Half Term is fast approaching and as those with children will know this brings a range of emotions, traps and pitfalls not unlike our much-loved Fantasy Football. My own half term brings a mix of emotions for myself; the good lady wife is taking my daughter down to Devon to see the In-laws. As I think a few of you could identify with, this brings with it an emotional minefield. I could sit here and tell you I will miss them and whilst I will ( she could be reading this) I will see them again in a week so I will survive. But no, the minefield is this:

Outwardly I am presenting as a doting husband who is devastated at the thought of a week on my own. I am not quite walking around looking like im on the verge of tears, but i am attempting to pull off a look of being lost and wondering how I will make it through touched with a quiet determination that I will immerse myself in my work to help the time go by, Tom Hanks has nothing on me. Oh goodness how I will miss them, who will tell me exactly how I should be spending my sparse spare time. Who will provide me with a list of little fiddly DIY tasks as soon as I get up on Saturday morning, being careful to make sure I know that weekends are not for enjoying but for progress against some secret goal. I am determined to struggle through.

Inwardly I am celebrating like an absolute madman. Oh how much football I will watch? Just how many takeaways can I eat in a week? A few days of uninterrupted peace and bloody quiet oh god yes please.

It is in this vein that we have the tune of the week – Pleasure Model – Rohaan Remix. I will find a tenuous link later but this will be played long and loud in my half term break.

I am reminded of and taking heed of this, to set the Scene Jeff is dropping his wife off at the airport as she is going away, Jeff is happy:

Oh Jeff, so FFuking close – I will not celebrate too soon and however well you are doing in FFUK neither should you be. Football is a cruel mistress and the next gut-puch is probably just around the corner

This contrast of emotions reminds me of how I sometimes feel playing our beloved game. I’m an Arsenal fan and as such I hate Tottenham players, I hate Chelsea players and I hate Manchester United players, some of them with a passion so rabid I’m embarrassed to reveal it to you. But that is football, its tribal and we love it. However to do well in fantasy football sometimes you need to bite the bullet and sip from the forbidden cup. Its an awful feeling being happy for a Chelsea cleanie or even worse a Tottenham goal. I don’t have Harry Kane, I won’t have Harry Kane.

I have also never owned John Terry in all my years of playing FFUK, something i’m weirdly proud of. How do you deal with this difficult dilemma?

Anyway so what did happen and how did your team do?

Well what a week that was 2 gamesweeks increasing the stress levels and with Manchester City and early leaders Arsenal missing one of the games, many different strategies emerged on how best to navigate.

Wildcards were activated, freehits hit and I think I saw some teams who’s managers had actually done some planning who could get a decent team out without dipping into their chips. The spreadsheet crew were suitably smug before kick-off, I wonder how they did.

As we are looking at 2 Gameweeks here let’s do it slightly differently and have a little team by team review:


GW 11: Leeds 0 – 1 Arsenal

GW 12: Blank

So the boys in the red and white are looking good. I have had to drop 2 from my team due to the blank gamesweek but they will be coming back in.

Defence: Saliba (51) has slotted in amazingly well and his points tally of 51 shows that. Arsenal’s defence is getting meaner and meaner and look good value at the moment

Midfield: Big difference this year Xhaka (45) is looking a different player, Martinelli (58) has been incredible but its Saka (63) who is leading the way.

Forwards: Jesus (54) has been a revelation (sorry) but with only Nketiah (10) backing him up

Verdict: Trust the process – this team is going places.

Aston Villa:

GW 11: Aston Villa 0 – 2 Chelsea

GW 12: Fulham 3 – 0 Aston Villa

Poor so far from Villa, multiple changes in tactics and formations leaves fans wondering about Gerrard’s managerial credentials, Coutinho looks a different player to the one we saw at Liverpool and the results just aren’t coming.

Defence: Clean sheets are rare at Villa Park this year and Martinez (37) does not look the player of last season. Ashley Young (27) leads the way with 27 lovely points.

Midfield: Coutinho (16) is not firing with McGinn (19) not hitting the hights of last year either.

Forwards: Watkins (32) doesn’t seem to score much this year and Ings (16) is not getting the mins

Verdict: Mid-table fodder until Slippy G learns how to use his assets better or is sacked, or will he “Go Again”?


GW 11: Brentford 2 – 0 Brighton

GW 12: Brentford 0 – 0 Chelsea

The Bees are looking good so far this season. Toney is firing and has shot them into the top half

Defence: Raya (51) has been a beast between the sticks this with Ben Mee (40) and Henry (40) providing a safe choice for a starting defender at only 4.5 milly.

Midfield:  Not a huge amount of creativity from the Bees so far, with none of their players  in the top 25 midfield point scorers

Forwards: Toney  (67) the third highest scoring forward and with his £7.4 million price-tag a very attractive prospect.

Verdict: Toney and Raya are taking this team places – expecting them to push for Europa this season. I hope Toney gets a shot with England he’s a demon from 12 yards too.


GW 11: Fulham 2 – 2 Bournemouth

GW 12: Bournemouth 0 – 1 Southampton

Plodding along in midtable Bournemouth look safe to me. They are picking up a lot of draws and since being absolutely whipped by Liverpool have hit a bit of form.

Defence: Some cheap options available but clean sheets have been hard to come by for the Bournemouth defence. Smith (24) & Mepham (24)  the picks at just 4.4 million pulling in owners 24 points

Midfield:  Billing (45) is looking a good option at just £5.3 Million sneaking into the top 20 for midfield points.

Forwards: you don’t see a lot of goals from this team but if they do score its odds on Solanke (43) was the one wheeling away in celebration cheap, cheap, cheap.

Verdict: Meh – I put Solanke in in my wildcard team but it just felt weird having a Bournemouth striker, I fully expect him to become this seasons Lord Lundstrum and me to completely miss the boat.


GW 11: Brentford 2 – 0 Brighton

GW 12: Brighton 0 – 1 Nottingham Forest 0

I’ve always had a soft spot for Brighton, Potter was tempted by the bright lights of London (and probably the American’s millions) and left and I was worried. However they still look organised, just need to score more!

Defence: Dunk (34) the ever present FFUK workhorse provides a safe pick but Veltman (36) leads the seagulls defence so far this season with 36 points.

Midfield:  whilst Gross was the start of the seasons surprise package a slight reshuffle in positional play has seem Leandro Trossard (59) start raking in the points. Iv heard Real are interested!

Forwards: Danny Welbeck is a great bloke but will “Dat Guy” provide you the points you need from your striker?

Verdict: The Seagulls could really push for Europa if they score enough goals.  


GW 11: Aston Villa 0 – 2 Chelsea

GW 12: Brentford 0 – 0 Chelsea

New Owners, New Manager what could go wrong? Potter is playing a lot of formations and a lot of players, the expensive options are not being spared the bench so far.

Defence: I always think of Chelsea being tight at the back, not so this term. Their pricey  defence has proved leaky, but with so many new faces its not much of a surprise. They seem to be doing better recently though and Kepa looks a nice cheap route in.

Midfield:  I thought Raheem (40) would absolutely murder it this season, I was wrong. Mount (45) does have a stupid ratlike face but is a good footballer. £7.7 million could be very good value if Chelsea kick on like they should.

Forwards: Aubamayang (11) re-joins the premier league. He has it in him can Potter bring it out of the moody so and so.

Verdict: Quality squad, quality manager starting to look good, which could be bad for the rest of the premier league. I’m staying tuned for Boehley’s next great idea – the North vs South game purely for money reasons will take some beating but I believe!


GW 11: Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Leicester

GW 12: Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Wolves

Fat Frank is struggling but does seem to pull out a result when he needs it. The squad is poor, the football is worse but he has had injury difficulties and is still just about keeping his head above water.

Defence: 2 clean sheets this season so far, Coady (38) doesn’t seem to help as much as I would have thought.

Midfield:  Iwobi (39) the surprise package so far this season. With last years golden boy Gordon (27) not yet hitting the heights of  last year.  

Forwards: Maupay (17) really is rubbish isn’t he? DCL (3) is back now but can the shambles around him give him anything to feed off, or is he more interested in the latest fashions to hit the catwalk than grinding out the points. Nice handbag luv!  

Verdict: It’s not looking good Frank, not good at all.


GW 11: Fulham 2 – 2 Bournemouth

GW 12: Fulham 2 – 0 Aston Villa

Gone is the statue of Michael Jackson but Sahid Khan is still there, he must be very pleased with their showing so far and Fulham look like staying up.

Defence: Leno (17) looked a smart buy but Fulham do give up a lot of chances and their defenders are not scoring well.

Midfield:  Willian has added some class and Andreas Peirera is looking good.

Forwards: Love him or hate him, Mitrovitch scores goals, looking good value at million.

Verdict: Fulham fans should be feeling fairly secure with the start they have made and with cheap points available attacking-wise should feature in a good few teams.

Crystal Palace:

GW 11: Fulham 2 – 2 Bournemouth

GW 12: Fulham 2 – 0 Aston Villa

Patrick Viera has changed the way Palace Play immeasurably from the days of ol’ Woy.  Sitting pretty in mid table Palace look like a push for Europe is not out of the question this year.

Defence: Not many clean sheets so far this term is keeping Palace defenders from looking attractive and Guiata (33) is not scoring the points I thought he would either.  

Midfield:  Midfield is where to dig for that Crystal Palace gold, Zaha (49) and Eze (47) looking great towards the front for Palace. Word of warning to any would be Zaha owners, he must be the most frustrating player to own, blank after blank until you lose patience and either bench or sell when he will put in that performance everyone knows he can and bagging all the points.

Forwards: Edouard (30) does not look as good as he was supposed to be, it’s a shame for Palace.

Verdict: Perhaps if they get  a decent striker in January they really could kick on.  


GW 11: Leeds 0 – 1 Arsenal

GW 12: Leicester 2  – 0 Leeds

I was worried about Leeds this season, Bielsa gone, Phillips gone, no one in, it did not look good preseason. However Leeds have started well, even without the talismanic Bamford.

Defence: Clean sheets do seem rare these days and Leeds are not helping that feeling. Meslier (33) and Struijk (33) top score with 33 points.

Midfield:  Rodrigo (43) looked great to start the season and I now back post injury, will he recapture that form from a few months ago?

Forwards: Bamford (10)  does seem to be injured a lot. Leeds need him to start firing if they are to stay a premier league side.

Verdict: After a tough few results Leeds look in danger, Bamford staying fit will have a big say on their final position.


GW 11: Leicester 0 – 0 Crystal Palace

GW 12: Leicester 2  – 0 Leeds

Brendan Rodgers is in trouble. Leicester are in trouble. Bottom of the League (at the time of writing) and in desperate need of Vardy rolling back the years

Defence: With Schmeichel allowed to leave this summer the door was open for a £4 million pound  bargain, Ward (23) stepped up and Ward fell down.  Not sure he has made a save yet this season.

Midfield:  Madisson (50) and Tielemans (31) are too good to go down though aren’t they, aren’t they?

Forwards: Daka (28) Vardy (24) Iheanacho (16) sounds like a pretty potent front line, they are all really refusing  to find the net on a regular basis though. Is it the coach?

Verdict: did not see this coming but Leicester really could find themselves in a releagation battle if they ae not careful. Brendan has been favourite for the sack for the whole season, how much longer can he last?


GW 11: Liverpool 1 – 0 Manchester City

GW 12: Liverpool 1 – 0 West Ham

Well who saw this coming, a terrible (by their standards) start saw Liverpool languishing in the bottom half, Salah looked a shell of himself and Darwin was looking like an expensive mistake.

Defence: Whether TAA is not getting the protection he once had, he has forgotten how to defend or team shave found him out is immaterial. The once bountiful river of Trent has run dry of points this year. VVD looked shot and Robertson is lucky to get a game these days, its almost like we have slipped into a parallel dimension.

Midfield:  Salah (56) looked like someone doing a bad impression of the Egyption Prince and Mane is not here. Diaz (39) looks good in patches but is now injured and everyone else looks at least a yard slower – is this the end of this all conquering team.

Forwards: Firminio (57) leads the way with Darwin (22) finally starting to show  why the reds shelled out the reddies. Jota (8) is injured, was injured or will be injured shortly- standard

Verdict: After a weird start Liverpool are stating to look much better. They are easily capable of putting together a huge run and I am not counting them out of any sort of race yet.  

Manchester City:

GW 11: Liverpool 1 – 0 Manchester City

GW 12: Blank

Before the season all the talk was about Manchester City walking it, half term and the mood has not changed. Despite a loss to Liverpool City look masterful, Haaland is a cheat code and it will take a huge effort from any team if they are to finish even close.

Defence: Cancelo (63) is just an unbelievable footballing machine, whilst injuries and Pep roulette have made the rest of the City backline hard to call Cancelo just guarantees you points, simple

Midfield:  KDB (61) is shining like everyone knew the ginger prince would but even he is being outshone by Foden (64), he is  a funny looking fellow but wow, what a footballer.

Forwards: Haaland (104) is breaking records nearly every time he steps onto the pitch at times he looks unstoppable, if you don’t have him I hope you have a very, very clever plan.

Verdict: City are second but weirdlylooking like they can’t be stopped in the league. Pep roulette is a frustrating tightrope we all walk weekly and we all love it and come back for more. Is this the year they finally win the Champions League?

Manchester United:

GW 11: Manchester United 0 – 0 Newcastle

GW 12: Manchester United 2 – 0 Tottenham

No Ralph, No Pogba and No Ole at the wheel with Erik Ten Hag coming in with a big reputation things were looking up in the red half of Manchester but a dodgy start had people talking.

Defence: United look a lot more assured now Maguire (-1) has been benched, Varane (30) was a Rolls Royce of a player and De Gea (35) is starting to look a lot better than he did for the past few seasons.

Midfield:  Sancho (39) has still not clicked and looks a lot slower than I was expecting but Rashford (47) might be starting to find a bit of form , Antony (27) also looks like he has some skills and if United click might be worth conspiring.

Forwards: ETH looks like he has been a very brave man and dropped  Cristiano (17)  Martial (18) looks more engaged than he has in a long time but just cannot stay fit.

Verdict: Manchester United are  5thi don’t know how that has happened, the football had been poor but they are most definitely in the race for 4th.


GW 11: Newcastle 0 – 0 Manchester United

GW 12: Newcastle 1 – 0 Everton

Isak came in in the summer with the Saudi money but not as much was spent as I thought might. Eddie Howe is a good manager, there could be something speial starting in Newcastle

Defence: Trippier (64) is rolling back the years and bagging a lot of points. Schar (50) is a star and the Magpies are looking good at the back this season.  

Midfield:  Almiron (57) is finally starting to show what he has promised for some time and Guimaraes (37) looks very good. With SaintMaximin (28) injured and Willock (31) getting in the minutes Newcastle look well stocked in midfield

Forwards: Isak (18) started well but is now out for a while so Newcastle fans are praying Callum Wilson (29) can stay fit.

Verdict: When it clicks they look good, they should be in the race for fourth. Will they flex their financial muscles (state trained)  the better they do the more players will start to believe in Eddie’s project.

Nottingham Forest:

GW 11: Wolves 1 – 0 Forest

GW 12: Nottingham Forest 0  – 0 Brighton

Buying that many players was a new tactic, interesting to see how quickly they can form a cohesive team.

Defence: Henderson (49) reckons he’s really good, well he has taken on a challenge and a half here! Neco Williams (21) does a lot going forwards, he’s very cheap but will the lack of clean sheets cost him a place in a lot of teams?

Midfield:  Well I haven’t seen much of Lingard’s stupid dancing so he must not be doing very well.

Forwards: Dennis (13) has not hit the heights he did at Vicarage Road and Johnson 29) tops the list with 29 points. They don’t score a lot of goals  

Verdict: hard to see anything but a long relegation battle here.


GW 11: Southampton 1 – 1 West Ham

GW 12: Bournemouth 0 – 1 Southampton

With no-one coming in it may be another season of mid table mediocroity for Southampton, I think the fans would take that over a relegation battle though

Defence: they plod along, they don’t keep clean sheets and they won’t get you a lot of points.  

Midfield:  Ward-Prowse (33) is good the rest are not. Looking a their team this really could be tough season for the Saints

Forwards: Its really all down to Adams  (37) up front although Armstrong (37)  does his best to lend a hand

Verdict: There’s no points among these thar hills

Tottenham Hotspur:

GW 11: Leeds 0 – 1 Arsenal

GW 12: Leicester 2  – 0 Leeds

I mean if you like really, really sh*t football you would be very happy being a Spurs fan.

Defence: Dier (46) tops the defenders at Tottenham, with such dire football being played at White Hart Lane this is somewhat fitting.

Midfield:  Not sure what the point of the Spurs midfield is they don’t really try and pass the ball to each other. Hoofing it to Son (49) hs not been working like it did last season and the Lillywhites look out of ideas.

Forwards: Listen Harry Kane will get you points, if you are happy with a majority of those points coming from England’s finest manipulating the rules, initiating contact and throwing himself on the ground that’s up to you.  

Verdict:  These jokers will spoil and dive their way in the top four again no doubt. There clearly is no God.  

West Ham:

GW 11: Southampton 1 – 1 West Ham

GW 12: Leicester 2  – 0 Leeds

They will be ok – they’re always ok

Defence: Fabianski (39) is a good keeper, those in front of him are not a good defence.

Midfield:  Bowen (38), Rice (36) and Soucek (32) sounds like a nicely balanced midfield,  Paqueta (17) looks tidy too.

Forwards: Scamacca (26) came with a big reputation and might be starting to find his feet. Can he/ will he play with Antonio (29) alongside?

Verdict: West Ham are a good team on paper, can Moyes take them into Europe again?

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

GW 11: Wolves 1 – 0 Nottingham Forest 0

GW 12: Crystal Palace 2 -1 Wolves

Wolves are a strange team, they have a lot of very talented players but are they just a stepping stone for Medes’s clients?

Defence: Wolves are a very mean defence with Kilman (37) and Sa (56) top scoring.

Midfield:  Neves (36) and Podence (36) have not quite started purring like they can yet and wolves are not picking up as many pints as they should.

Forwards: Jimenez (5) has been injured and Kalajdzic (1) is too can Costa (6) save them?

Verdict: Wolves are struggling and will do unless they find a solution to the lack of goals.  

FFUK Top 10:

After all of that the top Ten looks like this:

Ok I lied it’s the top 13 – Boom!


2 weeks to catch up on!

Sadly we must say goodbye to 2 brave souls in the Conts.

Goodbye Will Johnson, goodbye Dan Hardwick – its been real.

With that i will leave you as the football is only round the corner and i need to work out how to bring my Arsenal Champions in waiting back into the fold. What a pleasure (model) i knew id get it in in the end.

One Love

Mark – Nuisance Value (thir-ffuking-teenth) !

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