Apologize for the lack of content this week, but life has gotten in the way of blogging the past week or so. Should be able to get together a Gameweek 30 Team Ratings and preview tomorrow or Friday, but that’s probably it until next week.
Norwich City 0 – Southampton 0
As discussed, I did not expect much offensive excitement in this one and the final score was not too surprising. While the penalty miss was the story here, Southampton actually had the better of it with ten chances created and five shots on target compared to just two and two for the Canaries. Lambert was the most dangerous player on the pitch and probably the only attacking Saint worth owning now with Puncheon’s recent rotation issues. At the back, Clyne was dropped due to a knock, an annoyance for anyone (like me!) playing him in such a limited game week. Boruc’s penalty save should also eliminate my immediate fear of him being dropped, at least for now. On the other side, it’s all about the defense. Norwich have been very tough at Carrow Road all season (except for the Liverpool game) and have playable assets in Martin, Turner and Bunn. Do watch out for John Ruddy’s imminent return and the impact for the extremely valuable Bunn.
Queens Park Rangers 3 – Sunderland 1
Old ‘Arry has QPR ticking now, eh? Back-to-back wins have QPR sitting just four points out of safety. They still have a long way to go, but the inclusion of Loïc Rémy has turned a once deplorable attack into a merely below average one. Speaking of Rémy, he represents a clear differential and one that cash starved fantasy owners need to evaluate. He won’t get a ton of chances with QPR, but he has quality and can score when he gets a shot.
The Black Cats were poor here with Sessègnon unable to capitalize on his recent form. I don’t see any interesting fantasy assets on Sunderland with fairly high-priced but mediocre attackers and a sieve-like defense. I would be looking to move any Sunderland players owned as better and cheaper options can be had elsewhere.
Reading 1 – Aston Villa 2
Getting desperate now for Reading who must play at Manchester United, at Arsenal and at home versus Liverpool in the next four weeks. Games at home versus Southampton and QPR are must wins to avoid the drop and they’ll need a few points from trips to Norwich, Fulham and West Ham as well. Don’t see it happening. Of course, all fantasy owners should have sold Reading players a long time ago.
Benteke and Weimann were excellent on the other side although Agbonlahor ran away with the three BAPs. Benteke is an obvious option going forward as the schedule is fair and Villa will need to continue to attack to avoid relegation. I plan on keeping Benteke for at least this week if not longer.
West Bromwich Albion 2 – Swansea City 1
Swansea got robbed here as a clear equalizer was inexplicably ruled offside. Fantasy owners also felt robbed as popular transfer and differential captain Romelu Lukaku completely flubbed a penalty. While the Belgian did score, the penalty missed probably left eight points on the board, sixteen for those who chose to captain Romelu. Tough break indeed.
Michu was shut out again but was still the focus of the Swansea attack. He will be fine if he continues to get four shots in the box per game, although he is the most popular selection in the game and certainly not a differential. Elsewhere, watch out for Ben Davies’ playing time as Neil Taylor is slowly starting to train again. There’s not much value there given his price so a transfer out shouldn’t be too difficult a decision.
Newcastle United 2 – Stoke City 1
The popular notion of Newcastle’s recent offensive resurgence is a bit off the mark. Yes, they have scored a few more as of late, but they really haven’t generated many chances during that time. In this game, they had just four shots in the box out of sixteen total. Simply put, you aren’t going to score too often in the Barclay’s Premier League registering eighty percent of your shots from outside the box.
Cabaye was solid although was one of the main culprits of long distance attempts (five shots from outside the box). He did score though and created four chances and probably deserved an assist. He’s someone to keep an eye on, especially as new fantasy darling Sissoko continues to underwhelm this prognosticator (two shots, none on target, no chances created). Also of interest is the pending return of Hatem Ben Arfa. Not sure where he fits in this lineup.
For Stoke, Marc Wilson remains a great value at just £3.9. The Potters haven’t been as bad defensively as some pundits make out and upcoming games versus West Bromwich, Aston Villa and QPR represent potential clean sheets.
Liverpool 3 – Tottenham 2
Intriguing game, but one I was forced to watch on replay thanks to the FA Cup debacle in Old Trafford (am excited for the upcoming move of American coverage of EPL to NBC). This was a game of defensive catastrophes with only eleven shots on target and twenty chances resulting in five goals. To my eyes, this should have been a 1-1 or 2-1 game.
Nothing really of note here from a fantasy perspective. Suárez and Bale are obvious elite players and fully justify their high price. Both teams have strong defensive clubs as well although the Spurs upcoming schedule probably limits the upside of adding any assets at this time. Stewart Downing is somewhat intriguing at his price but I will need to see more before I buy in. Beyond that, only Daniel Sturridge is a real option, although the former Chelsea man looked poor Sunday and probably needs a bit of time to regain form and fitness.
SoccerSaber’s Team Review
Mediocre week for me as I was disappointed in benchings for Clyne and Puncheon as well as the big fat zero from Marc Wilson. My captain choice was also not ideal although it could have been worse. I gained in my league again though so won’t complain too much.
Absolutely no idea what I am doing this week yet. None. Even though I have £7.1 in the bank I might not do anything. Seriously, I have no clue.
Anyone have any grandiose plans this week they’d like to share? I’m open to suggestions!