Saturday, March 19, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 27 Preview

It’s a proper IEFSA Fantasy League week of fixtures this week. Last week I managed to gain a cheeky win thanks to an Arnautovic goal despite having only four players playing! This leaves me on thirteen wins and thirteen losses, a model of middle of the road consistency.

This week I will face @DanRiccio590, who himself sits comfortably in midtable, just one place and three points above me. So this really is a massive game for my squad. Win and things start to look up. Lose, and there are three or four teams waiting behind me for any kind of stumble. Last weekend’s FA Cup affected fixtures left @DanRiccio590 nursing a loss. But if our two sides met then, Dan would have been celebrating a victory.

@DanRiccio590’s Team

Dan has a quality squad that has been unlucky with injuries and inconsistencies of form. Eden Hazard has struggled to find the form that saw him be crowned last season’s player of the year. He is injured for this weekend’s fixture though as Chelsea host West Ham. He does have a fit and inform Hammer though in Dimitri Payet. It looks like he will only have Payet, Antonio (both West Ham) and Imbula (Stoke City) to fill his three midfield positions this weekend, as Shaqiri is due to miss another game for the Potters with injury.

Up front he will be hoping that Graziano Pelle’s recent glut of goals was not a once off, because his other forward options are the injured Connor Wickham, and the out of favour Wilfried Bony. Remember him! He probably wouldn’t want Bony to play anyway as he has a Man United duo in Smalling and De Gea aiming for some clean sheet points when the Red Devils head to battle local rivals Man City.

What I Need To Happen

As I have Courtois in goals, I will need West Ham to be kept quiet at Stamford Bridge. If two of his players are shut out, it will go a long way to me getting the three points. Clean sheets could be crucial this week. Unfortunately most of my defenders will be playing at different times this weekend and this mean a lot of scrutiny of lineups come three o’clock on Saturday. Three defenders play at home in games that are surely ripe for clean sheets. Olsson of West Brom will host Norwich. Nyom of Watford will entertain Stoke. While Angel Rangel of Swansea will welcome Aston Villa to Wales in the Saturday evening kickoff. Swansea will not have a better opportunity to keep a clean sheet for the rest of the season.
Still unbeaten in league, but what have they to play for now??
If I’m looking for goalscorers, my best bet is probably in Georginio Wijnaldum when Newcastle play Sunderland in the early Sunday game. Wijnaldum saves his goals for home games and he has been saving up a lot lately, so surely a goal or two are due. Normally I would also look to Andre Ayew to bag a goal. Especially since the Swans are hosting a hapless Villa side this week. Unfortunately Ayew has an ankle injury and will miss the game.


There was no post last week because most of the sides were missing players. To make up for that, here is an in-depth look at each of the fixtures in the IEFSA this week. Don’t forget to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to see how each team is doing. And to also follow me, @GarryIrwin, to find out what, specifically, my team isn’t doing!

@FuzzyWarbles will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat when he faces bottom of the table @DFS_hambazaza. He will be sweating over the fitness of Nicolas Otamendi as Man City host an often goalshy Man Utd. But will probably look further up the pitch in that game for points as he has Silva and Mata in that game. @DFS_hambazaza is pretty much reliant on a bumper game from Sergio Aguero again, but I can’t see him getting too many against Man U when LVG parks the Fellaini bus at the Eithad.

Baba Rahman, Benteke, Remy, Walcott, Pedro, Navas. This sounds like a list of players you would rarely put in your fantasy team until they actually did something consistent on the pitch. Unfortunately for Andrew, these players make up the bulk of his squad. @nikarg can keep pace with the leaders here thanks to players like Rondon and Eriksen.

Six wins on the trot has seen @RotoZroik move up to second in the table.  A number of his players have red flags next to their names and are doubts for the weekend. This could see him shuffle his pack and introduce some players from the bench. Tom’s side on the other hand is relatively injury free. He doesn’t have many superstar performers though (Kante, Drinkwater and Schlupp for Leicester are playing well, but not huge point getters) so perhaps wont have enough to upset the inform side this week.

The fixture computer shows it’s continuing bias against @GarryIrwin by making him face a team which contains two of the most inform players in the league at the moment; Payet of West Ham and Pelle of Southampton. Garry will have to play this fixture without one of his top scorers in Andre Ayew too. This all points to @DanRiccio590 picking up the win.

This is the matchup of the weekend as leader @wrigavin face off against third place @Smokey_Loogy. Both sides got back to winning ways last week, but who will pick up the crucial three points this week? Looking at the two squads and the fixtures of each player, my opinion would probably fall on the side of Harry Kane, @wrigavin, over deeney and Ighalo of @Smokey_Loogy.

Now that Arsenal’s season is virtually over, it’s probably around the time that Olivier Giroud starts scoring goals again. He loves midtable teams and dead rubber games, and Arsenal versus Everton ticks both those boxes. Of course if he does @nealjthurman will be very happy. @BenDinnery on the other hand will be without Diego Costa due to suspension and will be reliant on Patrick Bamford to get the points. Norwich strikers seem to have some sort of hoodoo over them and I can’t see him getting off the mark away to West Brom.

Last week’s loss has dropped YIRMA back to sixth. In a desperate effort to get back into title contention he looks like he will deploy Divock Origi upfront when Liverpool head to Southampton.  Origi has two goals this season, but that’s twice as many goals as his other forward Emmanuel Adebayor. With all these crucial stats in mind, it will more than likely be his midfield of Alli, Toure and Ozil will get him over the line this week. @GalinDragiev could cause an upset if Raheem Sterling or Adam Lallana start justifying their high transfer fees. But between you and me, they won’t start doing that this week.

@cjradune is the other team still in the title race. He has been having a Vardy party for most of the season, though the party has been dying down somewhat of late. There should still be enough partytime left to overcome @SportsByGotti. @SportsByGotti’s team has suffered a weird affliction where if his top scorer got to five goals they would go down with a crippling injury (De Bruyne, Wilson, Redmond). His current top scorer has four, Diafra Sakho, will probably not want to score this week. Plus, Sakho-Party, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 25 Preview

Another really tight affair last week saw me squeak a win by only 0.7 points over @nealjthurman. The win was pretty much singlehandedly earned by two goal Marko Arnautovic. That result leaves my still in ninth, with 12 wins and 12 losses. My team gets a chance to perhaps move up a place this week if they can overcome @BenDinnery. Ben’s team might sit four places below me in the league, but he has won his last two games and has actually outscored my side over the course of the season so far.

This weekend will see most of the Premier League teams play their third game in seven or eight days. These leads a lot of managers to rotate members of their squads, as well as the increased likelihood of some players picking up knocks that may keep them out of the starting eleven. My side has been fortunate in not picking up any new injuries, but @BenDinnery doesn’t have any new red flags to worry about either.

@BenDinnery’s Team

The weak link in his team has probably been his goalkeeper. Newcastle seem to pack it in after they concede their first goal and this has effected the points Rob Elliot has been able to gain. The Toon do host Bournemouth this Saturday though and it will be a game that Steve McClaren will be determined to win. At the back he has three defenders who like to get in among the goals. Ivanovic, van Dijk and Kolorov have all scored twice this season, with Ivanovic and Kolorov even providing a couple of assists each. With those two players having a couple of winnable home games this weekend, it could be a very profitable Saturday indeed.

His midfield has been quiet of late, with Mark Noble’s goal against Norwich three games ago being the only bright spot. It’s up front where @BenDinnery’s team has been helping him gain victories of late. Diego Costa has put his early season funk behind him and has scored eight goals in his last ten games. He also has Saido Berahino in the OF position, and with Tony Pulis seemingly abandoning his defence first approach recently (the Baggies last two games have involved 9 goals!). Berahino has played the full ninety minutes in those two games, while also contributing a goal in a win over Crystal Palace.

What I Need To Happen

I was lucky to get the win last time out, especially since I didn’t have a full roster of players playing. Nyom of Watford found himself on the bench again, in what I hope is just a rotation issue. But I will have to keep an eye on the lineups for the Saturday evening kick-off, where Watford entertain table toppers Leicester. My only defender with a favourable fixture is probably Angel Rangel of Swansea, as they host Norwich. The Canaries don’t travel very well, so a trip to Wales could see them camp inside their own box for ninety minutes!
Chelsea (along with 12 other teams) are eyeing a European place again
Further up the pitch things have been looking a lot brighter of late. Memphis Depay has been getting more game time, while not exactly pulling in more points it has to be said. Arnautovic has rediscovered his scoring boots, but will face a Chelsea side who have yet to lose under Guus Hiddink in the league this season. My main goal threat will have to come from Andre Ayew and Georginio Wijnaldum again. Ayew as I’ve mentioned will be facing a timid Norwich side. And Wijnaldum saves all his goals for Newcastle’s home games, so will be expected to get back on the scoresheet this weekend against the Cherries.


Ouch! Only two correct predictions from seven last week, as everything became a bit unpredictable thanks to a lot of squads missing players because of the league cup final. @wrigavin picked up another win though to move six points clear at the top of the table. Remember, as always, you can follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter for the latest action, and you can also follow me, @GarryIrwin for all the latest overreaction!