Fantasy Football Week 1 review & Week 2 preview

We’ve been waiting all summer for the start of the Premier League and unfortunately it failed to live up to the hype. Monday’s performance by City aside, none of the matches will be in any highlight package of the season.

In fact, off the field events were the main topic of water cooler conversations in offices around the country. Finally, the summer’s longest drawn out transfer saga came to a conclusion with Fabregas finally returning to his motherland. More talked about, however, were the technical issues surrounding the fantasy Premier League website.

The Premier League revamped its fantasy football website over the summer. This new look coupled with a surge in activity Friday evening and Saturday morning prevented many users from being able to log in or even worse could not register a team in time. The Premier League has since issued an apology but it may well be scant consolation for some who are a week behind already or conversely those who have had a genuinely good week but now see everybody else issued a free wildcard this week.

Either way, it’s time to push on and put this shambles of a week behind us and leave it where it belongs in fantasy football folklore. In the SportsNewsIreland FF league, after week 1 Mark McNamara’s team Avenged Elevenfold is leading the way on 80 points. The metalhead made some shrewd picks with Bolton’s Cahill in defense and captaining the youthful Rooney in attack but perhaps the most eyebrow-raising selection was the Bolton forward Ivan Klasnic who scored one, assisted another & picked up 3 bonus points. Obviously, taking full advantage of Johan Elmander’s departure to Galatasaray, Klasnic could prove to be a fantasy football bargain. Then again, his GW 1 performance could just be a flash in the pan!

Hot on Mark’s heels are Gavin Grace & Mark Kearns in joint 2nd on 74 points. Gavin went with Man City’s Silva as captain who scored a goal & picked up a bonus point while Mark Kearns went with Suarez as captain, if it wasn’t for his missed penalty he would have had sole possession of 2nd spot but still a good performance nevertheless.

Looking at the other end of the table, apart from a few who unfortunately missed the 1st week’s 11:30 cut-off time, Lorrie Bennett, Caroline Kenny & John O’Flynn all share last place on 22 points. At least as the great Yazz once sang: “the only way is up” for these three.

Looking ahead to GW 2, the pick of the fixtures has to be Arsenal’s home tie with Liverpool. How will the Gunners fare against a so-called top side without Fabregas and Nasri? With new signing Gervinho suspended and Wilshere possibly still injured, it is the left to the likes of Ramsey, Walcott and forgotten-man Tomas Rosicky to provide the creative spark for Van Persie up front. For Liverpool, will all the new signings start to gel or will Kenny stick bring back in some fan favourites, the likes of Kuyt and Meireles for example. The match comes too soon for the injured Gerrard.

Man Utd’s home tie against Spurs on Monday evening is another eye-watering tie and already GW 2 looks a much better prospect than GW 1. Sergio Aguero will surely be a popular name in many teams around the country but some less marquee names worth checking out include:

• Mark Albrighton – The Villa wide-man will see much more game time now that Young and Downing have left. N’Zogbia will surely be the more popular choice but £1m cheaper at £6.5m and with upcoming matches against Blackburn, Wolves, Newcastle, QPR & Wigan, the young winger could be worth a punt.
• Jermaine Beckford – The Toffees striker has had a season to find his feet in the Premier League, he’ll be looking to improve on his 8 goal return last season. At £6.5m and with matches against the likes of QPR, Blackburn & Wigan, Beckford could be a shrewd pick if you’re looking for a budget striker
• Asmir Begovic – It was somewhat of a surprise when the Stoke stopper was given the no. 1 jersey over former fantasy football favourite Thomas Sorensen but he hasn’t let his manager down with a solid 09/10 season and after Stoke’s shutout against Chelsea, it looks like Tony Pulis has put more emphasis on his defense. Look for Begovic to pick up more clean sheets and save points this season.

Not too late to join the league, code to join is 989394-236934 but don’t leave it til Friday night/Saturday morning to join and finalise your team!

Good luck.

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