Studs Up – GW16 + ACON & AC

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Well that was a little better! Although not quite reaching the lofty standards of a couple of gameweeks ago, it was a helluva lot better than last week!


* Home boy *


Christmas fixtures. Here it comes! This is the best part of the season in my opinion… This coming gameweek is the last normal one for a while before we embark on 3 games in a week over Boxing Day, The Little Bit in the Middle then New Years Day… It’s a good opportunity to take a few risks with the Wildcard waiting on the other side. There will be rotation and there will be donuts, but if you manage to dodge those inevitabilities you could be jumping up the rankings.

Man Utd. After a fairly slow start to life under LVG, United have really come to life the past month or so. Six wins on the trot now and the goals are flowing. Like because they have so much more room for improvement.  Their home form has been great but they have given their opposition chances, and at times were saved by De Gea on the weekend. The jury is still out on their away form too with all of the recent performances being tinged with a little luck… They’ve got fair fixtures over the Christmas period so don’t be afraid to jump on board, when they do click they could be a huge source of points. Defensively they’re still a worry so maybe hold off on them for now, but you have to assume once they start getting players back from injury and they settle down it will improve there too.

Man City. Time for a short term investment… Good teams get by. Sure injuries are mounting and Aguero is a huge loss, but it gives others the impetus to take the lead. And with Palace, West Brom, Burnley and Sunderland over the festive period we should at the very least be interested. But on whom do we call on? Hart… Probably too expensive for a lot of team structures. Kompany out opens up a spot for Demichelis to partner Mangala? There’s Clichy, but Kolarov available now opens up the home/away rotation again. Zabaleta is pretty rich but could be a goer. Fernando and Fernandinho rotate too much next to Yaya and don’t score anyway… There’s Yaya himself but he is really expensive too and I’m not convinced he’s back to what he was last season. Nasri just doesn’t score enough, Navas and Lampard don’t play regularly enough. A left field option is Milner. The gaffer has floated the idea of him playing in the false striker role? If he doesn’t then Pozo should play most games as the only fit “striker”, please…  In reality who’s left? David “Never Again” Silva. You’d need some seriously big ahems to go there, and you know what? I’m considering it…

Homely Hazard.  You want a trend? I’ll give you a trend. Eden Hazard gets homesick… Fact. Scores in away games this season; 2, 5, 7, 3, 2, 2, 3, 2. Home; 9, 2, 3, 11, 10, 11, 9, 14. Why like? It gives us an excellent increase in probability for a solid captaincy option every “second” game. Very nearly a dislike for not noticing earlier… Seriously Eden, get it together son.

Honourable mentions. Cazorla’s 2.0% ownership (anyone keen?). Giroud back to form! De Gea goes alright. Barkley’s left foot super goal!!!


* Free fall! *


Southampton. Although completely expected, their current form can’t be ignored and a loss to Burnley can’t be left unslapped no matter how unlucky it was. They really have dropped off the radar and none of their early season performers are doing anything of note in recent weeks. For those who still have any of their assets, the upcoming fixture nightmares suggest some ship jumping should be occurring if you haven’t already.

Injuries. Don’t recall it ever being this bad… I don’t even recall another sport ever being this bad? It has to be down to the clubs mismanagement, surely. For all the money being poured into the EPL, how much these players are “worth”, you would hope that the most important thing is their health and fitness. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

African Cup of Nations / Asian Cup. Scroll down for some more info on this, but this is a shout out to it’s lunacy in continually wrecking leagues across the world… The ACON more so being every two years. To be fair there isn’t a great deal of the top teams effected, not to the same degree as previous years anyway. You’d have to think it comes into consideration in club transfer dealings? They should definitely be in yours!!!

Honourable mentions. Costa’s hatred of Bonus Points. RVP being too expensive. Jose Mourinho…

Ryan Bennett Award – Burnley’s entire defence. They ain’t gonna be that lucky again in a while! It was their 2nd cleanie in 11 games, the other being an ordinary Hull at home. They have Spurs, Liverpool, City and Newcastle over the Christmas period…

Jonjo Shelvey Award – James McArthur. If anyone saw this game you’ll have to agree the link up play between McArthur and Bolasie was nearly telepathic. I counted three goals Bolasie handed to McArthur on a platter, only for McArthur to fluff 2 of them. Promising, but Palace have scored 2 in 4 and have City and Southampton coming up…

Jamie Vardy Award – Ashley Barnes. Getting decent game time! Yeah that’s great. Burnley have failed to score in 7 games this season, and couldn’t muster more than one in any more than 2. They don’t exactly scream goals do they? 99% luck was involved in his goal too…

Now on to arguably the most important factor we need to think about over the next few weeks… The African Cup of Nations, and the Asian Cup. Like I said above, it doesn’t feel like it is going to have as much of an effect as previous tournaments but there are few very relevant players that need some think time.

First up we’ll go through the Asian Cup effect. From what I’ve read most teams will be gathering their troops between 1 and 2 weeks prior to the first game. The Aussies and South Korea are linking up on the 27th December, while Japan is apparently on the 3rd January with the competition running from 9th Jan to the 31st Jan for those that make it that far. When individual players decide to leave their clubs isn’t readily available right now so I’d suggest keeping an eye out and letting us know. I haven’t mentioned any other nations, because none have players in the EPL… And of those 3 teams, the only really relevant player is Mile Jedinak. Others might be Yun Suk-Young, Ki Sung-Yueng or Maya Yoshida. If you have Mile, it might be best to make a move sooner rather than later.

The slightly more relevant one is the African Cup of Nations. This one runs from 17th January to 8th February, for those that can last. You would think these teams want a couple of weeks preparation so shortly after the New Years Day fixtures you might see them scamper home… The more important of those leaving are; Mohamed Diame, Cheikhou Kouyate, Papiss Cisse, Mame Biram Diouf, Sadia Mane, Diafro Sakho, Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure, Cheick Tiote, Wilfried Bony, Yannick Bolasie and Alex Song. If you already have any of these, you’ve got them for 4 games. And that’s a best case scenario… If you’re thinking of trading in any of them now, you’re either crazy or hoping they can do a very short term job for you before you have to trade them out.

So anyway, that’s what I reckon! Your thoughts?

40 comments on “Studs Up – GW16 + ACON & AC

    • baysietoff Post Author

      Thanks mate.

      RVP eh… He’s pretty decisive around here. Some will say that he’s got back to his best and is worth the huge cost with Aguero out. Man Utd are in rich attacking form and he should profit from that… Others will say he’s past it and this is a flash in pan form peak. And that once Falcao is fitter he’ll be given a run to see what he’s capable of in place of him.

      I’m in the latter camp.

      • viper086

        I reckon wilson will be warming the pine this week and falcao will take his spot. I know Van Gaal has said that he likes the speed of Wilson but he has done nothing the last couple of weeks and having Flacao on the pine is not his best position

  1. viper086

    Dzeko really f#%*ked me up this week!!! Traded aguero out for him and also had Azpi giving me a donut but still managed a respectable 65.

    Also couldn’t believe the amount of people in my league that had Hazard captain! i think i was the only one that didn’t

  2. rakers777

    Pretty happy at the moment

    GK Hart (Fabian)
    DEF Ivan, Terry, Chamb, Cress (Dier)
    MID Haz, Fab, Toure, Ram (Bark)
    FWD Sanch, Roon (Welb)
    Bank 3.6

    Only player doing nothing is Dier, got the cash to upgrade him to a mid-pricer

    Was looking at Sagna from Man City – am I mad? Doesn’t look like he gets a run all that often

    What’s a better option

      • Josh

        Baysie – I’m a toffees fan too (I was furious about the cleanie and we are having a rough EPL season atm) so I feel your pain. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Koné? From what we have seen of him so far (since his return to senior footy in Europa/U21’s/and 4 mins against the R’s) he looks to fit a lot better into Roberto’s structures and style of play than Rom does – as we refuse to go direct anymore 🙁 – Koné holds the ball up well and plays between the lines better. I’m chasing points after a rubbish start and I am thinking that as soon as he starts getting consistent minutes, he may be a very decent shout for points as a POD.

        • baysietoff Post Author

          I really like him! As a player… What Bobby has got here is 3 strikers that are completely different from each other, and can be used depending on the opposition, state of the game, etc. The problem is though you don’t spend that much money on Rom and have him sit on the bench. He is the future, and he will be superstar. If you look at our team, we’re in a transition phase of sorts… We’ve got a heap of young players who will be given time to play together and develop together. A future midfield of Barkley, Mo Besic and McCarthy will be as good as any going around. Then there’s a defence marshalled by Stones and an attack led by Rom… Unfortunately Kone won’t be a part of that future so shouldn’t be stealing minutes for short term gains, he’ll be nothing more than a squad player with occasional starts… Sorry! 🙂

          • Josh

            Yeah, I see your point. Shit it must be hard trying to build a squad for the future and not sacrificing too many games in any given season. I will be watching Kone with interest, just in case 😛

  3. dave

    I’ve had Baines for most of the season but the lack of clean sheets plus yellow cards plus reduced free kick duties has him on my list to cash in soon.

    • baysietoff Post Author

      Stones is back soon so may help. Distin isn’t the player he used to be… Also, Mirallas was stretchered off late with what looks like a reasonably bad ankle, so Baines may get back on the free kick duties a bit more.

      • Josh

        I have been seething over the free kicks! Since when did Mirallas and Barkley become our primary takers for that; even though they are good, they are not as good as Leighton. Killing me.

  4. Hero

    Got to bench one of Sanchez, Siggy, Hazard, Eriksen or Downing to bring back Austin. All have decent fixtures this week. After watching Lukaku this morning I’m close to benching him before off loading next week. Any thoughts??

  5. N1qQ45 4R3 K1nG5

    Theres always a first – a whole defence winning the Ryan Bennet Award is interesting but worthwhile; enjoyable article!

    Pretty rash but traded in Wisdom and Clichy for Clyne and Chambers, dont think Chambers will get much more time and yeah… Clyne (& Southampton are self explnanatory). Was getting real pissed having Dawson for these last two gameweeks and West Brom decide to clean sheet both without him! From what I’ve seen he hasnt done that bad and even scored a goal in his last GW in the team! What is going on at the Hawthrons!!?
    will probably trade him out next week then…

    Cazorla also been on some pretty decent form, 8, 3, 8, 14, against some stingy opposition as well, but then again he has only one assist prior this run of form for the whole SEASON.

    • baysietoff Post Author

      Thanks mate. I couldn’t pick one. So I picked em all haha!

      Yeah wouldn’t have gone Wisdom. Only 1 home game in 4 and that’s City… Half decent away games but it’s pretty hard for a team like West Brom to hope for away cleanies. Not following Dawson at all but if he’s not injured he might not be doing the little things Irvine wants? Positioning, etc. He might be a prick for all we know 😛

      From memory that 3 Cazorla scored he could’ve very easily had at least one goal. Seems to be in a lot of Arsenal’s goal scoring opportunities… He can shelve the assists if he keeps scoring.

      • N1qQ45 4R3 K1nG5

        I guess so but long term West Brom have been good for me so far and they dont have a bad period of fixtures they just dont have good ones.

        He would be tempting to all, well priced compared to the other midfielders that are scoring well (5-7m or 10+) so having someone on that 7-10m bracket is quite handy but very annoying if you want to get rid!

  6. Harrison White

    Dislike; I trade out barkely for Ramsey. Ramsey gets injured and barkley scores 9 🙁
    wellbeck unfairly has a goal disallowed
    I captained costa over hazard 🙁
    At 4.1 mil wisdom gets me 9
    Laughing at all the guys in my league who had azpi.
    I still managed 69. (Great number)

  7. templetontherat

    Just traded in Yaya Toure not realizing that AFCON was nearing, think I might wait a week on him. Great info on Hazard that I will be using for the rest of the season (and given that he’s playing in the League Cup tonight he’s definitely not captaincy material this weekend).
    Was ready to sell Clyne but can see a clean sheet for them at Palace should I hold 1 more week or sell him now. Also have Fraizer Campbell as 3rd striker and think I can do better, any thoughts on that!

    • Josh

      At 5 mil I would have said Naismith or Kane are better options. Naismith is not as likely to get as many full games IMO but is key to Everton’s link-up play with his darting between the lines. Harry Kane however is leading the line (seems to be the preferred option for Pochettino atm) for the Spurs attack, however blunt it has been of late.

  8. theultimateandy

    Great article Baysie, those Hazard stats are insane mate, good spot!

    I’ll have to keep the armband reserved for Eden when he’s at home!

  9. Maddog in the USA

    Nice per usual Bays….. i think you can blame all the injuries on the USA,….. and Asia, half the EPL goes to these countries in the Summer playing these silly friendlies and acting like its some big deal, Even Me, a HUGE fan of the EPL in the USA won’t bother going to these games,
    The boys never get to rest, between these Dumbass friendlies, Playing in Natty games, add in League and FA Cup, and CL and so on it just never stops,

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