Neal Thurman

Yahoo! Premier League

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Update on the Yahoo Game

Sunday, August 18, 2013


It was a frustrating weekend all around for me.  On the plus side, NBC Sports did a very nice job of covering the matches.  I'm not saying that just because they own the web site I work for and pay me.  I thought the studio show before, between and after the matches represented a nice evolution forward from the work done by the people at the dearly departed (or soon to be departed, I forget the specific timing) Fox Soccer Channel.  There were, however, two things from the weekend that frustrated me to no end - Arsenal and the unfinished state of the Yahoo fantasy game.  There is absolutely nothing I can do about the former and only a little more I can do about the latter but I'm a writer so what I can do is write about them.  I can vent my frustration about Arsenal and I can provide an update to everyone about where things with the Yahoo game stand. 

I'm not sure where to start with Arsenal.  They started off very nicely with a flowing move that saw surprise starter Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain feed Olivier Giroud for a nicely taken goal in the 6th minute.  From there, it was all downhill. Arsenal conspired to be called for two penalties and saw their one fit left back injured and one of their two healthy central defenders sent off.  You can argue that the call against Koscielny for the second penalty was a bad call which would have rescinded Villa's second goal and prevented, at least for a while, him being sent off (which led to Villa's third goal.  What can't be disputed is that Szczesny once again made a horrible play on Villa's first penalty and, if the referee had been going by the letter of the law, he shoud have been sent off to boot. 

Actually, the downhill started before the match with Wenger's late-week comments that he shouldn't be blamed for the lack of progress in the transfer market.  I don't know where the responsibility lies for Arsenal's ineffectiveness in the transfer market.  Is it Wenger who has chosen to pursue the wrong players? Does the fault lie with Gazidis who is showing that he's no David Dein when it comes to making a deal happen? Has Wenger (or Gazidis or someone else) failed to see the change in prices due to all of the new TV money available across the Premier League? What I do know is that Spurs have purchased at least three players that Arsenal could really use right now over the past two summers.  In Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, and Roberto Soldado - Spurs have strengthened the exact spots - central defense, left defense, holding midfield, and central forward - that Arsenal have failed to find answers for.  The fact that Spurs are not in the Champions League, don't have more money to spend and are located in the same section of London mean there's no reason that Arsenal couldn't have beaten their rivals to the signatures of all three players. Throw in the seeming availability of Julio Cesar who, I have to imagine, wouldn't have started Arsenal's downward spiral with the same opening error that Szczesny made and the moves have been out there to be made.  The fact is that Arsenal just aren't making them and whether it is Wenger, Gazidis or both at fault it needs to change if Arsenal are going to remain competitive with even a Bale-less Spurs.

With my Arsenal-related frustrations vented, I'm going to move on to my Yahoo-related frustrations which, I'd imagine, are similar to the ones you experienced this weekend. To put it simply, like Arsenal's squad, the Yahoo game wasn't ready for the start of the season.  There were things missing - discussion areas for the game at large as well as for each private group and the ability to see the scores of other game players. There were also things that worked inconsistently like live scoring.  Finally, there were some things that just SHOULD be there that weren't to make the experience better - like being able to see live scoring for players other than the ones you picked and the ability to sort players by position without selling a player.  I've heard other complaints about the mobile experience (I didn't use it so I don't know first hand) and integration of the game across some international properties (again, it doesn't apply to me but that doesn't mean that it didn't frustrate some people to no end). 

All of this is on top of the fact that the user experience is new which means that people didn't really know whether things were going wrong or they just didn't know how to make it work right likely made this a really frustrating weekend playing the game for all of us.

Unlike the situation at Arsenal, I do at least have some access to make my frustration and the frustrations of others heard when it come to the Yahoo game.  I don't get to make decisions but I was in the Barn Door Live chat at Never Manage Alone on Saturday fielding issues and concerns as well as Nik, Jeremy, Galin and others keeping their respective ears to the ground and gathering what feedback we could.  We will certainly share everything constructive we find with Yahoo.  In return, I can also let everyone in on the priorities at Yahoo this week:

  1. Access to Other People's Teams
  2. Adding "Sort By Position" to the "Top Players" Search Feature
  3. Comment Threads
  4. Auto Update of Scores
  5. Speed of Live Scoring
  6. Player Stats on the "Player Card"

I know this isn't the entire list of frustrations that people have but it will also not be the end of our efforts to make sure that peoples' concerns are heard.  It is our hope that everyone who has been playing for years will continue to play through these early-season issues and everyone who is new to the game will withhold judgment until these bugs have been worked out. 



Neal Thurman manages the Rotoworld's Premier League coverage and contributes to Never Manage Alone which he co-founded. He is also a diehard Arsenal supporter. You can find him on Twitter @NealJThurman.
Email :Neal Thurman



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