We review some of the key talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action, with a focus on Daily Fantasy Football.
Boring Boring Arsenal
Diego Costa of course stole the headlines with his WWE-esque roughhousing, but the Chelsea forward really just provided the perfect excuse for the Gunners’ underwhelming 2-0 defeat.
The Costa-Gabriel scrap essentially paved over the glaring shortcomings of two sub-par sides – the difference being that one team managed to keep all their men on the field.
Just last week, we highlighted the Gabriel-Koscielny-Cech combination as a long awaited righting of Arsenal’s defensive wrongs. That progress has now been temporarily halted as Gabriel faces suspension, but their lack of organisation for the Zouma goal and indiscipline in the face of Costa’s melodramatic baiting raises questions about their competence.
The overarching theme emerging from another Jose Mourinho win over Arsene Wenger however, is that Arsenal are simply not bankable daily fantasy performers against their direct competitors and continue to come up short when it matters most.
These defeciencies translate to fantasy football in more ways than one.
During his three year spell at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil was THE leading creative force each and every season of his stay – with totals of 17, 17 and 13 assists across that period. Where is that player today? Well he’s still creating chance after chance for his teammates, there’s just nobody of the required quality to finish them off.
Ozil has manufactured 22 goalscoring opportunities in his five appearances this season while teammate Santi Cazorla leads the division in that statistic with 23 in six. These two consummate creators however, have claimed just two and one assist respectively this term.
Alexis Sanchez is in all probabilty exhausted, having had no extended break from football since the summer of 2013. That leaves Walcott and Giroud as the fall guys, and rightly so. Giroud’s last three goals against Premier League opposition have come against Stoke, Palace and Villa. While Stoke and Villa likewise count for two of Walcott’s last three.
Diego Costa and Chelsea may use bullyboy tactics to get results, but in fantasy terms, Arsenal’s forwards are looking more and more like the league’s flat-track bullies. Make your selections accordingly.
Spurs’ Rising Sons
Two is the magic number at White Hart Lane.
Over Tottenham Hotspurs’ last two fixtures, two of their summertime signings have risen to occasion to inspire winning performances.
Ex-MK Dons starlet Delle Alli has catapulted two tiers from League One into the top flight with out so much as a shrug to become a capable first team performer. The 19 year-old midfielder scored in a Europa League victory on Thursday and put in a fine showing alongside Eric Dier in the central midfield as Spurs overcame fellow Londoners Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
At a price of £6.5m and a selection rate of just 2%, Alli could prove a canny differential in PlayON fantasy football – his Gameweek 6 score of 1675 points is hardly a shabby return either.
The standout figure of their victory over Crystal Palace however, is wiht out a doubt new signing Son Heung-Min. The Bundesliga import was unplayable in Gameweek 6 and sparked a new attacking dimension for the home side.
In comparison to another £30m arrival to the Premier League – Roberto Firmino – the immediate impact is stark. Son has taken no time to open his account and holds three goals in his last two across all competitions. The Korean international certainly alleviates pressure on browbeaten Harry Kane, counting five attempts on goal to Kane’s four shots on Sunday.
With Son and Alli in the side, Spurs look a transformed prospect. Their fortunes in reality and fantasy this season could very much hinge on the Korean newboy and at £9m, expect his PlayON selection rate to soon skyrocket.
Mean Bromwich Albion
Tony Pulis is renowned – almost to a fault – for the solidity of his teams and again it’s one value that he’s successfully ingrained into West Brom this season.
The midlanders currently boast one of the meanest defences in the league, keeping four clean sheets across the opening six fixtures. The likes of Boaz Myhill, Craig Dawson, Gareth McCauley and new arrival Jonny Evans have provided the neccessary structure at the back while Chris Brunt’s relocation to left-back has likewise been successful transition. The latter four of these players each nabbed upwards of 1,000 PlayON points in Gameweek 6 as the Baggies claimed a 1-0 victory over their hometown rivals, Aston Villa.
Goals have been hard to concede but also hard to come by this season, with just four goals scored thus far – tied with Liverpool as the second lowest scoring side in the league and only marginally better than Newcastle with three.
This issue could soon be rectified with Saido Berahino integrating back into the fold for the Baggies. The Spurs courted 22 year old, provided the instinctive flick – whether by fluke or intent – to steer past Brad Guzan and claim all three points for his side.
If he can get focused and firing to last seasons levels – 14 league goals from 32 starts – and West Brom maintain their firm foundations, Pulis’ men could yield a steady and affordable points stream in PlayON daily fantasy football.