Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gameweek 22 Diary

14:00 The big early story of the day (aside from all the Kaka drama) is that Didier Drogba has been left out of the Chelsea squad. With two weeks remaining in the transfer window, what's the betting the Ivorian won't be wearing blue by the end of January. I'd strongly suggest getting rid of Drogba is anyone stills owns him as even if he stays his first team place is a long from being guaranteed.

14:10 For those who took a gamble on the uber-cheap Johnny Evans, it has been confirmed that he has arrived at the Reebok along with Tevez, though word on their fitness tests is yet to surface.

14:12 Lets go round the grounds and maybe throw a few predictions out there. Six 3pm games today, with Hull-Arsenal following on at 5:30.

Bolton - United. Bolton have been pretty tight at home conceding 11 in 10 tough have only managed 8 goals. When you welcome United in their current form you know are going to need to score and with the Reds shooting for a 10th straight clean sheet, I'm afraid I can only see this one going one way. Bolton did win this 1-0 last year but that was when they had the class of Anelka to score from nothing. I'll take 2-0 to United with goals from Ronaldo and Carrick.

Chelsea - Stoke. Chelsea's defensive woes have been well documented but Stoke have scored just 6 away from the Brittania this season, while Chelsea have 17 goals at home. Stoke may nick one if Chelsea can't handle the set pieces but I'd punt for a clean sheet and a couple of goals for Chelsea. In fact I'll go with 3-0 with goals from Lampard, Anelka and Ballack.

Blackburn - Newcastle. Two somewhat unpredictable sides meet here with the added fire of Big Sam facing the club at which his impressive reputation took a huge knock. Newcastle aren't great away and Blackburn aren't great at home so I can see a close one here with perhaps a draw coming out in the end. 1-1 with goals from Roberts and Guthrie.

Man City - Wigan. City are the team on everyone's tongue at the moment, and let me take the opportunity to say that I think the impact of the Kaka transfer is being overblown and won't see football collapsing around us. Yes its alot of money but was so 30m for Ferdinand, Veron and Rooney in back to back seasons. City aren't running up debt (which is dangerous) and the higher prices will likely only affect them. After all, Bill Gates can afford anything he wants but that doesn't mean we all have to pay $8m for a cheeseburger. Anyway, I digress so onto the game. I really like Wigan's side though it looks like Palacious will miss out after almost agreeing his move to Spurs. City have scored 24 at home though Wigan have been relatively tough away from home. I can see Robinho, fresh from his injury, being too much for Wigan though and City will take this one 2-1 with goals from that man Robinho (2) and Heskey.

Sunderland - Villa. Sunderland have been much better under Sbragia but I see Villa having too much here. Sunderland just don't have the pace to deal with Agbonlahor and Young. 2-0 Villa with goals from Milner and Agbonlahor.

West Brom - Boro. Surely this game has almost zero fantasy impact. Boro have just 8 road goals this season and have shipped 15. West Brom are decent at home and I think they might sneal this one 1-0 with a lone goal for Roman Bednar.

14:29 Team news from the Reebok and Johnny Evans and Tevez have both been passed fit to take the field for United, who go top with three points. O'Shea steps in at left back for Evra, and Ronaldo, Anderson, Fletcher and Carrick make up the midifield. For Bolton, fantasy favourite (and legend) Steinsson returns, as does Cahill which will certainly sure up the Wanderers defense. Ariza Makukula (27) makes his debut after sealing his move just in time from Benfica. The Congoloese big man is 6'3 and had a decent scoring record back at Salamanca though has flattered to deceive at both Sevilla and Benfica in recent years.

14:34 No Laursen for Villa as Cuellar plays centre back alongside Davies. I wasn't aware he was injured so apologies if you've played him this week. That will hurt many players as Laursen is held by around 25% of all managers.

14:39 Chelsea welcome back Carvalho after he was rested against Southend which gives them their first choice back four. Malouda, Kalou and Anelka will provide the attacking flair with Lampard, Ballack and Mikel behind them in midfield.

14:40 Santa Cruz makes the banch for Blackburn but its McCarthy and Roberts to start. Carroll will play alongside Owen upfront for the Magpies.

15:02 John Terry is out for Chelsea after injuring himself in the warm up. Massive blow for Scolari as things go from bad to worse for Chelsea; Alex comes in.

15:03 In what must be record for me this season, I have 8 players all in action at once. I am VERY excited and also a bit nervous, I can feel Ashwin coming for me.

15:06 GOAL First goal of the afternoon goes to West Brom of all teams and its through Chris Brunt. Probably not going to have a massive fantasy impact that one!

15:08 Early chance from Stoke as Chelsea fail to defend the set piece again. At the Hawthorns, Boro almost hit straight back but instead hit the woodwork. Alves should have scored.

15:13 Villa starting to control the game at the Stadium of Light and Young misses by inches, gutted. Meanwhile at the Reebok, United are enjoying decent possession though have yet to create any real chances.

15:14 GOAL Seconds after Young misses its Sunderland who hit straight back and score through Danny Collins. That will make all those Laursen owners feel better, though not us Luke Young owners.

15:27 Not a great deal going on and my excitement for a huge Saturday score has all but drained away. I absolutely need United and Chelsea clean sheets and hopefully some phantom bonus points from Lamps and Ronaldo.

15:36 Good save from Jaaskelainen to deny Ronaldo. That's their best chance so far today.

15:40 Still just 2 goals in 40 minutes and somehow I've managed to lose a clean sheet already (Young). I can't begin to describe my dissapointment. I was hoping for big games from Lampard and Ronaldo today but they seem to have mustered one shot between them. Bring on Kaka.

15:44 Jussi denies Ronaldo again, this time from a free kick. Meanwhile, Young shoots wide at Sunderland. My misery continues.

15:46 Yet another save from Jaaskelainen and the Finn looks like he's heading towards a three pointer here. This time it was Anderson to test the keeper. Bolton will do well to hold on until half time here.

15:48 Half times come around the country and I'm glad to put that 45 minutes behind us. Surely it will get better in the second half.

16:05 If this is a sign of things to come then I think I will move Defoe on, get a cheap replacement and then have a back four and keeper made up of United, Liverpool and Chelsea players. Defense all the way so far today.

16:10 Great save by Given from a McCarthy free kick. Newcastle the better side in the first half so that would have been a bit harsh.

16:12 GOAL City take the lead through Zabaleta who has been playing in midfield today. Good strike by all accounts too. Not much fantasy impact there again though: Zabaleta (0.1%), Collins (0.6%) and Brunt (0.2%) are our goalscorers today.

16:14 City fans' smiles are turned to frowns as Dunne gets his marching orders for kicking out at Amr Zaki. Idiotic reaction from the centre back. Can Wigan capitalise?

16:16 Best chance of the day for Bolton as Davies misses by inches. Are things starting to heat up?

16:16 GOAL 2-0 at the Hawthorns and more misery for Boro. Koren's shot clips off Fortune who looked to be offside. Massive win for the Baggies if he can hang on here. Debut goal for Fortune assuming they give it to him.

16:17 Great ball from Carrick to Ronaldo who crosses to Fletcher who inexplicably goes for the volley rather than head it.

16:18 Penalty to Blackburn, and the commentators suggest it is harsh. Great chance for Rovers to take the lead, probably through McCarthy? Converted for the GOAL. That makes me feel better for benching Bassong.

16:19 GOAL Villa equalise at the Stadium of Light through James Milner, one man I did tip to score this week. Reports suggest it has a suspicion of offside about it.

16:24 GOAL Stoke take the lead at Stamford Bridge! Delap with the goal for the Potters and Chelsea are in disarray.

16:25 GOAL Roberts gets the second for Blackburn, another man tipped for success this week. The bargain Rovers striker looks like a viable option in the absence of Santa Cruz.

16:26 Digard sent off at the Hawthorns for a two footed challenge. Nightmare for Boro.

16:29 Scholes and Giggs on to try and change the game at the Reebok. Not particularly inspiring subs, where has United's depth gone? At the Hawthorns, Robert Koren gets his second and Boro are a disaster. That puts Spurs bottom of the Premier League.

16:32 Red card for Ashley Young! My nightmare continues.

16:35 United throwing everything at Bolton and perhaps leaving themself a bit exposed. Surely the deadlock will be broken here by someone.

16:39 Penalty to Villa. If only Young was still on! Agbonlahor tackled from behind but outside the box.

16:40 GOAL Barry converts the penalty, and that will put Villa above Chelsea and just one point behind United.

16:41 Red card for Nicky Butt at Ewood. I'd avoid Kinnear's post match interview if you don't like bad language.

16:43 Zaki misses an open net from one yard! I think my players are cursed this week.

16:44 GOAL Blackburn 3-0 through Roberts again. Pedersen with the assist. Roberts is on my watch list.

16:45 Bolton so close to stealing it at the Reebok through a chance from Kevin Davies.

16:48 GOAL United steal the game with a goal from Berbatov. Absolutely gutted. That puts United top as things stand.

16:51 GOAL Belletti equalises for Chelsea in the last minute.

16:52 All over at the Reebok and thats a record 10 straight clean sheets for United. Its also all over at Ewood Park. Meanwhile Chelsea throw everything forward in search of a winner.

16:54 Villa go 3rd as its all over at the Stadium of Light. Great result for Martin O'Neil's men. City have also won despite being down to 10 men for a long period of the game.

16:56 GOAL Lampard gets a dramatic winner for Chelsea. An incredible second half of Premier League football. It might be miserable fantasy day but what a great 45 minutes that was. Lampard's shot is deflected of Ballack and I'm praying the Englishman gets that one. Villa lose their 3rd position as Chelsea move back up.


Ashwin said...

What a strange first half! Nothing happened at all fantasy wise.. except a yellow card for L. Young!?
And Sorensen with 7 saves already? I don't think I've ever seen that.
You are right about the overlap! It's freaky.. there's no real chance for me to catch up on you at all!

Chris Glover said...

Miserable first half. Even my Carvalho clean sheet is now gone.

Chris Glover said...

Ashley Young sent off, you must be kidding me. Miserable day.

Ashwin said...

That Zaki open goal miss really does it for me!
Looks like this could be the end of my cup run.
My opponent hasn't made a transfer all year.. has Barry though!
The premiership never ceases to surprise!

Chris Glover said...

That's how you catch me - Berbatov.

Ashwin said...

Belletti goal! Berba goal! Wow, they leave it so late!!!! Too nerve wracking....

Ashwin said...

WOW! Lamps!! I'm speechless.

Chris Glover said...

what a second half. that made up for the crappy first 45.

Ashwin said...

Chris, I'm out of the cup! With that distraction out of the way, time to focus on the league.
I'm bringing in Ireland for the next few weeks as my Young replacement. Please tell me we aren't overlapping!