Sunday, 7 December 2014

Injuries, Suspension and Missed Opportunities

You - a Barclays Premier League star. I saw you on the pitch this weekend, you looked fit in that kit (and I'm a bit of a poet). Then, suddenly, you were gone and reportedly out of my life for at least another week.

Me - watching you from an LED screen miles away. Also, partially watching a two-dimensional representation of 'you' on my laptop. And, if I'm honest, checking my mobile for updates about your health, performance and immediate relevance to my life. If you noticed me - and millions just like me - I can be reached at fantasy sites, premier league draft sites or Twitter. Always Twitter.

A truly brutal weekend of FPL action has left managers scrambling and twitter feeds (particularly that of the ebullient Ben Dinnery) humming with the news of the day. An average of 21 points entering Sunday's early kick-off has been coupled with red cards for Charlie Austin, Calum Chambers and Lukasz Fabianski (on Sunday), a fifth caution for Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas and as yet undisclosed injury to Sergio Aguero.

Taking the shortest first - the one match suspension for Fabregas sees the Spanish international miss the next League fixture, a plum clash home to Hull City. The Tigers haven't won a match since 4 October and have allowed 10 goals in the 8 games since, including three goals to Manchester United 29 November. In Togga draft format, Cesc obviously stays in your squad and is moved to the bench as another of Jose Moutinho's legion midfielders move into the void. In salary cap format, like the Official FPL, Cesc is £9.8m-rated with 49.2% ownership. If you look to sell him, it is unlikely you'll recover the value elsewhere. With 84 pts to date, Cesc is not scoring big points in each week but has slowly amassed the second-top total amoung midfielders. It's one week, and you likely have larger fish to fry.

The larger fish is, of course, Sergio Aguero. Kun left the Manchester City match with an injury which will see him miss the Citizens' midweek Champions League encounter. Some media reports have the Argentine talisman missing as much as 6 months, but with nothing confirmed by the club - apart from the Champions League absence - fantasy soccer managers are left in limbo.

EDIT: we have an update from @BenDinnery

Internal options are limited with Steven Jovetic recovering from a knock and Edin Dzeko is not fully fit with Mauricio Pellegrini stating after the match that "Edin was not able to play 70 or 80 minutes, he could play a maximum of 35 minutes''.  The number of available forwards is further compromised by Charlie Austin's red card. Austin scored and assisted in the Hoops 2-0 home win over Danny Ings' Burnley side. The QPR front-man was everywhere and, unfortunately, that included seeing a second yellow card shortly after scoring and (in addition to the lost points) will be suspended for the trip to Everton.

Considerably different news - albeit just as poor from an EPL fantasy perspective - was the squandered opportunities from a number of side. I personally bemoaned the performance from young Master Ings, as he was dispossessed five times in 90' by the amatuer defending of QPR. Ings had been dispossessed five times in his previous four matches combined, and he finished with 2 pts in salary cap league.

It was a similarly disappointing outing from both sets of attacking players in the Spurs v Palace clash - where 30 shots resulted in a scant seven on target with Robert Soldado particularly wasteful. Soldado (5) Harry Kane (3) and Christian Eriksen (3) combined for 11 shots and only two on-target (one apiece for Soldado and Eriksen). The sides finished 0-0 and only those few managers relying on Hugo Lloris (11.8% selected) or Erik Dier (15.6%) came away happy.

One Togga-specific note: Aston Villa's Christian Benteke is a must-add in any league where he remains available. The imposing Belgian striker has displayed phenomenal quality even in the absence of goals scored. His final Togga line for Sunday's fixture was 19 points on the strength of: 2 shots on target, 2 TakeOns, 2 chances created, an assist and 1 tackle won. He was everywhere, hardly putting in a wrong foot all game.