PlayON and Daily Fantasy Focus analyse the big hitters and wide misses of the weekend’s Premier League action.
Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United)
GW 9 Points: 5,575
Newcastle finally put together a performance to warm the hearts of all those world weary fans on Tyneside.
Moussa Sissoko and Ayoze Perez, two of their few relatively consistent performers this campaign, featured in strong supporting roles, but the show belonged to one man and one man only – a man by the name of Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutchman was such a left-field fantasy pick that he held just a 2.7% selection rate in PlayON daily fantasy football. He was however, the four goal hero who guided the Magpies to a 6-2 win over Premier League new boys, Norwich.
Upcoming fixtures against the likes of Sunderland, Stoke and Bournemouth could see the ex-PSV captain enjoy increased popularity over the coming weeks, but he’s no flash in the pan. The Holland international is a goal-grabbing, dynamic number ten and has shot up the Premier League scoring charts accordingly. He showed his appetite for goals back home in the Eredivisie, with a goal every almost two games last season and looks keen to continue that streak in England.
Wilfried Bony (Manchester City)
GW 9 Points: 4,125
Wilfried Bony has seized the opportunity of Aguero’s injury absence with the enthusiasm and vice-like grip of a drowning man. If he wasn’t quite drowning previously at City, he was certainly lost amid the more marquee names of the side.
Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick may have ran away with the headlines in Gameweek 9, but Bony was arguably man of the match.
This was the Bony of old, the Bony of Swansea and Vitesse Arnhem. He bullied the Bournemouth defenders with ease, scored two true centre-forward finishes and teed up the aforementioned Sterling in the process.
Up until this point, the Ivorian had only hit two goals in his previous 16 league appearances for City, as starting chances proved generally hard to come by. With Aguero likely out until late November, Bony should reap the fantasy benefits over the coming weeks.
Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)
GW 9 Points: 1,545
It was an admittedly scrappy game, but there were positives for both sides in a toughly contested 0-0 between Spurs and Liverpool.
Few would have expected that the arrival of Klopp – with his cult of personality and much discussed tactical philosophies – would coincide with such a profound performance from his goalkeeper of all players. But such is football.
Simon Mignolet effectively won the point for the visitors, making four stellar saves to deny the likes of the excellent Clinton N’Jie and likewise, the struggling Harry Kane.
While his more haphazard moments are justifiably criticized, it’s easy to forget that he had the most clean sheets in the Premier League – 16 – in 2014/15. Undoubtedly, we’ll get a better insight into his future fantasy potential as his backline accustoms to, or fails to handle, the tactical demands of their new manager.
John Ruddy (Norwich City)
GW 9 Points: –1,025
Someone had to bear the brunt of Georginio Wijnaldum’s wonder-game in Gameweek 9. Unfortunately for John Ruddy, he was stuck firmly at the coalface of the Dutchman’s assault.
The Canaries have rode their luck in many respects this season, showing their defensive fragility with not a single clean sheet to their name this campaign. On average they’ve conceded 13 attempts on goal per game, while Ruddy has come to save just three attempts per game.
If the Norwich back five didn’t instill much confidence in many fantasy managers in the first place, they certainly won’t now.
Seamus Coleman (Everton)
GW 9 Points: -50
Seamus Coleman – arguably the finest right back in the league – returned, along with John Stones, in Gameweek 9 to shore up the Toffees’ defence for a clash with Manchester United. Whether his fitness was lacking post-injury or he simply experienced a bad day at the office, is unclear. What is clear, is that he won’t want to face Anthony Martial again any time soon.
The young Frenchman continued his startling form for club and country with another fine performance, giving the Irishman a woeful time in the process.
The Everton backline haven’t had a good time of it lately – shipping six goals in their last three, while struggling to keep a single clean sheet at home this season. Questions over Martinez’ defensive competencies have reared their head again and are starting to shake the confidence of fantasy managers in the process.
While Coleman and his injured full back partner, Leighton Baines, are primarily selected for their considerable attacking qualities, the Ireland international just hasn’t been as effective in that capacity this season – a single assist counts among his direct goal contribution for the season.
Overall, there appears to be less of an attacking reliance on him – having been involved in just 14% of Everton goals this year as opposed to 23% by this stage in 2014/15.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
GW 9 Points: 0
Eden Hazard was banked upon to buck his poor form by many PlayON managers in Gameweek 9. But as the Chelsea men cruised to a Diego Costa powered 2-0 victory over a struggling Aston Villa side, the Belgian was nowhere to be seen.
The 2015 Ballon D’Or nominee was dropped in favour of Pedro on the left-flank ,while the impressive form of Willian ensured the Brazilian’s start on the right.
Jose Mourinho left us in no mind as to why he omitted Hazard:
“I left out Hazard because we are conceding lots of goals,” said the Chelsea manager. “We need to defend better. When you don’t have the ball, quality means nothing”.
From a statistical stand-point, Hazard may have suffered from both Costa’s middling start to the season and subsequent three game suspension. Despite creating 28 opportunities in total this season – fourth among midfielders – the winger has managed only two assists, and scored just one league goal this season.
That said, he hasn’t begun all that differently to last season. Across the first nine games of 2014/15, this season’s stats were inverted, with Hazard claiming one assist and two goals. The difference is overall team results, and for Mourinho the sacrificial lamb is always the flair player.