View from the BaDMaN Boot Room - GW 8

Saturday, October 6 2018


I listened to Robbie Savage’s Premier League show on Five Live this morning. 

I know he’s been doing it since the World Cup, but I’ve always managed to get to the stereo and axe it into silence, or douse it in acid, or chuck it out the window before any of the clown’s crass, clichéd load of old wank fell out of his face and into my ears.

This morning, however, I wasn’t so sharp and as a result have spent much of the day in the shower. Crying. I just can’t get clean. 

To business…

Goalkeeper                          Pts        GW 7  

Wayne Hennessey (CP)           37pts         2pts


Marcos Alonso (CHE)              54pts         8pts
Andrew Robertson (LIV)          43pts         2pts
Kieran Tripper (TOT)                39pts        11pts
Kyle Walker (MC)                     38pts        7pts


Eden Hazard (CHE)                  60pts        10pts
Raheem Sterling (MC)             47pts        14pts
Sadio Mane (LIV)                     45pts        1pt 
Ryan Fraser (BOU)                    42pts        1pt


Sergio Aguero (MC)                 43pts        6pts
Harry Kane (TOT)                     44pts        13pts 

It seems as though the World Cup hangover is starting to subside, with four of England’s squad making their first appearance in our Team of the Season.

Wayne still sipping Hennessey…

No, not Jordan Pickford (EVE) – he’s wallowing somewhere between Kasper Schmeichel (LEI) and Jonnas Lossl (HUD) at the moment. So Wayne Hennessey keeps the gloves this week. His 2pts was enough to hold off Burnley’s Hart and Man City’s funny looking Ederson (c’mon, he is) both just a point behind on 36pts. 

£4.6m Hart could take top spot this weekend at home to Huddersfield, but then has a double header of Man City and Chelsea so I will again lob Wolves’ Patricio into the ring, at an even more reasonable £4.5m.  

Right back in the mix…

England’s right-back rivals Tripper (TOT) and Walker (MC) have overlapped their way into our defence. Tripper’s sheet and assist at Huddersfield – ahem, as predicted in my PL Previews (you’re welcome) helping him to a chunky 11pts. Walker notched his third clean sheet in a row and joins Robertson (LIV) and permanent resident Alonso (CHE).

Another World Cup hero Harry Maguire (LEI) is only a couple of points adrift to pushing his ample forehead into our back four and has a tidy run of fixture coming up (Everton, West Ham, Burnley, Cardiff and Brighton among them). One to watch.  

Oh Mo you ditn’t…

(Er, for the purposes of the next line I need you to cast your mind back to the summer brouhaha around Raheem Sterling’s AK47 tattoo. Y’know the one he needs to remind him of the UK’s gang problem and how not to get caught up in it. Similarly, I’ve got a violent rape scene tattooed on my chest as part of the Me Too movement. Anyway, gun tattoo… Raheem Sterling… right?)

Raheem Sterling shot* into our midfield with a goal and assist, squeezing out the ever-so-slightly misfiring Mo Salah. Hazard (CHE), Mane (LIV) and Fraser (BOU) keep their places despite the latter only picking a point apiece last weekend. A 10 from Chelsea’s No 10 keeps him top man.   

(* Eh…? Eh…? Didn’t oversell it did I? Nah, didn’t think so). 

Kane still able…

‘Arry Kane (TOT) hasn’t quite been ‘at it’, as they say, but two-goals and 13pts was enough to put himself up front with Sergio Aguero (MC). H is likely to score goals even at half-tilt, but his tendency to drop back into midfield to get on the ball/ hide (choose one) in recent matches reminds me of the same tactic in the World Cup – when he was clearly carrying a knock. Or maybe it was the hopes of the nation. 
Arsenal’s Lacazette seems to have got the central role ahead of Aubameyang and (at £9.5m) is cheaper than his strike partner (£10.8m). And definitely fit. He is on the watch list too. Speaking of which…      

On the Watch list…

On the bench this week we’ve got a handful of nearly men who could break into the Team of the Season in the next week or two. Or three, international break and all that. 

GK: Patricio (WOL) – Just 5pts off the top, cheap as chips and not giving much away at Molineux.

DEF: Slabhead (LEI) is lumbering up from the back and has potential both ends. 

MID: New England call up Maddison (LEI) could also be promoted to our team soon.

MID: Moura (TOT) – has emerged as Tottenham’s most potent and best value (£7.4m) midfielder.

FOR: Lacazette (ARS) is profiting, or maybe the reason behind Arsenal’s steady progression. 

The Premier League nips out the back for a fag next weekend – it’s time for that League of Gentleman again, or something. But the Boot Room will be open for business the following week.


Matt Nesbitt

PL Previews GW 8

Friday, October 5 2018


Couple of upsets on the cards this weekend. I fancy Cardiff could get something out of a puffed out Tottenham team on their big Wembley day out. 

And I reckon Man United could snaffle a point at home to Newcastle

But it all starts on Friday night…

8pm Brighton v West Ham

West Ham will head to the south coast with their chests puffed out after totting up an excellent 7pts from their last three. If the corner was turned away at Everton, the draw with Chelsea and comprehensive dismantling of Man United has put the Hammers halfway down Recovery Street. Another win here will have them browsing the Mid-table section of the PL property pages.
Brighton have also beat Man United this season. But have only added 2pts since then. No need for panic yet – their four defeats have all been to Top Six teams, but this is the sort of match they need points from. Or at least one.    
Forecast: Draw at 23/10
Scorecast: 1-1 at 11/2
Hot Shot – Murray (BRI) has been saved for this, but Arnautovic (WH) is the call. 
Midfield General – Wide boys Anderson and Yarmolenko (WH). 
Case for the Defence – Zabaleta has assist potential (WH).   

3pm Burnley v Huddersfield Town

Burnley are back on track now their summer European fling is out of their system. They’ve won their last two after a starting the season with a string of four duck eggs. Another soft-ish opponent (after wins v Bournemouth and Cardiff) won’t hurt, as it’s City and Chelsea to come after that. Their 7th place last season was largely based on results against teams below them – generating 47pts compared to 7pts v teams above. And Huddersfield definitely come under that category. Just three goals in eight matches (all comps) highlights the Terriers problems. They failed to score in both matches with Burnley last term too. 
Forecast: Home Win at 11/10
Scorecast: 1-0 at 9/2
Hot Shot – Vokes and Barnes (BUR) are the best of an ordinary bunch.   
Midfield General – Gudmundsson (BUR) has three assists in his last two.
Case for the Defence – Hart (BUR) is the number two No 1 in FPL.  

3pm Crystal Palace v Wolves
Woy was disappointed at Palace’s lack of discipline at Bournemouth, which doesn’t bode well. It’s not like they can call on their maverick flair and goal scoring ability. Just three so far - and none at home! – has them looking more like the Palace of last season’s first eight matches (3pts won) than the Palace of the last eight (17pts won). 
We all love Wolves this season. Everyone is talking about their fluid and fearless football, that is winning fans and PL points alike – 11pts from the last five. Less people are talking about their defensive record – only two goals conceded in those five – but I’m onto iy. And you should be too.     
Forecast: Away Win at 6/4
Scorecast: 1-2 at 10/1
Hot Shot – With Zaha (CP) misfiring I’m tempted to go Jimenez (WOL). 
Midfield General – Moutinho (WOL) has bypassed his mate Neves. 
Case for the Defence – Doherty is Wolves’ top FPL performer. 

3pm Leicester City v Everton
Bit of 7th place six-pointer here. In recent years, Leicester have edged Everton out of the unofficial ‘best of the rest’ role. They have set about their season in business-like fashion – beating teams below them and losing to teams above them (Man United are the one anomaly so far, but that’s likely to change. If not, sue me). They never really struggle for goals at home and there is nothing in Everton’s away form so far that will worry them.
Performances haven’t been bad, but a lack of penetration in the last third has arguably cost them points at Wolves, Bournemouth and Arsenal so far. They will need to score twice to win this.
Forecast: Home Win at 6/5
Scorecast: 2-1 at 17/2
Hot Shot – Vardy is two in two (LEI). 
Midfield General – Maddison (LEI) is the fifth best MID so far this season. 
Case for the Defence – Maguire (LEI) has sheet and set-piece appeal.

3pm Tottenham v Cardiff 
Cardiff will set Tottenham a different set of problems than Barcelona did midweek, but you get the feeling this match won’t be any easier. I know who I’d rather be up against. It’s another friendly fixture for Spurs – who will have played five of the Bottom Six after this, which is allowing a few of their big hitters to plough through summer hangovers without accruing much damage. Cardiff, on the other hand, are already taking on water having wasted their only two friendly fixture (two 0-0s) and losing their last four.
But a trip to Wembley against a leggy Tottenham, immediately after a draining CL fixture…? Well, this has got upset written all over it. 
Forecast: Draw at 6/1
Scorecast: 1-1 at 14/1
Hot Shot – Kane. Even off the bench (TOT).  
Midfield General – Likewise Lucas Moura (TOT).  
Case for the Defence – Rose (TOT) sat out Wednesday but has potential at both ends.   

3pm Watford v Bournemouth 
Watford’s blistering start was never going to last, but they will be narked with late slips costing them points in their last two. They are still Top Six but just 1pt from the last three has now got the Hornets looking below them, rather than above. 
Immediately below them are Bournemouth, who have been equally impressive out of the blocks. Although their form is markedly better on home turf – just three of their 13pts have come on the road (and that v a pre-recovery West Ham). This is a bigger test. The kind they usually fail.  
Forecast: Home Win at 23/20
Scorecast: 2-1 at 17/2
Hot Shot – Deeney (WAT) if he can take a break from his busy TV/ radio schedule. 
Midfield General – Fraser (BOU) makes the team of the season so far. 
Case for the Defence – With Holebas (WAT) not far behind.

5.30pm Man United v Newcastle United 
No matter what happens here, neither set of fans will leave happy. Too much has gone on behind closed doors and not enough on the pitch for either team to have the season they wanted. Three leaden home draws – one followed by a penalty shoot-out humbling – has probably put Mourinho a couple of bad defeats away from the sack. This would be one. And it’s away to Chelsea next. Oof! 
Newcastle’s best results have come on the road – the ‘best’ in this case being goal-less draws at Palace and Cardiff – and they managed the same here last season, with United in much better shape. It’s a big call, but I’m making it.
Forecast: Draw at 7/2
Scorecast: 1-1 at 8/1
Hot Shot – Lukaku (MU) likes playing Bottom Six teams. 
Midfield General – Pogba (MU) has plenty to prove. Especially if he wants that transfer.  
Case for the Defence – You have to feel for De Gea (MU) a bit.   

12pm Fulham v Arsenal

You have to admire the way Unai Emery has gone about his business at Arsenal. Five wins on the spin – seven in all comps – have all but wiped the memory of early season defeats by Man City and Chelsea. And they look settled in the Top Five. He’s even got Mesut Ozil playing – his three goals in the last four matches is as many as he contributed in the previous 24. The back-four also looked less skittish in the last two, keeping back to back clean sheets for the first time in 14 matches. All of which makes you think they can take all the points from Fulham. Who, despite encouraging signs, have taken just 5pts from seven matches and are hovering just above the relegation zone. For now. 
Forecast: Away Win at 13/20 
Scorecast: 0-2 at 11/1
Hot Shot – Lacazette (ARS) seems to have got the central role. 
Midfield General – That man Mesut (ARS). 
Case for the Defence – Monreal and Bellerin (ARS) play like wingers.   

2.15pm Southampton v Chelsea 
Worrying time for the Southampton. Not least because they have been competitive in all seven PL matches so far this season (except perhaps a forgivable away trip to Liverpool), but taken just 5pts. Losing points to last minute goals at home to both Brighton and Leicester doesn’t bode well either. They will have fond memories of the opening hour in this fixture last season (2-0 up). But not the last 20 minutes (lost 2-3).
Chelsea don’t look in the mood to give anybody a two-goal head-start this season. The 4pts dropped can be put down to tiredness v West Ham and bad luck/ a wonder strike (choose one) v Liverpool. 
Saint’s best hope is another sleepy away performance.   
Forecast: Away Win at 8/13
Scorecast: 0-2 at 7/1
Hot Shot – Morata (CHE) looks the part, but without the goals so far.   
Midfield General – Hazard (CHE) just looks the part. FPL top dog.  
Case for the Defence – Alonso (CHE). Second only to Hazard.  

4pm Liverpool v Man City 
PL play-off, anyone? Not really, but last season Liverpool showed us they could take it to City over a 90-minute match – or three. And so far this season they are suggesting they are capable of doing it over a nine-month season. Even the 2pts dropped at Chelsea demonstrated a more resilient side of Klopp’s team. 
City are not in top gear yet and have been able to ease themselves into their season, playing (and beating) five of the Bottom Six so far. They were nearly undone midweek by a Hoffenheim team taking Liverpool’s front-foot approach and will have to be better here, but I reckon Liverpool have got their number. 
Forecast: Home win at 7/5
Scorecast: 2-1 at 10/1
Hot Shot – Firmino (LIV) had a slow start but makes Liverpool tick.
Midfield General – Salah (LIV) scored in all three wins over City last season.  
Case for the Defence – Goals on the cards, but Alexander-Arnold and Robertson (LIV) have assist appeal. 

There's another intermission for choc ices and the Nations League next weekend, but we'll be back in the saddle the following Friday.

Matt Nesbitt

View from the BaDMaN Boot Room - GW 7

Friday, September 28 2018

Here’s a thing…

I can identify with Jose Mourinho.

As a top FPL manager with a proven record of success (rarely out the Top 100k over the last ten years) I can understand the pressures and feel his frustrations. But I couldn’t help but wince when he made such a point of saying that Paul Pogba would never captain Man United again.

Y’see, I think he might. In fact, if United don’t beat West Ham Saturday and Valencia Tuesday – he might next weekend. Just saying.

Right. To business… 

Goalkeeper                            Pts          GW 6  

Wayne Hennessey (CP)             35pts         8pts


Marcos Alonso (CHE)               52pts         6pts
Andrew Robertson (LIV)           41pts         7pts
Jose Holebas (WAT)                 31pts         1pt
Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV)    34pts        11pts


Eden Hazard (CHE)                  50pts        3pts
Sadio Mane (LIV)                     44pts        3pts 
Ryan Fraser (BOU)                   41pts        2pts
Mo Salah (LIV)                         37pts        8pts


Sergio Aguero (MC)                  43pts        6pts
Aleksandar Mitrovic (FUL)        39pts        8pts 

Some new faces have forced their way into our Dream Team this week, front to back.

Neil on the Wayne…

The five trips into the back of his own net last week means Cardiff’s Neil Etheridge has finally been ousted in goal. Not Alisson (LIV), not Ederson (MC) – although both are making steady progress – but it is Crystal Palace stopper Wayne Hennessey who dons the gloves, after a tidy 8pt showing v Newcastle. 

Wolves’ Patricio is also worth adding to your Watch List after two sheets in his last three. Cheaper than all of the above too (at £4.5m).

Note: Didn’t Wayne Hennessey used to be a tubby, bald Manc who talked about fashion in Breakfast TV? He’s done very well.

Join the TA fan club…

Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV) joins his opposite flanker in the back four. His first assist of the campaign, along with a fifth clean sheet gave him 11pts – which was enough to oust Benji Mendy (MC) and hold off his team mates Walker and Laporte. But with Brighton at home next for City, things could look different next week.

The World Cup’s greatest ever full-back Kieron Trippier (TOT) is the second most popular pick at 28% - after Alonso (CHE) at 45% - and could make hay in the next three (v Huddersfield, Cardiff and West Ham). But another wolf  Holy Boly looks value at £4.6m.    

Mo makes his move…

Mo Salah (LIV) has eased himself into this season and now into our Team of the Season. His third goal of the season was enough to vault him ahead of Tottenham’s Moura and Watford’s Pereyra – and you suspect he is there to stay now. But at £12.9m I should blinking well think so.

At roughly half that price, James Maddison (LEI) is just 3pts and one assist behind the Mobot – yes, he also has three goals – so makes our bench. At £6.8m he is currently more saucy business than the best City has to offer – Sterling (pah!) is 1pt behind and £4.2m more and Bernardo Silva (scoff!) dragging by 3pts and £0.7m more. 

Mitrovic muscles in…

We’ve resorted to a 4-4-2 this week to make room for Aleksandar Mitrovic (FUL). His fourth goal in six matches* takes him to within 4pts of the PL’s top gun Sergio Aguero and a good 8pts ahead of anyone else (including an illustrious list of Kanes, Lukakus and Lacazettes…).

* For the benefit of Newcastle fans out there, I’m going to go through those figures again. They are a little baffling if you may have witnessed any of Mitrovic’s career in a black and white striped shirt… 

Four goals in six matches. Played six matches. Scored four goals. Ouch.

On the bench this week…

A couple of paragraphs ago I had the bright idea to add a subs bench for those who didn’t quite make the team, but should be on your FPL radar in the coming weeks. So here it is:

GK: Hart (BUR) – just 2pts off the top and as cheap as they come at £4.5m
DEF: With Mendy injured Walker and Laporte (MC) are better options, just a point or two adrift.
DEF: Palace’s Wan-Bissaka is only a couple back and the bargain of the season at £4.3m.
MID: Maddison (LEI) looks the part and will start every week. 

More from the BaDMan Boot Room next week. 

Play nice.

Matt Nesbitt

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World Cup 2010 Prediction Panel with Ruud Gullit and Sky’s Charlotte Jackson

World Cup 2010 Prediction Panel with Ruud Gullit and Sky’s Charlotte Jackson

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