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The worst ninety minutes of the season: Unless you’re one of the .4 percent of fantasy managers who own Michael Turner (4.2), Saturday morning was kind of a drag. The Norwich City-Aston Villa game featured the worst two halves of football we’ve seen all season. Last year, Aston Villa were the least watchable team in the Premier League; to all appearances, Paul Lambert hasn’t made much of a difference.
AVB: Tottenham are back in the Champions League places, which is terrific for Andre Villas-Boas but a bit humiliating for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Gareth Bale (9.6) and Clint Dempsey (9.2), fantasy must-haves of the not-so-distant past, both scored. Dempsey’s hilarious Texas accent is as good a reason as any for adding him to your team, and given that Sunday’s star performer, Mark Clattenburg, isn’t available in the Fantasy Premier League – rule change, anyone? – Bale’s not a bad bet either.
The Diver: Hurricane Sandy is ripping its way through the United States, knocking down trees, flooding basements, the works. Luis Suarez (9.7) isn’t a hurricane, but the Everton defense suffered just as much from his onslaught as the storm-hit East Coast has from Sandy. You may not like Suarez – indeed, you probably shouldn’t like him – but, well, points are points.
Controversy: The world of fantasy football is bereft of controversy. For example: I own Fernando Torres (10.0). On Sunday evening, Mark Clattenburg issued Torres a second yellow card for diving, which would have been all well and good – cheating is a scourge of our game, a foreign abomination, etc. – only Torres didn’t dive, didn’t come remotely close to diving, and his early dismissal meant not only that he lost the ability to earn goal scoring points, but also that he would suffer a point penalty, possibly jeopardizing my first-place position in a two-team league that means a lot more to me than it should, what with little kids dying in Africa and a presidential election coming up. I should be furious about this. I should post rude messages online (“Mark Clattenburg – Man United’s Newest Signing” already has his own Facebook page, as well as over 150 likes), or at the very least Photoshop Clattenburg into a Manchester United kit. But I won’t, because the fierce tribal loyalties that drive real football have no place in the fantasy game. I suppose that’s a good thing.