tsf.tech fantasy league update – gameweek 32

Greetings all

Well, Gameweek 30 ended Sunday, Gameweek 31 ended Thursday, and Gameweek 32 starts Saturday and ends Sunday. It’s almost as hectic for us fantasians as it is for the TV crews.

For Gameweek 31 top shot was Chris garnering a huge86 points (Palmer, Foden and Garnacho doing the business) ahead of Cornel (82) and Mr Wright (80). Onto Gameweek 32, and Michael sits top dog with 1,907n. points, ahead of Nick (1,897) and Aleksa (1,834). As this was the first week of April’s fixtures, Chris leads the charge for April MotM, with Mr Wright collecting the March award. Everything to play for!

Super Easter Sunday Saw Arsenal take on City at the Etihad billed as a potential title decider but ended up as a tedious 0-0 draw. Pity, I was rather hoping Jesus would knock in a goal to hijack the occasion as I’m sure commentators would have spent hours working diligently on their painstakingly scripted Easter themed ‘ad-libs’, fervently hoping Arsenal’s No 9 would score the winning goal. Ideally, a strike that finishes a most unlikely comeback for his team. Suffice to say I had my bingo card ready and phrases such as ‘divine intervention’, ‘back from the dead’ and the rather snappy ‘Jesus knocks in the cross’.

Jesus started but failed to score and was subbed, having just emerged from a long battle with assorted knack (as opposed to actual crucifixion at the hands of the Romans). In October, Martinelli bagged the winner four minutes from the end of a hugely disappointing game that failed dismally to live up to pre-match hype, as did the return. Midweek wins for City, Arsenal and Liverpool meant with just eight games of the season to go and just three points separating the top three sides means the Sky hype will go up an extra notch again.

Roy speaks After the 0-0 v Arsenal, Roy had a dig at The Striking Viking. Currently on a four-game goal drought for club and country, Erling is a key figure for City and the Norse cyborg will hope to improve on his virtually anonymous display against the Gunners this weekend, having been rested for the midweek game v Villa. City fans will be hoping to see their pagan Norse God let his hair down once again and hit the back of the net. Here’s what Roy said, and even Micah agreed. Of course, Pep had a response, defending Erling from Roy’s accusations that some aspects of the Norwegian striker’s play would be more suited to Mansfield Town than City: Pep

But at the end of a week which saw City cast adrift, lingering in third place, City fans were buoyed by news of new funds coming into the club, helping their struggle to comply with FFP spending rules. New sponsorship from Etihad Garden Centres Limited, who paid £50m to use their branded lawn seed for the new City pitch for 24/25 and £25m for their logo on the watering cans will ensure the level playing field is, well, a nice shade of green and well-watered.

Pep has also had to defend himself against criticism that the very public dressing-down he gave Jack Grealish in the wake of Sunday’s stalemate was for the benefit of the TV cameras. I am the famous person of this team, he told reporters, liberally applying the sarcasm with a ladle from the training ground kitchen. I need the cameras for my ego so I can go to sleep with incredible satisfaction. Always I try to criticise the players so I can let them know how bad they are, the compliments have to be with me. A good response from Pep I thought, tongue in cheek, not getting rattled.

This week’s photo is of Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, wearing a Burnley FC hat. I invite offers in excess of £1m for this hat, a truly iconic piece of sports memorabilia which Buzz secretly hid inside his NASA spacesuit back in July 1969. He did, honestly, always been a Claret has Buzz.

Growing up in the 1970s I drooled over the the precision and organisation of Bayern, and then the total football of the Dutch: Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV, with Cruyff, Rep, Rensenbrink, Neeskens, Krol and Haan. They were so clever, so talented, so creative. Most of my generation believe they were the best players and teams we ever saw. But then we had to accept in the 1980s that the game was being played best in Italy, where they paid the best wages. Then the Spanish League took over. They paid the best wages.

What a change today. The best players (and wages) and managers are in the Prem, and the whole world watches and the world’s richest moneybags want to buy a Prem club. Or any English club. Who would have imagined that Burnley, the archetypal regional football club, would be bought by an American Hedge Fund?Thanks to Premier League billions, the likes of Bournemouth, Brentford and Brighton attract good players, and, on occasion can stuff the elite. English league football is now best in the world. Yes, must be true. Sky TV tells us that all the time. And the back pages are constantly salivating at our wonderfulness.

It’s still hard to believe the billions that float around football. The TV rights to Prem games for four years were sold at the last auction for £6.7bn. In 1992, when it first sold TV rights, they fetched £38m. The whole point of the Premier League’s creation was to make money, the elite cutting themselves off from the herd in order to maximise their income. England’s Prem teams lead the world, even though only a third of its players are English. Will it last? Of course not. These things come in cycles. The Euro League will happen. Make the most if it. Footy fans, just enjoy living at this hour…and smile at the Chelsea debacle which just goes to show a fool and his money can easily be parted.

Talent doesn’t run in the family I think it’s fair to say that David Beckham was one of the all-time greats, but alas his son is finding it hard to emulate him. Brooklyn is only 25 and already on his fourth career. Having mastered modelling, photography and cooking, Brooklyn was all set to make his big screen debut, landing a speaking part in his wife Nicola’s film directorial debut. Unfortunately, it didn’t go too well, and Nicole revealed this week that she had to cut her husband’s cameo from the movie: He had one line, ‘Hi’, but he kept saying it in a British accent and he was staring directly into the camera. I was like, ‘oh God, we have to move on, good lord’. So, Brooklyn ended up on the chopping block.

The recent tedious international break was brightened by the touching scenes at Anfield, where Sven-Goran Eriksson finally realised his dream of managing Liverpool, taking the reins for a legends game against Ajax And there was one more treat for the former England gaffer, who is terminally ill, as Channel 4 put together a montage of goodwill messages from his former England stars. Joe Cole poignantly recalled toasting his first England goal with Sven, Stevie G was mature and heartfelt, while a teary Owen Hargreaves thanked the loveable Swede for believing in me when a lot of people didn’t. Video Paul Scholes slightly misread the brief as he wished Sven all the best with your recovery, but it was left to Michael Owen to completely suck the vibe out of proceedings.

Eric Cantona When Cantona said at a 1995 press conference: When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea, everyone was left scratching their heads. It was one of the most baffling utterances ever made by a footballer. Was Cantona not only a star striker but a philosopher to boot? All he would say by way of explanation was: it meant what it meant. Now he has ended almost three decades of speculation as to the meaning of those ‘seagulls and sardines’ remarks with an explanation.

Wales. Summer. Holiday. In that order. As the reverberations of Wales’s Euro 2024 playoff final defeat by Poland echo through the Principality, questions arose, each more uncomfortable than the last, for manager Rob Page to ponder, as he reflected on having hopes of qualification dashed. Can they realistically stride forward into this post-Gareth Bale era, or are they doomed to dwell in the shadow of the golf legend’s glory days?

Yet, in the immediate aftermath, introspection takes a backseat to the collective Welsh groans and finger-pointing. Welsh sport is in the doldrums, the rugby union team are going through a transition, so the egg chasers hoped the ‘ballers would give the dragon nation some hope. Following the penalty shootout, in which Dan James saw his spot-kick saved by Wojciech Szczesny, a wave of sorrow engulfed the nation. Amid the despair, a glimmer of pride shimmered from Page: Look how far we have come. There is something good happening with this group. They are hungry for it. There is a lot more to come. This team is going somewhere. But it won’t be Germany this summer, hey Rob.

Within moments of kick-off, Extra time was inevitable and loomed ominously. And as the clock ticked on, the inevitability of penalties hung heavy in the air. In the pressure cooker of the shootout, heroes are made, and hearts are broken. For Wales, the agony was palpable, and in the unforgiving spotlight, Poland emerged as clinical executioners, guided by the indomitable Robert Lewandowski. For Wales, the penalty heartache persisted – a reminder of football’s erratic nature.

This weekend Foden and Palmer pickers will be rejoicing after their 20-point haul in gameweek 31, but non-owners cursing them, it is sorely tempting to chase your losses immediately by getting them into your team. Do you stick with Son Heung-Min to be able to afford Mo Salah, and, if you decided to ditch Foden as Pep will probably drop him now for Grealish, that is going to sting. Son could easily pay you back with a big performance at home to Forest.

Palmer could easily do a lot more damage by then, but this week it could be someone else’s turn to shine and hopefully it is one of your players. That is what I am telling myself anyway. Palmer’s incredible hat-trick against United makes him a candidate for the captaincy this week, with Chelsea away to Sheffield United, but there is plenty of competition for the armband. Salah has scored eight goals on his past five visits to Old Trafford with the Sunday game one to focus on, Haaland will also be champing at the bit for City’s trip to Selhurst Park.

Wolves’ Rayan Ait-Nouri is a defender who offers a great attacking threat, as proved by his recent goals against Burnley – but was this a free kick? The ref gave it and Wolves scored from it. Yes we should have defended it better but if you trip over your own feet, surely that can’t be given as a foul. A foul?

Good luck and enjoy the weekend.

Ron Manager

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