Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 28

While we’re still recovering from England’s best hope of winning a Champions League trophy getting knocked out of the tournament yesterday, here are my notes and observations from gameweek 28 in the Fantasy Premier League:

Kagawa scores his first Manchester United hat trick: At the beginning of the season, Shinji Kagawa (7.9) was on a lot of Top Ten Fantasy Prospects lists, probably because of his much-publicized success in the German Bundesliga, whose fast, aggressive games prepare players well for the even faster, even more aggressive English Premier League. But until last Saturday, Kagawa had failed to justify his reputation as Japan’s fleet-footed answer to [insert name of any European attacking midfielder who’s achieved fame and fortune partly because he’s European and therefore immune to the damaging stereotypes that Asian stars like Kagawa have to overcome]. It’ll be interesting to see whether Ferguson rewards Kagawa with increased playing time. If he does, you know what to do.

Steven Pienaar is awfully good: A couple of seasons ago, fans and journalists made a lot of the fact that Pienaar (6.7) – who, at that point, felt he’d outgrown Everton, David Moyes, and sixth-place finishes – rejected Chelsea’s advances in order to join Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur team. Supposedly, this represented a Changing Of The Guard that would Rock Football for years to come. These days, Pienaar is back at Everton, Chelsea is the European champion, and Redknapp is managing bottom-placed Queens Park Rangers. Go figure. On Saturday, Pienaar scored one of the goals of the season, cutting inside, performing a probably-unnecessary-but-nevertheless-cool step over, and smashing the ball into the top corner. Sign. Him. Up.

Luis Suarez (10.7) and Stewart Downing (5.7) and Phillippe Coutinho (6.5): Liverpool has a team of talented attackers and might be about to go on a run. You heard it here first.

Cool as a cucumber: Apparently, Mario Balotelli has commissioned a life-sized statue of himself. Dimitar Berbatov’s penalty against Sunderland (his tenth goal of the season) was so beautifully taken, so obviously Berba-esque, that a big part of me is starting to think this world would be a much, much better place if a life-sized statue of Berbatov (6.9) were standing in the center of my living room.

Utterly predictable: Gareth Bale (10.3) scored again, which would have been great if I’d remembered to make him my captain. Meanwhile, Robin van Persie’s (13.9) dry streak continued. I’m seriously considering signing Jay Bothroyd (4.7) and/or Luke Moore (4.4) – you know, just for the heck of it.

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