Saturday, February 27, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 24 Preview

I’m still amazed that I pulled off the victory over @SportsByGotti in the last gameweek. A really tight matchup saw me get the victory by a paltry 0.4 points. It was pretty much a race to the bottom though as both teams posted barely over 30 points. My star man was Moreno as Liverpool went and embarrassed Aston Villa six nil. What angers me though is that I left a lot of points sitting on the bench. This week though, most team’s benches will be filled with players who won’t have a fixture to play. The League Cup final between Man City and Liverpool has taken those two team’s players out of contention this week, as well as Everton and Newcastle United’s squads.

My squad will be missing three players as I prepare to face @nealjthurman this week. @nealjthurman is only three points and one place below me in tenth. His side won last time out thanks to a Matt Ritchie goal and  a couplke of Giroud and Fabregas assists. Ben Foster also kept a rather surprising clean sheet away to Everton. All this helped him to 48.9 points. This week will see him missing two players, so let’s have a look at his squad.

@nealjthurman’s Team

His two missing players have been solid performers for him this season. Ayoze Perez of Newcastle has five goals, while Gerard Deulofeu of Everton is his top assisting player with eight. This leaves him with only one Forward option in Olivier Giroud, while his OF options leave him looking at either Chris Brunt of West Brom or Ben Watson of Watford. Both those players are starters for their respective clubs, although Brunt has been playing more as a left back of late, limiting his usually productive attacking play.

Elsewhere in midfield he has been waiting for Leroy Fer to come to life in a Swansea jersey, but perhaps a trip to Tottenham is not the time to be looking for that to happen. At the back he has three defenders who all will be expecting to keep their opposition scoreless. Bellerin, Fuchs and Rose will surely not give up too many goals collectively this weekend, which will mean I will need my backline to match them cleansheet for cleansheet.

What I Need To Happen

Two of my three defenders play at home against sides not known for scoring too many goals away from home. Nyom of Watford will host Bournemouth, and Jonas Olsson, who picked up an assist last time out, will play against a recently goalshy Crystal Palace. My remaining defender is Angel Rangel, but as I’ve already mentioned, a trip to White Hart Lane is not to place to go if you are looking for points. Which means I don’t hold out much hope for my midfielder Andre Ayew to score a goal. But I may need him to score, because I’ll be missing my top scorer in Newcastle’s Georginio Wijnaldum this week.
Messi scored twice against Arsenal midweek, so Memphis should score......
But maybe, just maybe, I have an ace up my sleeve! Wayne Rooney has picked up an injury and will be missing for the next couple of weeks. Martial also went off injured in the Europa League on Thursday night for Manchester United. All this means that Memphis Depay has been getting substantial game time. Plus he seems to have been making the most of the opportunity. Admittingly the last two positive performances out of the Dutchman have come in games against Shrewsbury and FC Midtjylland. That and United will be playing Arsenal this Sunday, never the easiest of fixtures. If Memphis turns out to be more of a joker than an ace, then perhaps I can rely on Marko Arnautovic to score some goals when Stoke welcome a woeful Villa side to the Britannia at three o’clock on Saturday.


Of the seven predictions in Gameweek 23, I managed to correctly predict a respectable five. This will will be extra difficult to predict because so many squads will be without key players. This won’t stop me from picking a winner in each matchup. Remember, as always, you can follow @THE_IEFSA on twitter for all the latest action, and you can also follow @GarryIrwin for all the latest overreaction!

Good Luck Everyone.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 23 Preview

Last weekend my side was unable to topple @wrigavin from the summit of the IEFSA Fantasy League, and he remains three points clear of his nearest rival coming into Gameweek 23. My team struggled to an almighty 36.3 points as a goal and assist for @wrigavin’s RobertoFirmino put the gloss on an easy victory. An immediate reaction will be required from my players this week as they face a @SportsByGotti side which sits six points and only three places below them.

A number of his most dependable starters are red flagged to be missing this week, most notably Kevin De Bruyne, but he still has some more than capable reserves in which to call upon. My reserves on the other hand have usually been hugely disappointing when they have had to be thrown into the deep end of competitive Premier League action. None more so than Memphis Depay, who has developed some sort of bizarre footballing version of a reverse Midas touch. If he hadn’t been signed for so much money, he surely would have been loaded out to Preston North End or somewhere by now!

@SportsByGotti’s Team

Mike’s team could almost boast a whole starting eight of players who have gained over 100 points for the season. My side on the other hand would have to make do with only four such players. Recently he has been picking up more defensive points through the efforts of his goalkeeper, Swansea’s Fabianski, and his Southampton defender Cedric Soares. Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny has been his star at the back though, with three goals and nine clean sheets. In a normal season you would expect the Gunners to shutout the Foxes this Sunday lunchtime, but this has been anything but a normal season.

At the other end of the pitch, @SportsByGotti has mainly been relying on De Bruyne to get the goals (yet he still only has five). If we look around the fixtures this weekend in search of where the goals should come from, you would perhaps pick out Oscar at home as Chelsea host Newcastle, or if Nathan Redmond can find his way back into the Norwich starting 11, (and if you can’t get into the current Canaries side you should really be taking a look at your career!) perhaps their home game with West Ham will supply some goals.
Redmond & Gueye met on the pitch last weekend, but will battle on Fantasy turf this gameweek.
What I Need To Happen

If Newcastle can keep Chelsea quiet at Stamford Bridge it would be a bonus, as @SportsByGotti will have both Oscar and Willian looking to get on the scoresheet. But I wouldn’t want the Magpies getting too cocky, as I have Courtois in between the sticks and he’s due a much needed clean sheet. Only Courtois and Rangel will be playing at home this week for my defence, therefore clean sheet points will perhaps be thin on the ground.

As the old mantra goes, ‘Goals win games’. Now, I’ll be honest, I can’t even remember the last time one of my players found the old onion bag. In Wijnaldum, Arnautovic and Ayew, I had three players who were finding the net regularly up until the New Year. They each face tricky defences this weekend, so perhaps my best hope is that Idrissa Gueye scores his first goal of the season against Liverpool on Sunday. Although three shots on goal in 22 games means I won’t be rushing down to the bookies to put the house on it.


Five from seven last time, out as both @TomSunderland_ and @DFS_hambazaza enjoyed highscoring weekends to gain victories against opponents far above them in the table. If you want to see a larger preview of these predictions, then please head over to FantasyYIRMA. And as always, follow myself @GarryIrwin and @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Good Luck Everyone.

Friday, February 5, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 22 Preview

The last time I played @wrigavin, he beat me handily. In fact, if I had faced @wrigavin every week this season, of the 21 weeks so far I would have a total of three victories. So to say that this weekend’s matchup is an uphill task really is a bit of an understatement. He has six players into triple figures for the season (Harry Kane alone has 270 pts) whereas my side has only three. His team has scored a total of 41 goals so far, to my sides lowly 32. And as I’ve often repeated in these previews in the past, ‘Goals win games’.

That’s not to say I won’t have no chance this weekend. I will more than likely have more players in my squad playing at home which is always a bonus. My top three goalscorers are all playing at home and they do most of their goal getting in front of their home fans (75%). His goalkeeper has also struggled for form recently because of Crystal Palace’s run of five straight defeats and shipping of 13 goals. So perhaps all is not lost!

@wrigavin’s Team

It’s tough to look at this side and not be envious of the forward pairing of Kane and Firmino. 20 goals, five assists and over 400 points between them, all makes for intimidating reading. And when you consider I paid 10m more than Firmino and the exact same price for Kane when I purchased Memphis Depay (2G,0A, 82pts) at the start of the season, well, you could understand if I skipped out on watching the Premier League action this weekend and just went drinking instead.

Not only do his strikers put the fear of god in most teams, but his midfield is not too shabby either. Of the five players he can choose from, all are goal threats and have a combined 15 goals this season. I expect him to go with Tadic, Brady and Cabaye this weekend. They pull in over 19 points on average; or he could throw in Heung-Min Son if he starts against Watford

What I Need To Happen

A good start for my side would be if Andre Ayew was to get on the score sheet against Crystal Palace. This would prevent @wrigavin from picking up a clean sheet with his goalkeeper. Similarly, if Wijnaldum and Arnautovic were to score, this would stop two of his defenders from getting a clean sheet bonus. In short, I need goals. Hopefully the goals I get will do enough damage to negate any of the points that Firmino and Kane will pick up when they face Sunderland and Watford respectively.
Steve McClaren will hope Wijnaldum enjoys the comforts of home this week
It would also be good if all of my players actually started for their clubs. I’ve long given up on Memphis being put on the teamsheet for Manchester United, with this weekend’s Chelsea clash being no different. In defence I’ve had to draft in West Brom’s Jonas Olsson. With Johnny Evans out injured, Olsson has been playing regularly. Which is more than I can say for two of my other defenders; Jenkinson (injured), Nyom (lost his place to Paredes). My back three will consist of Olsson, Rangel and Moreno. I expect them all to play, but don’t necessarily expect them to outshine their three or four points per game average.


Gameweek 21 saw only four correct predictions, as a lot of tight matchups helped to condense the top half of the league. The top eight could all stake a claim to winning the league, so let’s see how they will do this weekend.

Good Luck Everyone, and remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter and follow me @GarryIrwin. For a more in-depth preview of these matchups, please head over to FantasyYIRMA.