It seems most of us enjoyed a fairly profitable week with a lot of the likely types getting amongst the points. Aguero was by far the star, with other popular picks Bainesy, Sanchez and Siggy getting involved. Those that jumped on Newcastle’s turn of form would be happy, although not with Taylor’s no show…
* Yay for Kun *
Horizon. Let’s kick this off with some forward planning. As we should all know by now, we need to be looking 4-6 weeks ahead throughout the season to ensure our trades have the best chance of succeeding. The next 4-6 has a few curve balls that we need to be aware of… Let’s call it a warm up for the Christmas silly season where it gets a bit wild. First up we have another international week so take some time off, reconnect with your loved ones, maybe have a shower and a shave… That’s very quickly followed by 3 games in a week with most games on Saturday 29th November, then the next Tuesday 2nd December and finishing off on Saturday 6th December. Make sure you’re aware during this time. Trades, rotation and travel all need to be considered. Looking at teams in particular, Southampton have a horror run. Some of us here at FPLaddicts have raised concerns over the longevity of their form, this period may prove their undoing. Man City, Arsenal and United are nearly as hard as it comes and it may highlight the reasonably easy run they’ve had so far. On the flip side, Liverpool and Swansea look great. Swansea in particular. The first two games of the run are at home, against Palace and QPR. Don’t underestimate the positives of preparing at home during short turn around times between games. Then they have the leaky West Ham away… Liverpool have a great opportunity to turn it all around with Stoke, Leicester and Sunderland, with 2 of 3 at home. Don’t chase or avoid these teams, but if you’re struggling choosing between a few players this has to be a big factor.
Credit. Where credit’s due. Nacer Chadli is having a season to remember so far. I’ve been his harshest critic this season with the stance that he won’t sustain this form, but he keeps popping them away. Maybe I’m stubborn (ha maybe) but I still stand by that stance. Siggy is a much better option at this price… All Chadli needs is for his teammates to lift their game to the level they get paid to play at and he’ll drop off. Secondary credit goes to Harry Kane. Not the most techincally gifted striker going around but gives it his all, Adebayor could learn a lot. He got his first start in for the season in the EPL, and although didn’t trouble the scorers he should be on our radars based on what he has been able to do in the Europa League. He’s the opposite of Chadli, if his teammates lift he could get a whole heap more chances and becomes awesome value. Spurs as a whole get no credit whatsoever. Shambles.
Charles Austin. This guy is living. THE. DREAM. All of us who have had any sort of sporting “career” can fondly recall a brief period where we were at the absolute top of our game. Whether it be in a local indoor cricket team, a round of golf, even a night of poker with the lads! It might’ve been a minute, or a month, but we hold onto it and will do forever. The tale will be told for many a year after a few frothies… What do you reckon Charlie Austin is going through right now? Four years ago he was knocking around semi-pro leagues putting a few goals away in front of basically nobody. Today, he’s dominating last years champions and in a run of performances that will sit well with him when he’s 80 years old. His latest showing of a goal and 2 others ruled out show a man very much at the top of his game, and for a team crying out for someone to stand up and save them. It’s a run of 4 from 3, 5 from 6. His last 2 were against City, and Chelsea prior to that. He’s developing a great resume, but it is very early and at the risk of being the voice of reason he does play for an ordinary team. They have improved recently, but have a very up and down run coming up so be careful jumping on Charlie’s dream.
Honourable mentions. Burnley’s first win. Newcastle’s run. Baines is on a higher level than “must have”. Bojan lives. Bayswater Toffees 21st in A League RDT! With a donut ha!
* He’s back in the Italy squad. For some reason… *
Form swings. It was only a couple of weeks ago I was lavishing praise on the unprecedented form of EPL strikers. Well, that has ended… Ulloa hasn’t scored in 6. Naismith in 4. Welbeck, Pelle haven’t scored in 3. Berahino, Lukaku and Rooney 2. That’s over half of the top 10 owned strikers firing blanks. And, all of them bar 2 are midpricers. Find a way to upgrade those cheapies to the more expensive Aguero’s and Costa’s… You don’t just pay for points, you pay for consistency.
Leicester. Do you remember them beating United 5-3? Yeah I seem to recall something like that happening… Unfortunately, it may have given them ambitions of adequacy as in the 6 games since they’ve only picked up 1 point, and that was against the equally horrible Burnley. Note, the previous point regarding out of form strikers? Ulloa hasn’t scored in 6, Leicester haven’t won in 6… Their other strikers are worse. Nugent has shown he’s not up to this grade at all (take a hint all Championship clubs), Vardy must have made a deal with the devil for that United game. Or the opposite? Whatever. They don’t have anyone else that even registers a blip on our radars and I don’t think opposition teams need to do much research on them before games… If it’s going to happen at all, it will need to be in the next couple with winnable “6 pointers” against Sunderland and QPR. Lose them and they join Burnley on the scrap heap.
Arsenal. Sorry Gunners. I don’t like you this week and am giving you a slap. The word “naive” has been bandied about but you could easily throw in “arrogant”, maybe “defensively lazy”, “dumb” even? Or maybe, just maybe, they just aren’t good enough… In the space of just a few days they throw away a 3-0 lead in the Champions League to draw against Anderlecht, and then chuck in a 1-0 to Swansea and lose. There has to come a time in games where you need to sit back, soak up some pressure and defend a lead… It’s not a sacrifice of footballing philosophy, it’s reality. That said, they do have big problems down back. It started mid last season when they looked like champions and fell away. It got worse in the offseason when they sold Vermaelen. They can kiss the title goodbye and seriously need to get quality bodies in during the January window to keep up. A central defender and a defensively minded midfielder is what’s needed, but you know what? We’ve all known that for at least a year…
Honourable mentions. Europa League. United’s “defence”, where’s ADM? Hull concerning. I’m giving City one more game…
Ryan Bennett Award – Kieran Trippier. The biggest winner of Burnley’s first win was this fella. He smashed it in the Championship last season but has found the going a tad tougher with the big boys. They’ve been fairly poor defensively the past 6 weeks or so, I wouldn’t base too much on one game. No.
Jonjo Shelvey Award – Emre Can. Scored a massively deflected goal. Can’t get regular minutes. Plays for Liverpool. Need any more reasons to avoid him?
Jamie Vardy Award – Shane Long. I’m an unadulterated fan of Long… It’s just he’s competing for minutes with likes of Pelle, Tadic and Mane and will probably fulfill the role of supersub on more occasions than you’d like. He came on for the final 20 minutes or so and got off the mark with a double to save Southamton’s blushes… No.
Last word. Keep track of player’s prices during the week… Please. There’ll come a time in a few months where you’ll be looking to make that awesome trade, only to be stuck 0.1 short. Then, you’ll think back to that trade you held off on earlier in the season that cost you 0.1, or more, than it should’ve because you didn’t pull the trigger on Saturday night. It’s ALWAYS a risk, but sometimes you just have to take that risk for that future trade…