What a fantastic weekend of football! It really had everything with the top teams all experiencing very different feelings. Liverpool shifted into top gear while Arsenal was still trying to turn the engine over in the garage. Man Utd’s turbo kicked in only to wind down just before the finish line. Chelsea just kept on cruising along knowing it’s a 24 hour race, not a drag race. Man City couldn’t get their massive amount of horsepower to the back wheels and I don’t even want to how Everton let Tottenham slipstream them to a priceless win.
Sorry, I watched a lot of racing on the weekend… It was that or figure skating!
Anyway, let’s get into this weeks star studded team. We’ve got a midweek round coming up before having next weekend off remember, so make sure you have your transfers done and your captain picked!
Lloris (5.8m) – If you ever needed proof that a team doesn’t need to play well to win in sport, this game is it. Everton were all over Spurs for big parts of the game but the Blues’ recent history in letting in goals came back to bite them. Lloris had a good game pulling off a few saves to help them to a clean sheet and 9 points with a couple BPs. If this was the Spurs team from the start of the season, then I could suggest Lloris would be decent value but the Tim Sherwood inspired Spurs are a different monster and clean sheets are not their speciality.
Skrtel (5.5m) – Even the most ardent Liverpool detractors amongst us had to sit back and say “wow” after their first half performance against Arsenal. They were unstoppable, but with all due respect Arsenal did help them out with some woeful defending across the pitch and questionable tactics. Arsenal did try and get back into some sort of form in the second half, but the damage had well and truly been done. Skrtel scored two goals, one a bit of a fluke off his knee but the second was top drawer. He also got full BPs on his way to 17 points. The Reds don’t look like keeping a clean sheet any time soon even with a great set of fixtures, so I can’t recommend any of them with a straight face.
Figueroa (4.4m) – You get what you pay for… Hull’s defence has been hit and miss so far this season but at the prices being quoted having one of them to sit on your bench is good squad management. They did a fantastic job in keeping Sunderland at bay and went up the other end and scored twice against a usually tight defence. Hull have an interesting set of fixtures on the horizon, but as is always the case with newly promoted teams they can’t really be trusted just yet. Keep that Hull defender you have and leave him on your bench. He’ll come in handy at some stage. Figueroa scored 12 points from the clean sheet, an assist and full BPs. Salute your Ryan Bennett Award winner!
Walker (6.1m) – During Spurs’ fantastic defensive performances throughout AVB’s tenure, Kyle Walker was a staple in many of our teams. As we all know, AVB’s removal from duties caused a steep decline in their defensive prowess, along with Walker’s FPL ownership. Don’t for one second think that this game and performance means a return to the good old days of clean sheets and defensive points. This was a one off based on Everton’s inability to turn pressure into goals. He scored 12 points from the clean sheet, an assist and full BPs. 6.1m is far too much to be spending on luck…
Ivanovic (6.1m) – This 6.1m however is good spending. Chelsea’s defence is easily the best in the league and everyone should have at least one in their teams, preferably more. Ivanovic scored 11 from their own clean sheet, an assist and a couple of BPs. After spending a few weeks in the physio room he has come back with scores of 2 (just a blip against Utd) then 7, 14 and 11.They have a decent run of fixtures so do yourself a favour and snap up Ivanonic or, if he’s a little pricey, one of his teammates.
Hazard (10.6m) – This was the second “wow” of the weekend. Eden Hazard is undoubtedly the Gareth Bale of this season. He’s just unstoppable and is definitely Chelsea’s main attacking outlet as was shown with a classy hat trick and full BPs on his way to a huge 21 points. He’s had an unusually lean few games prior to this one, but it’s not through lack of trying. He’s not “doing an Ozil”. If you have him, lock him away and leave him… If you don’t have him… 10.6m is a lot of money to find, but will be worth it if you can.
Nolan (6.5m) – I think I may have told everyone not to waste their time after last weeks performance… Oh well. I still stand by it though. On his day Nolan was a solid FPL player but he’s human and father time waits for no man. He put in another excellent performance to back up last weeks with another 2 goals and full BPs to score 16 points. If you are keen I would get on now because no doubt he’ll be flavour of the month and his price will go up quickly.
Sterling (5.3m) – The football world will look back at this particular game in a few weeks or months and we’ll be able to see how much damage this game has done to Arsenal, or how much of a lift it was to Liverpool. It’s too soon now and it feels more like a one off than a trend. We’ll also look at several individual performances and they’ll be assessed as either break outs, or just an isolated good game. One of those performances will be Raheem Sterling’s. His potential is undeniable but there have always been aspects to his game that has held him back. He runs a little hot and cold, his finishing is not as good as it could be… Etc. Etc. This game he put much of that to one side and showed us what the finished article could look like. His continual harassment of the lead footed Arsenal defence was superb and he put his speed and skill on the ball to good use to get on the end of a couple of goals. Other teams will not allow him as much room as Arsenal did though, particularly against the bottom teams, so I’m keen to see how he deals with that before I consider him for my team. He scored 14 points from the goals, and a couple of BPs.
Routledge (4.9m) – Nearly every time a gaffer is let go, a player profits from it in their next game. This time it was Wayne Routledge who was the beneficiary scoring one and assisting another on his way to 14 points. If Swansea really have done the right thing in appointing Monk as the new gaffer and are trying to turn back the clock to the team they used to be, it will be players like Routledge who will prosper. One of my main bug bears with the team under Laudrup is that they focussed too many of their attacks through the centre of the pitch meaning the wingers were seriously under utilised. The Swansea of old used the wide areas a lot more bringing the wingers, and full backs, into play and were great value for FPL managers because of that. If there’s any sign of that coming back into their game jump on Routledge, or Dyer, at these prices. The Jonjo Shelvey Award is being placed on his mantelpiece right now.
Ince (5.5m) – Decent debut!!! Welcome to the big league kiddo. 13 points from a goal, an assist and full BPs. I don’t see Palace scoring multiple goals again in the near future with a trip to Everton and a visit of Man Utd in the couple of weeks, so the potential for Ince to do this again is greatly diminished. That coupled with being awkwardly priced at 5.5m means he will have to keep warm on the watchlist for now.
Eto’o (8.3m) – That price… If it was a tad lower he’d be someone that could do a job for our FPL teams. It just doesn’t feel like good value as it is now… Eto’o’s creativity seems to be his main asset now he’s getting on a bit and is fitting Chelsea’s style nicely. He assisted two of their goals on the weekend with some deft touches in the penalty area on his way to 10 points. I wouldn’t hesitate in at least putting some thought into him, he’s definitely in their best XI for now.
Michael Carrick and Steven Davis were both stiff to miss out with 10 points each, although neither are fantasy relevant. Ledley was another Palace debutante that put in an excellent shift with 9. Stevie G continued his great form and Dyer was the other Swansea winger that scored high, both with 9. Man City and Chelsea defenders all scored well. And of the strikers who missed out; Bony, Long, Lambert and Adebayor all continued their recent form with 8’s.
Don’t forget the abnormal fixture weeks coming up. Basically, dump your Manchester players before their bye, and load up after! The good old dump and load. Unless of course you have good bench depth and can handle a donut or three. Be aware that Sunderland and West Brom also have a bye week so look at those players too and act accordingly. You really need to have started planning for these games, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking? Personally, I only have Mata so I’ll be looking at making sure I have cover for him and then perhaps putting a trade away to bring in some Man City players for their double game week.