Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 31

  • Squeaky Bum Time- As the clock ticks on this year’s Premier League, fantasy managers everywhere are beginning to sweat. Whatever your motivation – pub bragging rights, office sweepstakes, England job – the importance of cashing in on opportunities now couldn’t be clearer. With that in mind, here’s a bit of advice: If you haven’t yet used your transfer wildcard, do so, but don’t be the guy who drunkenly plays it ten minutes before gameweek deadline. You might wind up relying on Emile Heskey in a crucial Fantasy Cup tie. 
  • Torres Time?- We all claim to wish him the best, but secretly we enjoy every minute of his agony. We love it when he misses.

Schadenfreude is an emotion familiar to most involved in fantasy football – or in real football, but who cares about that? Watching others fail is a big part of what makes sports fun and, ultimately, fun is what sports are all about. So to see Fernando Torres scoring again is very disheartening indeed. If Torres nets in the Champions League midweek, then he will have ended droughts in all three major competitions. The words “in form” might suddenly apply. His name might start to appear on fantasy transfer lists, then fantasy starting line-ups. It’s a shame, but Torres is edging closer to his best and — in good, cynical football tradition – it’s time that the fantasy public started to exploit that fact.

  • Sessegnon- At the heart of Sunderland’s 3-3 draw at Manchester City – a match that was arguably the story of the weekend – was Stephane Sessegnon. The muscular, poised Sessegnon is a tough, agile attacking midfielder. Apart from his two assists, he  launched several effective counter attacks, and his boundless energy – especially in contrast to Silva’s tiredness – is impressive at this stage in the season. Certainly, a worthwhile transfer target.
  • Everton’s defense- You know something is up when Victor Anichebe scores. And while what was “up” on Saturday had nothing to do with the big Nigerian, it bears fantasy significance. Since losing 1-0 to Arsenal, Everton haven’t conceded a single goal, notching clean sheets against Swansea and West Brom in the league, and Sunderland in the FA Cup. Players like Tony Hibbert, Leighton Baines and Sylvain Distin seem to be hitting their stride just at the right time. Keep an eye on them.
  • You’re Welcome- On Thursday evening, around 6:30, I sacked Clint Dempsey. On Saturday afternoon, around 3:02, Dempsey put Fulham 1-0 up against Norwich City. Any connection? Of course. So, if you benefited from Dempsey’s goal – and later his assist – I’m the one to thank. Oh, by the way, Fulham play Chelsea next week, a team Dempsey has had success against in the past.

And a few other good shouts: Papiss Cisse, Juan Mata, Nicklas Bendtner (!), Antonio Valencia, Jonny Evans and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Read more by David Yaffe-Bellany at In For The Hat Trick and follow him on Twitter @INFTH.

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