By Michael Schlodder (ISN)
The Premier League has been getting more competitive with each and every season passing. When the days of the Top Four (Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea) have now expanded to the Top Six (Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur). Fantasy Premier League (FPL) has taken over as the highest entrants in any fantasy sports around the world, with FPL boasting over 5.5 million entrants. This article will cover the recent Premier League weekend musings and observations from a FPL perspective.
Cardiff City 0-5 Man. City
Peltier (£3.9m) started, but subbed injured. Man City wounded animal; breathtaking play. Gundogan (£5.5m) MOTM display, awesome goal and created heaps (including set pieces) in absence of D.Silva (£8.6m). Sterling (£11.0m) in very high gear – top of his game – not overpriced in my opinion. Aguero (£11.4m) clinical but subbed after an hour – Mahrez (£8.6m) replaced him and scored two excellent/very different types of goals. Sané (£9.2m) also could have had a haul. Class told after deadlock was broken.
Burnley 4-0 Bournemouth
An on-song Gudmundsson (£5.9m) makes Burnley so much better – he was brilliant. Lennon (£5.0m) understandably enjoyed playing against Francis (£4.4m). Brooks (£5.0m) was a threat, Ake (£5.0m) hit the bar, but Hart (£4.5m) was equal to all; assured performance from him. Burnley have a nice upcoming run.
Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
Arnold-Alexander (£5.1m) corner assist – Liverpool again defended excellently even without Gomez (£5.1m) and after Van Dijk (£6.0m) subbed with a rib injury. Salah (£12.9m) scored, put a great chance wide, impudent back-heel effort and offside goal. Another day in massive points. Shaqiri (£7.1m) all-action first half display…curiously subbed at the break. Robertson (£6.2m) very advanced and flashed volley over.
Brighton 1-2 Tottenham
Brighton strong down the left with March (£5.0m) and Knockaert (£5.5m) impressive – the latter missed a great chance, took his goal excellently and had an opportunity to level it at the death. Kane (£12.4m) converted a penalty emphatically but shot straight at the keeper late-on. Spurs below par, but both fullbacks – Rose (£8.6m) accurate assist and Trippier (£6.0m) as attacking as usual.
Leicester 3-1 Huddersfield
Vardy (£8.9m), Iheanacho (£5.9m) and Maddison (£6.7m) all played well and look viable – the latter was on the left and on set plays, scoring a cracking free kick goal. Vardy could have had even more of a haul – looks hungry. Leicester still porous; Depoitre (£5.3m) missed glorious chance – Huddersfield have not scored more than one goal in a game since February. Dismal.
Man. United 1-1 Wolves
Fun game. Wolves good value for the point; De Gea (£5.9m) several saves throughout. Jimenez (£5.5m) and Costa (£4.9m) both caused loads of problems. Fred (£5.7m) excellent goal from clever Pogba (£8.2m) assist, and decent effort from free kick, well saved by the superb Patricio (£4.5m). Moutino (£5.4m) scored quality equalizer; Wolves very impressive – not just work rate, but quality.
Fulham 1- Watford
Watford miles the better side for the majority – played positively and bullied Fulham. Gray (£6.0m) and Deeney (£6.1m) both impressive and gave the brittle Fulham defence nightmares – Hughes (£5.0m) and Pereyra (£6.3m) also threatening, and again Kabasele (£4.5m) could have scored. Fulham better after the break following the formation change – Mitrovic (£6.9m) took the goal well after no service for the first hour, had long ranger-well saved and hit the bar.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Newcastle United
Wow, poor game. FPL wise – the Palace defence again looks great with Sakho (£5.0m) (missing an absolute sitter) and Tomkins (£4.4m) both start. Wan-Bissaka (£4.2m) just a machine in points and still great value. Milivojevic (£6.3m) a couple decent set-pieces, but not much for Zaha (£7.0m) until the death (whipped just one wide) who cut a frustrated figure
West Ham United 0-0 Cheslsea
Chelsea, for the first time under Maurizio Sarri, have blinked. Their pristine record was checked across the capital, the visitors running aground on West Ham’s industry on a day when Hazard (£11.0m) flicks and darts into space did not quite come off, the monopoly of possession did not translate into drive through midfield, and the crosses lofted into the middle tended to find Kanté (£5.0m), at 5ft 6in, rather than the towering Giroud (£7.8m). Yarmolenko (£6.8m) miss was the most mind-boggling, but Antonio (£6.8m), standing in at centre-forward, might have scored twice around the half-hour mark.
Arsenal 2-0 Everton
Lacazette (£9.4m) scored a beauty, Aubameyang (£10.8m) made the points safe. Cech (£5.0m) was the star turn – making five saves in first half pushing his critics to the side for one week. Everton were more coherent in the first half, more threatening. Everton could curse Cech from the second minute, when he made his best save. Richarlison (£6.6m) – back in the team after suspension – was in the mood. He took a lovely touch, rolled away from Bellerín (£5.4m) and extended Cech while he would be denied again by the goalkeeper on 44 minutes. Everton could point to the Digne (£4.8m) free-kick that Cech tipped over and the Sigurdsson (£7.4m) pass that released Theo Walcott (£6.6m) in on goal. Cech was off his line to block.