The transfer window. Where football (well, real football anyway - pshh Confederation's cup) is at a standstill. Clubs are playing musical chairs with players and managers alike. Fans are either being insufferable gloaters (we all know them), hoping the world swallows them up (poor QPR fans) or convinced that next year is their year (ahh, good ol' Liverpool). If humans could hibernate, football fans would be the first to do so the moment the season was over. As it is, we can't and transfer rumours are our only link left to get our daily (hourly? minutely?...) footy fix. We latch on to them like a hungry Uruguayan, fantasize about which hot-shot player will come light up our club, grow cold at the thought of our best players joining our rivals and provide the media ample reason to twist any stray comment by anyone in the know into a headline to provide us more food for thought.
Well, we're going to join in here at UniqueFC, but with an angle. And why not? As fantasy players, the off-season is even worse. We can't make knee-jerk transfers, we can't scrutinize video footage of the latest jammy United goal to see whether Van Persie's gelled up hair, did in fact get a touch and therefor the assist, we can't analyse our opponents' teams looking for a differential to make up a points deficit. It's hell!!
Sooo.. We're going to start a series of transfer window articles entitled the Transfer Rumour Mill. In each article, we will focus on a couple of the strongest rumours doing the rounds and how it will effect our fantasy thinking (fantasizing??). Which player's will come to the fore, which player's need to be forgotten about, how will formations change etc. As UniqueFC is focused on the premiership, these articles will, naturally, follow suit.
So, feel free to comment about any rumours you might have heard of. Send us a tweet or comment on our Facebook page.
We're starved of football and discussing footy is always a welcome pass-time.
I started playing fantasy football back when I was in secondary school - about ten years now? Give or take... In all this time I, and many others, have noticed an inevitable pattern. By the time the season is halfway through, every team has a squad that is 75% identical. Between your mini-league of friends, between every person's fifteen man squad, all players will, without fail, be derived from a pool of about thirty players (maybe about forty if you stretch it).
Think about it. Take last season (2012-2013) as an example. Less than 15 games in, the vast majority of players had most of the following: Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Michu (what is his first name anyway?), Cazorla, Walcott, Benteke, Lukaku, Baines, Ivanovic, Begovic etc. About the only variation between teams came in the defensive department - an area where most players choose to field only three defenders anyway (something else that can be improved upon).
And it takes away from the enjoyment of fantasy football!* You have Van Persie in your team so you get excited when he scores. But wait, every one of your rivals has him as well except that one guy who hates him so much so you're not really gaining any sort of advantage over the field. And in fact, some have him captain so are earning double points from him... Hmmm... Maybe you should be rooting against him? Seems counterintuitive.
A star added to the Bayern Munich crest. Yes, they were crowned champions domestically and in Europe for the fifth time in the 2012/2013 season. It was coming sooner or later with the disappointments faced in 2010 and 2012. This Bayern Munich team have been resilient and the signing of Pep Guardiola is a mark of intent as to which direction the club is heading. Having said that, one cannot take away credit from an exceptional Borussia Dortmund team who have lost only twice in the tournament overcoming the likes of Manchester City, Malaga and Real Madrid to reach the final. Klopp has built a team which have stood firm following their recent success and although the underdogs for the final, no one could question their display against the German and European champions. Their only weakness was a lack of sharpness in the centre of defence with the pairing of Hummels and Subotic. It cost them dearly and Klopp admitted that the final that may happen in Berlin, two years from now, is a realistic target for Dortmund. Only a brave man, with one of the strongest mentalities could make such a claim straight after a loss in the final. As Lineker said, “football is a game played by 22 men kicking a ball about for 90 minutes and at the end the Germans win.... and lose”. I couldn’t agree more after watching these two teams dominate the biggest names in European football, Real Madrid and Barcelona, to say the least.
It was a night of joy in particular for Arjen Robben who savoured that late goal. This man has endured heartache after his displays in the 2010 world cup and the 2012 champions league finals. He missed several chances against Spain only for Iniesta to capitalise late into the game to crown them world champions in 2010. And against Chelsea, it was a night to forget for Robben. He missed several chances including a penalty into extra time which could have given them the edge over Chelsea. Subsequently, he did not step up to take a penalty after extra time clearly down to his lack of confidence as a result of his missed chances.
However yesterday, there was no better player than Robben in the second half. He took his chances well and was sharp on the ball. He looked threatening cutting in from the wing, trademark Robben, but better. He capitalised well on the lack of concentration from Subotic and Hummels to finish cooly into the corner of the goal getting the better of weidenfeller for only the second time in the game. Bayern Munich deserved that win and Robben’s tears at the end sums up what that trophy and performance meant to him. Jupp Heynckes’ tears in his post match conference against Borussia Mönchengladbach were justified as he is the only manager ever to reach the champions league finals for every team he has managed in the champions league. He leaves with his head held high only to set up the stage for the incoming, Pep Gurdiola.