Another matchday, another list of postponed matches. Why does the Premier League do this to fantasy managers, and how should it be addressed in the future?
This matchday (well, if you can really call it a matchday) is a nightmare for fantasy managers. An absolute nightmare. Thanks to the FA Cup, five of this weekend's ten scheduled matches are postponed. On top of that, the matches that are left do not contain many of the "big names" that we would have paid up for. Spurs and Leicester City play, sure. So does Manchester City. But Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and West Ham United will all be out of contention for managers this weekend.
My Official BPL team personally is wrecked. I will be without my starting GK (David De Gea), the core of my midfield (Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Dimitri Payet), plus one of my main price strikers (Romelu Lukaku). In fact, if I even want to be able to field a full team, I will have to go 4-4-2 and transfer for two midfielders or I will have two spots empty. Fantrax is an entire other mess; to field a full team, I would need to replace players who I have at a substantial discount, and that simply is not going to happen.
For owners who still have their unlimited transfer chip in the official BPL game, this is the perfect time to cash it in. Problem is, we could've said the same thing two weeks ago. And did. But should we have to resort to that? Shouldn't the BPL be able to set up some way to make up for this, by providing either combined matchdays or giving us a way to make additional substitutions in a situation such as this? How would you like to see these types of matchday postponements handled in seasons to come?
Will Leicester City become more conservative down the stretch?
On Saturday, with the match tied at the half, Claudio Ranieri decided to tighten up the team and took Marc Albrighton off for Leicester City in a 0-0 match. This was an odd move, as Albrighton has been an important force for the LCFC offense the past two months. However, he could see that Watford were getting space and he did not want to give them the opportunity to get a goal. This is somewhat of an odd move compared to what Ranieri has done with the Foxes this season. If not for a terrific goal from Riyad Mahrez, Leicester could have very well ended with a draw and be on a three point lead, versus the five point cushion they now hold.
As we close in on the final two months, and it becomes more and more important to take points, the pressure will begin to build on this team and we will see if they can withstand it. Jamie Vardy missed numerous chances over the weekend and has not seemed to be as lethal of a finisher lately as he was earlier in the season, which begs the question of whether the pressure is already starting to weigh on him.
Will we continue to see the powerful, pacey counter-attacking football that Leicester have employed all season--which often leaves them exposed at the back when the fullbacks push forward--or will Ranieri put the brakes on the team in an effort to prevent dropping points in crucial matches? They say "trying not to lose is the best way to lose"; will that be a lesson that the Foxes learn the hard way?
Why won't LVG let Memphis play despite showing that he's earned the right?
One of the most exciting signings of the summer transfer window was Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven. Manchester United fans went out and bought his shirt, pundits discussed how he would change the attack for the Red Devils, and in his first month and a half he was a dynamo, scoring goals, breaking down defenses, and causing defenders problems. Then suddenly....he was gone.
Well, not gone, you could see him on the bench. Which is where he shouldn't have been. The past month, due to injuries and downright necessity, he regained a spot in the lineup. His work the past two months with Ryan Giggs showed immediately, as he produced like the signing everyone expected him to be. And then suddenly, once again....he's dropped.
LVG has done this all season long with another big offseason signing, Morgan Schneiderlin--yet again, a player who has played very well when he's been out there, but can't seem to get consistent playing time. Unlike Schneiderlin, though, Memphis offers fantasy owners a terrific young talent capable of scoring goals both from the run off play and off his spectacular free-kick abilities. Is Memphis a player that you would like to see available for your team, and do you wish LVG would give him more opportunities?
Is Dimitri Payet the best midfielder in fantasy BPL right now?
West Ham United has to wonder if they would be a title contender right now if Dimitri Payet doesn't get hurt. And that's not a joke. Payet went down at a crucial point in the WHU season, missing seven matches including matches against Tottenham, Manchester United, and Southampton. They currently sit in fifth place, just eleven points out of first.
In the 17 full matches that he played (not counting the match he got hurt in and returned in), Payet has scored six or more points in ten of those matches, tallying eight goals and eight assists in that time frame. Over the last four matches, he has two goals, three assists, and thirty-five points in official BPL. In Fantrax, he's been even more of a beast--sixty-three points over those four matches, and six double-figure matches in the nine full appearances since his injury.
While an argument could be made for Christian Eriksen, Ozil, Mahrez, and Willian, it is hard to argue that Payet hasn't been right there with them all the past month or so. We will find out over the next few weeks, as he will face Chelsea, Arsenal, and Leicester all within the next six weeks (unless their procession in the FA Cup requires more postponements), but I wouldn't be shocked if he gives them a taste of what Everton got this weekend.
When will Everton stop trolling owners and show us their real potential? Or will they ever be allowed to as long as Martinez is in charge?
Ross Barkley. Lukaku. Deulofeu. Leighton Baines. Joel. Seamus Coleman. John Stones. The amount of talent--much of it young--that the Toffees possess is impressive. Yet, they cannot seem to get out of their own way. They cannot keep leads, no matter if it's Tim Howard or Joel Robles in goal. They cannot break down teams whose talent isn't comparable to theirs. Currently sitting 12th in the table is not a position that anybody expected this team to reside at the start of the season.
A piece in the Guardian this week discussed the obsession of Roberto Martinez to strive to be like Pep Guardiolaand keep constant possession, and how it is likely hurting the team. In fact, despite having massive amounts more talent, his record in the BPL is on par with Tony Pulis. When you look at the weapons at this disposal, that is stunning.
Imagine an Everton team that played like Leicester City--a team where Ross Barkley gets the ball, turns and finds the likes of Aaron Lennon, Deulofeu, and Kevin Mirallas on the attack, with Baines and Coleman in support. Imagine being a defender trying to contain that kind of pace, while knowing that the physical freak that is young Lukaku is waiting in the middle to smash home a cross. Imagine how lethal their attack could be, and how much higher their fantasy floor would be if he would simply adapt his philosophy to the talent he has at hand.
Do you think that Martinez is holding back Everton with the style he demands of them, or are their results this season--and their up-and-down fantasy performances--a result of simply not playing well as a group? How would you like to see Everton play going forward?