Gameweek 12 preview

07 Nov 12:45 Bournemouth v Newcastle
07 Nov 15:00 Leicester v Watford
07 Nov 15:00 Man Utd v West Brom
07 Nov 15:00 Norwich v Swansea
07 Nov 15:00 Sunderland v Southampton
07 Nov 15:00 West Ham v Everton
07 Nov 17:30 Stoke v Chelsea
08 Nov 13:30 Aston Villa v Man City
08 Nov 16:00 Arsenal v Spurs
08 Nov 16:00 Liverpool v Crystal Palace


Say you were to go with a six man (including your keeper in this) defence and you split it between three Man United players and three West Brom players, what do you think the chances are of earning full marks – all 36 available points and probably a few bonuses on top? It’s probably not all that far-fetched given the form of the two teams, who meet this weekend at Old Trafford. Three of Man United’s last four games have ended goalless and they’ve kept four clean sheets in their last five league outings. No other team has more clean sheets than them and no other player has more than Chris Smalling, who has become somewhat of a defensive linchpin all of a sudden. He’s the highest scoring defender. His 56 points is made up those seven clean sheets, seven bonus marks and an assist. He’s kept a fairly unblemished disciplinary record too having only picked up one booking.

West Brom’s defensive reliability is just as good. They boast the second best points scoring keeper and two defenders in the top 11. Boaz Myhill, Gareth MacAuley and Craig Dawson have 18 clean sheets between them. United’s home advantage might make them slight favourites to contribute a goal to the affair. The early promise of Anthony Martial has waned in recent weeks with five consecutive blanks. Wayne Rooney’s come in for some criticism this season, but at least it’s only three weeks since he last found the net The good start made by Juan Mata has come to a grinding halt as well. The most in form attacker on the park could be Ander Herrera, if he’s picked, or more likely, the Baggies’ Venezuelan striker, Salomon Rondon, who seems to be finding his feet with two in his last two games. With two teams who are principally set up to defend, you know you’re better off getting your attacking options from somewhere else.

A top against bottom clash should never be ignored for obvious goal potential. Remi Garde could definitely have done without having to face Manchester City for his first game in charge of Aston Villa. City were more convincing brushing aside Seville in midweek than they were defeating Norwich at home last weekend. Their clean sheet reliability seems to have disappeared, but their goalscoring ability has not. They’ve scored in all but one of their games this season (that’ll be the 0-0 with Manchester United – see how it all fits together?). Still no Aguero or Silva means almost guaranteed gametime for Bony, De Bruyne, Sterling and Toure. It’d be a miracle if at least one of them didn’t add significantly to their points total.

Arsenal’s humbling at Bayern in midweek is not good preparation for a North London derby against a Spurs team who are quietly climbing the league. Harry Kane’s season didn’t start as the last one ended, but it’s now five in five games and he’s among the top ten strikers again. He’s higher than any Arsenal striker in fact. The £9.3 million outlay may still seem a little steep, but it’s cheaper than his starting price, and will only continue to rise if he does start banging them in at the same rate as he did from this point in 2014. Mesut Ozil matches Kane’s form and will cost you a just under a million less. Ozil has notched seven assists in five games, and nine in total – way more than anyone else. A few weeks ago there was a rush on Alexis Sanchez after the Chilean scored six in three games. He’s contributed little else since. The money would have been better spent on his German team mate. Could it be worth swapping one Gunner for the other given their contrasting runs of form?

Gameweek 1 results

1 RayCrawfordsCrackers Rob Hewer 62 62
2 Panza Grande XI Stuart Baker 61 61
3 Biscuitmen Chris Morton 56 56
4 Bermie Utd Glen Davies 54 54
5 Pretty Schitty City Alex Michaluk 53 53
5 Uriah Rennie 2nd XI Neil Greenwood 53 53
7 Gaalatcticos Colin Goulding 51 51
7 Sportingabiggerwig Alex Ritchie 51 51
9 Shoelace Untied Caroline Strong 50 50
10 NaboombuDirtyYellows Andrew Swift 49 49
10 Release The Hounds Paul Mitchell 49 49
10 Van Damme United P Hawkins 49 49
10 Hedgehog Corpse FC Nick Smith 49 49
14 Upper Bullens Andy Taylor 48 48
14 Crazylegs XI David Caldicott 48 48
16 * Your Ad Here * Matthew Hopkins 47 47
16 Rip Roaring Reds Sean Whyton 47 47
18 Accrington Rudyard Ian Williams 46 46
18 Real Jorvik FC Simon Brown 46 46
18 Who R U DEAN CRIPPS 46 46
21 Neil Madrid Neil Strong 44 44
21 Paris Spinks Germain David Spinks 44 44
21 Ciderheads Darren Pope 44 44
24 Pescara Rangers Stewart Pope 40 40
25 No Recognized Plan Paul Bentz 38 38
25 Jordie’s Giants Jordan Raper 38 38
27 Howay Man AFC Mark Bromham 36 36
28 The Mindless Morons John Seacroft 31 31
29 Luxembourg United Simon Smallbone 27 27

Good to see the Premier League is still completely unpredictable. The two outright title favourites had the most convincing results, but even they didn’t necessarily have it all their own way, with Chelsea having to recover from a goal down, and City only sealing a more convincing looking victory than it actually was against Newcastle with a strike in injury time. Arsenal and Liverpool limped to victories against Palace and Southampton respectively, but despite this, the expensive midfield and attacking options of last season’s top four were where the majority of Buckets points were scored this week.

And where were United? Picking up from where they left off last year? Not even that. This time last year they faced Swansea in their opening game and beat them 4-1. Away. With that Moyes bloke in charge. So much for the revolution. So much for the new system which was dropped after 45 minutes.

And fantasy managers have been voting with their fingers and mouses and clicking and shit. Most transferred players out of fantasy teams as I write – top of the list (not including the crocked Ross Barkley) is Juan Mata. Also in the top twenty – Ander Herrera and Ashley Young. I’m prepared to give it another game or two. To think that United will continue on a losing streak against all three of the promoted teams (three of their next four games) does seem a little hard to believe. The were a number of good combos of those big name midfielders and attackers. As many as possible of Sterling, Fabregas, Ramsey, Silva, Aguero, Costa, Sturridge and Dzeko would have probably contributed between 20 and 30 points to your total. Rooney, the most popular pre-gameweek pick was the only United saving grace. As the most popular captain choice (we really were seduced weren’t we?) he guaranteed a fair amount of managers a double point score at least.

Top of the Buckets after week one are last years champs (in a different team name guise), RayCrawfordsCrackers, who finished with 62 points. Keeping the same name, and in second place, are last years runners up, Panza Grande, with 61. Panza were catapulted from mid table to second thanks to James Chester’s promotion from subs bench to starting line up following Ben Davies’ no show. Chester scored, kept a clean sheet and got top bonus marks in Hull’s victory over QPR. And became our first player of the week.


Player of the week – James Chester – 15 points. The only back three that worked.

Bargain of the week – Saido Berahino – 13 points. The Premier League’s leading goalscorer.

Donkey of the week – Kyle Naughton – -2 points. Took him 26 minutes to forget he’s not a keeper.

Goal of the week – Lee Cattermole – Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion. Place your bets. Will he end up with more red cards or goals come the end of the season? So rare are Cattermole goals, there’s no video for it anywhere on the world wide web.