Another round done. There were Van Persie hattricks and Tevez masterclasses, but aside from these two, no fantasy relevant options fired (apart from Michu, Walters or perhaps Nolan.) So let’s break down the games and see how they panned out.
West Ham v Fulham
There is a bloke around the site going by the name of Liam I think it is, who warned me of Fulham’s poor away form. Pffft I thought, they’re playing West Ham. They’ll be fine. I proceeded to lock in Schwarzer and Hangeland onto my field, leaving Jaaskelainen and Demel on my bench. Well let me tell you now Liam, I will be taking everything you say very seriously from now on. What ensued was bitterly upsetting. Fulham looked all at sea, and the Hammers pummelled them in attack, with Nolan, Vaz Te, Taylor and Carroll looking exceptionally dangerous. Fulham looked devout of creativity, and without Dembele or Dempsey, and choosing not to play Ruiz, they were never going to have a lot of chances. Berbatov featured off the bench, and could spell the end for Petric as a fantasy option…. but without the midfield creativity, I’ll steer clear of both!
Swansea v Sunderland
Here was a game I was excited about. The chance to see Johnson and Fletcher feature in the same game as the Swansea juggernaut was shaping up as very good viewing. Unfortunately owners of Sunderland and Swansea defenders, 2-2 is about the worst score you could have hoped for. If you, like me, had Chico you would be furious with his -2 and red card. Michu continued to stake his claim for signing of the season, while Routledge has to be a contender for the best smokie pick of the first three weeks. How he is deployed now Ki and Hernandez are around I’m not so sure, but for the moment he looks a player. Fletcher reminded us why he scored 10+ goals last year for the bottom side, slotting home a brace. He’s a poacher of the highest class, and he should bring home the goods most weeks. Graham wasted a couple of chances, and I’m seriously thinking about offloading him… but perhaps the injection of Ki and Hernandez will provide him with more through balls…. we’ll have to wait and see.
Tottenham v Norwich
Don’t get me started on the Spurs. I’m just glad I put five bucks on AVB being the first manager to get sacked at the start of the season. Instead of going forward purposefully in attack, they seemed to meander forward in hope more than anything else. Bale has been a shocking pick for fantasy managers so far, closely followed by Sigurdsson. They didn’t look like scoring until Dembele came on, who ended up slotting a slick goal. Don’t expect him to do this every week though, as he is more the “assist the assist” type we have become accustomed to. Adebayor should be starting soon, surely Spurs can’t keep persisting with Defoe- who to his credit has been solid but lacks an aerial threat. Norwich looked solid throughout the game, defending well and pushing forward when needed. Snodgrass has an eye for goal, that’s for sure. Before he equalised, he looked dangerous when standing over free kicks… When Norwich’s draw clears up, he could be a definite P.O.D that might score well.
West Brom v Everton
People backed Everton in to this game, but quickly were reminded why the Hawthorns is considered the hardest place to travel to in the PL. West Brom looked solid in defence, and surprisingly potent in attack given they only started with the one lone forward in Long. I think you could do a lot worse in your defence than having Foster, McAuley and Olsson, given that every second week they’ll be playing at their beloved fortresss. From an Everton perspective, things didn’t quite click. Some attacks showed promise, but little eventuated. For them it was just ‘one of those days’. A fixture at Goodison Park next week should hopefully restore some confidence and get the goals flowing.
Wigan v Stoke City
This shaped up as a ‘meh’ game, but boy it turned out to be a beauty. Shawcross owners should consider getting rid of him, as this was his last easy fixture before an onslaught of three top 4 sides in a row. A score of 1 was hardly what Begovic owners wanted either. As for Wigan, they remain a basket case. If you can predict when they’ll score and against who, then lock a few of their players in. Di Santo looks the most promising, but Kone has shown he has a keen eye for goal so far. Walters did his owners proud as he continued his role “in the hole”, and notched a goal and assist.
Manchester City v QPR
If you didn’t have Van Persie captain, you probably had Tevez. He didn’t disappoint… notching a junk time goal and two assists. Don’t hesitate to lock him in for the remaining fixtures while Aguero is out. Man City on the whole looked dangerous, and were unlucky to only have the 1 goal at half time. QPR then again, like they did on survival sunday last year, scored out of the blue to level the score up 1-1. Dzeko and Tevez then finished the game off, but the troubles Man City are having in defence are not going away. Will the signing of Maicon spell the end of Zabaleta as a viable option? I think so, and offloaded him last week. Dzeko is one who interests me. He looks assured of leading the line alongside Tevez now Balotelli apparently requires an eye operation, and has always been deadly in the air. A potential P.O.D? Definitely. Silva and Nasri scored lowly again, but didn’t play all that badly. If you have Silva I’d be offloading him, but be aware, he is close to breaking his drought.
Liverpool v Arsenal
Oh Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool. After offloading Carroll and failing to sign Sturridge, surely you would have thrown everything you had at Dempsey. Without him, your forward crop looks bare to say the least. This definitely rang true against Arsene’s men, as again and again they failed to capitalise on any chance they had. Suarez is a great player, don’t get me wrong, but without being able to finish the chances he creates, he still remains part of the problem. Borini was poor also. Sterling and Allen were the shining lights for the Reds, but unfortunately for them, their defence was being picked apart by the Arsenal midfield, and Sahin was invisible. Gerrard continued to give the ball up in the midfield, which poses the question that surely he should be employed as a false no. 9? At least he can put the ball in the net. As for Arsenal, Cazorla and Arteta were putting on a passing clinic. Podolski showed his skill on the counter attack, while Mertesacker and Vermaelen held firm at the back. Giroud continued to waste opportunities, and I expect Gervinho will be given the nod to start above him for the next few weeks.
Newcastle v Aston Villa
I didn’t watch this game, so perhaps others are better qualified to comment on it than me. Surprisingly, Villa took the lead from a Clark header (The bloke I traded midweek for Chico), before a bit of Ben Arfa brilliance equalised. Bent had a few chances, as Villa adopted a possession style of play- Lambert was seen venting furiously at every stray pass. Ba and Cisse had their chances as well, but Newcastle will be upset they only came away with the one point. For a team that’s supposed to be pushing for the top 4, they shot themselves in the foot.
Southampton v Manchester United
So they saved the best for last. After Southampton went ahead early through Lambert, Van Persie beautifully controlled Valencia’s cross and finished as only he can. What then transpired was phenomenal. The Saints went ahead 2-1, through Schneiderlin, before Van Persie undid his earlier good work and “dinked” a penalty only to have it saved by Davis. Did this deter the great man? No. In the 87th minute he capitalised on a rebound, before he powerfully headed home in the 90′ minute to give United the three points. If ever there was a reminder why United forked out 24 million for a 29 year old with a history of injury, this is why. Kagawa was disappointing and may as well not have been there, as he was restricted to a deeper midfield role with the inclusion of Welbeck. De Gea was interestingly dropped for this game, which could have left a few coaches short. For Southampton, Lambert slotted his second goal of the year- one against Man United, one against City, showing he can score even with unfavourable fixtures. In Lallana and Ward-Prowse, they have two of the brightest young talents in the PL, and should go a long way to avoiding relegation.
I feel there were about three possible outcomes this round. If you achieved the first one, you would be laughing straight to the bank. If not, bad luck.
- You had both Van Persie and Tevez.
- You had one of Van Persie or Tevez.
- You didn’t have either of Van Persie or Tevez.
Chances are if you had one of them, they were your captain. I only had two people involved in clean sheets or scores, Michu and Tevez (c). A disappointing 48 points for me. So how did you go? Let me know in the comments, but please, go easy, I’m still hurting.
Lord: Tevez, Michu
Loser: Schwarzer, Hangeland, Chico, Cuellar, Bale, Pienaar, Graham
On the chopping block: Chico, Bale