Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 23

Harry Redknapp signed a player: Loic Remy (6.0) has scored his first Premier League goal, and QPR is undefeated in five games, which is exciting but also kind of disorienting in the way that Redknapp teams — with their cavalier disregard for things like debt, taxes and deadline-day honesty — are always disorienting. Redknapp seems to think Bobby Zamora (6.1) still exists, but I doubt it.

Michael Owen’s return: When Michael Owen (5.0) isn’t racing/training/discussing horses, or tweeting inane tidbits (“That’s it for the snowman competition”; “Nearly gave a needless pen away then”), he’s actually, you know, playing football, a sport at which he once excelled but that lately he hasn’t really thought about – like, at all — and which, to put it bluntly, is sick and tired of him, his horses, and @themichaelowen. Owen’s goal against Swansea is utterly meaningless in the context of his dead-end career, so don’t even think about signing him.

Walcott’s new deal: Theo Walcott (9.4) makes about 100 million pounds a week, which is a lot of cash, even by Premier League standards. He’s also a striker – a real, living, breathing striker, not the imaginary striker who used to net imaginary goals in imaginary stadiums inside Walcott’s head. On Sunday, Walcott added another strike to his already impressive tally — more proof that, this season, he really does play up front.

Speaking of Englishmen who think they’re strikers: Daniel Sturridge (7.4) scored his third goal in three Liverpool games, and his spectacular dummy contributed to one of the best team moves of the weekend. Liverpool beat Norwich 5-0, and one of those goals was scored by Steven Gerrard (9.4), who used to score spectacular goals every other weekend but who hasn’t found the top corner in quite a long time. Not that anyone on Merseyside would admit that Gerrard has gotten exponentially sloppier over the last 18 months. That would be blasphemy, pure and simple.

When Nigel Adkins was sacked, I dared to dream: For a split second, the Southampton job — and all its attendant dreams, opportunities, and doorways full of light – was vacant. Then I blinked, and the Saints appointed Mauricio Pochettino, and a small but not insignificant part of my deepest, darkest, innermost soul – the part that harbors Premier League coaching ambitions – died a sad death, and the world came crashing down.

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