Daily Archives: January 5, 2011

Fergie’s Fantasy: Rating the Dream Team

Betcha he wishes he had a wild card...

It’s the January transfer window! While it’s not as exciting as the summer transfer window, it is a good opportunity for fantasy managers to revamp their teams. That’s because, for the first time, the Premier League fantasy game offers a January wild card where you can make as many transfers as you like.   Here’s the top 11 in terms of points for the season so far, and whether you should transfer them in or out…

Goalkeeper

Joe Hart –  Manchester City – 110pts.
He’s pricey but worth every penny.  Just ask Arsenal.  He made five brilliant saves to hold a clean sheet against them away from home.  IN

Defenders

No-nonsense Vidic

Nemanja Vidic – Manchester United – 90 pts. 
The rock on Manchester United’s back four has been as solid as ever lately. While does have three goals this year, you can count on him for clean-sheet points as Man U has been very stingy when it comes to conceding goals.  IN

Ashley Cole – Chelsea – 89 pts.
Nothing against Cole personally but Chelsea are in a freefall (Ed Note: He’s a tw@t).  Nobody on the squad is scoring consistently and they aren’t keeping many clean sheets either.  If the veterans start to turn on each other it could get uglier.  OUT unless Chelsea turns it around.

Leighton Baines – Everton – 92 pts. 
The Everton defender had 138 pts last season and now has 92 at the halfway point.  He’s on fire.  Yes he’s pricey, but worth it.  IN

Midfielders

Nani has been more than OK for FFL points

Nani – Manchester United – 116 pts.
Nani has thrived in the absence of Valencia from the Man United lineup. He also seems to score whether Wayne Rooney is in or not. In addition to his goals he gets piles of assists from his crosses. Did I mention he and Tevez are tied for the fantasy scoring lead? IN. Make him your captain.

Tim Cahill – Everton – 107 pts.
Cahill plays almost as high up the pitch as a striker, but he’s still classified as a midfielder…. so in that sense is an interesting choice.  He’s an unstoppable force in the box this season but since he’s now at the Asia Cup, you need to ditch him.  If he stays healthy think about grabbing him again later on.  OUT

Florent Malouda – Chelsea – 105 pts.
I thought this was going to be Malouda’s year.  He seemed to be an explosive offensive force throughout the early portion of the season, but like Ashley Cole, his fantasy numbers have tanked during the team’s recent struggles.  OUT

Rafael Van Der Vaart – Tottenham – 108pts.
If it weren’t for some injury trouble, he would surely be leading the league in fantasy points.  He does it all: scores goals, sets up goals, takes corners, takes free kicks.  Combined with the strong play of Gareth Bale, Spurs have an increasingly deadly midfield.  IN and make him your captain (if for some reason you haven’t picked up Nani.)

Strikers

Tevez breezes by Captain Schtupping

Carlos Tevez – Manchester City – 116 pts.
One of the few players who seems to be able to leave any off-field issues where they belong: off the field.  He performs against great competition and weak teams both and can score almost any time he touches the ball.  IN

Dimitar Berbatov – Manchester United – 113 pts.
Maybe I’m bitter because I dropped him the night before he scored his five goals in one game, (Hey, can you blame me? He hadn’t scored in ten games or so.  But that still didn’t stop me from weeping as I watched.  No one was buying my ‘tears of joy’ excuse.) but I don’t think Berbatov can score without playing alongside Wayne Rooney.  He slumped the first time Rooney was injured this year, and I wouldn’t advise picking him up until they are reunited. OUT

Andrew Carroll – Newcastle – 113 pts.
A walking advertisement for the quality of the Championship, Carroll waltzed into the Premier League and immediately became one of its most deadly strikers.  He’s injured now but if you have him, I’d keep him.  If not, wait until he gets healthy, which should be in a week or two, and then transfer him. IN

Scott Ferguson

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Quem comeu todas as empanadas?

Ooooo... you fat bastard!

It’s that nefarious time of year when you realize that the fantasy is over.  You can’t maintain the holiday lifestyle forever with no work, ample sleep and copious amounts of food and beverages.

After New Year’s Eve, we all jump on the wagon, head to the gym and watch what we eat.  After a week of willpower, we are quite proud of ourselves that we said “No” to the free office Timbits or the invitation for after-work beers.  I know I look down at the small man living under my shirt and say, “It’s not so bad… I can make it go away.”

That was until I saw these photos of Brazilian Ronaldo in the Daily Mail.  Of course, it’s New Year’s Eve and he’s partying with booze and gorgeous women.  He’s Brazilian, for the love of God!!! It’s in his DNA!!!

But then I saw the headline and caption.  If this is considered fat, if this is considered “packing on the pounds”, then I’m just going to crawl up in the fetal position with a bottle of  Jack Daniels and a tub of Haagen-Daaz, watching old episodes of Baywatch and wondering what could have been…

You go, Ronaldo.  You go girl…

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Benfica Brushes Off Bid

It's a 35 million pound plane ride from Lisbon to London for Luiz

Reports surfaced this week that Benfica turned down Chelsea’s 17-million pound bid for defender David Luiz.  The reign of Mourinho at Stamford Bridge was marked by several acquisitions from the Portuguese Primeira Liga (most of them at the back): Bosignwa, Ferreira, Carvalho, Deco, Hilario, Maniche, Nuno Marais, Tiago.  So you’d be forgiven for thinking Lord Valdemorta was still in charge.

The Brazilian Luiz has been a rock for the Lisbon club. He’s also only 23… that’s fetus years for a central defender.  It may not come as a surprise then that Benfica has valued their young investment at a whopping 35 million pounds.

The asking price may be for the benefit of the prying eyes and deep pockets of  Chelski and Manchester al-Citeh, but it may also speak towards a new attitude at Benfica.

The all-time league champions have been forced to watch as a Northern power — Porto — has grown to dominate Portuguese soccer, winning 13 of the last 20 domestic titles as well as a couple of European titles.  Shades of Liverpool acquiesing to Manchester United over the exact same time frame.

But unlike Liverpool, Benfica has been re-born, winning last year’s title and pipping both Porto and hated derby rivals, Sporting, for a Champions League spot.  Now they are keen to hang onto that new pride.

Except things haven’t been that great lately.  Benfica are chasing Porto in the league, sitting eight points behind them.  It didn’t help that The Dragons humiliated Benfica in November, hobbling them with a 5-0 pounding that may haunt the Eagles if goal difference comes into play.  They have also dropped into the Europa League, which means there could still be an extra showdown with big bad Porto.

Benfica is a young team.  During their last league game, they fielded eight players under the age of 25; three were defenders and a fourth was a defensive midfielder.  They are also very heavily South American.  Again, the last league game featured eight from the continent, including veterans Javier Saviola and Pablo Aimar, as well as World Cup standouts like Paraguay’s Oscar Cardoza and Uruguay’s Maxi Pereira.  In fact, I picked Pereira as well as LB/LW Fabio Coentrao for my World Cup Starting XI.

I think it’s great that Benfica have popped such an exorbitant tag on Luiz. Before the age of television rights, Benfica were a force who could compete with the Real Madrids and Chelseas.  Sure, Luiz’ sale would generate some incredible cash for the team.  But maybe they know that Abramovich is losing interest in his English hobby… and that Manchester City is having trouble dumping salaries.

Or maybe they are just being a little bit selfish and petty.  Good for them.

Brent Lanthier

Luiz in 20 years...

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