Wigan’s manager is the theme this week following their 9-1 drubbing at Tottenham. Not much you can do when short on time and internet access, hence the basic effort below. Something better next week, promise.
Gameweek 14 reaches us as we start the middle third of the season. Week 13 saw few surprises though we did get the highest ever individual score. I made the error of having Fabregas as captain which I didn’t especially feel comfortable with but didn’t have many other options with Lampard and Drogba out injured, and Rooney out of form.
I did have David Dunn but didn’t fancy him due to two away games. In the event he proved me wrong. I regret not bringing in Bullard or Dempsey as I was looking at both pre-deadline. Sometimes it’s better to take the four point hit for the rewards it can bring. Don’t even get me started on having Thomas Sorensen’s 14 points left on the bench…
Gameweek 13 Top Gun (aka Tom Cruise Approves):
When I was looking back over the top scores from last week, I had a moment of panic when I thought there was a three-way 18 point tie for 1st and I’d have to find another Top Gun character to join Maverick and Goose.
Then I remembered that someone called Jermain Defoe scored five goals against Wigan. Yes, the pint-sized striker scored a full handful of goals and picked up three bonus points. It might just be me but it almost feels like 25 points isn’t enough reward for such a feat. I guess that’s what happens with just four points for a striker’s goal. I’m sure the people who had him as captain weren’t complaining – 50 points was only two off my whole total for the week. Anyway, it’s the highest score ever from one game, even Ronaldo never got that.
As mentioned previously, following Defoe you had Dempsey Hunt and Lennon all with 18 points. The former two took advantage of playing twice while Lennon was the provider of three Defoe goals as well as getting one for himself in that 9-1 victory. A mention too for Michael Essien who scored 16 via two goals and his third man of the match award of the season.
Three Captain Choices:
1. Adebayor/Man City – Every run has to come to an end and I think Man City might finally stop their run of six consecutive draws and beat Hull at home. Hull have picked up since Bullard’s return with two wins and a draw but they’re still leaky at the back while Adebayor scored his first goal in two months against Liverpool. He tends to feast on weaker defences, get bonus points when City play well and thus is a good shout for captain this weekend.
2. Drogba/Chelsea – The best defence faces the best attack this weekend as Chelsea face Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday. Normally I wouldn’t suggest picking someone from this fixture but Drogba loves playing Arsenal and has terrorised them down the years. What scares me even more is that due to Gallas being doubtful, there’s a tiny, tiny chance we might see Big Phil Senderos make an appearance. I’m shuddering at the thought, Drogba owns him.
3. Rooney/Man Utd – Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Slightly trickier now that Pompey have Avram Grant newly installed but Rooney and Man Utd should still have more than enough to beat Portsmouth.
Three suggested transfers in:
1. Evra/Man Utd – The French left back has been putting together a good season and in his last few games has picked up and assist and three bonus points. Man Utd should be good for a clean sheet against Portsmouth and after that Man Utd face West Ham, Villa, Wolves and Fulham which should provide a few more opportunities.
2. Johnson or Dann/Birmingham – I’m sure many of you already Joe Hart in your team but why not add Roger Johnson or Scott Dann to your side too? The two centre backs were a newly formed partnership at the start of the season having both been signed from Championship clubs but have adapted to the Premier League well. Johnson is the pricier of the two and more likely to get bonus points but Dann is just £3.9m leaving you plenty of case for elsewhere.
3. Hunt/Hull – Some people’s form rating is skewed by one massive week whereas others are a bit more consistent. If Bullard is out of your price range then Stephen Hunt is a good option having scored five points or more in four of the last five gameweeks.
Three to avoid:
1. Everton players – They were woeful against Hull and have generally struggled this season. There have been bright spots like Baines and Saha but they have a tough three games (Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea) coming up and then no fixture in week 17. Avoid for now.
2. Gibbs/Arsenal – Just as soon as he was becoming a cheap option while Clichy was out, he breaks a metatarsal and is now out for three months.
3. Owen/Man Utd – Just 24 points so far. The goal against Man City is literally the single good thing he’s done this season. Diouf, N’Gog and Ghilas all have more points. Having said that, what better opponent than Portsmouth to prove me wrong.
1. Amazing to think that you can score five goals in a game and there can still be a debate over whether you were man of the match. Aaron Lennon’s performance against Wigan ensured that Defoe didn’t come away with all the plaudits, his sparkling play from the right playing a big part in at least half the goals.
Defoe meanwhile became just the third player to score five in a game in the Premier League era and notched the second fastest hat trick after Robbie Fowler’s four and a half minute wonder against Arsenal many years ago. I’ve mentioned in recent weeks that he needed to watch his temper and just concentrate on his football, and with performances like that there’s no chance of him not going to South Africa. Lennon too did his case no harm, and on current form is far and away the best option when it comes to tricky small winger.
Spurs’ goal difference enjoyed a big boost in terms of chasing Arsenal, while they are beginning to take advantage of Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa’s inconsistency to open a little gap over those three. They face one of their rivals next week in Aston Villa but should have nothing to fear the way they are playing.
As for Wigan the best you can say is that it’s just one game. These sorts of results can have a lasting effect, especially if you go behind in a game. It will be up to Roberto Martinez to ensure it remains a one off.
2. Would Phil Brown be fearing for his job if Jimmy Bullard hadn’t got injured in his first game after signing? His performances in the last couple of games suggest that may have been the case. A win over Stoke and a fightback from two goals down to draw against West Ham possibly indicates an improvement in fortune for the men at the KC. Even Tango Man himself seems to be less in the spotlight than usual.
Bullard may have dodgy knees but he has an enthusiasm for the game that few players can match and his energy and creative play have got Hull scoring some goals again. They have a tough run coming up with three well organised teams in Everton, Man City and Aston Villa. Ok maybe not Man City but still! I’m pretty sure Geovanni isn’t injured and he appears to have lost his place to Bullard but I would be interested to see them both in the same team. Part of Hull’s success last year was to be brave, so maybe playing both together would have the same effect this year.
3. Before Arsenal get completely written off for losing against Sunderland (who have drawn with Man Utd and beaten Liverpool), let’s not forget that the key game is next week against Chelsea. Defeat would leave an 11 point gap; a win would leave it at just five with a game in hand. This defeat does render next weekend rather important if a title challenged is to be maintained. The lack of focal point without van Persie (and Bendtner) was a concern but it was in midfield where Sunderland won, with Cana stopping Fabregas and his teammates from creating many chances.
In addition to this, a set play was once again Arsenal’s outdoing at the back with Darren Bent reacting quickest after the initial ball had not been dealt with (déjà vu anyone?) While such defensive frailties are a long-term malaise, Arsene Wenger must ensure that his patched up squad is mentally right for the Chelsea game. Win it and two easier home games against Bolton and Stoke follow and momentum can be formed. Lose it and another frustrating season could be on the cards.
4. They were impressive but it was only Wolves at home. Chelsea’s next two tests are the altogether tougher visits to the Emirates and Eastlands. Let’s see how the keenly the absences of Lampard and Drogba are felt then.
5. Liverpool and Man City played out a draw which leaves neither going anywhere fast. Man City have now drawn six on the spin which has stagnated them after a promising start. Just one win in eight games fro Mark Hughes’ side. A Hull side winless away from the KC provides the best possible opportunity to end that run next weekend.
Liverpool have one win in six but their habit of winning games they don’t lose (Saturday was just their second draw) means they’re still in a good position. The pretenders to the top four ideally want a gap going into the spring as if Gerrard and Torres are fit for the run in, I know who I’d back to get the last Champions League spot.
6. David Dunn is scored his fourth goal in six games and is playing the best football of his career. Someone left a comment asking what chance an England call for the Blackburn man. While I think he’s bit of a luxury and probably not quite international quality, there’s no doubting there are few more in form midfielders playing at the moment.