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This is all of the latest news and commentary as far as we're concerned.

Poetry Corner: "Zlatan's 69 Touches in the Box"

Brandon Kelley

Touchin' inside your box! It's "poetry corner" time with Lucian.

Touchin' inside your box! It's "poetry corner" time with Lucian.

Our friend Lucian Mattison (also known as the official Always Cheating Poet Laureate) has submitted his first poem for your enjoyment. It will not only open your eyes to how Zlatan plays football, but you may also learn a thing or to about how the big Swede touches the ones he loves. Believe it or not, Lucian is actually a real-life poet and you can learn more about his work or buy his debut collection Peregrine Nation at his website.

Zlatan's 69 Touches in the Box
by Lucian Mattison

The first was quick, 

only the blink
of a phone
screen, finger tap
snapshot of Zlatan
from a bleacher
seat, indistinguishable
among the sea
of away shirts
Top-knot to top

notch, three goals
carved into his post. 
He knew everyone
needed to know
that he knew how
to make the skeptics say:
This guy, yeah, 
he fucks
like a 69

year old man,
his heart now beats
out of his shirt,
body broken down
after the first four
strokes, lazy lover
on his laurels already
ready for sleep.
Six matches nine-

ty minutes, so many
blanks shot
off the score sheet.
Head in his hand,
short of breath,
whose responsibility
is it to clean up
his mess?
Rash decisions

see yellow, suspension
of belief in what
we accept
as proven—a red rash
on Mourinho's
perineum. We all
collectively wonder
what's the other Rash for.
Big Z's goatee brushes

glass, breath hot against
the window. January
snow and blackbirds
temporary guests on the sill. 
Sixty and nine touches,
The Mirror starts to sing
the daintiest dish
set before the king.

If you want to hear more from our Poet Laureate, let us know. Or, heck, send us your own poems or tweet your FPL haikus. Whatever works. Hail Cheaters.

Fantasy Premier League BPS Leaders through Gameweek 9

Joshua Landon

Congratulations to Bournemouth's Adam Smith! Whoever he is. 

Congratulations to Bournemouth's Adam Smith! Whoever he is. 

As discussed on this week's podcast, here are the Fantasy Premier League Bonus Points (BPS) leaders through Gameweek 9. For Zlatan Ibrahimović owners, the data below goes a long way towards explaining how his season has gone off the rails. 

Here'ss the Top 1o: 

And here are the individual leaders in select individual BPS categories:

Are Premier League players more likely to score on their birthday?

Joshua Landon

Inspired by Laurent Koscielny's bicycle kick goal on his birthday on Sept. 10, I was curious if there was a history of other players with a record of success on their birthday. Per OPTA (found here), 53 Premier League players have scored on their birthday. Before Koscielny's goal, Christian Eriksen was the last player to score on his birthday, doing so on February 14, 2016. 

I pulled stats for a sampling of attacking English Premier League players to see if they had a record of scoring on their birthday in the Premier League, Champions League, etc. With the help of the invaluable TransferMarkt website, I looked back at approx. 3-4 years of results for each player to see how they did if and when a match fell on their birthday. 

The results? Interesting but inconclusive. Of the 58 players on this list, 10 (17%) have recorded either a goal or an assist on their birthday (based on my far-from-scientific research), with another 11 (19%) having birthdays in the June/July off-season. Although it may sometimes feel as though there are a seemingly infinite number of matches, it's actually not all that common for a player to have even played a competitive match on their birthday, either because their birthday falls during the summer, at midweek, etc. 

For the 2016/17 season, there are at least 5 players who will play a match on their birthday - and in an interesting coincidence for this article, both Mesut Ozil and Nolito have their birthdays and matches set to take place this Saturday, 10/15.  The other players with matches currently scheduled for their birthday are Christian Benteke (12/3), Wilfried Bony (12/10), and Andre Ayew (12/17). 

From an FPL perspective, there doesn't seem to be any data here that makes an overwhelming case for buying/captaining players on their birthday, but it will be interesting to see whether Mesut Ozil (home to Swansea) or Nolito (home to Everton) help to make a case this weekend for doing so in the future. 

International Break Discussion: Wildcard Targets & Team Value

Joshua Landon

Is Brendan Galloway on your wildcard radar? 

Is Brendan Galloway on your wildcard radar? 

Guest post by Hrishikesh Barad (@FPLantarctican)

The current international break marks the end of three gameweeks for the Premier League and the transfer season, too. In the Fantasy Premier League there could not have been a better climax to GW3, with attacking giants Aguero & Zlatan blanking after a gameweek where they racked up 13 points each, Sanchez and Hazard looking like must-haves for the rest of the season, and a possible ban of at least 3 matches for the 13.1 million priced Aguero.

Every fantasy football manager has been waiting for the FA to make a decision on Aguero before they decide to make the Wildcard move in FPL. With yesterday's confirmation of a violent conduct charge on Aguero by the FA,  many managers have chosen to play their wildcard and will look to start Gameweek 4 with all guns blazing with a newly re-established team consisting of at least two premium midfielders and Ibrahimovic in the front, and fill the remaining spots with the in-form players.

The Importance of Team Value

Before discussing useful differentials for your wildcard team and must-have picks for your FPL team going on to Gameweek 4, I'd like to share some knowledge on how to increase your Team Value (especially important this season with the inflated prices of players) and how you can avoid silly mistakes I made a couple of seasons back, eventually ending up with a lower team value during my wildcard. 

The foremost thing you need to know is that the buying price and the selling price of a player can be different. Let me explain with an example: suppose the current price of Redmond is 6.1 (which increased from 6 some time back). If you have him in your team, then the selling price of Redmond is still 6.0 and not 6.1. On the other hand, if you do not have him and want to transfer him in, then his buying price will 6.1

Then when does the selling price of a player increase? Remember this small phrase: "For every 0.2 price rise, there's a rise of SP by 0.1." Suppose you bought Ibrahimovic when his price was 11.5 but after racking up 24 points in three gameweeks his price rose to 11.7. Now 11.7 is the buying price of Ibrahimovic, although his selling price (as you may see on the transfers page) is 11.6. With an aim to increase the team value of their FPL team, many enthusiastic managers transfer in every player on the rise, just like I did a couple of seasons back. 

So the mistake I committed was transferring out a player like Hazard (whom I wanted back in my final WC team) in favour of a player like Sanchez, whose price appeared to be rising that night. What I didn't realize: the Hazard I sold for 11.1 had a selling price of 11.0 so when I will bring him back into my side, I will have to buy him for 11.1! So a straight -0.1 team value for me right there. I am sharing my own experience so that readers of can avoid my mistake and not experience the frustration of losing overall team value. All you have to remember is: do not transfer out players  you plan to keep in your wildcard team that have increased in price as since GW1.


Wildcard targets from Gameweek 4 Onward:

Easiest fixtures: Crystal Palace, Tottenham, West Brom, West Ham, Arsenal & Everton.


  • Dann/Souare

  • Rose/Walker

  • Evans/Galloway

  • Collins

  • Williams/Baines

In my opinion, you must have at least three defenders from the above teams since they have the highest probability of clean sheets and bonus points too. Players like Dann, Rose and Williams have a history of attacking returns as well as bonus points. I have not included Holgate since Coleman is expected to come back into the side soon. 


  • Premium: Sanchez, Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne

  • Moderate: Nolito/Sterling, Ozil/Cazorla, Mirallas/Barkley, Lamela, Redmond

  • Cheap: Capoue, Fletcher, Clayton, Snodgrass


  • Premium: Ibrahimovic, Kane

  • Moderate: Lukaku, Benteke, Costa, Perez

  • Cheap: Defoe, Negredo, Iheanacho

As I mentioned earlier, two premium mids and one premium forward must be the pivots around which you base your wildcard team. I wouldn't suggest you jump on the recent or deadline day signings as of yet, but you can surely keep them on your watch list. 

I've activated my own wildcard and shall be sharing my own team's picks during the international break. You can give a follow to @FPLantarctican for regular updates. Please do not hesitate to drop any of your queries or RMT requests. Enjoy, it's just a game.

Guide to Matched Betting: A Beginner's Guide to FPL

Brandon Kelley

In the afterglow of our most recent Always Cheating podcast episode "10 Tips for FPL Success," we found this infographic over at Guide to Matched Betting to be particularly fun and illuminating. Take a gander here at their "Beginner's Guide to Winning at Fantasy Premier League."

This infographic image is reposted in cooperation with Guide to Matched Betting.

Always Cheating 2/3 Season Awards: The Results!

Joshua Landon

From the most valuable FPL asset, to the least, and from the most underrated player to the one most likely to mount a comeback in the season's final third, here are the results of our Always Cheating 2/3 Season Awards!

We've also surveyed how many of you have yet to play your chips, who you think is sure to be relegated, and which Premier League manager is likely to ruin the rest of your season. Listen to Brandon & Josh break down the results on Episode 28 of the Always Cheating podcast.

Click a graph to enlarge:

Always Cheating's FPL Awards, 1/3 Season Edition

Joshua Landon

Sorry Jamie, we rigged these awards so you couldn't sweep every category.

Sorry Jamie, we rigged these awards so you couldn't sweep every category.

Let's break up the tedium of yet another international break by taking stock of where we are at the 1/3 mark of the FPL season.  Polls will remain open until 5PM EST on Tuesday, November 17th and we'll reveal the results on next week's podcast. 

FPL MVP at the 1/3 season mark
Best New Player, 2015/16 season
Most improbable FPL moment
Biggest disappointment
Who will be the overall points leader by the 2/3 season mark (GW 25)
Player most likely to become a top fantasy asset in the middle third of the season
Most underrated fantasy asset (less than 10% ownership through GW 12)
Next manager to be sacked
Leave your name or FPL team name
Leave your name or FPL team name