We are delighted that even more of you than last year have joined up for our second fantasy football league season and we're particularly thrilled that, thanks to your efforts, the Londonist league is currently ranked a highly creditable 301st out of more than 100,000 entries in our chosen competition.
We didn't make very much fuss of the first fantasy league season because, somewhat embarassingly, every time we glanced at the table one of us was winning and we're not hasty blowers of our own trumpet here at Londonist Towers. You can imagine our satisfaction, then, that this year's table shows us being well and truly outclassed at the halfway point, thus allowing us free reign to do a bit of bigging up for those of you leaving us in your wake.
Our league's current leader is that tribute to Arsenal's squad rotation policy, Diaby Does Gallas FK, with 1311 points. They've just snatched top spot from last year's runners-up, the self-deprecatingly monikered Hopeless XI, who are thirty points behind the leaders and thirty five ahead of their nearest rivals, Reido de Janeiro. Three other sides are beyond the 1200 point mark: Livercool, Fake_Madrid and Rotten Eggs (the Hopeless XI youth side?), while at the other end of the table the Shropshire Warriors, on 806, have left themselves a huge battle to avoid the wooden spoon as 98 points stands between them and the comparative respectability of penultimate place.
Picture via Hector Garcia's Flickr stream.
Like Liverpool's American owners, we're always keen to learn something new about our league from managers of teams other than our own, so at the weekend we combed our top 10 outfits in search of a consensus regarding this season's essential selections and discovered that the ideal roster appears to consist of the following:
Any two from José Reina (Liverpool), Craig Gordon (Sunderland) or Antti Niemi (Fulham).
The one-man goal machine that is Aston Villa's Martin Laursen, finally reproducing the set-piece form of his Milan days, alongside Manchester United's cheapest regular defender (e.g. Wes Brown).
Then take any three from Manchester United's next cheapest regular defender (e.g. Patrice Evra), the rich man's Martin Laursen (Joleon Lescott of Everton), assist-meister Jamie Shorey (Reading) and goal-less Portsmouth ever-present Sylvain Distin.
We're chuffed to see we've won everybody over to our way of thinking on Manchester City's Martin Petrov, but Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) and Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) don't take a lot of picking. Neither does former Millwall cup finalist Tim Cahill if you've followed his career and Cesc Fabregas has turned himself from understudy into playmaker extraordinaire now that some bloke called Terry something or other has stopped holding the side back and doomed off to Catalonia.
None of our top ten squads actually contains all five of these guys, generally preferring instead the formula of any four plus a random Sunderland midfielder, or maybe Fulham's Clint Dempsey whom we also humbly brought to your pre-season attention.
Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor and West Ham's reigning player of the year Carlos Tevez are the must-haves here with Tottenham die-hard Dimitar Berbatov or Portsmouth's Benjani completing the required trio.
Looking at London players offering value across the whole season so far Hammers custodian Robert Green and his central defensive team-mate Matthew Upson would be right up there in squad contention as would Clint Dempsey's midfield colleague and dead-ball specialist Simon Davies, though you'll be needing to look elsewhere, perhaps to former Charlton hit-man Marcus Bent, for rich pickings at the cheap end of the goalscoring spectrum.
Must go now. Transfers to do...