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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 7, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

    Fantasy Football kicks off again

    Carl O'Malley

    Just when you thought it was safe to actually watch a game without having something riding on it, the Irish Times has reintroduced Fantasy Football into our lives.

    Marketing supremo and statistical boffin Paul Healy with the details below.

    The opening day of Euro 2012 is fast approaching and since the majority of you have already registered your team for our Fantasy Football game, we decided to have a look at the stats so far- who the most popular players are etc. In doing so we hope that the power of group knowledge will help you make the last few changes to your team. That is of course, if you need to make any changes.

    As it currently stands, Robin Van Persie (NED) is the most popular player, featuring in almost 70 per cent of the registered teams. This is no surprise really, considering that the striker had a blistering season with Arsenal.

    In this year’s game, the man minding your net can of course earn you points, but he also has the potential to lose a significant amount for your team (-1 point for every goal conceded). That said, it’s advised to avoid any goalkeeper whose defence is known to leak goals. The most popular goalkeeper in the fantasy football game so far is Manuel Neuer of Germany. The Bayern Munich man could be a safe bet for your team since he beat Oliver Kahn’s record for minutes without conceding a goal for his club.

    Over half of you have Philipp Lahm (GER) in defence, making him the most sought after defender in the game. If Germany stay tight at the back, Lahm, who has a habit of getting assists, coupled with Neuer in goal could earn you some valuable points. Other popular defenders include Richard Dunne, Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra.

    Well over half of you have opted for a 3-man midfield, the most popular players for this position being Wesley Sneijder (NED), Andres Iniesta (SPA), Mesut Ozil (GER) and Franck Ribery (FRA).

    In terms of formations, the least popular one is 5-3-2 which signals that most people are expecting lots of goals to be scored and would prefer not to rely on defenders for points. According to the stats we have, your best team (based on who the most popular players are) would look something like this:

    If you haven’t registered a team already, you can register one here. You can also join our Expert League using the code ‘61138’ where you can take on the likes of Emmet Malone, Keith Duggan and Mary Hannigan among others.

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