After the hectic Christmas/New Years period followed by a quick fire FA Cup round, a couple of regular fixture weeks nearly feels boring! It does however give us a chance to take stock, see where we are and maybe re-evaluate our goals for the season. We’ve got plenty of time on our hands, the next gameweek isn’t until the 28th January… This weeks star studded line up;
Ruddy (4.9m) – Honestly. I’m a big admirer of Norwich. I like the way they go about it, I like a lot of the players they have and reckon they have a team with a heap of potential. I like Hughton. I hate that he got shafted by Newcastle but love how he’s bounced back. The problem is they’ve been completely outclassed at times this season, and you can’t be rolled by the big teams the way they have and expect to have a future in this league. They managed to keep Hull at bay on the weekend but fear it’s going to be some pain in the next few weeks with Newcastle and the potent Man City coming to visit. Ruddy was a part of the Hull cleanie, getting a couple of BPs on his way to 8 points.
Ryan Bennett (3.9m) – This came out of the blue! Bennett scored a monumental 15 points from a goal, Norwich’s cleanie and by receiving full BPs. Probably not going to happen again, but if you’re looking for a defender from the bargain bin to sit on your bench, who may occasionally play for a team that has the potential to get clean sheets every now and again… If that’s what you’re after, then he’s perfect.
Cahill (5.7m) – While Cahill is being selected ahead of Dave Luiz in their back four, Chelsea look great defensively and he should be seriously considered, along with the rest of their defence. He’s quite a bit cheaper than his partner in crime Terry, with decent-ish attacking potential. He used this potential by creating 2 goals on his way to 10 points including a couple BPs. The concern is that at some stage Jose will reinstate Luiz into the back 4 in place of Cahill, but I think that will be far too much of a risk at this stage of the season and defensive stability will win over the pretty passing Luiz can produce.
Delaney (4.4m) – Delaney was the star defender in Palace’s clean sheet win against Stoke. He scored 9 points from the cleanie and full BPs. It will be hard for them to replicate this in the short term with Arsenal, Everton and Man Utd on the horizon.
Cazorla (9.5m) – One of the great things about Arsenal, if you’re an Arsenal supporter, is their quality in midfield. Throughout the first half of the season players like Ramsey and Ozil dominated and racked up heaps of goals and assists. With one of them recovering from injury and the other going through a bit of a form slump, then Walcott going down, someone had to step up and Cazorla has done that. I wouldn’t say that this is a one off either, he has been looking pretty sharp in recent games without managing to get amongst the points. You could suggest he has a bit of a rep for being an “assist to the assister” type, but I had him most of last season and was pretty impressed with his ability to get in shot making positions, if you get my drift. Could be a good short term POD? Cazorla scored twice and received full BPs for his 16 points.
Cabaye (7.2m) – I’m sure I’m not the only person who had Cabaye in their sights to be traded out. After a lean few weeks and burdened with the weight of transfer speculation it felt like too much to expect him to keep performing at the level he has been. What were we worrying about?!? A couple of cracking goals against West Ham, and full BPs, had him scoring 15 points for those who kept the faith. If he’s putting himself in the shop window to convince any suitors out there then keep doing this and you’ll be a PSG billionaire before you know it!
Johnson (6.5m) – Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend… Be real careful with this one guys. If you need to take a risk and catch up to some of your mates in a private league then it could be inspired but, and call me overly cautious, it’s more likely to do the opposite and be an abject failure. It’s extremely rare to see form like this out of relative nowhere be sustainable, particularly for a team towards the bottom of the table. If he can hold this form however, he’ll single handedly keep Sunderland in the EPL. Then they’ll erect a statue of him by the River Wear, and probably get an MBE from the Queen for good measure. Johnson backed up his huge game last week with another one this round by scoring another goal, assisting one and getting full BPs for 13 points, and generally looking like the best winger in the world.
Yaya Toure (10.1m) – I’ll be starting a “Keep Yaya Out Of Baysie’s Team” fund fairly soon to prevent me from trading him in and ruining his form for the rest of you. Let me know if you need my bank details. Yaya is having a massive season so far, so big in fact that he’s basically reached the same number of points he reached in his past 2 season, give or take a tenner. He scored his 11th goal, assisted one and received full BPs for 13 points. One of the real positives for us is that he looks relatively clear of rotation so you won’t be having those nightmares like we have with the rest of Man City’s team! It’s a lot of money to outlay however on the hunch he can keep this form up throughout the second half of the season.
Puncheon (4.9m) – Jonjo Shelvey Award! I had to skew the rules of my made up award to allow this to happen but too many gun midfielders performed this week! Puncheon went a little way towards making up for his horrifically hilarious penalty miss last GW by scoring Palace’s winner at home to Stoke and getting full BPs for 11 points. He’s on a little run of form and could be a decent shout for your M5 spot.
Eto’o (8.2m) – There’s something really satisfying seeing an “older” player turn back the clock and put in a performance as good as any they’ve done in years gone by. Little Sammy Eto’o smashed a superb hat trick against the might of Team #MoyesOut and you’d have to think he’s got himself a run of games ahead of his Chelsea rivals. 8.2m is really awkwardly priced though when you think he’s up against the likes of Adebayor, Remy and Welbeck for our FPL attention in and around that price range. Not only did he take away the game ball, but also full BPs for 17 points. Sorry Sammy but I have to pass.
Adebayor (7.7m) – Definitely one of, if not the, form strikers in the league right now. But like Matt says, just wait until he signs a new contract and watch his form go downhill. If you have him however just enjoy the ride as he’s looking particularly dominant right now and has goals in him most weeks. Interestingly Spurs dropped Soldado ahead of Adebayor for the trip to Swansea which should further enhance how much the gaffer rates him. Sherwood did say before the game however that he has a level of trust with some players more than others, but that is starting to change the more he sees them at training. No idea who he was referring to but it is something to keep at the back of our minds. Would be an excellent downgrade or sideways trade for the foreseeable future. This week he scored 13 points from 2 goals and full BPs.
Other notable performances… Aguero paid back those who took the early plunge with a 10 point game. Bentekkers started his goal spree with a goal and 9 points, Sturridge continued his return from injury with another goal and 9 points. The Arsenal defence all got amongst it with Koscielny being the best of them with 8. Remy scored (but has only scored 3 in 10) on his way to 8 points and Rodriguez scored a cracker and generally looked lively for 8 points.
Question for the week… What’s your goals for the rest of the season? Personally, I’m sitting a disappointing 26k (disappointing in that I had big plans for this season!) but I’m looking at top 1000 and winning a few of my key head to head leagues. Ambitious, but it’s better to aim for the stars and miss than aim for the gutter and hit it…
P.S. Sorry for the photo any United fans out there, I just found it humorous.