Weekend Wrap Up: Week 6

Galin Dragiev
Neal Thurman examines on the Luis Suarez situation and how Liverpool should react to get the most out of a troubled but still valuable asset

What next for Liverpool?

Neal Thurman examines on the Luis Suarez situation and how Liverpool should react to get the most out of a troubled but still valuable asset

This weekend was highlighted by a big game at White Hart Late where Tottenham welcomed Chelsea for a 1 – 1 draw and by huge upsets for both Manchester clubs.  Let’s take a look at what happened in each game and discuss the biggest fantasy performers of the week.

Tottenham 1 – 1 Chelsea

The teams were evenly matched and shared a half of dominance each.  Tottenham controlled the game in the first half and got a nice goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson to put them on top.  At halftime, Jose Mourinho changed his tactics and introduced Juan Mata into the game.  Chelsea looked like a new team in the second half and deservedly got an equalizer from John Terry.  Fernando Torres received a late second yellow and was sent off but many Chelsea fans will be unhappy about that call.  Fantasy wise, Chelsea is still a tough team to predict.  We never know who will start for the Blues and that reduces everyone’s value, especially in midfield.  John Terry seems to have secured a place in the back and I expect him to start most games for the rest of the season with an occasional rest day.  Tottenham are easier to predict and certainly have good contributors in Paulinho and Sigurdsson among others.

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Aston Villa 3 – 2 Manchester City

Manchester City came into this game as the favorites and they were able to dominate the majority of the game.  Despite dominating Aston Villa, they failed to finish the game strong and surrendered a 2-1 lead.  Yaya Toure was City’s best player and scored the first goal of the game right before halftime; he remains City’s best fantasy option in my opinion.  For Villa, Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann were most impressive.  Bacuna equalized to 2-2 and Weimann was able to beat Joe Hart to give Aston Villa a 3-2 win.  This is a great result for Aston Villa as they’ve climbed to ninth place and won three difficult points without Benteke. For City, this is cause of concern, as they continue struggling away from home and losing points in games they should be winning.  They’ve had this problem for a few years now and it seems the problem is a lack of discipline rather than a lack of talent.

Fulham 1 – 2 Cardiff City

Fulham must have been excited for this game.  They just came off a 2-1 win in the Capital One Cup over Everton, they welcomed back Berbatov, and they had a relatively easy matchup at home.  None of those helped as Fulham couldn’t earn any points at Craven Cottage.  They are now in the relegation zone and it doesn’t look good for Fulham fans unless something changes quickly.  Cardiff looked better, despite being away.  Both teams dominated parts of the second half but it was Cardiff who ultimately came away with the win on a fantastic Jordon Mutch goal.  There aren’t many fantasy implications here, avoid these teams for now.

Hull City 1 – 0 West Ham

This looked like a low scoring affair the whole time and it ended up as a 1-0 win decided on a penalty.  Robbie Brady went down on a Joey O’Brien challenge in the 12th minute and the referee pointed to the spot.  Brady put the penalty away and gave Hull City the 1-0 lead that they kept for the rest of the game.  The Tigers are now 7th in the Premier League and are exceeding expectation for the season.  Despite that, the only fantasy player I could trust on their team is Robbie Brady.  On the other side of the ball West Ham once again failed to look dangerous without Andy Carroll and Sam Allardyce must be dying to have him back.  They’re in 16th place and will be under a lot of pressure to perform better after a promising 10th place finish last season.

Manchester United 1 – 2 West Brom

This was the other big shock of the weekend.  West Brom surprised Manchester United with an early second half goal from a nice solo run by Morgan Amalfitano.  United answered back quickly with a free kick goal from Wayne Rooney and then continued to press in an attempt to get the lead.  Robin van Persie entered the game and seemed to give them a spark, but eventually it was West Brom that got the go ahead goal from Saido Berahino.  West Brom were able to hang on from there and win three points at Old Trafford.  This is extremely bad news for David Moyes.  Manchester United only have seven points from the first six games and are currently in 12th place, possibly dropping down even more after the weekend’s game are done.  A year after winning the Premier League by a margin and without any major roster changes, Manchester are failing to compete and the blame will certainly fall on Moyes.  He is on the hot seat now and things must change quickly if he wants to keep his job.

Southampton 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

During the summer and early in the season, some Southampton coaches and players kept mentioning that they are good enough to fight for a top four stop.  Many, including myself, disregarded their claims and said they might, if lucky, get a top eight stop.  The Saints are proving that they weren’t kidding.  Southampton is now in fifth place in the Premier League and haven’t even found their scoring touch yet.  They haven’t been able to capitalize on many of their chances so far this season but today they moved in the right direction as Rickie Lambert and Dani Osvaldo both found the back of the net.  Last week, they proved they can win difficult games on the road against Liverpool.  The big clubs need to pay attention to Southampton, because they’re here to compete.

Crystal Palace are in the relegation zone and their players are fantasy irrelevant.

Swansea 1 – 2 Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey is the man.  He’s in the form of his life right now and the midfielder scored and assisted today to help Arsenal win three valuable away points.  He was the third best fantasy player before the start of this week and he will certainly be among the top after this game.  Keep using him in fantasy lineups until something changes.  Arsenal are now top of the table after mistakes from the other top teams. Swansea didn’t have as good of a game.  They have now played Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Arsenal in their first six games of the season – certainly a tough schedule.  They sit in 13th place but they are better than their position implies and will certainly improve as their schedule gets better.

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Sunderland 1 – 3 Liverpool

Today is the day many Liverpool fans have been waiting for as Luiz Suarez returned from suspension.  Suarez lived up to the hype and scored two goals to help Liverpool win 3 – 1.  Daniel Sturridge assisted both Suarez goals and scored one himself.  Both players should be top class fantasy choices going forward and I would recommend you use them often.  Liverpool will be competing for the title and the Suarez-Sturridge combo will be in the forefront of that fight.  Sunderland is not as fortunate and find themselves in last place and without a permanent coach. Their goal came from Emanuele Giaccherini, who has had some very good fantasy weeks but has also been inconsistent.  Avoid Sunderland’s players.

Stoke City 0 – 1 Norwich

This was a game from two potential relegation candidates.  The bad news for these teams is that they’re now with seven points a piece, only three away from the relegation zone.  The good news is that they’re tied in points with Manchester United and that has to count for something.  Stoke were disappointing at home and let Norwich outplay them for a majority of the game, which was surprising considering Norwich hadn’t scored an away goal so far this season.  The Potters were in fine form before this game and can’t afford to lose points at home against opposition of this caliber.  Expect more surprises from these two teams.

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