Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweeks 36 and 37
1. This isn’t Italy — Despite everything that Roberto Mancini has said over the last two weeks, Premier League teams very rarely have “nothing to play for”. Take Norwich City. Spiraling towards end-of-season malaise, the Canaries arrived at the Emirates on Saturday with a point to prove. Presumably inspired by the FA’s recent managerial decision, Grant Holt performed admirably as did Steve Morison – yes, the paper-shredder – who came on as a late substitute and promptly scored Norwich’s equalizer. Even without a tangible target – e.g. survival, Europe, etc. – Lambert’s team appeared more motivated than Arsene Wenger’s Champions-League-chasing- Gunners. Food for thought.
2. Big game Yaya — Jot this down for next season — Yaya Toure scores big goals. If last year’s FA Cup heroics hadn’t already cemented Toure’s place in Manchester City folklore, then his terrific brace on Sunday certainly did. Both goals oozed class: the first a composed finish from the edge of the area, and the second a fine bit of poaching.
3. Bundesliga — And now for some Bundesliga appreciation. Some still look down upon our Continental friends, but even England’s staunchest xenophobes have to hand it to the Germans: the Bundesliga produces top-class strikers. Papiss Cisse and Pavel Pogrebnyak are the two most recent examples of former-Bundesliga players making an impact in the Fantasy Premier League, following a trail that Demba Ba blazed about eighteen months ago. Make sure to sign Marin and Podolski as soon as the 2012/13 Fantasy Premier League opens for business.
4. Evaluate — The Fantasy season hasn’t quite ended, but now is still a great time for self-reflection. Should you have followed your instincts and signed Andy Carroll back in August? Probably not. And should you have drunkenly played your transfer wildcard during Gameweek 3? Again, probably not. The formula for success in all fantasy sports is quite simple: plan ahead, stay informed and never trust your intuition.
5. Scouting for next year — Finally, an enticing preview of next week’s post, which will highlight a few off-season activities for the budding fantasy manager. Euro 2012 kicks off in thirty days, providing an ideal opportunity for some early scouting. Keep an eye on players like Marin and Podolski (both already destined for the Premier League), as well as rumored transfer targets like Luuk De Jong and Alan Dzagoev.