With FLIP Sports fantasy football, because you control and manage your team in real-time, you get to experience the thrill and despair of real-life football management every time you play….and what could be more satisfying than making a masterstroke switch at the mere touch of a button, just moments before your selected player busts the opposition’s net in the real world?
Throughout the history of the beautiful game, there have been certain players that thrived as game changers. Here are three classic examples that ought to inspire you ahead of your team selections for Game Week 4.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Date: 6 February 1999
Location: City Ground, Nottingham
Scoreline change: NFO 1-4 MUN (72 mins) > NFO 1-8 MUN (FT)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s record of four goals from the bench is one Premier League record that is in little danger of being threatened. Forty-one years to the day of the Munich air disaster, Manchester United tore hapless Nottingham Forest apart in a manner which would have enchanted the late Matt Busby.
By the time Solskjaer replaced Dwight Yorke after 72 minutes, United were cruising at 4-1 and heading for certain victory. Despite this comfortable scoreline, Solskjaer was advised to play ‘conservatively’ by first team coach Jimmy Ryan – but as football fans know, this was never a word that registered with the Norwegian hotshot.
Just eighteen minutes later, the die-hard Forest fans that had stayed to the end were beholding a scoreboard that read: Nottingham Forest 1, Manchester United 8. Had in-play fantasy football apps existed in 1999, there would certainly have been a few landslides in the rankings at the full time whistle…
Tip: When making your in-game substitutions, think of stamina-rich players that are known for exerting 100%, even when victory for their team is assured. One quick look at the latest FLIP Sports stats is all the homework you need to do, and very few of your rivals will expect a performance if the game has long since been won.
Paolo Di Canio
Date: 12 February 2000
Location: Upton Park, East London
Scoreline change: WHU 2-4 BRA (51 mins) > WHU 5-4 BRA (FT)
For Premier League regulars, defeat at home to a newly promoted side is seen as the ultimate disgrace, and it was the belated, fan-fuelled exertions of a vexed Paolo Di Canio that saved the Hammers from humiliation against Bradford City back in Y2K.
Poor defending, combined with an unfortunate leg break for Shaka Hislop, saw West Ham go into the break at a disappointing 2-2. That “poor defending” would become utterly suicidal as Bradford came roaring out of the dressing room, scoring twice in seven minutes of madness after the restart.
Soon after, Paolo Di Canio demanded to be substituted when a third penalty appeal was declined. Bradford subsequently piled on the pressure, threatening a rugby score as Paolo Di Canio stood still on the pitch and refused to play. However, it was then that a few chants of Di Canio’s name revived the Italian striker – almost immediately he became an indefatigable force of nature.
Di Canio was highly influential to West Ham’s comeback, scoring from the spot and assisting Joe Cole for the final, and winning, goal of the match.
Tip: Never underestimate the power of an unpredictable temperament. Quite simply, think of players who get angry quite a lot – though their discipline may leave a lot to be desired, they will put in a performance when all appears to be lost. Too many fantasy football managers are quick to dismiss players who are in teams that are apparently doomed to lose.
Date: 26 October 2013
Location: Villa Park, Birmingham
Scoreline change: AVL 0-0 EVE (60 mins) > AVL 0-2 EVE (FT)
Leon Osman is a player whose boots ought to be sponsored by Marmite. Though the effort never lacks, there has a seldom been a player that has divided Evertonians to such an extent.
The frustration is understandable – one week Osman may be outmuscled and rendered ineffective by the brutish backline of a lesser-skilled team, only to crop up the very next week with a superb goal against the likes of Liverpool or Manchester City. Everton’s trip to Villa park in 2013 was one of the latter occasions.
The Aston Villa players were dominant in the first half and, had Tim Howard failed to save an earlier penalty, the outcome of the match could have been very different. The second half was more evenly matched but the game looked consigned to a 0-0 draw as the hour mark approached.
Osman’s introduction on 61 minutes utterly changed the game, with Everton becoming more disciplined, closer knit and completely unplayable on the counter. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring just seven minutes later thanks to an inch-perfect pass from Osman, with the man himself sealing the affair on 81 minutes with an instinctive finish into the corner of the Villa net.
Tip: The best in-play subs after the hour are generally more experienced players, especially if they are over 30 years old. Even if these players are not the marquee names at the club, they can instil the spirit of the dressing room and ensure that the on-field gaps are filled.