I'm going to start this column with some views on Tottenham. The 6-0 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday was one of my worst experiences as a Spurs fan. I was only 14 when we lost 7-1 to Newcastle in 1996 but I still remember how I felt that day, and it was horribly similar last weekend.
It's especially disappointing as it follows poor defeats at home to West Ham and Newcastle already this season. Disappointing, but I'm staying calm and hoping this is a blip. Unfortunately a large proportion of Tottenham fans have lost patience, and have decided they want Andre Villas-Boas sacked. It's safe to say I 100% disagree with this viewpoint and football's general obsession with instant success really riles me.
Villas-Boas was the man who led Tottenham to a record Premier League points total last term. Undoubtedly, the performances of Gareth Bale were a huge factor, but people are really picking on that point now, with such claims as Spurs "would've finished 10th without Bale", and that AVB was "nothing more than lucky" that he had Bale to bail Spurs out. Can anyone name me a successful team which doesn't have a star who pulls them through to win games heading for a draw, or draw games that look lost? Take Robin van Persie out of the title-winning Manchester United team last season and where would they have finished? Take Aaron Ramsey's unbelievable performances out of Arsenal's team - would they be top? Take Messi out of Barcelona, Ronaldo out of Real Madrid etc, etc. It's too simplistic to say everything is down to one player. The manager deserves credit for last season, full stop.
However, I can't and won't deny that this season has been worrying. On the pitch the build-up play is slow, the inverted wingers haven't been working, the balance in central midfield is often wrong, Roberto Soldado is getting no support, no supply and the entire team is struggling for goals. Villas-Boas needs to get the root of the problems, and quickly.
But we can't forget that the club lost their only world class player in the summer and the manager is trying to integrate a load of new arrivals from a variety of countries, so it will take time. Twelve games is not long enough to pull the trigger on firing a manager. Tottenham are not in a relegation battle, they are 4 points behind 2nd place Liverpool. Give AVB the season to get things clicking - if the same problems remain after 38 games then I'd reassess the situation, but for now Spurs fans should be getting behind the team and the manager. Rant over, so we can move on to Yahoo Fantasy Premier League.
Week 12 was a decent one for AM FC, finishing on 130 points. This was mainly thanks to Luis Suarez as captain and Sergio Aguero's massive 33 point haul, as well as decent returns from Loic Remy, Yohan Cabaye and Martin Demichelis. I'm currently sitting around 2200th overall and hope Week 13 can bring enough points to push me into the Top 2000 for the first time this season.
Check out The Week 13 Free Kick | First XI: Lucky 13 Picks
Let's look to the week ahead ...
Fixtures Week 13
Aston Villa v Sunderland
Cardiff City v Arsenal
Chelsea v Southampton
Everton v Stoke
Hull City v Liverpool
Man City v Swansea
Newcastle v West Brom
Norwich v Crystal Palace
Tottenham v Man Utd
West Ham v Fulham
Like last week, there isn't a massive standout fixture, but there are certainly some favourable ones. Man City at home to Swansea is one that you should get involved in for obvious reasons, with City's form at the Etihad currently falling in to the category of "frightening". Swansea are no pushovers, but City have put four goals past United, four past Newcastle, six past Spurs and seven past Norwich, so I'd expect another big home win.
Liverpool travel to a Hull side who have lost four of their last five league games, including last week's defeat to ten-man Crystal Palace. I'll be expecting nothing less than three points for the away side, with Daniel Sturridge fit to start alongside Suarez likely to prove a factor. Everton were excellent in the 2nd half of the Merseyside derby with Romelu Lukaku at his devastating best, so if they can keep to that level against Stoke then they should pick up a comfortable victory - but aside from Man City, Liverpool and the Toffees I'm not massively excited.
There are some "should win"'s to throw in to the mix. Arsenal will probably have enough to beat Cardiff over in Wales, but most teams have found it difficult so I don't advocate going with more than one or two of Arsene Wenger's men. Aston Villa at home to Sunderland totally depends on which version of Sunderland show up, but there could be some value in Villa attackers now they have the likes of Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor back to support Christian Benteke. Chelsea facing Southampton at Stamford Bridge is an interesting match-up and one that the Blues should sneak, but like the Gunners, I don't think you should get too involved.
Newcastle have been in fine form, winning their last three games, but I think they'll be held to a draw at home by an improving West Brom side who were unlucky not to beat Chelsea in Week 11. West Ham versus Fulham could easily end nil-nil so there could be some value in defensive players, but I'm likely to be avoiding midfielders and strikers from either side and I expect to avoid Norwich v Crystal Palace altogether. Finally, after correctly backing Spurs to lose heavily in Week 12, I'm backing them to draw with Manchester United this weekend.
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