APB for monthly winners Charles and Aprille
After something of a hiatus, there is a fair bit of housekeeping for us to be doing around the Royal Gazette Fantasy League.
First up is the matter of rounding up the winners for the months of September and October, with the November “champion-elect” champing at the bit to bang down our doors for the life-changing $100 voucher or cash reward on offer.
Presumptive Arsenal fan Charles Talbot — and we say presumptive given the mickey-taking name of his team, St Totteringham’s — was our September winner after amassing 223 points to edge Mugamba Isaac (FPL Life President) by just the one point.
So, please step forward at the Gazette offices on Par-la-Ville Road, Mr Talbot, and be careful not to run into a Spurs fan on the way. They will be sure to remind that “the Arsenal” have not finished above Tottenham in the Premier League since the 2015-16 season.
The October winner is a tad more problematic, as our very own Stephen Wright, the Royal Gazette sports editor, topped the table with a team that even he couldn’t remember — “Oi, mate”, no, Hoi United. Replete with three of his beloved Wolves players in an unchanged starting XI for the season, Steve’s squad amassed 186 points in the month.
But, alas, because of eligibility rules as an RG staffer, Steve will have to look on covetously as runner-up Aprille Gibbons claims the prize. The name of her team? Lucky_charmz. You couldn’t make it up.
Premier League action resumes tomorrow morning and Jaylen Martin would be absolutely gutted if he could not hold on to a 21-point lead for November in the last gameweek of the month. His team is Haven’t Got a Kalou, which means he has been either rather fortunate or, more likely, is having one on us, as he is ninth at present in the overall tables.
Before heading into the match-by-match predictions, it is worth noting that in second place overall is none other than our Captain Fantastic, Danté Leverock.
Where does the Bermuda captain possibly find the time? Putting a vice-like grip on Mexico strikers by day and playing “You Be the Manager” by night, it is enough to drive one round the bend. Or to the nearest watering hole for another round of Dewars&Water — the only meaningful explanation for such an intoxicating team name.
Leverock trails Jeffrey Abbott and Zwzard_XI by 28 points, and will be banking on captain Sadio Mané to fill his boots against Brighton.
So on to Gameweek 14:
Newcastle United v Manchester City
You wouldn’t bet against Newcastle, who looked so abject at Aston Villa on Monday, turning over Manchester City for the second time in a row at St James’s Park. But you should, even with Sergio Agüero crocked. A short week for Steve Bruce’s men but an even shorter one for City, who had the Champions League to contend with.
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Chris Wood is on fire for Sean Dyche with six goals in his past six games, and while Palace were mightily unlucky at home to Liverpool last weekend and punch above their weight on the road, that may just be enough to send the Turf Moor crowd home happy.
Chelsea v West Ham United
Manuel Pellegrini is running out of time, and it is questionable whether West Ham owners, Messrs Sullivan and Gold, will treat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as a throwaway game. A derby is a derby, and should the Lampard youth explosion have its way with the Hammers as expected, the Chilean may need no help searching for his P45.
Liverpool v Brighton&Hove Albion
The stars continue to line up for Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool, but Brighton are no one’s mugs. It was no easy going in the corresponding fixture last season, won 1-0 by the home side, and expect the Kop to have to wait a while before they can sing in full throat.
Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth
José Mourinho’s home debut against a team Spurs have beaten to nil at home in their past four meetings, albeit two of them were at Wembley. 3-0, 4-0, 1-0, 5-0, so ...
Southampton v Watford
Is it too soon to say “relegation six-pointer”? Never. Not when at least two thirds of the league are conditioned to spend swaths of the season looking over their shoulders rather than at what is ahead of them. Watford, who have been dire, are the disappointing exception.
Norwich v Arsenal
Arsenal have not sacked a manager since Bruce Rioch in 1996. Anything but three points at Carrow Road — far from a given — should be the signal for “Good night, Irene”. The fans, having exited the Library to rediscover their “Wenger Out” voice, are calling for his head. But just when Wenger, er Unai Emery, needs a performance ...
UPDATE: Arsenal decided not to wait until the weekend was done and sacked Emery this morning. Club legend Fredrik Ljungberg, a midfield star in the era of “The Invincibles”, is in temporary charge until a permanent replacement is found.
Wolves v Sheffield United
A live contender for game of the week. It was like watching Real Madrid as the Blades swarmed to a two-goal lead at home to Manchester United last week. But it was also like watching Real Madrid when they shipped three in seven minutes at the end before grabbing a draw.
Leicester City v Everton
Manager Watch follows Marco Silva at King Power Stadium, where the blue side of Liverpool challenges the hottest blue side in the league. Expect bad to turn to worse for long-suffering Evertonians, whose cries of “Jesus” would be less linked to Christianity; more a demand for the next cab off the rank — out of Flamengo in Brazil.
Manchester United v Aston Villa
As far as under-fire managers go, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is being given an inordinate amount of time to get it right at Old Trafford. A late resurgence at Bramall Lame, inspired by three academy products, has renewed hope. United always beat Villa at home. Don’t they?
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