Week 16 in a nutshell: very, very windy.
- Mourinho sacked at Chelsea.
- Spurs’ streak ended by… Newcastle?
- Klopp #GetsWestBromed… almost.
There were 22 goals scored, five clean sheets, and four matches ending in a 2-1 scoreline. Also nobody scored more than two goals this week for the first time since November.
This week’s Funky Mixtape is brought to you by Carlos Valderrama, for bringing all that is funk with that hair to the beautiful game. Love the funk here.
Norwich 1, Everton 1; Funky Stuff by Kool & The Gang
Romelu Lukaku, £9.2, 9 points
Wes Hoolahan, £4.8, 9 points
It was a first half of missed chances by the Toffees that ultimately lead to the sharing of the points, but Romelu Lukaku made his mark once again, scoring his sixth goal in a row. A poor Norwich clearance left the ball right at Gerard Deulofeu’s, £6.4, feet and he sent in a teasing ball back post that only Lukaku could get to. One – nil. Norwich had a much better second half, and finally got their reward in what turned out to be a rollercoaster of a cornerkick. Robbie Brady’s, £5.4, delivery found unlikely assist man Ryan Bennett, £3.9, who headed it down to Wes Hoolahan. Hoolahan sparred for a few seconds on the line with the Everton defense, but the ball eventually crossed the line and it would end 1-1.
Crystal Palace 1, Southampton 0; Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown
Yohan Cabaye, £6.6, 11 points
Wayne Hennessey, £4.0, 8 points
Palace were miles ahead of Saints on the day, and if it weren’t for debutante goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, £4.5, this scoreline could have been much worse. His counterpart, Wayne Hennessey, was also on point, making three saves to Paulo’s four. The Eagles found their breakthrough when Yannick Bolasie, £6.2, was played through and made a darting run to the by-line. He then drove a ball low into the path of resurgent Frenchman Yohan Cabaye for a blissfully simple tap in. This loss for Southampton is the third in their last four matches, a run that has seen them only manage to score twice.
Manchester City 2, Swansea 1; Shining Star by Earth, Wind, & Fire
Kelechi Iheanacho, £4.9, 8 points
Yaya Touré, £8.5, 7 points
It was old talisman Wilfried Bony, £8.1, that struck first for City. A Jesús Navas, £6.2, ball whipped in from a corner was struck ferociously by Bony and left the keeper glued to the ground. But there was hope, they happened to be playing a City defense who hadn’t kept a clean sheet since a 0-0 vs Aston Villa. A fantastic ball from the halfway line by Federico Fernández, £4.8, played Bafétimbi Gomis, £6.5, in and he fired it in late in the match. It was a cruel twist of fate to concede the winner late on for the Swans, but it was made more cruel from the fact that Yaya’s shot proved only to be an assist after it redirected into the net off Iheanacho’s back. A point might have made all the difference in boosting the Swans’ morale, but dropping all three at the death leaves them out of the relegation spots only by goal difference.
Sunderland 0, Watford 1; Everybody Dance by Chic
Allan-Roméo Nyom, £4.6, 12 points
Nathan Aké, £4.4, 8 points
It was an early goal that really made all the difference in this one. Sunderland were caught napping in the first minutes of the game, and Watford spared no time striking. Nyom received a chipped through-ball that he got to just before the touchline. He then spread it across the floor to a near-post running Odion Ighalo, £6.0, who beat his marker and made it one – nil. Watford applied much of the pressure for the rest of the match, forcing six saves out of Costel Pantilimon, £4.8, and left the North with all three points.
West Ham 0, Stoke 0; Rock The Boat by The Hues Corporation
Jack Butland, £5.0, 11 points
Philipp Wollscheid, £4.4, 8 points
Jack Butland is the best goalkeeper in England and has to be essential to Mark Hughes plans going forward. Stoke aren’t usually a side I, or let’s face it anyone who isn’t a Potter, want to watch, but it might be worth it if you have the time to check out for the sake of Butland’s goalkeeping. He had eight saves on the day and apart from Philipp Wollsheid’s defending, was the biggest reason they earned a hard-fought point against the Hammers. West Ham still haven’t figured out a way to keep the goals flowing with Dimitri Payet still out with injury, but their early season form leaves them comfortably 10 points clear of relegation and maybe they won’t mind a 0-0 here and there until they figure it out.
Bournemouth 2, United 1; Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart by The Trammps
Joshua King, £4.6, 10 points
Marouane Fellaini, £6.2, 9 points
The wind played an interesting part in the outcome of this one. In the first minute of the game, the Cherries won a corner and up stepped Junior Stanislas, £4.2, to take. I’m not sure if he called “bank” when he chipped it, but it whipped far post and into the back of the net to send the tiniest ground in the Premier League into chaos. 20 minutes or so later the Red Devils found their equalizer. An Artur Boruc, £4.5, save found Fellaini, whose first attempt was then blocked, but it fell back to him and he was able to strike it home from the ground. About 10 minutes into the second, the Cherries won another corner. This time it was a set-piece beauty. Matt Ritchie, £5.5, fizzed a ball in low and Joshua King connected to send it firing past everyone to make the twine sing “three to the Cherries”.
Aston Villa 0, Arsenal 2; Right Back Where We Started From by Maxine Nightingale
Aaron Ramsey, £8.1, 11 points
Laurent Koscielny, £6.0, 8 points
A darting run into the box by Theo Walcott, £8.3, lead to a blunderous challenge from Alan Hutton, £4.2, which earned Arsenal an early penalty. Up stepped Olivier Giroud, £9.0, who punched it past Brad Guzan, £4.4, to score his third goal in four games. Another assist from Mesut Özil, £9.8, meant Arsenal extended their lead just before halftime. Mesut ducked his shoulder to fake out the last defender in a 3v1, and then slipped it past him for Ramsey to score. Arsenal then took the field in the second half to dominte a lackluster Villa by rarely giving the ball up and seeing out the three points.
Liverpool 2, West Brom 2; Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Jordan Henderson, £6.5, 13 points
Jonas Olsson, £4.3, 7 points
It took 20 minutes to get the opening goal in this match, and it was the captain Henderson who struck first. A cross went into Adam Lallana, £7.3, who then headed it toward the charging Henderson to tuck it in and make it 1-0. Some awful, awful goalkeeping from Simon Mignolet, £5.0, lead to Craig Dawson, £5.1, scoring the equalizer. Mignolet left his line in hopes of claiming the ball, but got it completely wrong and the ball found Dawson and it was 1-1. Jonas Olsson thought he scored the go-ahead goal before halftime, but he was judged to be offside, correctly, and they all shared the points at the half. Olsson then decided to go get back what was taken from him and in the 73rd minute he got his goal. Five minutes into the eight added on, Liverpool struck back. Divock Origi, £5.5, took a shot from about 30 yards out and was aided with a little luck by a deflection and found the far corner of the net. Liverpool escaped Pulis… for now.
Tottenham Hotpsurs 1, Newcastle United 2; I Know You Got Soul by Bobby Byrd
Aleksandar Mitrovic, £6.2, 11 points
Eric Dier, £5.2, 7 points
The super sub game was strong in this match and must’ve left MacDaddy feeling mighty proud of his Toon Army. Eric Dier rose first to meet an in-swinging corner from Christian Eriksen, £8.5, powering it back post. From then on it looked like Spurs would be able to see this one out and maybe grab a few more goals on the way, but that wouldn’t be the case. Aleksandar Mitrovic joined the ranks around the 70th minute and was the third and final man to get a touch on the ball from their set piece to even things up at one. Then it was Ayoze’s turn. The £5.1-priced forward stunned White Hart Lane when his 93rd minute strike fluttered through the hands of Hugo Lloris, £5.1, giving Newcastle their second win in a row.
Leicester 2, Chelsea 1; Keep It Comin’ Love by KC & The Sunshine Band
Riyad Mahrez, £6.9, 13 points
Jamie Vardy, £7.6, 7 points
Eat. Sleep. Go top the Prem. Repeat. It’s always nice when you beat the Champions, but it’s double the fun when you beat your Dad’s club. Sorry pops. The Tinkerman was once given marching orders in order to make way for Mourinho, but now, literally, the tables have turned. Just this morning news broke of Mourinho’s departure, leaving the club one point shy of relegation and manager-less. Riyad Mahrez might have had the best assist and goal you’ll see all season. I can’t do it justice, so grab a bag of Vardy Salted crisps and watch.
This week’s additions are dedicated to the guys who should be in your lineups but aren’t.
Heurelho Gomes, £4.7, has had a very solid run at ‘keeper for Watford so far this season. He’s only selected by 6.9% of teams, but is second in points to Jack Butland. Seven clean sheets and 49 saves, he’s playing great.
Stoke’s Glen Johnson, £5.0, is having a quietly productive season with the Potters. The defender has 64 points to his name and is only selected by 3.8% of players. He’s 8/10 in total points among defenders.
Resurgent Newcastle should make a bit pricier pick, Georginio Wijnaldum, £7.0, an easier choice to bear. He’s only selected by 9.5% but is fourth in points with 86. While he hasn’t put up a performance like his 25-er against Norwich lately, he’s got Aston Villa next week, so he could top that.
It’s been awhile since Arouna Koné, £4.8, had a solid game, so hopefully it’s in two weeks after the Leicester match. But if it isn’t, he’s cheap and has 64 points to his name. Strikers are the most fickle of fantasy beasts and team transaction trends certainly follow who is hot. But if you’re broke, who knows, maybe Lukaku will stop scoring and it’ll be his turn.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s Stephen! And he may or may not be wearing pants while he writes. It’s his picks of the week.
West Brom 1, Bournemouth 2
West Brom are still sort of in limbo it seems in terms of putting points on the board regularly, I like this hot Bournemouth team to keep a good thing going.
Stoke 1, Crystal Palace 1
Stoke has the best keeper in the land, and that should be enough to keep honors even.
Everton 2, Leicester 2
This feels like a December classic from the late 80’s. Buckle up and the pop the popcorn.
Manchester United 1, Norwich 1
I’m not quite ballsy enough to pick a Canary W, but don’t be surprised if we see one.
Chelsea 0, Sunderland 2
Rudderless champions take on a Sunderland squad that are quietly gaining footing.
Southampton 0, Spurs 1
Southampton are in a bit of a rut and Spurs are just too good defensively not to do what they need here.
Newcastle 2, Aston Villa 0
Watford 2, Liverpool 2
This could be a very similar game to what we saw last week with Jurgen Klopp & Co.
Swansea 0, West Ham 0
Arsenal 3, Manchester City 1
Manchester City are banged up and cannot play with top tier competition right now. This should be a bloodbath.