All of our cup ties were very closely contested this week with Game Of Throw Ins’ 16 point victory over Gotta Light the most convincing victory. The other seven teams to progress did so with margins of no more than six points. Hornets triumphed in our battle of the top two and Aquamar become the lowest team left in the competition.
February Manager of the Month – Alan Hardy – To Elland Back – 211 points
Only four teams posted lower scores than To Elland Back in GW26 who started the month with a miserable 36 point return. The highest score this week coupled with a century busting second highest in the last gameweek has helped them clinch the February prize. Placing the armband on Sergio Aguero in GW27 ahead of Mohamed Salah and shrewdly transferring Raheem Sterling out for Willian ahead of GW28 are two key decisons that paid off.
Manager of the week – Alan Hardy – To Elland Back – 71 points
There was very little to separate Buckets teams this week. To Elland Back were the only ones to top the 70 point mark. Most of us beat the average of 49 points – only 12 teams scored below that. Scores in the 50’s and 60’s almost swept the board hence the closeness of the cup ties and the minimal amount of movement in the league table.
It’s not often we get a keeper as player of the week and it’s usually off the back of a clean sheet with a penalty save – which automatically guarantees full bonus marks. City have struggled for clean sheets of late and their run of upcoming fixtures looks tough with Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea coming up within their next five games. Although the other seven fixtures could quite easily produce seven blanks and more points for Ederson.
Bargain of the week – Emre Can – 13 points
Liverpool’s best player in their latest steamrollering is now a regular in their midfield and costing only £4.9 million. So if you can’t afford or fit in the front three, Can, who bagged his second double figure score in four gameweeks, could be a tempting Liverpool route into your team.
Twat of the week – James Collins – -1 points
The ignominy this week goes, as it does in may weeks, to the worst performing defender in the latest steamrollering dished out by Liverpool or Manchester City. Collins was the only one of the West Ham back line to also pick up a booking as well as concede four goals at the hands of Emre Can and his team mates.
Goal of the week – Bernardo Silva.
Includes Sane’s dribbling run to assist from 16s in.
Quite a few managers played their all out attack chips this weekend. Well, you’ve got to get rid of it sometime I suppose. This was on the Saturday in which seven of the ten teams to play kept a clean sheet, and the player of the week was the game’s lowest priced first team regular, penalty saving goalkeeper, Eldin Jakupovic.
Maybe Aquamar thinks the league is won. They’re taking hits for fun at the moment. Another three this week for eight more points, although all worked out ridiclously well. Aguero, Stephens and Hazard returned 37 points – and all are set up nicely for the upcoming double gameweeks. The gap has closed up at the top again – now at 50 points. And there continues to be a lot of jostling for position behind. Kebab Eaters, second two weeks ago, are now down to sixth. Rico United climb into prize money contention with the highest score of the week, and down in seventh, Biscuitmen posted an 80 point score to keep themselves in the hunt.
Rico’s week winning 86 points wasn’t quite enough to pinch the manager of the month prize. They fell short of Hucking Fell who also held off challenges from The Craggy Islanders and Shoelace to pocket the £60.
It was a gameweek, in all honesty, we could probably have done without. One we’re glad to see the back off. The last thing you want when you’ve taken hits over the approaching weeks to get a team ready for a reduced gameweek is a load of injuries, rotation and non-entities picking up the big scores.
Romelu Lukaku was the most captained player and that worked. The Everton striker picked up a goal and an assist and helped a lot of teams to a good starting total of 24 points with the armband. Sadio Mane was the most transferred in player. His two points left those opting for him as their captain with enough to cover a hit. Only half the regular Everton defence made it through 90 minutes and Fernando Lllorente, another popular transfer-in and captain choice didn’t even last a half.
Josh King was the player we all needed. And a few of us had the foresight to opt for the Bournemouth man. His 18 points helped two of our three highest scoring teams to their finishing total. Go Buffoons Go, FC Caligula and Aquamar all reached 63 points. GBG and Caligula enlisted King into their midfield. GBG scored five goals and take the weekly recognition.
Aquamar probably won’t care about that – they reached the cup final where they will play Shoeleace Untied. Both have a guaranteed prize. It’s our first year of offering the losing finalists a cash prize, so congratulations to both teams.
Player of the week – Josh King – 18 points. Could have been more had he not missed a penalty.
Bargain of the week – Oumar Niasse – 12 points. Who?
Donkey of the week – Craig Dawson – 0 points. West Brom the failing team of the week.
Man City v Chelsea Crystal Palace v Southampton Spurs v Swansea Stoke v Burnley Sunderland v Leicester West Brom v Watford West Ham v Arsenal Bournemouth v Liverpool Everton v Man Utd Middlesbrough v Hull
December is upon us. A six week slog culminating in the festive fixtures. You get £60 if you finish as manager of the month. Eyes down.
Whereas Chelsea’s lack of European action seems to be working out just fine – an unchanged first XI for seven consecutive games is a fantasy manager’s dream – the same can’t be said for Liverpool, who despite also being free from foreign travel, are seeing their much vaunted attacking options dropping like flies.
Biggest headache of the week is dealing with the Coutinho injury. The most popular player in the game before last Saturday’s fixture against Sunderland – his value has plummeted by £0.3 million in the space of a few days. Managers were so quick to get rid of him even before the length of the lay-off was announced. Those waiting till the end of the week to make their change might not be able to bring in their desired replacements as a result of the drastic price drop.
As well as the injury to Coutinho, Roberto Firmino also picked up a knock. Daniel Sturridge is out again and there’s no sign of a return for Adam Lallana, although both he and Firmino are tentatively pencilled in for the Bournemouth match. Klopp might have to play some actual defenders and attackers. Divock Origi is in with a shout having scored in both the victory over Sunderland and the League Cup win in midweek. And Emre Can offers a dirt cheap way into the midfield at £4.8 million. He’s started the last six league matches anyway and scored two goals in that period.
Chelsea conceded their first goal in seven against Spurs last weekend and now they come up against a Manchester City side who have only failed to score once this season. Chelsea will undoubtedly name that same trusted starting XI, but Guardiola has been teasing us with some unpredictable line ups of late. Last week Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva started on the bench – Ilkay Gundogan and John Stones didn’t even make it that far. For arguably their toughest game of the season to date, he’s got to name his strongest XI. Shame no-one seems to know what that is.
Away from the top three, who in truth don’t offer much captain material this weekend, Spurs’ home tie against Swansea is definitely worth looking at. There are plenty of armband options and potential Coutinho replacements. With a bit of tinkering, Harry Kane leads the list. His post injury form isn’t bettered by many and Swansea’s defence are the cheapest for a very good reason. If Palace can score four aganst this lot…