Just when you think you couldn’t have any more love for a footballer, Cesc Fabregas goes and does something stupid like that! A goal, four assists, and a performance that even De Niro would have been proud of, and the Spaniard is guiding teams up and down the country to Fantasy League glory.
He wasn’t alone of course, the little men had their day too. Kamil Zayatte, Andre Bikey, Hasim Yebda & Steven Fletcher all got themselves some lovely points, as Fantasy Football takes a break this week for that set of darned World Cup qualifiers.
The Men In Form
Well Fabregas obviously. His goal, assists and bonus points gave him a monstrous 22 points (double that if you were clever enough, like me, to give him the captain’s armband), and take him comfortably clear as the game’s top scoring midfielder.
Elsewhere, Richard Dunne bounced back from rejection by Manchester City with a dominant display against his old side for new club Aston Villa. A headed goal, his first for Villa, and a solid display all-round gave Dunney 11 points and moves him into the top six defenders.
But even Dunne cannot compete with the form of another Arsenal player, Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian may not be clean-sheeting his way to the top, but his ferocious equaliser against Blackburn last week was his fourth Premier League goal of the season – with an assist thrown in – and the former Ajax man is now officially the hottest property in the game. At £7m however, he is a bank-breaker.
The Men to Avoid
Well for every ying, there is a yang. Arsenal and their attacking play was very much the ying. How about Blackburn’s defence? Yang. Rovers had the temerity to twice take the lead at the Emirates, but their defence consisted of four full backs. Four pretty poor full backs too. Six goals shipped meant that no Rovers defender picked up points, and things don’t look too rosy in the Allardyce garden ahead of a local derby with Burnley.
Martin Skrtel, at one point, looked like being the next Nemanja Vidic. Bald head, ferocious glare, no-nonsense style. So what has happened? The Slovakian has played six games this season and scored 8 points. Four yellow cards show he is struggling, and Liverpool have kept just two clean sheets all season. His value has dropped to £5.8m, but with Daniel Agger ready to return soon, that may even be too steep.
Do you know who Spurs’ most expensive defender is? Ledley King? Jonathan Woodgate? Goalscoring hero Vedran Corluka? No, its Gareth Bale. Yep, Gareth Bale, who has played a total of seven minutes this season. At £5.4m, the Welshman may offer a goal threat with his set-pieces and daring raids, but that is only when he actually gets onto the pitch. Which is not something you can really afford the gamble on, is it?
Joe Hart (Birmingham) – This gets harder each week, it has to be said. But Joe Hart’s form for Birmingham this season has been good enough to earn him an albeit belated call-up to Fabio Capello’s England squad. He may have been culpable for Burnley’s opener at the weekend, but he is in good form and at £4.2m he is a very good cheap goalkeeper.
Kevin Prince Boateng (Portsmouth) – They had to come good sooner of later. Pompey’s first win of the season was welcomed far beyond the south coast, but the contribution of this young German was not ignored. Boateng has a reputation for being a difficult customer, but seems to have settled quickly at Portsmouth, a goal and an assist already, and the former Spurs man looks nifty at £5m.
David Nugent (Burnley) – Mocked at Pompey, reborn at Burnley. Nugent will probably never get another chance to pinch a goal for England, but he is finally getting the chance to show he can cut it at Premier League level. Two goals on his home debut was proof enough, but the former Preston man added to that with a smart all-round display, and assist, against Birmingham. £5.2m for a striker who will start most games? Do it.
Well, what can I say? I don’t write the “expert opinion” for nothing you know. Captain Fabregas and his merry men led me to a glorious 80 point-week. My three strikers – Drogba, Bent and Van Persie – all made contributions, but it was Cesc and his 44 points which really made my week, and propelled me up my leagues.
Football Media League
Including this one! 80 points this week threw me into third place in the Football Media League. Only the in-form Jon Eggert Hallsson’s Handavinna (528 points) and James Newman and his lid lickers (502 points) stand above me, although competition is fierce with Andy Roach’s Strawbears creeping ominously into the top five on the back of a big fat Fabregas inspired week.