So the Fantasy Football season is back and I, like many many others in the world, have signed up to a league or two fully intending to make this season last more than three weeks before I start to lose interest and fade away.
Whenever I think of Fantasy Football I go back to around 1993 or so, when the Telegraph launched their first ever Fantasy League and Baddiel and Skinner were young and fashionable. I had an amazing first season, finishing something like 132nd in the entire country. That’s not a bad start, I am sure you would agree. The Telegraph used to publish the top 100 every single week and I dreamed of being in double digits to see my name. One week I was 83rd would you believe, and guess what? That was the week the paper printed the bottom 100. Yeah, thanks Telegraph. Thanks a lot.
The Telegraph, what with this being all pre-internet kids, used to send out actual member packs and transfers were done by post. I have to say, I think it was better back then and not just because I finished in a fairly decent spot.
It’s never been that good again, but then neither has the Premier League.
So we fast forward far too many years and I am back having another go and regaining former glory. I feel like Jimmy White trying to win the World Snooker Championship even though that ship sailed many moons ago. I did a little bit of research and all that, but as ever I decided to go with my gut feeling when picking the team – or squad as it now is, and this was the reasoning I scribbled down in my notebook.
Mismatch of the Day
Yeah I am really trying to regain former glory – this was my original team name all those years ago.
Fraser Forster: Southampton should be fairly decent at the back, even with their desire to play open, expansive football. Their new gaffer didn’t keep Alaves up without knowing how to keep a clean sheet.
Tom Heaton: Heaton got loads of points last season, and is relatively well priced plus I think Burnley will be OK but he will get a chance to make lots of saves and look good. As you can tell, proper thought has gone into this.
Joel Matip: Liverpool will be much better defensively this season.
Rob Holding: Looked superb in a back three at the end of last season and Arsenal will really push on this time round.
Leighton Baines: Everton are fairly miserly, have bought well and he might still be allowed to take the penalties and free kicks once Koeman drops Rooney.
Kieran Tripper: Nailed on replacement for Kyle Walker and Spurs will be decent at the back.
David Silva: Bald and brilliant, will lead City to victory most weeks.
James Ward-Prowse: Southampton’s best player and takes ever set-piece.
Jon Walters: He is down as a midfielder and with Andre Gray going to Watford he must play upfront. Whether he does anything or not is the gamble.
Dele Alli: An absolute no-brainer, the amount of penalties he wins all go down as assists I presume?
Ryan Fraser: He looked quite good last season, though that was against Liverpool.
Harry Kane: Do you even need to ask?
Roberto Firmino: This might not be my best idea actually, he’s not a 20 goal a season man.
Kelechi Iheanacho: The best goals to minutes ratio around, so they’d better play him.
I mean, who can disagree with all that logic?
Common sense meant I left Heaton (because Chelsea were supposed to win that easily), Trippier (injured), Fraser (better midfielders available) and Iheanacho (unlikely to start) on the bench for the first game week.
What I really should have done was leave Matip, Holding and Azpi on the sodding bench. An injured Tripper would have done less damage. I mean, what the hell happened to Holding? Literally every single time he won the ball back, he picked out a Leicester player with unnerving accuracy. A 100% pass completion rate gets people all very excited, but not when it’s to the other bloody team. Matip wasn’t much better – surely rule number one of defending a corner is that your big centre back tries to head it away? Azpi, well he was pretty blameless really. If Gary Cahill gets sent off and you are left with David Luiz as your commander-in-chief at the back you are pretty screwed. Leighton Baines was nailed on for a clean sheet against Stoke though, and big Fraser also kept Swansea out so defensively we gained some ground.
In midfield, David Silva and Dele Alli picked up 8 points each – Dele Alli scoring. It was a shame he didn’t pick up bonus points for getting Shelvey sent off. Ward-Prowse picked up 3 points, though I am not sure what for and Jon Walters picked up a single point. Burnley beat the Champions for crying out loud, it should have been 20 points all round!
Bobby Fimino was my top scorer with 12, presumably for a goal and an assist but Harry Kane failed me. He was captain and everything and couldn’t score against ten man Newcastle United. My belief that he would finally score in August seems somewhat false.
So my team racked up 50 points on gameweek one. That has me 25th out of 40, having been 8th before Sunday kicked off. This could be a long season. The league leader has 102 having clearly decided defenders are daft and only having three in his squad. I didn’t even know you could do that. I think there might be some panic stricken transfer activity already, if we can even do that yet.
I really should have read the rules better.