The Good, The Bad and the…. Jamie Vardy

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A new feature for the blog showcases the best and the worst of the weekends fixtures, displaying players which set to break out, or players who have let many people down. In this weeks weekly edition of The Good, The Bad and the …. we profile players who performed, and those that didn’t.

Arsenal 4 – 3 Leicester

This weeks winners:

Aaron Ramsey – 7.0m

The mercurial midfielder looks set to have a stellar season, having played a lot of pre-season in a more attacking position, creating and scoring chances at will. The Welshman came on to replace the defensive Elneny, and looked positive in his short cameo, scoring, and almost getting a brace. With only a lack of fitness keeping Ramsey out of the squad this week, his goalscoring exploits will be sure to have him starting next week.

Granit Xhaka – 5.6m

Xhaka was signed with a sense of expectation around him last season, due to the combative nature, and strength in the challenge, as well as a decent shot from range. Many were disappointed in his lack of goals, his 2 red cards, and his lack of consistency in his first season at Arsenal. This game against Leicester was peak Xhaka, plenty of shots, 2 assists, and he took set pieces. With all that being said Xhaka has not exceeded 2 assists in a season since his spell at Gladbach, and this certainly not the norm, be careful getting on this bandwagon.

Jamie Vardy – 8.6m

Jamie Vardy is having a party, and trust me, it must be a pretty grim spectacle after the Foxes twice went ahead against Arsenal, yet still managed to come away with nothing. The Englishman has been rubbished as a one season wonder by many, but Vardy showed glimpses of the form which linked him to a 30m move to Arsenal last season. Pace, directness, and fantastic finishing were the highlights for the foxes talisman, who looks a player rejuvenated under Craig Shakespeare, after a poor season under Ranieri.

This weeks losers:

The Arsenal defence

It’s hard to isolate who was the worst Arsenal defender due to the players playing out of position, there being no leader, and the tactical choices made by Arsene Wenger. Arsenal played a massively weakened defence against Leicester, and Vardy’s pace really made them struggle, with Holding having to deal with a lot of 2 on 1 opportunities due to little coverage from Bellerin and Elneny. Holding was the only centre back available for this fixture, and it’s clear to see Arsenal are missing a Koscielny or a Mertesacker when makeshift centre back Sead Kolašinac found himself in the opposition box, more than his own. Steer clear until Koscielny is back.

Mohammed Elneny – 4.5m

While notching an early assist to Alexandre Lacazette, the Egyptian looked off the pace for much of the game, leaving the Arsenal defence exposed with regularity. Arsenal looked a much better side without the Egyptian on the field who played mostly safe passes and only made 4 tackles in the game. You’d be forgiven for forgetting he was on the pitch at times, and it would be a surprise if he keeps his position against Stoke.

Kelechi Iheanacho – 7.0m

How can you drop Vardy and Okazaki after this performance? The answer is, you can’t. Leicester aren’t managed by the tinkerman any more, which means that solid returns means you keep your place in the side. The Nigerian was brought in to slowly replace Jamie Vardy, who after this performance is up for the fight to keep his place. With competition for a place from Islam Slimani and Ahmed Musa, perhaps Kelechi’s quick ascent, won’t be as smooth as thought of by many.

Watford 3 – 3 Liverpool

This weeks winners:

Mohamed Salah – 9.0m

On his debut popping up with a goal and an assist you couldn’t really ask for much more from Mohamed Salah. He had a lot of chances and perhaps should have scored another, but Fantasy Football managers will be happy that the new signing has got off to a flying start.

Roberto Firmino – 8.5m

With James Milner not on the pitch and from watching pre-season as soon as Liverpool got the penalty Firmino owners were hoping that it would be just like pre-season. Up steps Firmino.A sigh of relief for Firmino owners. Firmino then goes on to assist Salah(something tells me we will be saying this alot this season) If Firmino is consistently on penalties 8.5M could be a bargain.

Abdoulaye Doucouré –  5.0m

Who? The Watford machine absolute bossed the midfield for periods of the game. His height and strength proved a tough task for the Liverpool midfield to deal with. Could this man be the new Capoue of last season? For 5.0M and and two decent GW’s coming up he’s definitely one to keep an eye on bagging a goal in his first game of the season. He’s now equaled last year’s record of 1 goal scored.

Losers

Georginio Wijnaldum – 7.0m

There are several things that can be guaranteed in life, death, taxes and Gini Wijnaldum going missing in away games. While undoubtedly talented, the Dutchman struggled to impose himself on the game, missing headers, and not offering much creatively throughout the 90 minutes he was on the pitch. Gini was tasked with being the most creative of the midfield 3, with him being outshone by Henderson and Can for large portions of the match. It’s clear to see that Liverpool missed the creativity of Coutinho, even if the bite of Can and Henderson was clear to see.

Joel Matip – 5.5m

Saturday was probably the worst game he has had for Liverpool. Usually the Cameroonian leads the line, organises the defence, and comfortably passes from the back. Overall it was a poor performance, which was explamplised during the defending from the corner meant that Stefano Okaka effectively had a free header against Mignolet from 6 yards out. The Liverpool defender has to improve in the coming gameweeks, otherwise Liverpool will continue to concede goals aplenty.

Daryl Janmaat – 5.0m

The ex-Newcastle man is perhaps overpriced at 5.0m, but many many may have selected him as a guaranteed route into the Watford defence. It must have been disheartening to see him go off injured after just 18 minutes, for ex-Barcelona man Kiko Femenia. The Dutch full back has been reported to be out injured with a muscle injury which could keep him out until after the international break. In that time Femenia could cement his place in the starting XI under a the new manager.

Chelsea 2 – 3 Burnley

Winners

Stephen Ward – 4.5m

What a hit son, take a bow! Not many people know that Stephen Ward used to play as a striker. After that strike, I’m sure a lot more people will believe that fact. Stephen Ward has built a career in the Premier League from sheer hard work and graft. The 2 footed full back rolled back the years and showed what League of Ireland fans know the ex-Bohs striker is capable of. If Wardy can continue to show a more offensive game under Burnley this season, the full back could add assists, and goals, to an already impressive clean sheet tally from last season.

Sam Vokes – 6.0m

I don’t think anyone saw this coming! Sam Vokes with 2 goals away to Chelsea is probably one of the biggest shocks of Game week 1. Vokes ended last season on a goalscoring run scoring 4 goals in last 3 games and he’s certainly off to a flying start this season. Hard to assess  due to playing against 10 men mostly but with Burnley so strong at home last season and their next fixture Home to West Brom it’s no surprise that currently 15000+ managers have transferred him in for game week 2.

Alvaro Morata 10.0m

The 60 million pound signing from Real Madrid may have started on the bench but showed Chelsea what they were missing in a short cameo appearance from the bench. It was a shock for a few people that Morata was not starting due to match fitness, but once he came on he looked great. A goal and an assist in the bag for him already. His link up play and runs in behind make him a big threat, especially with skill and vision of Willian playing in behind him. With more match fitness to gain, and Pedro and Hazard to come back, the future looks bright for the Chelsea striker.

Losers

Cesc Fabregas – 7.0m

Temperamental Cesc was back with a bang in GW1. As soon as he got his first yellow card we all knew it would be a tough ask for him to not tackle. Very disappointing first game week for Fabregas owners who would have been hoping for the silky passing skills of Cesc rather than the dirty tackles.

Michy Batshuayi – 8.4m

The likeable Belgian got a rare start due to the lack of fitness of new star signing Alvaro Morata. You would expect that rare start to be one of a few fleeting appearances for the ex-Marseille striker after an admittedly poor performance. With Morata coming off the bench and changing a game, in which Michy struggled in, it wouldn’t be surprising

Gary Cahill – 6.5m

For a man of the experience of Cahill it was a stupid lunge which cost Chelsea the game. With no contesting the decision the captain lead by example in a deplorable opening fixture for the Champions. With a ban to follow, Gary Cahill is one of our biggest losers of the week.

Everton 1 – 0 Stoke

Winners

Wayne Rooney – 7.5m

The Local lad has returned and is straight off the mark. With many United fans delighted to see the back of Rooney, us fantasy football fans were curious to see how Rooney would get on and if he would actually play as the main striker. He roamed quite frequently but managed to pop up with the goal and getting himself off to a positive goalscoring start. I don’t expect much from him this season but if he manages goals in Evertons upcoming difficult fixtures he could definitely be worth it at only 7.5m.

Jordan Pickford – 5.0m

A fantastic save towards the end of the game ensured those of you had opted for an Everton defender for GW1  were guaranteed those vital clean sheet points. Pickford could well be a cheap way into the Everton defense in the future.

Michael Keane – 5.5m

Everton’s new signing looked comfortable in a 3 man defense, and a 2 man defense. The young England international showed composure that his two more experienced counterparts, Jagielka and Williams lacked during the game. Picking up 2 bonus points it’s far more likely this season that when Everton do keep a clean sheet the bonus points will be given to Keane rather than Jagielka.

Losers

Davy Klaassen – 7.5m

Looked off the pace and not fully fit. This has been a trait throughout pre-season for Klaassen. At 7.5M there is much better options. Ronald Koeman has stated that it’s possible that Barkley could play for Everton again, although highly unlikely, at 7.5M Klaassen is not worth the risk. Having gone off at 59mins will see Fantasy Football managers fume if they had him in their team missing out on the clean sheet point and the 60 minutes playtime. With Glyfi Sigurdsson as close as ever to joining Everton this could lead to even less play time for Klaassen.

Ashley Williams – 5.5m

With Williams being subbed off at half time this caused huge doubts about if he will start another game under Koeman. The Welsh captain missed out on what would have been 5 more points if he played the full 90 and just over 5% of manager lose out on a few positions in their overall rankings.. With Everton more likely to play a back 4 in their upcoming difficult, it’s possible Williams may not even feature.

Saido Berahino – 6.0m

Remember when Berahino was scoring goals left right and centre for West Brom? What a player he was back then to have as a third striker. Berahino has now played 14 games for Stoke and failed to score in all of them. Proving to have very little impact offensively thus far, and definitely not worth the 6M. Isn’t that right our next winner?

Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Huddersfield

Winners

Steve Mounie – 6.0m

Steve Mounie looks like your archetypal striker from the 1970s in England, a dominant brute who is forceful in the air, and gets his head on crosses. Two goals on his first premier league and at 6M could look an absolute steal. A shock result for Huddersfield will leave Fantasy Football managers pondering how they may do in future fixtures. Mounie scored 14 goals in France last year, and looks suited to England football, the Beninese striker could get a similar number of goals for the Premier League newcomers.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek 4.5m

There wasn’t many positives for Crystal Palace owners but for those few who opted for RLC will be quite happy with how he played given the score line. While playing out of position on the left wing, Loftus-Cheek looked comfortable and played as a driving force in the midfield and attack for Palace. Priced only at 4.5M the Chelsea loanee could be a nice rotation option, especially given the injury to Wilfried Zaha, which could in turn give RLC a more central position which he is more at home in.

Jonas Lössl 4.5M

Not many would have heard of the Huddersfield keeper prior to this season. The big Dane had big boots to fill in the absence of last season’s Liverpool loanee Danny Ward, but boy oh boy did he look the real deal. Alongside fellow Danish brute Zanka, the terriers could have a very strong and dominant defense this season. A save point for Lössl and two bonus points see him finish GW1 on 9 points. Many will be keeping a close on Lössl this season if he keeps up this form.

Losers

Wilfried Zaha – 7.0m

With high expectations from Fantasy Football managers starting this year against newly promoted Huddersfield  Zaha failed to deliver. He looked threatening at times but failing to get any decent points puts Zaha down as a loser this. Rumours have been doing the rounds that big Wilf could be out for up to 4 weeks. A massive loss for Palace.

Christian Benteke – 8.0m

He’s big, he strong, and he loves to disappoint. The old debate of having Benteke or Lukaku is long gone. Zanka and Schindler handled Benteke well throughout the game. Owners will be very disappointed at Benteke failing to score against Huddersfield.

Jaïro Riedewalde – 5.0m

Someone needs to remind Riedewalde of the ol’ saying ‘’Stick your head on it’’, de Boer’s new signing showed little intent to challenge for Mounie’s aerial bombardment, which allowed Huddersfield to open up the scoring. Then again, if I was the under 6 foot tall centre back going against a 6’5 attacker I’d probably be scared too.

West Brom 1 – 0  Bournemouth

Winners

Ahmed Hegazi – 4.6m

Big Ahmed Hegazi looks like the type who would be in one of the old world cup Panini sticker books from the early 1990s.  A West brom defender scoring from a corner with a header? Where have I seen that before. At 4.6m Hegazi is definitely one to keep an eye if he can keep his place. With West Brom scoring 49% of their goals last season from set pieces he could be a bargain.

Chris Brunt – 5.5m

A standard corner assist for Brunt will be something we’ll likely see repeatedly throughout the season. Brunt as usually will be on the majority of set pieces. A good option to consider at 5.5M for those that like to rotate midfielders weekly. Just don’t mention ‘Johnny Evans’ or ‘Gareth McAuley’ to Brunt owners. Please don’t mention them.

Ben Foster – 4.5m

Foster beat the odds and managed to keep a clean sheet against a highly dominant and normally high scoring Bournemouth. He didn’t have that much to do, but picking up 1BP is a good indication for the future that if West Brom keep a clean sheet Foster is likely to get a BP(He rotates really well with Begovic)

Losers

Jermaine Defoe – 8.0m

While a lack of full fitness could have been the cause for Defoe not starting, when he did come on he looked off the pace on his debut for new club Bournemouth. Howe normally has his favourites, and while it is early days, we could be seeing Defoe being a substitute instead of a starter, however unlikely it is.

Salomon Rondon – 6.5m

Salomon Rondon has finally been dropped. I repeat Salomon Rondon has finally been dropped. There has been reports of late that the Venezuelan threw his shirt away in petulance at the end of the game after coming on in the 88th minute. Pulis put it down to the striker being annoyed that he didn’t start, Rondon should get used to this though, after seemingly dropping down to third choice striker behind Hal Robson-Kanu and Jay Rodriguez.

Joshua King – 7.5m

For those of us lucky enough have King towards the end of last season he was an absolute hero. A midfielder in Fantasy Football while playing out of position as a Striker, an absolute gem. While the possession was good  for Bournemouth the supply to King was poor, many were hoping for King to continue is form on from last season but this wasn’t the case. King  dropping deep will be a big worry for Fantasy Football owners, as an out of position striker playing in the midfield is less of an attractive option.

Brighton 0 – 2 Man City

Winners

Sergio Aguero – 11.5m

The rule of ‘’Always captain Aguero’’ hasn’t been said as much since the arrival Jesus, however it was Aguero that stepped up and opened the scoring, after a sublime first time assist from David Silva. Pep has grown rather fond of Sergio over the last 6 months, and the Argentine striker will continue to start for City as long as he continues to provide the goods. A proven premier league goalscorer, with cheaper price than what he was last season at 11.5m. While not a bargain, definitely a player to consider having in your team.

John Stones – 5.5m

With Kompany beside Stones the clean sheet possibility sky rockets. Unlike Kompany, Stones isn’t much of an Injury risk and is the most nailed on defender to start for City aside the Belgian, also unlike Kompany he isn’t a clean sheet magnet, but Vinny rubs off on him.

Vincent Kompany – 6.0m

It’s always a win when Kompany doesn’t get injured after playing football longer than 10 minutes. If Kompany can manage to stay injury free this could lead to City keeping plenty of more clean sheets, and the only thing less likely than Kompany staying fit is Claudio Bravo actually stopping a front post shot.

Losers

Kevin de Bruyne – 10.0m

Kevin de Bruyne is a fantastic footballer, let me get that out of the way. Kevin de Bruyne was also the highest scoring midfielder in the game last season, let me also get that out of the way. In Pep’s new system does he look like replicating that form? Not a chance. The Belgian creator, and assist machine threatened at times but could become an assister of the assists as shown by Aguero’s goal against Brighton this weekend. While he will have better weekends, it’s unknown as to how high up the pitch he will play, and how effective a player he will be in Fantasy Football.

Leroy Sane – 8.5m

With the possibility of not starting and also the fact that Sane could play slightly out of position at LWB rather than LW  this could leave to devastating returns in Fantasy Football. The worry of if Sane will play and even if he does will he play in the correct position is enough for most to steer well clear of this pricey midfield option.

Gabriel Jesus – 10.5m

Jesus starts, the irony of him not being nailed on. There was a brief sigh of relief for those who owned him despite most expecting that he would start, Pep has made some very strange decisions in team selection since taking over at Manchester City. It will be a constant battle for both Jesus and Aguero to see who will be the clubs top goal scorer and so far the Argentinian maestro is ahead. Jesus failed to get on the score sheet and also failed to get an assist. Despite having a great game in making dashing runs and tormenting defenders with his movement the young and upcoming Brazilian was left frustrated that his goal was disallowed and he was then booked for a handball.  Registering just 1 point on the opening game of the season will see Fantasy Football managers furious if they opted for him over Aguero.

Southampton 0 – 0 Swansea

Winners

Maya Yoshida – 5.0m

What may have surprised a lot of people this weekend was that Yoshida was taking free kicks instead of highly rated James Ward-Prowse. The Japanese centre-back came close a number of times and going by the tweet below (skip to 1.00) it seems he has been practising. Yoshida came close late on and missed a good chance from a corner, if he keeps on getting into these positions we could see a few gameweeks with even higher scores.

Federico Fernandez – 4.5m

With multiple shots off target for Southampton and Fernandez at the centre of defence holding them all off. An unexpected clean sheet from Swansea sees Fernandez gain the maximum bonus points in this match. A strong defensive shape from Fernandez and Co means they hung on for what could be a vital point at the end of the season. Ryan Bertrand 5.5m Ryan Bertrand taking a corner? Who’d have thought it. If this keeps up he’ll definitely be worth keeping an eye on at just 5.5m increasing his chances of an assist.  A clean sheet and two bonus points with the possibility of future corners get’s him on the winners list for this week.

Losers
Manolo Gabbiadini – 7.0m

With facial hair as dodgy as his finishing, Gabbiadini looks set to frustrate fantasy football owners yet again. The Italian hitman faces a massive rotation risk if he doesn’t start getting himself into better scoring positions, and finishing the chances that do come his way. For a side to get as many chances as they did, and still fail to score, a lot of the responsibility has to fall on the strikers shoulders. Charlie Austin lies in wait.

Dusan Tadic – 6.5m

Dusan Tadic used to be an icon, a rockstar, a living legend, now he is wasteful, and a rotation risk. Missing a great chance early in the game proved costly for Tadic owners. In a game that Southampton were expected to win, many chances were created but nobody was able to provide a goal that would have made a difference.

Nathan Redmond 6.5M

A yellow card for Nathan Redmond owners and  poor distribution throughout the game would have frustrated all owners. Redmond found himself in good positions yet failed to deliver  with poor decision making and misplacing passes.

Newcastle 0 – 2 Tottenham

Winners
Dele Alli – 9.5m

With Alli kicking off this season with a goal  this could be a sign of  things to come again from the young future England superstar. Alli has now scored 13 goals in the Premier league  since the beginning of 2017 and  for those who are opting for Lukaku over Kane, Alli would make great Spurs coverage.

Christian Eriksen 9.5M

The silky magician did it again. Claiming two assists on the opening game of the season. There will be many frustrating moments this season when Eriksen blanks and Son/Kane/Alli all get on the score sheet and assist sheets. This week however was Eriksen’s turn to shine. Eriksen was influential on the Spurs attacks and always looked threatening when he had the ball. Some may say the second assist was quite lucky, but fantasy footballers will notice the positions Eriksen was getting himself in to get that ‘lucky’ assist. Eriksen also came close to scoring a goal as his shot just went wide of the post.

Ben Davies 5.5M

Who needs Danny Rose when you have good ol’ Bavies to step in. Many would have opted for Trippier  before his injury. Those that did the direct swap would have been nicely rewarded with Davies  scoring and keeping a clean sheet.

Losers
Paul Dummett – 4.5m

Local lad Paul Dummett went off injured after 7 minutes and was soon followed by new signing Florian Lejeune. While it looks too soon to judge for Lejeune, Dummett has been pictured on crutches and suspected to be out for a couple of weeks. The injury could lead to 4.0m to Massadio Haïdara getting some minutes for Newcastle, though the Frenchman struggled at the championship and would struggle even more at this level.

Harry Kane – 12.5m

Many opted for Harry Kane despite all the signs telling them not to. Those who knew that Harry Kane does not score in August had a huge sigh of relief come 3:30. Kane hitting the post, having a goal disallowed, and missing point blank range just goes to show the curse is alive and well for Harry Kane in August. The goals will come, just not this week.

Jonjo Shelvey – 5.5m

In just one match Jonjo Shelvey reminded every Premier League fan why he was so chastised while playing in the top division previously, a feat Joey Barton would even be proud of. At 0-0 Newcastle’s talisman stamped on Dele Alli, while Spurs’ attacking midfielder lay on the ground, what happened next was a quick red card, and soon to be a 3+ game ban. Somewhere underneath it all there is an extremely talented player who is capable of playing at an international level, too often though his own stupidity costs him, and in this case his team too.

Manchester United 4 – 0 West Ham

Winners
Romelu Lukaku – 11.5m

To think that many United fans questioned signing Romelu from Everton. Lukaku Living up to the price tag of 11.5M is the only thing that Fantasy Football managers cared about. The big man didn’t mess about scoring 2 goals in what appears to be a very strong attacking team for United. Managers who opted for Lukaku over Kane have been very well rewarded on game week 1 fixtures, and he will be a captain choice for many weeks to come.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 8.0m

A brilliant all around performance from the Armenian where his style and control showcased just what United shelled out close to 30 million pounds for last summer. Jose must be frothing at the mouth after a performance like that, and it finally seems as though Mkhitaryan has found his role in the United starting XI playing just behind the striker.

Paul Pogba – 8.0m

People who don’t watch Paul Pogba are missing out on seeing a fantastic footballer at his pomp. The French dynamo spreads the play with style, and consummate ease. Pogba had one of those games, which left fans in awe, but almost disappointed Fantasy Football managers due to the lack of end product.That was until the 90th minute when he took his shot superbly well curling it around the ponderous Joe Hart.

Losers
Joe Hart – 4.5m

Joe Hart may well be able to save himself from Dandruff and flakey skin, but the new West Ham came up against opposition which were head and shoulders above him. Conceding four goals while the Manchester United fans chanted ‘’Englands number 2’’ must have been demoralising, even for a man of the confidence and self belief of Joe Hart.

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez – 7.0m

Chicharito tried his hardest, but the quality around him just wasn’t there. The little Mexican put himself about and dropped deep to win free kicks and link up with the midfielders, but was ineffective and had little to no chances in front of goal. Hernandez’s chances will improve upon the return to the XI of Manuel Lanzini, but with Edmilson Fernandes being the central midfielder with the most creative reign behind him, it was always going to be a tough task to get involved in the game.

Arthur Masuaku 4.5M

Gary Neville held no punches in his criticism of Masuaku when he slated the left back commentating that Slaven Bilic should “Get him off. Rubbish”. Oftentimes Masuaku struggles to balance offensive and defensive duties, often leaving gaps behind him, and against a Manchester It’s hard to know how French born player starts over Aaron Cresswell, and after a performance like this, it’s unlikely he will any more.

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