A bit of what’s going on in Butt’s Brain after a weekend filled with Premier League football. Here are a few thoughts related to the (Fantasy) Premier League as I currently watch Newcastle bombard Blackpool’s penalty area between minutes 60 and 90 in the second half but get denied only by a combination of their own finishing and Blackpool’s ‘keeper Matt Gilks.
- Harry Redknapp fears the worst as Croatian star Luka Modric could have suffered from a broken leg yesterday.
- Tottenham – a Top 4 wannabee – only managed a draw at West Brom. They’ve now lost to Wigan at home, drawn at West Brom, and barely beat Stoke (replays showed Stoke had an equalizer unjustly ruled out). Not great domestic form for Harry’s men. Perhaps they get into form in the Champions League this week?
- On the brighter side, despite moving to left back in this game, Fantasy Premier League “midfielder” Gareth Bale (7M) was still able to scoop up all 3 bonus points against West Brom – showing his influence even from a deeper position. Will Modric’s long term injury move the star back to midfield? Perhaps.
- Funny Feeling Friday Van der Vaart made his debut and was involved in Tottenham’s attacking play – combining with Aaron Lennon for a tasty, tasty backheel in the box in the first half that Lennon just put over the bar. It remains to be seen if he will hog corner kicks, free kicks, and/or penalties in the Tottenham side – but if he does, he’s a good value at 7.5M.
- Another Top 4 ‘wannabee,’ Manchester City, was only able to get a 1-1 draw at home vs Blackburn. Midfielder Adam Johnson continued his fine form – offering a threat down the flanks – and picked up 2 fantasy bonus points for his troubles – but England’s Joe Hart made a rookie mistake in this one to gift Blackburn their only goal… A strange result as last season Manchester City absolutely dismantled Blackburn 4-1 at home.
- The bright spots for Mancini were, surprisingly – one of his cheapest buys – England’s Adam Johnson – and one of his most expensive – his compatriot James Milner. The two recent national team starters combined well to look dangerous.
- Goal.com wrote of Adam Johnson: “Delight to watch. Got the Eastlands faithful on their feet as he left Givet in his wake. Came close twice to scoring in the first half. Worked on same wavelength as Milner. A real boost for club and country.” At 6.5M in the Fantasy Premier League, and with performances like that, he should remain a strong fantasy prospect despite heavy threat from big money signing David Silva – who replaced Johnson in the second half yesterday.
- Nani and Berbatov look fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. In form. Consistent. They put Everton to the sword. Sure, Everton somehow managed to get a point with 2 goals very very late, but that shouldn’t take away from the class shown by the Portugal winger and Bulgarian striker. Really good stuff and I rate them very highly now despite both suffering from tons of criticism due to inconsistency in the past.
- Newcastle lost to Blackpool 0 – 2 at home but I just watched the final 45 minutes of this game (replay) and Newcastle dominated play from about minutes 55 to 90 – so the result is a strange one for me. Blackpool goalkeeper Gilks had the game of his life – keeping out Newcastle attack after attack after attack. Carroll looked OK, Barton looked great in possession and going forward, and Lovenkrands even came off the bench to put in a few great chances. I wouldn’t lose hope with Newcastle despite this surprising 0 – 2 home loss. They will be fine, and they will be safe.
- Speaking of possible relegation threatened clubs, I thought West Ham were unlucky to lose by a 1 – 3 margin at home to Chelsea yesterday. The team passed the ball nicely on the floor – led by the likes of Noble and Parker in the centre, and the halftime introduction of Dyer for Boa Morte was a superb move by Grant – as Dyer offered something new in 1-on-1 situations that put Chelsea on the defensive. If West Ham “perform” like that this season, they should stay up. 0 points from 4 games isn’t great, but Manchester United (a), Chelsea (h), and Aston Villa (a) are never going to be games you are expected to win, so West Ham could be just fine.
- That said, Frédéric Piquionne’s miss from less than a yard was one of the worst misses I have ever seen. Seriously, it made Tevez’s miss against Sunderland a few weeks ago look like a difficult shot. Piq missed a wide open net from less than a yard – and to make matters worse – the ball was going in anyway. That would have made the game 3-2 with a few minutes to go – and would have given West Ham another goal – which they deserved.
- From a Fantasy Premier League perspective, Carlo Ancelotti toyed with fantasy managers by only bringing on Malouda and Alex on as second half subs for 10 minutes or less. Massive disappointment for hundreds of thousands of fantasy managers. The Malouda move maked sense – as the French winger had played 180 minutes for France in the last week, and Chelsea have a Champions Leaue game midweek, but the Alex benching was more surprising / frustrating. Bosingwa is back to full fitness in a week or two so the Chelsea backline may be a rotation minefield other than the expensive Cole and Terry going forward…
Good luck to all fantasy managers this weekend…