The New Years Day games saw all teams in action once more and – somewhat surprisingly – a distinct lack of rotation in the main. A couple of managerial casualties meant Crystal Palace, West Brom & Newcastle all in the hands of caretakers, but this should resolve itself before gameweek 21. There were plenty of goals scored, so let’s take a look at who made the team of the week.
Southampton have made it through their nightmare run of fixtures relatively unscathed, and although a home win over Arsenal shouldn’t have surprised people, the fact the Gunners couldn’t score was a bit strange. This was down to England’s Number One in waiting standing firm. Fraser Forster brought home 8 points for those managers who stuck with him during his lean spell.
Aston Villa chalked up their second consecutive goalless draw, this time at home to Palace, and although he hasn’t really returned many fantasy points yet, Jores Okore has been a name on my Watchlist for a few weeks now. 9 points courtesy of the clean sheet and maximum bonus points was rewarded for another good performance from him. Priced at £4.3m and owned by 0.2% of managers, he would be a useful addition to your squad.
It’s not often a defender can concede two goals and STILL make the team of the week! That’s exactly what Man City’s Gael Clichy managed though, picking up all 3 bonus points as a reward for his two assists in the 3-2 win over Sunderland. While still a rotation risk, if he keeps providing attacking rewards, he may yet keep his place ahead of Kolorov during City home games.
Completing the back three we have Tottenham’s Danny Rose. Twitter was full of moans and groans from Spurs fans when the teamsheet was released. It appears young Danny isn’t the most popular player amongst his own fans. However, they were soon singing his praises as a goal and an assist in the stunning 5-3 victory over London rivals and league champion wannabes Chelsea earned his side 3 points, and fantasy managers 11 points.
Scoring his first goal of a poor season so far, both individually and for his club, was Hull City’s Ahmed Elmohamady. To be fair he has played well in the last few games, and he got his reward in the 2-0 win over an increasingly desperate looking Everton. 11 points for the 1.1% of managers who own him, but I’d predict he was likely on their bench for this fixture.
It was only a few days ago I took to Twitter to suggest that Southampton’s Dusan Tadic was a one game wonder. His 23 point haul in the 8-0 demolition of Sunderland back in gameweek 8 was his last meaningful contribution. I guess it was to be expected that he’d ram my words down my throat, as he provided a man of the match performance and a goal in the win over Arsenal. 11 points for the managers who didn’t transfer him out during his poor run. It’s Man Utd away next for the Saints, but then they have a very favourable run coming up.
With his second goal in two games, the ginger Pirlo makes the dream team. Former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback, who made the brave decision to swap the red and white stripes of the Black Cats, for the black and white stripes of Newcastle, also added an assist. It wasn’t enough to win the game as Burnley drew 3-3, but it was enough to earn Colback 13 points as the maximum 3 bonus points were added to his total.
Steven Gerrard is has announced his decision to leave Liverpool and it looks as though he is heading to the MLS. Listening to the radio Friday morning, you would have thought he had died and commentators were reading his obituary. I almost forgot that he scored twice New Years Day, and scored 14 points for his fantasy owners. However, Liverpool and Gerrard did slip up and let Leicester leave Anfield with a creditable 2-2 draw. I’m guessing he will signed by an MLS club, and promptly be loaned to Man City next season…
The highest scoring midfielder this week was Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli. With his 7th goal of the season, and 4th and 5th assists, he racked up 15 points in the win over Chelsea. Despite a blip between gameweeks 12-16 when he was rested or used as a sub, he is still one of the season’s more consistent points returners.
Finally Man City get a recognised forward back in their line-up, and he responds by getting himself a spot in the weekly dream team. Stevan Jovetic may not be on the same level as Aguero, but a goal, an assist and 2 bonus points made it an 11 point total this week. Bearing in mind this was his 5th goal in 11 league appearances and he has no rivals for starts at present, he makes himself an attractive option for £7.8m.
Star man of the week, and the third Spurs player in the dream team, was without doubt Harry Kane. He destroyed Chelsea with his two goals and two assists. Along with maximum bonus points, it was only a yellow card that limited his points total to a mere 18. With most managers (myself included) relegating him to the bench this week, it is somewhat frustrating that his ownership percentage will sky-rocket between now and gameweek 21. At just £5.5m (but rising) can you afford NOT to own him?
After a a rapid fire festive programme, the Premier League took a short break this weekend for the FA Cup 3rd Round. The January Wildcard is now active, which gives you an opportunity to shift out players away on AFCON or Asian Cup duties, or just that deadwood you’ve been holding onto for a while now. The danger is that we see a return to the “template team” that was a feature of the first quarter of the season. Try and think outside the box a bit. For every Costa there is an Ings, for every Yaya a Fer, and for every Zabaleta a Clark…