@FantasyYIRMA GW37 Review

When 2017 draws to an end in just 7 months time (I know, where does the time go, eh?. Deary me, it seems like only yesterday I was taking down the Christmas Tree and fecking it over the wall next door…), you will look back on the year and reminisce about the momentous events that have occurred over the previous 12 months.

  • The inauguration of Donald ‘Lenin’ Trump (and his hilarious downfall *taps nose*)
  • General Election 2017 and the rise of Prime Minister Corbyn (stop sniggering)
  • The Gameweek 37 Triple Captain Schenanigans

 

One of those events will resonate more than the others. It will colour your view of 2017 as a year when everything changed forever. Yep, if you Triple-Captained Harry Kane, you couldn’t give a rats arse about Russia taking over the White House or the UK committing societal harikari, you’ll remember 2017 as the year when you f*cking nailed it.

Triple Captain Kane

Over 29% of players had planned, plotted and executed the capture of Alexis Sanchez for this most vital of GW’s, with 70,403 people thrusting the Triple-Captain chip at him and thus trusting their mental health and social status to the volatile Chilean. To those who pursued this course of action, you did well. Make no mistake, it was a shrewd move, and you amassed an impressive 81 points, a fine reward for weeks of painstaking, disciplined team management.

Of course 15,194 of you just gave the Triple-Captain chip to Harry Kane, cracked open a can of your finest Dutch Gold and flicked the V’s at the world while toasting the season-high 93 point haul from the now three-season wonder. It’ll never last you know…

Honourable mentions go to the other attacking players who so many entrusted with the Triple Captain chip this week. So please be upstanding and applaud the following for their efforts this week (no really, I can see you, get up off your arse and start clapping):

  • Gabriel Jesus – 19 points
  • Philippe Coutinho – 19 points
  • Heung-Min Son – 19 points

However, there is one players who we need to discuss above all others. A man who amassed 20 points this week, and who was Triple-Captained by 400 people. Yes, 400 people gave the TC chip to a defender whose name they can’t spell. And you wonder why Trump and the Tories got elected….

Here’s to you Cesar Azplic…Azpicle…Azpclip…

Here’s to you DAVE!

Azpilicueta
Dave, pictured after playing his own name for 943 points in ‘Words With Friends’

Another defender who performed heroics was Kyle Naughton of Swansea. You see, some shrewd managers recognised early doors the improvement the side were making under Clement, and reacted accordingly. They played Naughton week-in and week-out, suffering the bad days, and enjoying the ever increasing good days as Swansea finally extricated themselves from the neck-high excrement they found themselves in…and then ‘somebody’ chose to bench Naughton on the week he did a madness and racked up 15 points. I’m fine. No, really, I’m fine. Steve Cook was clearly the better choice on paper. *sobs*

However as we all know, night follows day, yang follows yin and despair follows success, such is the way of the world, so we now need to discuss those who flopped more than Dick Fosbury in this most crucial of weeks…

I couldn’t find a stat for how many people Triple-Captained Eden Hazard, but I did read that the absentee rate of workers in the UK and Ireland more than quadrupled since Tuesday. It’s understandable really. If you had racked up a whopping 15 points after holding onto your TC chip for 37 weeks, and found that your ‘star man’ got less points than John freaking Terry, you’d struggle to face the world too. Ah well, just 13 or so weeks until next season, eh?

Another huge disappointment was Romelu Lukaku who has chosen to depart Everton by quietly slipping out of the door as opposed to the accompaniment of a huge fanfare and the Golden Boot for the 16/17 season. Just the 2 points at home to Watford, his worst points haul at home since…well, the previous game in fact. That’s 8 points in 4 games for the burly Belgian, so those Liverpool fans hoping for favours from Lukaku at The Emirates this weekend can dream on. Romelu has packed his trunks and has said goodbye to the circus that is Everton Football Club. Who he’ll play for next season is still a mystery, but I’m willing to bet that he’ll still be playing in blue….(SPOILER ALERT: It’s Chelsea, he’s going back to Chelsea. To replace Costa)

Lukaku

Our final disappointment of the week is a man who I predict will be synonymous with disappointment as his career gradually meanders and stalls over the next decade, all because he just hasn’t learned how to kick a football hard enough. Come on down Raheem Sterling! While his teammates were filling their boots with two home games v Leicester and West Brom, Raheem was bumbling around the field for 77 minutes against Leicester and doing so badly that he wasn’t allowed play against the Tony Pulis Giants, who really don’t fancy a quick, nippy winger type running at them. THAT’S how bad he was. A 2 point haul was pitiful considering the likes of Sane got 12, De Bruyne got 15, Old Man Silva got 10 and the lumbering sloth that is Yaya Toure also got 10. £50 million quid? You got mugged City. Absolutely mugged.

 

@FantasyYIRMA GW 35 Review

There are moments when destiny sometimes comes knocking on your door. It’s not so much a gentle tap, it’s more of a booming wallop of your knocker (steady on…), so loud that you have no choice but to face your destiny with all the bravery you can muster.

And so, with just 3 GW’s left of this interminable Fantasy Football season (for those of us not in with a chance of silverware at least), that moment came calling at St. Mary’s Stadium, in the dying minutes of an utterly forgettable game between Southampton and Hull City.

Those of you who were seeking fantasy football glory and had selected Jakupovic in an AWAY game (I know one, so these weirdos do exist) must have slithered off your couch in resignation as news filtered through of a penalty being awarded to Southampton. That precocious gamble of yours was now slipping through your fingers like Joe Hart attempting to catch a cross in Italy…that marvellous 6 pointer was about to become just 2 points…and yet…

12 FREAKING POINTS! That’s how much that penalty save by Jakupovic was worth. 2 points became 11 points, which then had 3 bonus points added to it. Lo and behold, a mammoth 14 point haul for the big man from *googles Jakupovic* Bosnia! No, sorry, Switzerland! No, hang on, it’s both!

Jakupovic
YES! I don’t even have enough fingers to count my score this week! 

I’ve heard many moan that the quality of fare on offer on Match Of The Day on Saturday night was abysmal, but those moaners are simply fair-weather fans who don’t get the essence of this beautiful game. Sure, we can all marvel at the beauty of an Emre Can running, overhead, scissor kick, bicycle kick THUNDERB*STARD, but that’s only half the beauty of this wonderful game of ours.

Emre Can Watford
‘FOOTBALL MAN: Indeed’

To real football fans, clean sheets are our nirvana. When I saw that 7 teams from the lower reaches of the Premier League had kept clean sheets, I began to tremble with excitement. All those beautiful clean sheet points at bargain-basement prices…I was stammering more than Theresa May at a food bank full of nurses.

The list of high-scoring bargain defenders is a thing of beauty: Fonte, Francis, Smith, Keane, Stephens. You can keep your overpriced and overrated Kyle Walkers and David Luizeseses, these men are the real heroes of the game. Except…

The exception that proves the rule is Gary Cahill, a man that looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, sensible haircut and a lovely young boy, but he plays for Chelsea, so y’know… Anyway, a 6th (S.I.X.T.H.) league goal of the season for the man who wears Paul Warhurst pyjamas to bed, and the only Chelsea defender churning out points these past few weeks.

Gary Cahill

Sergio Aguero has been on the radar of many a Triple-Captain-Chip-Holding Fantasy Football Manager with a lip-smacking, dribble-inducing double GW 37 on the horizon, featuring home games v West Brom (who have been on the beach so long that David Hasselfhoff is jealous) and Leicester City (who don’t give two Fuchs). He duly warmed up for what will undoubtedly be a record-breaking GW 37 performance with a fine haul of 12 points…before limping off injured. WHAT THE ACTUAL F….but hang on! Jesus Saves All! And at a fraction of the price! At least that’s what I’ll be praying for. To Jesus. For Jesus. It’s enough to give the Pope a headache.

Pope Francis

This brings us nicely onto those who are currently sat on the ‘Naughty Step’ for being very bold boys. Isn’t that right the Crystal Palace back four? Eh? It’s all well and good winning at Stamford Bridge and Anfield while walloping Arsenal in between, but Burnley at home…yes, THAT Burnley at home…the Burnley without an away win all season, at home. FFS lads, you’ll be on the naughty step all summer at this rate.

Many thought that Romelu Lukaku would make a ‘statement’ on Sunday as he lined out against his soon to be new teammates. Romelu has been on fire at Goodison Park in recent months, rattling up double-digits quicker and more frequently than Rachel Riley. Alas, the only ‘statement’ he put out on Sunday was a ‘For Sale. £40,000,000 To A Good Home. I Love You Mr Conté’ sign which he carried around the pitch for the full 90 minutes. Very disappointing indeed.

Finally, we come to Arsenal. Now I need to tread carefully here as my employer (HAH!) is an Arsenal fan, but I’ll be brave enough to state that what they’ve done to Alexis Sanchez is bordering on a human rights violation. He’d almost certainly prefer a 6 month stretch in Gitmo followed by a nice spot of waterboarding than reporting to training with this shower of sh*t every day, and he’s playing that way too. The timing is perfect too. While many teams are down to their last three games of the season, Arsenal still have something like 12 games to play (or thereabouts) with double GW’s every week between now and Christmas (or so it seems). Of course Arsene bloody Wenger has only gone and ruined the best attacking midfielder in Fantasy Football for a generation. He’s made me agree with Piers sodding Morgan, and for that I can never forgive him. Or myself.

@FantasyYIRMA GW 34 Review

Spring
Awwww….

Spring.

A time for renewal and revival throughout our world.

Animals emerge from hibernation or return to our shores after spending the winter down south (although Brexit will make re-entry impossible from Spring 2019).

Trees begin to, err, grow their leaves and stuff. Flowers bloom. Trump turns slightly more orange.

The world of Fantasy Football is not immune to renewal and revival as demonstrated by the list of ‘Heroes’ in this godforsaken strung-out-longer-than-this-really-strung-out-stupidly-long-word double GW 33.

However in nature, not everything that re-emerges in Spring is cute and fluffy and makes you say ‘Awwww’. You have Great White Sharks for example, and the Star Nose Mole, an animal so scary that even Stephen King thought ‘f*ck that’ when contemplating including him in one of his stories. You also have that utter b*stard Diego Costa, who had been dumped by thousands heading into this week, only to suddenly renew his interest in a lucrative move to China and bag himself 16 points.

Star Nose Mole
AAAHHHH…it’s Diego!

Anthony Martial is a simple man who’s simplicity had befuddled the managerial genius of Louis Van Gaal, but not José. José knows. It’s not about ‘psychology’ with Martial. It’s not about ‘building confidence’ or ‘giving him autonomy’. It’s simply a case of telling him exactly what he has to do….or else. His goal away to Burnley was a bolt from the blue as he sprinted clear of Joey Barton (who was 33/1 in-play to make the tackle) to poke home the opener. Ét voila! 14 points and Martin Tyler proclaiming in his shrill sex voice that he has ‘come back to form’, unlike Martin who just ‘cums’ whenever ‘MARTIAAAALLLLL’ does a goal.

David De Gea threw in two clean sheets just as Real Madrid were linked to another move for his services. Funny that, eh? Rumours that sales of brand new fax machines in the Greater Manchester area have grown 470% in the past week can be neither confirmed nor denied.

There was even 11 points for Brad Guzan. Yes, THAT Brad Guzan. A man last seen picking the ball out of his own net so often that he came 7th in the GQ Rear Of The Year poll.

Anyway, I’m currently wearing a tinfoil hat as recent events have led me to believe that ‘Evolution’ and ‘Creationism’ are all a load of horsesh*te, and that we are in fact living in ‘The Matrix’ (although I’m yet to find that lady in the red dress…). Y’see I was having a ‘Mexican Theme Party’ on Wednesday night and had served up my world famous Nachos to my guests. As usual they went down a storm with my mate Brian declaring “those Nachos are unreal!”. Within 15 seconds Nacho Monreal blootered a shot miles wide in desperation only to see it smash off Robert Huth and into the net for the winner for Arsenal. Unreal Nachos indeed. FFS.

Nachos
‘To Donald!’

Finally in our ‘heroes’ section (and it pains me to type that) we have Christian Benteke who returned to Anfield to stick two fingers up at Liverpool Football Club and win an impromptu game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ with Mamadou Sakho. Of course this was in no way intended to be a dig at Jurgen Klopp by two players chucked out on their arses by the hirsuite German. Oh no sirree bob. I mean, who doesn’t like a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ after scoring a goal at Anfield. As for the symbolism of ‘Scissors’ cutting ‘Paper’, that has nothing to do with ‘Contracts being cut up’. Nope. Not having it.

In fact it was this game which has led me to now bet on every ex-player playing against his old club. Due to the quantity of transfers these days, it involves an outlay of approximately €2,500 per week, but I’m confident that Paddy Power will be weeping into his chardonnay in a few weeks. Watch this space.

As for ‘Villains’ of the week, look no further than Gaston ‘The Ladybird’ Ramirez (only readers with young kids will get that nickname) who managed to get himself sent off at Bournemouth within the first half an hour of what promised to be a lucrative double GW for those of us desperate for a real ‘differential’. The flute.

Gaston The Ladybird

Oumar Niasse did something similar and broke the hearts of quite a few players who were banking on Hull’s impressive home form to continue. Mind you, if you have picked Oumar Niasse for your fantasy football team, you need to reevaluate your life. Trust me on this.

Our final villain is our old friend Phil ‘Jags’ Jagielka who blew his chance to emulate the legendary Paul Warhurst and drew a blank in front of goal at West Ham. Gareth Southgate has now been forced to consider actual strikers for the next round of international matches. Coincidentally Wayne Rooney has been spotted at the Everton training ground this week with a big box of chocolates and a ‘Thank You’ card. I can’t imagine what that’s all about.

 

@FantasyYIRMA GW 33 Review

They say that you can judge a person by the Kompany they keep. Well, if you kept faith with Vincent Kompany in your Fantasy Football team, I’m going to judge you thusly…

  1. You’ve been a mahoosive idiot
  2. You’re a genius today. Played.
Vincent Kompany
Vincent was in shock when he learned of his 14 point haul…

A scarcely believable 3 point haul ALL FECKING SEASON (I know, I had to triple-check), followed by 14 points on one hazy south coast evening. That’s the kind of inflation you won’t see in the UK for, ooh, about another two years….

Just 0.5% of owners had him, and I wonder just how many had him on the bench. If you’re one of them, please send screenshots of your offending bench to @FantasyYIRMA on that Twitter machine thingy. He’ll appreciate it greatly.

Almost TWICE as many people (an enormous 1.1%) had the next star of the show this weekend, namely one Ander ‘Health & Safety Inspector’ Herrera, a man who neutralises Hazard(s), and who put a Belgian in his pocket for 2 hours (no mean feat considering most of you couldn’t keep anything Belgian out of your gob for more than 20 minutes on Sunday…). He also contributed an assist and a goal to send the Manchester United fans into raptures as they soared from 6th to 5th in the league on the back of a stellar 22 game unbeaten run. Incredible consistency, indeed.

22 Games Unbeaten

Stop smirking, you.

Yes, you.

This is the time of year when players realise that contracts may be coming to an end, or have a year to go, or even two years to go, or just have a greedy bastard of an agent who fancies a week in the Maldives if he can ship his slab of Nike-wearing-beef to another Premier League club just for shits and giggles.

Therefore we see some players stepping out of the wintery shadows into the glorious spring sunshine, catching the eye of managers and scouts desperate for that key summer signing. That’s three seasons in one sentence. I’m expecting a Pulitzer for this.

Two such creatures revealed themselves at the Bet365 Stadium as Shaqiri and Arnautovic both reminded the world that they’re quite good at this football lark, and are most likely being held captive in Stoke by a perpetually angry Mark Hughes. It’s a fate worse than death, wouldn’t you agree? Following their combined 25 point haul, perhaps they’ll be transferred to somewhere more fulfilling and hopeful, like Afghanistan or Dundalk.

Shakira

Arnautovic
My assistant editor couldn’t spell Shakiri and Arnautovic, so we got these images instead

Before my final hero of the week, I’m just going to point out that I’m not going to make a big deal of the fact that Phil ‘Jags’ Jagielka scored AGAIN this weekend, and that Gareth Southgate was at Goodison Park running the rule over his new England centre-forward, just as I predicted. That would be self-aggrandisement and crass, and I won’t stoop to that level.

That brings me onto Wahbi Kazri, a man who has a name that sounds like Item 49 in my local Sushi restaurant, and who is owned by 0.1% of Fantasy Football owners (presumably himself and his extended family). If you selected him this week and saw him score directly from a corner, pick up maximum bonus points, and confuse 25,000 Mackems by doing something nobody in red and white had done for about a decade, then take a bow. You jammy weirdo.

Sunderland Goal

Speaking of weirdo’s, time to discuss our Villains Of The Week, and where better to start than Goodison Park. No, Kelvin Mackenzie was not there, the bile-inducing, pseudo-human pit-stain. This time I’m referring to Joel Robles, a goalkeeper so bad that he’s destroying the career of Martin Stekelenburg just by being selected ahead of him each week. To rush out of your goal towards a striker running AWAY from you, and then execute a knee-slide like you’d just scored the winning goal in the cup final, all to concede a penalty…well, that takes a special kind of gobshite. It could have cost Jags a double-digit score for feck sake!!!!!

Speaking of goalkeeping douchebags, a special mention to Thibaut Courtois who managed to get himself injured playing basketball for a marketing promotion. Y’know, he’s just the No. 1 for the league leaders who had just 7 games left to play, no biggie. It’s not like us Fantasy Football enthusiasts care if our uber-expensive Chelsea defenders can’t keep a clean sheet anymore, is it? GAH!

Finally a round of applause to the Southampton bench for their performance on Saturday night. When they unleashed the ex-Cork City legend Shane Long from the bench, I fully expected Manchester City to end up on the end of a Tipperary thwacking, but unfortunately for Shane he made a fatal error of scratching the back of his leg. Oh yes, one wee scratch and the Southampton medical team had 3 ambulances outside the ground as they hauled him ashore for what was clearly a broken leg, or pulled hamstring, whatever. I applaud Shane Long for not ripping his perfectly good hamstring from his leg and wrapping it around the neck of Claude Puel, who by the way is the spitting image of Johnny Giles, in case you missed it.

John GilesClaude Puel

 

@FantasyYIRMA GW 32 Review

 

The star of the show in GW32 was a player that was destined to do great things for Spurs since Daddy Son eyed up Mammy Son across a dance-floor in 1991, many thousands of miles from North London (in Chuncheon, South Korea to be precise).

Chuncheon
I recommend a luncheon in Chuncheon

It’s fate, it’s destiny, it’s just meant to be. How else can you explain a footballer from the other side of the world playing in North London with the quintessential surname to suit the cries from the Spurs fans?

‘Go on my Son!’

‘Get in there my Son!’

‘I laaave you my Son!’

Many of us eyed up Spurs v Watford as a potential boot-filler for our Spurs attacking midfielders, with Harry Kane still on the mend. Indeed, I plumped for a Captain Eriksen differential myself, so I was only too thrilled to see Son amass 19 fecking points…GAH.

Indeed it was a week for ‘differentials’, which is just fantasy football nerd-speak for ‘who the hell saw THAT coming?’, which brings me nicely onto Andros Townsend. Yes, Andros. Townsend. THAT Andros Townsend. 14 points to plunge the dagger into the quivering heart of Arsene Wenger and light the fuse on Arsenal TV for the world to enjoy. Magnificent.

Arsenal Fan TV
I predict BAFTA’s…lots of them….

Mind you, if you thought that was unlikely, you would need to have been from the future to have drafted in Phil ‘I played in the Premier League for Sheffield United you know’ Jagielka a couple of games ago when Funes Mori was crocked. For the second week in a row ‘Jags’ racked up a double digit score without keeping a clean sheet. At this rate he’ll be picked as a striker by Gareth Southgate for the next England squad. It’s not that unlikely you know. Remember the Sheffield Wednesday defender Paul Warhurst? He got chucked up front as an ’emergency striker’ in 1992, scored 12 in 12 and got a call up for the next England squad. So I’m starting the ‘Jags To Lead The Lions Line’ campaign here.

Paul Warhurst
No, I didn’t make it up…

In a far more predictable development, Romelu Lukaku clocked up yet another double digit score at home for Everton, the 5th time in 7 home games he’s managed to do so. He always delivers the Good(i)s(on) at home…(sorry, not sorry). On more than one occasion I have seriously considered using the Triple Captain chip on the big Belgian at Goodison, but here I am, with 6 Gameweeks left, clinging onto the chip, pretty sure that I’ll take it with me into next season. You can do that, right? RIGHT?

Honourable mentions for Wilf Zaha and Josh King who have continued their fine form, and also for Jose Mourinho, who threw new batteries into his PS4 controller and expertly guided Luke Shaw around for 90 minutes at The Stadium of Light for a 10 point haul. You didn’t think it had anything to do with Luke himself, did you?

That match also saw Zlatan grab 12 points against the Moyes’ Mighty Mackems, but you’d be loathe to draft him in now with THAT run-in ahead of them (says the jittery Liverpool fan).

Now that we’ve covered those who delivered, let’s move onto the poxbottles who left us down…

I’m not saying that Alexis Sanchez is an expensive liability, but £11.6m for a midfielder with a face like a smacked arse, an attitude to match and who’s wearing Chelsea underwear in every game is too much for any self-respecting Fantasy Football manager to carry.

Begone Alexis! I smithe thee to the realms of next season where thou may be playing for a good team and I shall consider thee selectable once more!

Alexis Sanchez
My neck hurts looking up the table all the time…

Dear Kyle Walker, would it trouble you so much to send me a quick text to let me know that you’re going to spend a couple of weeks picking splinters out of your arse?

As for Sergio Aguero, there used to be a glorious time in Fantasy Football land when you just knew that a home game v Hull meant you didn’t need to worry about your Captaincy choice that week. He’d be guaranteed at least 15 points…but alas those days are long behind us. With a meagre 9 points (it’s all relative, right?), many were indeed extending his ‘nickname’ on Saturday night…KUN…

Finally, as if proof was ever needed, the worlds of ‘Real Football’ and ‘Fantasy Football’ are light years apart. In the ‘Real’ world, Jurgen Klopp is sitting pretty having squeaked out of Stoke with 3 points. In ‘Fantasy Football’ world though there are many who are cursing under their breath at his decision to start the game without his Brazilian Brothers. Yes I know they came on and did the business, but Stoke are woejious (that’s an Irish term for utter sh*te), so who knows how many points they could have scored with a full 90 minutes? Mind you, kudos to some of the Liverpool fans on Twitter who are working out how to ‘repay’ Coutinho for hauling himself off his sick bed to help the cause on Saturday. I don’t know lads, but surely £100,000 a week is thanks enough?

Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

I know a guy, and that guy is in sales. It’s a tough gig, he’s always under pressure to deliver results. Anyway, a few years ago he secured a contract with the biggest company in the world. It was the first time that the biggest company in the world had required the product he was selling. It was a big deal, and he knew it would lead to lots more big deals in the years to come. He’d hit the mother-load. As the doughnut vendor said to Marge in The Simpsons…’Lady, you’re husband is putting my kids through college’. It was THAT big a deal.

A few months later, as the boss was putting the usual pressure on the sales guy, the sales guy defended himself by pointing out the lucrative contract secured with the biggest company in the world. You know what the boss said?

‘Yeah, but why did we not have that contract for the last three years?’

There’s no pleasing some people…isn’t that right Migs?

He could have saved Walters’ header. It would have been a stunning save, but if you’re looking for reasons as to why/how that goal was scored, you could name about 4 outfield players more at fault than Migs.

Just 10 minutes later and Migs produces a genuinely top class save, denying The Lord Joe Allen (just after his birthday too…), and keeping Liverpool in a game that they went onto win comfortably. Do you think that it would have been a stroll had they found themselves 0-2 behind after 25 minutes? Aye, me neither.

One goal conceded in three games. A crucial save at a crucial time. Yet all I’m seeing is more wailing and gnashing of teeth about ‘Liverpool’s Goalkeeping Situation’ (L.G.S.). Certain club legends (who talk an awful lot) are ‘telling’ Jurgen Klopp to go and get Joe Hart.

Is that the same Joe Hart who had a ‘Mignolet’ before Mignolet had a ‘Mignolet’? The same Joe Hart that was bombed out of the Man City team for being a bit, well, sh*t? The same Joe Hart that was sent to the Coventry of Italy this season, not seen as good enough by the coach of one of our main rivals? THAT Joe Hart?

Nah…not for me Clive. I’m not saying Migs is the answer, but having purchased one of the top rated keepers in Germany during the summer, and bowing to pressure (and common sense) to take him out of the firing line, the last thing Klopp should do now is to muddy the waters further and throw a Joe Hart shaped cat among the Achterberg pigeons.

Having decided to back Migs just three weeks ago, it’s time to keep backing him. He’s done very little wrong…this time around…

7/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

A very wobbly initial 20 minute spell, followed by 70 minutes of rock-solid, decent, professional Christmas fare.

Some people say that Clyne was ‘poor’ at the start of the game, but some people don’t understand Jon Walters. To the untrained eye of the non-Irish football fan, he seems to be a journeyman pro, making the most of his limited abilities to forge a career at the highest level he possibly can. However they’re all wrong.

Jon Walters is Highlander, and as we all know, there can be only one.

Jon Walters is 489 years old, and has been playing professional football since the 1800’s. He’s described as an old-fashioned target man, rough and ready and good for a rumble, and that’s exactly what he is. He’s a throwback to the ‘old days’ because he played in the old days. Tom Finney hated him. Nat Lofthouse called him a ‘cad’. Dixie Dean thought he was the toughest opponent he ever played against. Clive Allen was afraid of him. Elisha Scott once conceded 4 goals to him in one game.

Now ask yourself, if Jon Walters, with ALL that experience, decided to give you a hard time, would you be able to get on top of him in just 20 minutes? Aye, thought so.

Well in Patsy.

7/10. 

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:

 

Dejan loves Christmas. It’s his favourite time of the year. Good food, good times and good music making everyone jolly and merry.

His favourite Christmas tune is ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens. Dejan has had it on loop in his home and car for the past three weeks, and unfortunately it had a damaging subliminal effect on him last night. Let’s face it, he was ‘Shaky as f*ck’ for the opening half, but Jurgen straightened him out at half time by threatening him with a week of nothing but Cliff Richard ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ if he didn’t buck his ideas up.

Jurgen is a master of psychology. Dejan had no issues in the second half.

7/10

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan: 

 

How do you tackle a Barbarian?

Some think that Mark Hughes decided to beat the beast with the size of Peter Crouch. It certainly looked like Ragnar was put off by the scale of the Crouch Mountain, but I can exclusively reveal that it had nothing to do with Crouchy and his physical presence.

Y’see Ragnar is only just getting to grips with the celebrity lifestyle of the socialites in the UK. Crouchy knew that so in the first minute he took out this picture of his missus and informed Ragnar that he was married to this lady and she’s a scouser too….

Abbey Clancy.jpg
Merry Christmas! 

Now I’ve still not got my head around the fact that Crouchy pulled Abbey Clancy. To say he’s punching above his weight would be like saying…no, I don’t have anything to even come close to matching that…

Ragnar was shocked. Stunned even. His head was gone. He kept looking at Peter’s ‘features’, then thinking about THAT photo, and it just didn’t compute. The poor guy was mentally drowning in confusion.

Thankfully at half time, after Jurgen sorted out Dejan Lovren, he pulled Klavan aside and told him that Abbey Clancy has a soft spot for any Liverpool player who impresses on the field…ét voila, Klavan The Barbarian rose again (in more ways than one…)

7/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

While his defensive buddies were having some issues for the reasons detailed above, James Milner was busy being James Milner. Quietly effective, full of beans and throwing in a cheeky assist to boot.

The left-back slot for Liverpool has been filled by players that have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous over the years (and in the case of John-Arne Riise, both…), but we’ve got a gem on our hands this season.

He faces his old teammates on New Years Eve, and you wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to test him with the likes of Sterling / De Bruyne / Nolito / Navas having a pop at him.

An extra cup of cocoa on Friday night and James will sleep a contented sleep and dream of emptying his pockets at the stroke of midnight to allow all those attacking City players to celebrate the arrival of 2017 with him.

8/10

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

 

Adam is a very popular lad in the Liverpool squad. Everybody likes him. I mean, what’s not to like? He always comes across as very polite, well-mannered and the kind of guy you would have no hesitation in bringing home to meet your Mammy, or bringing to your favourite strip club in Bournemouth…

In fact he’s so popular that he even commands an undying respect and loyalty from ex-teammates. His goal yesterday is categorical proof…a pass from Lallana to his old teammate Glen Johnson, who instinctively played a sublime wall pass to Lallana to allow him to smash home from a tight angle.

There aren’t many players in the world who are so nice that opponents will actually provide them with an assist.

What a lovely boy.

8/10

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:

 

Jordan Henderson has made more passes this season than Donald Trump has made in his entire life towards women.

That’s a staggering statistic, and even more apt since Jordan has faced a number of p*ssies this season (Hi Ross!).

One sublime pass from deep in midfield out wide right that sailed 50 yards in the air into the path of a teammate will live long in the memory. If Alonso / Messi / Gerrard had done that etc etc etc….

It wasn’t that long ago that some were openly discussing who would be Jurgen Klopp’s ‘real’ Captain, almost accepting that Jordan’s captaincy role last season was a hangover from the dying days of the Rodgers era.

Well I can’t even countenance somebody else being Captain of Liverpool Football Club these days. His personal transformation from makeweight in a transfer to Fulham to where he is now (and where he could be headed) should be made into a movie. Well, if they make a movie about Jamie f*cking Vardy (and his stupid masks), then why not?

8/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

I have it on good authority (because he told me) that Gini Wijnaldum got enough packets of Wine Gums at Christmas to put Willy Wonka out of business.

Footballers have a very limited sense of humour….

However Gini’s Christmas has been brightened by the rumour linking Quincy Promes with a move to Anfield. He’s very eager for his Dutch colleague to join him at the club, as demonstrated by this less than subtle message on Instagram:

Quincy Promes Instagram.jpg

Now you may think that Gini is lonely and would love a fellow countryman alongside him in training each day, but I can reveal the real reason he’s so anxious for him to join….

It’ll give me another daft name to target and I could even park the ‘Geordie Wine Gum’ moniker once and for all (as bloody if…sorry Gini…)

7/10

 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 

 

In Charles Dickens seminal classic ‘A Christmas Carol’, the main character was visited by three ghosts over Christmas – The Ghost Of Christmas Past, The Ghost Of Christmas Present and The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come…

Last night Divock Origi was visited by all three, and they were all Daniel Sturridge.

When the man who replaces you is doing his wavy arm dance within a minute of coming on…well, it’ll fair scare the sh*t out of you…

With two games in 48 hours on the horizon you suspect both Divock and Daniel will get minutes, but it’s what happens after that and while Sadio is in Africa that will be really interesting.

Will The Ghost Of Ryan Shawcross’ Backpass come back to haunt Divock Origi?

 7/10.

firmino

Roberto Firmino

 

Now you all know that I adore the Liverpool players, while simultaneously gently mocking them for your entertainment, and you all know that Bobby Firmino had an ‘incident’ on Christmas Eve that is an open goal for me to fire at.

But I’m not going to.

What Bobby did was wrong. Very wrong. He was pulled over and will get punished however the law sees fit, and the same may happen in-house by Klopp / FSG. However I have to make the point that there are many Christmas dinner tables with empty seats around them this year (and every year) due to drink-drivers. My own extended family has been affected by one such idiot, and as a result I’ve never met a member of my wife’s family.

Let’s leave aside all the ‘football’ bullshit and the ‘Should he be treated like Sakho blah blah bloody blah’. Bobby should be treated the way anyone who breaks the law and endangers lives does.

I’m not calling for him to be fired, or let off, or hung, drawn and quartered. I’ll let the law / the club deal with it themselves. I’ll cheer him on when he wears the red of Liverpool Football Club as that’s what we do.

However I’m putting on record here that I’m disgusted with him personally for his actions on Christmas Eve. I’m disappointed. I’m angry. I’m also thankful he was caught and nobody was harmed. I’m hopeful that he’ll learn a lesson from what happened, and will ensure it won’t happen again.

I’m also happy he scored last night.

It’s not easy being a football fan you know.

7/10.

Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:

 

Fantasy Football is a great game that keeps me entertained throughout the football season as I pit my wits against friends and acquaintances to see who has the best footballing brain. It’s free to play, the website is slick and it’s great craic.

However it can consume me a little too much, particularly when I put Liverpool players in my team. Last night was a perfect example. For Lallana’s goal I was trying to convince myself that Sadio Mane could get an assist (as f*cking if…), while I can’t repeat what I said when Imbula slid in to score an own goal as Sadio was just about to knock the ball into the net for a valuable goal for my team (in both senses)…

Of course I’m now pondering what to do when Sadio buggers off for January, as is Jurgen. During a late night Skype call yesterday he told me that he thinks Daniel Sturridge is in great form and looking fit, Divock Origi will never let him down, Philippe should be back soon and that even Adam Lallana could push further forward when required.

I told him that I was thinking of bringing in Alexis Sanchez…and then he hung up on me.

Well, we all have our own challenges, eh?

9/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Lucas:

 

Wait..what? Oh, no, apparently ‘Shut Up Shop Ltd’ may be expanding into the Italian market….

alberto-moreno

Alberto Moreno:

Speaking of which, a new franchise opened up last night when introduced in the 79th minute…

Yep. Please welcome ‘Bertie’s Panic Emporium’.

It got off to a slow start, thankfully…

7/10

Emre Can

Emre Can:

 

I’d had a few beers at this stage and can’t really remember much about Jackie.

I presume that’s a good thing.

7/10

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:

 

Raw, natural, unbridled talent.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The best English striker is sitting on the LFC bench, but he may be about to play a very important role…

Please stay fit Daniel. Pretty please?

8/10


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

After the first loss of the season, Liverpool then followed it with a draw and 4 wins.

After the second loss of the season, Liverpool then followed it with a draw and now 3 wins…and Manchester City are up next.

I’ve never wanted a pattern to repeat so much in all my life.

What Chelsea are doing would have won them many a league title in the past, even now. Yes, large gaps have been overcome / frittered away in the past, but more often than not, if you get 10+ points clear in the league, you tend to win. Chelsea should be 10+ points clear in the league. Any team that wins 12 in a row should be (unless they started at the bottom of the table, but that would just be silly).

While Chelsea are churning out the wins, they must be looking over their shoulders wondering how the hell they can shake off Jurgen’s lads. That nagging doubt can erode your confidence….

8/10.

Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne) or on Facebook (facebook.com/rantsofarebel) If you would like to pay me to write like this, please do get in touch. Christmas cost me a fecking fortune.

Note 2: This blog is dedicated to Jack. Welcome to the Liverpool family buddy.

 

José ‘Fraid Of The Big Bad Klopp?

Monday Night Football.

“Red Monday”

Liverpool v Manchester United.

The hype surrounding this fixture normally doesn’t need adding to, but if you’re Sky Sports and you’ve spent 19 quadrillion quid to have the right to show the game, I suppose you can understand why they’re pushing it harder than Salt & Peppa in 1986. They’re pushing it alright, pushing it real good….

Jurgen Klopp Push It.jpg

Manchester United travel to this game just 6 points off the top of the table with a place in the Top 4 their reward for a win at Anfield…and yet there seems to be a sense of crisis surrounding Old Trafford, which is nonsense. While José has spent the GDP of a small African country on his squad this summer, he needs time to mould them in his own evil image – you can’t make a squad of benign players into horrible bastards in just a few weeks. It takes months of therapy, finger-pointing, scapegoating and gallons of ‘Hatorade’ before José will be truly happy with his minions.

However you do get the feeling that a defeat for Manchester United at Anfield could well lead to some form of ‘fallout’ within Old Trafford. As is the way of the modern world, somebody will need to be blamed. We all know it won’t be José (he just won’t allow it), so the current blamee (if that’s not a real word it should be, and I claim all copyright priviliges) is Wayne Rooney. Will he start? Where will he play? Will he start crying? Will he tear his new hair out in frustration?

Wayne Rooney Bald.jpg
That tantrum could cost THOUSANDS

It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see ‘Wazza’ knock home the winner in the 90th minute. If you’ve picked him for your team this week, you may well get your reward. I just hope the paramedics are standing next to Martin Tyler when it happens.

Liverpool are in tremendous form themselves, coming off the back of four consecutive league wins, but alas they are likely doomed tonight as Jurgen Klopp has received the dreaded ‘Manager Of The Month’ award, which has a proven track record of making the latest recipient look like a common Mike Phelan as their side get garroted in the next game.

mike-phelan
‘Cherry on the cake’? Stuff your Cherries. 

Throw in the fact that two of their extremely effective midfield trio are likely to miss the game and the writing is on the wall. Adam Lallana has been in superb form until he twanged his groin, while the Geordie WineGum has been effective if a little understated in assisting his teammates thus far.

Herr Klopp could roll the dice by tweaking his system to a 4-2-3-1 with Can/Henderson holding and a front four of Coutinho, Firmino, Mane & Sturridge. The thought of those four in full flight is enough to make a fantasy football manager moist. Sorry. Not sorry.

Admit it. You have more than one Liverpool midfielder in your team, don’t you? You just hate that you don’t know which two will turn it on each week. It’s like Russian Fantasy Football Liverpool Midfielders Roulette (RFFLMR – learn it and put it in all your What’s App messages. All the cool kids are).

The only thing we know for certain is that defeat for either team will make Tuesday morning very uncomfortable for a lot of people in work/school. Nowhere to hide and a full day of slagging awaits.

Monday Night Football? F*CK YOU SKY.