Those who expected fireworks from the Manchester derby were disappointed by a tense scoreless draw. Who was let down by the likes of Wilfried Bony, Kevin De Bruyne, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure? Who profited instead from David De Gea, Joe Hart, Phil Jones, Aleksandar Kolarov, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, Bacary Sagna and Chris Smalling? Kompany's return from injury surely aided City's back line, while United's defense has been bolstered greatly by the returns of Rojo and Jones as Louis Van Gaal no longer feels the need to select two midfielders in the back line. Who knew having defenders play defense would work out well?!
Similarly, Leicester City/Crystal Palace failed to deliver much offense with a 1-0 result, but if anybody was going to score you know it had to be Jamie Vardy who notched for the seventh straight game with his 10th goal of the season already! Speaking of scoring stud strikers, did you have Harry Kane's hat trick rewarding you with a huge boost to your points tally? (Stall Express, my opponent in a head-to-head league, that's who, with the captain designation on top for good measure. You are evil, Stall!)
The Vardy of assists, Mesut Ozil extended his streak with at least one helper to four straight games, bringing his season total to seven, though Alexis Sanchez cooled off after a scorching hot stretch of six goals in the prior three matches with Olivier Giroud and defender Laurent Koscielny instead getting the glory for Arsenal which continued to roll.
Newcastle came crashing down to earth as Sunderland gave Sam Allardyce his first win as manager, while Southampton's Sadio Mane scored a late equalizer to deny the same for Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp. Aston Villa continued its struggles and Stoke hit the skids following a three game win streak (managing a meager one shot on target at home while giving up two goals to a newly promoted team!) while Swansea and Watford got back on track with wins following rough patches.
Eden Hazard did see the field for kickoff after being benched the prior game, but proved ineffective along with the rest of Chelsea as Nemanja Matic saw red amidst a swarm of Blues players crowding the referee, an all too familiar sight this season. Did anybody bravely feature game winner Andy Carroll in their line-ups upon his long-awaited return from injury?
Norwich sputtered at home as visiting West Brom notched yet another clean sheet against subpar competition, leaving Boaz Myhill owners loving life again. Meanwhile, Jordan Amavi (for the second straight game), Pablo Zabaleta and Matteo Darmian failed to start; is anybody rushing for defensive cover or are you keeping the faith?
Let's take a gander at how we did with our fantasy teams over the weekend. I'll start off! (My team name is Stallone Wall.)
A star-studded line-up underwhelmed with a total of 91 points, as Andre Ayew (19 points with a goal) and Dimitri Payet (10 points) were my only players in double figures. Jamie Vardy managed only 8 points despite scoring a goal and Riyadh Mahrez had only 9 points despite having an assist, while Yohan Cabaye (8 points), Alexis Sanchez (8 points) and Kevin De Bruyne (5 points) also underperformed expectations. Bargain-priced defenders Alan Hutton and Philipp Wollscheid tied for the third-highest output on my team (9 points each) despite failing to deliver clean sheets, outscoring the much higher-priced Nacho Monreal (8 points), although similarly cheap Asmir Begovic (-2 points) was a disaster in the nets. I now have 951 points, sitting in 91st place in the Beat the Bloggers group of 462 active players.
Official Premier League
Poor selections regarding starters vs. bench players as well as the captaincy proved my downfall in Official BPL fantasy; Alexis Sanchez was a dud at 2 points doubled to 4 for the former, while in the latter I started Bojan (2 points) instead of Ayew (9 points) and Cesar Azpillicueta (0 points) instead of Craig Cathcart (6 points). That left me with plenty of points in the ether, leaving a total of just 46 points for the week. My top scorer was Odion Ighalo with a mere 7 points, followed by Cathcart, Heurelio Gomes, Kolarov and Mahrez (6 points each), while Cabaye (2 points) and De Bruyne (3 points) disappointed as in Fantrax. The aforementioned head-to-head loss left me in third place in the tightly contested "experts" league, while sitting in 252nd place in the Beat the Bloggers league with a total of 495 points.
Togga Perfect XI
As with the others, I had an uninpsiring showing with only 104.75 points in Togga. Huh, guess that tends to happen when you have a big overlap in players for all of your teams and when you fail to include the guy with the hat trick in any of them. However, it was Mesut Ozil, someone I have only in Togga, who saved my bacon with 25 points. Payet (16 points), Mahrez (13) and Kolarov (10.25) were my only others in double digits, as De Bruyne, Glenn Johnson, Nacho Monreal, Alberto Moreno and Sanchez contributed little. As in Fantrax, I was killed by a horrible keeper choice as Jack Butland went in the red with -2 points. Togga is definitely my best platform of the trio, as I rank #18 in the Beat the Bloggers group with 1380 points so far.
How did your week in fantasy soccer turn out? Who were your big performers and which choices do you wish you could have a mulligan on? Join us in the comments section and be sure to brag, vent and discuss!