Manager of the week – Kebab Eaters United – Paul Howard – 82 points
There wasn’t much happening up front this week with just 20 goals scored and seven clean sheets. The biggest scores in the league were created by those with solid defences, not least the Kebab Eaters who amassed 43 points from their back five. The highest scoring being Lucas Digne with 12 points. That’s his third double digit haul in seven weeks – and his fifth attacking return in the same time. He’s Alonso-like in his ability to get forward, find a cross or belt in a free kick. He’s Doherty-like in his price.
Player of the week – Declan Rice – West Ham United – 15 points
Rice is classed as a defender but has been playing as a defensive midfielder. That never guarantees you any points anyway, but in a West Ham team not keeping clean sheets, even on this run of fixtures they’ve had against bottom half teams, purchasing him seems even more pointless, other than to fill a £4.4 million hole. And even if that’s what you are doing, you invariably benched him this weekend anyway, didn’t you?
Bargain of the week – Shane Long – Southampton – 12 points
Shane Long hasn’t scored since the 80’s. Maybe he can grab an opportunity, although it’s likely he’ll become nothing more than bench fodder (like Rice) to free up cash for more big hitters elsewhere. Danny Ings seems to be in and out with injury, Charlie Austin is the same and is misfiring when fit anyway. Under this new manager, who knows? Southampton do seemed to have turned a corner.
Twat of the week – Willy Boly – Wolverhampton Wanderers – -3 points
A week of close games and few goals until the last offering on Monday night when Wolves made a tricky task twice as hard by having a defender sent off after just 19 minutes. Are City back. So many managers ditched their prize assets after that run of three defeats in four. Since then they’ve beaten Liverpool and scored 19 goals in three games. Time to draft them all back in again.
Goal of the week – Andre Schurrle. He likes a shot. Finally one of them has gone in.
Manager of the week – Despicable Mee – – Trevor Gordon – 87 points
Not only the manager of the week, but our new leader. As soon as we slip into the New Year, Hornets, ever present at the top since August, are knocked from their perch. Maybe this could be Despicable Mee’s year after two consecutive second place finishes. They played their free hit with good effect, although it would have been a lot better – and for a lot more managers – had Harry Kane (yes, him again) done what he was supposed to and scored two more hat tricks. I hope no-one triple captained him. The double gameweek could have been better. It was easier to draft in West Ham players than Spurs players given their cheapness and that didn’t open up too many point scoring opportunities. The free hit was probably the best chip to play in the circumstances with doubts over rotation and the fitness of some players. Without it, introducing Alli, Eriksen, Son and/or Kane would probably have meant losing a Liverpool or Man City big hitter. DM’s free hit consisted of three from West Ham and Spurs, and three from Man City and Leicester, who were the week’s highest scoring teams. It couldn’t have worked out any better really. Honorable mentions for The Winnings R Mine, who now sit 3rd, having been in 21st place on Christmas Eve. TWRM played an early wildcard, dropping Kane (brave/smart) and captaining the highest scoring double gameweeker, Son Heung-Min. Must Try Harder went with the free hit and a similar team set up to Despicable Mee to the tune of 83 points. Blakes11 totaled 86 with their early wildcard, captaining Alli, ignoring Kane, and picking up 51 points from double gameweekers.
Player of the week – Riyad Mahrez – 14 points
Mahrez has been racking up some impressive totals in recent weeks with either a goal or an assist in eight of his last nine games. He’s now the 5th highest scorer overall – the fourth highest midfielder. This might explain why he still feels like a slightly more under the radar choice. Is there any room? It’s not impossible to have him in your midfield, but it’s at the expense of someone who maybe feels more likely to score – like a Coutinho, a Sanchez or a Hazard. Yet, he beats them all in overall total and form.
Bargain of the week – Marc Albrighton – 13 points
Albrighton was pipped to the overall player of the week by his teammate, Mahrez, picking up three bonus points to his two. Both contributed a goal and assist in their victory over Huddersfield. Albrighton’s recent figures are good and worthy of note. He has six scoring weeks in his last ten, becoming a much more regular starter under Claude Puel. And all for £5.5 million.
Twat of the week – Christian Kabasele – -1 points
Soon to be renamed ‘Twatford of the week’ due to the frequency with which they win this award. It shows on Marco Silva’s face too. He knows. It was a slightly unfortunate own goal, rather than a scything challenge that did for Kabasele. Still, he went and did it in a week in which no-one conceded seven or snapped someone in two in the first half.
Goal of the week. Pedro Obiang. Two great goals in one match but this was the most unexpectedly spectacular. 2m15s
As the 96th minute rolled round at the Emirates yesterday, Alexis Sanchez was sat on two points, and with the rest of the Arsenal team, feeling aggrieved at the seven minutes of added time that had afforded Burnley a penalty with which they had leveled up the game at 1-1. A minute later and the fantasy world breathed a sigh of relief as he chipped Arsenal’s own slightly dubious penalty down the middle of the Burnley goal and added a much welcomed six points to his score. With most of us seemingly carrying him as captain this week, that amounted to an extra 12 points, and an above average total in the 60’s, and in some cases, the 70’s.
The highest of which was Shoelace Untied who hit 77 points. Sanchez’s 16 point contribution was backed up by 34 points from their defence, courtesy of a clean sheet each from Cesar Azpilicueta, Gareth McAuley and Seamus Coleman. McAuley and Coleman also added an asisst and a goal and top bonus marks. Coleman ended up as player of the week as the Everton bandwagon gathered pace. They’re the latest team to change to three at the back giving us five of the Everton defence scoring meaningful points. Three consecutive clean sheets has promoted Coleman into the top table of defenders with Leighton Baines two positions behind. Given the kind run of fixtures on the horizon for Everton, their totals and their stock should continue to rise.
Average weeks for our top three enabled the chasing pack to close the gap a little. There’s an average of 10 points separating each team in the top seven before the placings concertina with 30 points separating the next 12 teams. We’ve an FA Cup break next weekend, but then an instant set of midweek fixtures to complete February. For the record, the manager of the month table looks like this…
Liverpool v Swansea Bournemouth v Watford Crystal Palace v Everton Middlesbrough v West Ham Stoke v Man Utd West Brom v Sunderland Man City v Spurs Southampton v Leicester Arsenal v Burnley Chelsea v Hull
We all want Diego Costa to play – that is, those of us who decided to give him another week to calm down and realise the error of his ways. It’s a home tie against Hull. There’s rich pickings there. Alternatively it gives you a nice chunk of money with which to redesign your squad. The pounds have been dropping off Costa since his suspension four gameweeks ago. Close to 700,000 managers decided not to keep him and his value fell by £0.3 million. With the news breaking on Saturday morning of his latest indiscretion nearly another 300,000 managers decided enough was enough. And it had all been going so well. His value is down to £10.6 million from a season high £11 million. It seems destined to tumble further and yet whatever your left with annoyingly isn’t enough to purchase Zlatan or Kane. You can buy every other striker in the game – just not the two you really, really want.
The next best affordable option is Jermain Defoe. Sunderland may go down this season, but that doesn’t rule Defoe out of being a prized fantasy asset. He scored a third of Sunderland’s goals last season and he’s got just over half of them so far this season. If his scoring continues at the same rate he’s going to end up with at least 20.
Romelu Lukaku is the pound for pound option. At £9.6 million it wouldn’t leave you with much to invest elsewhere, but it may guarantee you a lot of goals. Lukaku’s form has been Kane like in it’s inconsistency. Scoring in patches in between looking bored. But – Everton arguably have the best run of fixtures, and should be buoyant off the back of their dismantling of Manchester City.
Liverpool haven’t had a great January, but this Swansea team love conceding. And they’re very good at it. This should be the game where the Reds get back to winning ways. Liverpool players have permanently featured on the first page of the FPL form charts. Not at the moment though. Lots of managers need Firmino, Lallana and Coutinho to start finding the net again.
Of course, Chelsea are an obvious clean sheet bet. Captain Alonso again. And always bear in mind Burnley’s shocking away form. They’ve scored just three goals on their travels. So Arsenal defenders should come into the reckoning – and they could be keepers with a fairly kind run of fixtures on the horizon.
Atletico Chappers score 77 points this week to claim the manager of the week prize. They were 18th only a fortnight ago, but have now risen to 5th, which goes to show that with a couple of good scores under your belt there are still opportunities to climb this league. Chappers sit at the top of that congested middle order which sees just 37 points separate 19 places. Chappers brought in Sergio Aguero in gameweek 20 to replace Romelu Lukaku, which was a brave move, given Lukaku’s form up until that point. Aguero has since scored 26 points to Lukaku’s nine. An inspired transfer.
On Sunday evening we had new leaders. Golden Boys have had a poor month, sitting only 33rd in the January table. After the Sunday games both Your Ad Here and FC Caligula had overtaken them at the top of the table. Not for the first time this season Ashley Williams added vital points to Golden Boys’ score to reclaim their place at the summit. Williams’ goal, clean sheet and bonuses totalled 15 points. Williams scored three consecutive 9 point scores in December with similar effect. The gap at the top was 27 points last week. It’s now down to nine. Could it be time for the Golden Boys to finally play a wildcard?
It was another week in which the old reliables of the first half of the season failed to deliver. Best epitomised by Riyad Mahrez, who missed his second penalty of the season. It’s five weeks of nothingness now from the Algerian. But whereas Leicester are still maintaining a title challenge of sorts, Watford’s bubble may have burst. And with it the scoring run of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. We appear to be in the middle of a changing of the guard as far as form players are concerned. And it’s happened pretty much as the first half of the season has finished and the second half has started. Only Mesut Ozil, of those previous big hitters, occupies a place on the first page of form players. Maybe we’ll all be playing those wildcards a lot sooner than we thought.
Player of the week – Charlie Daniels – 18 points. Bournemouth’s full backs are definitely worth a look at the moment.
Bargain of the week – Matt Targett – 11 points. From nowhere. Two consecutive double figure scores. And for £3.7 million.
Donkey of the week – Scott Dann – 0 points. Another bubble burst?