Fantasy Five - Tips for your Fantasy Premier League team 4/19/18

Only six Premier League fixtures this weekend because of the FA Cup semi-finals, so once again it's a tricky gameweek to navigate for Fantasy Premier League managers. The key this week is to focus your picks on players who not only have a match this weekend but who also have two fixtures rather than one in gameweek 37...

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Weekend Preview by the Numbers: Two Derbies + Two Historic Rivalries + Six Big Matches = One Perfect Weekend

All four corners of Europe are filled with top-notch matches this weekend. The Primeira Liga will feature the most prominent game in Portugal: the O Classico between Benfica and Porto. The most anticipated fixture in the Dutch Eredivisie is also in store as PSV Eindhoven and Ajax will clash on Sunday in the De Topper rivalry.

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Fantasy Five - Tips for your Fantasy Premier League team 4/12/18

Despite Manchester United’s comeback win on Saturday at the Etihad, the destination of this year’s Premier League title is not in dispute. The same cannot be said of tens of thousands of Fantasy Premier League mini-leagues all around the world, for many of which this weekend will be crucial. It’s a double gameweek for 8 of the 20 clubs, meaning some potentially huge points totals for those who have been shrewd enough to plan ahead...

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Revierderby Time - Who Will Prevail in the Bundesliga's Fiercest Derby

Once again, it’s derby-time this weekend in Germany, but it’s much more than that. For the Ruhr District, a large urban area in Northwestern Germany, matches between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund have been among the most polarizing, emotional, and sensational soccer games out there. Much of this has gone unnoticed outside of Germany, so if you’re not familiar, let’s introduce you to one of the fiercest derbies in the game of Soccer.

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Fantasy Five - Tips for your Fantasy Premier League team 4/4/18

With the first leg of the all-English Champions League quarter final out of the way, it's time for Liverpool and Man City to turn their attention to their local rivals this weekend, with City poised to claim the Premier League title against United and Liverpool crossing the park to play Everton. Derbies are notoriously unpredictable, so instead our FPL player picks this week focus on five other teams who all have two matches in next week's bumper schedule. As always, these picks are brought to you by our friends at Armchair Fancast

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NCAA Insider - College Park to Queens Park and Beyond; Which program is having the best spring season?

The University of Maryland Men’s Soccer team set the bar high for NCAA D1 spring schedules around the country. The historic program set out “across the pond” and made an international trip to Great Britain for a series of international friendlies. The iconic NCAA soccer power had a difficult final stretch to the 2017 campaign. The program started 10-0-3 on the season, only to go winless in their last six which included losses in the first round of the Big Ten conference tournament and the first round of the NCAA tournament.

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Weekend Countdown - Recap By The Numbers

European soccer returned from the international break with a sensational weekend across Europe's top leagues. Barcelona’s star player Lionel Messi topped the headlines as he netted a game-tying goal against Sevilla after coming off the bench to keep the Blaugrana side’s 37 league-game unbeaten run alive with a 2-2 draw. 

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USL Spotlight: For Orange County SC, Orange is the New Blue

Messi or Ronaldo? Three at the back or four? Gegenpress or park the bus? Football is filled to the brim with divisive subjects, but if there’s one thing all supporters of the beautiful game can agree on, it’s that rebranding clubs is always a great idea. Right Wimbledon? Cardiff? And what’s this? OCSC have done so not once, but TWICE in their seven year history? Clearly, the OCSC front office understand what the fans truly crave: the need to purchase entirely new gear to ensure they’re showing their support for the current iteration of their club.

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Fantasy Five - Tips for your Fantasy Premier League team 3/28/18

With the international break now firmly in the rear-view mirror, attention returns this weekend to the Premier League for the final dash towards the end of the season. As always at this time of year, the fixture list is now a bit of a minefield – we are two weeks away from a bumper gameweek in which 8 teams play twice, but then the following week 8 teams (some different from the week before) don’t play at all. Plus there are still 12 teams with postponed matches that have not yet been rescheduled. All of this makes it hard to maximize your minutes in Fantasy Premier League, but here to help are our friends at Armchair Fancast...

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USL Spotlight: 1995 U.S. Open Cup Champions still Kicking - and enabling painful soccer puns - in Richmond

Believe it or not, there are actually clubs in the USL with history. Richmond boasts one such side, the Kickers holding the silver medal as the second oldest continuously run football club in the United States (behind USL and Eastern Conference rivals, the Charleston Battery). Founded in 1993, the Kickers have played in nearly every iteration of lower league football in this country, under a whole mess of lovely, forgotten divisions and acronyms.

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The Cost of Coaching (with pretty infographics of the ugly problem)

We’ve all experienced this youth soccer coach growing up: the well-intentioned, slightly overweight, local parent -- oblivious to the rules of the game and quick to scream out “boot it!” and “score!”

Sigh.

Well, what about American soccer coaches today? We are a nation of millions of adult amateur players -- fully grown 20, 30, and 40-somethings that have played the game our entire lives, and are ready to give back to the next generation.

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Who Fared Best (and Worst) in the Champions League Quarterfinal Draw? [Predictions]

The quarterfinals are set and the remaining eight teams can begin to dream of Champions League glory. The first legs will be played on April 3/4 with the decisive reverse fixtures coming on April 10/11. The top clubs continue to dominate the tournament as there were few surprise results in the Round of 16. But the real drama will unfold in the coming weeks as the European giants clash.

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Weekend Countdown - Preview by the Numbers

Anytime the FA Cup is on it’s a good weekend for European soccer. Chelsea and Manchester United will hope to shrug off their exits in the Champions League as they face Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion respectively. Outside of the FA Cup, Bayern Munich has an away game at the electrifying Red Bull Arena against RB Leipzig on Sunday and Marseille is hosting Lyon on Sunday as well for a top-notch Ligue 1 game.

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Fantasy Five - Tips for your Fantasy Premier League team 3/14/18

You have some major decisions to make this week regarding your Fantasy Premier League team – if you only have a few of your current squad who have league games scheduled for this week, what do you do? Play your wildcard? Use the Free Hit, if you still have it? Accept you’re in for a bad week and save your chips for the gameweeks ahead where some players will have two matches to play? There are no easy answers, but certainly you want to put out the best team you can at the weekend, so here are five suggestions for the best players to choose from the few available this week, courtesy of our friends at Armchair Fancast - the weekly podcast discussing all the latest happenings from the Premier League. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, and follow them on Twitter here!

  1. Asmir Begovic (BOU, £4.5): It might seem a strange thing to say given that Bournemouth have not kept a clean sheet in five games (and conceded 4 goals to both Huddersfield and Spurs during that time), surely the goalkeeper with the best chance of a shut-out this weekend is Begovic. Granted, this is largely because his team are at home against doomed West Brom – a side that has lost its last three away games to zero and is on a six-game losing streak.
  2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV, £4.3): Liverpool’s young full-back had a torrid time at Old Trafford last week and was turned inside out by Rashford for that spectacular first goal – but Watford are no Manchester United. Expect Klopp to demand that his team plays with much more width against the Hornets, which should allow Alexander-Arnold the opportunity to run riot down the right wing. Offensive and defensive points are a strong possibility for this young man who will be eager to make a statement after last week’s events.
  3. Wilfried Zaha (CRY, £6.8): The best predictor this season of whether Crystal Palace will play well is a very simple one: is Zaha fit? Without him the Eagles had that historic losing streak at the start of the season, while his latest injury spell has seen them lose three in a row and drop into the relegation zone. Luckily the Ivorian winger managed 45 minutes against Chelsea last week and will probably manage plenty more this week. Not a moment too soon for Roy Hodgson, because Zaha is without doubt his team’s principal creative spark.
  4. Mohamed Salah (LIV, £10.6): We’ve avoided mentioning Salah for much of the season because he is such an obvious pick, but in a week like this one it would be almost criminal not to include him. 24 goals already and 10 assists, plus over 50 points more than any other player in this year’s FPL – those are genuinely breath-taking stats, especially for a debut season. And if that’s not enough for you, guess who he was facing when he scored his first goal and first assist? That’s right, it’s this week’s opponents Watford, on the very first day of the season. Captain this man immediately.
  5. Cenk Tosun (EVE, £7.0): Everton’s new boy was firing blanks for his first six league games after signing in January, but that’s all changed over the past fortnight. A goal against each of Burnley and Brighton, plus 5 bonus points from a possible 6, should have raised plenty of FPL managers’ eyebrows – but interestingly Tosun is still owned by less than 2% of your rivals, so why not be one of the first to jump on the bandwagon?

Author: Dave Bradshaw

Armchair Fancast podcast