Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweeks 32 and 33
Redemption- These were gameweeks of redemption, and not just for Wigan Athletic. Andy Carroll was absolutely shocking for 91 minutes of Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Ewood Park, before springing into life for the final 120 seconds. Joey Barton, too, put previous struggles behind him with a goal in QPR’s potentially crucial 3-0 win over Swansea. And, of course, Carlos Tevez scored a deflected goal for Manchester City. Interestingly, all three players started for their respective clubs, something of a rarity in recent weeks. Last season, Carroll, Barton and Tevez were fantastic — especially Tevez who, remember, finished as the league’s top scorer. Renaissance, anyone?
A word on penalty takers- On Wednesday evening, I cheated on the Premier League. Instead of taking in Arsenal-Wolves on DVR, I watched Bayern Munich’s crucial Bundesliga clash with Borussia Dortmund. In case you don’t already know, Arjen Robben missed a late penalty, which brings me back to the Fantasy Premier League, where consistent penalty-takers are vital to success. Over the last two gameweeks, we have been lucky enough to see three top-class penalty- takers exhibit their art. And two of them are English. Frank Lampard converted at Craven Cottage, Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford and Robin Van Persie at Molineux.
If you’re short on cash, though, you have other cheaper options. Shaun Maloney scored a penalty at Anfield a few weeks ago, and Fulham’s Danny Murphy is one of the most clinical takers in the league. (Notice I exclude Yakubu. I was embarrassed just watching his miss on Tuesday).
Pilkington- A shout-out to Anthony Pilkington who, as you may remember, I have always admired. He scored the first of two Norwich goals at White Hart Lane – the second, scored by Elliot Bennet, was a screamer – and bothered the Spurs defense all match with his set pieces, clever dribbles and generally bothersome play. He’s cheap, too.
The Toffees- Yay! Everton are scoring goals! Six in two games to be exact, including four in a resounding win over Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland. What’s more, the goals are actually spread out across the team, rather than, as in previous seasons, concentrated on the head of Tim Cahill (not that David Moyes would mind a little more productivity from that head…).
Take note: Everton have an FA Cup semi-final this weekend, so any moves should be delayed until the days before gameweek 35. (Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of managers who don’t take such things into account).
Dempsey- The one time I met Clint Dempsey, I told him how much I enjoyed his beautiful chip against Juventus. He stared at me for a second, as if trying to remember that particular goal. Seeming nonplussed, he thanked me and walked away, probably to scour YouTube. Yup, it was just as strange as it sounds.
This year, he could certainly be forgiven for forgetting a goal or two. After all, he has scored sixteen in the league, tied with Yakubu and Ba for fourth in the scoring charts. In form.