RG Fantasy Football
Apparently, the fee paid Manchester United paid for Anthony Martial had the French spluttering (or was that laughing) into their café au laits.
Even United manager Louis van Gaal called it “ridiculous”, while Thierry Henry — the player the 19-year-old is now expected to morph into — called it a “massive gamble”.
Heck, you know the pressure’s on when Ray Parlour, such a reputed spotter of European talent, reckons you will flop. Martial can sleep easy on that one, safe in the knowledge the “Romford Pele” has probably watched as much French football as he has Dandy Town — no disrespect, of course, to the Hornets.
There is a serious point here: that $56 million, potentially rising to $90 million with add-ons if you believe reports, is obscene for a player Van Gaal admits he brought for his eventual successor.
Obscene, mainly, for the young man himself. After barely 50 league games and two caps for France, he’s now expected to be a super star. He can always turn to Parlour for advice.
11am kick off unless stated
Everton v Chelsea
John Stones will be centre of attention and it will be a test for him playing the team he could have joined. Everton usually give Chelsea a game and, given José Mourinho’s early season problems, this should be no different.
Arsenal v Stoke City
After all the hype, a strangely subdued start to the season for Arsenal but the visit of a Stoke side struggling to accommodate new talent should see them collect three points.
Stoke have not won at Arsenal in the league since 1981.
Crystal Palace v Man City
Palace’s home form is not a patch on their results on the road, which does not bode well with the league’s in-form team in town.
Kevin De Bruyne is set to be involved, bolstering City’s already impressive attacking unit.
Norwich v Bournemouth
Poor Bournemouth. A breath of fresh air this season, two of their big-money buys face considerable time on the sidelines with Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings both suffering serious knee injuries.
The Canaries were abject at Southampton. Tough one.
Watford v Swansea City
A stat stolen from a reputed news source, apparently Watford last had a shot on goal ... three games ago. They are a work in progress. Swansea, on the other hand, have been hugely impressive so far.
WBA v Southampton
Tony Pulis has to deal with Saido Berahino and trying to integrate him back into the squad after the club refused to sell him to Spurs. Never met the lad myself, but it has been alluded to that he isn’t the most popular chap in the changing room as it is. Score draw.
Man United v Liverpool
Philippe Coutinho is suspended for Brendan Rodgers’s side, taking their most creative player out of the equation. United won 3-0 in last year’s corresponding fixture and at Old Trafford they have the edge this time, too.
Sunderland v Spurs
Heung-Min Son could make his debut as Spurs look to kick-start their campaign. Harry Kane’s England goals should give him extra confidence — as should the home defence.
Leicester City v Aston Villa
Leicester have made a fast start and, importantly, have pace and directness on the wings. On form, they should have too much for a Villa side still being knitted together.
West Ham v Newcastle
Despite their lowly position, Newcastle look on sounder footing player-wise and, vitally, morale-wise — they just need a win. Given West Ham’s home strife so far, they have a good chance here.
Congratulations to Bruce Swan, who guided Bruce’s Foxes to the August Fantasy Football crown with 226 points.
Mr Swan has won a $100 gift voucher for his dugout prowess. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to collect your prize.