CHRISTIAN BENTEKE DESERVES SOME RESPECT
There was only one upset last gameweek. Looking at the schedule before the weekend, you may not have been able to guess, but when you see which club pulled off the upset, you probably won’t be surprised.
Liverpool lost at home to none other than Aston Villa. It wasn’t close, either. The Villans were up by three goals before the Reds got one back near the end for a 3-1 final. Luis Suarez couldn’t get anything going and has not scored in four straight starts. Liverpool has been a major disappointment once again this season, currently in 12th place on the table. They brought in former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers and he hasn’t been able to do much.
Before that match, Villa was one of the worst road clubs in the Premier League but they took it to Liverpool at Anfield. Once again, they were led by two of their newer players, Brett Holman (two assists) and Christian Benteke (two goals, one assist). Being on Villa, each of them is very cheap. Benteke has been a major spark this year, with five goals and three assists.
Other than that match, everything went as planned… for half of the clubs at least.
Man City won convincingly at Newcastle. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, Carlos Tevez was not one of the players who found the score sheet. In fact, six different players scored and/or assisted for City in their 3-1 win. Demba Ba, as usual, got one back for Newcastle.
Man United also won 3-1 over Sunderland in dominating fashion. Robin van Persie led the way with a goal and assist, while Wayne Rooney also found the back of the net.
Norwich City extended their unbeaten league streak to 10 games (second longest in the five major European leagues, behind Barcelona) with a nice win over Wigan. It was Robert Snodgrass who propelled them a week ago, but two other midfielders came through this week. Wesley Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington both scored, and assisted each other’s goals.
This next match may have been somewhat of a surprise, but it had to happen at some point. QPR grabbed their first win of the campaign (17th match) over Fulham, who continues to find trouble away from home. Adel Taarabt recorded a brace and is starting to play better in his second season in the Premier League.
Stoke City grabbed a second half goal against Everton in the midst of the Marouane Fellaini headbutt incident. He’s already been suspended for three matches so it’s safe to get him off your roster, as he may even be sent out in the next transfer period. The days of Fellaini being a top Fantasy midfielder are slowly fading.
Those matches summed up Saturday, which saw no clean sheets. Fortunately, Sunday only saw one total goal from four clubs. Good for your Fantasy defense, bad for anyone watching.
As Swansea aimed for a 0-0 draw, Tottenham pushed all match. It didn’t work out for the Swans in the end, after Jan Vertonghen headed in a Kyle Walker cross. The win for Spurs came on the heels of their 1-2 loss at Everton after they allowed two goals in stoppage time.
West Brom and West Ham played to a 0-0 draw. Boaz Myhill and Jussi Jaaskelainen claimed the clean sheets. The Baggies now have one point in their last four matches.
If you like goals, the most exciting game came on Monday night with Arsenal winning at Reading, 5-2. They weren’t amazing goals, as it was more of a bad defensive display on both ends, but nevertheless, goals are goals. Santi Cazorla led all players with a ridiculous 23 Fantasy points on a hat trick and one assist. Lukas Podolski also helped owners with two assists and a goal.
We’re one Gameweek away from the midway point of the campaign, which means this is the last game in which clubs will be facing a team they previously haven’t played (excluding Chelsea/Southampton, who had last week’s game rescheduled).
With that it should be easier to pick your captain. Also, it’s that time of the year when there are a ton of matches.
Starting this weekend, most clubs will have four matches in a matter of 11 or 12 days. That’s a lot of minutes and a lot of tired legs. You’ll need to update your squad and keep your eyes peeled for injuries, as the head-to-head tournament at premierleague.com is also starting in Gameweek 18.
- Hugo Lloris, Tottenham, 5.9m, vs. Stoke City
- Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, vs. Reading
- Tim Krul, Newcastle, 5.3m, vs. QPR
- Kelvin Davis, Southampton, 4.2m, vs. Sunderland
- Petr Cech, Chelsea, 6.5m, vs. Aston Villa
- Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, vs. Stoke City
- Glen Johnson, Liverpool, 6.3m, vs. Fulham
- Pablo Zabaleta, Man City, 5.7m, vs. Reading
- Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.0m, vs. Aston Villa
- Fabricio Coloccini, Newcastle, 5.0m, vs. QPR
- Nathaniel Clyne, Southampton, 4.0m, vs. Sunderland
- Rafael, Man United, 6.4m, at Swansea
- Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal, 6.8m, at Wigan
- Joey O’Brien, West Ham, 4.3m, vs. Everton
- Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, at West Ham
- Michu, Swansea, 7.9m, vs. Man United
- Yaya Toure, Man City, 7.7m, vs. Reading
- Juan Mata, Chelsea, 9.5m, vs. Aston Villa
- David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Reading
- Santi Cazorla, Arsenal, 9.5m, at Wigan
- Robert Snodgrass, Norwich, 5.8m, at West Brom
- Kevin Nolan, West Ham, 6.9m, vs. Everton
- Raheem Sterling, Liverpool, 5.7m, vs. Fulham
- Chris Brunt, West Brom, 5.7m, vs. Norwich
- Eden Hazard, Chelsea, 9.5m, vs. Aston Villa
- Robin van Persie, Man United, 13.7m, at Swansea
- Sergio Aguero, Man City, 11.0m, vs. Reading
- Carlos Tevez, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Reading
- Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, 11.7m, at Swansea
- Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.4m, vs. Fulham
- Demba Ba, Newcastle, 8.2m, vs. QPR
- Shane Long, West Brom, 6.4m, vs. Norwich
- Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.2m, at Wigan
- Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 9.4m, vs. Aston Villa
- Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham, 8.4m, vs. Stoke City
YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN
- Robin van Persie, Man United
- Carlos Tevez/Sergio Aguero, Man City
- Wayne Rooney, Man United
- Luis Suarez, Liverpool
- Michu, Swansea
RVP now has a goal in four straight games. If you have him, you have to captain him. Come on, this guy is Fantasy gold. Swansea has a solid defense, but it will be a stretch for them to stop the Red Devils completely.
Aguero has been getting more time lately, but it’s really a toss-up between him and Tevez for who will score. There’s no way Reading can stop City from scoring at least one goal in this match. In all likelihood, they will get a few goals. The advantage goes to Aguero, who has been playing 90 minutes lately.
Of course, you can’t forget about Wayne Rooney, who’s doing equally well himself with five goals in his last three games. Again, Swansea will not be able to keep them out of the net.
Suarez is probably the most frustrating player to captain. After a string of four straight games with a goal, he now has not scored in four straight (or assisted for that matter). This stretch will end soon, and Fulham isn’t good on the road.
I may be going out on a limb with the way Swansea played Tottenham last weekend, but they will be at home for this one. So hopefully, they’ll play a little more attacking and United’s back line can be beat. Michu gets the go for my final spot.
*Stats up-to-date as of Dec. 17
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