Fantasy Premier League: Monday Morning Midfielder – Matchweek Five

Matchweek five is in the books, and just like pretty much every other week in the Premier League it certainly wasn’t devoid of drama. I don’t have a fancy shmancy intro for you this week, so let’s just dive right in.

Stream Your Keepers Against Burnley

In my opinion the Premier League is the most competitive league in the world. And I know any club can beat any other club on any given day. With that being said, some struggle to do so more than others – a lot more. Enter: Burnley FC. Now, it’s not like I was expecting a newly-promoted side to dominate the top flight, and certainly something can be said for the fight the lies within that plucky little club, but with only one goal scored through five matches now, to say “The Clarets” are struggling mightily to produce any offense would be a vast understatement.

Sunderland defenders and goalkeeper, Vito Mannone, were the latest recipients of Burnley’s ineptitude in front of goal. And if you were savvy enough to stream Mannone then no doubt you’re reveling in your six saves and cheap clean sheet. “The Black Cat’s” keeper wasn’t really troubled all day, save a nasty deflection that careened off the woodwork late in the match, and the job done by Vito and his back four serve as prime example of keeper streaming against Burnley, as this was their first clean sheet of the young season.

Özil Shines, But Can You Trust Him?

Entering the weekend, perhaps no one could of used a goal more (except for maybe Burnely) than one Mesut Özil. Since returning from a long summer (albeit for a good reason), the talented German has looked lethargic and uninterested at times, as he, going into Saturday, had failed to score or provide an assist in three matches. But beyond even the counting stats, this run of form has become an all to familiar sight for the most expensive player in club history.

That all changed Saturday against Aston Villa, as Özil broke out of his slump with some gorgeous midfield play that led up to a goal, assist, and two chances created against what has been one of the most stingiest clubs in the league this year.

Does this mean he’s turned a corner? Is he finally fully fit after the long summer? And, more importantly, can you trust him in your fantasy lineup?

The answer to the first two only time will be able to tell, but as far as the last question goes, the answer is you probably don’t have a choice. Goals and assists won’t always be there, but what’s most important for Özil is his involvement in the match. Is he getting enough touches? How many touches does he get in dangerous areas? And where is he positioning himself on the pitch are all crucial to wether or not the German star is going to be effective.

Özil saw plenty of time in the middle of the pitch, his preferred position.

Özil saw plenty of time in the middle of the pitch, his preferred position.

As you can see from the heat map, he was able to answer all of those questions on Saturday, as he drifted into a central attacking role quite often despite being listed as a left sided midfielder. This is important, because while he can play a in a wide role, he’s more dangerous receiving the ball in the middle and picking out the passing lanes.

Manchester United…Still Must-See TV

Di Maria celebrates after his beautifully chipped goal against Leicester City

Di Maria celebrates after his beautifully chipped goal against Leicester City

Let me be clear, United are still a mess. And their undoing at the hands of Leicester City over the weekend is precisely why I tune into to their matches. But, I will admit that I’ve found myself watching for another reason over these past few weeks, and that’s because of their ability to produce fantasy football porn.

They already had a potent attack with Rooney, RvP, and Mata in the fold, but the addition of Angel Di Maria (who might be the best player in the league over the past two weeks), Radamel Falcao, and to a certain extent Dalley Blind, has vaulted them into the discussion for best attacking side in the league.

The only potential speed bump I see for fantasy players, is you’ll need to make sure to stay on top of the lineups when they’re announced each week, because LvG’s got a lot of toy’s to play with now and not everyone’s going to feature in that first XI each week.

Everton…Ughhhhhh

Same fixture, same result in back to back seasons. Crystal Palace owns Everton at Goodison. Period. I was cautiously optimistic heading into this match, and I had good reason to be. After all, the club was coming off their first league victory a week ago over West Bromwhich Albion. Then they dismantled Wolfsburg in their Europa League opener on Thursday, to the tune of 4-1 at Goodison park. So, after two complete victories in a row and the club seemingly firing on all cylinders, you’d think a home match against Palace would be relatively easy, right. Wrong.

It all started out so well. They were dominating possession, being creative, and looked absolutely brilliant on the build up to Lukaku’s goal in the ninth minute. But after that, things just went south. The foot came off the pedal, they were sloppy in possession, and Tim Howard was absolutely atrocious and was directly responsible for two of Palace’s goals. Also, and I know I’ve harped on this before, but John Stones MUST be half of the centre back pairing. Seamus Coleman picked up a knock in the Wolfsburg match, and for the second time this year Martinez has felt he needed to slide Stones out to right back to replace him. This wouldn’t be all that bad, but it leaves the now seemingly ever-vulnerable pairing of Distin and Jagielka stretched far to thin. On a fantasy related note, it might be prudent to stream your forwards and mid’s against Everton. The Blue’s have surrendered and league-high 13 goals.

Moving on to the more positive end of the spectrum, two Toffee stars continued their hot fantasy streaks as Lukaku netted in his second consecutive match, and Leighton Baines proved his worth by sending the keeper the other way on a penalty kick. It’s not all doom and gloom, guys (just mostly).

The MMF Will Be Taking Very Brief Sabbatical

Next weekend I will be taking in some beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery as my wife and I will be getting away to celebrate 11 years of marriage. As you can probably imagine, I’ll be somewhat pre-disposed and won’t be able to catch much Premier League action (though I’ll try to catch the scores on my phone). So, devastated though you might be, you’ll have to do without me for one weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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