The congested timeframe of the season is here and we had some good games this weekend to start off a long ten days. Here is what happened:
Liverpool 3 – 1 Cardiff City
We saw the Luis Suarez show once again. Suarez was magnificent in all aspects of the game and finished with two goals and an assist. His energy has been extraordinary and when you combine that with his finishing and instincts, you get a very special player. His 19 goals are league best and he missed the first five games to suspension. Clearly the best player in the league right now, he should be your fantasy captain every week. Phillippe Coutinho was quiet on the fantasy sheet and continues to be a little inconsistent. Liverpool conceded an easy set piece goal to Jordan Mutch and their defenders lost the clean sheet points, but it was otherwise a dominating performance from the Reds who put the game away in the first half.
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Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Newcastle United
Crystal Palace’s defense had been improving dramatically under new manager Tony Pulis but it didn’t show in this game as Newcastle scored three goals and took all the points from Selhurst Park. Yohan Cabaye continued his great form with another goal, Danny Gabbidon scored in his own net, and Hatem Ben Arfa scored from the penalty spot to put the game away. This was Cabaye’s first game back from a one game suspension for accumulated yellow cards and the midfielder looked rested and in form as he dominated the game and finished with an impressive four shots on target.
Fulham 2 – 4 Manchester City
No Aguero, no problem. Manchester City were able to score four goals without their main striker on the way to a 4-2 victory over Fulham. City took a 2-0 lead through a beautiful Yaya Toure free kick and a Vincent Kompany put in from close range. Fulham were able to come back and tie the game 2-2, in part from a ridiculous own goal by Kompany. Kompany tried to clear the ball but it slipped off his foot and ended up chipping the goalkeeper and going in. City regained momentum and scored two goals(one by Jesus Navas and one by James Milner). Something to note from this game is that Joe Hart was back in goal for Manchester City so you can no longer use Costel Pantilimon in goal.
Manchester United 3 – 1 West Ham United
Manchester United continue to improve and this win was a step in the right direction. They outplayed West Ham in all aspects of the game, registering more than 62% possession and 21 total shots to West Ham’s four. Danny Welbeck started up top for injured Robin van Persie and came out with a goal but it was Wayne Rooney who looked most impressive for United once again. Rooney had a part in all three goals and created problems for West Ham’s defense all day long. He is by far the best player on United’s squad to own in fantasy and will remain a good fantasy starter while healthy. Adnan Januzaj also looked good today but he has been a less consistent fantasy producer and I wouldn’t really trust him on my squad. West Ham continues to lack fantasy production and there are no viable starters on their team at the moment.
Stoke City 2 – 1 Aston Villa
This was a close match between two mid-table teams but Stoke was able to edge out a home win. Stoke’s goals came from Peter Crouch and halftime substitute Charlie Adam. Aston Vila’s came from Libor Kozak, who started in place of Christian Benteke. Benteke missed the game due to a knee injury; the injury is not supposed to be very serious but there is a good chance Benteke will miss Thursday’s match against Crystal Palace. If Benteke can’t go, Libor Kozak could be a plug and play on Thursday.
Sunderland 0 – 0 Norwich City
Both of these teams have been struggling to score and 0-0 was the only fitting score. The teams were horrible in attack once again and struggled to create chances. Wes Brown was sent off late in the game and his suspension will surely hurt Sunderland as they try to get out of last place. Norwich, on the other hand, are hovering a few spots above the relegation zone and will need to win a game soon to feel more confortable.
West Brom 1 – 1 Hull City
Both teams are trying to stay away from the relegation zone and the shared points help a bit. Hull City started the game well and took the lead with Jake Livermore’s goal in the 28th minute. Things were different in the second half as West Brom improved and were able to rally behind the home crowd and equalize with four minutes to go. West Brom has a tough task ahead as they still have to name a manager after recently sacking Steve Clarke in the middle of a very congested schedule. Hull City’s job is not much easier as they face in form Manchester United next time out.
Southampton 2 – 3 Tottenham
I didn’t really expect a shootout in this one but the goals just kept coming. Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert both played great and scored but Emmanuel Adebayor and company were too much to handle. Adebayor started alongside Roberto Soldado and scored two goals to help Spurs get an extremely important three points. Starting the two strikers was an interesting decision from interim manager Tim Sherwood but the success will only help him in trying to secure the job permanently. The Saints are in midst of a huge slump as they haven’t won a game in their last six and are fighting through a series of injuries and suspensions. The good news is that they’re getting healthier and the schedule will eventually become easier.
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Swansea City 1 – 2 Everton
The biggest story here was Ross Barkley. The youngster has taken the Premier League by storm and is once again in the spotlight after scoring a spectacular free kick to win the game in the 84th minute. The game was headed towards a 1-1 draw when Barkley stepped up to take a free kick and struck it beautifully. Swansea probably deserved a point in this one and will be disappointed they couldn’t keep Everton out at the end. The Toffees climb up to fourth place and enter the battle for the Champions League in what continues to be an exciting Premier League season.
Do you think Everton will get a Champions League spot? Are Manchester United finally back on track?
Make sure to tune in tomorrow and see Arsenal take on Chelsea in a great top of the table clash.