PlayON and Daily Fantasy Focus analyse the big hitters and wide misses of the weekend’s Premier League action.
Ross Barkley (Everton)
PlayON Price: 9.1m
GW 13 Points: 3,520
Even with a change up in the perma-hot manager seat at Villa Park, the club’s chronic downward spiral shows no signs of stopping – and Ross Barkley was on hand to capitalise.
The Remi Garde effect hasn’t yet set in and in all honesty may never arrive.
The growing partnership of Barkley and Lukaku has flashes of the peerless Gerrard-Torres period once enjoyed by the red half of Liverpool, while his understanding with Kone and Deulofeu has been applauded in these pages – for the Englishman, Gameweek 13 was a high point.
Two weeks short of his 22nd birthday, Barkley notched two goals and an assist on Saturday to make it six and four for the season. He’s already been involved in more goals than in any of his previous Premier League campaigns and Everton – in the absence of the Baines set-piece – have scored more from open play than any other team in the top flight with 24. The contribution of the local boy cannot be understated now that the Toffees are whispered – if a little prematurely – as contenders for the top four.
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
PlayON Price: 11.2m
GW 13 Points: 3,370
Kane’s confidence is sky high and it’s showing more than ever as the Englishman grabbed a brace against London rivals West Ham.
The 22 year old demonstrated both sides to his game, the opportunist – turning his marker in the box to blast the net from close range – and the speculator – driving a nothing ball from outside the area to power it under the Adrian.
In an unstoppable vein of form with seven goals over his past four games, Kane has had more efforts than any other player in that timeframe with 20 – 13 of those on target. As expected of a great centre-forward, the Spurs man really comes alive in the penalty area where the majority of his efforts – 16 – have their origins.
On form alone, Kane is the marquee striker in the Premier League.
Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
PlayON Price: 7.9m
GW 12 Points: 2,350
A player very often both impressive and frustrating, Skrtel’s performances have been revitalized under Jurgen Klopp.
A half-fit Sergio Aguero is still a terrifying prospect for Premier League defenders, but for the most part the big Slovakian kept him under wraps. The Argentine eventually got his goal of course, but was held to just two attempts for the whole game.
Skrtel made an outstanding five interceptions and dusted off the performance with the type of goal you’d associate with an Alan Shearer, not your centre-half. As it happens, the Sky-Blues are a favourite opponent, with the defender claiming four goals against them it total.
4-1 to Liverpool – the red half of Merseyside, Man City, Skrtel and his fantasy selectors won’t forget that in a hurry.
Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City)
PlayON Price: 7.8m
GW 13 Points: 75
If Skrtel ran out of Gameweek 13 with his reputation enhanced, another centre-half left with his pedigree further in the gutter.
In hindsight, it was ludicrous of Manuel Pellegrini to pair his relatively inexperienced and most error prone defender with his slowest. The Mangala-Demichelis axis was in no man’s land on so many occasions that Liverpool could have had six or seven – certainly if Firmino had his shooting boots on.
The crowning achievement in this torrid display was of course the Frenchman’s unfortunate own goal and match opener. Not a video to show the grandkids.
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
PlayON Price: 7m
GW 13 Points: 250
The rapturous boos directed at Arteta would be hard for any pro to bear, but for a player who has always carried himself with esteem and respect this must have been particularly difficult.
Subbed on in the 13th minute. Subbed off in the 48th. To be hooked after 30 minutes by the sheer calamity of your play is a black mark for any footballer – amateur or otherwise. The root cause? The Spaniard steered the ball into his own net to gift West Brom their winning goal.
Not too many fantasy managers will have been affected by this miserable showing, given his limited gametime this season. Quite a few however will have cursed his compatriot, Santi Cazorla, for a missed penalty that would have earned Arsenal a point.
A bad day for Gooners.
Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
PlayON Price: 10.7m
GW 13 Points: 525
It takes a lot for me to criticize Graziano Pelle, I’m a big fan, but the Italian was rendered completely ineffectual by Stoke in Gameweek 13. T
he result – 1-0 to Stoke – and the manner in which it was achieved was more like the Potters of old and nowhere was this more typified than in the performance of captain Ryan Shawcross. H was the very reason that Pelle was kept so quiet. Unable to add to his impressive tally of ten goals this season, the Italy international got just one shot away across the ninety minutes.
A player who has 109 penalty area touches this season – more than any other – managed ten here but still couldn’t find a way through. The fact that Stoke were able to subdue him says more about the defensive standard of their opponents than Pelle himself.