Wednesday 31st August

August Round Up

Well it’s been fun so far and it also looks as if the usual suspects are back in business at this early stage of the season; Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester City occupy the top three Premier League spots and are the only teams with three wins out of three. However we are yet to see any of the likely top four contenders play each other so it’s fair to say those winning streaks won’t last for ever. Everton are in fourth place and looking more confident and assured under Ronald Koeman but a top four place looks beyond them for at least one more season.

Hull City and Middlesbrough are uncharacteristically high up the league but that won’t last long and they’ll be replaced by more of the usual suspects – Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool. Current champions Leicester City started slowly but grabbed their first win in their third match against Swansea and a very dominant performance it was too.

The bottom of the league already features several teams who will be surely be battling relegation in May – Watford, Bournemouth and Stoke City; it’s going to be a long season and they all need to find a win before they get detached from the middle of the table. Consequently these are the teams to avoid when picking your DFS teams with the exception of players such as Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe who seems able to score regardless of the success of his team.

There’s an international break in the first week of September so we’ll resume Premier league action following that – however there are competitions available revolving around the various friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers so you don’t need to take a back seat.

Thursday 4th August

Premier League 2016/2017 Preview

The European Championships finished for England with the customary and familiar disappointment for all fans of the national team but we can now brush that aside and look forward to another Premier League season.

At this early stage the bookies are predicting a a three-way battle between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United and Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. Each of these clubs needs the stability that the right manager can bring and which was seriously lacking last season; we’re not completely convinced about Mourinho’s appointment but Conte and Guardiola look like the real deal.

Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool remain in the second tier of likely Premier League winners at this stage; Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have had a huge clear out at Anfield and brought in a number of players from the Bundesliga and it’s time to see some concrete improvement at that club. Arsenal & Spurs squads remain largely unchanged and we’re struggling to see how either of the North London clubs can put together a realistic title challenge.

Then we come to Leicester City, current Premier League champions but according to the bookies not likely to make it even into the Champions League. N’Golo Kante left for Chelsea but the rest of the team remains unchanged and there have been some interesting additions by Claudio Ranieri which may or not prove to be as effective as his previous bargain finds. Leicester will continue to cause plenty of problems for the other teams but we don’t think they’ll be challenging for the title again.

At the other end of the table it’s those teams promoted from the Championship which are the clear favourites for the drop – Hull City may as well not bother turning up according to the bookies but Burnley, Middlesbrough, West Brom and Watford are all presumed to be in the relegation mix.

Monday 16th May

DFS Season Review

That’s the Premier League done and dusted for one more season then and it’s one we’ll remember for a while because of the way Leicester City have brushed aside the usual suspects and kept their foot on the accelerator as long as was necessary.

The upshot of that league win has been the appearance of two Foxes’ players in the team of the season (below). Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy were the driving forces behind Leicester’s goal scoring antics. However Leicester’s style of play and lack of possession meant that no other players made the cut – they were also solid in defence but just edged aside by three players from Arsenal at the back – Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny. Toby Alderweireld from Spurs fills the fourth spot in this 4-3-3 formation.

Arsenal and Spurs also fill two of the other midfield spots with Mesut Ozil and Cristian Eriksen respectively but there’s a surprise in the remaining spot as Swansea’s Andre Ayew makes the cut – 12 goals from midfield, 5 assists and 8 clean sheets justifying his inclusion.

Alongside Jamie Vardy up front (24 league goals) we have Spurs’ Harry Kane (25 league goals) and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku (18 league goals).

It’s easy to see that many of the large clubs failed spectacularly this season and there are no players from either Manchester team, Liverpool or Chelsea; the top three finishers in the Premier League provide us with nine of the eleven highest scoring players with two outstanding performances from Lukaku and Ayew who raise above their mid-table teammates to rack up the fantasy points.

Now let’s all look forward to the European Championships and then the start of the new PL in August.

team of the season dfs

Monday 9th May 2016

It’s that time of the year when the football season is about to end and we wonder what to do with the summer months. It’s not a problem this year because the European Championships will fill the void but before that we have a final week of Premier League fixtures and therefore plenty of DFS competitions to enter.

On Tuesday we have the final game from from the Boleyn ground as West Ham United host Manchester United and there’s still a top four place up for grabs.

  • West Ham vs Manchester United

Wednesday brings us the following three games:

  • Norwich City vs Watford
  • Sunderland vs Everton
  • Liverpool vs Chelsea

The match at Anfield looks like the big game but it’s the other two fixtures which will go a long way to determine who’s going to get relegated to the Championship this season. A Sunderland draw will almost certainly mean safety for the Wearsiders but Norwich will be looking for a win to keep an unlikely escape on the cards.

Finally on Sunday it’s the final game of the Premier League season and there may or may not be much to play for in terms of European spots and relegation places.

  • Arsenal vs Aston Villa
  • Chelsea vs Leicester City
  • Everton vs Norwich City
  • Manchester United vs Bournemouth
  • Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur
  • Southampton vs Crystal Palace
  • Stoke City vs West Ham
  • Swansea City vs Manchester City
  • Watford vs Sunderland
  • West Bromwich Albion vs Liverpool

Monday 18th April 2016

epl logoWith the exception of Friday there’s Premier League action every day this week which is great for us footie fans and also good news for those like to dabble in a bit of DFS. Things kick off on Monday evening with a vitally important game for the visitors and for Fantasy League purposes you’ll also have to have a bash at a Turkish league match:

  • Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur
  • Genclerbirligi vs Trabzonspor

On Tuesday it’s:

  • Newcastle United vs Manchester City

and at Draftkings the pick involves players from Monday and Tuesday so you’ll need to make your selection by kick off on Monday evening. City’s form means this should be an away win but Newcastle aren’t too bad at home and are fighting for their lives against relegation.

Wednesday brings us three matches including the ever-exciting Merseyside derby:

  • West Ham vs Watford
  • Liverpool vs Everton
  • Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

All three look like narrow home wins to us but the latter two games hold the chance of an upset and some defensive points.

On to Thursday then and it’s another match which should be a homer but fans of the North London team are learning to expect anything these days:

  • Arsenal vs WBA

There are just four games on Saturday and there are two in particular we would look two for regulation home wins:

  • Manchester City vs Stoke City
  • Aston Villa vs Southampton
  • Bournemouth vs Chelsea
  • Liverpool vs Newcastle United

We fancy Man City and Liverpool for the home wins while the other two games may well produce two away wins.

Finally we come to Sunday and another important day in the title race:

  • Sunderland vs Arsenal
  • Leicester City vs Swansea City

Leicester City will start favourites for this tie but will be without the irrepressible Jamie Vardy after his two yellow cards against West Ham. Will Arsenal turn up against a Sunderland team fighting against the drop? We shall see.

Monday 4th April 2016

There’s plenty going on this week and from Tuesday we see the return of the Champions League, followed by the Europa League on Thursday and a full Premier league fixture list.

Tuesday brings us the following fixtures:

  • Barcelona vs Athletico Madrid
  • Bayern Munich vs Benfica

and on Wednesday we have:

  • Paris St. Germain vs Manchester City
  • VfL Wolfsburg vs Real Madrid

Tuesday’s games should see two comprehensive home wins and while Wednesday’s games may be slightly closer, we can’t see past wins for Paris and Real Madrid.

Thursday’s Europa League fixtures are:

  • Athletic Bilbao vs Sevilla
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Liverpool
  • Sporting Braga vs Shakhtar Donetsk 
  • Villareal vs Sparta Prague

There are some interesting games here and we like the look of players from Bilbao, Dortmund, Braga and Villareal; the Braga/Donetsk fixture could be a goal fest so keep an eye out for that one.

Saturday brings us seven Premier League games:

  • West Ham vs Arsenal
  • Aston Villa vs Bournemouth
  • Crystal Palace vs Norwich City
  • Southampton vs Newcastle United
  • Swansea City vs Chelsea
  • Watford vs Everton
  • Manchester City vs West Bromwich Albion

There are some tricky ties here but Manchester City and Crystal Palace stand out as home wins, despite Palace’s poor recent form. Chelsea will look for a clean sheet away at Swansea and Southampton will be strong favourites against a struggling Newcastle side.

Sunday brings us three more matches:

  • Sunderland vs Leicester City
  • Liverpool vs Stoke City
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United

Once again it’s Leicester and Spurs leading the line and it’s another chance for the Foxes to extend their lead at the top of the table; Liverpool will be favourites at home against Stoke City.

Monday 28th March 2016

After last week’s rather slim pickings for Fantasy Football fans we return to action at the weekend with some options on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are still plenty of international friendlies in midweek and so both Mondogoal and Draftkings have nothing available until Friday.

On Friday we have an interesting and multinational lineup:

  • Rayo Vallecano vs Getafe
  • Monaco vs Bordeaux
  • Queens Park Rangers vs Middlesbrough

Vallecano vs Getafe is a bottom of the league clash while in the French league 2nd placed Monaco take on lower mid-table Bordeaux. Back in the Championship Boro will be hoping to climb back into the automatic promotion places against mid-table QPR.

On Saturday it’s EPL business as usual with eight matches from which to select:

  • Aston Villa vs Chelsea
  • Arsenal vs Watford
  • Bournemouth vs Manchester City
  • Norwich City vs Newcastle United
  • Stoke City vs Swansea City
  • Sunderland vs West Bromwich Albion
  • West Ham United vs Crystal Palace
  • Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur

There are some tricky ties for DFS players on Saturday but in particular we’ll be looking at Chelsea (at Villa) and Arsenal (at home to Watford) to form the basis of or teams. Stoke and West ham also look like good bets for home wins and goals.

..and then on Sunday we have two matches, one of which is of vital importance to the outcome of the league title:

  • Leicester City vs Southampton
  • Manchester United vs Everton

We should see two home wins on Sunday afternoon but Leicester City are now on the final, tense title push while City are struggling for consistency at home as well as on the road. Still, home players look like the way forward here.

Monday 21st March 2016

mls logoAnother week passes and Leicester City have managed to retain their five point lead at the top of the Premier League with a narrow but exciting 1 – 0 win at Crystal Palace. Spurs remain in the hunt with a 3 – 0 win over Bournemouth while Arsenal are just about hanging on after a 2 – 0 at Everton.

Manchester City remain in fourth place but were beaten 1 – 0 at home by Manchester United and West Ham closed the gap on the top four with a 2 – 2 draw at Chelsea.

The upcoming week is a very quiet one in terms of Fantasy Football because it’s a week full of international friendlies which puts all the top league around Europe and further afield out of action. We wonder why it’s not possible to create some lower league competitions for us DFS addicts but that’s the way it is and we have to wait until Saturday/Sunday. We’ve entered teams for a several competitions involving the following teams at Mondogoal and DraftKings:

  • New York City FC vs New England Revolution
  • D. C. United vs FC Dallas
  • Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo
  • Monarcas Morelia vs Chiapas FC

We know you know where these teams are from but we’ll just state that the first three are from the MLS while the last is a fixture from the Mexican Liga MX which frankly we don’t know too much about – nothing a bit of research can’t overcome though.

None of the MLS teams are setting the world alight but they’ve each played only three games so far this season; Vancouver & Houston are very high scorers so we have avoided defenders from those teams and selected players from further up the field. The opposite is true of the D. C. United and FC Dallas match and our defence consists entirely of these players.

New York and New England are in pretty average form but there are one or two players racking up the fantasy points there so both teams are worth checking out for likely players.

Down in Mexico both Monarcas Morelia and Chiapas FC are in the bottom half of the table with the hosts on a three game losing streak from which they need to recover quickly. Chiapas FC look like likely winners here and we have picked a smattering of their players in various positions as well as a defender from Morelia.

 

Leicester's superstars - Jamie Vardy & Riyaz Mahrez
Leicester’s superstars – Jamie Vardy & Riyaz Mahrez

Monday 14th March 2016

Monday evening brings us one of the most important games of the week and we’ve hardly got started – Leicester City vs Newcastle United at the King Power Stadium and the Foxes can regain their five point lead at the top of the Premier League with a win over relegation-threatened Newcastle now under the control of Rafael Benitez following the departure of Steve McLaren.

Leicester are currently 4/7 favourites to win with Skybet and several City players could fill their boots with points tonight – the visitors need a win and will press forward, allowing Leicester to counterattack in the way they have so successfully this season.

On Tuesday the Champions League returns with the second leg of two matches – Atletico Madrid vs PSV Eindhoven (0-0) and Manchester City vs Dynamo Kiev (3-1). The two home teams are strong favourites to progress to the next round and we like the look of a clean sheet at Atletico and plenty of goal action in Manchester. The Madrid team are very strong defensively, conceding just 6 goals in the last 16 games in La Liga while Manchester City may well be vulnerable to conceding a goal against the Ukrainians but will win out ultimately at odds of 8/13.

Wednesday sees the final set of Champions League matches with Barcelona vs Arsenal and Bayern Munich vs Juventus; the former looks like a relatively easy task for Barcelona but Arsenal could get on the scoresheet before ultimately losing the tie. Juventus put up a good fight in the first round against Bayern Munich but the Germans should finish the job on Wednesday with a win and a clean sheet to boot.

It’s the turn of the Europa Cup on Thursday and the big match will be the return leg between Manchester United and Liverpool; however there’s some uncertainly there in terms of the result so we’ll more than likely look at games involving Lazio vs Sparta Prague, Bayer Leverkusen vs Villareal and Sevilla vs Basel for our DFS selection.

The Premier League returns on Saturday with six ties, none of which look like simple predictions:

  • Everton vs Arsenal
  • Chelsea vs West Ham
  • Crystal Palace vs Leicester City
  • Watford vs Stoke City
  • West Bromwich Albion vs Norwich City
  • Swansea City vs Aston Villa

West Brom look the most likely to grab all three points at home but otherwise it’s a tricky pick and some careful planning is required.

There are four more matches on Sunday:

  • Newcastle United vs Sunderland
  • Southampton vs Liverpool
  • Manchester City vs Manchester United
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth

Obviously there are two fantastic local derbies plus an awkward trip to Southampton for Liverpool and what should be a regulation win for Spurs at home against the Cherries. That latter game looks to be the best bet for guaranteed points but there should be plenty of goals in the other matches also.