Fantasy Premier League managers around the globe suffered at their hands of their real-life counterparts as a number of interesting decisions left Barclays Premier League starts relegated to minor roles for the club sides. It was certainly understandable that Messrs. Di Matteo, Ferguson, Mancini and Wenger would have one eye on their opening Champions League fixtures, but some of those decisions sent ripples across fantasy premier league squad sheets. It is no surprise that, following the complete assessment of points and bonus points following Sunday’s fixture, the average Fantasy Premier League side had scored 31 points on average.
Perhaps the most notable decision was Sir Alex Ferguson bringing on Robin van Persie against Wigan. By the time the Dutch forward was introduced for Paul Scholes (71′), United were in control through goals from Scholes (51′), Chicharito (63′) and Alexander Büttner (66′). Van Persie had picked up a thigh injury in his last international outing, and was substituted at halftime of that match. Van Persie’s introduction locked Fantasy Premier League managers into a 2 point outing from their captain, as RVP was the most captained selection in the Official FPL this gameweek.
Shinji Kagawa was named in the squad but stayed on the bench Saturday. He had also been the subject of injury speculation following his withdrawal from the Japan squad with a back injury prior to their last match of the break.
We’ve continued to beat the drum for Emmanuel Adebayor. He recorded double-digits returns in both goals and assists playing in Harry Redknapp’s Spurs side a season ago and looked poised to spearhead the attack under Andre Villas-Boas following his protracted move from Manchester City. However, Adebayor was relegated to the bench while Jermain Defoe scored a brace against Reading.
Defoe has scored three goals in 335′, getting the full 90′ twice and playing at least 75′ in each of Tottenham’s opening four fixtures. The England man certainly has the class to play the position but was behind Adebayor last season and failed to unseat him as Ade scored 17 goals and 12 assists in 2827′. Defoe had a fine season in his own right, scoring 11 Premier League goals in 1301′, adding two assists, and finishing the year with 92 Fantasy Premier League points despite the paucity of pitch time. It is clear that Andre Villas-Boas does not feel beholden to anyone, even players he just brought to the club. Hugo Lloris, Clint Dempsey and Adebayor were all on the bench again on Sunday.
Dempsey did eventually find himself on the field, making a bow when Gareth Bale was withdrawn after 78′. Dempsey is priced £9.3m in the Fantasy Premier League after seeing net transfers out of -53952, -22731 and -2936 the past three weeks. The American posted his own remarkable campaign in 2011-12, scoring 17 goals of his own and adding seven assists in 3324′. We have made no secret that we feel Spurs optimal attacking lineup would contain both Adebayor and Dempsey – as well as Bale, Sigurdsson and Moussa Dembélé – but at this time we can not own either player.
The late scratch of Benoit Assou-Ekotto was unfortunate, but there was no reported injury news following his return from international duty until well after fantasy premier league rosters had locked. Just as well, as Spurs once again allowed a late goal, ruining clean sheets and raising questions about their stability at the back.
We responded to a Tweet before the gameweek addressing the question of Ryan Bertrand:
The Ryan Bertrand question is actually an important one. While simply owning the Fantasy Premier League defender is a good decision, the question of starting him in your best XI is another. Bertrand has gotten the full 90′ in the matches he has played, two of three as noted in the tweet, and did not play in the second match gameweek 1. We’re comfortable starting Bertrand in this fixture because we’re not concerned about him being a late substitute. This may prove a naive position but we’re confident that he would not be a defensive substitution and Roberto Di Matteo has shown a willingness to bring on other attacking options (Oscar, Moses, Sturridge). With a starting role as the left attacking winger, Bertrand certainly can provide fantasy premier league points this weekend against QPR.
Bertrand was, in fact, started and not introduced as a late substitute. However, he was withdrawn after 57′, falling victim to Chelsea’s ineffective attack against a rampant Queens Park Rangers side who were unfortunate to take only one point at home. Victor Moses for Ryan Bertrand (57′) does not read with much drama, but those minutes cost fantasy premier league managers clean sheet points for the out-of-position Bertrand. He ended the match with one point in most formats. We’re still happy to invest in Bertrand and his price of £4.6m is likely to increase as more managers invest in the defender-come-left winger and his selection rises from 6.7%.
On final substitution that did not have the same impact was the early withdrawal of Carlos Tevez. Tevez created Javi Garcia’s debut goal, the only for Roberto Mancini’s side in the 1-1 draw with Stoke. Tevez played only two minutes and was perhaps denied bonus points as a result of his short outing. The match awarded FPL BP to Crouch (3), Garcia (2) and fellow debutante Maicon (1).
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