tsf.tech fantasy football update: gameweek 19

Welcome back!

Happy New Year, blwyddyn Newydd Dda, an Nou Fericit, Срећна Нова година, Frohes neues Jahr!

After the hiatus for the World Cup, we’re right back into Fantasy League, with a frantic series of games since Boxing Day and some serious scoring and competition. But it’s a cup weekend, so take it easy.

Congratulations to Michael who stormed the week with a top score of 81, making good use of his Fantasy League Algorithm PlayStation he got for Christmas , followed by Cornel (70) and Paul (68). This sees the top three as Michael (1161), Scott (1147) and Chris (1131), and Michael leads the January Manager of the Month dash too. Think that’s enough Michaels in bold for now.

Given recent disclosure of the sibling dynamics between Big Willy and Little Harry, I hope Chris doesn’t shove Michael over and break his necklace and the dog bowl in the Beck household, scuffling over our Fantasy league competition.

We had one Beethoven, one Michelangelo, one Bowie, one Isaac Newton… and one Pele. He won three World Cups, but the true legacy of Pele was to unite people of every colour and creed through football. Whether or not he was greatest footballer in history, surely no other sporting figure has been held in such high esteem that their very presence was enough to halt a war. It was January 26, 1969, and Pele had flown into Lagos with his club team, Santos, to play in an exhibition match against a local side.

The warring factions came together and struck an unlikely deal. Such was their mutual eagerness to witness Pele’s magic that they agreed a 48-hour truce, allowing government supporters and rebels to down arms just long enough for Pele and his teammates to play the match, shower, change and dash to the airport. Their plane lifted off to the rattle of machine guns and the crump of mortars.

That Pele tempered a conflagration which claimed two million lives is testimony to his power to unite people of every colour, creed, political persuasion and belief. It was a quality that arguably set him apart from his rivals for the title of football’s Greatest Ever Player – Cruyff, Messi, Ronaldo and Maradona. He made it his mission to use ‘the beautiful game’ (a phrase he is credited with inventing) as a vehicle to promote peace and racial harmony. It was a message he preached until the last of his 1,367 matches and 1,283 goals.

He wasn’t christened Pele. As electricity had just arrived in the village, his parents decided to name him after lightbulb inventor Thomas Edison, but somehow the letter ‘i’ was missed out, so he became Edson Arantes do Nascimento. The nickname ‘Pele’ that became synonymous with dazzling dribbles, audacious overhead kicks and shots with the outside of either foot was conferred on him by friends.

My fairytale ending to Qatar 2022 would have been the Netherlands finally winning a World Cup, albeit only with the brand of totaal langebal that nearly did for Argentina in the quarters. Imagine the look of total etevredenheid on the face of van Gaal had it all panned out. Imagine the reaction of total ebelediging on Cruyff’s smiling chops as he looked down from above! Fair’s fair, give St Johan a couple of minutes, and he’d surely have come round to all the deliberately provocative anti-beauty.

The Dutch played the most outrageous training-ground free-kick routine of all timeTotale vrije trap! It was executed perfectly by Koopmeiners and Weghorst, the assist-scorer stat of 2022 that most sounds either like a high-end department store in Rotterdam or a Groningen chocolaterie.

My next favourite moment of the World Cup was when Pep said Kalvin Philips came back from the tournament ‘overweight’, and then the City midfielder was serenaded by Leeds supporters singing Kalvin Philipps, he eats what he wants and You’re too fat to play for Leeds. But he saw the funny side, clapping his former fans and puffing out his cheeks. Guardiola later described him as so sexy

Finally, the line First person to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final where all three were over the line about Mbappe. Give Ally McCoist the Freedom of Scotland for that piece of commentary.

Frank Lampard’s voice can rarely be heard these days over the furious washing of hands. But the cleaner the hands, the more pH-balanced purchase you can get while throwing players under the bus. A masterclass in dermatological deflection, from the thumpings at Spurs, twin defeats at Bournemouth,  humiliations against Leicester, Palace and Brighton. Reports that the club’s famous nil satis nisi optimum motto (‘Nothing but the best is good enough’) is to be replaced with problemata, quae hic coram me erant, fixa pernoctare non possunt (‘Issues that were here before me don’t take care of themselves overnight’) remain unconfirmed for now. 

Frank Lampard’s Everton (at time of writing) are in trouble for sure, but across town things aren’t rosy for Jurgen either. It’s like talking to my MICROWAVE said Klopp, launching a new frustrated rant at referees for letting Brentford ‘play as they wanted’ to beat Liverpool and says ‘ANYONE’ knows third goal wasn’t right in their 1-3 defeat. Kind of begs the question that he already knows how to converse with his Panasonic Programmable 44L 3200W NE3280 device. For me, weak defending was to blame for the third goal, and Liverpool are an aging team with youngsters like Elliot, Jones and Tsimikas not good enough, and when Salah and Nunez misfire, they look bang ordinary.

Cup weekend so no tinkering needed, Fulham v Chelsea is scheduled for Thursday to complete the current gameweek before a full round of games starts Friday 13 January in gameweek twenty. City and Spurs are both scheduled to play twice in gameweek twenty, City have the Manchester derby prior to hosting Spurs, who will entertain Arsenal beforehand.  However, if either City or Spurs require a replay in the FA Cup, their double gameweek twenty head-to-head would need to be rescheduled and moved to another gameweek. Stay with me. Spurs are at home to Portsmouth in the cup, while City welcome Chelsea. By waiting until the cup results have passed, we will still have five days to finalise transfer plans before gameweek twenty deadline of 630pm Friday 13 January.

What to do with Kane? Patience could prove prudent in the case of Kane (£11.6m), who is in 28% of squads. The Spurs forward is on four yellow cards, but crucially will not miss their derby encounter with Arsenal as he was not booked against Palace this week. However, if Kane is cautioned in the north London derby he will miss Spurs’ second gameweek twenty fixture against City, unless that is postponed due to cup results, in which case he would be suspended for the gameweek twenty one encounter with Fulham. So that’s clear then.

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