I sound like a broken record. Every week I go in with a team I think can maybe score above the average for a change. On paper, it’s better than most. In practise however…it flops. A few massive games this week, including the Manchester Derby, Torres’ return to “form” and Cazorla’s shocker. Still two games to go, but let’s get into it!
Arsenal v West Brom
A fairly stock standard 2-0 result to Arsenal, on paper, seemed the go. During the game however, there were times when Arsenal dominated, and when West Brom had their fair share of chances. It took a Cazorla dive to separate the two, as Arteta slotted home two penalties. For West Brom owners it showed that realistically, they aren’t going to challenge for a spot in Europe, and although they have shown solidarity under Clarke, we can’t expect the best from them every week.
3- Arteta; 2- Sagna & Gibbs.
Aston Villa v Stoke City
Yaaaawn. This game was never going to turn out any other way, and with little chances or anything to talk about, you’ll take your clean sheet points for Begovic, Shawcross and Cameron and leave. 0-0 at its finest.
3- Shawcross & Lowton
1- Holman & Guzan
Southampton v Reading
Cellar dwellar battle royale alert! Southampton were always going into the game as favourites, and although Reading have slotted in a combined 10 goals v Chelsea, Arsenal & Man United, they couldn’t find a way onto the scoresheet again what is statistically the worst defence in the league. Puncheon’s stocks should continue to rise, as he looks like the perfect reserve in the mould of Sterling. Lallana left the ground on crutches and is being monitored. Southampton will be stoked with the 1-0 result and the 3 points that lifts them out of the relegation scrap for the first time this year.
Sunderland v Chelsea
A danger game for both teams ended up in a comprehensive 3-1 win to Chelsea. Torres scored his 4th goal for the week, and will no doubt entice thousands on to his “reformed” bandwagon. I’m not so sure. Mata again showed his class and even Hazard looked dangerous after a few quiet weeks. Oscar was again benched, showing that Benitez may prefer Moses in the attacking trio. For Sunderland, Johnson scored a lucky goal courtesy of a Petr Cech leave straight out of Michael Clarke’s top drawer, while both he and Gardner rattled the crossbar on numerous occasions. The result leaves Chelsea at 3rd and Sunderland in the relegation scrap for the first time in years.
1 – Johnson
Swansea v Norwich
On paper, a home game for Swansea against Norwich doesn’t exactly scream 7 goal thriller. But that’s exactly what happened. Norwich went 3-0 up away from home by half time, and shellshocked the Swans faithful. Swansea then fought back, through goals from De Guzman and Michu , but it was too little too late as Snodgrass again showed his set piece dominance, to add to goals from Whittaker, Holt and Bassong. The result shows Norwich are NOT a team to be taken lightly… their defence is actually showing great attacking prowess, and their midfield is linking up dangerously with Holt. Underestimate at your own peril.
2 – Holt
1 – Bassong
Wigan v QPR
I was certain QPR were going to win this. Wigan, without their first choice back 3, looked makeshift, and when QPR went 2-1 up I was sure they were going to hold on. Unfortunately for old ‘Arry, not even he can stop the sinking ship that is QPR, and Wigan eventually equalised as McCarthy nabbed a brace and a 2-2 result for Wigan. Cisse scored his first QPR goal under Redknapp, while Nelsen scored his first goal for the Rangers entirely. The result leaves QPR with the longest start to a premier league season ever without a win (surpassing Derby County’s record set years ago when they finished with merely 11 points…), while Wigan are edging closer and closer to the basement, sitting in 17th spot.
1 – Beausejour
The Manchester Derby
This shaped up as a belter. A home game to City doesn’t really count for anything in this situation, although the City faithful would have been pleased with their sheer dominance of the first 30 minutes. That’s right, they completely dominated, apart from being 2-0 down. Rooney scored a dribbler in what was United’s first real attack, and slotted a second home after Clichy again gave United too much room down the right and allowed Rafael to roll one in. Half time. Breathe. Second half begins (I’d like to mention at this point my girlfriend thought it was acceptable to make me take her out to lunch. I figure this means I don’t have to buy her a Valentines present for years though…) because what I missed, was freaking unbelievable. We had Toure and Zabaleta equalise, before penalties were turned down, coins were thrown, and of course, an RVP masterclass in the 90th minute. a 3-2 win to United showed again, the best teams just know how to win when they don’t deserve it. Do yourself a favour and watch the replay on footytube.com … it’s a belter.
2 – Rafael
1 – Zabaleta & Y Toure
Everton v Tottenham
Every Sunday game was an absolute peach. A dull first half culminated in Dempsey putting Spurs ahead on the stroke of the 76th minute. Tottenham looked like cantering to a 1-0 win away from home and earning a much needed 3 points. Then with 3 minutes left, Everton equalised through Jelavic (who has been uncharacteristically quiet recently), before Pienaar did his first thing of note since shaving off his dreadlocks, and latched the ball into the net. Tottenham now conceded 10 goals in the last 15 minutes of play this year, the highest ratio in the Premier League. Everton will be delighted with a 2-1 result and 3 points they thoroughly didn’t deserve!
3 – Pienaar
2 – Dempsey
1 – Jelavic
West Ham v Liverpool
Anyone who picked Liverpool would have scored 3 goals without Luis Suarez in their team, stand up and accept my praise. Or my fist for being a liar. The game started with a Johnson rasper from 35 yards, before a Gerrard own goal and Allen handball handed Noble the 2nd goal to pu the Hammers 2-1 up. Cole then scored his first for LFC since returning from Lille, before Shelvey scored (although replays show it was a Collins own goal), to give Liverpool the win 3-2.
3 – Johnson
2 – Cole
1 – Allen
Still two games to go, with Fulham v Newcastle and Sunderland v Reading getting their second bite at it this week. For my team… woeful. Just woeful. Only one player notched attacking returns RVP, while I seemed to miss out on Mata and Michu again. Remember next week is a Chelsea blank, so don’t knee jerk Mata, Hazard or Torres!! Then I got drunk and knee jerked Michu into my team for next week, completely forgetting that he was 1 yellow card off suspension. Delightful.
Loser: Everyone else.
Trades: Sessegnon – Michu (whilst drunk)
Vent: My FPL luck is just not with me. I’m sitting 2nd in AUSTRALIA for the Champions League Fantasy, and in the top few hundred for Big Bash fantasy… And I’m going to say it again, as I do every week. FMFPL
Cheers guys, sorry It’s a bit late- Jetlag’s a bitch.