FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 22 preview

After what at times felt like the longest gameweek in the history of FPL, double gameweek 21 is now behind us and we have about 48 hours to prepare for double gameweek 22. Such is life in the (fantasy) Premier League at the moment. West Ham assets particularly stood out last week, with Manuel Lanzini, Jarrod Bowen and Vlad Coufal all recording double-digit hauls, while Lukasz Fabianski and Michail Antonio both made the team of the week with 9-pointers. Issa Diop completed the Hammers’ contingent with 8 points. They now have a single gameweek coming up, but seeing as their fixture is Leeds at home, you can expect heavy investment in West Ham assets before the DGW22 hits.

Other popular single gameweekers will be Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, currently brought in by more than half a million managers since the DGW21 deadline passed, and possibly Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray for their away game at Carrow Road, despite disappointing from a fantasy point of view in DGW21.

As has been the case lately, try and hold out on making transfers for as long as possible, especially not now that double gameweek announcements can be made at any moment.

The Doubles Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and doubles. For GW22, at the time of writing, we have double gameweeks for the following teams:

GW22 doubles(as of 13 Jan 18:00)
BrightonCrystal Palace (home), Chelsea (home)
BurnleyLeicester (home), Watford (home)
LeicesterBurnley (away), Spurs (home)
Manchester UnitedAston Villa (away), Brentford (away)
SpursArsenal (home), Leicester (away)
WatfordNewcastle (away), Burnley (away)

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, January 14th, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 13th, 2022)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMendy (CHE), Ramsdale (ARS), Foster (WAT)Sá (WOL), Ederson (MCI), De Gea (MUN)
DEFJames (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Tierney (ARS), Rüdiger (CHE), Cancelo (MCI)TAA yellow-flagged, James + Livramento injured
MIDSalah (LIV), Son (TOT), Benrahma (WHU)Jota (LIV), Son (TOT), Bowen (WHU), Saka (ARS)Son injury, Salah and Benrahma AFCON
FORWatkins (AST), Dennis (WAT), Vardy (LEI)Antonio (WHU), Ronaldo (MUN), Kane (TOT)Dennis yellow-flagged, Vardy injured

Premium pick

Acceptable form and a decent double gameweek coming up. Over 200,000 managers have already brought in Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) in the build-up to gameweek 22 to bring his current total ownership to 31.5% at the time of writing. With the double gameweek fixtures not offering any real stand-out combinations at first glance, Manchester United’s double against Aston Villa and Brentford, both away, is likely to tempt a large number of managers to captain the Portuguese superstar for DGW22. The Red Devils have been far from impressive lately, and neither Villa nor the Bees will prove to be walk-overs for Ralf Rangnick’s men, but then again, it’s not THAT crazy to expect Manchester United to take six points from these games. Ronaldo should be fit after missing out in the FA Cup on Monday and we’re expecting him to be the focal point of the United attack, while he is also on penalties. A return or two over the next two games to build on his current 8 goals and 3 assist so far isn’t too much to ask, right?

Non-premium pick

Despite having just a single fixture in what is a double gameweek for seven teams, Liverpool’s Diogo Jota (£8.3m) is currently the most transferred-in midfielder with about 24 hours to go to the DGW22 deadline. The Reds are preparing for a home game against Brentford, who just shipped four goals away against Southampton on Tuesday, and things are looking good for their Portuguese forward. Jota, who is classified as a midfielder in the official game He is the main man in Liverpool’s forward line now that both Mo Salah and Sadio Mané are involved in the African Cup of Nations. He has scored 2 goals and given 1 assist in his last four league games, and sits on a total of 10 goals and 2 assists for the season so far. The Portugal international is likely facing a depleted Brentford backline, with three defenders currently flagged, just coming off a 4-1 loss at Saint Mary’s. Over half a million fantasy managers have already brought Jota in and the added value of this transfer is that fixture-wise, he can be a decently-priced set-and-forget option until at least gameweek 26.

The budget enabler

For our budget enabler of the week, we’re looking at Brighton and Hove Albion, one of the seven teams with a double gameweek. Admittedly, the Seagulls don’t seem to have the easiest double match-up on paper, but there is some potential there, especially, quite surprisingly perhaps, in the attacking department. Neither the Eagles (8 goals conceded in the last four) nor the Blues (4 goals conceded in the last three) have been their defensive best of late, and Brighton’s striker Neal Maupay (£6.5m) seems to have hit a good vein of form at the moment. He has scored 7 goals and given 1 assist this season, and 1 of those goals plus the single assist were recorded over the last three gameweeks. Looking back a bit further, we can see that the Frenchman has actually returned in five of his last six league outings for a total of 30 FPL points. Not bad for a budget striker who is a nailed-on option for his gaffer and about to face two suspect defences. The way we see it, the home game against Palace is the main event, while the home encounter with Chelsea is a bonus.

The differential

One of the reasons why double gameweek 22 isn’t as straight-forward as many would like, is that on paper, Watford have the best double match-up. The Hornets will be facing Newcastle and Burnley away from home, but of course, they are a relegation candidate themselves. In other words, Newcastle and Burnley will be eyeing the three points against Watford as well. Still, we feel that Josh King (£5.8m) could be a shrewd investment. Most of the eyes have been on Dennis as Watford’s stand-out attacking option (who has also just returned to training) and with good reason, but King has been ticking along nicely as well. The Norway international already has 5 goals and 4 assists to his name this season, and he’s a nailed-on starter under manager Claudio Ranieri. What’s more, he’s on penalties and that’s especially interesting during double gameweeks in our opinion. In the end, the 37.5%-owned Dennis (King is currently in 8% of all squads) has recorded “just” 3 goals and 1 assist more than King, making the latter a very interesting differential for DGW22. We might even be so bold as to suggest, him as a big-time outsider punt for the captaincy. For those who can afford such boldness, of course.

The captaincy

As we wrote earlier, we’re expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to be the main captain of choice in DGW22 and we’re leaning towards him as well. With Manchester United currently in sixth in the Prem, six points behind West Ham in fourth, away games against teams such as Villa and especially promoted Brentford are must-wins. Ronaldo should be fit enough to start both games, especially considering the fact that the Red Devils have a four-day resting period in between the two games and despite some pundits doubting the Portuguese’s physical ability to start and perform in both (what?!). He’s probably the safest bet for the armband this weekend.

Besides CR7, there is also Harry Kane, who is facing Arsenal at home and Leicester away in DGW22. The England captain blanked against Watford in GW21, but he did score in three consecutive games prior to that fixture. He’s nailed-on, on penalties, and well… Harry Kane. If you want to go the more differential route with your captaincy pick, the previously mentioned Josh King offers an interesting prospect, while James Maddison for his double against Burnley and Spurs is an outside pick with a big potential upside as well.

The Rumours Are Flying, But Who Will Liverpool Actually Sign In January?

Photo by Jack Hunter on Unsplash

There are a few points during a Premier League season that has everyone talking. The start, the end and the player transfers. Player transfers, in particular, get everyone talking and speculating to the point it’s all the players have to hear about, and this year is no different. We’d go as far as to say the rumours are rifer than ever this year, especially with Liverpool. Every transfer window, Liverpool seem to find themselves at the centre of the conversation. 

Below, we will look at the transfer rumours currently flying around and whether Liverpool will actually make any of them.

The Strong Rumours

The season, in general, is always juicy at this team of the year – fans flock to SeatPick to get tickets and see the spectacles first-hand. But if we’re talking about transfer rumours and looking at the media storm that currently surrounds them, there are definitely some strong and weak rumours – and by that, we mean some of them are nothing more than rumours; some are transfers legitimately in the pipeline. 

One signing that has been in the pipeline for some time now is that of Ismaila Sarr, Watford’s shining star, who they sure won’t be ready to let go of, but when a big club like Liverpool comes knocking, you go running to them. 

The Sarr rumours have been here since the summer and have circled again now the window is drawing closer, but Liverpool are yet to comment whether they’re actually close to making a deal. According to rumours, despite no approach made as of yet, Liverpool are still ‘interested’ in the Watford star. 

A strong rumour is the signing of Erling Haaland – but if Liverpool wants him, they’re going to have to beat the majority of the major teams to it. The signing of manager Ralf Ragnick means Manchester United could be in with a shot of securing Haaland. According to the rumours, Borussia Dortmund — the team he currently plays for — are reportedly willing to accept a transfer fee in instalments. However, it is still a big rumour, just like the transfer of Jarrod Bowen is.

The Weak Rumours

One weak rumour is that of Raheem Stirling, who has apparently been in contact with Liverpool over a return to the club – but the sources are some suspect online media websites. Interestingly, however, Glen Johnson has neglected to rule out a Raheem Stirling move to Liverpool, and considering he’s not having the best season at Manchester City, it could well be on the cards.

According to reports from a media company in Spain, Liverpool also have their eyes on Christian Pulisic – the Chelsea forward who has been performing really well. However, he apparently comes with a huge price tag that Liverpool are debating whether to pay and whether it would be worth it. He’s a cracking player who would make for an excellent signing if they do.

What’s Likely To Happen?

In all reality, none of us knows what’s about to happen until it happens, and that’s the beauty of the transfer windows. Rumours fly, and people place their bets on the players they think will move, and it almost always ends up being different. However, the rumour mill is definitely working hard this window, and it’ll be interesting to see which players end up when at the end of the season, or indeed, at the end of January.

It doesn’t get much more exciting than the transfer window, and it’s creeping closer every day. By the end of January, we should know what players teams have invested their money in and how the rest of the season will play out. One thing is for sure, if all the Liverpool transfer rumours are true, they’ll sign the entire premier league and international players by the end of January.

Tipped for the top in the 2021-22 PFA player awards

Photo by Nathan Rogers on Unsplash

Every season there are so many awards handed out to players, we can sometimes lose track of whether they actually have any meaning or weight. Nevertheless, there are two awards which the players themselves value above all others, voted for by fellow and presented by the Professional Footballers’ Association. While fan and media recognition is good, nothing beats the respect of peers in the game.

The PFA Player Awards

Since the 1973-74 season in English football, the Professional Footballers’ Association has presented its own awards. These are the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year, exclusively voted for by members of the professional players’ union. For this reason, it’s also fair to say these awards carry the greatest prestige in the English game, regarded as the biggest honour a player can receive.

Interestingly, during an era in which sports betting has increasingly gained popularity, these two awards always tend to feature amongst the available markets at leading bookmakers, while other awards are often ignored. However, if we look at the best online betting sites by sport, then focus on football and the respective PFA awards, odds can vary wildly from one site to the next.

For this reason, it always makes good sense to read plenty of reviews, compare bookies and see what they offer. To highlight this point and before revealing some of the PFA awards favourites this season, there’s a huge variance in odds amongst all the most recognised bookmakers this year. Before backing anyone, don’t forget to ensure you’re getting the best odds. Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the two top men’s awards.

PFA Players’ Player of the Year

Every spring, members of the PFA are asked to vote for two players, then a shortlist of the leading contenders is published in April. During the same month, a gala ceremony is held in London when the winners are announced. In 2005 when John Terry became the first Chelsea player to receive the award, he considered it “the ultimate accolade to be voted for by your fellow professionals,” cherishing the honour of being recognised by his peers.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne won the last to editions in 2019-20 and 2020-21, becoming one just six players to claim the award twice, and one of only three players in PFA history to win the award in two consecutive seasons. The two back-to-back winners were Thierry Henry in 2002-03 and 2003-04, then Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Looking at the current odds with practically every online bookie, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is leading the betting by a wide margin, strongly tipped to win the 2021-22 PFA Players’ Player of the Year award. If he does, it would be the second time the Egyptian star has claimed the award, having previously topped the player votes in 2017-18.

PFA Young Player of the Year

Inaugurated in 1973-74 season like the main award, the age limits have varied over the years and that led to some criticism, given that players could be aged up to 23 at the start of any season. That meant some nominees were aged 24 by the end of a campaign, which was hardly considered “young” by media critics. Since 2021, only players aged 21 or under at the start of a season can be considered for the award.

While the main award has always been won by players from the top division of English football, the PFA Young Player of the Year award went to Ryan Sessagnon of Fulham in 2018, making him the first and only recipient outside of the topflight. Back-to-back winners include Ryan Giggs and Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli, while they could be joined 2020-21 winner Phil Foden of Manchester City.

Foden is widely tipped as the 2021-22 favourite for the PFA Award Young Player of the Year, although the odds would suggest there’s a strong list of challengers. On loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea this season, midfielder Conor Gallagher is regarded as a potential candidate, along with Chelsea right-back Reece James, who has enjoyed a superb season.

Dual Award Winners

To conclude, here’s a little bit of extra trivia. How many players have won both awards in the same season? Well, the answer to that question is just three players. Andy Gray was the first in 1976-77 with Aston Villa, followed by a gap of 30 years, until Cristiano Ronaldo became the second in 2006-07 at Manchester United. The third and last recipient of both awards in the same season was Gareth Bale, when he took both awards in 2012-13 with Tottenham.

The Top Ranked National Football Teams in the World

Football is, far and beyond, the biggest sport in the world right now, and has been for over a hundred years. The sport was officially created in the Victorian era, when Oxford drafted the first rules of the game that we recognize as football today. Since then, football has garnered a popularity that has made it the most watched and played sport the world over, with 5 billion fans and over 500 million players (professional, amateur, or recreational) worldwide.

Football is popular on the betting scene. In England alone, millions are spent on football betting. The amount of cash spent on football wagers around the world can be calculated in the hundreds of millions. Betting shops and online betting sites like the ones listed at www.betstation.com see a drastic increase in revenue during the football season.

The biggest football event in the world, the FIFA World Cup, sees the national football teams from countries around the world compete for the World Cup Trophy. In this article, we will take a look at the most successful National Football teams according to FIFA statistics.

Brazil

Brazilians are known for their deep love and passion for sports, especially football. The football culture in Brazil is one of the most developed and passionate football cultures in the entire world, and Brazilian football fans are known for their passion towards the sport, and their team.

The Brazilian football team is one of the most, if not the most, successful team in the FIFA World Cup. They have won five World Cups over the course of the 20th century, with their last victory being in 2002. The team is also considered the best performing team in the World Cup, having won over 70 matches, scored over 200 points, and is the only team that has competed in the Cup without any absences.

France

The French National team is ranked as the second best national football team on the FIFA rankings, and their accomplishments certainly back up their success. They have won two Confederation Cups, two UEFA European Championships, one ArtemioFranchi Trophy, and two FIFA World Cups. The team has also reached the finals of the World Championship on multiple occasions, most notably in 2006, when they lost to Italy.

Belgium

As of 2021, the Belgium national football team are ranked 1st according to the FIFA rankings. The team has competed in three major football competitions, as well as three Olympic football tournaments. Between the 1950s and early 2000s, the Belgium team defeated four of Football’s greatest champions: West Germany, Argentina, France, and Brazil.

The Belgium team has topped FIFA’s rankings several times, most notably in 2015, and most recently in 2021. It has also come in the top 3 on numerous occasions, including in 2018. It is, by far, one of the best National football teams in the world.

Honorable Mentions

Those are just three of the best football teams in the world right now, however, they are not the only great teams. The English team is one of the most accomplished football teams, ranked fourth by FIFA in 2021. The Portuguese, Spanish, and Argentinian team are also some of the greatest teams, all of which have won World Cups at one time or another.

Biennial World Cup

The FIFA Men’s World Cup is the holy grail of football and the world’s biggest tournament, which is why it takes place once every four years since it was founded almost 100 years ago. The tournament was canceled only during the Second World War. The four-year gap between each tournament gives every competing national team the chance to prepare for the massive event. Stars have been born, legends have been created, and history has been made at every event. It’s been 35 years since Diego Maradona’s hand of God goal in World Cup 1986, but every fan of the game who watched the match remembers it like it was yesterday. One can only imagine what the odds would have been on Betting Sites if online gambling existed at the time.

Fast forward to 2021, FIFA shocked the world with its new vision of the beautiful game. After several months of delegation, the FIFA president Gianni Infantino shared the researched data in favor of the idea of a biennial men’s World Cup but it has been met with strong opposition from retired and active players, coaches, European top clubs, the top leagues, and UEFA. The data showed that the biennial event would generate $4.4 billion, which is 62% more than the projected revenue if the tournament remained in its present schedule.

Infantino affirmed that acceptance of his proposal would be financially beneficial to every participating body. Arsene Wenger has been the man at the forefront of this campaign. In general, the former Arsenal manager stated that the plan is to upgrade the way the game is played by creating aids and programs for coaches and players. UEFA along with World Leagues Forum conducted their own research and it was reported that a biennial competition of such magnitude and importance would compromise other football and sporting events like the Olympics. Furthermore, a total of 6.7 million GBP could be lost in TV rights and sponsorships.

The rift the proposed idea created had forced Infantino to pull back on the plan, but there are several ongoing deliberations within the highest football governing body and with the 72nd FIFA Congress coming soon next year in Doha, it is logical to assume that this issue will be revisited soon. Meanwhile, Conmebol and UEFA have grown closer since the imploding of Gianni’s plans. They created a new tournament called the Nations League, perhaps in defiance of FIFA or a show of independence.

Recently, Kylian Mbappe joined the long list of football stars who have been very critical about the idea of the biennial FIFA World Cup. The World Cup winner told the media that the tournament would lose its relevance if it was scheduled to be played every two years. In the end, the final verdict on the future of the great game rests solely on 211 FIFA member nations regardless of the opposition’s disapproval.

FPL Season 2021/22: Double Gameweek 21 preview

The quick turn-around between gameweeks 19 and 20 plus a rare and unexpected 0-pointer by Mo Salah, who was captained by just over half of all managers in the game and by 63% of the pre-GW20 Top 100, made for a low-scoring gameweek 20. With a points average of 37, it ranks among the three lowest averages of the season so far, which was also reflected in the official Team of the Week. No less than five players made the team with a single-digit haul. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel recorded the round’s highest score with 15 FPL points, thanks to a clean sheet and a Salah penalty save, followed by assist-hattrick hero Jarrod Bowen and Crystal Palace’s Odsonne Edouard (1 goal and 2 assists versus Norwich) with 14 points each.

Gameweek 21 is now DGW21 after this afternoon’s confirmation of 3 re-arranged fixtures: SOU v BRE, EVE v LEI and WHU v NOR. Due to Leicester, Southampton and Norwich having had their expected GW21 fixture postponed that leaves the following 3 clubs with two matches in the DGW: Brentford, Everton & West Ham. From a fantasy manager’s point of view, Tottenham’s visit to Watford also stands out. Southampton hosting Newcastle at Saint Mary’s has been postponed today so we’re down to 8 matches of the normal fixtures plus the 3 re-arranged fixxtures in DGW21.

As has been the case lately, try and hold out on making transfers for as long as possible, especially now that more double gameweek announcements can be made at any moment.

The Blanks Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and blanks. For DGW21, at the time of writing, two games have been postponed so far:

GW20 blanks(as of 31/12, 16h30)
Leicester v Norwich
Southampton v Newcastle

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 21 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 1st, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 31st, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMendy (CHE), Ramsdale (ARS), Foster (WAT)Schmeichel (LEI), De Gea (MUN), Snachez (BRI)
DEFJames (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Rüdiger (CHE)Cancelo (MCI), Tierney (ARS), Reguilon (TOT), Dias (MCI)James injury, Livramento doubt, City fixtures and form
MIDGallagher (CRY), Salah (LIV), Bernardo (MCI)Bowen (WHU), Son (TOT), Raphinha (LEE)Gallagher injury doubt, Bowen form & DGW, Son form and fixtures
FORVardy (LEI), Saint-Maximin (NEW), Ronaldo (MUN)Antonio (WHU), Dennis (WAT), Edouard (CRY)Vardy and ASM injuries, Edouard GW20 haul, Antonio DGW.

Premium pick

For the first time this season, Mo Salah came away with exactly zero FPL points after missing a penalty against Leicester and Liverpool going down 1 to nothing at the King Power Stadium. At the same time, give 24 hours more or less, Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) shot himself straight into the official game’s Team of the Week with a goal, an assist and 3 bonus points against Burnley. Taking into account that United’s fixtures in gameweeks 17 and 18 were postponed, the Portuguese superstar now has 4 goals and 1 assist in his last five league games, and he started each of those games. Up next are Wolves at Old Trafford and it should be noted that Bruno Lage’s men have so far conceded just 7 goals in nine games on the road. Overall, their 14 goals conceded rank second in the entire league, just two more than Manchester City. Man United are the favourite here nonetheless, especially with Ronaldo in good goal-scoring form, and we hope that they will be able to build on the 17 goals they have already scored in nine home games this season. Due to the recently announced DGW for West Ham, Antonio (owned by 37%) at £7.8m is going to be in demand with an away match on Saturday 1st at Crystal Palace followed by a home match on Wednesday 12th to Norwich.

Non-premium pick

There is a small, a very small fantasy upside to fixture postponements, provided that any affected player you own is physically fine (of course, we hope that every player is fine always, but hear us out), namely that it can provide players with an unexpected rest during a crazy busy festive period. One player in such a situation in GW21 could be Raphinha (£6.5m) after the Leeds – Aston Villa game was postponed in GW20, following the postponement of Liverpool – Leeds in GW19. In other words, Leeds have not played a competitive league game since their 1-4 thumping at the hands of Arsenal back in GW18, on December 18th. The Whites are now up against Burnley who went down to United at Old Trafford on Thursday night. The Clarets have conceded 24 goals so far this season, which in all honesty is equals mid-table at the moment, but they will be missing their first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope against Leeds. As far as Raphinha goes, he’s got 3 goals and 1 assist from his last five league games, he is their best player and main creative outlet by some distance, and he’s on penalties as well. In what could end up being a tough weekend in FPL, the Brazilian could be a very shrewd signing. West Ham’s Bowen will also now be a popular pick for his DGW.

The budget enabler

In a time when your bench is more important than ever, a good, playing budget enabler can make all the difference in the world. That’s why the return to fitness and to the starting eleven of Ben Johnson (£4.0m) is such good news. The versatile West Ham fullback put in a decent shift against Watford, though he did not come away with a return. Since his emergence in David Moyes’ starting eleven back in gameweek 8, he featured in every game until injury hit in GW15. Over that run, he recorded 28 FPL points, courtesy of 2 clean sheets and a bonus point. Not bad for a 4.0m-priced fullback playing for a good side that has a favourable run of fixtures coming up, starting with Crystal Palace away and Leeds at home. With Aaron Cresswell out for the foreseeable future, Johnson is an ideal budget-enabling fantasy pick and has the newly announced DGW.

The differential

Off the back of a few more than decent performances and with Mo Salah due to depart for the AFCON very soon, Kevin de Bruyne (£11.9) has all the makings of becoming the next big bandwagon. For the first time this season, the Belgian has managed to perform at levels we were used to from him for an extended run of games after a first half of the season riddled with injury niggles. He’s got 3 goals and 1 assist in his last four league outings, and he started for the Cityzens in those games as well. That’s good news, but in the case of Man City, potentially bad as well, because in theory, it puts KDB higher and higher on Pep’s rotation list. Then again, this is and has been since a long time the main downside of picking Man City fantasy assets. What we’re seeing mainly, is one of the best midfielders in the world sitting in just 4.7% of all teams with a good run of fixtures coming up. Bringing him in now, before the away game at Arsenal and the home clash with Chelsea, could put you in the next bandwagon’s driver’s seat. Due to the newly announced DGW for West Ham, Everton & Brentford there will be moves to bring in players from these clubs (particuarly the WHU & EVE).

The captaincy

The DGW21 captaincy debate this weekend has been thrown up in the air after the DGW announcement and most likely Antonio or Bowen of West Ham will be the main candidates unless you want to take a punt on an Everton player (such as Gray or DCL returning from injury) or a Brentford player.

Spurs also offer two interesting captaincy options in the persons of Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane as Spurs take on Watford at Vicarage Road. Antonio Conte’s men are picking up some form and both of the team’s star players are looking more dangerous as well. More differential options for the armband this weekend are penalty-taker Raphinha at home against Burnley and set-piece maestro James Ward-Prowse for Southampton’s home encounter with Newcastle.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 20 preview

28 goals in 6 games. Ah, Boxing Day, ye big beautiful beast, you did it again! In a period in which traditions play an especially important part of daily life, the Premier League did not disappoint and delivered the usual Boxing Day goal bonanza. A goal and 2 assists for Iheanacho, a brace for Saka, a brace for Jorginho, a couple of City players hauling big after their 6-3 (that’s six and three) victory over Leicester, and at the time of writing, gameweek 19’s most popular captain Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t even played United’s away game at Newcastle yet. FPL points galore for popular assets and differentials alike.

Considering the fact that gameweek 20 is kicking off tomorrow at 15h00, we’ll be moving straight on to our fantasy picks for this mid-week round. Just a final note for the legendary few: IF you still have your first Wildcard, you have until GW20 to deploy it. If you don’t, it’ll be lost, lost forever, so our advice is to activate ASAP if this is your case.

The Blanks Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and blanks. For GW20, at the time of writing, two games have been postponed so far:

GW20 blanks(as of 27/12, 15h00)
Wolves – Arsenal
Leeds – Aston Villa

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 20 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, December 28th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 27th, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRamsdale (ARS), Martinez (AST), Foster (WAT)De Gea (MUN), Lloris (TOT), Ramsdale (ARS)
DEFJames (CHE), Mings (AST), Tomiyasu (ARS)Reguilon (TOT), Cancelo (MCI), Tierney (ARS)Mings suspension, TOT fixtures
MIDESR (ARS), Bilva (CITY), Raphinha (LEE)Moura (TOT), Saka (ARS), Maddison (LEI)Moura & Maddison form
FORWatkins (AST), Vardy (LEI), Jesus (CITY))Antonio (WH), Dennis (WAT), Broja (SOU)Vardy lack of returns, Antonio’s return

Premium pick

Living FPL legend Mo Salah (£13.0) missed out in gameweek 19 as Liverpool’s enticing game against Leeds was postponed. This opened up the captaincy playing field for the first time in a long time this season, but with the Reds back in action on Tuesday night, the Egyptian will most likely dominate the captaincy debate once again. He will be facing a Leicester side that has been defensively suspect this season and that just conceded six at the Etihad just a day ago. On top of that, no team in the league allows for more conceded chances from the left flank, which just happens to be Salah’s favourite hunting ground. Add to that the facts that Liverpool got an unplanned rest while Leicester are visiting Anfield not even 48 hours after an intense encounter with England’s reigning champions, and we can’t do anything but recommend Salah as the stand-out premium fantasy pick once again.

Non-premium pick

With a favourable run of fixtures extending all the way to at least gameweek 26, and with both Salah and Mané missing most of January’s game while they are at the AFCON, Diogo Jota (£8.1m) should probably be a set-and-forget option in your team for the foreseeable future. The Portuguese international combines good fixtures with consistently good form, which is underlined by his 10 goals and 1 assist from just 1,212 Premier League minutes this season. He started the last two league games for the Reds and scored a goal in each of those games for a total of 14 FPL points. A leaky Leicester side that just conceded six goals against Manchester City is up next and it could turn into another high-scoring affair. Perhaps not “6-3 high-scoring”, but we’re expecting a few goals for this one and Jota could end up playing a big role in the whole thing.

The budget enabler

This round’s budget enabler is a temporary fantasy pick, but one that could reap serious rewards over the coming two gameweeks. Kostas Tsimikas (£3.7m) is currently the cheapest player in the entire game and he will be starting as Liverpool’s left-back during Andy Robertson’s absence as the result of a red card in GW18 against Spurs (he’s suspended until 15th January). The Greek international has deputised for Robertson from the start on four league occasion so far this season, allowing him to amass a more than decent 28 FPL points (4 clean sheets, 1 assist). From those appearances, we also know that, when he’s on the pitch, Tsimikas carries part of the dead-ball duties, which only furthers his appeal as the ultimate short-term budget enabler. Free Hitters in gameweeks 20 or 21 in particular should have the Liverpool defender high on their watchlists when compiling their best possible squad. Liverpool’s fixtures are not the easiest with Leicester away on Tuesday followed by a tough visit to Stamford Bridge, but as far as budget fantasy picks for FPL go, you’re unlikely to find better than Tsimikas at the moment.

The differential

So, Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m). In cases such as his, it’s best to just cut to the chase: 3 consecutive starts, and a goal and an assist in each of those three games. That makes 3 goals and 3 assists in the last three league outings, plus 2 clean sheet points and 3 bonus points for a total of 35 FPL points over that same period. That’s just over 11 points per game on average. If that’s not good form, we don’t know what is. Next up for Manchester City are Brentford away and while Pep Roulette remains a very real and scary factor when it comes to City assets, Mahrez nonetheless kind of looks too good to ignore right now. To increase his fantasy appeal even further, he is also currently owned by just 3.6% of all managers and he is available at a decent non-budget price. If you’re desperate for an exciting differential, Mahrez should be top of your list.

The captaincy

As far as we’re concerned, there is no need to look further than Mo Salah in gameweek 20 (surprise, surprise). He is back after a rest against a Leicester side that… well, we’ve said it a few times before already. Basically, we feel that Liverpool could heap some more misery on the Foxes after conceding six times against City.

Still, if you’re willing to go the differential way or want to make sure you get a decent Vice Captain, there are a few good options besides Salah. Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku could return away at Brighton, while Man City are visiting Brentford on Tuesday. Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne are all appealing prospects in terms of the captain’s armband. The same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo at home to Burnley. If you really feel Christmas lucky, why not take a punt on Dominic Calvert-Lewin as he is likely to return from injury at home for Everton against Newcastle on Thursday.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 19 preview

So a lot has happened in the FPL universe the past few days. A lot, a lot. It is, of course prime festive season right now, which means that gameweeks are coming thick and fast until mid-January, more or less. At the same time, coronavirus is flaring up again all over the world and the Premier League clubs have outbreaks to deal with and people’s safety to prioritise, adding a considerable factor of uncertainty to an already intense period of (Fantasy) Premier League football.

Considering the short turn-around in terms of gameweeks, we’ll get to business straight away. Just remember that a few games from GW19 have been postponed already (see below) and that fantasy managers have all received an extra Free Hit chip to cope with the once again growing uncertainty. Also, take an extra good look at the deadlines of the coming gameweeks as we recommend to hold off on any transfers or related decisions until the very last moment (not always easy to do with the holidays or work committments). At this point in the season and considering the potential impact on your week performance as a result of a sudden COVID-19 outbreak, it’s probably justified to put squad value in the back seat for a few weeks and focus solely on points.

Taking place (so far)
Manchester City – LeicesterBoxing Day, 15h00
Norwich – ArsenalBoxing Day, 15h00
Spurs – Crystal PalaceBoxing Day, 15h00
West Ham – SouthamptonBoxing Day, 15h00
Aston Villa – ChelseaBoxing Day, 17h30
Brighton – BrentfordBoxing Day, 20h00
Newcastle – Manchester UnitedMonday 27, 20h00
Postponed (so far)
Burnley – Everton
Liverpool – Leeds
Wolves – Watford

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 19 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Sunday, December 26th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 25th, 2021)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMendy (CHE), Alisson (LIV), Foster (WAT)Ramsdale (ARS), Sa (WOL), De Gea (MUN)
DEFVan Dijk (LIV), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Robertson (LIV)Cancelo (MCI), Dias (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)VVD COVID risk, Robertson red card, Liverpool GW19 blank
MIDSalah (LIV), Jota (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)Martinelli (ARS), Son (TOT), ESR (ARS) & Jota (LIV)Liverpool GW19 blank, Leeds GW19 blank
FORAntonio (WHU), Vardy (LEI), Dennis (WAT)Ronaldo (MUN), Dennis (WAT), Broja (SOU)Antonio COVID risk, Watford GW19 blank

Premium pick

Looking at the fixtures, current team form and individual player quality, we normally would’ve picked Cristiano Ronaldo as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 19. In the current circumstances though, with United only playing on Monday, the risk of a match postponement as a result of a coronavirus outbreak at Newcastle or Manchester is too high, in our opinion. That’s why instead, we have gone with Kevin de Bruyne (£11.9m) as Manchester City kick off the Boxing Day round of fixtures this year. In great part due to injury issues, this season had been sub-par compared to the Belgian’s usual standards, but he looks to be back on track. Pep Guardiola gave him the full 90 minutes in the past two gameweeks, including for the 7-0 thrashing of Leeds in which KDB scored twice and brought his differential ownership a sweet 16 FPL points. He’s up against a leaky Leicester side this weekend, so Salah sitting out this round could well result in more than a few managers opting for De Bruyne, either as a free transfer or as part of their Free Hit.

Non-premium pick

Now, for our non-premium fantasy pick of the week, we considered Phil Foden as we feel he’ll get the chance to redeem himself this weekend after missing out in gameweek 18 due to a disciplinary sanction. Looking at the postponed fixtures though, and at the added uncertainty of players even starting this weekend, we figured that Alexandre Lacazette (£8.5m) might be a wiser choice this time. The French striker is pretty-much nailed-on as Arsenal’s man leading the line up front and has delivered decently of late. In his last three league outings, he recorded a goal and 2 assists for a total of 15 FPL points. That’s not extraordinary, especially not at his price, but it should be noted that he is on penalties and missed one against West Ham back in GW17. Up next are Norwich and despite the fact that the Canaries have improved considerably under new manager Dean Smith, a Gunners formation in good form should be a bridge too far for them. On top of that, Norwich are rumoured to be coping with a few COVID-19 cases at the club, so Laca might end up facing a depleted defence.

The budget enabler

For our budget-enabling fantasy pick of the week, we’re going for a defender. Ben Davies (£4.5m) has been a major benefactor of Antonio Conte’s arrival as Tottenham’s new manager. The Wales international has not missed a minute of league action since gameweek 10, a period of six games (Spurs had a few postponements in between as well) over which he scored 29 points, courtesy of 3 clean sheets and 2 assists. As an overlapping central defender, Davies actually carries the highest goal threat of all Spurs defenders, while defensively, Spurs are actually among the best in the Prem. Just five teams have conceded more than their 19 goals despite their mediocre start to the season. This weekend against Crystal Palace at home, their chance of a clean sheet is estimated at about 44%, meaning that another good score could be on the way for their Welsh defender.

The differential

After recommending Gabriel Martinelli (£5.4m) as the stand-out budget pick for gameweek 18 and seeing him bring home 15 FPL points, courtesy of a brace and a 3 bonus points, we decided we’re going to ride the Brazilian’s train for at least another week, as a differential this time. Martinelli has been spectacular for Arsenal of late and it’s difficult to see the side’s recent resurgence separate from the winger coming into red hot form. He has started the last five league games, and provided 3 goals and 2 assists over that period. Such is his form at the moment, that for the first time in a long time, Arsenal fans are pondering over how to fit all of their four exciting youngsters (Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka, Smith Rowe) into one starting lineup around striker Lacazette. For now, the Brazilian, who is listed as a midfielder in FPL and owned by just 6.8% of managers at the time of writing, seems assured of a start and that’s worth a lot during the festive period, especially when the next encounter is at Carrow Road on Boxing Day. Expect Martinelli to be in plenty if not all Free Hit sides this weekend.

The captaincy

With Salah out of the equation, the captaincy has been blown wide open for gameweek 19. Normally, Cristiano Ronaldo would probably be our pick of the bunch for his away game against Newcastle, but as we pointed out earlier, risking the captaincy over a full two-day period with COVID-19 outbreaks once again the news of the day doesn’t fill us with confidence. Instead, for the GW19 captain we’re going with Kevin de Bruyne for City’s home encounter with Leicester. As usual, this involves rotation risk as well, but we feel the Belgian will be an integral part of Guardiola’s starting eleven over the festive period after missing so much of the earlier part of the season.

If you’re feeling less confident about KDB, you could also opt for Harry Kane (or Son) at home against an injury-plagued Palace defence after his goal against Liverpool in GW18, his first attacking return of any sort since gameweek 8. Another interesting option could be Riyad Mahrez, as him starting for City would mean that he would be facing Leicester’s weaker left side of the defence. As a matter of fact, no defence in the PL has given up more chances from their defensive left. For the more differential captaincy picks, Michail Antonio (if fit after covid isolation) at home to Southampton and Alexandre Lacazette away at Norwich could reap big rewards.

What To Know About The Magic Millions Classic, Top 10 Races Of The Autumn Racing Carnival 2022

Undoubtedly, Australia is a horse racing nation. This is evidenced by the various tournaments conducted throughout the year. Autumn is fast approaching. Therefore, trainers, jockeys, horses, and fans are preparing for the coming season’s racing carnival. But before that, there’s one summer race you can’t afford to miss – the Magic Millions Classic. This article discusses the details of this race and other information to catch when autumn finally arrives.

The Magic Millions Classic

The Magic Millions 2022 will take place on 15 January, Saturday. All roads will be leading to Gold Coast Racecourse in Queensland. The day will witness a buzz of activities going down in the tracks. Some of the contests include:

  • Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic (2YO Classic)
  • Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Classic (3YO Classic)
  • Magic Millions Racing Women’s Initiative
  • Magic Million Yearling Sale (1)

This day is considered the first of the prominent race days for the year as thousands gather to witness the action unfold. It may also be because the day’s activities sum up to around USD$7.3 million. (2)

Magic Millions 2YO Classic

With set weights on their backs, 16 two-year-old horse graduates from the Magic Millions Sales compete along a 1,200-m track to make it to the finish line first. And each jockey knows they should give their best to win as the race has an attractive prize of about USD$1.4 million. (3)

A brief history

Interestingly, this race is named so because of the prize money. It was run first in 1987, with the horse Snippets winning the race. Since then, many outstanding two-year-olds, such as Capitalist, Phelan Ready, Dance Hero, among other exceptional horses, have won it. This year, Shaquero emerged as the winner.

In 1992, Clan O’Sullivan set the record by finishing the race in 1.08.46. To date, no horse has managed to break this record yet as the average racing time is 1 minute and 10 seconds.

Betting

If you’re a punter, you can go through the Magic Millions form guide for further tips on betting. Some of the key points to consider include the horse’s:

  • Gender:Fillies won 11 of the last 16 races.
  • Position in key lead-up races:These are the Phelan Ready Stakes, Doomben, Gold-Coast two-year-old races.
  • Career runs:Consider a horse with at least two career records.

Additionally, you can visit bookie sites for more betting tips. These may help you make favourable odds and get a successful win.

The top 10 races for the Autumn Racing Carnival

From March to May 2022, a series of horse races will happen around major Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. And these are the races marking the Autumn Racing Carnival. Some of the notable ones are:

  • Neds Blue Diamond Stakes:2YO horses will compete in a 1,200-m race. The prize pool is around USD$1.06 million, with the winner bagging approximately USD$641,341. It goes down at Caulfield in Melbourne.
  • Golden Slipper:This will be held at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens Racecourse. It’s a 1,200-m race for 2YO horses. The horses compete for the first position to get around USD$2.4 million from the ~USD$3.5-million prize purse. For this big prize pool, it’s the world’s richest juvenile race. (4)
  • The Australian Guineas:This is a mile-long race for 3YO horses held at Flemington, Melbourne. The prize is about USD$712,601, with the winner getting around USD$427,673.
  • The Australian Cup:This is a2,000-m weight-for-age race held in Flemington. The winner gets approximately USD$641,509 from the total prize pool of around USD$1.06 million.
  • The All-Star Mile:It’s unique and still in its initial years as it was first held in 2019 only. It takes place in Caulfield, Flemington, or Moonee Valley, where horses three years old or above run for a mile to compete for about USD$1.6 million from the ~USD$3.5-million prize pool. (5)
  • Queen Elizabeth Stakes:This is a 2,000-m long horse race held in Randwick Racecourse under weight-for-age conditions. The horses compete for a share from the ~USD$2.8-million prize purse.
  • Sydney Cup:Held in Randwick Racecourse, this is a 3,200-m handicap race with a prize pool of about USD$1.4 million.
  • Australian Oaks: This is a 2,400-m race held in Randwick Racecourse under set weight conditions. The prize money is approximately USD$712,788.
  • The Newmarket Handicap:This is a top sprint race in Melbourne held on Super Saturday in Flemington. It’s a 1,200-m long race with a prize pool of around USD$890,985. The winner goes home with approximately USD$534,591.
  • Queen of the Turf Stakes:Held in Randwick Racecourse, this is a mile-long race for horses competing for a share from a prize pool of around USD$712,788.

Conclusion

If you’re a horse racing fan, you know with every season, there’s a lot for you in Australia. And with autumn coming up, you should prepare for the races listed here. However, when autumn comes, remember that January 2022 is the month of the prominent Magic Millions Classic, and you wouldn’t want to miss it. If you’re a punter, this article gives you a heads-up for betting on next year’s races. And you’d be wise to begin your preparations by gathering betting tips early enough.

References

  1. “The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday”, Source: https://www.magicmillions.com.au/racedays/gold-coast/ 
  2. “Punters could be feeling a little HORSE tomorrow as they let their hair down in wild scenes at the Magic Millions Classic on the Gold Coast – as animal rights protesters try to hijack the event and clash with police”, Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9154161/Punters-let-hair-Magic-Millions-Gold-Coast-protesters-attempt-hijack-event.html
  3. “Coolangatta installed short favourite for Magic Millions 2YO Classic”, Source: https://www.news.com.au/sport/superracing/coolangatta-installed-short-favourite-for-magic-millions-2yo-classic/news-story/49b5dadcf8eea7215e5697ec98bd28cc
  4. “Golden Slipper 2022: More than 2300 entries for world’s richest juvenile race”, Source: https://www.news.com.au/sport/superracing/golden-slipper-2022-more-than-2300-entries-for-worlds-richest-juvenile-race/news-story/4267d5e6dee92465ca11f76979a4f119
  5. “WHAT IS THE ALL-STAR MILE?”, Source: https://www.allstarmile.com.au/about

A complete beginner’s guide to Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football can be a daunting prospect for some. It may be that you’re new to the fantasy scene and aren’t familiar with the rules, it could be that you’re a veteran but you don’t think you have the time needed to run a fantasy team. There are even new formats of Fantasy Football now too, like the Fantasy Draft, which sees players building their teams together, taking it in turns to pick players, rather than allowing every side to all stick Mohammed Salah up top.

If you’ve been thinking of getting into the fantasy football scene, but aren’t quite sure where to start, don’t worry. We’re going to take you through a number of the top tips to follow for beginners, so you can get your fantasy season off to a good start. And since we’re halfway through the Premier League season already, you can use the second half of the season to get some practice in, so you can challenge your friends in the next campaign.

So, what are the top tips for beginners? Let’s take a look…

Choose which version you want to play

As stated above, there are a few different varieties of fantasy football games, with both free and paid versions available. The majority of people use the official Premier League fantasy football game, which is free to play. It’s the most popular one there is, with various prizes up for grabs such as free tickets to games, and it has features like being able to set up private leagues with friends.

There are also two varieties of fantasy football available on their site. The traditional fantasy football where you get a set budget and have to build a team from available players, whilst keeping within your budget. Allowing friends to have the same players in their team as you have. Or the Fantasy Draft, taken from the way American fantasy sports are done, in which each participant builds their team picking players, but once that player is picked, no one else can select them. But you can then trade players with someone else should you both agree.

There are then paid versions of the game, and these tend to have monetary prizes. Although there are free versions out there where money is available to win as well, however, prize pools tend to be smaller. One of the biggest paid experiences around fantasy football is operated through DraftKings, which operates like a betting site where you put money in and have a chance of winning by backing the top performing players each week. If this is the way you think you want to head, then we suggest checking out DraftKings Sportsbook promo codes to get the most out of your experience.

Don’t be afraid to make changes

When playing fantasy football, you’ll have a deadline for the start of the season to set your team, and also deadlines before every match day. Especially at the start of the season, there are so many players who transfer between teams, in and out of the league, that you should leave making your team, or finalising it close to the season start. I mean, you can set it early on in case you forget, it happens to the best fantasy footballers sometimes, but it’s best to keep it updated.

That means changing things around. Whether it be by switching players from your starting XI with those on your bench, or transferring players in and out of your team. It’s better to change things up rather than hold out and hope for a change of form in one of your players. You could hold out three or four weeks before changing, and you’d possibly lose out on a lot of points, not to mind their value falling. Whereas switch your players up and you have a chance of taking maximum points by potentially picking someone who is currently on fire.

Keep an eye on your squad

It’s important to keep up with the latest ongoings in the Premier League by watching the likes of Sky Sports News, or checking out a number of other news sources. It can tell you a lot about certain players, form of teams and a bunch of information too, but specifically, you can find out about injuries. The amount of times people forget to check injuries the day before they set their team, only to see that the player never made it to the pitch and you’ve potentially lost points because of it.

Now, sometimes, as long as you have eligible players on the bench, the game may auto-sub out your injured players for a fit one. But most people play weaker benches to allow them to spend bigger on their main team, so it’s not likely you’ll score big with a sub. There is also a possibility if you don’t check though that your subs may be injured too, and then you’re guaranteed 0 points. But I guess it is better than negative points at least.

A decent bench can be a life saver

Many people tend to splash all their money on big money signings to pad out their starting XI, literally getting the cheapest players who will likely never play on their bench. However, if they never play and you don’t change your side, you won’t get any points when you sub them out, or if you use a bench boost power up. Not just that, but if you’ve players in two teams facing each other, strikers from one and defenders, you don’t want one set taking points off the others. So you can sub some out to minimise your points loss.

Therefore, it’s important to have a varied and semi decent bench. You don’t have to have the biggest players on there, but there are always newly promoted sides with a few decent players who do well. Many even make regular appearances in the official Team of the Week. It’s just working out who they are going to be. And you may get it wrong, which takes us back to our earlier point again, don’t be afraid to make changes.

Final words

These are just some of our top tips to help you out, but we’ve not given all our secrets away. If we did, we wouldn’t have a chance of beating people ourselves. But we’ve shared some of the biggest and most helpful. Maybe if you tell us some of your tips and tricks, we may reveal some more of ours.