Friday, August 26, 2016

Week 3: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A first win of the season last weekend, shoots my side up the table to ninth in the IEFSA Fantasy League on Fantrax. A solid effort from my goalkeeper and three defenders (67.8 pts) saw me overcome @jasonuk17. A strike from Kevin Mirallas was also my team’s first goal of the season. No Friday night game this week to sweat over (read: almost forget about!). Plus my entire squad seems to be getting back to full fitness. Now if they could only all break into their respective side’s starting elevens that would be great. This weekend I face @jwl_15, who has the same record, with one opening week loss followed up by a victory last time out. His side have outscored mine in those two weeks though.

@jwl_15’s Team

His highest scoring player is Eden Hazard in Midfield. The Belgian is averaging over 22 points a game; the best anyone on my side can muster is a little over 16. His other two midfielders, Leroy Fer and Jordan Henderson, both average over 20 points. Midfield is where the goals are coming from in Jake’s side at the moment, as he is still waiting on his Forwards to get off the mark. Shane Long probably won’t get a better chance to open his account as Southampton host Sunderland this week. His other Forward is Spurs new signing, Vincent Janssen. He also has Memphis Depay as a back-up if some sort of zombie apocalypse happens between now and Saturday evening.
Hazard is rediscovering the form of two seasons ago
All his Defenders are playing at home this week. Funes Mori has a favourable matchup against Stoke City; Joel Ward hosts Bournemouth in another potential clean sheet game; While Andrew Robertson of Hull has the trickiest tie when he squares off against Zlatan and Manchester United, but even if a clean sheet is hard to foresee there, his defensive returns over ninety minutes could more than make up for it. Behind everyone in Goals is Chelsea stopper Courtois. Chelsea host new boys Burnley as they attempt to keep their first shut-out of the campaign.

What I Need To Happen

I do have one Chelsea player in Pedro, who did get the start last week. But I also have two Burnley players in Goalkeeper Heaton and Defender Michael Keane. It would probably serve me better if the Clarets could sneak a 1-0 win.  In the Everton/Stoke game I should probably wish for a goalfest as I have two players from each side. And Joe Allen is due a goal right?

Speaking of being due, Jack Wilshire surely has a few games in him before his next injury. But if not, I still have Bellerin and Cazorla when Arsenal travel to Watford. A positive result for the Gunners here could set my team up nicely. Elsewhere, I will be keeping an eye on the Man Utd team sheet on Saturday as I have two players waiting for their first starts of the season in Lingard and Mkhitaryan. Though with that game kicking off later than a host of other fixtures, I could well have played my hand in the match-up with @jwl_15, before Mourinho hands in his starting eleven.


A shocking set of predictions last week, as only four of the other nine fixtures in the league were correctly predicted. This just goes to show you how tight the league is. This week none of the six unbeaten sides will face each other, giving each a chance to go 3 and 0. But will they all manage it? Remember to follow all these guys on Twitter, and to keep up to date with each match-up over the weekend, follow @THE_IEFSA.

Here it goes for this week’s guesses informed predictions…

Good Luck Everyone

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Week 2: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A really tight matchup in Week 1 ebbed and flowed but unfortunately saw my side lose by a measly 0.5 points. I thought I was down and out until Santi Cazorla came off the Arsenal bench and provided two assists. Out in front with only Mark Noble to play on Monday night for @TRKingston, I thought I’d snuck a win when all was done and dusted but Noble kept accumulating points after the game was finished and I ended up with a big fat L. This week I’m facing @jasonuk17, who is also coming off a first week loss. Jason has added a number of players to his squad before this weekend in an effort to pick up those important three points.

@jasonuk17’s Team

Arthur Masuaka and Oriol Romeu are the newest editions to his side. Both players posted double figure scores in Week 1. Romeu has played in the Premier League before with Chelsea, but sees himself now at Southampton, while Masuaka joined West Ham from Olympiacos for £6.2m. Matsuaka will slot in at the back for Jason with two of, Ryan Shawcross, Kyle Walker, or under fire Alberto Moreno. Moreno plays away again with Liverpool this week, so will probably see himself sidelined. To complement Romeu in Midfield will most likely be Capoue of Watford and Gardner of West Brom, mainly because both those players are playing at home.

Jason will mainly be looking at his Forwards and Goalkeeper to get him the points needed for victory. De Gea in goals will be fancied to keep a first clean sheet of the season with a home game against Southampton on Friday night. De Gea cost $22, but is not @Jasonuk17’s costliest player. That honour goes to Forward Olivier Giroud at $31. So, Arsenal fans won’t be the only ones hoping he is thrown back into the starting line-up when the Gunners face Leicester. His other Forward is Bournemouth’s Benik Afobe. The striker joined the Cherries in January and scored four goals in the league by the end of last season.
Giroud scores goals by the power of being Arsenal's least-worst striker

What I Need To Happen

My big signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan could do with a few more minutes on the pitch, but will struggle as long as Man Utd keep winning. If Utd let in a goal or two then that would prevent De Gea from racking up a score and increase the chances of the Armenian getting some game time. Elsewhere in midfield I hope Cazorla ends up being the focal point of the Arsenal attack rather than Giroud, and that he starts this weekend. Another one of my players would help me with a start is Pedro at Chelsea. Oh and Joe Allen at Stoke too. Why are all my players sitting on benches up and down the country??

Burnley keeping Liverpool at bay would aid my chances. I have Keane at the back and Heaton in goals. Everton overcoming West Brom will dent Gardner’s impact on the tie and ideally see Baines and Mirallas score points for me. Up front I’ll need Arnautovic to open his account against Man City.


The first weekend of @THE_IEFSA action on Fantrax saw six correct predictions to three incorrect. Lets try and top that this weekend. And my crystal ball says that the wins will fall to…

Good Luck Everyone.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Week 1: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

The new season begins this weekend on Fantrax for the IEFSA Fantasy League. After last year’s respectable midtable finish, I will be hoping to mount a challenge for the title this time around. I wrote about the thinking behind the squad I drafted earlier in the week. But now it’s time to run a preview over the opening fixture. I lost more games than I won in finishing ninth back in May, so I know how important a win and a good start will be for 2016/17.

That opening fixture pits me against @TRKingston. Todd has put together a fairly balanced squad, but will I be able to get the better of him and start the season with a victory? This year also sees the league expand to 20 teams, and Todd is one of the managers competing for the first time and had to put his team together from scratch. In the first twenty picks of the draft, Todd went out and secured three players for his team. He clearly means business.

@TRKingston’s  Team

Todd’s first move in the draft was to acquire David Silva of Man City. The Spaniard had 11 assists last year in a mostly injury hit season. If he can stay injury free and recapture the form which saw him score 12 goals the season before, then the $52 that was paid for him will seem like shrewd business. To complement Silva in Midfield, the next signing in the draft was Yohan Cabaye. Pulling the strings in the Palace side, Cabaye is doubly important because @TRKingston’s side also features Connor Wickham up front. At the moment he is the only fit Forward that Alan Pardew can call upon, and any goals at Selhurst Park this weekend will surely come through him.
Valdes will have Ben Gibson getting a Carles Puyol haircut soon #Influence
Between the sticks we see Middlesbrough stopper Victor Valdes.  ‘Boro had the best defence in the Championship last year. Valdes wasn’t part of that squad, but if anything his experience will help them tighten up enough to compete in the Premier League. Even if he doesn’t grab a load of clean sheets, his saves should gain plenty of points. In front of Valdes we have Liverpool new boy Joel Matip, Spurs left back Danny Rose, and Burnley’s Ben Mee.

What I Need To Happen

Even if it benefits Todd’s Ben Mee, I will hope that Burnley can keep a clean sheet at home to Swansea. I have Tom Heaton in goals and Michael Keane at the back. My other two players at the back are in direct opposition to @TRKingston’s defenders. Rose will be up against Baines. While Matip will face Bellerin. So if the home sides can score in the matchups of Everton V Spurs and Arsenal V Liverpool, then that will help me a lot. Some of our other players will face off too, this time in the Monday night game between Chelsea and West Ham. Todd’s Mark Noble is probably more assured of a starting place than Pedro. If I’m behind going into Monday, it could be tough to pull it back.

As I’ve always said, it’s goals that decide these fantasy games more often than not.  My Midfield might not be able to compete goalwise this week though. With Mkhitaryan probably a week or two away from starting for Man United, Mirallas having to find his place under new manager Ronald Koeman at Everton, while Joe Allen is hardly known for his goalscoring exploits. I’ll be looking to my Forward to score the goals to take me to victory. And the forward to do that, while ruining the first game of the Pep Guardiola era at Man City, will be Fabio Borini… hmmm come to think of it, I’m starting to think that Marko Arnautovic overcoming his hamstring injury would be a better option for my nerves, my team, and my prospects of victory. An Arnautovic goal or two past Valdes on Saturday would be a great start to the season.


It will be tough to predict how sides will start out the season (but that won’t stop me from trying!). Please remember to follow these guys on Twitter to keep track of all @THE_IEFSA action. Plus they give the best advice on your fantasy strategy and up to date football news, day in, day out. Also, give some positive vibes to Fabio Borini on Twitter, he caries the hopes of my season on his shoulders!

Good Luck Everyone

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

IEFSA Fantasy League 2016/17 Draft Recap

Recently the draft for the IEFSA Fantasy League for the upcoming season was held on Fantrax. I was determined to assemble a better squad than the one I saddled myself with at the start of last season. Even though I claimed a respectable midtable position, I was constantly battling with injuries, out of form players, players not making it into their teams starting elevens, and of course, fixture bias against my team.

Things get a little more complicated with this year’s draft though, as there are more teams involved, and some players can be held over from last year’s game. For my part I held on to Marko Arnautovic for his salary of $1. The Stoke City top scorer was one of my best performers last season and I hope he can keep up that form into 2017. Let me explain the make up for the rest of my squad after the draft was completed.

In goals I went with Tom Heaton of Burnley. I got burned badly last year after spending $31 to get the Chelsea goalkeepers and didn`t feel like over spending in this area again. Burnley did not have a bad defensive record in the Championship and I’m hoping Heaton can emulate someone like Gomes, who gained lots of points for Watford in their first season back in the top division. With all the fantasy teams taking a team each, if things go wrong then he will be very hard to trade away. I could very well be stuck with him.

I`ve coupled Heaton up with his teammate Michael Keane in defence. Keane is a regular at the back and could perhaps be fancied to get three or four goals this year. I only spent $3 and won`t be too hurt if I have to jettison him later in the season. I put most of my money into two other players to make up my defence. Arsenal`s Bellerin cost $25 and is one of the highest scorers in the game, while Leighton Baines cost $19 and is looking to bounce back this year after an injury hit 2015/16. Everton should improve at the back under new man Ronald Koeman, plus I’m hoping Baines' frequent attacks forward can bring some joy too.

Last year my marquee signing was Memphis Depay…….. This year I spent even more money on another Manchester United player. I ended up in a bit of a bidding war for the services of Mkhitaryan and when the dust had settled he was in my squad for $71, which is way more than I had planned to pay. But I felt I had to secure a signing after seeing a number of other big names slip away. I will need the Armenian to play every game and to continue the form that saw him score nearly once every three games in the Bundesliga last season.

If he's half the player Tom Cleverley was then my money was well spent.

To compliment him in midfield I picked up two (currently injured) Arsenal players, Wilshire and Cazorla. I`m banking on them breaking into the Arsenal team sooner rather than later, and they are definitely an upgrade on the two Arsenal players I had last year in Welbeck and Coquelin. To round out the midfield I brought in Kevin Mirallas for $12, again this is a player I expect to be rejuvenated with the arrival of Koeman at Goodison Park. The last midfielder I took a punt on was Joe Allen. If he had stayed at Liverpool I would have never touched him, but at Stoke he will surely be given more game time. He likes to keep possession and I hope he will be able to set up a good few chances for my other Stoke player, Arnautovic.

All that`s left is to look at are the players who will supply the goals in my squad, the forwards. Arnautovic has already been mentioned. The two other Forwards did not have great seasons last year in the Premier League, but under the guidance of new managers maybe it will be their time to shine. Pedro was signed for $9 and as he is not a guaranteed starter at Chelsea, he will probably occupy a bench spot on my team. The main Forward I have will be Fabio Borini.

No, hear me out! Borini got five goals last year in a largely hopeless Sunderland side. This year they should be a bit tighter and more organized under David Moyes. If Moyes can get goals out of Jelavic and Anichebe, he can surely get goals out of Borini.

Borini is due a goal, and I'm due a huge slice of luck!

I still have some money to dabble in the free agent market if there are any transfers to the Premier League before the end of the month. I will probably look for a defender to rotate into my side, or perhaps a more consistent midfielder if my Arsenal players end up spending most of their time on the treatment table.

The opening matchup is fast approaching. Look out for a preview before the weekend. And to keep up with all the goings on in the league, follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Why This Won't Be Your Year: Premier League 2016/17 Preview, Part 1

Hull City Tigers

That`s what your cookie cutter official website calls you, so suck it up Hull fans. The website is also holding a riveting poll on which shirt you would buy, home, or away? Why would you choose the away kit, unless you secretly wanted to hide your allegiances behind a strip so plain and white you could pass for a county cricketer. The Hull City Official Supports club website runs a far more interesting poll about when was your favourite Hull game at Wembley. Though I’m a bit suspect of this site, as no one comments on anything, and they seem to be excited by the new shirt sponsor. Three years with a Kenyan betting site across my chest wouldn`t exactly get my pulse racing.

Oompa Loompa Cosplayers pictured at the recent ComicCon.

Why This Won’t Be Your Year

When your own manager wants nothing to do with you after promotion, you know you’re in trouble. When some of your best players are more than willing to drop back down a division rather than tog out in the top tier, you should probably think twice before forking out for that season ticket too. With the opening day looming it seems you will be reduced to picking eight fit players, a cream telephone box in midfield, with two airfix planes up front, to make up the starting eleven. That opening day fixture is none other than Premier League Champions Leicester City, who will be more than happy to come and win one nil, leaving you with that faint hope that maybe you can compete this season.

Of course lots of people blame the owners, the Allam family, for this state of affairs. But what did you expect a billionaire to do with an exotic wild animal, only to shoot it dead, skin it into a nice rug, all before giving it a cute nickname? The club is currently up for sale (kind of), but not before the owners get that sweet, sweet TV money, sucker some fans into season tickets, and perhaps some of that parachute payment cash after inevitable relegation. Buying Blackpool probably looks like a safer investment at the moment, plus you`d at least get a successful ladies team with them.

The team captain is sidelined for three months with injury. The caretaker manager has never managed an actual game from the dugout as a manager before. All your best players played in the Premier League two years ago and they were crap then, so why would this season be any better?? Oh those heady days of Phil Brown. In fact they should build a statue of Phil Brown serenading Giovanni and Bernard Mendy outside the KCOM stadium to remind fans of the good old days, Hull City Council should get on this right away.

You Couldn`t Write The Script

If they can keep all the other more ambitious teams from buying all their half talented players then perhaps they have a chance of staying up. You don`t get out of the Championship without a somewhat decent first eleven. Another bright spot has been the preseason form of Adama Diomande. The Norwegian was one of the top scorers in the Tippeligaen not so long ago and could transfer that to the Premier League, where you don`t have to play as many games in the Arctic Circle.


Face it Burnley fans, this is just a year of travelling to strange places to watch football games before the serious business of gaining promotion from the Championship in 2017/18 begins next August. You know this, I know this, the manager knows this, and the owners definitely know this. So let`s be realistic here before any talk of `doing a Leicester` enters our heads.

What was it like to be on the conveyor belt of great Liverpool defenders Jon?

Why This Won’t Be Your Year

You might come from a small town, but you’re not even interesting enough to have the smallest stadium. Your captain is from Chester, which is bloody miles away, and your top scorer comes from the far flung lands of Wolverhampton, so stop pretending like you’re the guardians of English football parochialness. Your manager is from Kettering; it’s easier to get to Paris from Kettering than to travel up to Burnley. So stop pretending you`re a small club. Ramsbottom United are a small club. You are not a small club.

Speaking of your manager, I guess the best thing that can be said about him is that after Burnley sold all their `stars` when they dropped out of the Premier League two seasons back, they all turned out to be a bit crap without him. Oh how Kieran Trippier would love to be supplying long balls to a grateful Danny Ings right about now. He was also linked with the English manager’s job during the summer. It seems the FA decided to go with the one manager who probably plays more long balls than Sean Dyche. England play once a month, and most of those shouldn`t even be classed as a competitive international. Dyche could have managed the two jobs easy. What did the FA think he was going to do? Call up Dean Marney??

Also, what’s up with your club crest? It looks like something drawn on the ZX Spectrum. A colour bleed of garish purple and yellow. The club should go back to the crest they had which featured two lions and a bee, and didn’t have a stork at the top. But I guess it’s not as boring as the West Ham crest.

You Couldn`t Write The Script

This side is surely better than the team that couldn’t get a win in the Premier League until November in 2014. Plus Andre Gray is definitely better than Danny Ings and should help them get more goals than the pathetic effort of 28 goals in 14/15.

They’ve also dodged a bullet when Joey Barton decided to retire to write a few chapters of his autobiography up in Scotland, as he hasn’t been good in the Premier League since about 2010. He surely would have seen red under the bright lights of Match of the Day, before getting into an altercation with one of Turf Moor’s racist bottle throwing fans on the way to his early bath.

Another positive is that majority of the league is composed of teams barely better than most of the sides in the Championship, and if they can make themselves hard to beat they can reach the promised land of finishing ahead of Sunderland or someone…


Seemingly by default Middlesbrough are everyone’s favourite team in the north east. Or at the very least, in their top three or four. The `Boro have been knocking on the door of promotion for so many seasons now everyone was just waiting for them to just give up and accept a life of Championship obscurity, a la Ipswich Town. But no, they seem determined to eke out a season in the top tier before doing that, probably after Steve Gibson has gone through everyone on his LinkedIn account in January, all their players leave after getting a taste of Premier League action and think they are bigger than the club, topped off with a Lee Cattermole goal at the Riverside in March rooting them to the bottom of the table right before Aitor Karanka`s heart explodes, leaving the dream team of Gareth Southgate and Gordan Strachan to be drafted in to sort things out. Enjoy it `boro fans.

Maybe he thought there was no relegation like in the MLS?

Why This Won’t Be Your Year

And what`s going on with signing all these players in pre-season? How many new faces do you need? You know what clubs signed a stupid amount of players last year? Yep, Aston Villa and Newcastle, and it worked out great. You even went and signed Villa`s goalkeeper. The team that conceded the most goals in the league, you went out and signed their goalkeeper. I never understand why you would let your squad be infested by players who only a few months previous were strolling around as their team was getting embarrassed. Yeah, that’s the kinda spirit we need. Middlesbrough even played Villa in a friendly recently, and beat them (thank god). Luckily your manager seemed to take positives from it, saying the game was good for everyone. Oh great, a run out against Villa will prepare you for the exertions of the Premier League. It`s like pushing over a bunch of toddlers in preparation for a fight in the UFC. And once again, Brad Guzan, jeez, you might as well have loaned Bruno Zuculini again to see if he was any good in goals.

Of course everyone is getting excited about Alvaro Negredo. A player so good he couldn`t get a game at Madrid. A player so good Valencia let him go on loan despite only having one senior striker in their squad. A player so good Spain didn’t bother bringing him to EURO 2016 even though they were crying out for a goalscorer. But what about all those goals at Man City you ask? Well, he only scored nine league goals in his one season there. The same amount as Danny Welbeck that year. But if you need someone to score a hat trick in the league cup, Negredo`s your man. So when Middlesbrough draw Gillingham in the EFL cup, high tail it down to the bookies and lump on boro fans, you`ll be swanning around the banks of the River Tees like Alfie Common the next day.

You Couldn`t Write The Script

Hey, but you never know. Perhaps this is the season that Stewart Downing finally delivers on that promise he`s been bottling up for the last 15 years. Remember that time he was your top scorer? The same year that saw Middlesbrough beat Man City 8-1! How long will it take the team to reach eight goals this year? I`m guessing halfway through October.

Even if things fail to click up front early on, at least things will be safe at the back. Victor Valdes has won more honours in his career than Brad Guzan has clean sheets in the Premier League (I did not make this stat up). Valdes went on a short holiday to Belgium a few months back, and he still somehow managed to win the Belgian Cup.


Do you know that if you go to every other Premier League club`s Wikipedia page it will say that `Team X plays in the Premier League`. Not Sunderland though, their page adds the beautiful caveat of `currently plays in the Premier League`. Even random compilers of arbitrary information realize this team is on a stay of execution, and soon it will descend towards the light of the Championship.

The only reason to go to the stadium is to take in the `Officer and a Gentleman` ladies nights, unless you find some perverse pleasure in seeing Man Utd and Spurs rejects try to do an impression of a back four. I believe the two corners of the main stand have a shrine to a golden boot and a pair of hooped earrings in honour of the only two people to bring joy to the ground in living memory, Kevin Philips and Beyonce. It`s going to be a another long season Sunderland fans, and a long way from the clubs heyday of the 90s (that`s the 1890s).

David Moyes slowly morphing into Roy Hodgson here.

Why This Won’t Be Your Year

So your manager left to pick an England squad every few weeks. This is perhaps good news for Jermain Defoe, who surely should have been rewarded for coming out of retirement in the MLS to rescue the Black Cats from relegation with a call up to EURO 2016. Though it`s probably for the best in the long term, as he would have only come back with his soul crushed like all the other England players.

And who`s the new manager? ……………. drum roll please …………… David Moyes! I bet that sets the pulse racing doesn`t it. He followed a tough act at Man Utd and made them worse. He then went to Sociedad and somehow made them worse too. The pinnacle of his career has been taking Preston out of the fourth division. You can point to his 11 years at Everton, but he just made them a sterile club that was happy to finish around sixth every year. He`ll be the manager everyone forgets managed their club, even Everton supporters. The managerial equivalent of a blind spot, that tricky table quiz answer you won’t be able to answer as you down your fifth pint of Double Maxim.

Before a ball is kicked Moyes is already rabbiting on about his win percentage. You are solely employed to win football matches, that`s all you have to do. You could watch animal porn on a projector and loud speakers in the club museum, but if you win football games no one will give a crap. Unless your win percentage is hovering around 90%, don`t talk about your win percentage. I can just see Sunderland winning on the last day of the season and reaching 40 points to stay up. Only for Moyes to be sacked because he drew the 37 other league games, leaving him with a shocking 2.6% win percentage.

You Couldn`t Write The Script

Well, the club isn`t harbouring a pedophile anymore, so that`s always a plus.

This could be the year Fabio Borini catches fire and loses the use of his baby finger after celebrating one too many goals. It could also be the year Defoe swaps his Spurs pillow cases for ones featuring Samson the Black Cat, and he decides to score goals before Sunderland are six points from safety sometime in March.

Also, what have you done with Wes Brown? Is he not a player there? When did he stop being a registered player? I`m half expecting a Panorama special entitled `The Disappearance of Wes Brown`. Where they show grainy footage of a figure going up for a corner, only for the away team to break down field and score. As the camera pans back we can only make out a cloud of smoke and perhaps the flag of a long extinct fifth or sixth official.


Or AFC Bournemouth as they insist on being called. Is all this just a ploy to be top of the league on opening day? And what`s with the A anyway? Athletic. Are you sending guys to the Olympics now? Perhaps Tyrone Mings was bought because of his proficiency in the pole vault. Maybe I should head to the official club website to find out. Oh dear, oh no, my eyes! The site is all written in red and white on a black background, I know that`s the colour of your kit, but why do you assault me like this. A.C. Milan have the same colour jerseys and their website is far more readable, and that’s in Italian. Possibly taking more cues from the Italian giants, AFC could stand for `Associazione Faceto Calcio` but I guess we`ll never know.

Hmmmm should've gone for the England job...

Why This Won’t Be Your Year

Dean Court is getting a second season of top tier football. This would have been unthinkable back in the days of Harry Redknapp and Tony Pulis. Thankfully you`ve got a hot young manager who likes to spend money like a born again Brendan Rodgers, in the effort to keep the Cherries in the top flight. He also looks like the newborn baby of a tryst between Dan Dare and an Easter Island head. I`m sure that’s why all these fringe Premier League and middling Championship players flock to the south west to be with him.

The season couldn`t start out much tougher for Bournemouth, as they host Man Utd. If you thought Leeds supporters rioting through the town in 1990 was bad, wait until Zlatan is finished with you. Artur Boruc won`t be able to sleep for a month. Josh King will forget where the goalposts are after seeing his incredible haul of six goals in one season get obliterated in one afternoon. The team won`t be able to lift themselves off the bottom of the table for two months. The only highlights in that time will be some of your new signings snapping their cruciate ligaments after tumbling down some steps in the Ted Mcdoughall Stand in an ill-advised photo-op.

The Cherries got nine points off the trio of teams that got relegated last year, that won’t be happening again. They had the worst defence of all the teams that stayed up last year, so what have they done to remedy this? They`ve loaned one defender who really wants to be a midfielder, while paying six million (Yes, 6,000,000) for another player who has more studs on his boots than first team appearances, and also, doesn`t really want to be a defender.

You Couldn`t Write The Script

You know, that Jordan Ibe can be quite handy. He can play on either wing. He has an eye for the odd goal or assist. If he helps them stay up his fee will seem like a bargain, plus they can sell him on to Chelsea at three times the price at the end of the season.

Bournemouth overall are a very young squad. A few good results and they could be this year’s surprise team. A poor man`s Spurs if you will. Except lacking the flair, and the nagging self-doubt.