Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Week 19: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

I’m not sure what got into my players at the start of this festive season, but they went a bit goal crazy during Gameweek 18. Six goals were scored by my squad. Which is crazy considering they only managed fifteen in total from the previous 17 gameweeks! Unfortunately two of the more spectacular goals, Fabio Borini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s efforts at Old Trafford were scored while sitting on the bench. Luckily the 50+ points which didn’t contribute to my weekly total were not needed, as I managed to overcome @TomSunderland_, who could only respond with a James Ward-Prowse assist and two defensive clean sheets.
You can't be offside if you flick the ball from behind you, it's in the rulebook
The @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax fixture computer is clearly not happy with my team gaining a tenth win for the season, and on top of the injuries, will be adding suspensions to my selection headache going into this gameweek. The standout player for my side was Chelsea’s Pedro last time out with two goals. I’ll have to do without him this week though, as after picking up a yellow card, he will now miss a game. He joins Arnautovic on the bench who is also serving a suspension. This will leave me very light in the Forward position when I play against @EPL_MOstradamus this week. @EPL_MOstradamus was the front runner in the league up until recently. He has gone three games without a win and has dropped down to eighth.

@EPL_MOstradamus’ Team

Despite my glut of goals recently, I’m still a few shy of Chris’ sides 26. Benteke missed a penalty last week, so is hardly going to repeat the trick two times out. In fact, Chris has three players with more goals than my current top scorer, Joe Allen (5). Benteke has eight on the season, closely followed by Firmino of Liverpool and Heung-Min Son of Spurs, who both have six. Next on the list of goal scorers is Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United, with three. He has been in and out of the side lately but faces a tempting fixture in a trip to out of form Leicester City on Saturday.
Benteke with a weak penalty, helping Gomes earn some points
Christian Beneteke may have missed his spot kick in the last game, but @EPL_MOstradamus picked up the save points thanks to having Watford’s Heurelho Gomes as his keeper. The Brazilian averages 8.14 points a game. In fact, if all of Chris’ players hit their averages this gameweek, I will need my side to score more than 127 points to beat him. Something my team hasn’t managed to do in the last eight gameweeks. You still think @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax fixture compiler is not out to get me?

What I Need To Happen

The ‘Claudio Yacob Experiment’ is over. Please welcome the new and improved ‘Ibrahim Afellay Experiment’. The Stoke City player has just returned from a knee injury, and while he may not get much joy against Chelsea this weekend, he may do enough in the coming gameweeks to force his way into my Midfield. His inclusion does mean if you divide my squad by the divisor of ‘Stoke players’, the resulting quotient is ‘Too many Stoke players’. If Afellay is to be included going forward, it could be at the expense of a Mr Jack Wilshere. The Bournemouth player is still due that elusive first goal for the Cherries. If it doesn’t come against Swansea on Saturday, I may just have to give up on it happening at all!
Afellay made sure he was wrapped up warm for his few minutes against Liverpool
If @EPL_MOstradamus’ forwards can be kept quiet in tricky fixtures against Man City and Arsenal, that would be a good for me in this matchup. Benteke will be determined to make amends against the Gunners, but perhaps Chris will get more points from Firmino at home to Pep’s, Man City. City may have kept a clean sheet against Hull, but Liverpool are on fire in front of goals. In my side, looking for goals might be a thankless task with Pedro being absent. Lingard and Mkhitaryan will surely get chances against Middlesbrough, but the question is, will either of them start the game? The first game of the gameweek is on Friday night when Hull City host Everton. With Baines and Mirallas in my team, a positive result here will surely put Chris on the back foot.


The league is still really tight. The current top 7 all won in Gameweek 18, which means that @RotoZdroik remains six points clear. A whole host of teams are only separated by points scored. The table may even be tighter than it looks. When @SportsByGotti gets the points owed from the performance of Joel Robles for Everton against Leicester, he would leapfrog bitter rival @RotoWireAndrew and be in ninth position. Also, the transfer window opens soon, so expect a scramble as most managers make crazy bids to take Fabio Borini off my hands.

Five correct and four incorrect, in what was a repeat of the predictions from the week before. The predictions are not getting worse, which is a good sign. Will this week’s be any better? Let’s see. Follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with the three days of Fantasy Premier League action.

As always, Good Luck Everyone, and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Week 18: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

The Fantasy Footballing Gods came down hard on my team last gameweek in my loss to @nikarg, and they show no sign of letting up as we head into the Christmas fixtures and @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax’s clearly biased fixtures computer has me facing a resurgent @TomSunderland_. I would have beaten eleven other sides in Gameweek 17, but @nikarg’s third highest score of the week helped by an Ibrahimovic brace totally blew my side out of the water. That result put me down to ninth, with the only consolation being that most of the sides at the top of the table came unstuck too, resulting in only six points now separating second from fifteenth. With everyone in close proximity to one another a win over this festive season is even more vital. But to do this I’ll have to see off @TomSunderland_’s side, whose star players are slowly coming back from injury and into form.
I've never seen Santa and Zlatan in the same room together. Just saying...

@TomSunderland_’s Team

Philippe Coutinho might still be side-lined for Liverpool, but Tom did welcome back Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez recently with two goals away at Bournemouth. This should sort out his Forward position as his other two players eligible for that slot, Martial and Stuani, have only managed to start seven games each this season. In Midfield he could also welcome back another player from injury this week in the shape of Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, and when the midfielder plays he averages nearly 17 points a game. The remaining Midfield spots will more than likely be taken up by a combination of Spurs and Saints players; two teams who face each other in the Wednesday night kickoff. Sissoko of Tottenham, with Ward-Prowse and Hojbjerg of Southampton making up a formidable trio if Tom needs his team to get back in the tie come Wednesday evening.
@TomSunderland_ will be wearing his Southampton Christmas jumper this week
He may not even need them though, as he has three of the most in form Defenders in the game making up his backline. Marcos Alonso averages 18 points per game and has been collecting clean sheets for fun at Chelsea recently. While, both Seamus Coleman and Patrick van Aanholt have been racking up to points thanks to their goal scoring exploits, despite playing in two teams struggling to find form. In goals he will rely on Leicester stopper Kasper Schmeichel. The Dane has only two clean sheets in nine starts, but does welcome an out of sorts Everton side at three o’clock on Boxing Day.

What I Need To Happen

That old adage that goals win games means I’ll be hoping that Tottenham can find a way to stop Rodriguez from finding the back of the net again this week. With potentially three Saints players in Tom’s side, a nice boring, but with lots of yellow cards, nil all draw, would do very nicely. Speaking of goals, if my players could find some in the fixture between Leicester and Everton, that would be great. At the back, hopefully the ball ends up at Leighton Baines’ side of the pitch rather than Coleman’s. If Kevin Mirallas could find a way to place the ball in the net that would be great; yet if he could find a way into the Everton starting eleven first that would be a bonus.

I do have a dilemma up front as Pedro did not start last time out for Chelsea, while Arnautovic is still out through suspension. Should I bring back in Fabio Borini, what with Sunderland making a daunting trip to Old Trafford? And if I do, that surely spells the end for Claudio Yacob. But can I afford the jettison the West Brom man when I’m unsure of the chances of a starting spot for Lingard, Mkhitaryan, Mirallas, Wilshere, etc? Regardless of who starts, it looks like I will have to fall back on Joe Allen to dig my side out of whatever hole they have dug for themselves. The Stoke City midfielder heads back to Liverpool on Tuesday with a point or two to prove, and will hopefully pick up about forty fantasy points in the process.


Five correct and four dead wrong predictions last Gameweek. Getting more right than wrong is a positive I guess, and I’ll aim to end the year on a high with a clean sweep of correct predictions. Here goes! Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of the ups and down of each match-up.

Good Luck Everyone, Plus, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Week 17: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

The fantasy gods threw injuries, penalties and red cards against my team in midweek, but fortunately my players were able to overcome and eke out a win. 27 points leaves me 9 points off table topper @RotoZdroik and stuck in a tight tussle of teams separated by only six points between fifth and eighteenth. The fantasy gods do not take these slights lying down though, so this week the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer pits my side against a team with three of the most in form players in the Premier League. A team that scored the highest points total in Gameweek 16 with 178 points. @nikarg can call upon nine goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic (my whole team has only managed 16!), West Brom’s Salomon Rondon who is fresh off a midweek hattrick, and Christian Eriksen who only scored two goals midweek. If you were a betting person, I might struggle to convince you that I had a chance in this matchup. It seems like @nikarg has been given a slam dunk here!

@nikarg’s Team

I’ve already mentioned three of @nikarg’s strongest players, but even if one or two of them have an off day, he has a few more names to call upon. Liverpool’s Georginio Wjnaldum has started most of the Reds games this season and has added a goal and two assists so far. Elsewhere in midfield he can call upon Marc Albrighton of Leicester or Wayne Routledge of Swansea. Both these players have started over ten games for their clubs, and they average around ten points each.
Can Boruc claim a fifth clean sheet this weekend?
At the other end of the pitch he has Bournemouth’s keeper Artur Boruc. He will be up against Southampton at home this weekend. The Saints have been rather goal shy of late so the Polish international should have no problem reaching his average of over eight points per game.

What I Need To Happen

I simply need to get a fully fit squad of players out onto the pitch. This may call for the need to play four Defenders again. With Mykitaryan still out injured, and now Arnautovic missing through suspension, my side will be missing some of its most potent goal threats.  Joe Allen does not seem to get forward as much lately but may be able to get some joy against Leicester on Saturday. Second top scorer on my team (3 goals), Pedro heads to Crystal Palace with his Chelsea team and could have a shot or two if he plays.
Fabio Borini getting stuck in against Chelsea midweek
Looking elsewhere for goals, Fabio Borini got about ten minutes midweek and can surely force his way into the Sunderland side. Jack Wilshere had one of his better games for Bournemouth midweek but is still due to score a goal. With all the players I have sitting on the IR, Claudio Yacob still finds himself in my squad, will he do anything that makes him worth keeping? Only time will tell.


Only three of the nine matchups predicted correctly midweek. @RotoZdroik has opened up a six point gap at the top and has the longest current winning steak with five victories in a row. @jwl_15 has lost his last two games but still hangs on in second place. It’s very tough to call these games, but I’ll give it another try. To see how good, or bad, I do, please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Good Luck Everyone

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 16: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Please let me tell you of my latest tale of woe in fantasy football. With a 40 point lead on @FuzzyWarbles with only two Liverpool players to play, I felt safe that I might just sneak a win with my total of 103 points. Even if Milner and Mane hit their average I would come away with the win. But the fantasy gods had other ideas. The IEFSA and Fantrax points computer must have awarded points for every touch because a combined 42 points later and I was staring defeat in the face.
James Milner reminds me how many points I lost by in Gameweek 15
I’ve fallen one place down to seventh and I’m due to face @nealjthurman for this group of midweek fixtures. We both hold a record of eight wins and seven losses. Neal won at the weekend as his two biggest signings came good. Dimitri Payet scored for the first time since the beginning of October, while Islam Slimani contributed two assists in Leicester’s win over Man City. All this and my star player was stretchered off injured. Can I fight against the huge bias shown against my side everyweek?

@nealjthurman’s Team

Outside of his highest signings, the rest of his team has been chipping in with points. Ander Herrera added an assist on his way to claiming over 30 points against Tottenham on Sunday. Sofiane Boufal of Southampton popped up with his first goal of the season at home to Middlesbrough for Neal too. Luckily for him, all of these four players mentioned will be facing opposition in the bottom half of the Premier League table this midweek, so he will be expecting another big haul.

At the back he has some top defensive performers. They were unusually off form at the weekend, where two of them posted less than double figure scores. The one who didn’t was Christian Fuchs, and despite Leicester having a less than stellar season, he has been averaging a healthy 16 points a game. In goals he has West Brom’s Ben Foster. Only two fantasy points on Sunday; @nealjthurman will be looking for him to bounce back at home to Swansea on Wednesday night.

What I Need To Happen

After months of waiting for my star signing Mkhitaryan to get into the Manchester United first team and gaining some substantial points, he only gets injured after a rather innocuous challenge from Danny Rose towards the end of the game at Old Trafford at the weekend. If, as expected, the Armenian misses the game against Crystal Palace, I may have to implement the ‘Claudio Yacob Experiment’ again!
Pictured: @FuzzyWarbles carrying away three points here
Looking around for where the points could come from in my team I see that Wilshere didn’t start last weekend, Pedro couldn’t last the ninety minutes for Chelsea, Jesse Lingard doesn’t seem to be in Jose Mourinho’s thoughts at the moment, Santi Cazorla is still out injured, Kevin Mirallas hasn’t done much for Everton lately, while Joe Allen has only posted double figures in two of Stoke’s last five fixtures after a run of nine games where he was averaging over 24 points. But at least Fabio Borini is back from injury…..


A hiccup a few days ago as I only predicted eight of the nine matchups. I did get five of those eight correct though, so there is that. The league is beginning to stretch out a bit now. @RotoZdroik is alone at the top, and 24 points below him is @DFS_Hambazaza alone at the bottom. They face each other this week, with surely only one outcome? To follow all the midweek action make sure you click on @THE_IEFSA Twitter page.

Good Luck Everyone

Friday, December 9, 2016

Week 15: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

A return to winning ways sees my side move up the table to sixth. It wasn’t a vintage performance by any means as I struggled to 109.5 points. It was a pair of defenders getting on the scoresheet that turned the tie in my favour over @jforquer11. Leighton Baines and Steve Cook left it late to score equalizers for their teams on Sunday, and the twenty plus points they each scored was better than what Pedro, Wilshere and Yacob put together managed for my side.
Baines slots home his penalty with ease
And with this victory, what has the IEFSA Fantrax fixture computer saw fit to do this week? Why it’s decided that I should play the highest scoring team in the league, because it doesn’t want me winning too much. That high scoring side belongs to @FuzzyWarbles. If our sides had met every week this season he would have ten wins to my four. So once again I’m up against it. There is one green shoot of hope though, as @FuzzyWarbles will be missing his top goal scorer Sergio Aguero through suspension. But even this doesn’t help much, as even without those ten goals, his side have outscored mine 21 goals to 15 after fourteen weeks of the season.

@FuzzyWarbles Team

Aguero will miss the first of four games this week. Steve has a number of choices in who will deputise for the Argentinian. He has three other Forward players who could slot in. Fischer of Middlesbrough, Bojan at Stoke and Lucas Perez with Arsenal. None of the three are guaranteed of a start but perhaps after his hat trick in midweek, Perez will get the most minutes this weekend. Although Viktor Fischer did start last week for Boro, and could keep his place for the trip to Southampton. Elsewhere in his team the goals have mostly been supplied by the Liverpool pair of Sadio Mane and James Milner. Twelve goals between them, and they face a West Ham team that shipped five goals against Arsenal recently.

At the back @FuzzyWarbles has gotten three goals out of Gareth McAuley this season, but the West Brom defender faces a stern test in trying to breach the Chelsea backline this Sunday. Another West Brom player in his side, and  onethat has had positive recent form, is Chris Brunt. Brunt has found himself deployed further up the pitch in recent games, yet will probably have to do more defending than he’d like when his team head to Stamford Bridge. Steve might get more points in Midfield from the return of Yaya Toure. Pep Guardiola will have to shake up his starting eleven for the trip to champions Leicester, with the Ivorian perhaps gaining one of the attacking midfield spots.

What I Need To Happen

With @FuzzyWarbles having Hugo Loris between the sticks, I’m hoping that my Manchester United players earn the start and cause him problems. I’m more optimistic about Mkhitaryan getting game time than Jesse Lingard though. Any goals created by the Armenian will doubly hurt, as @FuzzyWarbles also has Jan Vertongen in Defence. My Top scorer Joe Allen was a surprise omission form the Stoke line-up last week, with the Potters heading to Arsenal this week, perhaps Mark Hughes will adopt a more defensive approach and use the Welshman in midfield where he will be kept busy while racking up the points.

The red flags all over my team seem to be abating somewhat going into Gameweek 15. Leighton Baines returned last week and it looks like Hector Bellerin could return this week. If he does return in time for the Saturday three o'clock kickoff, that would mean the end of the ‘Claudio Yacob Experiment’, as the West Brom midfielder would have to be jettisoned. Despite West Brom having some positive results of late, the Argentine has not been doing enough fantasywise and failed to get into double figures for the last two games.

I have two pairs of players playing against each other in the Bournemouth Burnley match; a goalkeeper and defender for Burnley and a defender and midfielder for Bournemouth. A nice boring scoreless draw would be perfect here, but that’s not going to happen, because as we all know, Jack Wilshere is due a goal.
It's tight at the top (and the middle, and the bottom)


An improvement to six correct from nine predictions last week. The league is very tight, with everyone bar the bottom two sides within six points of the top four. Hopefully things go a little better this week. To see how every tie is progressing follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter.

Good Luck Everyone.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Week 14: IEFSA Fantasy League Preview

An embarrassing defeat to @RotoWireAndrew last week continues my side’s slide down the table. Fans are surely getting restless after three losses in a row, while the board are probably scratching their heads asking ‘What’s a Claudio Yacob?’ Things don’t get any easier this week in the @THE_IEFSA and Fantrax Fantasy League as the fixture computer (which hate’s me by the way) throws me into a matchup with @jforquer11. Both our teams have 21 points and are in danger of dropping down to the lower reaches of the table this week if things don’t go their way. @jforquer11 has a fully fit squad to select from though, whereas my players just love that treatment table.
A wild Yacob appeared.

@jforquer11’s Team

A good spread of teams in Joel’s squad. Only Stoke City supplies him with two players; the goalkeeper (currently Lee Grant) and the left back Erik Pieters. Luckily for him also, is that most of his team will be playing on Saturday. He might sweat over the inclusions of Gareth Barry or Daley Blind in the Everton versus Manchester United game on Sunday, but could fill his Defence and Midfield with players with Saturday fixtures and save himself that headache, while more than likely opening up a sizable lead in our matchup! His top scorer, Burnley’s Sam Vokes, does travel to Stoke though, so while these players could keep each other busy, they could end up taking points off each other, so that even the sting of a Vokes goal will be tempered by the points Grant would lose.

Elsewhere in his squad he will be looking to some of his more reliable players to gather him points. His highest salaried player, Man City’s Fernandinho, averages nearly 17 points a game, but does have a tricky game against Chelsea in the opening fixture of the weekend. Joel spent big in defence and will perhaps be disappointed with the returns so far from Wes Morgan (Leicester City) and Jose Fonte (Southampton). These two players do have fixtures with some of the Premier League’s lesser teams in Sunderland and Crystal Palace respectively. Complementing Vokes in attack he will have to choose between Shinji Okazaki and Joshua King. They have started 18 games between them, but have only managed three goals, so they are perhaps due a goal this week.

What I Need To Happen

Speaking of being due a goal, Jack Wilshere will return to the Bournemouth side this week. The Cherries host Coutinho-less Liverpool, and a clean sheet there rake in the points for my side. Steve Cook also owes me a solid 90 minutes after last week’s horror show. Another player returning this week is Stoke’s Joe Allen. Fresh from suspension, Allen will hopefully rediscover the form of a few weeks ago. The Stoke versus Burnley fixture will include Allen as well as Arnautovic for the home side, against Michael Keane and the Burnley goalkeeper with the away side. Last week Paul Robinson found himself in goals after Tom Heaton was ruled out with a toe injury. A highly entertaining nil all draw would be ideal here. But a boring draw that ends up shown last on all the highlight shows is more likely.
Has Mkhitaryan done enough to earn a start?
Another game that will include four of my squad will be the Sunday four o’clock kick-off between Everton and Manchester United. Though if all four players do play, I will be genuinely surprised. Baines does seem to have settled back into the side after injury, but Mirallas has seen himself fall out of the side after a number of anonymous performances and a run of poor results for the Toffees. The Man Utd team is even harder to predict. Lingard and Mkhitaryan have been in and out of the side over their last four fixtures, with perhaps the Armenian midfielder more likely to gain a starting berth this weekend.


12 points separate the top 18 sides in this league. The longest win streak is only three games, by @FantasyYIRMA in 17th. Any team can beat any other, so even a fixture between top (@jwl_15) and bottom (@DFS_Hambazaza) cannot be predicted with 100% certainty. Only three of nine matchups correctly predicted last weekend. Are things going to improve in Gameweek 14? Follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to find out.

Good Luck Everyone