November Manager of the month – Neil Madrid – Neil Strong – 272 points
Madrid were in fourth at the start of the month, 60 or so points adrift of the top. They now occupy the number one position, having clawed back that gap to take the prize for November. Swapping and off-the-boil Hazard for Raheem Sterling at the point the City man went fantasy nuts was surely the key. Madrid have posted five consecutive green arrow scores that has seen them rise from 196,000 to 13,000 overall. Check me out.
FTM’s second week winning score in three wasn’t quite enough to push them to the summit of the monthly table, being let down arguably by their GW13 score. Nevertheless, they have climbed from 22nd to the outskirts of the top 10 and look set to push on through December. FTM are loving West Ham right now. Ahead of their favourable run of fixtures they picked up 15 points from Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson. As with many teams, Sterling became default captain through Aguero’s absence, and a five man defence, also popular this week, propspered to he tune of 35 points. Only Jose Holebas failed to deliver a clean sheet.
Player of the week – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal – 16 points
Maybe game of the season. Maybe the best Arsenal have played in a decade. And as Raheem Sterling became the first player to pass the 100 point barrier, PEA hit his 9th and 10th goals of the season to move within nine points of the same target. Aubameyang comes into serious contention now, particularly with an injury to Sergio Aguero, Liverpool relying on Divock Origi, inevitable City rotation, and no-one quite sure whether Harry Kane is paying well or not. Spurs’ run of fixtures into February could result in a period of heavy scoring for the England captain. Arsenal’s, on paper, don’t look as easy, but their star striker looks capable of scoring past anyone at any time. His overall Premier League record is 20 goals in 27 appearances. With 23 matches of the season remaining, there’s a strong possibility he’ll get close to the 30 goal mark. Why would you want to miss out on all that?
Bargain of the week – Javier Hernandez – West Ham United – 13 points
Somewhat of an unexpected result, but one that should alert fantasy bosses to the potential value of one or two West Ham assets in their team. Hernandez may not start every week however, so maybe steering towards Arnautovic or Anderson would reap more rewards. West Ham don’t play a top six team again until GW22.
Twat of the week – Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur – -3 points
The game started boiling over in the first half so there was a certain inevitability about a red card being dished out at some point. Vertonghen conceded the penalty and looked rattled throughout until he finally lost it after Arsenal had bagged their 4th goal. Despite the aforementioned fixture swing in favour of Spurs, I wouldn’t go anywhere near any of these defenders.
Goal of the week – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 1m14s in. This game had it all.
November manager of the month – Greenyteamy – Adam Greenwood – 283 points
Greenyteamy’s monster scores in the first two weeks of the month put them so far out in front it was difficult to see how anyone could catch them. Despite a slight slip up last week, another impressive score this week – only four behind the week’s best – made sure of their monthly victory. Their four week run has seem them leap from twenty-fourth to fourth and into that pack chasing down the Hornets, who still hold a 31 point lead at the top.
Manager of the week – Atletico Chappers – Richard Chapman – 67 points
Up into 12th and finishing 3rd in the November table Chappers have also made great strides in the last few weeks climbing from 37th at the end of October. They’ve tried out, and I suppose, been kind of successful, with a rotation of Watford captains for the last four weeks. Either Richarlison or Abdoulaye Doucoure are handed the armband and between them have picked up 4, 12, 6 and 6 points. There have been better options as captain, particularly with Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy and Marcos Alonso as ever presents. But had Chappers picked the best scoring of their Watford players each week, they’d have notched scores of 14, 12, 16 and 14 and that would have outscored Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku combined. So there is some method to this madness.
Player of the week – Mesut Ozil – 17 points
January is approaching so it’s time for Ozil (and Sanchez) to start giving a shit. Since gameweek nine he has scored two and assisted five Arsenal goals. Yet, in that time he has been transferred OUT of more teams and has seen his value drop to £9.3 million. It’s still not all that cheap for a player so unpredictable and there is so much competition in the midfield, but with only a 1.8% (1.8%??!?!?!?!) ownership, having this guy in your team could work in your favour. Nobody else will be scoring those points
Bargain of the week – Ashley Young – 15 points
Watch this value rocket in the coming weeks. Young started the season as a £5 million midfielder and only made his first appearance in gameweek 5 coming in to plug the hole in United’s left back area. He’s been an ever present since that game and has been a stand-out performer in recent weeks. The last three have garnered two goals, two assists, six bonus points and 29 points overall. It’s tricky to second guess managers and who knows what’s going to happen as the December fixture pile-up kicks in, but he seems to have that position nailed at the moment. The potential is there for more, particularly when Jose opts to play with three at the back and pushes the wing backs further forward. It’s a shame we don’t get clean sheet points for his displays as well. He’d be an absolute must-have as a defender.
Twat of the week – Pablo Zabaleta – -1 points
Just when you thought Everton were the most massively under-achieving and overpaid wastes of money in the league – you’re reminded of West Ham. Zabaleta probably should have seen red after getting away with a worse challenge than the one that saw him pick up his yellow card. There is little sense in having a West Ham defender in your team.
Goal of the week – Jamie Vardy.
Probably ten contenders. But as I rather stubbornly and unforgiving think any footballer worth their salt should be able to kick the ball into an empty net from 60 yards (Rooney) or run with a ball unchallenged for 60 yards (Lingard), I’ll give it to the most skillful goal of the (Tuesday) night. Goal at 2 minutes in.
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…
SS3 FC score 90 points and are the team of the week. They’re the first to win two weekly awards this season, and in doing so have climbed to their highest league position of 17th. Employing Kevin de Bruyne as captain was a smart move. The Belgian playmaker was the player of the week, and so added 32 points towards SS3’s total. They also earned 13 points from last weeks player of the week, Ross Barkley, and 12 from Odion Ighalo, this weeks highest scoring striker. Add to that the inevitable contribution from Jamie Vardy – 9 points this week – and that’s 66 points from just four players.
It was a close run thing for manager of the month. Shoelace had been leading the monthly table for the last couple of weeks and were doing so on Saturday night. But they only managed to add a further three points on Sunday and that wasn’t enough to hold off the challenge of The Mindless Morons, who added 17 further points to their Saturday total. Mesut Ozil scored 10 of those 17, meaning he has now scored in 10 of the 14 gameweeks – a record that’s only bettered by Vardy. The other seven points, crucially, came from a substitution. Adam Smith was promoted to the team to replace Vincent Kompany. The Bournemouth defender has scored no more than a point per performance and has mainly been warming the Morons’ bench since week one…until he launched a sweetly struck 25 yard volley into the roof of Tim Howard’s net this weekend. The Mindless Morons win November. They were second bottom at the end of October. Their recent form has seen them climb ten places and 100 points ahead of the current second bottom side.
At the top of the table Golden Boys extend their lead to 34 points. That’s the biggest gap between first and second so far this season. This week they scored 70 points using only 10 players. It was 12 more than their two closest challengers, Caligula and Your Ad Here. Pretty Schitty City dropped a couple of places down to fifth to complete a disappointing month. PSC were a point behind Golden Boys at the end of October – they’re now 55 behind. 4 Lime Jellies ended their recent disappointing run by climbing back up to fourth with a respectable 68 point haul.
Player of the week – Kevin de Bruyne – 16 points. Good City showed up this week.
Bargain of the week – Patrick Van Aanholt – 15 points. Two consecutive clean sheets for Sunderland. Time to consider the Allardyce factor?
Donkey of the week – Ryan Shawcross – -3 points. Ruined Stoke’s run of clean sheets, although it was a harsh red card.