Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United?

Ronaldi Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United?

Cristiano Ronaldo could return to the Premier League

It’s highly unlikely, but it’s still worth a mention. After all, Cristiano Ronaldo had a two-year spell as the greatest Fantasy Premier League asset of all time. We’ve since put him in our rearview mirror and focused on a certain RVP, but could Ronaldo return to the Premier League, and to Old Trafford?

Speculation is mounting. Ronaldo took to Twitter to tell his 18 million followers that he has not signed a new deal with Real Madrid. Are Manchester United and Monaco circling?

If Ronaldo re-joins Manchester United, we’ll have the football transfer story of 2013, and our pre-season Fantasy Premier League frenzied excitement will reach an all-time high.

It’s silly season and transfer speculation only for now. But when there’s smoke, there’s often fire…

Posted in Cristiano Ronaldo, fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog, Manchester United | Tagged cristiano ronaldo transfer, fantasy premier league blog, ronaldo contract, ronaldo manchester united, ronaldo monaco | 6 Comments

Summer Transfer Window Heats Up

Aleksandar Tonev Summer Transfer Window Heats Up

Aleksandar Tonev joins Aston Villa

World Cup qualification is on our minds this summer, but we still have some important transfer window news to bring you – keeping you up to date with the major moves in and out of the Premier League. Let’s take a look at a few of the bigger moves of the past few days:

  • Manchester City have splashed the cash in the most significant move of the summer thus far, bringing in Brazilian Fernandinho from Shakhtar. Fernandinho has Champions League experience and is a box-to-box midfielder who should slot in alongside Yaya Toure in City’s new-look starting XI. That said, I wonder what it means for Gareth Barry – who has played such a pivotal role for the club over the past few seasons, and for Javi Garcia.
  • Aston Villa have brought in Bulgarian star Aleksandar Tonev from Lech Poznan. Will Tonev be enough to convince Belgian Christian Benteke to stick around for another season or two? Tonev is a winger who could provide the consistent supply Benteke so awfully needs.
  • And Michael Laudrup and Swansea continue their Spanish revolution after their league cup winning campaign featured star Spaniards Michu, Angel Rangel and Chico Flores along the way. Jose Canas is the latest addition this summer, he may be an accomplished asset though he won’t be a Fantasy Premier League factor – he operates as a defensive midfielder with little eye for goal.
Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog, Manchester United | Tagged aleksandar tonev, aleksandar tonev aston villa, fernandinho fantasy premier league, fernandinho transfer, fpl blog, guillermo varela, jesus navas manchester city, jesus navas transfer, jose canas swansea, maarten stekelenberg fulham | 1 Comment

Wayne Rooney Impresses Suitors Arsenal and PSG with Goal

England held Brazil to a 2-2 draw yesterday at the Marcana Stadium and Roy Hodgson will be pleased with the team’s spirit in such a difficult environment, despite of course the friendly nature to the match.

It was Wayne Rooney who stole the highlight reel (once again) with this sumptuous blast from distance. The ball is a shade of orange/red but keep a close eye on it as it dips under the crossbar. Well done from Rooney.

He’s asked for a transfer from Manchester United – and while we’ve seen this all before, a few years back, this time around he may just be allowed to leave. Arsenal and PSG are waiting…

Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog, Manchester United | Tagged england 2 brazil 2, marcana stadium rooney goal, rooney to arsenal, rooney to psg, wayne rooney goal brazil | Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho Returns as Chelsea Manager

mourinho Jose Mourinho Returns as Chelsea Manager

Mourinho, of course, is back

In the least surprising news of the week, Jose Mourinho is back in London. Back at Chelsea.

Will he re-invigorate Michael Essien’s career after a loan at Real Madrid? Can he squeeze out a bit more from Lampard, Cole, Cech and Terry? Or will the focus and youngster revolution – Hazard, Mata, Oscar, and perhaps Lukaku, take centre stage?

One thing is for certain, David Moyes’ job just got that much tougher.

Posted in Chelsea, fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog | Tagged chelsea manager, essien chelsea, fantasy premier league blog, jose mourinho chelsea, jose mourinho manager | Leave a comment

Premier League News & Notes

Rio Ferdinand Phil Neville Everton Premier League News & Notes

Neville to coach Ferdinand next season?

We have a nice long summer to look forward to, and while our first love – The Fantasy Premier League – is done and dusted, and Bayern Munich have dramatically beaten their German rivals Dortmund in the Champions League Final, there are still plenty of talking points as we look ahead to the summer… Here’s a bit of what’s going on in Butt’s Brain this week:

Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog, Manchester United | Tagged crystal palace promotion, fantasy premier league blog, ian holloway premier league, kevin phillips penalty, lukaku chelsea, lukaku drogba, neymar barcelona, phil neville everton, phil neville manchester united, rafa benitez napoli | Leave a comment

Christian Benteke to Arsenal or Tottenham?

 

And so it begins… The summer is nearly here and you know what that means – transfer speculation.

The first in a long line of start players to hint at an upcoming move is Aston Villa’s Belgian star Christian Benteke. Benteke took the league by storm this season – finishing with 19 league goals – third highest amongst forwards behind Van Persie and Suarez. The Belgian helped Aston Villa retain their Premier League status while delivering 166 points in the official Fantasy Premier League game.

Villa have insisted they want to keep the 22-year-old but with Arsenal and Tottenham reportedly interested, a move is likely this summer.

Posted in Arsenal, fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog | Tagged aston villa, benteke belgium world cup, benteke tottenham, christian benteke arsenal, fantasy epl blog, fantasy premier league blog | 5 Comments

Fantasy Premier League End of Season Summary

FPL 2012 2013 Top points scorers Fantasy Premier League End of Season Summary

FPL 2012-2013 Top Points Scorers

It’s all over. Another season in the books. For the Never Captain Nicky Butt crew, it’s the end of our mini-league’s eighth season together, the fifth season together since we launched this site in 2008.

The final day is always bittersweet. Some win, some lose, others leave Lukaku on the bench. But, as in real life, there is always next year.

Looking at the Top 10 FPL points scorers from the 2012-2013 season and perhaps the top four were unsurprising – Van Persie, Bale, Mata & Suarez went from strength to strength and dominated in 2012-2013 just as they had at the tail end of 2011-2012. But the rest of the top 10 list springs quite a few surprises – a nice reminder that this game is a bit unpredictable, and that luck, nuance, injuries, and the timing of transfer signings really does make the difference in the end.

Take a look at Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott – in fifth and sixth position. Both were rarely in top form at the same time. Perhaps a few weeks of overlap. But those fantasy managers that went with the in-form Gunner at the right time, and swapped to the other (or owned both) during their ups or relative downs, could have made a huge impact in midfield. The same goes for Hazard (#7) and Mata (#3) to a lesser extent as Mata started the season off very slowly while Hazard raced out of the blocks in August and September.

And then we have Michu, Lambert and Gerrard. Three players that never would have been expected to crack the Top 10 back in August when the season began. Gerrard came in priced at 9.5m after two straight seasons in which he only managed 5 and 4 goals respectively and was injured for more than 1/2 of each of those campaigns. Was he breaking down? Had he lost it? I guess not. A vintage Gerrard season – 10 league goals and 12 assists saw his greatest return since 2008-2009. You can thank Luis Suarez for creating that much space for Gerrard, and perhaps the return of Lucas for providing that defensive cover, though I don’t think that Ivanovic will be thanking Suarez for anything this season.

Michu? We selected the Spaniard in our Gameweek 1 Best XI, did you? Two goals and an assist that week – he saw his price rise from 6.5m at the start of the year to a peak of 8.5m in the spring, as Swansea won the league cup and he finished with 18 league goals.

And what about Rickie Lambert?! Sure, he’d done it in the lower leagues, but Southampton were relegation candidates this season. He couldn’t do it in top flight football could he? He sure could. The man started the season priced at only 6m. He finished with 15 league goals and 8 assists – the third highest scoring forward in the game. Lambert significantly outscored the more expensive and proven commodities like Carlos Tevez, Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and others over the course of the season. And he did it consistently.

So there you have it. Another year in the books. Over 2.6 million players participated in the FPL this season. We enjoyed the rollercoaster, and hope you did too. Thanks for coming along for the ride with us.

Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog | Tagged fantasy epl blog, fantasy premier league blog, FPL review, fpl top goalscorers, lambert 2013 | Leave a comment

Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 38 Preview: Final Sunday

Bale Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 38 Preview: Final Sunday

Bale needs some help from Newcastle on Sunday...

Here we go. Sir Alex Ferguson has retired and so has David Beckham – all in the last week, and the world, somehow, didn’t explode. While the media is still providing us with their great career-long slideshows and lists of achievements, we need to get our minds focused back on the Premier League – and our final gameweek – this Sunday afternoon. Let’s do it.

I. Arsenal @ Newcastle: With Wigan, Reading and QPR already all relegated to the second tier, there isn’t much left to play for at the bottom of the table or at the top of the table as Manchester United has secured pole position while manager-less Manchester City has secured second. But a Champions League place is still up for grabs, and Arsenal control their own destiny. A win at Newcastle, and it’s theirs.

If Arsenal win – it would be their 16th straight season playing Champions League football – a pretty impressive achievement, but they could be without influential captain Mikel Arteta for this one. Arteta has a calf injury, and the man who has transformed himself from a FPL stud at Everton in a central attacking role on free kicks to a defensive midfielder and sideways passer with toughness, heart and guts at Arsenal will surely be missed. In comes Jack Wilshere perhaps, England’s future. Beckham out, Wilshere in. Let’s see if Wilshere has the mental composure needed to deal with a St. James Park crowd that wouldn’t mind pulling off the shock upset.

Podolski, Cazorla and Walcott are the potential attackers to own on Arsenal’s side – all looked great in the 4-1 thrashing over Wigan midweek. Giroud could come into contention as well.

This game will have twists and turns, but Arsenal have the form and focus to pull off the tight away win and secure Champions League football. Trust in Cazorla. Trust in Wenger.

Prediction: 1-2 Arsenal away win

II. QPR @ Liverpool: Liverpool are in form and banging in the goals at the tail end of the season – even without suspended biter Luis Suarez. So, that means the cheap and in-form Daniel Sturridge continues as a super stud – supported by the likes of Coutinho and to a lesser extent Henderson, Downing and perhaps Shelvey. QPR have no pressure at Anfield of course, so a shock draw isn’t out of the question, but Liverpool will express themselves and should get the home win. A solid first season for Brendan Rodgers, despite all of the controversy surrounding his star player.

Prediction: 3-1 Liverpool

III. Studs & Duds: Lots to play for of course at White Hart Lane, and Gareth Bale will certainly want to end his greatest season as a professional on a high – with a win against Sunderland. Bale is a stud then, and if Tottenham can secure a Champions League spot, he could be rewarded with a 150,000 a week deal. Now that’s some incentive if you’ve ever needed some.

RVP of course is still a stud despite the potential for rotation and the away trip to West Brom. Sir Alex’s final game ever will surely see another strong United starting lineup, so RVP, and to a lesser extent Javier Hernandez and Welbeck, are studs. Former stud Rooney may miss out again – he’s a dud – as he has reportedly requested a transfer away from the club. Lindegaard may get the start in goal – and he’s a cheap potential stud option if he does. Evans & Jones should also start at the back – both are cheap enough stud selections for one week – despite the away fixture.

Manchester City have Norwich at home so Aguero and Silva are stud selections, surely, while Chelsea have Everton at home – on a high after winning the Europa League – so Lampard and Mata continue as studs.

Little has been written about Andy Carroll this season – as he has had a start-stop season at West Ham – but he’s a one-week stud at home for the final game of the year as West Ham host Reading.

Duds this week include your normally reliable and cheap Norwich defenders and your relegated Wigan lot – Kone, Maloney, etc.  For Chelsea – Hazard, Terry and Bertrand are all ruled out – so they are all duds.

IV. Gameweek 38 Best Eleven:

GK: Lloris

D: Zabaleta – Enrique – P. Jones

M: Bale – Coutinho – Walcott – Cazorla

F: Sturridge – Aguero – Van Persie

Subs: Lindegaard – Demel – Lampard – L. Shaw

Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog | Tagged fantasy epl blog, fantasy footie, fantasy premier league blog, newcastle vs arsenal, premier league gameweek 38, tottenham vs sunderland | 1 Comment

Butt’s Brain: David Beckham Retires; Lampard Signs Extension; Chelsea Hold Two European Cups

isW0G8bXU8jvJ Butts Brain: David Beckham Retires; Lampard Signs Extension; Chelsea Hold Two European Cups

It’s Chelsea on our mind today after Branislav Ivanovic headed the club to a 2-1 Europa League win in the 90th minute last night in Amsterdam. Of course, John Terry dressed up in his full kit for the second year running to raise the trophy. Chelsea are now holders of both the Champions League (for the next ten days at least) and Europa League titles. Wow.

A bit of what else is in Butt’s Brain today as we prepare for the final day of the Premier League weekend, where really, all we have are Arsenal and Tottenham with the most to play for…

Will it be the likes of Gareth Bale or Theo Walcott who grab the headlines this weekend or will we be talking about Marriner and Webb for weeks to come? Let’s hope it’s the former.

Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog | Tagged andre marriner tottenham, arsenal at newcastle, arsenal tottenham, beckham retirement, beckham retires, champions league, david beckham, fantasy pl blog, howard webb arsenal, lampard contract extension, sunderland at tottenham | 1 Comment

Butt’s Brain: Mancini Staying, Rooney Leaving?

 

A bit of what’s going on in Butt’s Brain as we say goodbye to Sir Alex but look forward to tomorrow’s massive Arsenal vs Wigan encounter at the Emirates…

  • Conflicting reports over Roberto Mancini’s future continue to surface in the media. Mancini on Saturday claimed that it was “rubbish” that he would be leaving, but now new reports claim that the Italian will be sacked in the coming days. Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini could replace Mancini.
  • Daniel Sturridge, a stud in our Gameweek 37 preview, sure lived up to the billing yesterday. His hat trick against Fulham brought him to 11 goals in 12 starts for Liverpool. Who needs Suarez?

Good luck to Arsenal & Wigan supporters tomorrow in what will surely be the match of the week.

Posted in fantasy epl blog, Fantasy Premier League, fantasy premier league blog, Manchester United | Tagged cesc fabergas manchester united, mancini sacked, pellegrini manchester city, rooney transfer, sir alex ferguson retires, wayne rooney | Leave a comment