Fantasy Football Gameweek 31 Review – FPL Premier League
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal
Goals: Eto’o, Schurrle, Hazard, Oscar (2), Salah
Assists: Schurrle, Matic (2), Torres
Bonus Points: Oscar (3), Matic (2) Schurrle (1)
Chelsea: In just an absolute flattening of Arsenal, Chelsea demonstrated what a title contender really looks like. Big teams step up in big moments and a quick glance at CFC’s record vs top 10 teams at home is a clear example of that. They finished 9-0 with 26 goals in favour and 5 against. They possess the 3 highest scoring FPL players in 3 different areas, forwards being the only blip. Considering their remaining schedule, 6 of 7 versus bottom 10 teams, any extra investment in defensive assets could well be justified. That is 10 clean sheets in the last 15 and they are currently topping EPL with 14 in total. Petr Cech and the boys had an easy day in the back as their opponent had trouble making it by the wall that Nemanja Matic and David Luiz had set up in front of them. There is not much too report on the defence as far as game action goes, except that the starting line-up looks set in stone and as usual they did the job again. It was a great day for the Chelsea midfield. Oscar finally woke up from a 10 game goalless drought in which he only averaged 2.5 PPG for his owners. The Brazilian’s brace was in addition to Andre Schurrle’s goal, assist and all around great game. Schurrle once again showed that when given the minutes he can be an explosive FPl player. He has scored double digits in 3 of his last 4 when given I least 60 minutes on the pitch. Eden Hazard was a bit overshadowed by some of his mates, nevertheless he still returned a goal as he reminded us how fun it is to own a penalty taker. Matic was arguably man-of-the-match, but from a FPL perspective he sits too deep in the mid and his pair of assists were his first of the season. Blues’ forwards grabbed a goal and assist between them, but considering their rotation and the fact that one of them is Fernando Torres they are still better left alone.
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger celebrated his 1000th game by taking the day off from managing. It was a disastrous display that can’t just be blamed on the players. It’s obvious that they lack the gravitas to compete in the big games, but much of that can be blamed on pre-game tactical/psychological preparation. Realize that Arsenal has now allowed half their goals in 3 away fixtures. 17 goals conceded vs City, Liverpool and Chelsea when they venture out from the friendly confines of the Emirates, speaks to their obvious shortcomings. Their defence was in shambles from the get go as Laurent Koscielny couldn’t keep Eto’o in his back pocket, like he apparently keeps everyone else, to stop him from curling in the first one. Gibbs was nowhere to be found on the second goal and then he magically appeared to handball a Hazard shot near the goal line while standing 5 yards away from said incident. After that he was made to disappear by the referee and he will soon reappear again when the FA rescinds his red card and suspends Ox instead – all a bit confusing. Per Mertesacker pretended to be a lighthouse, tall and stationary. Match reports show that Bacary Sagna was there, so I feel like I should mention that. The Arsenal mids were a complete disaster, I could write a whole article on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s day. I will however summarize it in this way, he had to be drunk!! After carefully analysing “The Adventures in Ox” we find Santiago Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky, who’s best contribution towards a goal was committing errors that directly led to Chelsea goals. Lukas Podolski started and played 23 minutes and was subbed off for tactical reasons when Gibbs was sent-off. Olivier Giroud played all 90 and was ineffective.
Cardiff City 3-6 Liverpool
Goals: Suarez (3), Skrtel (2), Sturridge, Mutch (2), Campbell
Assists: Suarez, Coutinho (2), Sturridge, Johnson, Skrtel, Campbell, Mutch, Jones
Bonus Points: Suarez (3), Skrtel (2), Mutch
Cardiff: They put a good 45 minutes in and then all the wheels fell off. Tied at halftime and a bit unlucky to not be up by 1, they simply got outclassed in the second half. Not much can be said for their defenders, one clean sheet in their last 16 is evidence enough. Conversely though I feel I should make special mention of Jordan Mutch, look you can do a lot worse than him as a fifth mid. His minutes can be trouble at times but he is great value, with a brace and an assist that is 3 double digit games for a 4.4mln priced mid. One can not ask much more for that money. Craig Noone (injured) and Pete Wittingham (who the hell knows?) did not partake. Frazier Campbell played well and notched a goal and an assist, his 9 point haul should now be followed by a bunch of 1 and 2 pointers if his track record is any indication.
Liverpool: Good to see Liverpool go back to Modus Operandi, as I was a bit confused when they kept a couple of clean sheets in the their previous two fixtures. They are what they are, a goal scoring machine with weaknesses in the back. Let us start this review with 1/3 of S&S&S. That’s right, there is an extra S in the goal scoring machine. Martin Skrtel wants in the party and his brace makes him joint top goal scorer for defenders with Seamus Coleman at 6. It is good thing he can score because he sure as heck can’t defend. Speaking of someone out of there element on defence, Jon Flanagan was exposed once again. Never a good thing when one thinks that Jose Enrique would be an upgrade defensively. Glen Johnson was seen occasionally accompanying his back line; his average position for the game was above the midfield line, which incidentally was higher than Joe Allen or Steven Gerrard. His few owners got rewarded with an assist on a beautifully constructed goal in which he was able to play the ball into Luis Suarez for the easy finish. Phillippe Coutinho added 2 assists, but any production and that of Raheem Sterling are mired in what Brendan Rodgers sees as a place where he can rotate. Gerrard had a tough day as he picked up his 9th yellow and now sits one from suspension and more importantly for managers he had no opportunities from 12 yards out which accounts for 8 of his 10 goals this season. Daniel Sturridge played very well and added a goal and an assist to his ever growing statistics. He continues to sit second in points and goals for forwards only behind the world-class Luis Suarez. Not sure where to begin when talking about the mad genius Suarez. Another hat trick for his personal collection and that makes it 13 double digit games in 25 starts this season. With a total of 255 points so far he is one Suarez type game away from surpassing RVP’s amazing total from two seasons ago of 269, in 1000 less minutes. Even if he scored a third of the goals he still be worthy of ownership just on his assists alone as he added another and upped his total to 21.
Everton 3-2 Swansea
Goals: Baines, Barkley, Lukaku, Bony & Williams.
Assists: Barkley, Mirallas (2), Rangel & Hernandez.
Bonus Points: Mirallas (3), Barkley (2), Rangel (2), Bony (2)
Everton: A lively performance from the Toffees saw them take the points but fantasy owners of Everton defenders will have been disappointed with some shoddy defending in this fixture that let slip valuable bonus points but Leighton Baines owners will have been delighted to see him back on the score sheet. Baines had put the Toffees ahead from the penalty spot after Chico Flores had brought down the ever impressive Ross Barkley. Everton Manager Roberto Martínez who was facing his old club will have been relieved to silence those Swans fans that have branded him “El Judas” since he left them and this win was Everton’s eighth successive victory at Goodison Park. Everton were poor in the first half but they were worth the entrance fee in the second. Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley sealed the win. Owners of Kevin Mirallas were finally rewarded with two assist and three bonus points.
Swansea: Have now not won against Everton in 19 previous meetings. The loss leaves the Welsh club just four points above the relegation zone and they face a hurting Arsenal side in London on Tuesday. Wilfried Bony was a constant threat to an unsure Everton defence who were again without the much missed Phil Jagielka. Saturday was only the second match in which Bony has scored in England – and the last time was across Stanley Park….Everton should snap him up quick! Pablo Hernandez was a constant threat with his creativity while Ashley Williams scored a late consolation, but it’s at the back that the Swans need to improve if they are to avoid the drop.
Hull City 2-0 West Brom
Goals: Rosenior & Long
Assists: Davies & Jelavic
Bonus points: Rosenior (3), Davies (2), Long (1) Foster (1)
Hull: Manager Steve Bruce was delighted with the performance and influence of Shane Long as his front man came to back to torment his former club, winning the penalty that led to the opener for Liam Rosenior after Jelavic had seen his spot kick saved and then firing home the second to secure a 2-0 win over struggling West Brom. The Republic of Ireland international had surprisingly been allowed to leave the Hawthorns in January but he helped earn a first home win for the Tigers in 2014 which has put eight points between themselves and the bottom three. Curtis Davies delivered another impressive performances in the Hull defence and coordinated his defence in neutralising the Albion threat despite the introduction of Baggies forwards Matej Vydra, Saido Berahino and Scott Sinclair in the final 20 minutes.
West Brom: We would simply advise you not to bother. They certainly don’t.
Man City 5-0 Fulham
Goals: Yaya Toure (3), Fernandinho, Demichelis
Assists: Nasri, Silva, Milner, Negredo & Jovetic
Bonus points: Yaya Touré (3), Demichelis (2), Fernandinho
Man City: This match was all about one player, the sublime tour de’ force that is Yaya Toure’. For those fantasy managers amongst us that still haven’t selected the Ivorian……………….get a grip or just throw in the towel! Toure’s game contribution, two penalties and a stunning 25 yard strike took his tally for the season to 20 goals, which takes his score to 186 fantasy points so far this season, 28 of them bonus ones, he is now Pellegrini’s favoured penalty taker and is currently on his best scoring season (having played less minutes!) in the FPL ever! Oh……….and he has two more double game weeks coming-up. Get the message, leave him out at your peril. Anyway back to the match report… City had created very little until the 25th minute when Alvaro Negredo broke into the penalty area and went to ground following a kick up the backside by Fernando Amorebieta With regular penalty taker Sergio Agüero absent through injury, Touré stepped up to score the opener. Amorebieta ensured the scoreline remained 1-0 at half-time with a header off the line from David Silva’s chipped effort before Aleksandar Kolarov struck the crossbar just before the interval. Fulham had their hopes of salvaging anything out of this game snuffed out on the 53rd minute following the dismissal of Amorebieta after he conceded his second penalty of the game with a foul on David Silva, which Yaya (no surprises) duly dispatched. On 65 minutes the best was to come from the Ivorian as he collected a well-worked free-kick and curled the ball into the top corner for another stunning goal. (it was now Yaya 3 Fulham 0!)Despite being without suspended captain Vincent Kompany City’s defence kept a clean sheet and recorded a victory that included two late goals from Fernandinho and Martin Demichelis (yes you read that right!).
Fulham: In a whole world of trouble – there is nothing you’d be interested in from a fantasy point of view, unless your captain is playing against them.
Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
Assists: Ben Arfa
Bonus points: Yanga-Mbiwa (3), Williamson (2), Coloccini (1), Dummett (1)
Newcastle: A frustrating afternoon for le Toon, turned to celebration deep into injury time as Papiss Cisse headed in a Ben Arfa cross. Cisse has missed a number of chances during the game with Moussa Sissoko being his main provider. The defence was solid again, low that’s not a big ask against Palace – to be honest investment in their defenders look the only realistic options for FPL managers, its no coincidence that when Fabricio Coloccini plays they are more secure – they have conceded just one goal in three games since the captain’s return.
Crystal Palace: A very typical Palace performance. Trying to keep it tight at the back, but offering little going forward – well organised, but struggle if they have to chase the game. Well, conceding so late meant that wasn’t an option on Saturday. Julian Speroni again made some goods saves and looks a decent keeper. The Eagles made a fist of it in the 2nd half and went close twice when Puncheon smashed an effort wide of the far post and Jerome saw another effort blocked by Yanga-Mbiwa. Yannick Bolasie hit the bar and also saw a couple of efforts go close, but with him there seems a load of potential but a lack of final product. It was heart-breaking for Palace who remain one place and three points above the bottom three.
Norwich 2-0 Sunderland
Goals: Snodgrass, Tettey
Bonus Points: Tettey (3), Snodgrass (2), Olsson (2)
Norwich: Once again very solid at the back with another clean sheet. Budget defenders could be an option here with bonus point potential as well, but make sure they rotate well when away from home as Norwich struggle on their travels – be aware the Canaries have a shocking last four fixtures. Owners of Snodgrass that got rid of him for the double (myself included) would be very disappointed as he came up with another goal as well as 2 bonus points. He is probably the only decent attacking potential from the Canaries. A cracker of a goal from Tettey saw him walk away with three bonus points but do not go rushing to get him in – this was his first and probably only goal of the season.
Sunderland: In a crucial game Sunderland did not produce the goods. Mannone came up with some more save points thanks to his defence that keep him busy. With Liverpool on the horizon one has to worry for Sunderland. Not very good attacking wise either with Johnson having a very quiet game. With all the positives of double game weeks coming up for the Black Cats, it does not seem like they would be good value for them anyway, however there is still time beforehand and with them becoming desperate perhaps they will come good. Take note that Marcos Alonso will not be enjoying the second part of this double game week as he received two yellow cards and is suspended.
West Ham 0-2 Manchester United
Goals: Rooney (2)
Bonus Points: Rooney (3), Buttner (2), Mata
West Ham: Not their best performance and we expected more from the Hammers at home. Their stubborn defence of a few weeks ago appears to have disappeared – the second goal was a gift from Mark Noble who cleared a cross into Rooney for him to score. There are prospects up front in the like of Carroll and Nolan who always combine well together and even Diame had a couple of chances but fantasy wise he is not an option. United were good and so not all is lost, expect points from West Ham players in the coming weeks.
Manchester United: With injuries to both RvP and Rio Ferdinand, Moyes had to change things up and he did so. With Vidic suspended we had a combination of Carrick and Fellaini partnering up with Jones at the back. I believe that RvP’s injury is actually a blessing for United as one could see the future of United in this one and it was not that bad. Kagawa finally got a game and interlinked well with Mata, the latter getting himself a bonus point as well. The star of the show in this one was obviously Rooney. With Beckham in the stands watching his old team, Rooney emulated his wonder goal when he caught Adrian off his line and smashed in a 50 yard volley. Not as great as the Beckham goal but it was still brilliant. He was then a tad fortunate for the second but did well to finish it thus getting a brace and the maximum bonus points.
Spurs 3-2 Southampton
Goals: Eriksen (2) Sigurdsson, Rodriguez, Lallana
Assists: Soldado, Eriksen, Boruc, Lambert
Bonus Points: Eriksen (3) Lallana (2) Rodriguez
Spurs: Started off with their usual Europa League hangover and had to play catch up early on. Very weak at the back, really would not consider any of their defenders. Adebayor was out injured and so Soldado started up front, I think it took him 30 minutes before his first touch so that says it all. He did get an assist however….somehow. The star of the show was Eriksen, once again choosing a DGW to throw us managers off. Two goals, an assist and three bonus points, it really as a good performance. Sigurdsson came up with the winner deep into stoppage time to keep alive any hopes of a top four finish.
Southampton: Made a really great start and so they would be disappointed with the finish. There was always going to be goals in this one and so the lack of clean sheet cannot be surprising. Boruc owners got the consolation of an assist for yet another Rodriguez goal and he really is turning out to be a great bargain buy. Lallana finally rewarded his owners after a handful of dry weeks, he came up with a good finish and a couple of bonus points. Lambert kept his tally ticking over with another assist. But the defence is a concern – that’s now eleven goals conceded in their last five games.
Aston Villa 1-4 Stoke
Goals: Benteke, Nzonzi, Crouch, Odemwingie, Cameron
Assists: Delph, Arnautovic (2) Pieters, Crouch
Bonus Points: Crouch (3) Benteke (2) Odemwingie, Delph
Villa: You beat Chelsea at home and then you concede four against Stoke the next week. That is pretty much how Aston Villa roll this season. Fabian Delph came up with another assist, he is a solid bargain midfield filler for your team. Benteke seems to be in the goals of late and hopefully is finding that scoring consistency. Other than that, you really do not want to invest in Villa for now.
Stoke: Scored three goals in successive games for the first time ever! Ok that may not be true but it certainly feels that way and Mark Hughes will be hugely satisfied with the football his team is playing of late. Peter Crouch has been in great form and produced a goal of his own and an assist. With the World Cup squad not finalised, he is throwing his name into the mix. Peter Odemwingie scored his third goal in the space of two games and is himself on a bit of a roll. With the visit of Hull next on the agenda, it looks like the Stoke goal scoring machine could be in for more fun!
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Gameweek 31 Review, this article was written by Eddy, Migs and Mito.