This weekend featured some very interesting matchups. We had the pleasure of watching Arsenal – Tottenham and Liverpool – Manchester United, along with some other close games. We’ll take a quick look at what happened this weekend and touch up on some fantasy implications.
Manchester City 2 – 0 Hull City
Manchester City defeated Hull 2-0 but the game could have gone either way. Hull played with a lot of energy and had a few close calls, including a disallowed goal due to an offside. The goals were scored by Alvaro Negredo, who came off the bench at halftime, and Yaya Toure. Edin Dzeko started up top for City, with David Silva and Sergio Aguero supporting him. It seems there still isn’t a clear cut starting eleven for Manchester City and it’s risky choosing some of their attacking players. Dzeko only played the first half and ended up with zero points, while David Silva ended up with two.
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Cardiff 0 – 0 Everton
Everton played well and dominated the majority of the game, but they couldn’t find the back of net. This was Everton’s third tie in three games this season and this is not very good news for Everton fans, as they’ve played relatively weak opponents in Norwich, West Brom, and now Cardiff. The concern for them is that they can’t find a way to score goals, which has resulted in two consecutive 0-0 draws. On the bright side, Leighton Baines is still a good fantasy option and he has 34 points in the first three games, but his price makes him a difficult option to own. Cardiff on the other hand have four points from their first three games, including a really impressive win over Manchester City last weekend. They seem to have enough talent to remain in the Premier League but so far there aren’t any clear cut fantasy studs.
Newcastle 1 – 0 Fulham
Newcastle won the game on an absolutely brilliant goal from Hatem Ben Ben Arfa. Ben Arfa’s 86th minute strike was enough for the win, but the game looked like a 0-0 draw until then. Fulham was outplayed for the majority of the game, but neither side created a ton of chances. Newcastle clearly lack a striker and should be in the market for one before the transfer deadline. Fantasy wise, Mathieu Debuchy has been a very good option so far in the Newcastle defense, but be careful with using him against better opponents, as Newcastle won’t be able to keep clean sheets every week and that’s been a big source of his points. Avoid Fulham’s players for fantasy purposes, no one has been able to contribute significant points so far.
Norwich 1 – 0 Southampton
This game was more entertaining than the score shows. The goal came from youngster Nathan Redmond but both teams created chances and played well. Southampton struggled to finish their chances, a problem they also had against Sunderland last week. New signing Dani Osvaldo missed a chance and Adam Lallana had a shot come off the post as the Saints struggled to score. It seems the Saints are lacking luck rather than skill and should be fine going forward, especially considering they have proven goal scorers in Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert. Lambert got 0 points this week starting next to Osvaldo, and it is interesting to see whether he can continue getting his usual amount of touches and shots on goal with Osvaldo in the mix.
West Ham 0 – 1 Stoke City
West Ham is usually fairly solid at home, but this time a late free kick from Jermaine Pennant was enough to give Stoke the win. West Ham’s problem has been on offense rather than defense, as the absence of Andy Carroll has been a big problem and West Ham have struggled to score goals. Andy Carroll should be back next week against the Saints and that could change the team’s look dramatically. The defense has been good and the Hammers have only conceded one goal in their first three games in the Premier League this season, so don’t be afraid to use some of their defenders in fantasy. Stoke also has some well performing defenders, so don’t be afraid to pick up Shawcross, Wilson, or keeper Begovic when the matchup is right.
Crystal Palace 3 – 1 Sunderland
Crystal Palace scored three goals through Dwight Gayle, Danny Gabbidon, and Stuart O’Keefe to top Sunderland. Gabbidon opened up the scoring in the first half to put Palace ahead. Sunderland was missing American star striker Jozy Altidore and struggled to create offensively. Steven Fletcher pulled them back even but in the 78th minute John O’Shea conceded a penalty and was sent off. The game was virtually done at that point as Palace cruised to the win. Fantasy wise, there isn’t much going on here. Some people praised Emanuele Giaccherini but the Italian came out with only a point this week. Palace on the other hand have a few players with good scores so far, but they’re all risky business and you should avoid them.
Liverpool 1 – 0 Mancheter United
Liverpool came out with a huge win here. They’ve struggled in the past few seasons but this season they have won all three of their games. They have made some good signing in the past calendar year and you can see their impact on the field. Philippe Coutinho has been very solid in attack and Daniel Sturridge has emerged as a top class goal scorer. Liverpool just signed Victor Moses on a season long loan from Chelsea and he should add even more potency to the attack. Feel free to use them all in fantasy. The fantasy news on the other side of the ball is that Robin van Persie had negative three points this week because of a yellow card. This is two weeks in a row now that van Persie has struggled, but both have been against quality opponents and I don’t expect that to continue, I will use him again next week.
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West Brom 0 – 2 Swansea
Swansea won their first game of the season after losing their first two games to Manchester United and Tottenham. They scored a goal in each half and made West Brom pay for some early missed chances. For fantasy purposes, Swansea lack a clear contributor so far this season and we have yet to see if someone will emerge. With that being said, they have talent and Pablo Hernandez or Ben Davies could be good picks in the future among others.
Arsenal 1 – 0 Tottenham
The other big derby of the season also finished 1-0. Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud is in fantastic form right now and provided the winning goal for Arsenal on a cross from Theo Walcott. Both players should be used in fantasy going forward. Laurent Koscielny was also spectacular for Arsenal and helped them get the clean sheet. For Tottenham, things didn’t look as good. They couldn’t really break down the Arsenal defense and ended up taking some weak shots from distance or from bad angles. There are good fantasy options there as well, Soldado being one of them. Keeper Lloris is also a good option considering his price.