Here is a review of this weekend’s games and some quick fantasy developments.
Newcastle 2 – 2 Liverpool
Liverpool had to come back twice in this game and only came out with a draw despite playing a man up for more than 45 minutes after Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was dismissed in the 40th minute. The news here was that Steven Gerrard scored his 100th Premier League goal, which came from the penalty spot. In terms of fantasy, SAS didn’t disappoint. Daniel Sturridge was the one with the goal but Luis Suarez was the winner in terms of fantasy points with 19 over Sturridge’s 10. Both are great options ahead, but Suarez is the kind of player that can get more points without scoring goals, so I may be putting him in my lineup instead of Sturridge from now on.
Arsenal 4 – 1 Norwich City
Arsenal were in control the entire game and came out with the 4-1 win in comfortable fashion. Aaron Ramsey started on the bench but came on a little before halftime and was as impressive as he’s been all season with an assist and a great solo goal. There shouldn’t be any issues with him going forward. Mesut Ozil scored his first two goals in the Premier League and was just as impressive as Ramsey. Giroud didn’t disappoint fantasy owners either, as he registered 2 assists and ended up with 15 points. It was an overall beautiful and lethal attacking display from Arsenal and their fantasy prowess should continue. I will be using multiple Arsenal players next week. Norwich City was bad on the road once again and should be avoided in the future, especially when travelling.
Chelsea 4 – 1 Cardiff City
Chelsea went down 1-0 early on after Jordan Mutch capitalized on a horrible David Luiz mistake. That wasn’t Luiz’s only mistake on the night and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s benched next game. The game changed quickly after that with a controversial Eden Hazard goal. Samuel Eto’o stole the ball as goalkeeper David Marshall bounced it and Hazard was there to finish. From then on, Chelsea dominated the game. Hazard had another goal and a beautiful assist to Samuel Eto’o, who scored his first Premier League goal. Obviously, there were many great fantasy contributors from Chelsea and there would have been more had it not been for the David Luiz mistake that resulted in Chelsea losing the clean sheet. The only problem with Chelsea players is the fact that Mourinho shuffles his lineup and we never know who’ll get the start. The perfect example was Oscar, who has been a regular but was left out of the starting lineup today. Thankfully for fantasy owners, Oscar scored a goal once he came off the bench.
Everton 2 – 1 Hull City
Everton earned three points at home on a Steven Pienaar game winning goal in the second half. Robbie Brady returned for Hull City but didn’t provide enough to give his team any points. The disappointed here for fantasy managers is that Leighton Baines only produced one fantasy point after getting a late yellow card for simulation. I’ll take this opportunity to give my opinion on Baines. I think he’s a good, consistent fantasy player, but I don’t feel comfortable spending 22 million pounds on a defender whose team is not elite in keeping clean sheets. Baines leads defenders in points but there are many options right behind him at around half the price. Choose those and spend the extra cash on elite strikers/midfielders (like SAS).
Manchester United 1 – 1 Southampton
Manchester United really needed three points at home but Southampton pulled off a late goal to earn a point at Old Trafford. The Saints are now in sixth place but should consider a point away at Old Trafford a success. Manchester created some chances through Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but ultimately the Saints were able to control the game through possession. David Moyes has to find ways to create chances through midfield and try to get Valencia and Ashley Young more involved. Barely beating last place Sunderland last week and only earning a point at home against Southampton, Moyes’ seat is warming up. Eight place for Manchester Untied is not acceptable.
Swansea City 4 – 0 Sunderland
Swansea showed that they’re better than their place in the table with a dominant display over last place Sunderland. Sunderland are a mess right now and are to be avoided in fantasy. They can do more harm than good as shown by the two own goals on the day, but what can you expect from a team that has one point through eight games? This was a good confidence booster for Swansea and they should improve as their schedule gets much easier in the next month. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to start Michu or Wilfred Bony for three of four games in a row. Consider it a high risk, high reward move.
Stoke City 0 – 0 West Bromwich Albion
Both teams created chances here but couldn’t win the three points. The controversy was a lack of a penalty when Youssouf Mulumbu was tripped in the box by Charlie Adam. The man of the match award goes to Asmir Begovic, who came up with several excellent saves to keep a clean sheet. Stoke City have played well defensively at home and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use some of their defenders or goalkeeper in favorable home match ups. West Brom have been playing better after a rough start and should consider winning a point on the road another success.
West Ham 1 – 3 Manchester City
This was the Sergio Aguero show as the striker scored twice and set up the third to win Manchester City the three points. It’s the same old story for West Ham, who they continue struggling offensively. It didn’t help that their defense was weaker than usual in front of the home crowd. It will be interesting to see if Carlton Cole can give them any sort of change in attack once he is match fit. On the Manchester side, Aguero was the obvious fantasy winner but David Silva also did well with a goal to his name. Yaya Toure finally cooled off but still came up with five points and will continue being a good option.
Aston Villa 0 – 2 Tottenham
The anticipated return of Christian Benteke didn’t come until about an hour into the game as Benteke replaced Libor Kozak up top. The reason for Benteke coming off the bench is obviously a fitness/injury issue and you can expect Benteke to start next week after a full week of practice. He becomes an automatic fantasy starter. On Tottenham’s side, Andros Townsend was the most dangerous player and capped his performance with a goal. He can be an interesting fantasy option in the future if he continues playing this well. Roberto Soldado scored the other Tottenham goal and his first from open play but I am still not sold on him as a fantasy option. There are many better strikers to choose from that will give you more consistent points.
How did you team do this week? Did you have any luck with choosing a captain?