A lot of interesting games this weekend and the game week is not even over with Aston Villa traveling to West Brom later today. My fantasy team was average at best with the exception of Luis Suarez and Sergio Agüero. The two combined for three goals and 53 fantasy points(73 after captaining Suarez, more than half of my team total of 120). These two have established themselves as top choices and if you don’t have one or both on your fantasy team, you really need to reconsider.
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Everton 3 – 3 Liverpool
Liverpool and Everton shared the points from the Merseyside derby after an incredible match. Philippe Coutinho made his presence known early and opened the scoring in the fifth minute. He is a fantastic playmaker who is looking to be Steven Gerrard’s eventual replacement. The fact he can even be put in the same sentence as Steven Gerrard says a lot. Kevin Mirallas, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge each added a goal while Romelu Lukaku scored two. Lukaku caused problems the entire game and ended up with five shots on target. The talking point of the game will be Liverpool’s struggle on defense, as they couldn’t do anything to stop Lukaku and company. Everton could have had far more than three goals if it wasn’t for Simon Mignolet’s fantastic display. Liverpool also struggled defensively against Arsenal and it seems like this will be a problem as they try to challenge for the title.
Arsenal 2 – 0 Southampton
Artur Boruc came up with his second embarrassing moment of the season when he tried to dribble past Olivier Giroud and was robbed of the ball. Giroud capitalized on the mistake and scored from close range. He later scored from the penalty spot after Jose Fonte held onto Per Mertesacker in the box. Southampton will ask themselves if they would have been able to get something out of the game if it wasn’t for Boruc’s mistake. They played a respectable game and had a few missed opportunities, the biggest one coming from Jay Rodriguez. Rickie Lambert has been the starting striker and it seems Dani Osvaldo has been demoted to the bench and should be avoided in fantasy teams until he adapts to the Premier League.
Fulham 1 – 2 Swansea
Fulham fell to the relegation zone after missing an opportunity to earn points at home. They have lost their last four Premier League games with a combined score of 11-2 and there aren’t many bright spots to offer encouragement. Martin Jol’s seat is warming up and his time at Fulham may be over soon. Swansea climbed to 10th place and are slowly regaining some of the form that saw them finish in the top six last season.
Hull City 0 – 1 Crystal Palace
Hull City have been good at home but an 81st minute Barry Bannan goal stunned the Tigers. Crystal Palace needed the win as they were dead last in the table. They now share the last spot with Sunderland and are only three points away from leaving the relegation zone. The game was not one of the better ones and didn’t help many fantasy owners. Robbie Brady started the game but was ineffective, both on the pitch and on the fantasy sheet, and was replaced at halftime by Danny Graham. I would not trust either of them on my fantasy team.
Newcastle 2 – 1 Norwich City
Newcastle continue to pick up steam and added three more points to their tally. Loic Remy continued his great form with yet another goal for the Magpies and Yoan Gouffran scored one himself. Gouffran is averaging 15 fantasy points per game in his last three games but I wouldn’t trust him yet as this looks like nothing more than a hot streak. He is averaging 3.1 points per game in games in which he doesn’t score and he only has three goals in 12 games. Someone I would trust from Newcastle is Yohan Cabaye, who has turned his season around after a slow start and is establishing himself as a constant fantasy threat. Norwich’s goal came from Leroy Fer, who leads Norwich in fantasy points and presents an interesting option for the adventurous fantasy manager.
Stoke City 2 – 0 Sunderland
Charlie Adam opened the scoring in the 30th minute but the story of the match was Wes Brown being sent off a little over half an hour into the game after what appeared to be a good challenge. The red card left Sunderland a man down and they found it hard to fight back. Steven Nzonzi made it 2-0 in the 81st minute to put the game away. Managers who trusted Stoke’s defense and goalkeeper were rewarded with a clean sheet. Asmir Begovic finished with 16 points. Over the last six games, he has alternated between positive and negative points each game. With Stoke City traveling to Everton next week, I would avoid Begovic as the trend can easily continue.
West Ham 0 – 3 Chelsea
Chelsea had only earned one point from their last two Premier League games (loss to Newcastle, draw vs West Brom) and needed to three points here to keep up with Arsenal. Frank Lampard had not scored in his previous ten Premier League games but that changed in the 21st minute after Oscar was brought down in the box. Lampard converted the penalty and later added another goal to put the game away. The other Chelsea goal came from Oscar, who continues to impress. He has averaged 9.5 points per game in his last six games and his production should continue. I didn’t trust Oscar at the beginning of the season and thought his fantasy production was goal dependent but he is showing again and again that he can contribute to the fantasy sheet in multiple categories. Samuel Eto’o started up top for Chelsea as Torres was not fit after his return from injury. West Ham continue playing without a striker and it’s obvious the strategy is not working; they need Andy Carroll back.
Manchester City 6 – 0 Tottenham
There isn’t much to say about this game that the score doesn’t say. Manchester City dominated every aspect of the game and continued their fantastic run at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero was spectacular and came out with two goals. What surprised me most was that Yaya Toure ended the game with 0 fantasy points, partially because of fouls committed and the yellow card he received. I will be playing him again next week, especially with City playing at home once again. Tottenham have many questions to figure out in the next week and the lineup will surely be changed next time out.
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Cardiff City 2 – 2 Manchester United
A late Kim Bo-kyung goal stunned Manchester United and won Cardiff City a point at home. Wayne Rooney was the most active player on the pitch and there were a number of critical moments he was involved with. He opened up the scoring in the 15th minute and also assisted Patrice Evra on United’s second goal. Rooney also had an interesting situation with Jordon Mutch in what should have resulted in a red card but he escaped with just a yellow. United now sit in sixth place and are seven points behind leaders Arsenal. They need to win games like these to challenge for the title.
Do you think Arsenal are the clear favorites to win the title this year? If not, who can challenge them?