We have an EPL bonus this week, with games being played on Tuesday and Wednesday. I project Gabriel Jesus, Aaron Ramsey and Sadio Mane to have good fantasy days. But first, let’s take a look at what happened this past weekend.
WEEK 13: Fantasy EPL REVIEW
Fantasy disappointment was all over, especially for forwards. The teams that should’ve brought the most fantasy points were Manchester United and Tottenham. Well, United barely won against Brighton, and even that was through an own goal. The Spurs didn’t win at all, drawing 1-1 against a manager-less WBA. There is some solace in the fact that Kane grabbed the equalizer. Elsewhere, the goals for West Ham and Leicester in Friday’s 1-1 draw were scored by Kouyate and Albrighton, players not rostered by many. Swansea and Bournemouth played a goalless draw in which Abraham came on late as a substitute (which for fantasy is worse than not playing). Benteke also didn’t start and entered the game at half-time for Crystal Palace, but he wasn’t involved in either of the team’s two goals in the 2-1 victory versus Stoke. Shaqiri opened the scoring, only to be quickly canceled out by Loftus-Cheek. The turnaround was complete through an injury-time Mamadou Sakho rebound goal. Watford was one of few sources of met expectations, as youngster Will Hughes found the net again, while Richarlison assisted on the team’s third goal, scored by Gray. The second one was an own goal in an impressive 3-0 road win in Newcastle.
The game of the week ended in a 1-1 tie, the fourth consecutive year that has happened at Anfield. All of the action came in the second half. Liverpool was on the offensive until they scored through Salah. After that they tried to protect the lead, allowing Chelsea to take control of the match. A lucky cross/lob by sub Willian leveled the score in what was, all things considered, a fair final outcome.
Everton interim manager David Unsworth is still tinkering with his lineup in an attempt to find one that connects. No success yet. Having been embarrassed in the Europa League, The Toffies are turning into the Premier League’s laughing stock, and are most definitely a team in transition. Even underachieving and underperforming Southampton had its way with them. Tadic, Austin (x2) and Davis wrote their names on the score sheet, while Sigurdsson finally recorded his first Everton EPL goal. Tadic had an assist, as well, while Bertrand had two. Arsenal continued its 90’+ streak against Burnley, defeating them in injury-time at Turf Moor for the third year in a row. After a 98th-minute winner two years ago, and a controversial Koscielny goal last season, it was now time for an ambiguous 92nd-minute penalty kick to decide the game winner. Alexis converted and became the hero, while Tarkowski left the field wondering why he had to put his hands on Ramsey’s back and give the referee a reason to blow the whistle. Lastly, Huddersfield did its best version of the Italian catenaccio, and almost succeeded in preventing City from walking away with all three points. However, The Citizens’ relentlessness paid off. In the 84th minute, a bit of good fortune saw the ball pinball into Sterling’s knee and into the net. Sterling also earned the penalty kick, which tied the game at the beginning of the second half, after Otamendi’s own goal gave Huddersfield the lead at the end of the first. At this point and time, it’s difficult to imagine any team giving Pep’s squad a run for their money.
Week 13 highest fantasy scorers
Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea), Heurelho Gomes (Watford), and all the rest who kept clean sheets.
Defenders: Marvin Zeegelaar (Watford), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Kyle Naughton (Swansea), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Kiko Femenia (Watford).
Midfielders: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Dusan Tadic (Southampton), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Marc Albrighton (Leicester), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Will Hughes (Watford), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham).
Forwards: Charlie Austin (Southampton), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham).
WEEK 14: Fantasy EPL PREVIEW
Brighton vs. Crystal Palace
– Brighton is a tight-knit bunch. Nobody anticipated they’d challenge United, but they did. There were lots of positives to take, despite the loss. The problem with these types of teams, however, is inconsistency. It’s clear which players on the roster can have fantasy value, but you can’t count on them providing production on a weekly basis. Crystal Palace should be the type of team you want your players playing against, yet nothing’s a given. The Eagles won last week and will look to build on that confidence. I would highlight Murray, Knockaert and Zaha as players to watch in this contest.
Leicester vs. Tottenham
– Another round, another slip-up for The Spurs. Although knowing that the same few players carry most of the load every match, the levels of stamina, concentration and motivation are bound to fluctuate. That’s why a road win against Dortmund is followed up by a home draw against West Bromwich. Claude Puel hasn’t managed to be Leicester’s spark plug. Even though they’re still capable of showing glimpses of the Championship team from time to time, Mahrez, Vardy and company can’t be trusted. I think Tottenham will prevail, and as always, Kane will be at the forefront of it all.
Watford vs. Manchester United
– Since the season began, Watford has been the best source of cheap fantasy value/streaming free agents. First Doucoure, then Richarlison and Femenia, and now Hughes and Zeegelaar. A Mourinho team is the ultimate test of how far a team has advanced. I believe United will have a difficult time winning this game.
West Bromwich vs. Newcastle
– Honestly, this is a boring fixture, both because of the lack of fantasy assets, and because of the ambitions and recent form of these teams. When Rondon scores, he usually scores in streaks. It’s not out of the question that he might have just started a new one. As for Newcastle, Benitez’s boys have found the back of the net only once in the past four games, so he’s slowly but surely starting to loosen his grip on the job.
Arsenal vs. Huddersfield
– Huddersfield spent a lot of energy trying to contain Manchester City. I don’t think The Gunners will be merciful. Three or four past Lossl is quite possible. Aaron Ramsey is my prime suspect to find the net, with Alexis Sanchez being a close second.
Bournemouth vs. Burnley
– The loss to Arsenal must have been a tough pill to swallow for Burnley. They’ve been nothing short of extraordinary away from home this season, but Bournemouth has also improved after a hazy start to the campaign. Goals should be hard to come by in this one.
Chelsea vs. Swansea
– Chelsea will handle this with ease. Conte may decide to rest a couple of regulars, as this has to be seen as an easy game on the schedule, and a chance for some of the “irregulars” (such as Willian, Pedro and perhaps Drinkwater) to prove their worth.
Everton vs. West Ham
– I think Everton’s youthful exuberance will be the deciding factor here. Jonjoe Kenny has gone under the radar and is being overlooked by many because of the team’s poor overall play. The right back is gaining precious experience and is already playing with the confidence of a veteran at the tender age of 20.
Manchester City vs. Southampton
– Yes, The Saints did win convincingly at last. No, they’re not good enough to stop this freight train. One victory doesn’t change the fact that their level of performance has been subpar. City will prove that. Gabriel Jesus should start, and he’s my pick for player of the round.
Stoke vs. Liverpool
– Sadio Mane was not happy he didn’t get to face Chelsea, and he made Klopp aware of his frustrations. Firmino did not play, either. Both should have spots in the starting lineup, and I expect them to be the difference-makers for The Reds on Wednesday night.