Fantasy Football Update

August 22, 2017 — by

Last week we started our social experiment of picking a team based entirely on levels of conversation. If you missed the first blog, you can catch up here:

With the second game week now complete, Blurrton Albion have maintained their solid start to the season, scoring 46 points and solidifying 5th place in the table. Top scorer and captain Romelu Lukaku led the way with 12 points, whilst Ahmed Hegazi of West Brom justified his inclusion after last week’s impressive display by adding 8 points to the total. James Milner and David de Gea also chipped in with 6 points each, thanks to their clean sheets. After transferring out Gary Cahill last weekend, Blurrton Albion can look forward to the coming week with growing optimism as the team seemingly goes from strength to strength on the back of social conversation.

So who’s in line for the chop? And who could come in to replace them?

The two lowest scorers this week were both defenders, neither of whom played. Per Mertesacker of Arsenal and Alberto Moreno of Liverpool could both be found warming the bench this weekend, as Andy Robertson impressed at left-back for the Reds and Arsene Wenger inexplicably left the BFG on the bench as the Gunners succumbed to a 1-0 away defeat to Stoke. As they were left out of the team, their social conversation ground to a halt: Moreno was tweeted about 664 times, with the conversation around him mostly focussing on how well he’d been replaced by Robertson and how he wasn’t going to be needed in the future. For Mertesacker, the story was somewhat different. Despite only being tweeted about 310 times during Arsenal’s loss, Arsenal fans were clearly calling for him to be reinstated into the defence in place of one of the left-backs Wenger was insisting on playing in Mertesacker’s position.

Unfortunately for the German star, positive contributions from the fans guarantee you no playing time in either the real or the fantasy world. Mertesacker becomes the second transfer victim after Gary Cahill and means that for the second week running we will be bringing in the most talked about defender!

The sale of Mertesacker, combined with the extra money left over after £4.5m Hegazi replaced £6.5m Cahill, leaves us with £7.4m in the bank. We can bring in whichever defender generated the most conversation this week, without worrying about whether we can afford him. The only consideration is whether we already have our 3 players from one team. Let’s first meet the players who almost made the cut:

Eric Bailly – The big Ivorian had a superb game as his Manchester United side thrashed Swansea 4-0. His finish on the line opened the scoring for Jose Mourinho’s side and United managed to keep a clean sheet for the second game in a row. Bailly impressed many on social media, with 57,901 tweets being sent about him, with a positive – negative sentiment split of 92% – 8%! Thankfulness was the emotion of the day, as 41% of emotion-bearing tweets appreciated Bailly and his team mates making Saturday afternoon so great for the fans! 32% of posts expressed happiness, meaning almost 3/4 of the emotion-bearing conversation around the United centre back was split between these two emotions. Unfortunately for the big Ivorian we have our full quota of Red Devils (and he was only the second most talked about player anyway!).

Hector Bellerin – The Arsenal right-back had a tough day at the office against Stoke and that was reflected by the social media conversation. Aside from a good run in behind which should have resulted in a penalty, Bellerin did little to impress twitter users. 7,808 tweets were sent about him, making him the third most talked about player, but the sentiment split was far more negative than for the goal-getting Bailly: 31% positive to 69% negative. Some of the tweets questioned how Bellerin had ever made it into the fabled La Masia academy, while other fans questioned why the Spanish full-back was playing on the left ahead of Sead Kolasinac, the best left-back in the Bundesliga last season. Luckily for Blurrton Albion, Bellerin was far behind the most talked about defender and therefore is out of consideration for a place in the squad.

And now, having gone through some of the rest of the field, please welcome the newest addition to the Blurrton Albion social experiment squad: Marcos Alonso! (Chelsea, £7m)

The left wing-back was superb against Spurs at Wembley, scoring both the goals to fire his team to a 2-1 victory. He was also a winner on social media, with 57,745 tweets being sent about him. The first of his two goals, a stunning free kick, generated plenty of conversation. Around 4,000 tweets were sent in the immediate aftermath, but it was his winning goal in the final few minutes which really sent twitter users crazy. Around 5,500 tweets were sent as his shot went straight through Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris’ attempted save and handed Tottenham their first defeat at home (or should I say “home”) in over a season. The overwhelming emotional response to Alonso’s performance was happiness (53%), whilst “superb free-kick” was one of the most used phrases, being shared 1,584 times.

A brilliant addition to the squad, Marcos Alonso will surely be a star for Blurrton Albion in the coming weeks.

Make sure you check back next week for more updates! If you’re enjoying our social experiment then don’t forget to share these articles and if you want to know more, including how Blurrt’s football data can be used to generate interesting content for broadcast or print media, then email me: