Gameweek 36 Review – Double Gameweek Delivery

Nikica Jelavic by Steindy at Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Jelavic continued his hot streak with a brace against Fulham.

All teams have played one game of the big double Gameweek and already some of the touted double players have delivered. The double Gameweek teams play again tonight and tomorrow, so lets take a look at how the Gameweek has unfolded.

Notable Fantasy Performances

The Title Race

Manchester City took the lead in the title race with a convincing 1 – 0 win over Manchester United at home. In a game where City’s defence starred it was fitting that the Fantasy bonus points were distributed between Kompany (plus the goal), Zabaleta, and Clichy.

City are favorites to win although they face a tough game away from home against Newcastle in their next game.

The Double Gameweek Teams

Jelavic continued his hot streak with a brace against travel weary Fulham. Everton won 4 – 0 where, in addition to Jelavic, Pienaar and Fellaini were instrumental. The Everton defence kept a clean sheet much to the joy of the almost 40.000 Fantasy managers who brought him in.

Liverpool’s defence also deliver a clean sheet, their first since the start of February. However, it was the talented Suarez who stole the headlines with a sublime hattrick amassing 17 Fantasy points with a game left in the Gameweek. Johnson and Enrique stole bonus points.

Chelsea demolished QPR with another game winning performance from a maligned striker. Torres grabbed his first hattrick for Chelsea, partly thanks to the impressive Mata who provided four assists in the 6 – 1 win for the home team. Terry, Ramires, and Sturridge also picked up valuable Fantasy points with assists or goals.

Tottenham’s Van der Vaart returned to his scoring ways and Walker struck as sweet a free kick as you’ll see this season in Tottenham’s 2 – 0 win over Blackburn to keep the London team’s dream of Champions League football alive. Providing the assists for the goals were their pair of pacy wingers, Bale and Lennon.

Bolton’s Petrov registered an assist for one of two K. Davies goals in their 2 – 2 draw with Sunderland. McClean and Bendtner scored for the home team from Sessegnon and Colback assists.

Crouch scored from an Etherington assist but it was Van Persie who stole three bonus points with his equalizer for Arsenal in their 1 – 1 draw against Stoke.

Other Results

Swansea and Wolves played out an amazing 4 – 4 draw that provided seven different goalscorers and seven assisters. Considering his prowess in front of goal, Sigurdsson single assist was a surprise. Orlandi and Dyer were the star performers for Swansea, both registering BAGs (Bonus, Assist, Goal) while Jarvis bagged a brace for the relegated Wolves.

Predictably, West Brom and Aston Villa played out a scoreless draw.

Less predictable was Wigan’s destruction of Champions League chasing Newcastle. Moses scored two and both Maloney and Di Santo delivered BAGs in the Latics’ emphatic 4 – 0 win.

Gameweek 36 Captain Picks

From Gameweek 25 onwards, I’m documenting whether I’m passing the test with my captain picks. If a captain pick scores over three points in the Gameweek it is considered a success and I am also noting double digit Gameweek scores.

In the Friday Foreplay for Gameweek 36 I recommended Jelavic, Cisse, and Bale as the captain picks and all of them delivered double digit Gameweeks.

Quality of captain picks from Gameweek 25 onwards:

  • Good captain picks: 20/33
  • Double digit captains: 11/33


Any comments on the round? How did your team do? Did you choose the right captain?

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 25

Wayne Rooney on fire by Gordon Flood at Flickr. Licence: CC BY 2.0.

Following his brace against Chelsea, Wayne Rooney is a captain pick for Gameweek 25.

We prepare for Gameweek 25 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.

Captain Picks

Basing the captain picks on the thoughts below we arrive at:

  1. Rooney: Rooney has a history of going through patches of goal scoring form and patches of droughts. Following his brace against Chelsea I’m predicting it’s the start of a new run. United always score at home, averaging a little under three goals per game. Rooney accounts for a high percentage of United’s league goals (as shown on Chris Glover’s excellent Captain Data graph) and United could exploit the absence of Enrique; a Valencia cross to a Rooney goal wouldn’t surprise me. Add to the fact that United will be firing on all cylinders to avenge the FA cup defeat and I foresee a possible big week for United’s talisman.
  2. Bale: Is facing a Newcastle team that has been prone to defensive lapses since the loss of S. Taylor to injury. Since Taylor’s injury in Gameweek 13 Newcastle have conceded three or more goals in five of the last twelve games. Tottenham score an average of two goals per game at home and Bale plays a major part in Tottenham’s attack. Expect him to be heavily involved and he is a viable captain’s pick.
  3. Dempsey: Fulham has a poor record away from home. However, the Cottagers are different beast at home, scoring over 1.8 goals per game at home versus a little under 0.6 goals per away game. Stoke concede almost two goals per game away from home, leading to the conclusion that Fulham could put several goals past the Stoke defence on Saturday. Dempsey is Fulham’s most potent attacking force, sitting on 126 points with four goals in his last three.

Big Hitters

Despite last weeks amazing 23 point return, three factors stop me from captaining Van Persie this Gameweek. First, Arsenal play away from home. Second, the risk of Wenger resting RvP for the midweek Champions League game against Milan. Third, RvP faces a Sunderland team still riding high on the O’Neill wave; Sunderland have only conceded four goals in the last nine games. Still, play him if you have him and you wouldn’t be out of your mind captaining him. Many would even say that I’m bonkers for suggesting he isn’t a captain’s choice for the Gameweek.

Manchester City have scored 26 goals away from home this season, a little over 2.1 goals per game. The attacking trio of Aguero, Dzeko, and Silva are therefore great plays in every game. I rate Rooney, Bale, and Dempsey as better captain picks this Gameweek but as with RvP, captaining any of the aforementioned players is also a decent punt.

Sessegnon has benefited from O’Neill’s arrival by being moved in the middle, behind the striker. He’s on a great run of form, with seven of the last eight Gameweeks returning over four Fantasy points. Although Arsenal’s defence has improved lately, they have still conceded in four out of the last five games.

Ba’s comeback from the African Cup of Nations delivered an instant return, with a well taken goal against Aston Villa. He has shown that he scores in the big games (e.g. goals against Manchester United) and scored against Tottenham in October. If Newcastle score, Ba is likely to benefit.

Other strong plays include:

  • McClean’s rise to prominence has been as surprising as a relaxed Tiziano Crudeli. He’s cheap, Fantasy wise, and an exciting fifth midfielder. I would rate Sessegnon as the better long term buy as a third or fourth midfielder but McClean isn’t a major step down.
  • Zamora’s started his QPR career with a goal, albeit in a defeat to Wolves. His last four games include three goals, three assists, and five bonus points. He faces a Blackburn defence that hasn’t kept a clean sheet all season and should be good for a goal or two.
  • Valencia could cause damage on the right wing for United. He’s United’s in form winger and has forged a valuable understanding with Rooney that has delivered many a goal.

Clean Sheets

With the top eight teams either playing away from home (City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool) or have difficult fixtures (United, Tottenham, Sunderland) there is not much to chose from in the clean sheet department. I only feel comfortable predicting two clean sheets this Gameweek.

  • Fulham face Stoke at home. Both teams play better when at home so Fulham should have the edge. Also, Stoke have only scored eight goals away from home all season. Kelly is Fulham’s cheapest defender and a decent value play this Gameweek.
  • Swansea haven’t kept a clean sheet in four games but a home game against Norwich is a good shout for the next one. The Swans will dominate possession and try to deny Norwich the opportunity to attack. Caulker is the cheapest access to the Swansea defence, and is a budget buy at £4.0.

Taking a Punt

  • Yakubu returns for Blackburn that face QPR at home. He is deadly in front of goal, with twelve goals this season. Despite Blackburn’s precarious league position, they have been scoring over a goal per game at average.
  • Fletcher is pretty much the only ownable Wolves player at the moment. He has a great scoring record for Wolves this season (nine in eighteen) and is the likeliest home player to score against West Brom.
  • Having patiently waited for his opportunity this season, Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered when called upon at Arsenal. He’s fast, strong, skillful, and can deliver dangerous key passes. He’s only 18 so he’s susceptible to being rotated by Wenger to control his exposure. But the way he terrorized Blackburn in the last game, I would venture a guess that he will start against Sunderland.
  • Sigurdsson is a young attacking midfielder that has delivered a goal, three assists, and three bonus points in his four games for Swansea. He moved on loan from Hoffenheim. At £5.0, he’s benchable when Swansea have difficult fixtures. This doesn’t apply this Gameweek, as the Swans welcome Norwich to Wales.

Friday Foreplay (Tuesday Edition) – Gameweek 23

Clint Dempsey by 2O at Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Vincent Kompany returns from suspension for Manchester City

We prepare for Gameweek 23 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay (Tuesday Edition) by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.

Captain Picks

Basing the captain picks on the thoughts below we arrive at:

  1. Van Persie: Even with the away game he sits at the top of the list, mainly because of Arsenal’s dependence on his goals.
  2. Rooney: Has been playing well, even if he hasn’t been involved in United’s goals. Watch out for reports whether he recovers from ankle injury.
  3. Bale: Explosive in his new central role for Tottenham and I’m gambling he’ll outscore Van der Vaart yet again this Gameweek.
  4. Differential: Despite his hattrick last Gameweek, few will captain Dempsey this Gameweek. He has two recent hattricks and the shooting statistics to back the selection.

Big Hitters

Robin van Persie’s is the current king of the Fantasy Premier League, having outscored the second highest player (Silva) by 28 points. He leads the league in shots, with the total of 80, and will add to the tally away at Bolton. Bolton have a horrible home game record and RvP is likely to capitalize. Anyone betting against RvP should better have a good reason and be chasing in the mini-league.

A stuttering Stoke team is ideal for Rooney to start a new scoring streak. He has taken the responsibility for much of United’s creative play against the tougher teams which has meant that he has dropped back to midfield. Missing the Liverpool FA Cup loss, he will be fresh to inflict pain at home. Valencia is always the best bet for a United assist and is their in-form player.

Bale has been consistent from Gameweek 10 onwards, scoring seven goals and delivering eight assists. He has outscored both Van der Vaart and Adebayor, who haven’t scored since Gameweeks 19 and 17, respectively.

Everton are always a tough nut to crack so I would stay away from captaining Manchester City players this Gameweek. That being said, if you have any of Silva, Aguero, or Dzeko, you play them. Silva is Mr. Consistent and Aguero is City’s best bet for an explosive Gameweek.

Other strong plays include:

  • Dempsey, following his double hattricks in recent weeks. Fulham, historically much stronger at home, welcome an inconsistent West Brom to Craven Cottage.
  • Sessegnon has blossomed into his new attacking role under O’Neill and is currently the FPL’s in-form player (apart from N. Dyer). Sunderland should score at home against Norwich and Sessegnon is the most likely player to be involved.

Clean Sheets

With both Manchester teams, Swansea, and Tottenham all playing at home the clean sheet picks are rather obvious this Gameweek.

  • Manchester United welcome Stoke to Old Trafford. Despite Evans and Smalling sometimes being troubled by route one strikers United is a good bet for a clean sheet. Evans is a steal at £4.5.
  • Manchester City play at home against an Everton team that can’t score this season. City welcome Kompany back after his suspension.
  • Tottenham is defending better this season than I expected, having already registered six clean sheets at home. Despite his mistake against Manchester City, I still rate King, priced at £4.5, as their best defender.
  • Swansea is the defensive surprise package of the season, with goalkeeper Vorm hogging the headlines with some outstanding performances. Statistically, they are likely to keep a clean sheet against Chelsea.

Taking a Punt

  • Welbeck has scored in consecutive Premier League games and seems to be Ferguson’s preferred strike partner for Rooney. He provides cheap access to United’s attack. For the defence, Lindegaard is a budget option for goal.
  • Everyone and their grandma has been touting McClean as a budget pick from the Sunderland midfield. Count me in.
  • With Dempsey hogging the headlines, many missed Zamora’s excellent performance against Newcastle. He scored and provided three assists in addition to collecting two bonus points. He has been in and out of the first team, reportedly because of a rift (denied by Jol), and is therefore a punt.
  • West Brom’s Morrison takes his fair share of shots and should, statistically, be rewarded more often with Fantasy points.

Current Form

With the second part of the season upon us we should remember to evaluate teams and players based on current form and numbers. Remember that early season success isn’t a perfect indicator for success later in the season.

Remember Hull and Blackpool?

Some players have overdelivered and will regress to their true potential while others will finally deliver in the latter stages of the season. Walter’s of Stoke has worse stats than his points indicate, while players like Suarez could explode in the latter part of the season.

Who do you predict will decline and improve in the latter part of the season?

Gameweek 22 Review – Dempsey the Hattrick Hero

Clint Dempsey by 2O at Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Dempsey the hattrick hero

The Manchester duopoly was secured with City winning in dramatic fashion at Etihad Stadium while United won away at the Emirates. The wins underline the the Manchester dominance with it looking likely that City and United will battle for the title.

Tottenham acquitted themselves well and Arsenal’s defensive problems were their undoing as United targeted the fullbacks.

Analyzing the Fantasy impact of the gameweek, we look at notable performances, possible punts, and players out of sorts.

Notable Performances

Man of the weekend, Dempsey, registered a hattrick in Fulham’s 5 – 2 mauling of Newcastle. Zamora produced a strong display, scoring and netting three assists. Also in on the action where Murphy, Duff, and A. Johnson. Despite the loss, Ben Arfa scored and assisted and was Newcastle’s only bright light of the weekend.

Manchester City’s Balotelli came on as a substitute and won the game in the last minute of injury time with a self-earned penalty. Silva shone again, assisting a lively Nasri, while Lescott latched onto a Dzeko flick. Bale was Tottenham’s man of the match with a superb goal and Defoe capitalized on Savic’s mistake before missing an open goal in injury time to secure the points for Tottenham.

Despite Fantasy-wonder Van Persie equalizing from an Oxlade-Chamberlain assist, Arsenal lost 1 – 2 to a man of the match Valencia goal and assist, who registered a BAG (Bonus, Assist, Goal) Gameweek. Assisted by Giggs in the first half, he turned provider with a wonderful slaloming run and interplay, setting up the winning goal for Welbeck.

Sessegnon, a major Fantasy hype recently, proved his worth with an emphatic first half finish and second half assist to an equally impressive Gardner strike. Another hyped up prospect, McClean, provided Sessegnon with the assist. Mignolet registered a clean sheet, only one of three this Gameweek.

Helguson scored and missed a penalty in QPR’s 3 – 1 victory over Wigan. Rodallega scored an impressive set-piece and Al-Habsi again proved his worth, both in reality and in Fantasy terms, with an excellent penalty save. With Wright-Phillips and Barton assisting (Barton also picked up bonus points), QPR could be worth investment with an excellent run of fixtures in their next six games. However, Mark Hughes is said to be trying to recruit new faces so Fantasy purchases are a risk, especially QPR’s front line.

Robbie Keane was Aston Villa’s hero in their 2 – 3 away victory at the Molineux. Grabbing a game-winning brace for the maximum bonus points, he supplemented Bent’s goal to punish Henry’s red card.

Bolton supplied the shock result of the weekend, dispatching Liverpool with ease. This season is turning out to be a peach for strange and surprising results. I could have guessed trouble for Liverpool scoring, considering their lack of end product, but the lack of fight in the squad must be distressing for Dalglish. N’Gog outshone Carroll, despite both providing assists, for M. Davies and Bellamy, respectively.

Nothing much of note happened in the Norwich – Chelsea scoreless draw, with the major standout being Norwich’s first clean sheet of the season. Ruddy had an excellent game, making some spectacular saves. Norwich were a bit lucky and will not keep many more clean sheets with that kind of defensive display.

Also producing this gameweek:

  • Eagles provided an assist for an excellent Reo-Coker in Bolton’s victory. Neither are that exciting as Fantasy prospects but will be on the radar should Bolton stage a comeback this season.
  • Giggs supplied the cross for Valencia’s goal.
  • Dorrans rewarded Hodgson with the winning goal in West Brom’s victory over Stoke.

Keep an eye out for…

  • …Buzsaky, who scored in his second start for Mark Hughes’s QPR as well as registering maximum bonus points. Priced at only £4.4, he is another cheap option in midfield to accommodate your RvP’s and Silva’s.
  • …Morrison scored with a long-range effort and is, statistically considering shots per target, a great Fantasy prospect.

Out of Sorts

  • Walters missed a penalty for Stoke in their 1 – 2 loss to West Brom. Despite his upcoming home games, there are more exciting midfielders in his price range (e.g. Sessegnon). Walters has more goals than his shots per game tell us he should have, indicating that the latter part of the season is likely to return less rewards for his owners. I have him and am considering selling, despite the upcoming fixtures.

Heads Up

Next weekend is FA Cup weekend so the next Premier League Gameweek will be played on Tuesday the 31st of January and Wednesday 1st of February. This is the last Gameweek to play the January wildcard so don’t forget to use it.