FPL Squad Mirroring Watford

As a fantasy manager my run of success came to an abrupt end after Gameweek 16, posting a season low, 35 points. As a Watford supporter, its been a run of frustration since the 4-2 loss in Gameweek 9 to Chelsea, a match in which we were up 2-1 into the 70′ minute. The past 2 gameweeks have a trend developing in FPL, which mirrors the struggles Watford have faced since that Chelsea loss. Subsequent losses to Stoke City, the come from behind win by Everton, coupled with the 1-0 heatbreaker at Burnley and yesterday’s collapse in the final minutes to drop more points, 2-1 away to Palace.
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Fantasy Football Thanks

As a fantasy manager I have some strong convictions when it comes to how I plan my squad and strategize over the course of the FPL season. That statement could be applied to nearly all fantasy mangers in the game. This year, more than the past 4 years I feel I have a better knowledge and understanding of how the game is played. The misconception of participating in fantasy (NFL) football for 38 years gave me a false sense of understanding the English game. Understand the players, understand the game, but there is much more to FPL.
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Click Click Boom

That was the sound heard prior to the conclusion of Saturday’s fixtures after Callum Wilson netted his third goal of the day, as Bournemouth rolled up Huddersfield, 4-0. This was your classic knee jerk reaction transferring in a player returning from injury, making a major impact. While I have preached patience this season, as we haven’t seen many patterns emerge to date, this reaction to Wilson’s performance nearly had me clicking a -8 before I stopped and told myself to slow down before I made any further rash decisions.
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GW12 Captain Quandry

Breakfast time in America and I still have no decision on who will grab the captain’s armband for Gameweek 12. To date, I have hit on just 3 captain selections through 12 weeks resulting in 80 total captain points. Harry Kane in Gameweek 7 returned 26 points, while on my Free Hit in Gameweek 9, Romelu Lukaku returned 10 points and during Gameweek 11, Richarlison posted 14 points. Looking at my starting XI, Harry Kane should be the unanimous selection weekly, but his returns have been nothing less than disappointing, especially costing me £12.6. At this point of the season, we need to step back and potentially look elsewhere for a viable captain option.
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Potential Budget Midfielders

Taking a look at premium attacks means looking to Man City to fill out your midfield and foward attacks. Outside of Sergio Agüero, all are fairly affordable, especially if you have the likes of Christian Eriksen of Dele Alli still in your starting XI. Premiums don’t come without a price, as fantasy managers must round out their midfield with 2-3 budget players even non-players. Heading into the holiday season, the wise move is make sure you run with 15 starting players, in order to reduce the risk of running out 10 starters or less. Budget midfielders have held their own this season, as Richarlison has been near the top all season.
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Attacking Question Marks

With time on my hands and a plan in the works, there are a list of players I am currently targeting to bring in, as well as other who remain on a watch list. Currently without a wild card, activated for GW5, I have taken my first consecutive 4 point hits of the season, in order to shift my 5-2-3 formation to one with more attacking potential. We have already seen the potential of running big at the back with premium wing backs. We have also experienced life with 3 big forwards. Now it appears the tide is turning and fantasy managers turn their attention to bolstering their midfield.
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Starting Eleven

Along with participating in the FPL game, as well as their new draft game, I decided to give the new online fantasy football league called Starting Eleven a change last week after hearing the Brandon and Josh interviewed Thomas Braun on a recent Always Cheating podcast. Gameweek 1 was highly successful, finishing 2nd in the world on Saturday. It appeared I might actually know a little something about fantasy football having having a great Saturday, but faltered on Sunday and didn’t fare as well. Still, the game and interactive experience was great, adding a new dimension to the fantasy game while watching along.

 

The game is simple and played on a daily basis, as long as there are 2 teams involved. As the manager you select your starting XI for that game day, along with assigning the captaincy. Once the games kickoff, you are allowed 3 transfers during that day. This is what makes Starting Eleven unique. If you are losing and your forward pulls up with an injury, you make a real time substitution!

Last week, I was a bit late to the party, as I made zero transfers on Saturday, due to a prior commitment, which nearly cost me the victory over Brandon at AC, hanging on to victory 167.7 to 165.3. Brandon on the other hand, made a late substitute in order get the upper hand and a chance to change the outcome.

Starting Eleven offers various single day game types; 1 vs 1, Winner Take All (WTA) 50/50 and Private Game. The 1 vs 1 is a head-to-head game against another manager with winner-take-all stakes. The WTA allows you to compete against a group of managers. The highest-scoring manager takes the entire prize pool. The 50/50 is similar to WTA, as it’s played against a group of managers with the top 50% winning prizes. Finally there’s the private game, played as a 1 vs 1 against a friend.

Currently all single day game types offer free contests, but cash prizes for U.S. and U.K. players is coming in Fall, 2017. This will allow managers to not only earn bragging rights, but take home a spot of cash for the managerial prowess. Until that time, games will be played free, learning the game and scoring system.

For more information drop by the Starting Eleven website and see what the app is all about. It’s great fun, while being more interactive than other fantasy games. Feel free to contact me on Twitter (@w6onv) if you would like a 1 vs 1 challenge.

WWC: Not For Me

While I am a footie fan and follow the game worldwide, I am not a fan of the MLS, WPS or either the men’s or women’s USA national teams. Some individuals I talk to were surprised that I had no interest in watching the Women’s World Cup. Maybe it’s much like the WNBA, while their skills could be technically sound, watching them play is not my idea of exciting. I won’t deny what the women’s team have achieved in the past as they go for their third World Cup Championship (as I understand it).

As for the men’s team, their skill level is not on par with that of countries and clubs worldwide. There are some individual players who have made their livelihood playing abroad, for example Tim Howard, goalkeeper for Everton. Unfortunately after his little tirade when he was a sieve against Mexico I have lost much of the respect I had for one of the USA’s best players.

The game played in the states is not on par with the top leagues in countries like England, Spain, Italy just to name a few. Again, I have nothing to compare the women too since I have no idea the level of play of leagues outside the USA. I can’t even begin to comment on the WPS since the league is of no interest.

I am glad to see many non-soccer enthusiasts excited for the Women’s World Cup final, but I won’t be one of the many watching or really caring about the outcome of the game. For me the excitement begins with the new EPL season, August 13th with friendly matches kicking off this weekend.

America Plays Soccer, the World, Football

I believe there are many fans who are supporting their nation during the 2010 World Cup are not fans of the game, especially in the US. I am sure the same can be said of other countries too, but I chose the US because football…er…soccer as most Americans call it is not one of the top sports played in the states especially at the youth levels cannot compare to that of baseball, football, basketball and even hockey or auto racing.

Now that I have said that, I have received e-mails and comments saying I have “un-American” and “not patriotic” amongst other colorful adjectives when it comes to my lack of support for the US Men’s National Soccer Team. While not Italian, I have support the Azzurri since I started watching football from the Serie A, being a supporter of AS Roma, it stands to reason I fly my colors for Italy when the World Cup comes around.

Many “fans” seem to have a problem because I lend no support to my home nation. Why should I? First, the sport is not popular in America. Their professional league is mediocre at best, usually used as a playground for older European players. Any homegrown talent makes the move to Europe in order to advance their football careers.

Through out this World Cup I have found myself cheering for the likes of North Korea, Switzerland, Japan and New Zealand. Not necessarily strong teams when it comes to international competition, but because they have pushed some of the perennial favorites and in some cases victory. It’s more than just about your home nation. This is “the beautiful game” and watching players of this caliber on the international stage provides for some great football.

I will give credit where it is due, the US did create two nice goals versus Slovenia as they came from behind to draw. Funny, but when the US drew 1-1 with England many in the media and fans called it “a win.” Not sure how they come up with that logic, but whatever makes them feel successful.

Much like England, the US is underachieving in this World Cup, England more so. Another point versus Algeria and they will be on the long flight home possibly ending another three and out campaign at the World Cup. We have already heard the cries of “foul” for the disallowed goal that would have given the US a victory yesterday. Wouldn’t be the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last. Take your lumps and move on. Just ask France, who shouldn’t even be in South Africa if it were not for Thierry Henry’s “Hand of God” moment.

FoxSoccer.com: WTF?

I am beginning to resent reading articles from FoxSoccer. The writers who have provided recent content are not good. Maybe some of this can be knocked off to the 2010 World Cup. I doubt it, but I was looking for some excuse to continue reading what they print.

How about we start with Jamie Trecker. He claims to be a “working journalist for 25 years” but his writing begs the question, “Does he really follow the beautiful game?” He has been covering the 32 nations competing in this year’s world Cup, but there has been a considerable amount of inaccurate “journalism” (if you can call it that) provided. Much of the country history provided could be found on Wikipedia and probably more accurate that some of the information he has attempted to convey.

When it comes to the nations and players his style of writing seems to continue done a poor path. Anyone with an opinion can be called a “working journalist.” Hell, by me writing this why don’t I call myself a journalist, but unlike Trecker I have a real job. Chances are I could have provided as good of synopsis as he has done for 29 days. I already know the homer support for the USA when it comes to the last team he will write about.

Today, it went from bad to worse with Robert Burns, “a senior editor” submitting a piece titled, “Burning our flag should incite U.S. payback.” It is an absolutely terrible article about “a mob of despondent Liverpool supporters” who burned a U.S. flag in protest because of the American owners.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Jr have been terrible owners for Liverpool. Want to know why L’pool had such as poor season, outside of injuries, look at the owners. Of course you see them on TV sitting in their box, looking like footie fans, but we know better. “I’m disappointed because I think we’ve done everything we can to improve the club in so many ways over the past three years from the way it had been run before,” said Tom Hicks. The only success L’pool had was in 2006 when the Americans took ownership losing in the Champions League final.

As the Liverpool motto goes, “You’ll never walk alone.” The only ones who should be walking alone are Hicks and Gillett making sure the door does not hit them in the ass on the way out.

Now that I am worked up, the article is nothing more than a poorly planned hit piece attempting to banter support for the USA prior to their first group round game with England. This is not a newsworthy story at all. Who cares what a few Liverpool supports did. Much like the mainstream media, Robert Burns has taken an isolated incident and turned it into an international disaster.

Mr. Burns who cares if another country is burning our flag. We have seen these actions by many countries over the year. Americans still don’t know shit about, what they call “soccer” while the world call it football. On Saturday that big stick you see and feel will be the US being smacked upside the head once again, by another superior nation on the pitch. Keep asinine articles like this to yourself. I am shocked Fox Soccer would allow such a thing. Guess there are always other, more reputable football sites to read.