It was another week in which benches played an important part. Jamie Vardy missed out again and now has a yellow flag next to his name amid rumours of a calf problem. Given it’s FA Cup weekend, there’s plenty of time for a recovery and it’s not time to panic. Most of us lucked out in one way or another in his absence. Commonplace was either Todd Cantwell or Jack Grealish coming into play from the bench – or a Liverpool midfielder being promoted to captain – OR BOTH. Game of Stones’ score improved by 18 points as a result of both Mane and Cantwell contributing more than expected.
Edgbaston won the week with 73 points. They benefited from a Sadio Mane vice captain pick while taking a standard Martin Kelly two-pointer to fill Vardy’s place. They had also held their wildcard until the final possible week and decided to jump on the Watford bandwagon now Nigel Pearson has got them playing. Christian Kabasele’s sending off and -1 point score didn’t matter too much alongside Gerard Deulefeu’s 12 point haul, supplementing other double figure totals from the aforementioned Mane and Cantwell, as well as Mo Salah.
Manager of the week – Edgbaston – Micheal Dinneen – 73 points
Player of the week – Mark Noble – West Ham United – 14 points
Bargain of the week – Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Arsenal – 13 points
Twat of the week – Diego Rico – Bournemouth – -1 points
The strange quirk of GW15 was the amount of points picked up by the bench fodder with the likes of Diego Rico, Leander Dendoncker and Martin Kelly all coming up trumps. And there weren’t many gambling on Tammy Abraham putting in an appearance either. He did. And he picked up 12 points. Rico was subbed before Palace scored and somehow scooped top bonus taking him to 9 points. Look at Game Of Stones. A respectable score of 66, which saw them leap into 3rd, could have been a week-winning score of 92, taking them to within touching distance of the leaders.
There is only one captain choice for double digit and regular 20+ point returns at the moment. Jamie Vardy seems capable of scoring against any opposition. He has become the first player to pass the 100 point barrier this season and with his next four fixtures being against bottom half teams in dreadful form, why not just set him up with the armband and leave it? He could quite conceivably return another 80 points by the end of that run. Looking for alternatives could cost you dearly regardless of who anybody else may be playing. Sadie Mane’s form and record against Palace tempted a few people this week. In the 82nd minute on Saturday, Palace equalised, wiping out Mane’s clean sheet point and putting his full bonus haul in jeopardy, while Vardy despatched his retaken penalty to assure his top bonus and kill Brighton off.
He’s no James Tarkowski, mind. The Burnley defender is the weekly top scorer for a second consecutive gameweek with a defender’s full house. If he makes it a hat trick, I’m retiring.
The Mane captain choice was favoured by our highest scoring manager this week. FTM had nine out of eleven players returning to post an 85 point score. It moves them up to third in the November manager of the month table. There could realistically be as many as 20 managers in the hunt for our latest prize. Not many points separate a lot of teams.
Manager of the week – FTM – Stu Smith – 85 points
Player of the week – James Tarkowski – Burnley – 17 points
Bargain of the week – John Fleck – Sheffield United – 13 points
Twat of the week – Simon Francis – Bournemouth – -3 points
…yet it didn’t really matter. I’ve not checked all 61 of us, but it may be that only King Ragg, our highest scorer, who picked Sadio Mane, achieved double figures with their armband. Raheem Sterling was the most popular choice – and why wouldn’t he be? Rested in midweek and up against a slow starting Wolves team just off the plane from Europa duty – and at the Etihad. That went well. More blanks for Salah, Kane and Aguero, a rare blank for Aubameyang and for those of us daring enough to opt for Teemu Pukki – well that party is probably over. So all in all, a good week to have a bad week. If you clambered over 50, you did well.
Manager of the week – Steven Darling – King Ragg – 62 points
Player of the week – Adama Traore – Wolverhampton Wanderers – 16 points
Bargain of the week – Wesley Moraes – Aston Villa – 14 points
Twat of the week – Seamus Coleman – Everton – -2 points
King Ragg achieved the highest total of the gameweek, having taken somewhat of a punt away from Man City and Liverpool and opting for Son Heung Min as their captain. They couldn’t gave picked a better player. Spurs’ South Korean striker outscored all of his contemporaries, hauling 16 points in their demolition of Crystal Palace. This is a Spurs side that haven’t looked completely at the races so far this season – and a player who is often rested after returning from international duty, so there was a definite element of risk. Ragg also had Sadio Mane and Tammy Abraham in their ranks. They plundered a further five goals between them.
Liverpool did what they were supposed to against Newcastle, although not without conceding and losing clean sheet points again. Those of us, and there were many, who hoped for a Manchester City goalfest, probably earned more points from their Norwich assets – providing they hadn’t benched them. It brings into question City’s potential going forward, although they’ve an awesome run of fixtures and surely should never be discounted. Mane over Salah though – that could be worth some serious consideration before their values move closer together.
Manager of the week – King Ragg – Steven Darling – 78 points
Player of the week – Son Heung-Min – Tottenham Hotspur – 16 points
Bargain of the week – Serge Aurier – Tottenham Hotspur – 14 points
Twat of the week – Patrick Van Aanholt – Crystal Palace – -2 points