Fantrax Ramble – Episode 1

Please see below for the debut of our brand new podcast, Fantrax Ramble:

Please let us know if you have any feedback on how we can improve the show. Fantrax is life.

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A Historic Day Continues

A historic 24 hours in the world of Fantrax. For the first time ever a team has decided to change their manager. The enigmatic Ian Fisher  is on the verge of stepping down to pave way for young Matthew Devereux-Cole to embark on what promises to be a fruitful management career. And now that Devereux-Cole’s appointment is out in the open, Boz’s Pandas press team have the opportunity to announce to the world their very own managerial addition.

The Pandas have been looking for an assistant manager for the past 63 weeks, yet there were few candidates worth taking on. However, with Talling’s XI now winning every game, this has kickfired the Pandas into bolstering their management team in the hope of chasing down Meredith et al.

Interest in the role was high. Candidates for the job included the likes of Stacey Matthews, Garth and Mark Henry, but eventually the Panda’s hierarchy settled on the self-proclaimed King of Biggleswade………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Francis Booker.

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Despair from the Panda’s bench following Mustafi’s fine header for the Lems earlier today. A star-studded crowd can also be seen in the background.

A recording from Booker’s interview can be heard below. It’s easy to see why the Pandas wanted Booker on board.

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Booker buying some cheese to celebrate being offered the role

Booker being assistant manager provides a few headaches for Borrill. Current disputes that need to be reconciled include:

  • Booker’s underlying hatred for Jason Puncheon
  • Booker’s underlying hatred for all things Crystal Palace
  • Booker’s deep rooted love for Darren Fletcher
  • Booker’s constant tantrums
  • Booker’s strange adoration of Victor Anichebe
  • Booker’s odd fascination with inanimate objects (e.g. coathangers)
  • Booker’s complete lack of knowledge of Fantrax.

Needless to say, whether this turns out to be a good appointment will depend on if Borrill and Booker can come to an agreement on issues such as these.

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Booker is reportedly extremly unhappy with some of the training techniques currently employed by the Pandas

Booker’s first press conference also ended bizarrely when following a question on whether Diego Costa was likely to move to China he simply got up and shouted “Sausage, I dunno” before nonchalantly striding out the media room. Borrill has already booked in Francis to extended media training sessions to ensure such oddities don’t happen again.

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Rumours of whether Booker is using the role as a stepping-stone for greater things in the future have been played down by Borrill

The Pandas play The Hammerheads next week and Borrill will be hoping that Booker’s knowledge can help secure 3 points over their fellow lucky high-flying rivals.

Summer Transfer Window – Each Teams Transfer Dealings Rated (Part 4/4) and Final Table

And so here we are. The final frontier. Part 4. One guest. One massive guest. The greatest man to be associated with football since time began.A great deal of effort has been put in to get this man into the studio, so please put your hands together for the one, the only, the truly magnificent…WhoScored.com’s very own Ben “Mac Attack” McAleer.

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Mac attack shows his delight as news broke that his agent had scheduled for him to come into Commish HQ

Gooch United – Rating 5/10

Players in: Moussa Sissoko (100m), Joe Allen (free), Boring James Milner (free)

Graeme Gooch gambled on waiting until deadline day to make his big money move. Did the gamble pay off? In our view, not quite. Whilst Sissoko can cause havoc when he’s “on it”, he’s not “on it” often enough as shown by his Premier League scoring rate of 1 in every 9 games. The capture of Mustafi may have been a safer bet, and with Koscielny and Cech in the side would’ve caused many an opposition manager restless nights over the frightening thought of an Arsenal clean sheet. However, as a great philosopher going by the name of Stacey M. once said, diversification in defence is key. Time will tell if Gooch made the right decision.

Elsewhere in defence, a left-back Boring James is unlikely to get too many points, although penalty duty is certainly a bonus. Similarly, a deep-lying Emre Can is not likely to trouble the scoreboard often, even more so as his place is hardly guaranteed in the Liverpool starting XI.

Regardless of the transfer window dealings at the club, the squad Gooch has put together is worthy of respect. If Sane, Ian’s big crispy Nachos and Mkhitarynahn bread can all hold down starting spots things start to get very interesting indeed. Is this the season Gooch United trouble the upper echelons of the league?

Mac Attack’s view: “Sissoko is a decent pick up if you can get him cheap (rofl). Reckon he’ll start tomorrow as well. Milner’s a weird one as he’s going to play left-back, so will get forward, and he’s Liverpool’s penalty taker.”

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The slightly unorthodox pre-meal ritual that Gooch forces his players to do at meal times has had mixed reviews from his new signings

Salamanders – Rating 5/10

Players in: Sofiane Boufal (95m), Hal Robson-Kanu (free), Eldin Jakupovic (free), Isaac Success (free)

Some might think the 5/10 is slightly generous for Sally here, but I think Boufal could be a big success this season. 95m is a huge price tag, so Andy will be hoping he can deliver, and ideally quickly. The Salamanders have had a tough start to the season, and need all the points they can get at the moment.

HRK could struggle for game time at West Brom, with Rondon and Berahino both likely to be in Pulis’ first team plans for the majority of the season. The arrival of Marshall at Hull could spell trouble for Jakupovic also, and Salvidge will no doubt be monitoring the situation closely to see if a change is needed between the sticks.

Another concern for the Salamanders is whether the arrival of Sissoko at Spurs will mean Deli is deployed in a deeper midfield role going forward. Lots of uncertainties for Salvidge to ponder over the coming weeks.

However, the main concern is obvious to everyone apart from the main man himself. Why the Salamanders did not bring in a recognised first-choice striker over the summer is beyond comprehension for everyone in the football world. Andrew can forget soggy Sunday, this will be a soggy season if Austin, Carroll and Robson-Kanu fail to light up the league this season. On a positive note, Success could be a decent signing and the Salamanders will be hoping he can complement their star-man KDB in midfield this season.

Mac Attack’s view: “Boufal and Robson-Kanu won’t start this weekend, though the former will be brilliant when up to speed. Jakupovic I doubt can sustain his high level of form. Success will likely start for Watford in due course, but lacks match fitness.”

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Salvidge giving his half time team talk in game week 3

Real Sosobad – Rating 1/10

Players in: Fernandinho (free)

A dismal window for Sosobad. Fernandinho. There’s not a lot to say here. He’ll get a couple of goals and assists over the course of season, but with Sosobad’s other midfield options it’s likely he might not even get into the starting XI.

However, it should be said that Russ was reasonably unlucky in trying to get in the star men. 100m on Pogba, 50m on Luiz and Mustafi, 15m on Wilshere and Alonso are all reasonable bids. Unfortunately some lunatic either bid more or lady luck didn’t offer the Sosobad the break they needed.

However, Sosobad fans still have a lot to look forward to this season. Russ has somehow managed to put together a decent squad for once and could genuinely be challenging for trophies if they start getting a bit of luck. There’s a chance that the Josh Club will be without their founder come the end of the season.

Mac Attack’s view: “Not sure how effective Fernandinho is at getting points, but if tackles and defensive work come into play, he’s worth it.” Unfortunately Mac Attack, they don’t.

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Russ on a mad one after sealing the signing of Fernandinho

Bobbond Allstars – Rating 7/10

Players in: Claudio Bravo (50m), Jack Wilshere (50m), Joshua King (free), Damien Delaney (free)

A very good transfer window for the Allstars. Despite the hefty price tag, especially for a goalkeeper, Bravo is likely to be an excellent signing. Wilshere for 50m is madness, but fantrax transfers are not what they once were. Ironically the arrival of Wilshere may mean Drew’s other signing King has a reduced role this season. However, if Wilshere and King can both get on the pitch, they will be involved in a significant number of Bournemouth goals this year.

Defence is a concern for the Allstars, with far too much uncertainty surrounding players starting. New signing Delaney falls under this category, with Kolarov and Sagna offering similar frustrations. With 6 defenders on the books, it’s perhaps an opportunity for Bond to look at bringing in an extra midfielder.

The strikeforce of Deeney and Kane should start firing soon, and Drew will be hoping this kickstarts what has been a turgid start to the season for the Allstars.

Mac Attack’s view: “King isn’t great, so I’d probably avoid (unless Bournemouth are playing a “lesser” side). Bravo will be good, despite lack of height, which he makes up for in shot stopping excellence. Delaney I’m not sure will be long term for Palace. Once Tomkins is fit, think it’ll be Tomkins-Dann in defence. Hope that’s what you were after?” Yes Ben, that’s exactly what I was fucking after, superb.

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Villain of the year trying to distract Bond whilst he completes the signing of Bravo

Final Table

  • 1. Chris Talling’s XI (8/10)
  • 2. Bobbond Allstars (7/10)
  • 2. Elm Grove Elite (7/10)
  • 4. Ozone Athletic (6/10)
  • 5. Salamanders (5/10)
  • 5. Gooch United (5/10)
  • 5. Peperami Barmy Army (5/10)
  • 5. Clem’s Lems (5/10)
  • 5. Lewey’s Legends (5/10)
  • 10. The Hammerheads (4/10)
  • 10. Boz’s Pandas (4/10)
  • 12. Groovy Penguins (3/10)
  • 13. Real Sosobad (1/10)
  • 14. Team Fisher8080 (0/10)

A big thank you to Ben McAleer for his time today. Head over to his page at whoScored.com to read some of his great work. And a big thank you to the readers – this 4-parter has had more drama than an Arun Hall wrap party, and I’ve loved every second of it. #FTID

Summer Transfer Window – Each Teams Transfer Dealings Rated (Part 3/4)

Looks who’s back, back again, Milner’s back, tell a friend, Milner’s back, Milner’s back, Milner’s back, Milner’s back, Milner’s back, Milner’s back, nanananananana. Part 3 of 4 commences below, and BJ Milner is delighted to be here again, although he appears to have been eating quite a lot since we last saw him 6 days ago. Matthew Clements is reported to have lent him his top of the range £10 BMI weighing scales to help him get back to the Boring James we all know and love.

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The Hammerheads – Rating 4/10

Players in: Simone Zaza (61.5m), Lamine Kone (1.5m), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (0.5m), Steven Defour (free)

I hate to say it, but I just don’t think this was a very good transfer window for the ‘Heads. Zaza for 61.5m looks pricey, but a striker was desperately needed on deadline day so Hamlin will most likely be happy. However, once West Ham have Ayew, Carroll and maybe even Sakho (??) back there’s the issue of game time for Zaza, especially if he doesn’t settle into life quickly in the Premier League. A big gamble in my eyes from Hamlin, and hopefully it pays off for the Hammerheads.

The transfer strategy of the manager has also come under the spotlight – Hamlin currently has 7 midfielders in his squad, adding both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Defour in the summer transfer window, suggesting that The Hammerheads will line up with 5 in midfield for the majority of games this season. Nolito and Silva are the clear match-winners in the side, and Hamlin will hope Man City can keep up their free-scoring start to the season. The issue of game time is prevalent again – it will be interesting to see how many more games Conte has to leave Fabregas on the bench for Hamlin to drop him, whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain is unlikely to start many games for the Gunners.

In defence, the transfer of Kone for Shawcross, in hindsight, looks like an average move. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Hammerheads at the back – Bertrand is due to come back from injury soon and Courtois looks to be one of the early contenders for top scoring keeper this season.  If Hamlin uses his remaining 36.5m wisely there’s still a chance he can add to his already-impressive Fantrax trophy haul.

Fat Boring James Milner’s view: “I just asked Hamlin if he realises he has 7 midfielders in his squad. He said now’s not the time James. I said sorry just trying to get a reaction.”

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Aaron Hamlin receiving some words of advice for the upcoming season from Sour Grapes Limited’s CEO. Commish can be seen overseeing the conversation in the background.

Peperami Barmy Army – Rating 5/10

Players in: Borja Baston (40m), Marc Albrighton (10m), Roberto Pereyra (7.5m), Leroy Fer (2.5m), Jay Rodriguez (free), Simon Mignolet (free)

Daniel Bridle and assistant Matthew Devereux-Cole have had a reasonably fruitful summer window. After Devereux-Cole’s best attempts to provide Bridle without a midfield for the start of the season, it appears as though this has been largely rectified with the signings of Albrighton, Pereyra, Fer and Rodriguez. Pereyra and Fer currently look the most likely to bring in points, with game time a major worry for Rodriguez, and to a lesser extent Albrighton. The lack of true match winners in midfield will still be a concern for the duo, especially when the vast majority of teams will be hoping to utilise playing 5 in midfield this season.

With Wilson yet to find the net this season, Bridle and Cole will be hoping major signing Borja forms a deadly partnership with Sergio “FUCKING SEND HIM” Aguero up front. Defence looks strong for Barmy, although the goalkeeper situation will possibly need to be evaluated at some point in the future once Karius takes up the number 1 spot at Liverpool as expected.

The biggest surprise of this window for Peperami is that, for an assistant manager who despises “wasteage” as much as MDC (simply ask any staff member who’s worked under him at one of his fine beverage outlets), a gaping 10m has been thrown away on the likes of Mignolet (now resigned for free), Tore and Adomah. Out of character for the management team to say the least.

Fat Boring James Milner’s view: “I told Sergio he scored 21 goals last season. He said Did I? I wasn’t counting. I said No only joking it was 22. It was so funny.”

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After the capture of Borja, Daniel Bridle treated himself to a brand new telly

The Groovy Penguins – Rating 3/10

Players in: Simon Francis (free), Connor Wickham (free), Matthew Lowton (free), Victoria Wanyama (free)

Has there ever been a more unfortunate transfer window for a manager? There are multiple sources reporting that the remaining 100m in the Penguins’ bank account is being used to fund a Hollywood thriller to document the tragic events over the last few weeks for manager Dick Mills.

The list of failed bids is endless as Penguins fans mourn all over the world:

  • Pogba
  • Kone
  • Fer
  • Mata
  • Stuani
  • Boufal
  • Mustafi
  • Bravo
  • Slimani
  • Luiz
  • Perez
  • Alonso.

Of the players that did arrive in the Antarctic, Wickham and Wanyama will be Mills’ biggest hopes of point scorers through the season. With the injury of Remy, the likelihood of Wickham getting on the field for Palace has increased, and if Wanyama keeps his place in the Spurs team there’s the possibility of a few assists. However, on the whole this has been a desperately disappointing transfer window for the Black n’ Whites – Matthew Lowton doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia and Simon Francis is, quite frankly, shit.

Fat Boring James Milner’s view: “I told Dick I’d get him some world-class talent to help bolster his squad. The conversation didn’t go as well as I hoped – I tried to start with a bit of classic J Milner Banter which for some reason didn’t seem to work”. Fat Boring James then proceeded to show us the text exchange he had with this world-class talent, which can be seen below:

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The Penguins will be hoping to use some of the profits from the upcoming movie to purchase some world class talent which hopefully becomes available during January.

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A leaked copy of the movie poster for the upcoming Hollywood hit “The Tragic Seven”

That’s all for Part 3. We’ll be back shortly with the final instalment in the series where we invite another very special guest to Commish HQ, as well as the final “transfer window league table” for your viewing pleasure. #FTID

Summer Transfer Window – Each Teams Transfer Dealings Rated (Part 2/4)

And we are finally, after a whole two days, back. After an impatient fans group spearheaded by Daniel Bridle and Graeme Terrar started lobbying UK political leaders for more up-to-date content at Commish HQ, we have invested enormous amounts of resources to ensure the readers aren’t let down again. A large portion of these resources have been put towards securing the services of our second special guest for this edition. And I can confirm that this is none other than the legend that is…………..GARTH “MIKE DEAN IS A GOOD REFEREE BUT HAS ONE FLAW” CROOKS.

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Garth at Commish HQ waiting for his interview

Clem’s Lems – Rating 5/10

Players in: Shkodran Mustafi (72m), Christian Stuani (15m), Juan Mata (5m), Etienne Capoue (free)

The vast majority of the 5 marks here are solely due to the signing of Mustafi. The Lems got their star man for a whopping 72m on deadline day. This brings the Lems’s defence right up there with the best in the league with a back four of Bellerin, Blind, Mustafi and Williams. Assuming Mata will be consigned to life on the bench once Mkhitiahtihaihtiharyn finally gets the nod from Mourinho, the rest of Clemo’s arrivals are uninspiring to say the least. Stuani has already scored his 2 goals this season, whilst Capoue just brings a sigh of nothingness to my thoughts as I read his name. In short, neither are likely to be big points scorers this season.

This is further compounded by the extremely questionable decision to bring in Fernandinho for 8m, only to then even more questionably drop him a week later for Capoue. Clemo needs to hope Arsenal and Man United keep clean sheets every week for the rest of the season to avoid languishing in mid table for the duration of the year.

Whilst Dion Dublin discusses a tackle with some mystery lady, Garth tells us what he thinks about Clemo’s decision to sign Stuani for 15m:

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Matt Clements turning up to training to greet Mustafi for the first time

Team Fisher8080 – Rating 0/10

Players in:

Fisher

Confirmed reports have come in that Ian Fisher did not have enough time over the 25 day period from 6 August 2016 to 31 August 2016 to make any bids. Instead we’ve made a list of everything Ian Fisher has had time to do over the period:

  • Started doing 22 press ups a day
  • Been to watch the community shield
  • Been to watch Cardiff Devils play

As you can see it’s now perfectly understandable why Ian didn’t have time to make any bids. The only positive for the Fisher faithful is that they’ve actually already got quite a good, balanced team, with potential point scorers all over the field. There has been a relative amount of luck  with Benteke and Stones moving to pastures new, but the auction can certainly be considered a success for Fisher. The only drawback? Fisher has 2 keepers on his books, both of whom are currently sidelined. I hope you will join me in praying that Ian can find some time to put some transfer requests in to solve this mini crisis.

Garth ran out the studio crying once he’d heard the news of Fisher’s lack of signings so unfortunately we couldn’t get a recording of his views on Fisher8080’s busy schedule.

Elm Grove Elite – Rating 7/10

Players in: Paul Pogba (100m), Artur Boruc (free), Bruno Martins Indi (free), Adam Smith (free), Diumerci Mbokani (free), Jeff Hendrick (free), Ben Mee (free)

Hall has had a clear out since auction day, changing almost half of his squad since 6 August. The big news story is obviously the capture of Paul Pogba for a record-equalling 100m. Despite the myriad of snide remarks from fellow managers directed at Hall for this signing, it’s difficult to argue with when the vast majority all attempted to do the same. Martins Indi on a free is good business, but the lack of options in defence remains a worry, with Adam Smith (not to be confused with the reasonably shit five a side team or the great economist) and Ben Mee not likely to provide game-winning points as the season progresses. Boruc, despite his superb display against Cystal Palace in game week 3, is unlikely to keep too many clean sheets this season.

The logic behind the Mbokani signing makes sense (as cover for Hernandezza Borrill), but a long-term Zlatan injury could single-handedly destroy the Elite’s season. Midfield looks strong, and Hall will be hoping that Hendrick can chip in with a few points throughout the season. Overall, a reasonably successful transfer window for Elm Grove.

When we asked Garth what he thought about Arun (aka Brendan Rogers to his close friends) and his transfer philosophy he was unusually concise:

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The Gaff initiating his new signings with his trademark “Gaff Glasses”

Lewey’s Legends – Rating 5/10

Players in: Lucas Perez (50m), Marcus Alonso (25m), Gaston Ramirez (free), Mousa Dembele (free)

The Legend’s transfer window was comfortably the most difficult to assess out of all the teams in the division, purely due to the uncertainty of whether players will get game time. If Perez and Alonso were both guaranteed to start regularly this would have easily received a 9/10, but unfortunately for Larry The Ledge it’s entirely plausible that this will not be the case.

Fortunately for the Legends, the defence is already looking strong with every manager who comes up against them shitting their pants hoping United’s opponents fuck em right in the ass pipe. The midfield still looks short of firepower to me with an over reliance on Oscar and a severe lack of options on the bench. However, if Perez is in Wenger’s first team plans, Negredo keeps up his early season form and Musa can get on the pitch (less likely with the arrival of Slimani), then the Legends could have an extremely respectable strike force. Good luck to Larry, he deserves it.

We asked Garth to do an impression of his reaction for Perez’s first goal for Arsenal when it happens, and this is what he came up with:

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Larry has held this pose for 4 days straight following the arrivals of Perez and Alonso

That’s all for part 2. Please join us for part 3 over the next few days, where we welcome back Boring James Milner to provide us with his unrivalled insight into this frantic Fantrax transfer window.

Summer Transfer Window – Each Teams Transfer Dealings Rated (Part 1/4)

After a rollercoaster summer of transfer dealings, Thursday 1 September 2016 will go down in Fantrax history as one of the most monumental days the league has ever witnessed. Following the Commish’s breathtaking view on the day’s events, we are running a 4 part special to look at how each team has fared in this summer’s transfer window. Boring James Milner joins us for part 1 to provide us with his expert analysis.

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Ozone Athletic – Rating 6/10

Players in: Islam Slimani (51.5m), Daryl Janmaat (6m), Joel Ward (0.5m), James Collins (free), Patrick Bamford (free)

A steady transfer window for the Athletic. There were unconfirmed reports that world-record volumes of vaping liquid had been delivered to Athletic’s home ground as Pursall stressed  and deliberated his way through deadline day. Pursall will be hoping marquee signing Islam Slimani will provide his strikeforce with some much needed firepower. If Sturridge can overcome all the odds and actually get into a physical state where he can play football then it could turn into a much-feared front pairing. The main worry is whether Pursall has left himself too light at the back. With only 4 defenders (3 being signed in the summer window) it could mean that further signings are required as the season progresses. However, with 36.5m still in the bank this shouldn’t provide too much of a headache for the Commish.

Boring James’s view: I just rang Owen to ask if he was happy with his summer signings. He didn’t answer. I’ll try again later.

Chris Talling’s XI – Rating 8/10

Players in: David Luiz (51.5m), Ryan Shawcross (5.5m), Stewart Downing (0.5m), Loic Remy (free), Steve Mandanda (free), Adama Diomande (free)

Huw Meredith and his extended management team have put together quite possibly the greatest squad in Fantrax history. Other managers in the league should be scratching their heads working out just how they’ve let this happen. If David Luiz manages to sneak in the Chelsea team it could be an excellent signing. Shawcross is perhaps not quite the signing he would’ve been a couple of seasons ago with the Stoke defence not as resilient as it once was, but Loic Remy on a free could be THE bargain of the season. Stewart Downing and Adama Diomande provide cover on what is already an excellent bench. Fantrax managers have work to do to beat the villain and his minions this season.

Boring James’s view: I just congratulated Huw to tell him that his midfield is really good. I said well done, are you pleased? He said yeah. I said I thought you would be.

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Meredith was delighted as news broke that they captured the signing of Luiz

Boz’s Pandas – Rating 4/10

Players in: Nacer Chadli (46m), Wilfried Bony (25.5m), Adnan Januzaj (12.5m), Jesse Lingard (10.5m), Brendan Galloway (free), Arthur Masuaku (free)

Borrill has a reputation for acting extremely strangely during transfer windows, and this one was no different. 46m for Nacer Chadli in a West Brom team that doesn’t score, 12.5m for Adnan Januzaj in a Sunderland team that is already preparing for relegation and 10.5m for Jesse Lingard who is unlikely to see a minute of game time all year. Moreover, 25.5m for Wilfriend Bony when the Pandas already have Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney in the striking positions smacks of managerial incompetence. Panda’s fans are also reeling after they secured Loic Remy’s services for a cool 5.5m, only to inexplicably release him a week later. Borrill will need results quickly to win back the black and white faithful.

Boring James’s view: Just said to Brendan Galloway that he was only 5 when Wayne Rooney made his England debut. He said really? I said yeah, I checked the dates.

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The Pandas are in disbelief after a demoralising last minute defeat to Talling’s XI in game week 3

Part 2 will be available shortly. Make sure you join us as Boring James Milner makes way for another truly special guest.

 

Legends Unveil Rebrand

The 2017 Party Fantrax season has kicked off with not so much a bang, more of a clatter.

A hopeful rebrand from manager Josh Rees aimed at reigniting the passion from the fans was quickly masked by predictable dodgy player selection keeping the team cemented at the bottom of the table in a scrap; shambles in Clem’s media department before the season started caused a typo to go unnoticed, leaving the whole club in a state of confusion and are now to be referred to as Clem’s Lems; and above all, we have all witnessed potentially one of the most controversial rebrands in the history of the game, Chris… Talling? Perhaps one quip too far for me, but I for one miss the days of Miceglas.

It’s setting itself up to be an absolute ripper of a season, but with all that said, amongst the chaos the attention quickly turned to the Legends for failing to act and add sparkle to the club, with their in-house branding specialist trying desperately to achieve a golden tan similar to that of his Essex-bound rival sunbed Brother.

But, alas, the cries have been answered and without further ado, a fresh rebrand is sweeping its way across the club. It has been welcomed by fans with open arms and the baby blue positivity and freshness has sent a ripple through the club that has seen the Legends with a respectable 2 wins from 3.

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This decision to stay true to the Legends heritage and stick with the original name has been a controversial decision amongst other league members, with many believing that all logos must now contain an animal, but here at the Legends, we have our own animals, with no need of an emoticon.

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Q & A with Drew Bond

Three weeks into the new Fantrax season, Bobbond Allstars manager Drew Bond caught up with former X11 hero, now football columnist, Jim Dean, for a chat about the season so far:

Jim: So it’s the beginning of another Fantrax season – you were near the top of the league all season last year, finally drifting off towards the back end of the season to a 5th placed position, along with a 3rd placed finish in the Survival Cup. What are your expectations for this season?

Drew: It was a great debut season for us. I knew it would be tough coming into such a competitive league alongside 13 other experienced managers, so to finish 5th was a great start to my Fantrax career. After the auction this year, I was fairly happy with my team – defensively we’re a lot stronger than last year, and our strike force of Kane and Deeney should prove to be a solid partnership this season. Our midfield is where we’re in trouble though. It’s gash to say the least. The free agents available are pretty dismal too, so we’re really looking forward to the return from injury for Lanzini and Shaqiri to add a bit of firepower to our midfield.

Jim: You just lost to Lewey’s Legends and haven’t registered a win yet this season, you’re the only team to not score at least 30 points in a gameweek, you’re bottom of all the stats and most importantly you’re bottom of the league. What do you have to say to the fans, if you have any left that is?

Drew: Do you wanna go mate?!?

Jim: I’m merely stating the facts Drew, you’re not doing very well are you?

Drew: It’s not been the start we wanted. Luck hasn’t been on our side – if Baines hadn’t have spannered his penalty I’d be sitting here with a win. But shit happens, you’ve just gotta deal with it. I have faith in our squad. Well, most of it. George Boyd is a cunt and he won’t be playing another game for the Allstars. I don’t even know why I signed him. But we’ve still got 100mil in the bank and we intend to spend it wisely, unlike that buffoon Thomas Borrill. We face The Groovy Penises after the international break and we fully intend to get back to winning ways.

Jim: Good luck Drew, you’re going to need it.

Drew: Piss off Jim.

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.