loss column. With this in mind, I’ll need my top scorers Andre Ayew and Georginio Wijnaldum to find the net for their respective sides. Neither scored last time out, so at least one of them is due surely!

4 from 7 last week. It’s getting harder and harder every week to call winners in each of these matchups. @wrigavin is top with the longest winning streak of three matches, but he faces fifth placed @Smokey_Loogy this week, and he is after winning two games in a row. Regardless, I’m going to try and call the winners this week again! Good Luck everyone, and remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to stay abreast of all the action.

Friday, October 30, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 11 Preview

An Andre Ayew goal helped seal another win for me last week. That was my second win on the trot but I’m still sitting in a lowly 11th place, nine points off the top. A points total of 55.7 was the third highest of the week and helped me overcome @BenDinnery. I will need a similar score this week as I face 4th placed @FuzzyWarbles. His team averages 54.6 points a week, so I’m definitely going to need some goals to have a chance in this matchup.

@FuzzyWarbles could go top with a big win, while I could jump into the top 7 if results go my way. The league table gets tighter by the week; only three points separate the top 5. No one has a winning run of more than three games, and previous top dog @DanRiccio590 has only gone and lost two games in a row.

@FuzzyWarbles Team

@FuzzyWarbles' only injury concern is David Silva who will be out with an ankle injury. But he has more than capable back-ups in midfield. He can call on Mane and Mata, both players average over eight points a game and have six goals and seven assists between them. They also have games against sides who have been leaking goals lately. Further upfield he can call on one , or more likely two, of any of his four forward players. Between Mitrovic, Rondon, Diouf and Gomis he has 11 goals, in contrast my three forward players have only managed three goals this season.

In goals he has the dependable Hugo Lloris of Spurs. Four clean sheets so far this season, and the chance of another at home to an all at sea Aston Villa side this weekend. His back line now includes some players who have just broken into their respective sides, so dangerously they are in good form. Otamendi should be in the Man City side that host Norwich City on Saturday. Marcos Rojo should also feature for Manchester United as they travel to Crystal Palace. With Jagielka injured his third defender will be Leicester’s Robert Huth. Huth has played every minute of every game so far this season and that sequence should continue away to West Brom this weekend.

What I Need To Happen

I need Jürgen Klopp to wait at least another week for his first Premier League win. Chelsea host Liverpool in the weekends early kickoff as Begovic will attempt to keep only a third clean sheet. A nil-all draw would suit my side as I also have Moreno at the back for Liverpool. Speaking of nil-all draws, if that was the result between Watford and West Ham I’d be pretty happy, because I have a defender from each side in that match.
Can Andre Ayew continue his goalscoring form against Arsenal?
I have two players facing each other in midfield too, but I’ll be looking for goals between Newcastle and Stoke, with the goals to come from Wijnaldum and Arnautovic in particular. My top scorer Ayew plays at home to Arsenal, a tough match but he has the class to trouble the Gunners I feel.  Depay picked up a knock in midweek during a league cup tie, so he may not play (he probably wouldn’t have played anyway!), this means Schweinsteiger will start for my side, but he will have to improve on his 2.47 points per game. Making up the remaining spots on my roster will be difficult because I have three Villa players (I know, I know, I know!!) and they will play on Monday night, because of this I’ll try and keep one spot free for a Villa midfielder to play, I’m hoping I won’t have to call on all three of them.


5 from 7 in the predictions again last weekend. Let’s try for the full set this week. But as I’ve mentioned the league seems to get tighter by the week and predicting winners will get tighter as a result. Remember to follow all these guys on Twitter and to follow @THE_IEFSA too so you can keep up with all the scores in the matchups as they happen.

Good Luck Everybody.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 10 Preview

I’ll admit, I was a little worried going into last week’s match-up, but thanks to a Wijnaldum four goal haul, I managed to win with something to spare. If the Newcastle player had not posted any points last week, I still would have got the win against @FantasyYIRMA though. The thing is, I can’t exactly be relying on that to happen each and every gameweek. Some of my other players will have to contribute too. So I find myself worrying this week yet again. Memphis Depay didn’t get a single minute of game time against Everton and only got ten minutes in Man Utd’s midweek Champions League game. Will LVG throw him back in for the Manchester derby? That game is on Sunday, so I may just keep one roster spot for my two Man Utd players, Memphis and Schweinsteiger, and hope at least one of them starts.
This week I face @BenDinnery. Despite the victory in Gameweek 9, my side still sit in 12th place. One place below me is Ben’s team, with two victories from nine games. Even though I have twice the number of wins, I’ve only managed to score 8.5pts more than him so far this season. Clearly he has had the tougher set of fixtures (until now!) to deal with.

@BenDinnery’s Team

Ben splashed out the big bucks to land Diego Costa and he will be hoping he continues scoring with a game away to West Ham this weekend. His other forward option isn’t too shabby either in West Brom’s Saido Berahino. Between the sticks he has the Newcastle goalkeeper, and with Tim Krul injured for the foreseeable future, that means Robert Elliot holding the fort. Newcastle concedes just over two goals a game on average and head into the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday at noon. That is a game where anything could happen.
In Midfield he has three solid players who start every game for their respective clubs. Howson, Noble and M’Vila have scored or assisted in eight goals this season. They all play at home this weekend too, so Ben will be expecting some points there surely. At the back his standout player has been Man City’s Kolarov. The other players who will make up his three at the back are Skrtel, Van Dijk and Hangeland. Liverpool and Southampton play each other so he may choose one or the other. But Hangeland may lose his place to a fit again Delaney for Palace, so Ben may have to play both at Anfield.

What I Need To Happen

Memphis to somehow find his way back into Van Gaal’s good graces and back onto the team sheet. Maybe he has got the kick up the backside he needed after sitting out the last number of games. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. If (when?) he doesn’t play I’ll need goals from my midfield. Arnautovic has been on form for Stoke recently as they won three games in a row. At home to Watford is a good chance to extend that run.
Tim Sherwood is not afraid of losing, in fact he's quite good at it!
I still have three Aston Villa players in my squad (I know, I know!) so if they could maybe show up this weekend at home to Swansea and fight to stay in the Premier League that would be great. If somehow Tim Sherwood’s powers of motivation fail once again and Swansea get the upper hand, I will need Andre Ayew to be involved. At the back, it would be nice if Chelsea could keep another clean sheet. West Ham haven’t been at their best when playing at home, so there is every possibility Begovic could shut them out.

The league got a lot tighter after last weekend’s results. Any of five teams could claim top spot come Monday morning, while any of four teams could be propping up the table. The rest could all move between sixth and twelfth.
5 from 7 predictions last week. Which was an improvement over the last couple of weeks. Let’s try for the full set this gameweek!

As always, make sure you follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with all the action. And Good Luck Everybody.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fantasy Football: IEFSA Fantasy League Week 9 Preview

After a break for a week to accommodate international matches, we are back to the bread and butter of the Premier League for Gameweek 9. Unfortunately that butter will have to be spread pretty thinly as the international games has wreaked havoc on fantasy squads up and down the land. My squad unfortunately is no different. There are injury flags staring out at me from the computer screen like dogs begging to be let outside. Let me go, let me run in the field of waivers out back, let me be free!! I just might..... I just might swing open the door and let them go. But then there will be that nagging fear….. who do you let in?
Courtois and Delph were already on the sidelines for me, now they appear to be joined by Toivonen, Schweinsteiger and Nyom. To cap it off, Louis Van Gaal appears to have lost patience with Memphis Depay and rumours abound that he might not get the start this weekend against Everton. My opponent this week, @FantasyYIRMA must be licking his lips in anticipation of this match-up. He is coming off the back of three straight victories and has relatively few injuries to worry about. My team is fresh from a rather limp defeat in Week 8 and currently sit 12th with a lowly .375 win percentage.

@FantasyYIRMA’s Team
Starting out at the back, I don’t think any of my defenders would get picked ahead of his five defenders. Two from the Chelsea backline, along with any one from Williams, Mertesacker, or Lescott should see him in line to rack up clean sheet points. Chelsea have been off form to start the season, but if they can’t keep Villa quiet at home then surely some of those Blues players will be given the footballing equivalent of a P45 by Mourinho. I’m also looking for Chelsea to keep a clean sheet because I have their goalkeeper. But perhaps if that happens it would do me more harm than good!
In Midfield he has two fantasy studs in Yaya Toure and Mesut Ozil. With Man City and Arsenal expected to pick up wins this weekend, these players are sure to be in the thick of it. James Milner as the third in his midfield is another solid player who might just shine in new Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s pressing game. Up front @FantasyYIRMA will look to Cameron Jerome to score the goals, and with Norwich playing Newcastle, goals are a real possibility. He also has youngster Kelechi Iheanacho to call upon. With Aguero one of the bigger casualties of the international fixtures, it is quite possible that Iheanacho will see more game time. If not from the start, then surely from the bench.

What I Need To Happen
Depay to start! Plain and simple. I need Memphis to start proving why he is so highly thought of. He may have had a rather embarrassing time with the Dutch squad this past week, but he is due a good performance, or, at least, a half decent one! I have three Villa players in my squad (I know, I know!) and because of injuries, I will have to play two of them. So a spirited showing at Stamford Bridge would be good, yet having Begovic in goals means I’d probably rather they didn’t score. But as I mentioned earlier, if they don’t score @FantasyYIRMA will gain most of the points.
Will Memphis be getting the thumbs down this weekend?
If Memphis is firing blanks again, then my goals will have to come from elsewhere. My main goal threats this week will be from Andre Ayew and Georginio Wijnaldum. Swansea host Stoke City. The Potters have only kept one clean sheet away from home this season, and that was to Villa! Newcastle have yet to keep a clean sheet at home in any competition, I will need Wijnaldum to step up if Jerome does get among the goals for Norwich on Sunday.

A number of very close contests last gameweek and I only managed to predict 3 from 7. It was an improvement over the previous week, but it’s still not very good. Maybe it will be easier to predict this weekend with all the injuries going around? We’ll see. As usual, if you want to keep track of what’s happening in the league then simply follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. Also, follow me on Twitter, because if I’m within sight of picking up the win, I won’t shut up about it! @GarryIrwin

Good Luck Everyone.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fantasy Football: IEFSA Fantasy League Week 8 Preview

My team might be sitting in 10th and nine points off the top of the table, but things are looking up after winning last week. A first Memphis Depay goal coupled with a Wijnaldum strike against Chelsea saw me overcome @nealjthurman and leapfrog him in the table. My hope for a clean sheet from any of my defenders never came to pass, but it did not hamper my team too much. Begovic continued to leak goals, as Chelsea struggle to recapture the defensive stability that was a feature of their league winning campaign. I’m starting to think that Chelsea will not fix this problem anytime soon and any points that I can gain are a bonus at the moment.

This week, in an effort to get to .500 and move up the table, I face @SportsByGotti. A win is never assured in this league, and Mike’s team may sit below me in the table but he has scored 14 more points than me this season so far. He had a heartbreaking loss to @RotoWireAndrew in week 7 and will be determined to bounce back this week and move ahead of my team at the same time.

@SportsByGotti’s Team

Mike’s team averages 46.5 points every gameweek. But digging a bit deeper; since the signing of Kevin De Bryne and the goalscoring form of Redmond and Sakho, his starting team average 58.5 points. So I’m hoping he leaves some of those points on the bench this week. One player who he will have to leave out is Koscielny as the defender picked up a hamstring injury in the Champions League midweek. This will mean he has to play Janmaat at the back, as the Newcastle man visits Man City.

@SportsByGotti is strong up front. His players have 13 goals between them, while my team only has nine. Sahko of West Ham heads to Sunderland and he would hope to continue his goalscoring form there. The Black Cats have yet to keep a clean sheet in the league and have let in five goals in their three previous games at home. West Ham also seem to play better away from home, they have a 100% record away from Upton Park and have only conceded one goal in this time, and that was away at Man City.
Will Falcao or Remy start in place of the suspended Costa?
Three Chelsea players make up a big chunk of his squad. Falcao, Oscar and Willian could all start at home to Southampton this Saturday evening. Falcao has yet to start a league game for the Blues and is probably the biggest gamble of the three. A number of his forward players will be involved in games prior to the Chelsea v Southampton kickoff, so his Forward and OFfensive slots will be more than likely filled before then.

What I Need To Happen

To beat @SportsByGotti this week I’m going to need to score goals, Depay will continue up front for me. United play Arsenal on Sunday, and while I’m fairly confident he’ll start against the Gunners, I’ll be hoping that I’m not too far behind Mike’s team going into Sunday’s games because if I’m relying on Memphis to drag my team over the line, it could be a long wait.

Everyone could well know this guys name come Saturday evening....

I also need Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa to start picking up their performances. I have three Villa players and with them playing at home to Stoke City, a Stoke side that have yet to pick up a win away from home, if any of my three players start, and I’ll be sweating over the fitness of Idrissa Gana Gueye, they will be in my starting team. While needing a Villa win, I’ve decided to drop Arnautovic to the bench and bring in Ola Toivonen of Sunderland instead. I’m aware that this could easily backfire on me too because Sunderland are Sunderland!

Oh dear! 2 from 7 last weekend was an abysmal return. A lot of sides put up some impressive numbers last week which totally surprised me. @wrigavin had a Hennessey clean sheet and five goals as he put up a season high of 82.4 points. Most of his players will be playing away from home this week, so surely that number won’t be possible again? Either way, @FuzzyWarbles will have to worry about that!

Enjoy all the football this Saturday and Sunday everyone, and don’t forget to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with the goings on in all the matchups.