Fantasy Football Insider
Fantasy Football Insider - Gameweek 9: Chelsea's terrific attacking trio
Chelsea are league leaders and playing some exceptional football at the moment and a lot of that is down to their terrific attacking trio of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.
Gameweek 8 Review
I don’t get it right very often, so forgive me for blowing my own trumpet after heartily endorsing the selection of Wayne Rooney last weekend.
Barack Obama’s biggest supporter was directly involved in four of the six goals at Old Trafford at the weekend, unfortunately for him, one of those was the one he headed into his own net. Despite having a couple of points taken off him for that, he still managed to collect 14 points on what could be the start of a prolific run for the United striker, although it’ll be tough to add to his tally away to Chelsea at the weekend.
Speaking of Chelsea, Juan Mata was far and away the best performer of the weekend with two goals, an assist and three bonus points contributing to an 18-point haul, three points better off than Fulham’s Chris Baird and West Ham’s Mark Noble.
Noble’s West Ham team mate Kevin Nolan chipped in with 12 points, while despite not even starting the game against West Brom, Man City’s Edin Dzeko scored 11 points, the same total as Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling and Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman.
Other players worth a mention include Fulham’s John Arne Riise (10), spectacular goal-scoring Gary Cahill (9) and Liverpool netminder Brad Jones (8).
Drop the pace for one minute in the J-League and you’ll pay the price, a lesson learned by last week’s leader and the man who has been in the top two in the world in the last few weeks, Barry McCabe, whose Breffni Blues have been overtaken by Stephen Ruth’s Man Red at the top of the J-League.
Nobody near the top could break the 60-point barrier this week, meaning that top five regulars Gavin Gingles’ Meath Lovers Pizza and Richard Snowden’s Release the Krakens stay amongst the pack leaders, where they are joined by Darren McCann’s Dazzleros in fourth place.
J-League Top 5:
- Man Red – Stephen Ruth: 563 points
- Breffni Blues – Barry McCabe: 561 points
- Meath Lovers Pizza – Gavin Gingles: 532 points
- Dazzleros – Darren McCann: 527 points
- Release the Krakens – Richard Snowden: 526 points
Chelsea’s terrific trio
In the aftermath of Roberto di Matteo’s permanent appointment in the summer, there were concerns that Chelsea would be stifled in their attacking approach and that a cautious and risk-free approach would rule the day.
Instead they’re sitting pretty at the top of the table unbeaten, with seven wins from eight and 19 goals scored thanks to some of the most free-flowing football played in the league this season.
Central to that easy on the eye approach has been the displays of their brilliant triumvirate of attacking midfielders, a trio that have left Frank Lampard contemplating his future and have played so well that concerns about Fernando Torres bearing too much of a load up front have been unfounded to date.
Oscar has only twice completed 90 minutes and despite a few very impressive cameos, he is still establishing himself, but alongside him, the impact of both Mata and Hazard has been profound.
After a lightning start, Hazard went into his shell for a few games, but he’s been back with a bang in his last two with a goal, two assists and 18 points in total. Hazard, in fact, already has eight assists in eight games, a crazy figure for this stage of the season.
Hardly surprisingly, the Belgian is the highest scoring player in the competition with 60 points, but after 18 points against Spurs last weekend, Mata is catching him up fast. The diminutive Spaniard had little impact, in Fantasy Football terms at least, in the first four games but the last four couldn’t have been more different.
In that period, he’s scored three goals, picked up five assists and been rewarded with six bonus points, meaning 45 points in total in the last five games. Pretty impressive, we think you’ll agree.
Chelsea, of course, have Manchester United at home this weekend and when two big teams meet, Fantasy managers are often reluctant to pick players from either side or at least select them as captain for fear that they will cancel each other out.
If you’re thinking that way, however, consider this. United and Chelsea are the league’s top scorers this season with 40 between them, they have hardly been watertight (United especially) at the back and when the two of them met at Stamford Bridge earlier this year, they both weighed in with three goals apiece.
Exercise caution if you must with defenders from either side, but with such an array of attacking talent on display, there could be goals and plenty of them. If they come from Chelsea, expect their terrific attacking trio to have played a major part.
JOE’s Fantasy Football Picks:
Top Dollar: Juan Mata (£9.1 million). United will try and stifle him, but it Juan Mata (geddit?!!) if he can maintain his form of the last four games, during which he’s scored three goals and provided five assists.
Mid Range: Jermain Defoe (£7.7 million). They lost to the league leaders last weekend but Spurs are still playing quite well and if they provide Defoe with enough opportunities, he’ll score against a leaky Southampton defence.
Bargain Basement: Mark Noble (£4.8 million). As West Ham’s excellent start rumbles on and on, Noble continues to impress. 15 points last weekend, his set-piece deliveries are often likely to result in goals or assists.
Irish Pick: Anthony Pilkington (£5.8 million). Was said to have been excellent in front of Trap against Arsenal last weekend and can deliver a repeat performance against a Villa side struggling badly at present.
Captain’s Pick: Carlos Tevez (£9.4 million). They won last weekend but we’re still convinced that there’s something amiss with Swansea and after their Champions League humiliation during the week, City will be eager to exact some punishment. Tevez could be the man to do just that.