Manager of the week – Kompany & Co – Dean Cripps – 79 points
It all hinged on having Sergio Aguero and making him captain this week. A lot of managers probably can’t afford to have both Kane and Aguero and the midfield they want. Kompany & Co have shoe horned both strikers in with a reduced midfield and this week it produced the highest weekly score. Such is the dominance of Kane over every other high priced striker in the game that Aguero doesn’t really get a look in. His worldwide ownership is half that of the Spurs man, yet he has a higher points per match ratio. With Gabriel Jesus injured, Aguero is guaranteed more match time and City’s run of fixtures look a hell of a lot easier than Spurs’ in the coming weeks. Maybe it’s time for a switch?
The Winnings R Mine, for one night only, completed their remarkable rise to the summit. Hornets took over again after Sunday’s match. And all of this with no Kane, no Salah, no Aguero, no Man City at all, a West Brom defender, a third choice keeper and £2 million in the bank. What a maverick. Unsurprisingly, they’re in with a chance of the January manager of the month prize. The table currently looks like this with one round of fixtures to go.
Chelsea’s defence have been ultra-reliable since gameweek 10 returning 10 clean sheets in 15 games. Marcos Alonso has been in among the goals and is somewhat of an indispensable fantasy asset if you can stomach forking out over £7 million on a defender. Victor Moses, much like last season, has been slightly behind Alonso in the scoring stakes, but finally got a double figure total on the board. It’s easy to balk at his price too, but consider that’s what you would have paid for him as a midfielder last season and he’s doing exactly the same job now. Still, none of us had him.
Bargain of the week – Federico Frenandez – 11 points
An unexpected win and clean sheet for Swansea against Liverpool. I’m pretty sure we were all expecting a nice total boost with the Monday night fixture. Whatever you were on after Sunday’s games, admit it, you were expecting another 20 or so points to be added by the end of Monday night. Fernandez’s assist to Mawson’s goal made it a good night for the Swansea defence all round. Lukasz Fabianski took the remaining bonus mark and sits third in the keeper table surpassing the 100 point mark at the same time as Ederson Moraes. The reason – he’s made over twice as many saves as the City keeper.
Twat of the week – Shane Duffy – -1 points
For being on the receiving end of a 4-0 hammering. Brighton haven’t won in a while, yet a smattering of 0-0 draws still makes their low priced defence worth considering. Duffy is one of only two Brighton players to have seen their value increase over the season and there’s a fairly friendly looking set of fixtures coming up.
Jetty City, for the second consecutive week, win manager of the week. They were the only team to manage a 50+ score during the drab midweek. This weekend they almost hit a century. Had they played their perfect XI or played their bench boost they’d have got past the 100 point mark and achieved the highest weekly score.
They were one of the few teams who went with a Lukaku/Defoe double pronged attack, captaining the Belgian, and picking up 55 points from their strike force along. That’s more points from two players than most teams managed with their full XI – the teams that unluckily had neither striker in their line up. There were plenty of teams carrying Lukaku, most notably our top two, Aquamar and When Harry Met Alli, who both handed him the armband.
Aquamar were involved in the biggest tie of the preliminary round of the Buckets Cup, coming up against sixth placed Kebab Eaters United and triumphing 71-64. It’s unlucky on Kebab Eaters who were the second highest scoring losers of the round. Shoelace crept through scoring only 35 points to Bazza 28 United’s 30. No Fuchs Given and 4 Fuchs Ake’s victories have set up a Fuchs derby in the first round proper, whilst the closest tie of the round saw Hedgehog’s beat Uriah’s on goals scored, 5 to 4 – Lukaku the difference again. All results and revised first round draw are on the Buckets Cup page.
Player of the week – Romelu Lukaku – 21 points. Cue kneejerk Lukaku transferring across the board.
Bargain of the week – Lamine Kone – 13 points. Palace doomed.
Donkey of the week – Jeff Hendrick – -2 points. He lasted six minutes.
Chelsea v Arsenal Crystal Palace v Sunderland Everton v Bournemouth Hull v Liverpool Southampton v West Ham Watford v Burnley West Brom v Stoke Spurs v Middlesbrough Man City v Swansea Leicester v Man Utd
Its cup time. The preliminary round and first round proper of the Buckets Cup is drawn and on the Buckets Cup page. Check out who you’ve got and work out how to beat them. There’s a £50 prize for the winners, and this year, for the first time, a runners up prize of £20. If you’ve had your lot with the league, put you’re efforts into the cup. To remind you, you can make as many transfers as you want – if you want to approach it like that. It’ll ruin your league season, but your weekly points score is what counts in the cup competition.
We’ll be hoping for better returns than the midweek debacle. It can’t get any worse. The bankers didn’t come in. Spurs and Manchester United follow up games they definitely should have won with games they definitely should win. Chelsea defender-lovers might have to have another week off, coming up against Alexis Sanchez, who has racked up attacking points in nine out of the last ten gameweeks.
In the same period Sergio Aguero has contributed one goal. It’d be a brave move to assume that Pep is finished with him and Gabriel Jesus is their new main man, as impressive as his debut display was against West Ham. Retaining Aguero or bringing in Jesus might be doubly foolish given City’s blank week in a gameweek 26…
…and likely blank week in gameweek 28 given the favourable draw all the Prem teams have received for the 5th round of the cup. It’s very possible that gameweek 28 could consist of just three fixtures. Bournemouth v West Ham, Everton v West Brom and Hull v Swansea will definitely take place. The rest may not. The 5th round takes place after gameweek 25, giving you gameweeks 26 and 27 to adjust your teams as best you can.
We have two scores above a hundred this week in a high scoring week all round. Release The Hounds hit 105 points with only one player, Nathaniel Clyne, scoring nothing other than their appearance points. The front six scored 79 points between them, which included eight goals. I’m not sure what Kevin De Bruyne was doing as captain, but having Dele Alli as vice certainly helped.
Weekly winners however are The Hardy Boys who, with 116 points, have guaranteed their bye through to the first round of the cup and risen four places in the league. They are now within touching distance of the mid table scrum. Hardy Boys were helped by playing their bench boost to the tune of 13 extra points. The rest was made up largely from scoring seven goals and keeping five clean sheets.
It was a week on which most of the old faithful could be relied upon. All of the top seven teams kept a clean sheet. Ten teams in all didn’t concede. Most Buckets teams were able to keep at least three clean sheets. And at the other end Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Ross Barkley all netted twice. Barkley’s status as a midfielder edged him ahead of his rivals to collect the player of the week award.
Our top three have been pegged back a little further. The 49 point gap between fourth and first last week is now down to 24. A 49 point gap now encompasses the whole of he top 10. FC Caligula have finally dismounted Golden Boys from the top spot, but they and Your Ad Here should be looking over their shoulders. Atletico Chappers, Bisciutmen and Rocky B Bauer have all moved within striking distance.
Player of the week – Ross Barkley – 16 points. His second award.
Bargain of the week – Fraser Foster – 12 points. Four games back from injury – four clean sheets.
Donkey of the week – Jamaal Lascelles – -3 points. Classic defender’s bad week – three conceded and sent off into the bargain.
Goal of the week – Jamie Vardy. His third nomination, and Leicester’s fifth.
02 Feb 19:45 Arsenal v Southampton
02 Feb 19:45 Leicester v Liverpool
02 Feb 19:45 Norwich v Spurs
02 Feb 19:45 Sunderland v Man City
02 Feb 19:45 West Ham v Aston Villa
02 Feb 20:00 Crystal Palace v Bournemouth
02 Feb 20:00 Man Utd v Stoke
02 Feb 20:00 West Brom v Swansea
03 Feb 19:45 Everton v Newcastle
03 Feb 19:45 Watford v Chelsea
February begins with the end of the transfer window and some midweekers. It ends with our first reduced gameweek. Only 16 teams will compete in gameweek 27 due to the Rumbelows Cup Final between City and Liverpool. As well as the finalists, Newcastle and Everton miss a week. As yet, those games are unscheduled, but look out for some upcoming double gameweeks – probably sometime in March or April.
You may have noticed Sergio piling on the pounds again. It hasn’t taken long, but there has been a rush on the Argentinian since his return to the starting XI. And with good reason if you look at the stats for his last four appearances. For a player that’s only completed four 90 minute appearances in the league all season, it shows how highly thought of among fantasy managers he is. His value to has increased by half a million from it’s original starting price. There’s a good chance he’ll add to his goals total against a Sunderland side who haven’t kept a clean sheet since November.
And you can afford it. Well you’ve got a good chance if you’ve got Kevin De Bruyne in your team. The Belgian looks set to miss at least two months of the season after picking up a knee injury in the Milk Cup semi final victory over Everton last week. A little bit of tinkering is required to make way for Aguero, but in this season of the bargain, your cheaper midfield options are plentiful.
All of the new signings have been assigned prices. The most expensive signing will actually cost you £13 million less than his real life fee. Gianelli Umbula suffers from being a holding midfielder, so is unlikely to feature too highly on many fantasy radars. Oumar Niasse will cost you £7 million, but will probably only play second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku at Everton. Seydou Doumbia may be an instant starter in place of the misfiring Aleksander Mitrovic at Newcastle. A flying start could cement a place in his new team’s line up and could be a tempter in fantasy world. Leroy Fer posted good returns for a £5 million midfielder in his QPR days. His 25 yarders found the target a little more regularly than Andros Townsend’s – another who could make an instant first team appearance in black and white. Another likely starter could be Wahbi Khazri. He could be the attacking midfielder Sunderland have needed since the season started. Alexandre Pato will probably have to work his way into the Chelsea starting XI. Can you see him being anything other than an expensive gamble who’ll be back in Brazil in August? And Emmanuel Adebayor could go either way. Surely his experience is a better bet than the group of third choice strikers Palace are relying on at the moment?
All of these moves were outshone by the news that Pep Guardiola will succeed Manuel Pellegrini as City manager from next season. It’ll be interesting to see how the FPL administration deal with the pricing of Lionel Messi when he rocks up in August.