Premier League Game of the Week: Liverpool 0-2 Everton

The last week in the English Premier League was always going to be about the Merseyside derby, and it ended up being an historic one as Everton beat their city rivals Liverpool 2-0.

Just to put the victory into context this was Everton’s first victory of any kind over Liverpool in 11 years. But it gets better as the records tumble and this was also Everton’s first victory at Anfield since 1999.

The game as one would expect started at a frantic pace even without fans present. Liverpool had set up as a 4-3-3 with again Jordan Henderson being deputised in defence and with that alarming 3 at the front strike partnership of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had come into the game having lost their last 3 home matches, lose this and it would be the first time since 1923 that the Reds had lost 4 games at home in a row.

Everton were expected to be more cautious but still played 2 up front away from home in the form of Richarlison and James Rodriguez who had been pushed further forward. Manager Carlo Ancelotti understood about the looming threat of the hosts and deployed 5 at the back.

Everton got off to the best start possible as James threaded a beautiful ball through to Richarlison who made no mistakes with his shot and Everton were in the lead of the derby within 180 seconds of kick off. That was Richarlison’s 4th goal of the season. For his standards the Brazilian has been quiet in this campaign however in the last few weeks starting with the Tottenham victory in the FA Cup Richarlison has found his form.

Possession wise after the goal was scored Liverpool dominated but interestingly Everton seemed like they could deal with whatever Liverpool presented them- and it wasn’t much. The champions had just 2 shots on target, Everton away from home had one more in the first half.

In the end Liverpool would end up with 72% possession and had a further 4 shots on target and Salah looked to have broken through near the end but Jordan Pickford in goal made some fine saves. Michael Keane really stood out at the back for the visitors and while Liverpool were now creating the better chances Everton were containing them.

Of course it didn’t help that Henderson had to leave the pitch with a groin injury, though at the present time the club captain isn’t expected to miss any further games.

Everton sealed victory after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sent clear his shot rebounded from Alisson but Trent-Alexander Arnold went for the tackle, he didn’t touch Calvert-Lewin but was adjudged to have impeded him in his run and Everton were given a penalty. There was a VAR call but the referee had made his mind up. Gylfi Sigurdsson made no mistakes in converting the penalty and that was his fourth goal of the season so far.

Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford

There were two Jordan’s on the pitch, one in blue and one in red. But Jordan Pickford for Everton was superb in goal. He has just come back from a rib injury and made some vital saves to keep his side in the game. Simply put if it wasn’t for Pickford’s display Everton could have lost the game.

Pickford only has 7 fantasy points this season because he has played 19 games and been injured and of course conceded goals early in the campaign. His value is 7m and this is the type of performance that could drive him to achieve more clean sheets. So far this season he has 4.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 25

Everton beat Liverpool for the first time in 11 years and the first time at Anfield since 1999 as they won 2-0 against a very odd looking Liverpool side who seem to have imploded and they could well struggle to finish in a top 4 place this season.

Tottenham have lost 4 out of the last five games and their latest defeat came against the impressive West Ham  who have climbed to 4th as a result. The chase for a top 4 spot is on and it’s looking very exciting, let’s see which players dazzled the league this week and made the team of the week.

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford- Everton 7pts

Jordan Pickford has been missing for a few weeks with a rib injury but England’s Number 1 was back to his best as he kept a clean sheet at the champion Liverpool and Everton won an historic match 2-0.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Ruben Dias has been superb this season and he kept yet another clean sheet his 14th of the season as Manchester City beat Arsenal 1-0 away from home. Dias now has 66 points and his 3rd in the defenders list in the fantasy points for the Premier League.

Defender: James Tarkowski- Burnley 5pts

James Tarkowski has now kept 9 clean sheets and has had a solid season especially when you consider that Burnley have struggled this season and the player earned another 5 great points at the weekend.

Defender: Michael Keane- Everton 5pts

Michael Keane was arguably the man of the match as Everton beat Liverpool 2-0. Keane has had a solid season and was rock solid in defence for Everton making numerous great tackles. Keane’s value is 6.5m.

Defender: Lucas Digne- Everton 5pts

When Lucas Digne defends like he did at the weekend v Liverpool in the classic Merseyside derby then his switch from Barcelona to Everton makes perfect sense for the Premier League side. Digne’s value is 7m.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling- Manchester City 6pts

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City beat Arsenal 1-0. Sterling scored early on and that was 9th goal of the season. The player seems to get better every season and is having a solid campaign.

Midfielder: James Rodriguez- Everton 4pts

James Rodriguez earned another 4 points in midfield and he has a total of 29 points and is ranked as Everton’s best midfielder of the season so far. His value is 9.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 5pts

Manchester United were given a scare by Newcastle by eventually powered through and Bruno Fernandes sealed the winner as the Red Devils won 3-1. That was Fernandes 15th goal of the season and he has been involved in a total of 25 league goals so far, in an incredible season for the Portuguese.

Midfielder: Jesse Lingard- West Ham 4pts

Jesse Lingard has been brilliant for West Ham after his switch in the winter transfer window from Manchester United. Lingard scored again for the Hammers as they surprised Tottenham to win the game 2-1.

Striker: Richarlison- Everton- 4pts

Richarlison has started the season slow but he is scoring goals for Everton now and he got one of the most important of his Everton career as he opened the scoring against Liverpool in the derby. Richarlison now has 4 goals and 17 points this season.

Striker: Takumi Minamino- Southampton 4pts

Takumi Minamino became the first player to score against Chelsea with Thomas Tuchel as manager as he put Southampton in the lead early on. The game finished 1-1 but Minamino played a very good match and his switch from Liverpool looks like a good one for the Saints.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Have Everton really progressed under Carlo Ancelotti, or is time running out for the Italian?

It’s still brilliant to think that one of the best managers ever in the game is in the dug out at Everton, a club who have struggled for the past few decades and haven’t won any silverware for the past 25 years. That put into context would make one wonder what Ancelotti is doing at the club. This after all is a man who has won everything at clubs like Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea.

Ancelotti saw a challenge and ambition at the club and in owner Farhad Moshiri that means that Everton have some money too, not on a Manchester City level of course but they do have funds available.

Carlo Ancelotti is certainly the man and it would take something for the Italian legend to be sacked. Of course the word sacking and his appointment at the club are, at the moment, worlds apart and in general Everton fans must be happy with Ancelotti, but let’s face it if we are being critical maybe fans would have expected more from the club since Ancelotti got the job back in December 2019.

Ancelotti’s win rate feels like a problem, it is currently at 50% this is his lowest since managing Parma back in 1998. Though critics could point to the fact that when you are in charge of teams such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich you’re winning rates are going to be higher- this is true but the argument then surely exposes the manager’s overall qualities.

The Italian was able to earn Everton 32 points from 22 games managed last season, this would average out to around 55 points over the course of a season. It is only slight improvement of where Everton were before Ancelotti was appointed. Does his salary and the money he has been given justify the club to earn on average 5 extra points? If it was five extra for every season then yes, but the way the current one is working out he is due to arrive on about 60 points. So this could be good news, the problem is Ancelotti probably won’t be at Everton long enough to see the fruits of his labour.

There are many positives at the club and Ancelotti and his team have improved striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin from an average to poor striker to a very good one. Calvert-Lewin’s game has been brilliant under the Italian and he has scored 13 goals in the league so far that is off the scale to his usual meagre return and this has been one of the crowning glories of Ancelotti as a manager for the club.

He has been shrewd his buys too. Allan from Napoli has been solid in midfield. It’s true he only has 2 points in the fantasy rankings but he has missed quite a few games through injury. James Rodriguez was the big transfer for the club from Real Madrid. He can remain frustrating because one week he looks like he is amongst the best players in the world and the other seems to be auditioning for the invisible man role but still he has 25 points so far and has been involved in 8 goals- scoring 5 and assisting in three.

But the problems have persisted for Ancelotti, he is in favour of crowding out the midfield even when Everton play at home and there have been countless times when the club has started games very slowly. That is fatal in the Premier League and Everton have been badly exposed at home because of it.

Everton have won under 30% of their games at home and their recent loss against Fulham by 2-0 really underlined how Ancelotti is failing overall to motivate his players. Beating a team in 18th place whilst you are trying to finish in a Champions League one, one must wonder what motivation is needed to do that?

For now Ancelotti is showing his class but it does feel that it is in sprinkles and not full on. He has done well in moments and given Everton hope. They have two huge games coming up which could define their season. First up is the game against the likely champions this season in Manchester City and then it is the derby against Liverpool.

Can Ancelotti change the mindset for his team and get them over the final hurdle? Even a Europa League qualification would be welcomed at the club and let’s not forget Everton are also in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, however they will have to get past Manchester City to reach the semi’s.

Time may not be running out for Ancelotti just yet, but one has to wonder if Everton’s season peters out and the start of the next is a slow start Ancelotti could be facing the end of his Everton career by the end of 2021.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League Game of the Week: Manchester United 3-3 Everton

Was this the weekend when Manchester United were found out? The club were never expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season and it’s incredible to think of how well United have done when just 3 months ago manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job was genuinely under threat.

But this was a game for the Red Devils in which they were expected to win. Edinson Cavani was expected to score because the super Uruguyan had done so on two occasions against Everton this season, once in the Carabao Cup to knock Carlo Ancelotti’s team out of the competition and once in the league where United, playing at Goodison Park won the game 3-1. Cavani scored on the break which killed that encounter off.

Cavani as it turned out did not let anyone down as he opened the scoring. At that point it felt fairy predictable that United who have shown moments of great form this season would go on and win the game.

But this match would end up being a game of two halves. And it was all red in the first. United scoring early sensed that Everton were there for the taking. Although one should remember that the Toffeemen have played much better away from home and picked up more points on the road this season. Still it was only United creating all of the chances and they had several moments to double their lead. Everton did not have a shot on target in the first half and when Aaron Wan-Bissaka set up Bruno Fernandes to make it 2-0, surely there was no coming back from this point?

Everton previously and infamously did come back against United when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of the club, from 4-2 down they drew 4-4. But coming back at Old Trafford was in Ferguson’s era as rare as hen’s teeth. At half time Everton looked doomed. And then suddenly just 4 minutes into the 2nd half it was 2-1. Abdoulaye Doucoure was the goal scorer and it has come moments after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had almost pulled a goal back for the visitors, but he would have his moment later in the game.

For Doucoure the new signing this season it was a special moment, not in the goal itself which was from a rebound in the box but Doucoure doesn’t score many goals and he knew right away that his side were back in this game.

The game seemed to have swung in Everton’s favour and the underdogs for this duel came out fighting and within less than 10 minutes of Doucoure’s goal it was 2-2. And it was Doucoure again who used his magic setting up James Rodriguez who slotted nicely past the keeper. In just 13 minutes of the re start Everton were back on level terms.

The game was end to end now and it was certainly up for grabs, but it would be United taking the lead once more. A Luke Shaw freekick found the head of Scott McTominay who directed the ball home from about 6 yards out. McTominay has been in brilliant form lately and the script looked all set up for him to be the winning goal hero.

As time was running out Lucas Digne hit the post for Everton and the game looked like a huge 3 points for United. But football usually surprises with a few twists and there would be another one for United. Calvert-Lewin prodded home in the area as the ball ran through and United could not quite believe that they had conceded so late, literally the last kick of the game. As expected Everton were ecstatic. The game had ended in a draw but for Everton it had felt like victory.

In league terms it was a blow for United who fell 5 points behind league leaders Manchester City but are still in 2nd place. The problem for United is that City also have a game in hand. Everton are in 7th place but the club have 2 games in hand over most of the teams above them and in theory could go 4th with victories in those games.

Manchester United: man of the match: Bruno Fernandes

What an incredible player Bruno Fernandes has been this season. He scored a world class goal to make it 2-0 to United and that was his 13th goal of the season. In the fantasy rankings he already has 80 points and out of the major leagues in Europe he would be ranked 2nd.

Everton: man of match: Abdoulaye Doucoure

Doucoure ran the show for Everton in the early stages of the 2nd half to bring his club back into a match they thought they had lost. Not only did he score a goal but he also assisted in another. Doucoure has been involved in 5 goals this season in the league and has earned 17 points so far.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 23

The Premier League title looks like it is returning to Manchester City after they beat the champions 4-1 at Anfield. It was a crushing victory and a huge statement and City have gone 5 points clear of Manchester United at the top and have a game in hand. Pep Guardiola’s side have gone 10 points clear of Liverpool, and their title hopes look over.

Chelsea have looked like a different team under new manager Thomas Tuchel and they have climbed to 5th place after winning 3 games in a row. Everton made an incredible comeback against Manchester United. At one point Everton were losing the game 2-0 but it ended 3-3.

Let’s take a look below at which players made the final 11 cut for this week

Goalkeeper: Damien Martinez- Aston Villa 7pts

Martinez kept yet another clean sheet his 11th of the season as Aston Villa beat Arsenal 1-0. It was a week that saw only 4 other goalkeepers in contention but Martinez made some fine saves and against a very difficult team.

Defender: Thiago Silva- Chelsea 5pts

Thiago Silva has been one of the Chelsea players who has really thrived under new manager Thomas Tuchel and Silva was solid in his performance. Chelsea beat Tottenham and Sheffield United this past week and the club have only conceded 1 goal in the 4 games that Tuchel has been in charge and even that was an own goal.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell- West Ham 5pts

Aaron Cresswell is having a fantastic season with West Ham. The player has really come of his own and is leading the defence superbly and that is key as to why the Hammers are doing so well this season. Cresswell has managed to keep 8 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Serge Aurier- Tottenham 5pts

Serge Aurier has had to prove himself once again under Jose Mourinho and it hasn’t always been easy. But Aurier was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet against West Bromwich Albion as Tottenham won a must win game 2-0 at the weekend.

Defender: Reece James- Chelsea 5pts

Reece James has maybe been an unsung hero at the back for Chelsea this season. But the player has amassed 26 points already and has helped the club to keep six clean sheets.

Midfielder: Ilkay Gundogan- Manchester City 6pts

Ilkay Gundogan was the key to unlocking Liverpool as Manchester City ran out 4-1 winners in one of the biggest games of the season. Gundogan had an eventful match as he missed an earlier penalty but then opened the scoring with a scorching goal and added a 2nd.

Midfielder: Mason Mount- Chelsea 6pts

It’s been a good week for Mason Mount who scored a vital goal for Chelsea to open up the scoring as they beat Sheffield United away from home 2-1. Chelsea have now moved into 5th and are suddenly Champions League qualification contenders.

Midfielder: Jorginho- Chelsea 10pts

Jorginho has had a fantastic few days, he is certainly the penalty king right now. Jorginho scored the only goal of the game to beat Tottenham 1-0 and then scored the winner against Sheffield United to win that game 2-1. He has collected 10 points over those games.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure- Everton 6pts

Abdoulaye Doucoure earned 6 points as Everton came back from a losing game and drew 3-3 with Manchester United at Old Trafford in a very exciting spectacle. Doucoure was brilliant as he was the key man to bring the club back into the game making it 1-2 and then assisting for James to score the 2nd to equalise. He has 17 point so far.

Striker: Dominic Calvert-Lewin- Everton 4pts

There were plenty of strikers who managed to earn 4 points for their goals, however Calvert-Lewin’s felt more special. The scene was set as Manchester United were winning 3-2 with just moments left and Calvert-Lewin was able to prod the ball home from an Everton chance. The game finished 3-3, it was a draw but would have felt like victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s team

Striker: Phil Foden- Manchester City 6pts

Phil Foden was absolutely brilliant as he stepped up in the biggest game of the season and helped his side Manchester City beat Liverpool by an incredible 4-1. Foden assisted in the 2nd goal to put City back in the lead and then scored a goal himself. Foden now has 5 goals and his value is 7m.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

Man Utd: Three key battles to look out for ahead of the Everton fixture at Old Trafford

Going into gameweek 23, with the key fixture of the weekend being between Liverpool and Manchester City, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United have the huge opportunity of either closing the gap on the league leaders or extending their distance away from the teams below them, should they beat an Everton side that have been knocking around just below the top four spots.

The head-to-head amongst the two teams is predicted to be an aggressive and intense battle, as both sides have shown the high quality of energy, movement and work rate time after time this season. Not only that, but Carlo Ancelotti’s men head into the weekend as one of the best away teams in the league, as they have only lost on two out of ten occasions away from Goodison Park.

Meanwhile, for the Red Devils, the side’s home form in the league has been quite on and off, where they have won five games, lost four games and drawn twice. Although they are currently sitting in second place, United cannot afford to drop more points at Old Trafford, whether they want to challenge for the league or finish confidently in the top four, the form at home must be rock-solid.

With no further ado, here are the three key battles to look out for ahead of the fixture…

Marcus Rashford vs Mason Holgate

Although he has not consistently been involved in the goals and assists in recent weeks for his team, Marcus Rashford continues to look dangerous with his dribbling and movement on the ball as well as his linkup play down the left flank with Luke Shaw. Also, with his ability to roam into other areas of the pitch, he has shown great understanding of being a threat and a problem for the opposition on the right wing, an area that the side are missing the presence of a winger that is a consistent creator.

Rashford is expected to be up against Mason Holgate, who could potentially be the preferred option over Seamus Coleman at right-back, with his recovery pace and physicality being superior when compared to the latter. Despite being known for his natural abilities as a centre-back, the 24-year-old has the versatility to be utilised at right-back and even at defensive-midfield, which could prove to be more than useful for Ancelotti, as his squad tends to pick up a few injuries here and there.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin vs Harry Maguire

Currently on the best goal-scoring form of his life, Dominic Calvert-Lewin could certainly finish the season with 20-25 league goals under his belt, should he keep his determination and hunger for goals at a high level. The forward is only one league goal away from matching his 2019/20 Premier League season of 13 league goals, showing how far he has come as a player personally and how much he has improved since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park in December 2019.

Calvert-Lewin will be in for a really intense and physical battle with Harry Maguire, who has got the better of the Everton forward on two occasions so far this campaign. The captain of Manchester United has proven to be influential individual in the backline for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, where his leadership skills, aerial prowess and composure on the ball has helped the team, even when he is not appreciated highly by everyone. On top of that, Maguire has played in every single minute of Premier League football so far this season, and is yet to miss a game through injury or suspension.

Pogba vs Abdoulaye Doucoure

After having the perfect month at a personal level and in terms of his contributions to the team, Paul Pogba is back in business and is expected to continue to show his excellence on Saturday evening after being well rested in the mid-week fixture against Southampton. With crucial goals away to Burnley and Fulham in the league as well as a dominant performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup, the Frenchman is showing to be at his best, which is perfect news for all parties at the club.

On the other hand, for Everton, Abdoulaye Doucoure will be looking to play in the double pivot alongside Andre Gomes, where he will be hoping to nullify the threat that the Manchester United midfield pose through Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba. Along with his defensive duties and the shift he will be putting in for the team, the side will look to breakthrough and attack through the midfielder himself, as he has shown his ability to dribble and take on two-three players with ease.

Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 15

The games are coming in thick and fast in the Premier League which is the only domestic major league in Europe that continues throughout the holiday season.

There have been surprise draws like Liverpool dropping points against West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal finally won a game. Everton and Leicester are in good form. So let’s see which players made the final cut this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier- Leeds 7pts

Leeds beat Burnley in a very close game that finished 1-0. Meslier was very busy having to stop six shots on target and keep very aware. He earned his 7 points and now has -5 points in total and will hope to move that into a positive soon.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Ruben Dias has really landed on his feet in his role as one of Manchester City’s best defenders. Dias has now helped to keep seven clean sheets and earned another 5 points at the weekend to put his total to 32 so far for this season.

Defender: Ola Aina- Fulham 5pts

Ola Aina isn’t a household name as he battles with Fulham this season but he kept his third clean sheet of the season as Fulham drew 0-0 with the in form Southampton. Aina now has 15 points and his value is 4.5m.

Defender: Ryan Bertrand- Southampton 5pts

Ryan Bertrand has earned 13 points so far and he was at the heart of a Saints defence who had to keep alert against an inform Fulham team with the game finishing 0-0.

Defender: Nathan Ake- Manchester City 5pts

New signing Nathan Ake only has seven points so far but has only started 5 games but he played very well in keeping the defence compact as Manchester City eased to a 2-0 win against Newcastle at the weekend.

Midfielder: Bertrand Traore- Aston Villa 6pts

Bertrand Traore is really in form these past few weeks and the Villa midfielder scored a goal as his club beat Crystal Palace 3-0 in a one sided game.

Midfielder: Ilkay Gundogan- Manchester City 6pts

Ilkay Gundogan scored his 2nd goal of the season and the opening one as Manchester City beat Newcastle 2-0 to move dangerously up the table after a slow start to the season.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 5pts

Fernandes keeps putting in great displays and he earned a further 5 points at the weekend as Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leicester in an absorbing top of the table clash. Fernandes scored his 10th goal of the season and has 53 points overall and he is the 2nd best ranked midfielder in the fantasy rankings.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane- Liverpool 4pts

Sadio Mane scored Liverpool’s opening goal and he now has six so far. Although the Reds could only draw 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion, Mane put in a solid display and seems to be getting better week by week.

Striker: Gylfi Sigurdsson- Everton 4pts

Sigurdsson scored a very important goal as Everton beat Sheffield United 1-0. It was only the players 2nd goal of the season, but meant all 3 points for the club at the weekend and took Everton into 2nd place.

Striker: Anwar El Ghazi- Aston Villa 4pts

El Ghazi is turning out to be the surprise striker in the Premier League this season and the player is in form. He now has 4 goals for the season and has an overall points total of 16. El Ghazi scored Villa’s final goal as they brushed aside Crystal Palace 3-0.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.comy

 

 

 

 

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has become a reflection of Arsenal’s dire form

Arsenal sit in 15th place with 30% of the Premier League completed, it is their worst start to a campaign in 40 years and perhaps this season for the Gunners has been building up for some time. There have been hints even in the last few seasons with Arsene Wenger in charge- the major difference though is that Wenger’s Arsenal never ever got this poor.

Despite the difficulties since Wenger’s departure, and the travails of both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta there has been one drop of stardust that everyone at the club could count on, one superb player that stood up, scored goals and ultimately won games for Arsenal and that man was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The French born Gabon international was the real star of Arsenal, he was the Thierry Henry of this generation- a driving force and a natural winner, and it was his goals that inspired the Gunners to what felt like a surprise FA Cup win last season, a surprise yes but also a deserved one as Arsenal rolled back the years in that competition.

Aubameyang shouldn’t be questioned on the face of it since he has scored some very important goals, if he scores, Arsenal win games, at the very least they remain in the match with a chance.

It is worth noting just how many goals Aubameyang has scored for the Gunners, it currently stands at 74 in all competitions. In the league he has netted 56 goals from 97 appearances. This summer when Arsenal were quiet in the transfer market all the fans could talk about was if Aubameyang was going to sign a new contract, if the answer was no then he would be available to leave for free next summer meaning that Arsenal may have cashed in on him before this new delayed season had started.

And Arsenal waited and waited, contract negotiations had been on going we were told since March 2020 and yet Aubameyang finally put pen to paper on September 15th, three days after the new season kicked off. He had made Arsenal sweat but at the end of the day the club are known to be notorious for offering lucrative contracts for players over 30. Aubameyang is 31 but his class was so much that Arsenal were willing to give him a new 3 year contract with improved rates.

Arsenal looked like a new team at times last season under Arteta, more creative, more demanding and with more passion that was sadly missing in the last few months with Emery, and the FA Cup win simply seemed to underline that Arteta was the right man to take Arsenal forward. But three months into the new season it is painfully obvious that Arteta isn’t the right manager.

This isn’t a critic on Arteta who may well turn out to be a fine coach, but the timing seems wrong. Why would a club like Arsenal opt for Arteta who had no experience at managerial level? It seems that being Pep Guardiola’s number 2 at Manchester City and the fact that Arteta played for Arsenal was enough qualification. And yet a club like Everton who have been in the shadows of Arsenal for decades appointed one of the best and respected managers in world football in Carlo Ancelotti, that just seemed to speak volumes about how far Arsenal have fallen and that is just one example.

But back to Aubameyang, the free scoring brilliant striker who signed THAT contract extension. It may amaze to find out that despite playing this season Aubameyang has not scored a single goal since he signed his new contract. He has scored just 2 goals this season from 12 games which came in the Gunners first match of the season, a 3-0 win over Fulham, since then there has been nada as Arteta would say in his natural tongue.

In the past we have seen when Aubameyang does the business so do Arsenal. He is the clubs guiding light not just in getting goals but encouraging the team to do better and believe more in themselves. There just seems to be a lack of purpose at the club presently, as if the Gunners are waiting for Aubameyang to get that first goal which could spark some sort of revival. He will have to hurry up as Arteta’s job is surely on the line though.

Mesut Ozil will ask for forgiveness if he is smirking at what is happening at Arsenal after the play maker was frozen out of the squad by Arteta. Ozil could point out that when everything clicked he provided assists for Aubameyang something that the Gambon international is certainly missing. At the same time Ozil did disappear in many games.

The cure for what is happening is a simple goal, a little luck which in turn could start a winning run. But it has been an unfortunate turn of events, the new contract signed and then up until now nothing to show for it.

Arsenal’s next two games are against tough opposition in Southampton and then Everton, lose both of those and everything could come to ahead. We could be speaking about a possible relegation battle. But football can turn on a sixpence is the old saying, and win those matches with a few Aubameyang goals and everything changes. For now though these are worrying times for Arsenal, Arteta and Aubameyang.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 12

Nothing much changed at the top of the Premier League as the best performing teams dropped points. Tottenham and Liverpool could only draw their respective games and Chelsea lost their first match in 3 months as they lost 1-0 at Everton.

There were wins for West Ham, Southampton and Leicester and those three clubs put pressure on the top 3. The much hyped Manchester derby was quite a dire affair that ended 0-0 and the pressure has grown on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta who saw his club lose their 4th game at home in a row, Arsenal are in 15th position.

Let’s take a look below at the best performing players over the weekend.

Goalkeeper: Nick Pope- Burnley 7pts

Nick Pope gets the vote ahead of other goalkeepers that kept a clean sheet as Burnley were never expected to get a win and a clean sheet at Arsenal. Pope made some good saves and had to be alert as Burnley were under a lot of pressure and Arsenal had six shots on target. Pope now has 14 points overall.

Defender: Jan Bednarek- Southampton 7pts

Jan Bednarek earned 7 points at the weekend as Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-0. Not only did Bednarek keep a clean sheet, which is his 5th of the season but he also assisted in the Saints first goal which set their victory up.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard-Southampton 5pts

Jannick Vestergaard is having a great season for Southampton and he commanded the defence and back four with a veterans touch. He made some good interceptions and was always seconds ahead as Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-0. The defender’s value is 6m.

Defender: Michael Keane-Everton 5pts

It’s never easy shutting out Chelsea and Michael Keane was part of an Everton defence that showed resilience against the Blues who had not tasted defeat in 3 months. Keane was inch perfect and his timing was spot on. He now has 10 points for the season which is the most of any Everton defender and he can be added to your team for 6.5m.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton 5pts

Yerry Mina is looking more solid as a player under Carlo Ancelotti and he had an eventful game getting into the thick of things as Everton saw out a 1-0 victory over Chelsea. Mina has helped to keep 2 clean sheets at the back for Everton so far this season.

Midfielder: James Maddison- Leicester 10pts

James Maddison not only helped out in defence with his run backs but he also scored 2 goals, Leicester’s 1st and 3rd as they beat Brighton 3-0 at home. Maddison has really showed his quality again this season and the midfielder has scored 3 goals and been involved in 4 so far for the Foxes.

Midfielder: Stuart Armstrong- Southampton 6pts

Stuart Armstrong now has 22 points overall and capped another splendid weekend as Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-0. Armstrong scored the 2nd goal which set up the club for all three points and they have started the season very strong as they look to finish in a European position.

Midfielder: Nathan Redmond- Southampton 6pts

Nathan Redmond was commanding in midfield and he scored his first goal of the season as his club overpowered Sheffield United 3-0. Redmond now has 12 points overall and is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Mateusz Klich- Leeds United 4pts

Leeds lost against West Ham 2-1 on Friday but Mateusz Klich is proving to be one of the Leeds’ best players this season. He scored the penalty for Leeds goal and put in a very good and energetic performance. The midfielder now has 23 points and is valued at 6.5m.

Striker: Jamie Vardy-Leicester 8pts

Jamie Vardy is here once again and the striker assisted in goals and scored one at the weekend as Leicester beat Brighton 3-0 and he earned 8 points in the process. This season is turning out to be a good one for both him and club and Vardy now has 10 goals to his name.

Striker: Dwight Gayle- Newcastle 4pts

There were a few strikers who made it to 4 points but Dwight Gayle saved his club with just 8 minutes to go and won the game for them as Newcastle beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1. Gayle was also returning from injury and what a way to get back on track. Gayle’s value is just 5m.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

 

 

Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 9

Tottenham are the new league leaders after they beat Manchester City 2-0 at home in a huge game for Jose Mourinho’s team. It was the 4th win in a row for Spurs and they lead on goal difference from Liverpool who overcame Leicester 3-0.

Chelsea are in 3rd place and just 2 points behind Tottenham as they remained undefeated for their 10th game in a row in all competitions and got a 2-0 victory over Newcastle. Everton won for the first time in four games against Fulham and Manchester United have crept up to 10th place after they got a narrow 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. It is a concern to see Manchester City so far down in 13th place though.

After another exciting weekend in the Premier League did any of your players make the team of week 9? Let’s take a look.

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris- Tottenham 7pts

Given that Tottenham were playing Manchester City this was always going to be a busy time for Hugo Lloris and he made some good saves and communicated well with his defence to keep a clean sheet as Tottenham beat City 2-0.

Defender: Andrew Robertson-Liverpool 7pts

Andrew Robertson assisted in Liverpool’s 2nd goal for Jota and then helped to keep a clean sheet as Liverpool won a very important game against Leicester beating them 3-0. Robertson now has 3 assists already for the season.

Defender: Angelo Ogbanna- West Ham 5pts

West Ham have been putting together some impressive results lately and they kept another clean sheet at the weekend by beating Sheffield United 1-0. Angelo Ogbanna had a great game at the back and he has helped to keep four clean sheets this season.

Defender: Eric Dier- Tottenham 5pts

Huge game for Tottenham and Eric Dier shone through with a commanding display at the back as Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0. Dier earned another 5 points in the process and he is currently the highest ranked defender in the team in the fantasy points.

Defender: Hector Bellerin- Arsenal 5pts

Hector Bellerin arguably put in his best performance of the season in defence as Arsenal head on to a 0-0 draw away to Leeds. Arsenal were under a lot of pressure and Bellerin kept focused throughout the match.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 6pts

Bruno Fernandes keeps being the difference when Manchester United do win games and his cool head to convert the penalty won a narrow game 1-0. Fernandes has scored six goals already this season and has 30 points in the United midfield, 22 more than the 2nd placed player.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Liverpool 6pts

Diojo Jota was arguably the best summer transfer in the Premier League, his switch from Wolves to Liverpool has added another layer for the champions. Jota was on hand to score Liverpool’s 2nd goal as they beat Leicester in a crunch encounter 3-0.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool 6pts

Roberto Firmino rose to the occasion and had more chances in the game than usual possibly owing to the fact that Mohamed Salah was unable to play. Firmino put himself in more attacking options and his hard work paid off as he scored Liverpool’s 3rd goal as they eased to a 3-0 win over Leicester.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Tottenham 6pts

Giovani Lo Celso was the unlikely hero as the ex Real Betis player scored Tottenham’s winning goal against Manchester City. That was Lo Celso’s first goal of the season and his value is 7m.

Striker: Dominic Calvert-Lewin- Everton 8pts

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is having the best season of his career so far and scored 2 goals as Everton beat Fulham 3-2. It was an important victory for the club who had lost their previous three games in a row. Calvert-Lewin took his goals well, scoring his first after just 42 seconds and has scored 10 goals this season already.

Striker: Sebastian Haller- West Ham 4pts

Sebastian Haller was the hero for West Ham as he scored the only goal of the game as the Hammers overcame Sheffield United 1-0 away from home. Haller has scored 2 goals in the league and his value is 7.5m.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com