Weekend Wrap Up: Week 9

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

This was a great week for me overall, at least when it came to soccer.  As a huge Chelsea supporter, a 3-0 trashing of Schalke midweek and a 2-1 win over Manchester City this weekend was great, and my fantasy team ended up doing well, mainly because I captained Luis Suarez.  There has been a lot of talk about the captain rule and whether or not it’s based on “luck”.  An identical lineup that captained Suarez scored 30 points better this week than one that captained Ozil.  As someone who’s had relatively low success with captains outside of this week, all I can say is that I think over 38 weeks, the “luck” portion of the captain rule will likely cancel amongst fantasy managers.  At the same time, if it is indeed based on luck, why have it in the first place?  Does it give managers some extra hope when they’re behind by 50 points with two weeks to go?  Will it make the end of the season more interesting?  Is it worth making the end of the season a little more interesting by introducing a bit of luck into the game if that is indeed the case?  Many people will have different opinions and I don’t know if there really is a right answer to this question.  What are your thoughts on the rule?  Maybe Yahoo can have custom scoring in private leagues next season?

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Anyway, lets change the topic and look at what else happened this weekend:

Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Arsenal

This one wasn’t the easy win Arsenal expected.  It took a Mikel Arteta penalty to put them ahead and a late Olivier Giroud goal to secure the game after Crystal Palace fought back.  Arteta was sent off 20 minutes after scoring and that was enough to ruin his fantasy sheet.  Fantasy stars Ozil and Ramsey “only” had five points each, but they remain great options ahead.  Giroud was once again spectacular and he did enough to get 15 points and to keep Arsenal on top of the Premier League.

Aston Villa 0 – 2 Everton

The battle of the Belgians came out with a clear winner – Romelu Lukaku.  Lukaku’s goal secured Everton three points and gave the big man 18 fantasy points in another really impressive display.  Lukaku now seems to be in the best shape of his life and is playing the full 90 minutes, which means more opportunities for goals and points.  On the other side of the ball, all Christian Benteke did was miss a penalty.  He ended up with only two fantasy points, but I would suggest you get him in your fantasy squad now that his price has decreased.  Benteke is still a top striker and he won’t miss many more opportunities.

Liverpool 4 – 1 West Brom

There really isn’t much to talk about here other than SAS.  Luis Suarez’s hat trick and Daniel Sturridge’s fantastic goal were all that mattered in this game and that left many fantasy owners in a good mood.  Steven Gerrard was also good as he picked up an assist and seems to be one of the most consistent fantasy scorers.  There isn’t much going on at West Brom fantasy wise, so avoid for now.

Manchester United 3 – 2 Stoke City

Alex Fergusion might no longer be on the sidelines at Old Trafford, but Fergie Time apparently still exists.  Manchester United fought back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 with goals from Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.  Despite the win, Manchester United just didn’t look very sharp once again.  They currently sit in 8th place and if nothing chances, they are bound for a mid table finish.  On the bright side, Robin van Persie scored again and seems to be getting healthier and back into form, slowly becoming the force he was last year.

Norwich City 0 – 0 Cardiff City

Despite this being a 0-0 game, it sure had a crazy ending.  Leroy Fer received the ball from a throw-in after Alexander Tettey had received treatment for an injury.  Goalkeeper David Marshall was out of goal expected the ball to come his way when Fer just put the ball in back of the net.  Referee Michael Jones disallowed the goal but we don’t really know on what grounds and the call will be the topic of conversation this week.

Southampton 2 – 0 Fulham

Another game, another clean sheet for Southampton.  The Saints controlled the entire game and never really gave Fulham a chance.  Their possession style of play and good defense will go a long way in the Premier League.  They are now in fifth place and face Stoke City next week in what could be a very low scoring game so I’ll continue investing in their defense.  Fulham looked lost and Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent couldn’t get anything going in attack.  Those two will have to play better if Fulham want to remain in the Premier League this year.

Sunderland 2 – 1 Newcastle

In what was an unexpected result, Sunderland edged out Newcastle and earned their first win in the Premier League this year.  Jozy Altidore finally looked good and set up the late game winning goal.  Sunderland need performances like that one from their man up top if they hope to get out of the relegation zone.  On Newcastle’s side, Mathieu Debuchy scored his first goal of the season and continued his impressive fantasy year.   Hatem Ben Arfa provided the assist and also remains a decent fantasy option ahead.

Chelsea 2 – 1 Manchester City

Fernando Torres was the star of the weekend with his impressive performance against City.  Torres missed an easy 1v1 against Joe Hart early on but he responded well and created Chelsea’s first goal shortly after with a nice cross to Andre Schurrle.  Torres capitalized later on after a miscommunication between Hart and Matija Nastasic and gave Chelsea a 90th minute win.  The best part of Torres’ play was his work ethic and effort the entire game; he’s clearly Chelsea’s best striker right now and should get a lot more playing time than Samuel Eto’o.  The Manchester City goal came from Sergio Aguero, who has been scoring at a fantastic rate.  This was a huge win for Chelsea who are now 2nd behind only Arsenal while Manchester City drop down to 7th place. 

Swansea 0 – 0 West Ham

This was a game dominated by defense and without much else going on.  West Ham boss Sam Allardyce now seems to play without a striker on regular basis, but can you blame him with the squad he has?  Fantasy managers should be happy with Swansea’s clean sheet, especially those who invested in Neil Taylor at under 3.5million pounds.  Michu played an overall good game but ended with only four fantasy points, disappointing fantasy managers.

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Tottenham 1 – 0 Hull City

Another win that comes from a late Roberto Soldado penalty should have Tottenham fans worried.  They haven’t been too impressive as of late and many of their wins have come by a goal from the penalty spot.  That’s not a recipe for success in the Premier League and their new signings need to step up their game and create more chances for Soldado.  Hull City were unfortunate to not earn a point here as they defended well and deserved to draw.  Curtis Davies has looked impressive on the pitch and on the fantasy sheet and is worth a look when Sunderland come into town next weekend.

How did your team do?  Did your captain perform well and what are your thoughts on the captain rule now that we've seen it in action for 9 weeks?