In the Fantasy Premier League this weekend, it’s the first week of the Fantasy Premier League Cup where you’re randomly pitted against another opponent. Whoever has the highest score will progress to the next round of the cup competition next week. So, it’s imperative that you pick a great side this weekend to rack up the points. Here are some tips to help you (plus, be sure to visit fantasyfootballscout.co.uk for more tips).
Here are this week’s tips:
The sad decline of Newcaste United: Last season, Newcastle was one of the Premier League’s most consistent teams. Hatem Ben Arfa (7.5), Demba Ba (8.2) and Papiss Cisse (8.8) were fantasy stars, and Alan Pardew was, well, about ten times better at coaching football teams than the Alan Pardew whom Mike Ashley hired in 2010. This year’s been a little bit tougher: First, a bizarre loss to Southampton sent Newcaste tumbling towards the bottom half, then Pardew’s canned excuses (the words “Europa” and “League” featured prominently) made everyone at the club look kind of stupid, and now, finally, the specter of Kevin Keegan is looming, which pretty much speaks for itself.
Adel Taarabt: According to myth, legend and a couple of Queens Park Rangers message boards, Neil Warnock once banned Adel Taarabt (5.6) from touching the ball inside the defensive third. Taarabt is great in front of goal, or so Warnock argued, but he’s bloody unreliable everywhere else. Indeed, since this is English football, some would go even further and replace the “but” with a “therefore.” Over the years, England’s done its best to alienate what little homegrown talent Premier League academies have produced, as well as much of the foreign talent – e.g., Taarabt – that the clubs have scouted, thereby extending the years of hurt and making the FA, Charles Reep, and the Sam Allardyces of this world look rather silly. Taarabt’s no Matt Le Tissier, but he’s worth a shot.
Christian Benteke is an absolute monster: Romelu Lukaku (6.4) was supposed to be the Belgian Didier Drogba. He played for Chelsea – indeed, he was one of the first Premier League players young enough to have supported Abramovich-era Chelsea as a boy – and seemed big, powerful and generally angry. Then last season happened, and now Lukaku plays for West Brom (on loan, but the point stands). Christian Benteke (6.1), on the other hand, is actually scoring goals in the Premier League – just like old Didier.
Another reason to believe that the world will indeed end on Friday: MICHU (7.6) DIDN’T SCORE A GOAL AGAINST SPURS, WHICH BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A BIG DEAL, WHAT WITH HIS LOW PRICETAG AND ALL, BUT NOW… MY TEAM RELIES ON THIS GUY!
William Gallas and the rest of Tottenham’s back four: Spurs kept a clean sheet this weekend, so I wanted to write something nice about their defenders: Kyle Walker (6.1) has bags of potential, which is nearly always measured in bags; Jan Vertonghen (6.3) Has Adjusted To Life In English Football; Hugo Lloris (5.9) should be forgiven for nicking AMERICAN SUPERSTAR Brad Friedel’s starting spot; etc. For some reason, I was drawn to William Gallas (5.0), and particularly to his penchant for scoring strange goals, which he used to do all the time. Sadly, he’s only scored once this season, but I still have this sort of fantasy (see what I did there?) of an elated Gallas swinging his jersey in circles – like a cowboy, or, at least, like someone doing a bad imitation of a cowboy – as he celebrates a goal that probably wasn’t that important, and almost certainly wasn’t that pretty, with as much gusto as if it were the golden-goal winner in the final game of the planet’s last-ever World Cup.