Fantasy Premier League: Toca Me, I need a miracle!

Before you start reading this blog, may I suggest you listen to this classic trance anthem from clubland lore. You will get the theme when you see the strife of my Fantasy Premier League team in recent weeks. 

A disastrous couple of weeks since the last blog and no I did not blog because it was that embarrassing. The Maddison and Mitrovic experiments were utter failures and they are dropped from the starting XI.

Looking for a miraculous upturn in fortunes to even get to a respectable position in our private league this season; languishing third from bottom. The banter has started on my selections; a long overdue pint with the lads and it will properly kick off!

Mercenaries XI

Ederson continues in goal; has being superb this season with multiple clean sheets but this weekend is the Manchester derby and anything can happen, cannot think of dropping the player. Easy points throughout the season. 

The Alexander Arnold experiment potentially has one week left, looking for a big performance from the player or he is out of my side for the next game day.

Azpilicueta has being a solid points player; the same cannot be said for Matt Doherty in recent weeks but will persevere with the Irishman for another week. He offers plenty going forward so hopefully a few assists against Arsenal (hope more than expectation). 

Maddison is sidelined with injury so it is the perfect time to look at my options. Neves produced seven points last week and hopefully can do the same this weekend on set piece duties on the road to Arsenal.

The Liverpool contingent should be smelling blood as Fulham come to Anfield; playing like a Championship side at present. I am expecting a good points haul from Mane and Salah; otherwise there will be trouble ahead.

Pereyra is my new pick; the player has impressed early doors (a sure sign that will fall off the cliff now) but a fixture against a Southampton side who are defensively vulnerable after a trouncing to City bodes well. 

The striking options. Manchester United cannot keep a clean sheet so Sergio potentially may be in for a goal or assist. He has being stellar this season and his cameo last weekend against Southampton was superb despite the yellow card. 

Wilson is my new pick to the strike force; impressed with his movement and goal last week against Manchester United and given Bournemouth’s pace and speed, they could potentially cause massive issues for Newcastle on the road.

Wilfred Zaha (Mr. Crystal Palace) has being quiet lately, hoping that the London derby will revitalize him as it has being a tough few weeks for the Selhurst Park outfit. Roll the dice and let us see what the weekend brings!

Fantasy Premier League: Game Week Eight

Houston. We have a problem. The fixture list is conspiring and I am starting to go more up than down the private league standings and more woe lies potentially in wait after this weekend. 

Mercenaries XI

You see the predicament that I face by looking right down the spine of my side. Liverpool play Manchester City in the ‘Challengers vs. Champions’ fixture on Sunday evening. What would I like most? A total shootout like last season when Liverpool won 4-3. Here is hoping. 

Ederson is going to be a busy goalkeeper this weekend; that front three for Liverpool has serious pace and threat. Anfield holds mixed memories for the player after his clearance was pounced upon by Salah to chip over the keeper for an outstanding goal. I cannot see Ederson keeping a clean sheet but it is only this weekend where issues may surface as he has being racking up clean sheets so far this season. 

The back line has one enforced change. Vertonghen is out injured so decided to go with Matt Doherty (Wolves). The defender has impressed in recent weeks with his attacking runs from deep; assist streak continues after his cameo against Southampton last weekend. Doherty looks dangerous against a Crystal Palace side who looked defensive brittle on MNF. 

Alexander-Arnold could be bound to get sent off in the City fixture; could be tempted to switch with Robertson next week. Azpilicueta continues in the back line; a road trip to a Southampton side who are indifferent at best could see the Spaniard earn yet another clean sheet and perhaps a goal from a set piece (hope more than expectation) 

Maddison comes into the side for the expense of Kante. The Leicester City players looks a real threat in open play and set piece; a bargain deal considering the points tally this season. Fraser from Bournemouth for the transfer fee is a snip too. Maddison faces an Everton side who are inconsistent at best; expecting some more good points from the player. 

Mane and Salah are in my midfield. Both players will lift it for this fixture, a key game in the EPL season. Salah’s form of last season was an one off but he has being decent this season without getting the goals / assists. Mane’s pace will cause City endless issues so as mentioned hoping for a high scoring contest at Anfield. 

Neves continues to rove the midfield; his creativity and talent to the fore but no goals or assists in recent games. Crystal Palace defensive indiscipline may provide some set piece delivery opportunities for the Portuguese player to exploit. 

The front three remain the change. Aguero will look for goals against Liverpool but it won’t be easy given the improvements made in the Liverpool back line. Mitrovic at home against an Arsenal side who have had Europa League action poses a good threat of scoring a goal or two. Zaha against Wolves at home will need to conjure magic on his own as Wolves look a good bet to win on the road this weekend. 

There is a lot of hope in this team selection but also a lot of trepidation in the same sentence; things could go spectacularly well in the Anfield clash or it could be a boring 0-0 draw. Roll on the weekend!

Fantasy Premier League: Game Week 7

Mercenaries XI

Sixty-one points from Game Week 6, rewarded for keeping some tangible faith with Alexander-Arnold as the City contingent in the side continue to generate points for fun. Mitrovic came in and did a job against Watford. An interesting week beckons this time round with the meeting of Chelsea and Liverpool. Hawkeye Sidekick is more hoping than optimistic at this stage. 

Ederson is such a solid pick right now in the keeper position. The number of clean sheets alone so far this season has being impressive and his ability to launch swift counter attacks. Six points last week, hoping for more this weekend with the Brighton & Hove Albion visiting the Etihad. 

The Chelsea and Liverpool player clash starts with the back line. Alexander-Arnold and Azpilicueta are in the back three, both players could have torrid afternoons given the pace and speed of the attacking units on display. I am not hopeful on either this week, grin and bear and hope neither player does not get booked (wishful thinking). 

Vertonghen is hopefully the saving grace for the back three this weekend. A trip to Huddersfield, a clean sheet and perhaps a goal from a set piece would do nicely. Tottenham need a result after a torrid couple of weeks in the league; they should get the job done here against a Huddersfield Town side who are neither scoring enough or preventing goals defensively. 

The midfield four again has a Chelsea player (Kante) and two Liverpool players (Mane and Salah). I am rather pessimistic that there will be a goal fest at the Bridge (hoping for it) but need to be realistic given the curse of the Sky Sports advert campaign. 

Neves comes into the picture and it is a time for him to impress. Wolves play Southampton who look quite shaky as of late. Neves has to increase his attacking threat in the final third; hope (yet again) that the Portuguese midfielder will deliver a man of the match performance. Mark Hughes is under pressure at Southampton as it is and I think it intensifies after this fixture. Wolves if they have their shooting boots on could win well. 

The front three are unchanged. My best mate Mitrovic scored against Watford but anyone else feeling that Mitrovic is going to do something stupid and get sent off. I cannot think like that in team selection so he retains his spot and a game against a vulnerable Everton outfit could see the Serbian striker score another goal. 

Sergio Aguero is a points machine. He is having an outstanding season and that run of fantasy league points looks set to continue with the trip of Brighton & Hove Albion who will try to sit deep but think City are too slick in their passing. An early strike and BHA get opened up which will be music to the ears of Aguero. 

Mr. Crystal Palace continues as the third striker. Zaha plays a Bournemouth side smarting from their 4-0 drubbing on the road to Burnley last weekend. MNF game for Zaha to flex the muscles and suspect that Palace will score a goal on the road and inevitably Zaha will be key from an attacking perspective. 

Fantasy Premier League: Game Day 5

Hawkeye Sidekick after a meh round four (47 points) performance is under the cosh. The Hail Mary / Toca Me selection of Calvert Lewin last week got what it deserved; absolutely nothing. It is time to move the deck chairs and tables around this FPL selection in attack hoping for some more points from all three attackers. 

Mercenaries XI

Ederson continues in goal; seven points last week was a superb return, do not see any other keeper in my side (infamous last words).

The back three continues as last week. Alexander-Arnold continues to worry me, think his club colleague Robertson is the option going forward but will give it another week. Azpilicueta is a solid pick; will pick up clean sheets throughout the season.

The fixture list last week conspired a bit but expecting better from the midfield selected. Southampton are primed for a thumping and Mane and Salah should get sufficient chances to score and provide assists. Mane gets into so many great positions; if he only converted half those opportunities, jackpot time. Neves has being quiet in recent weeks but Wolves are so easy on the eye that they could upset Manchester United so retain him in the side. 

Sergio continues to produce superb numbers; fourteen points last week was just desserts and a trip to Cardiff City who look incapable of keeping a clean sheet bodes well. Zaha got off the turf and slayed Huddersfield Town last week on the road; seven points tally and with Newcastle at home, hopes are high for another good day out for Mr. Crystal Palace.

The Hawkeye Sidekick change or others will perceive as the ‘throw it on the team and sees if it sticks selection’ is my new best friend Mitrovic; he has had a promising start to the season with a couple of goals for club and country and I think a Watford team who lost last week may be a good pick. Watford after a strong start have a serious test of attitude this week and Fulham may be the benefactors. Mitrovic hopefully picks up the goals for the Craven Cottage outfit or he will be out on his ear (Barry Fry management 101). Fingers crossed for this week!

Fantasy Football League: Game Day 5

Mercenaries XI

After an international football break where WhatApp audio clips were the order of the day for anyone interested in Republic of Ireland training ground shenanigans, it is a welcome relief that the EPL is back and with it some decisions for the FPL side which struggled last time out. A couple of team changes as my patience with the pup Sane and a quite clearly not required Cenk Tosun (Everton) have forced my hand. 

Goalkeeper

Ederson continues in goal. A home game against a Fulham side who will not be afraid to pass the ball around should see an exciting spectacle and perhaps an opportunity for the Brazilian keeper to provide a quick assist for his outfield colleagues. Clean sheet is the aim this week. 

Defenders

The back three remains unchanged; going to give Alexander-Arnold one more chance. A tough fixture against Tottenham, the likelihood of another yellow card but the player did show some genuine attacking threat. One more chance for the player, otherwise Robertson could be getting the nod. 

Azpilicueta is solid and with a home fixture against a Cardiff City side who are struggling to score goals, clean sheet should be well achievable and perhaps a foray on the attacking set piece could yield a goal. An added bonus (here’s hoping). 

Vertonghen has being an ever present in the side, tough fixture with Liverpool at the weekend but his threat at the Tottenham set piece could be an added bonus. Clean sheet looks remote to be honest given the pace of this Liverpool attacking unit; hoping perhaps for a goal / assist from the player. 

Midfield

I have had enough of Leroy. I have had enough of the bench warming sulking body language antics so Sane is gone from the squad, slotting Mane into the side and could be a permanent fixture given his early season form.

Pace to burn and has chipped in with a couple of goals as well, hoping for the same against Tottenham along with Salah as the counter attack style of Liverpool in this fixture could be too much for Tottenham defensively. Question marks on Lloris fitness as well.

Neves continues to impress; cannot see the player being at Wolves next season and hopefully he showcases his talent against a Burnley side who are struggling for goals and defensively have looked vulnerable. Kante will continue to do his thing; protect his back four and keep a clean sheet against Cardiff City. A goal from the French World Cup winner would be dreamland territory. 

Strikers

Sergio has proclaimed that he is in good fitness and physical condition, that will do for me and he continues. Fulham will provide opportunities for City and Aguero should be in the middle of all that will be good in City’s attacking play. 

The two other strikers are questionable picks. Zaha’s absence against Southampton last weekend was massive for Palace so I think if Zaha can stand up, he will be playing against Huddersfield Town who are ripe for another thrashing.

Calvin-Lewin should play against West Ham United in the absence of Richarlison. West Ham United defensively are not doing it for me at the moment and Everton should produce good chances. Cenk Tosun looks to have no future at the club so Calvin-Lewin will get the nod and hopefully score a couple of goals.

Fantasy Premier League: Game Day 4

A mediocre week for yours truly last week and Hawkeye Sidekick is starting to ponder team selection ahead of this weekend’s fixture list. 

Hawkeye Sidekick Mercenaries XI

No change in goal as Ederson continues to put solid performances; a near certain clean sheet last weekend denied by dubious officiating at Wolves. A game against under pressure Newcastle United should see more points from the net minder and his distribution to outfield colleagues could yield assists like in game day two. 

The back three continues as is for now; have my concerns on Alexander-Arnold, yet another booking to his name but was prominent in a couple of attacking opportunities for Liverpool. I will give him another week to impress; otherwise it could be time to look elsewhere. Azpilicueta and Vertonghen continue to impress and expect good numbers from each player with games against Bournemouth and Watford. 

The midfield four is unchanged, hoping Neves can impress against a clearly struggling West Ham United on the road. Neves is a class act and with West Ham United struggling to keep clean sheets (even against AFC Wimbledon) , Neves should be prominent.

Salah continued his good start to the season with another strike against Brighton Hove & Albion and I cannot see Leicester City defense able to contain the Liverpool attacking threat. Speed kills and Liverpool could give Leicester City a serious hiding. 

Sane is another player which I am pondering over. Minimal starts for City this season; will keep the faith for another week and hope Pep gives the German international the nod. If not, then time to look at my options. Newcastle United look so vulnerable right now and City could have the proverbial field day if they score early. 

Kante should be prominent against Bournemouth; consistent points throughout the season and he should chip in with additional goals this season as Sarri looks for the French international to contribute more from an attacking sense which is very much a work in progress. 

The key change this week is upfront. My patience with Rashford has gone; a player of serious ability but with the Manchester United crisis in full flow, it remains to be seen when Rashford will get more game time so is dropped from my squad.

Cenk Tosun comes into the lineup. He will replace Richarlison who is suspended and with a home game against a vulnerable Huddersfield Town side missing Jonathan Hogg in midfield, Tosun should get plenty of opportunities to score. 

Aguero lines the lead as always for City. Newcastle United at home and should be a good game to pick up additional goals and assists with Jesus providing searing pace alongside. 

Zaha has started the season really well and a home game against a Southampton side who are a mixed bag at present should see the key Palace attacking threat add to his goals and assist tally. 

The objective is clear this week, start to claw back points lost last week. If not, Hawkeye Sidekick may be looking at a long season of defending himself from his mates down the local!

Fantasy Premier League: Week 2

Solid if unspectacular start to the league last week, the gamble to introduce Neves in my starting lineup was fully merited but Sessegnon did not and with Kante on the bench, easy points were dropped last week. 

Mercenaries Xi

Ederson was comfortable last weekend against Arsenal; a clean sheet secured with the minimum of fuss and more of the same expected at home to a Huddersfield Town side who look devoid of any scoring threat. 

Alexander-Arnold continues to feature in my side; clean sheet last weekend in the rout of West Ham United but an early yellow card blotched the copybook and with his defensive colleague Robertson started well with an assist for Salah’s opening strike; Hawkeye Sidekick may wield the axe pronto here. 

Vertonghen continued his World Cup form; standout defensive performance and scored the opening goal in Tottenham’s 2-1 road trip win to Newcastle United. Fulham next for Tottenham at Wembley and suspect that the Belgian may get more chances to score at the set piece. 

Cesar Azpilicueta for me is such a solid pick right now; the guy will tally points throughout the year and chip in potentially with a goal or two throughout the season; expecting Chelsea to be solid defensively with Sarri in charge. No need to change the Spaniard from the side. 

The one change to side is including Kante for Sessegnon who showed flashes of promise but ultimately offered little to test Palace last weekend. Tottenham this weekend was the decisive reason to drop the youngster from my squad entirely. Kante scored last week and all indications suggest that the World Cup winner will play a more advanced role; decent finish to start Chelsea’s account last weekend, more to follow I hope. 

Salah, Sane and Neves retain their spots. Sane hopefully gets game time this weekend. Huddersfield Town look ripe for the picking; imagine Sane rampaging on the flank but given the form of Mahrez and Bernardo Silva last week, will Pep Guardiola look to keep as it is? 

Salah opened his account for the season with a regulation strike from close range following great work from Robertson; the front four should prove too much for Palace on MNF and hopefully the Egyptian focuses on scoring goals and not using his mobile phone while driving!

Neves was the pick of my team last weekend. The player will not be at Wolves come January; the Portuguese player looks a standout for the side and his cameo was superb. Expect some of the big fish to make queries on the player come next January. Neves play a Leicester City side who to be honest were inconsistent at best against United last weekend so Neves could have another good day in the Wolves midfield. 

The attacking options remain unchanged. Even though, I think Liverpool should have too much for Palace, Zaha if given decent supply could pose issues to the Liverpool defense; another goal would be nice. Rashford has the talent but the goal ratio is not matching up; a road trip to Brighton Hove & Albion looks a mixed bag so it is all down to Sergio Aguero to hit the goals against Huddersfield Town; otherwise the points tally will look meek with the vulture they call relegation form looming large on the horizon. 

Fantasy Premier League XI

The FIFA World Cup withdrawals have started to ease as we enter August and that means one thing and one thing only, it is the start of the English Premier League. Thirty-eight rounds filled with excitement, drama, horrific officiating decisions and sublime moments of skill to win key fixtures.

The banter has started in earnest amongst my friends and this season, Hawkeye Sidekick will summon the courage to chart his progress as the season progresses. In this opening article, we will look at his opening season fixture team selection. The words hope and fingers crossed come to mind.

My past seasons with Fantasy Premier League have being horrific; last season was a particular low point as a couple of bargain buys in week one for the likes of Erik Pieters, Jeff Cameron (don’t laugh) got what they deserved; utter derision and slagging from my friends and no points on the board. I gave up after the week eight such was the gap to everyone else, hoping that the team would produce miracles in my absence (or let the players mature and improve). Nope, it did not work.  

My team selection looks okay on paper but there are a couple of potential gotchas in the mix for this weekend. What if Arsenal beat Manchester City? Bye Bye Ederson clean sheet and potentially subdued performances from Sane and Sergio; knowing my luck that will happen.

Alexander-Arnold, Azpilicueta and Vertonghen should deliver good points throughout the season. The Liverpool youngster hopefully providing some good assists and goals this season, nice price if I am may say so myself. 

There is a bold leap of faith with the newly promoted teams. Neves from Wolves is an interesting selection; his scored an absolute screamer last season but will he able to step up to the top league? Sessegnon is a player of undoubted potential, hope rather than optimism on those picks.

Mo Salah hopefully rescues the situation; a fixture at home to West Ham United who look defensively short with the absence of Reid a good omen. Rashford and Zaha will provide the attacking scoring threat to supplement Aguero who should have another standout season.

Time for you good readers to poke holes in this team selection; looking forward to the season kickoff, hopefully I am still respectable by the time week eight comes around this season but given my past track record in this format, it is 50/50. Best of luck everyone!