Adventures in the Fantasy Premier League, Gameweeks 36 and 37

Frank Lampard breaks Bobby Tambling’s goal record: Frank Lampard (8.4) is easy to mock. He’s English and therefore lacks the sparkle of players like Mata (10.2), Oscar (8.0) and Hazard (9.6); he’s pathologically incapable of playing alongside Steven Gerrard (9.2), though Gerrard’s tactical indiscipline hasn’t helped matters; and he once yelled at a radio host who had gotten a little too interested in Mrs. Lampard and the kids. Still, Lampard is a fantasy football legend, and he deserves respect. We all know the cliché (which sounds like the slogan from a Fox Soccer infomercial): “Lamps guarantees you 20 goals a season.” This year, in only 15 starts, he has accumulated more than 1,400 points. Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time top scorer, and his name is on the front page of the Fantasy Premier League’s midfield leaderboard.

Emmanuel Adebayor has stopped sulking and started scoring: Last week, Adebayor (9.0) scored a brilliant long-distance goal against Chelsea. Then he followed it up with a tap-in against Stoke. Next week, Spurs play Sunderland at home, which probably means Adebayor will continue his streak – unless, of course, Paolo Di Canio manages to invoke some kind of goal-blocking, Champions-League-dream-killing black magic. 

Sturridge’s hat trick: Daniel Sturridge (7.2) has benefitted enormously from Luis Suarez’s (10.6) suspension. He has also benefitted from Fulham’s ridiculous slump, which I can’t help but suspect has something to do with Dimitar Berbatov (7.1), who, as we all know, generally doesn’t run if he doesn’t have to. (I’m pretty sure “economy of motion” is the technical term.) Sturridge scored a hat trick; next week, Liverpool plays Queens Park Rangers.

Sir Alex Ferguson retires: I was going to write about how, during the 36 hours separating Wednesday morning’s announcement from Thursday’s Internet leak, my managerial dreams rekindled and the prospect of manning the Old Trafford technical area suddenly seemed a little less remote. But the fantasy football angle is way more interesting. Rooney (11.7) to Chelsea? Baines (7.8) to United? Next season, you probably should wait before splurging on United’s players; presumably, Moyes will change a few things.

One more tip for final day: Manchester City has officially sacked Roberto Mancini. Fair enough, I suppose – City has gotten progressively worse this season. Good thing Norwich City is up next. I’m expecting some sort of cathartic explosion, probably to the tune of 5-0. A year ago, Sergio Aguero (11.1) scored arguably the most important goal in Premier League history; he notches end-of-the-season, statistics-padding hat tricks in his sleep.

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