The Premier League is back after a short break for FA Cup and Champions League action. Not too many exciting games nor surprises on Saturday but Sunday started off with a goal fest at Anfield. On Saturday, Arsenal dominated Sunderland much like Bayern Munich dominated them in midweek and Manchester City squeezed by with a 1-0 win. Lets look at the matches in more detail and analyze the fantasy implications.
Chelsea 1 – 0 Everton
What a crazy finish at Stamford Bridge! The game was headed towards a 0-0 draw and Tim Howard was going to be man of the match until the 93rd minute, when a crazy Howard own goal ended up winning it for Chelsea. It’s yet another Chelsea clean sheet and it seems they can keep anyone out. Investing in Chelsea’s defense is a great idea.
Arsenal 4 – 1 Sunderland
Olivier Giroud returned, Mesut Ozil and the Ox sat out, and Arsenal dominated. Nothing too surprising here, Arsenal have been great at home and Sunderland horrible away. Giroud had two goals and an assist but he’s done so little in the weeks before this one that it’s hard to trust him, especially with Arsenal’s upcoming schedule, which is not friendly. If you haven’t parted with Ozil yet, it’s probably time.
Cardiff City 0 – 4 Hull City
Watching parts of this game, the hardest thing to do was determine whether Cardiff’s defense was bad or Hull City’s attack good. At the end of the day, it was a combination of both. Cardiff defended horribly and I wouldn’t use anyone from their defense in the near future. Hull City finally looked good with Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long up top. The two strikers possess enough quality to give any Premier League team trouble and should be given attention going ahead.
West Brom 1 – 1 Fulham
Not much here in this 1-1 draw. Matej Vydra and Ashkan Dejagah were the goalscorers but neither is a good fantasy option. John Heitinga played well but I couldn’t trust him either, especially with the number of clean sheets Fulham get. Chris Brunt wasn’t spectacular but he put in a solid effort and almost scored. He has been in form for over a month now and could be a decent option if you’re trying to make up ground.
West Ham 3 – 1 Southampton
West Ham flexed their defensive muscles once again and almost kept Southampton out. It would have been a clean sheet if Maya Yoshida had not scored his first Premier League goal, but the Hammers are content with the result. Fantasy managers investing in West Ham’s defense didn’t get the clean sheet points but shouldn’t be concerned for the future. Kevin Nolan registered a goal and an assist, once again going into double digits. This makes him very frustrating to own (or not to own) as he has recently been juggling great lines with very poor ones. Enjoy the ride.
Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Manchester United
A fairly poor first half was characterized with a horrible Marouane Fellaini miss. The second half improved, with Patrice Evra making runs down the side. He was brought down on the edge of the box by the other Marouane (Chamakh) and Robin van Persie scored from the penalty spot. Wayne Rooney made it 2-0 with a brilliant volley soon after and Manchester seemed to cruise to the win. Rooney and RvP have been playing well again and despite nothing extraordinary, they’ve been putting in solid, consistent, fantasy production.
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Liverpool 4 – 3 Swansea City
This shootout somehow ended with no goals and only one assist for Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, and Phillippe Coutinho. Jordan Henderson made up for it with two goals and an assist and Daniel Sturridge had the same line. Pretty much anyone on Liverpool’s attacking side is a good pick in fantasy, it’s just a matter of who does well each week. I’m going to continue sticking with Suarez as my top pick; his upside is too high. Swansea are in pretty poor form at the moment and two goals from Wilfried Bony weren’t enough to get them any points here. Their inability to score consistently has resulted in an inconsistent display from Bony, making him hard to trust.
Newcastle 1 – 0 Aston Villa
This one almost ended 0-0 but Loic Remy broke the deadlock in added time. Newcastle end a horrible run of games that has been characterized by the lack of Yohan Cabaye. Without Cabaye, Newcastle seem to be suffering all over the pitch and it seems only Mathieu Debuchy is worth owning on that team. Villa, on the other hand, keep conceding goals at important moments and can’t seem to catch a break. Benteke is struggling once again and even though their defense has improved with Ron Vlaar back, they are not keeping clean sheets consistently. I would avoid that mess for a while.
How did your team do this week?