So the teams we so carefully sculpted for weeks have finally been put through their paces for the first week. Who tore it up? Who was disappointing? How did you do?
First up, let’s have a look at Arsenal v Sunderland. Interestingly for Arsenal, they started with Podolski up front with Giroud on the bench. Unless you were an all-seeing master (Like Aki) this could have caught you 0ff-guard, although not many of us had Giroud to start with. Those that had Szczesny (or any Arsenal defender) would have been laughing, especially those that picked up Jenkinson for a cheapie price of 4.5.
On the Sunderland side of things, they were relatively boring. If you started with Cuellar you would have been pleased with the clean sheet, but as far as attacking options go, you can easily overlook the Black Cats.
Fulham v Norwich was a fantastic game if you had any of the Fulham back four (especially Riise) or Schwarzer between the sticks. If you started with Petric you would have been laughing, and those that picked up Kacaniklic as a cheapie were happy (although he would have featured from most managers’ benches.
For those of you like me that had John Ruddy between the sticks, hopefully he was on your bench! Norwich looked completely lost and if Fulham can dismantle them that easily, imagine what Chelsea or Man City could do to them. I’d be jumping off any Canaries you might have in your team!
QPR v Swansea was either a fantastic game for you, or the worst thing that could have happened. If you started with Fabio, his -1 would have hurt, and although midfielders Taarabt and Hoilett looked lively, it didn’t reflect on the scoresheet.
Michu has been one we’ve been sprucing on the site for the last week, and boy did he deliver. 2 goals and an assist was somehow still not enough to get the maximum BP on offer, but with a score of 18 from your 6.5 midfielder, you could only smile. Unfortunately for Graham owners, the midfielders were running amok and pinging balls over his head into the back of the net. Those that started with Sinclair would have been disappointed he didn’t start, but his late goal was a worthy consolation.
Reading v Stoke was a game most were looking forward to. If you had Walters, you would have been hoping for him to get on the scoresheet, but unfortunately for manager’s of Stoke City players, there wasn’t really anything special happening at the Madejski Stadium. Kightly pipped Pennant for the right midfield spot, and if you were one of the few who picked him up, you owe Federici a beer for his catastrophic effort. That brings me to Shawcross. I want my four points you owe me. I am NOT happy!
On the Reading side of things, Pogrebnyak was largely anonymous and Guthrie was solid, but didn’t bomb forward enough to register any sort of attacking threat. Federici cost you a clean sheet with his blunder, and if I had him I would be absolutely fuming. Annoyingly for Pog owners the penalty was given after he was subbed, and Le Fondre was given the duty.
Now we come to West Brom v Liverpool. If you have a West Brom player, well done, you obviously saw something we didn’t! Odemwingie looked lively and locked in his starting spot with a solid performance, while Gera’s blistering volley was truly something to behold. Spot kick duties were shared between Long and Odemwingie , but when the former missed his first spot-kick Odemwingie converted from the spot the second time around. Lukaku came on and scored a neat header, and should be pushing for selection in the starting XI!
For Liverpool though, it was a disappointing performance. Suarez missed two easy chances, while at the other end Agger and Skrtel were sloppy. After Agger’s red card the wheels fell off completely, but there was still one positive sign for Liverpool. Joe Allen looked comfortable on the ball, and gave the Liverpool midfield an air of respectability whilst Gerrard was having a mare.
West Ham v Aston Villa was a game I, like many others, was really looking forward to as it showcased a lot of smokey picks at once. Unfortunately for those that predicted an attacking vibrancy for Villa (I was one of them) they turned up and looked absolutely dreadful. Bent was rarely sighted as the Villa midfield struggled to get the ball to him. Holman showed glimpses but N’Zogbia looked as useless as he did with McLeish in charge.
The Hammers though, to their credit, suffocated them in the midfield. Those who picked Nolan over Noble would be very satisfied, whilst those who started cheapie keeper Jaaskelainen in goals would also be chuffed. Even 4.0 defender McCartney notched 6 points!
Newcastle v Tottenham rounded out the saturday games, with a lively encounter at St James’ Park. Annoyingly for Van der Vaart owners, AVB relegated him to the bench. If you do have VDV I wouldn’t panic, he will certainly feature next week, Sandro and Livermore were preferred purely because they were playing away and they wanted a stoic defence. Bale couldn’t provide the goods, while those who picked Walker and Friedel would have been upset with the result. If you own Spurs players, DONT PANIC! Have a look at their next four fixtures then lick your lips…
There must be something in the water up in Toonland. Pardew admitted Ben Arfa would miss and Ba and Tiote were serious doubts for the match, but all three were named in the starting lineup. Work that one out. If you had Ben Arfa then traded him out because of his apparent “injury” (My girlfriend did), you would have been livid with his goal and maximum bonus points combination. Most interestingly for newcastle though, was Ba didn’t take the penalty. If Ben Arfa can continue spot kicking duties, he is a tasty proposition at 7.5! Speaking of Ba, he scored a slick goal that reminded us all that just because Cissè is there, he’s not to be forgotten.
Kicking off the Sunday games was Wigan v Chelsea. I know Adz and I were both creaming ourselves at the possibility of seeing Hazard slotting through to Torres, and we weren’t disappointed early, with two goals in the first six minutes. If you chose Ivanovic as a slightly more unique option in defence, take a bow, because you would be loving his 15 point game. Lampard stepped up and reminded us that although he’s slow and old, we shouldn’t write him off! He has now scored 37/40 penalties in the PL. Amazing! If you started with Ramires in your team, I know how you feel, and if you need a shoulder to cry on, I’m here. He is apparently carrying a bug and in doubt for the Reading game as well! FMFPL! Torres again increased his credentials for the world’s most unluckiest player, after having a ball hooked off the line by Ramis as well as being missed by an Ivanovic pass which would have been a certain goal.
Over to Wigan now, where Moses was the only real fantasy prospect. Why he started against the team he is reportedly close to joining is beyond me, and relegated Miyaichi to the bench. He looked slippery, but he was hurt by the fact that no Wigan player could get his head on the ball in the box.
Now to the last game, where Manchester City should have taught Southampton a footballing lesson. Well that’s the memo I got, right? Apparently not. If you chose Aguero over Tevez, well done for reading this because it means you haven’t necked yourself yet. I was very close. While Sergio’s injury is a “wait and see” type scenario, it all but locks in Tevez as a delicious option at 9.0. Nasri also reminded us that with the plethora of talent around at Man City, he’s still a very very good player. At 8.5 and with Aguero’s injury, he looks to have locked his place in the XI. Consider him! Toure also looked assured, and notched the one assist. How he managed to bluff his way to 2 BP for that I’ll never know though. If you started with Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott or Clichy, you would be disappointed with the 2 goals conceded by the defending champs. David Silva gave his owners a huge kick in the nuts with his penalty “effort” (I use that term loosely.)
Now to Southampton. Why the eff Lambert and Davis didn’t start is beyond me, because both came on and scored. Lambert is the obvious pick of the Saints’ players, but Davis is one who I touted in my Fresh Blood series as a potential smokey. At 5.0, I’ll be bringing him in when his fixtures clear up.
Well that’s all the games we’ve had so far, with Man U v Everton happening early tomorrow morning. So how did you go? Personally, I was laughing after sitting pretty on 33 points with Hazard, Ramires, Torres (c), Zabaleta and Aguero to play. Oh how the tide turned. Most annoyingly for me, and most coaches, was that Aguero v Tevez was a call everyone had to make. It was a coin toss for me. Unfortunately, when I tossed the coin, it metaphorically somehow exploded and killed me, and if it wasn’t enough that Aguero was injured (In a tackle from my own player Clyne), the salt was well and truly rubbed into the wounds when Tevez scored.
Let me know how you all went in the comments, using this template!
For me, it looks a little something like this!
Players left: Torres, Hazard, Ramires
Comments: Thanks for nothing Man City and Ramires.