Jerome is back with another monster gameweek review. Enjoy!
West Ham vs Spurs 2-3
This was an invigorating contest, keeping constant the fact that these London derbies usually are games to highlight on the calendar (as long as you rule out the derbies involving Crystal Palace for the time being).
There were very few chances in the opening 30 minutes or so, but then the game started to open up and Tottenham were the ones that took advantage, and to the delight of the 1.36 million managers who kept the faith with Kane despite other premium strikers actually scoring, Kane bagged a brace before half-time thanks to two Dele Alli assists (in FPL terms anyway). Even though the stats tell a different story, it was Eriksen who sparked both moves, sending Alli through the first time before he whipped in a simple cross for Kane to finish. The second goal started when the Danish man expertly lobbed the ball over his head to the on-running Jan Vertonghen who sent Alli through where his shot was saved and fell perfectly for an easy finish for Kane.
In spite of Kane’s double though, it looked like being another frustrating day for his owners. In the 24th minute the game presented its first real chance and it fell to the Englishman, a sizzling low cross from Aurier found its way to Kane at the back post only for him to muddle his own feet up and tap it wide. But who cares now, he scored twice and got his owners 13 points!
Jan Vertonghen was one man who impressed throughout the game with his renewed attacking intent. Davinson Sanchez’s berth at the centre of The Spurs defence has allowed him to go on some barnstorming runs forward. In the past few seasons he has been stuck in a centre-back partnership which hasn’t allowed him to do that, but now in this new role at left centre-back he has been given a license, but with the two wing-backs at equal or cheaper prices, it’s best to invest in them if you’re looking for a Spurs defender. Pocchetino has been rotating this season already between a partnership and a trio of centre backs.
Also, good news for many-a-FPL manager who held tight with another London-based striker – albeit a bit cheaper – with Chicharito getting on the score sheet after fears his relevancy was dying away, slowly, with his role now being out on the wings with Andy Carroll’s return, for however long he stays fit.
Serge Aurier’s red card and now, one-match ban, ignite the Hammers into attack mode, they sent waves of players forward for attack after attack after the Frenchman was sent off, eventually, one of the waves crashed into Hugh Lloris’ goal after Chieck Kouyate climbed over the Spurs defence and sent an unstoppable header over the sprawling Hugo Lloris. West Ham had their chances after (and before this) and arguably should have had a penalty after Andy Carroll was pushed in the back in his pursuit of an incoming cross. Nonetheless, Spurs took home the three points and will return to Wembley next week where they’ll have to settle for a draw (or a loss) against whoever they’re facing 😉.
Burnley vs Huddersfield 0-0
And now we present to you this weekend’s dire 0-0 game, the first half was as boring as any with only one real chance of note falling to Burnley’s front-man, Chris Wood, he seemed to misjudge a Stephen Ward cross and sent his headed-shot, wide. Ward almost found Wood again who would have been left with almost a tap in had it not been for Christopher Schindler who got in the way of the cross.
In the second half, it was Huddersfield who showed the most and looked the better side, both offensively and defensively, and they’re starting to convince me as the real deal in the Premier League, they’re not to be taken lightly. Tom Ince again looked the most dangerous of The Terrier’s front men, with Steven Mounie again absent through injury, Ince saw his shot from 25-yards go inches wide of the right post (why am I using British metrics). Earlier on in the second half, he sent Laurent Depoitre through who really should have done better with his shot, one would have thought that Mounie would have, Huddersfield do miss him.
Everton vs Bournemouth 2-1
After looking fairly solid in their opening three Premier League games, Everton began to crumble after the international break where they lost by an aggregate of 7-0 against Tottenham and Man United, and they looked like continuing their poor form in the first half.
Everton had most of the possession but failed to produce any clear-cut opportunities. Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a good opportunity to put Everton in front but sent his header wide of the far post. Wayne Rooney caught a stray elbow to the eye, courtesy of Simon Francis which left him with blood gushing from his eye-brow, this all happened in the box after the pair contested for a cross, it would’ve been a free-kick outside of the box, and I think it should have been a penalty, RoonDog was unfairly impeded following high contact, the referee dismissed it though. Bournemouth failed to produce anything of note in the first half with their limited possession.
Not even five minutes had passed in the second half before Josh King scored his first of the season after a clinical counter attack, putting Bournemouth ahead, after this the seemed to pick up some pace with both sides having clear-cut opportunities in the second half. Jermain Defoe had a golden opportunity to double the lead for The Cherries but his low shot was stopped in its tracks by Jordan Pickford’s outflung foot.
The saviour for Everton was one unexpected Oumar Niasse, a man who had been previously banished to the U23’s and also Hull on-loan last season, the man who didn’t even have a squad number just 12 months ago and who wasn’t even registered as a player on FPL up until moments after he scored his second (most importantly). Niasse came on for Rooney just before the hour mark and scored his first Premier League goal for Everton, following one mid-week in the Carabao Cup, he scored his second just five minutes later to put Everton one-goal up and earn them a much-needed victory. Calvert-Lewin missed a rather difficult effort from the edge of the six-yard box which would have sealed the deal for his team, but it wasn’t needed anyway, the youngster did look dangerous all game.
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace 5-0
This was a game of two halves for Crystal Palace. In the first half, they matched City and two great chances to score their first goal of the season, while in the second half they might as well have not turned up, it was an absolute domination in the second half from City, an open training session in front of 53, 000 adoring City (mostly) fans.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot from outside the box deflected ever-so slightly off of Nicolas Otamendi and then deflected again off the post, he looked the most likely, again, for Palace and had he had time to settle, he may have been able to bury a deflected cross in another opportunity, but it was not to be. Palace actually looked quite impressive in the first half, they frustrated City’s billionaire owners and the City attack and held them quiet for 43 minutes of the first half and it took some magic for City to break the deadlock. David Silva’s gorgeous dink over the Palace defence, followed by Leroy Sane’s exquisite first touch which found its way over Scott Dann’s head, was then squeezed through the legs of Wayne Hennessey by Sane himself, absolutely lovely bit of play.
The second half was just an onslaught from the men in sky-blue, an avalanche of City players went forward every time they got hold of the ball and they just looked like scoring at every opportunity. Leroy Sane set two of them up himself, to go with his goal, Sterling bagged a brace and Aguero got in on it with a goal and assist to go with a second David Silva assist who set up Fabian Delph who brilliantly curved it in, top bins. I think I said earlier on this season that after David Silva’s second assist and first price rise he wasn’t worth investing with there being other, ‘better’ options around his price, how wrong I was, four assists, four bonus-points and two double figure halls later and I look like a fool. Over the past couple of seasons, he has been a patchy player (in terms of FPL assists and goals), whereas before this he was a very reliable premium priced midfielder. Back then though, he was the main creator for City, but now with De Bruyne partnering him in midfield to go with Sane and Sterling on the flanks and the two wing-backs/full-backs, it remains to be seen whether or not he can consistently produce attacking returns, again. But if City keep scoring handfuls of goals like this each game, owning at least one of Silva or his team mates becomes a must.
United (A) and City (H) are Palace’s next two fixtures, a daunting task considering how freely both teams have been scoring this season as well with their £75 million and £58 million forwards leading their attacks. If they perform how they did in the first half against City, they could only lose 2-0, but if they perform like they do in the second half, they’ll be facing consecutive 5-0 defeats.
Southampton vs Man United 0-1
United turned out winners despite almost playing second fiddle to Southampton this game who, in the second half especially, came close to scoring on multiple occasions. But United’s attack won’t be held at the moment, when you’ve got someone as lethal as Romelu Lukaku leading the lines who is being fed by Mkhitariyan and Juan Mata, you really should be scoring each game, Marcus Rashford isn’t that bad either!
For the eighth straight game (for club and country), Lukaku found his name on the scoresheet, after missing a header from six-yards out, he smashed home the rebound, scoring the only goal of the game. Just can’t wait to see what happens if Ibra and Lukaku pair up later on in the season, United’s attack will be – on paper – unstoppable. Lukaku had an opportunity to score his second of the game later on when he was sent through by Mkhi, but his shot was aimed right at Forster’s feet.
United’s defence also hung on, I say ‘hung on’ as it was the first time this season that United’s opponents had more shots than them for the game. Southampton had their opportunities and really should have equalised through Oriol Romeu, who sent two shots, within 10 yards of the goal wide. Interestingly, Shane Long started again for Southampton’s attack, with Gabbiadini and Austin both on the bench, I wouldn’t touch any of them with a 10-foot pole, they’ve scored four times this season, with only one of those in open play, it’s been a very disappointing return to say the least.
Stoke vs Chelsea 0-4
The score line suggests it was a complete domination from Chelsea, and it was, Stoke’s defence was ravaged by injury and by the omission of Kurt Zouma who couldn’t face his parent club and Chelsea took advantage of it, namely, Morata. The Spaniard ended with his first hat-trick for his new club and honestly could have had more, he has taken no time to settle in and those that started with him would be sleeping well going into each game-week with him as their striker – most game-weeks anyway.
This game would have been a completely different story if Stoke had their full defence at hand, every goal came as a result of poor defending or a defensive error, but credit to Chelsea and Morata who took advantage of this. Chelsea’s next 12 or so fixtures are all against bottom-half of the table sides bar games against City, United and Liverpool, with Hazard on his way back, Morata on absolute fire and Alonso a constant threat, their options are looking tasty but all three mentioned are in the most expensive bracket of their respective positions.
Stoke got forward quite regularly and were plenty in number which seemingly left them open to many a counter attack from Chelsea which is where they conceded all their goals, this was seemingly a game plan which attempted to counteract their defensive woes but it failed miserably. Zouma will come straight back in while Shawcross and Wimmer are a chance to return, which will see Stoke return to their natural style of play next week, so don’t fret if you own any of their assets, their fixtures start to clear up starting this week (excluding next week’s journey to the Etihad). It remains to be seen whether or not summer signing Kevin Wimmer will start regularly when all their defensive options are fit, but if he does, at 4.4m, he certainly becomes a rotation option or benchwarmer.
Hold tight with their cheap attacking options as well, none of the other cheaper midfielders are screaming “pick me” either (considering form AND fixtures).
Swansea vs Watford 1-2
Richarlison’s last minute effort won Watford the three points, which they deserved as they seemed the better side throughout the match but it wasn’t without any problems. The quality from both sides was lacking, especially Swansea as they ended up as their own worst enemy this game with both goals coming from simple errors.
Bony earnt his first start for Swansea and was fairly unconvincing throughout, and it was his wayward back pass into his own half ignited a Watford counter where they flew forward, a low, deflected cross found its way into Andre Gray’s path who was able to rattle home his first Watford goal from close range. It wasn’t Gray’s only good opportunity, and he looked better than he has this season after a disappointing start to his tenure at Vicarage Road, but Watford have horrid fixtures so just sit and watch for now, that goes for all Watford’s assets.
Abraham was relegated to the bench for the first time this season with Bony earning his first start, when Abraham came on, the Bony-Tammy pairing seemed to work well, Bony looked better and along with Abraham’s pace and presence, they troubled the Watford defence. It will be interesting to see what happens with all three of these strikers as a case can be made for all of them, with Ayew’s defensive pressure up forward imperative to The Swans’ game plan, along with Renato Sanches, Swansea have built good looing attack on paper but Sanches has been very off while Bony hasn’t seemed his old self without appearing out of place since returning to Swansea’s ranks. Their fixtures are a bit iffy, all four of their next opponents like to score while two of them will be tough to break down (Huddersfield & Arsenal), in saying that, all Swansea players come in at a cheap price, if you’ve got them – hold, if not, don’t rush to bring them in.
Leicester vs Liverpool 2-3
This was always going to be a highly entertaining game with both teams relying on their forwards to get them points this season as their defences continue to crumble, notably Liverpool’s – they looked horrendous today, just after they looked like they were beginning to form a real defence. Some big names got involved in this game while other big names couldn’t get amongst it.
Mo Salah is taking full advantage of his second chance in the Premier League, he scored his fourth goal for the season and really should have opened his account for this game earlier after he sent the ball wide of an almost gaping goal with Schmeichel laid out on the ground after trying to reach an Emre Can shot. His goal was set up by an absolutely gorgeous cross from Coutinho from the left side, he still had to squeeze his header home, but my goodness, what a cross! Just eight minutes later, Coutinho’s quality was on display once again and the Scousers would do well to applaud Jurgen Klopp’s stubbornness regarding the Brazilian’s desire to leave the club, his free-kick was arguable, un-saveable, and he looks like very good value at 8.8m, a bargain. Firmino was anonymous for Liverpool but very nearly did score late in the second half, but other than that his attacking counterparts overshadowed him as he and Daniel Sturridge with him, struggled to get in the game.
Jamie Vardy found his name on the scoresheet again and he is looking deadly once again this season and only sits eight points overall behind Lukaku who is over 3m more than him. He had the chance to level the game at 3-3 in the 73rd minute and make for a very interesting finish, but he couldn’t convert his penalty as he once again barely strayed from the centre with his shot. His highly predictable penalties are becoming a problem for Leicester and it makes you wonder whether or not he’ll keep them as this becomes his second missed penalty this season. Riyad Mahrez took seven of the eight (Islam Silami took the other) last season and scored five of them, if Mahrez is allocated penalties in the future, his value skyrockets, he’ll be able to add penalties to his locker which already has free-kicks in it and at 8.5m he would be yet another premium midfielder option.
Brighton vs Newcastle 1-0
This was a game full of chances and some sub-par defending, a classic lower table clash. Tomer Hemed was the one who broke the deadlock early on in the second half which ended up, ultimately, being the winner. Hemed had several other chances in the game to get on the ball and have a shot but he seemed to lack that killer striker instinct but he did his job this game.
It was a game which Newcastle should have won and based on form, many would have backed The Toon in to win a fixture which they won twice last season in the Championship. It was a tale of missed opportunities in the end for Newcastle, they had 17 shots, 10 more than their opponent, with all but one of their outfield players (including the substitutes) registering a shot, but only five were on target and they truly failed to test Matthew Ryan out in the Brighton goal. No individual looked like being the game winner for them, but all of them had their opportunities which they squandered, Matt Ritchie wasn’t as influential as he has been previously, while Joselu has struggled in front of goal, despite nailing down a spot in the starting XI. Newcastle have an interesting set of fixtures where they face two struggling defences in Liverpool and Crystal Palace at home which are both paired with away tough away trips to stingy defences in Southampton and Burnley respectively. It would be best advised to avoid bringing in any Newcastle players as they face their first real testing run of fixtures since being promoted to the Premier League.
Brighton weren’t pushed aside either and went forward on multiple occasions, but their seven shots tell the story, they just weren’t able to trouble Rob Elliott enough (apart from the goal where he couldn’t do much) but they still had their opportunities to do so but just couldn’t get to the ball at the telling moments, continuing their struggles in front of goal this season. Their next two fixtures will trouble their defence and they might find it tough to breakdown their opponents defences as well, after this their fixtures do clear up a little bit, but based on the evidence we’ve been given so far, their defence isn’t worth the investment while their offence is lacking.
Arsenal vs West Brom 2-0
The last game of the round was one filled with chances and was rather controversial, Arsenal were given a 50/50 penalty while West Brom were arguably robbed of a certain penalty when it was still 1-0. Lacazette was the man for Arsenal and he scored at home yet again, scoring at home in each game this season and he faces Brighton at the Emirates next week and therefore becomes a captaincy option.
Jay Rodriguez did almost everything but score in the first half for West Brom, he was brought down in the box and should have been given a penalty and got so close to scoring multiple times before and after the incident but just couldn’t make it work. He is now at a much discounted 5.8m but the Baggies have a testing two months of fixtures ahead and he could get even cheaper. With their fixtures in mind, if you haven’t ridden yourself of their options, maybe wait until they battle it against Watford at home this week and then it might be the right time to let them go.
Sanchez made just his second start this season in a front three along with Lacazette and Ramsey, and he didn’t seem to be at the peak of his powers in open play just yet, but his free-kicks were incredible. He came close to scoring three times, with one of those attempts rebounding off the bar where Lazazette was able to tap it home. Aaron Ramsey started on the right wing this game as a result of the continued absence of Mesut Ozil (who did make a seven minute appearance towards the end of the game) and the Englishman showed a fair bit but I think he is at his threatening best when he’s allowed to run down the centre of the pitch in midfield. Lacazette’s brace creates a headache for FPL managers looking to invest in a premium striker as he joins the other options who enjoyed double figure halls this week.
Arsenal’s defenders are able to gloat about registering their third consecutive clean sheet this week, but it didn’t come without their problems. They were broken down on multiple counter attacks and if it wasn’t for a goal line clearance and the rejection of a somewhat obvious penalty, they would have conceded. They face Brighton and Watford in the next two game weeks but they then face a challenging month of fixtures where their game against Swansea (H) is intertwined with games against Everton (A), City (A) and Spurs (H) which will test them. They’ve only won one of their last six meetings against the Toffees and City and just two of their last six against Tottenham, interesting.
Well, that wraps it up for yet another frustrating game-week, it was high scoring and if you had an expensive forward line you would have thoroughly enjoyed. Now it’s time to gear-up for game-week 7 before another international break… Enjoy it while you can!