Bridle’s 2016 – 2017 Fantrax Season Preview

Today we caught up with the manager of the current Fantrax league champions, Daniel Bridle. Mr. Bridle was kind enough to provide us with a breakdown of each squad in the league, from his perspective. Mr. Bridle’s review is documented below:

 

1st: Chris Talling (next team name is yet to be confirmed)

It actually pains me to say this, as the club’s off the pitch antics are the laughing stock of the league right now, but Huw Meredith has built a strong squad this season and I predict that he will guide his team to their first ever Fantrax league trophy.

Keeper

Victor Valdes doesn’t look to be a very good buy. He is in a defensively weak team and he looks to be unreliable as a starter. This is a weak area for Huw and his squad.

Defence

With Huth, Morgan and Shawcross, Huw’s defence looks solid yet unspectacular. By no means is this one of the stronger defences in the league. However, Huw doesn’t care – he has set out to have a three man defence from the beginning in order to play to his strengths. The return of Vincent Kompany will also be a huge boost for this defence.

Midfield

With the likes of Hazard, Eriksen, Martial, and Sterling to call upon, Huw Meredith and this shambles of a club have a vast array of midfield talent at their disposal. Routledge and iwobi aren’t star players but they are solid back up to Huw’s main threats in this area. I think it’s fair to say that Huw has utilised the new formation changes to his advantage.

Forwards

In Lukaku, Huw has one of the leagues better strikers. Lukaku will be a constant threat and will secure his team a number of goals. If Origi can nail down a regular starting spot, he will also be a big threat to opposition as I’m sure he will score a number of goals. However, with Sturridge to battle for that starting position, that is by no means a guarantee. Diomande makes up the numbers in this area after a strong start to the season. I, personally, can’t see that lasting and I don’t see Diomande as a threat.

Overall

Huw Meredith has made his club more of a laughing stock than the likes of Cardiff City, under Vincent Tan, and Clem’s Lems. I hope this team proves me wrong and plummets to the bottom of the table. However, Huw clearly has a strong team and I am cautiously suggesting that his team will take the title. If anyone is to challenge him, it will be the team that I have predicted to finish in second place (below).

 

2nd: Team Fisher8080

Team Fisher8080 have a lot going for them right now; the most iconic team name in Fantrax history; a strong, all-round squad; and 100 million left to buy a late star transfer (if Arsenal sort their shit out). I predict they will finish as runners-up to Chris Talling, which was especially hard to write as the team name ‘Chris Talling’ is one of the worst i’ve ever seen.

Keeper

With Hugo Lloris to come back from injury amd Wayne Hennessy deputising in his absence, Fisher is blessed in this area. Once back from injury, Lloris should be a constant source of points.

Defence

With defenders from Man City, Chelsea, Spurs and Leicester, Fisher also looks strong in this area of his squad. Kyle Walker should be able to reap rewards at both ends of the pitch and you would expect Stones and Cahill to start pulling in some clean sheets sooner rather than later. All in all, a strong defence.

Midfield

With Cazorla back to form as well as Coutinho, Mahrez and Ramsey, Fisher’s midfield is capable of providing some juicy attacking returns. Navas looks as crap as usual but, ignoring him, Fisher has a strong midfield.

Forwards

With Benteke, Okazaki and Ighalo to choose from, Fisher doesn’t lack firepower at the top of the pitch. Once Benteke and Ighalo start firing, his opposition should be worried as, combined with the rest of his team, Fisher will tally up some big scores.

Overall

‘So why have you predicted Huw to win the league?’ I hear you ask. Well, in my humble opinion, Fisher’s lack of activity in the transfer market will, ultimately, cost him the league title. I am going to predict a cup win for Fisher and a second placed finish in the league.

 

3rd: Ozone Athletic

Everyone knows that Owen loves finishing second (oi oi), but, with their current squad, I have the Athletic down as third place finishers this season.

Keeper

Ben Foster isn’t the most inspiring of keeper choices but he is solid enough at a cheap price. He appears to be very injury prone – this could pose a problem for the Athletic during a long season.

Defence

Pursall’s defence is decent, holding clean sheet and goal potential. Collins and Fernandez are less likely to secure clean sheets than Ivanovic, but all three are capable of scoring goals from set pieces. Pursall will be counting on these goals to make up for the potential lack of clean sheets from Collins and Fernandez.

Midfield

Currently, the majority of Pursall’s midfield is underperforming. Mirallas and Lallana, however, have spared Pursall’s blushes. If these two players can maintain their form and Sanchez, Tadic and Townsend can hit a rich vein of form, this is a midfield that can beat any opposing midfield on its day.

Forwards

Yet again, Pursall bought Sturridge. It seems as though he never learns. Perhaps Sturridge will turn out to be a shrewd buy this year…. or perhaps not. I am just waiting for the day that Sturridge gets injured for 4 months and sits on Pursall’s bench for the entire time. Calleri and Wickham are unlikely to start so Vokes and Sturridge appear to be Pursall’s forward line for now. If Sturridge stays fit and Vokes plays like he did against Liverpoool, Pursall has a fairly good strike force on his hands.

Overall

There are a lot of ‘ifs and buts’ with this Athletic squad, but if certain players can maintain their form while their star players find form, this could be another successful season for them. Unfortunately for Pursall, their wait for a league title may well continue. A cup win could be on the cards.

 

4th: Peperami Barmy Army

While this Barmy Army squad isn’t quite the strongest that this majestic club has had, major credit must go to Matt Devereux-Cole for his performance in his first ever Fantrax auction against experienced opposition. I have predicted that this Barmy Army squad will finish just outside the money in fourth place.

Keeper

With Butland injured, Mignolet is currently deputising for the Stoke stopper. Judging by Liverpool’s latest performance, the sooner Butland gets back, the better. Once Butland is back in goals, he should be a constant source of points.

Defence

With a defence that hosts players from Man City, Chelsea and Leicester, clean sheets shouldn’t be too hard to come by. Azpi, Fuchs and Van Aanholt should be able to claim points at both ends of the pitch while Otamendi and Reid have decent clean sheet potential (the former more so than the latter). All in all, a strong defence.

Midfield

The less said about this, the better. Where did it all go wrong? The injury to Andre Ayew compounded what has been a torrid time for the Barmy Army midfield this season. Jordon Ibe and Matty Phillips have been quiet thus far while Adomah, Fer and Gray are all of substandard quality for this league. This midfield leaves a lot to be desired.

Forwards

Sergio Aguero is on fire. There is no hiding it. Aguero, along with Wilson and Borja, can rack up a serious amount of points on a regular basis. Although Wilson is yet to hit form, this is a forward line that can cause damage to any opposition.

Overall

If the Barmy Army are to defy the odds and claim a second league title, their strikers and defenders are going to have play out of their skin and make up for the lack of points that are coming from their midfield. This could be a season to aim for cup success for the Barmy Army.

 

5th: Boz’s Pandas

In fifth place I have predicted a member of the weird animal rebrand crew, Boz’s Pandas.

Keeper

In David de Gea the Pandas have a goalkeeper who is likely to be among the top three point scorers in that position for this season. A great buy.

Defence

The Pandas defence is slightly lacklustre. Danny Rose is a great addition to any defence… until the Champions League comes calling and rotation begins. Cedric has proven that he can’t play a long run of games, frequently being rested last season. Masuaku will hold down the left back position until Cresswell returns – will he be able to keep his starting place once Cresswell returns? Seamus Coleman and Glen Johnson are good additions to Borrill’s defence but he must await their return from injury before they can help his cause.

Midfield

With Willian, Januzaj and Puncheon in their midfield, the Pandas have some potential for point scoring. However, Wijnaldum playing in a deeper role is a cause for concern and the lack of cover, other than a non-starting Jesse Lingard, is also a cause for concern. A very average midfield.

Forwards

After sinking the Barmy Army with an 89th minute strike, Diego Costa agreed to stay with Chelsea for the season. This was massive news for the Pandas. If he had elected to leave, they would have been significantly lower in my predictions. The partnership that is Rooney and Costa could well prove to be a magical touch from Borrill if they continue in this vain of form. However, Costa should have been sent off in his two previous matches so Borrill needs to be careful that he isn’t too reliant on him.

Overall

While the foundations of a strong squad are there, I feel as though the Pandas are missing out on a real top quality player that will be able to turn a game on its head when needed. They lack players that are able to consistently score well and Borrill may need to start doing some long term planning.

 

6th: Elm Grove Elite

Before the season started, I recall Arun talking about how happy he was with his squad. While he has some real quality in his squad, there is a real lack of depth to it too. I am predicting a sixth placed finish for the Elite.

Keeper

Caballero is a good option… until Bravo arrives at Man City. Once that happens, Caballero will be relegated to the bench. Hall has some serious thinking to do here.

Defence

Van Dijk and Vertonghen are great players to have in your defence. Both are capable of scoring points at either end of the pitch. However, the rest of the Elite’s defence leaves a lot to be desired. Ake is a non-starter, Chambers is a non-starter and Dja Djedje is injured. This currently leaves the Elite with two starting defenders. Oh dear.

Midfield

The Elite have a pretty strong midfield. Bojan and Redmond have started the season in fine form. Once Pogba, Deulofeu and Firmino start scoring a decent amount of points, their midfield will be fearsome. The only cover they have for this midfield is a non-starting Khazri. Perhaps a cause for concern.

Forwards

Similar to Aguero, Ibrahimovic is on fire. He is banging them in at the moment. A great coup for Hall. If Ibra can keep this up, Hall may well defy my prediction and finish higher up the table. However, I can’t help but feel that he will have a period out injured at some point this season and Hall doesn’t have the cover to replace him with Rhodes being a non-starter.

Overall

If Hall is to pick up any injuries in the coming weeks, his squad will be tested to its limits. If the Elite are to claim the title, or even a top three finish, this season, Ibrahimovic will need to carrying on banging the goals in and avoid injury.

 

7th: Leweys Legends

I’ll be honest, I voted for Leweys Legends as worst team during pre-season. Now I’m backing them to finish in the top half of the table in seventh place.

Keeper

Schmeichel is a solid option, Boruc not so much. Schmeichel should get a few clean sheets and a few bonus points from saves made.

Defence

Due to Manchester United’s strong start to the season, Legends fans everywhere are praising Lewis’s all or nothing tactics which resulted in them bringing in three United defenders. If Chris Smalling can reclaim a place in the starting evelen, Leweys Legends could have one of the strongest defences in the league. Jonny Evans is a good cover option.

Midfield

The starting three of Kante, Noble and Dier are likely to provide 2-3 points each on a regular basis, making their inclusion a hindrance to the Legends title aspirations. However, Ramirez has had a solid start to the season, Oscar looks a regular starter under Conte, and once Dembele is back in the starting eleven, he may provide slightly better returns than the likes of Dier or Kante. By no means a strong midfield, but not quite a weak midfield either.

Forwards

Negredo and Musa look as though they could provide good attacking returns for the Legends. As long as Ranieri opts for him over the workaholic that is Okazaki, Lewis has a top forward on his hands. Negredo has started the season like a man possessed with one goal and two assists in two games. If he carries on in this vein of form, he will be come a Legend for the Legends. Not a bad strike force.

Overall

If Lewis can sort out his midfield, and players such as Negredo and Ramirez continue to score well, the Legends could enjoy a successful season. Could a cup win be on the horizon?

 

8th: Hammerheads

On paper, I thought Hamlin’s squad was very strong at the start of the season. However, having reflected on my original opinion, I am predicting an eighth placed finish for the Hammerheards.

Keeper

Courtois is a solid keeper for consistent point scoring. The only danger is he appears to be prone to a massive error every now and then, potentially resulting in a red card.

Defence

Lamina Kone is injured and trying to force through a transfer to Everton, Bertrand is injured and Daniels’ Bournemouth are conceding goals for fun. At the moment, Clyne is looking like the only decent buy due to his attacking returns. At the back, Liverpool are shocking at this moment in time so no clean sheets look likely for Hamlin.

Midfield

There is no doubting that Hamlin has some star midfielders in his squad. With players such as David Silva, Fabregas, Nolito and Sigurdsson, Hamlin’s team has the ability to score well. However, if these four players don’t perform, Hamlin may well find himself in trouble (as evidenced by game week 1).

Forwards

In my opinion, Andre Gray, Mame Biram Diouf and Shane Long aren’t consistent, long term point scorers. While they may be good enough for a mid table finish, I can’t see their point returns being enough for Hamlin to finish in the top three. A new striker before the end of the transfer window could change a lot.

Overall

In stark contrast to PBA, It appears as though Hamlin overspent on his midfield, leaving other areas weaker than he would have liked. If his power four can score well week in, week out then I don’t doubt that Hamlin could well finish in the top three. However, if any of these players are to be injured or suffer a loss of form, then it could be a long season for the Hammerheads.

 

9th: The Groovy Penguins

I have a lot of respect for the penguins, as expressed by Dev in last seasons trophy presentation speech. They have a decent team on paper but I’m predicting a ninth placed finish for them.

Goalkeeper

The Penguins have a solid goalkeeper in Stekelenburg. However, if his stay with them is to be a success, the Penguins will need Koeman to tighten up his defence while staying loyal to his new keeper amid rumours that Joe Hart could be loaned to the club.

Defence

The Penguin’s defence is their main problem. The only defender they have that is likely to keep clean sheets on a regular basis and chip in with some goals is Alderweireld. The other three available defenders are George Friend of Boro, Pieters of Stoke and Naughton of Swansea. Naughton may well score some attacking returns but this isn’t a defence that inspires confidence.

Midfield

Despite having a goal and an assist between them, Wanyama and Rodwell are not long term options for consistent point scoring. The penguins have a good midfield on paper but they desperately need Walcott to stay injury free while also hoping that Mane and Payet are available as soon as possible. The trio of Walcott, Mane and Payet could be pivotal to the Penguins chances of a cup win and a top half finish this season.

Forwards

Although he is yet to score, Vardy is a solid forward option. However, with a non-starter in Batshuayi and no cover on the bench, it looks as though Vardy will be relied upon to bring in the majority of the points for the forwards. Not ideal.

Overall

The Penguins have some good players in their squad but they lack a cutting edge. They need to find a second striker, a couple of new midfielders and a couple of new defenders if they are to challenge for the title.

 

10th: Gooch united

I am predicting Gooch United to finish tenth place this season. Their squad contains a lot of young potential stars who are yet to claim much game time this season.

Goalkeeper

Gooch United have done well in this department. Cech is an exceptional goalkeeper and any manager would be happy to have him in their team. However, for Cech to be a world class buy, Arsenal will need to sort their defence out quickly.

Defence

Gooch’s defence looks fairly strong. McAuley is having a belter thus far, Koscielny is a consistent point scorer and Terry looks as though he will feature regularly. Gael Clichy is very unreliable but, with Matip to come back from injury, United could have a solid back four to start.

Midfield

This is currently a very disappointing area for Gooch. With Fischer and Mkhitaryan getting a miniscule amount of game time between them, Andy King and Antonio have been left to pick up the points for United’s struggling midfield. Another player with heaps of potential, Leroy Sane, has been suffering from injury and may find it hard to immediately break in to the Man City first team once he has recovered.

Forwards

On paper this forward line looks decent. You would imagine Berahino will bag up to 15 goals and Janssen has a reputation that would suggest he will also bag a number of goals. However, the duo are yet to score this season. Gooch will need his forwards to get a goal and settle their nervers as soon as possible.

Overall

While united have a strong keeper and defence, they desperately need Mkhitaryan, Antonio, Sane, Berahino and Janssen to deliver the goods this season in order to boost their hopes of success. If things remain as they are, it could be a long, uneventful season for Gooch.

 

11th: Bobbond Allstars

What a fall from grace the Allstars have experienced. Absolutely hilarious. I’ve predicted that they will finish eleventh this season.

Keeper

Forster is a decent buy. While Southampton aren’t as strong as they were last season, they still have a good defence and should be able to keep a few clean sheets this season.

Defence

The Allstars have two good defenders in Baines and Monreal. However, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the rest of their defence. Pape Souare was recently injured. Alberto Moreno has been benched as he can’t actually defend. Sagna and Kolorov are in the rotation of death at Man City. With two, possibly three, starters, this defence looks somewhat suspect.

Midfield

This is a midfield to rival the shambolic midfield that PBA currently have. With Lanzini and Shaqiri out injured, Bobbond is relying on Boyd, Davis, Henderson and King to outscore his opponents. Lol. The quicker Lanzini and Shaqiri return from injury, the better for the Allstars and this lacklustre midfield.

Forwards

This is the the only area in which the Allstars look strong. You would imagine Harry Kane and Troy Deeney will score a large number of goals between them this season, helping to keep the Allstars off the bottom of the table.

Overall

This may be a season that Bobbond will want to forget in a hurry. He will need his strikers to work miracles and his missing midfielders to return from injury as soon as possible if he is going to have any success.

 

12th: Clem’s Lems

Keeper

Fabianski is a solid buy. While Swansea won’t keep as many clean sheets as some, they will still keep a few and you can rely on him to pull out a good number of saves, securing extra points.

Defence

On paper, this defence looks strong. Klavan, Blind and Bellerin are starting regularly and Ashley Williams is due a start with Everton. However, Klavan and Blind are likely to be dropped for Matip and Smalling eventually. If this does happen, Clements may have to resort to Steve Cook while also securing a transfer from the free agents window. Not an ideal situation.

Midfield

With absolutely no cover on the bench, Clements is limited to a midfield of Drinkwater, Fernandinho, Mata, Ozil and Arnautovic. With Mata, whose game time is likely to be more and more limited as the season goes on, and two defensive midfielders, Clements hasn’t given himself much of a chance of winning the midfield battle. Arnautovic and Ozil will need to bail Clements out on a weekly basis.

Forwards

The Lems have a solid forward option in Llorente, assuming he keeps his position in Swansea’s starting eleven. With an assisted rebound to his name already, llorente looks to be the Lems main forward. The other two forwards are Enner Valencia and Fabio Borini. These two names don’t inspire much confidence in the Lems forward line.

Overall

The Lems team isn’t currently all that bad but, in time, I think Clements will struggle to field a full team and may have to hope that he can pick up a couple of good buys from the free agent pool. This will be another season to forget for Matty Clements.

 

13th: Salv

The relationship between the Salamanders and PBA is one built on mutual respect. Having said that, Salv may disagree after reading this review of his team. I am predicting that the Salamanders will finish thirteenth.

Keeper

Jakupovic has done well thus far and may be able to keep scoring consistent points if Hull can continue to play with the drive and determination that they have displayed so far. However, if they’re to faulter, as many expect them to, then Jakupovic could quickly become a buy.

Defence

With Bailly, Dann, Funes Mori, Lovren and Zabaleta, the Salamanders have a strong defence. If Zabaleta can nail down a starting full back role and avoid the rotation of death, Salv may opt for a 5-4-1 formation in order to cover up weaknesses in other areas.

Midfield

In De Bruyne and Alli, the Salamanders have two top class players. The problem is the rest of the midfield – Success, Xhaka, Sobhi and the always injured Rodriguez. Due to Alli being dropped, it was left to De Bruyne to try and save the Salamanders in midfield during the previous game week. This may often be the case and Salvo may need to dip into the free agent pool in order to sort out his midfield problems.

Forwards

With Andy Carroll injured AGAIN, the less said about this forward line, the better. Charlie Austin and Lys Mousset have managed thirty minutes of game time between them over two game weeks. With Carroll out injured, the Salamanders can look forward to a 1 point haul from their forwards for the foreseeable future.

Overall

Apart from their defence, the Salamanders are in dire straits. I honestly cannot see how it is possible for Salv to turn this around and come out of this season with his head held high. A very long and disappointing season ahead for the Salamanders.

 

14th: Real Sosobad

While Sosobad don’t deserve to be predicted a 14th place finish due to their current squad, Josh’s inability to play players when they score well has already cost him once this season and I’m banking on him making enough mistakes to finish last again.

Keeper

Adrian is a decent choice in goals. He will keep a few clean sheets and should also bring in a few extra points through the amount of saves that he has to make in a match.

Defence

Sosobad’s defence is very average. With Ayala, Dawson, Jagielka, Fonte and Keane, there is no real weakness but there is nothing to get excited about either. This defence may find it hard to outscore a number of opposing defences.

Midfield

Sosobad have a decent looking midfield. Being able to call upon Barkley, Lamela and Bolasie will be very helpful in their efforts to stay away from bottom of the table. The form of Robert Snodgrass, having scored ten points already, is also a major plus. This is an area of the pitch in which Sosobad look strong.

Forwards

Giroud, Rondon and Defoe are three solid forward options to choose from. Rondon and Defoe have already scored a goal each, while Giroud is yet to start a match. If Josh can choose the right players at the right times, this could be a formidable forward line.

Overall

While josh’s team looks to be strong on paper, he has a lot to prove in terms of his managerial ability. It won’t surprise me one bit if Josh makes a decision which costs his team victory during the next game week. Fans of Real Sosobad will hope they can defy their name and secure a finish above fourteenth place, despite Rees holding them back.

 

 

After the interview, we spoke to Matthew Devereux-Cole, assistant manager for Peperami Barmy Army. We asked him for his thoughts on the current Fantrax season, to which he relpied ‘Huh? What’s Fantrax?’ while walking away with a pizza box and a zero calorie Lucozade in his hands. The man is an absolute mystery.

That’s all for today readers. Stay tuned.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s