What more could you ask for from rivalry week? There were goals, there were red cards and of course there were controversial calls from referees. Gameweek 9 had everything you’d want from a weekend of soccer action.
The two biggest favorites, Arsenal and Man City, had tons of trouble getting a goal, but both managed important 1-0 wins over QPR and Swansea, respectively. Mikel Arteta and Carlos Tevez were the heroes.
In the Merseyside derby, Liverpool shot out of the gates with two straight goals, only to give up two to tie the game. With only about a mile separating each club, the final score wasn’t much different, as it ended 2-2. Luis Suarez dominated the Everton backline in the first half while Marouane Fellaini made an important return from injury to help the Toffees come back from two down. In the last minute of the match, a Suarez goal was called back because he was offside. However, a look at the replay shows he was in fact, onside.
The battle of the giants involved very interesting calls. After Manchester United got off to a 2-0 lead (first one being a lucky bounce off defender David Luiz), Chelsea came out firing and eventually drew even at 2-2 about 10 minutes into the second half. From there, two questionable red cards ensued, handed out to Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres. And after that, Chicharito scored the game winner from an offsi…I mean onside position. That’s all I will say from that game.
Reading and Newcastle both scored late goals in two of the more exciting finishes from the weekend. With four goals being scored in the final 15 minutes of the Reading-Fulham match, it finished with six total. Hal Robson-Kanu put in the most important goal to make it 3-3 in the 90th minute. Reading got a much-needed point, although they still sit in the relegation zone. Papiss Cisse grabbed a very last minute (93+) goal to give Newcastle a key home win over West Brom. The win moved the Magpies into the top half of the Premiership table.
In other matches, Aston Villa held on to a 1-1 draw with Norwich after Christian Benteke scored the opener. As expected, the Stoke City and Sunderland match ended low-scoring and in a draw, 0-0. Wigan grabbed a surprising and much needed win over West Ham. In Southampton, Spurs held onto a 2-1 win as Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey both found the back of the net.
QPR (vs. Reading, at Stoke City, vs. Southampton)
You wouldn’t expect this, but the Rangers have actually looked pretty good in their last couple of games. In fact, they’ve been fighting for a while, even though it doesn’t show in their record. They drew with Everton two weeks ago and fought Arsenal tough at Emirates this past weekend. These upcoming matches are very favorable for QPR. At home, they should be able to score goals and their road match at Stoke-on-Trent is against one of the worst offensive clubs in the League.
Julio Cesar has been an absolute beast between the pipes and only costs 5.0m (values found at the Fantasy game at PremierLeague.com). Keep in mind, this is the former Brazil international keeper who made his name playing at Inter and is one of the best goalies in the World over the past decade. He has made 27 saves in just six starts for QPR.
Veteran defender Ryan Nelsen also deserves a look at 4.0m. While they don’t get a ton of clean sheets, Nelsen is a consistent starter and is second on the squad in EA Sports PPI points (the system used to calculate bonus points).
I’ll mention him later, but Esteban Granero is starting to look very good in the midfield. Adel Taarabt is worthy, as he has three straight starts and two goals in four matches. On the other hand, it’d be wise to stay away from striker Bobby Zamora, who hasn’t been able to score in EPL play for more than a month.
*Check out the latest edition of Premier League Plus – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rotoradio/2012/10/26/premier-league-plus, which covers in-depth all matches from the past weekend. Also, we cover lines and predict scores for each match. The show is live every Friday at 4pm EST. Send your Fantasy questions in to be answered on air.
BEST OF THE BEST
Simon Mignolet, GK, Sunderland
Villa doesn’t look the best offensively and Sunderland is playing extremely defensive. Mignolet is cheap and has a very high possibility for a clean sheet.
Steven Caulker, DEF, Tottenham
Spurs were very close to a shutout last weekend on the road and have a better chance at one against Wigan at White Hart Lane. Caulker is cheap and will continue to start as long as Benoit Assou-Ekotto is out.
Liam Ridgewell, DEF, West Brom
After starting the campaign with three clean sheets in five matches, the Baggies haven’t been able to get one in their last five. However, a lot of that is due to tough matchups. Playing at home against Southampton is friendly.
John Arne Riise, DEF, Fulham
Fulham has three clean sheets on the year and all of them are at home. The one they didn’t get was a match against Man City. Everton has been playing well, but it’s another story when you get to Craven Cottage.
Juan Mata, MID, Chelsea
The Killer is on a roll and Swansea shouldn’t be able to stop him. There will be goals in this one and that means Mata will be around them.
Esteban Granero, MID, QPR
The newest Spaniard addition to the league is starting to get comfortable. While he only has a goal and assist on the season, this may turn into his breakout game against Reading.
Gareth Bale, MID, Tottenham
Bale is a difference-maker no matter who he’s up against. This week he’ll face Wigan, which is even better. They have one clean sheet all campaign.
James Morrison, MID, West Brom
Morrison has been silent, but he actually leads WBA in Fantasy Points with two goals and three assists. Like I’ve said before, Southampton has close to no defense, especially on the road.
Jermain Defoe, FOR, Tottenham
With Emmanuel Adebayor still out because of injury, Defoe continues to make a case that he deserves to start. He now has five goals and three assists through nine matches. Can Wigan stop him? Unlikely.
Luis Suarez, FOR, Liverpool
The Argentine may be the hottest forward in the league. He has six goals and three assists and is scoring outside of league play, as well. Newcastle is tough defensively, but it’s unlikely they can stop Suarez.
Carlos Tevez, FOR, Man City
Did you see his winner from last weekend? No one can stop this man from scoring. The Hammers don’t have anyone that great on their defense and will give up goals to a stacked City squad.
YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN
- Gareth Bale, Tottenham
- Juan Mata, Chelsea
- Carlos Tevez, Man City
- Luis Suarez, Liverpool
- Jermain Defoe, Tottenham
Bale was a great captain option last week on the road and he’s a great captain option this week at home. No one wants to play this kid.
Like Bale, Mata is a threat every week on the field. He’s smart, skillful and can shoot. Those are all qualities you want in your captain.
Tevez can get the job done no matter how the rest of his team is playing. That’s why he has four goals and six assists so far this season. He was the most captained and most vice captained player in Gameweek 9 for a reason.
It’s not the greatest matchup against Newcastle, but Suarez is rolling at the moment. He should be able to make a mess of the Newcastle back line.
Southampton has one of the worst defenses in the Premier League. Are you telling me Tottenham isn’t going to score at least two goals at home? Defoe will be at the end of plenty of Bale crosses.
I haven’t really mentioned Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney, but I’m not forgetting about them. They’ll have a tough task going against Arsenal, but as seen previously against Stoke, you can’t doubt them even against good defenses when they play at Old Trafford. If you have RVP or Rooney, I’d still consider captaining either one of them.
*Stats up-to-date as of Oct. 28