Monday Morning Manager

Halfway in (this weekend's fixtures are a reverse of the opening day's games, so I'm just assuming we're at the halfway point) to the EPL and Yahoo! Fantasy EPL seasons, and what have we learned as fantasy managers?
  • Don't bet on ManU's defense. Even at home they are not good money for the clean sheet. Even with van der Saar. For all the talk of Roy Keane's "driving the team forward" it is his shielding of the back 4 (and probably their fear of him) that ManU is missing most.

  • Don't bet against Bolton. As a team, they are fantasy black hole. No one does well against them, and you can never predict who will do well for them.

  • Don't bet on Blackburn playing a tight game. They are as likely to score 3 and allow three as they are to win 1-0.

  • Don't bet on Boro playing well two weekends in a row. This year this Jekyll/Hyde team doesn't even confine their poor performances to after European games. You just don't know if they will be any good from one game to the next.

  • Don't bet on Arsenal on the road. They lost to ManU last year in a bruising game and until they learn how to win those, teams will keep trying to bloody them.

  • Don't bet on Birmingham at home.

  • Don't bet on Sunderland -- full stop. But we knew that coming into the season. What we didn't know was that the same sentiment wouldn't apply to Wigan.

  • Owen will either score 30pts or no points in a game. There is no in between.

Shearer brandishing his elbows
An aside on the Newcastle game... though he played well for their goal, creating it for Solano, Alan Shearer has become little more than a goon. He's the soft-spoken Duncan Ferguson. He attacks defenders with his elbows the way he once attacked the ball. And though I'm willing to give it time, and to wait for a midfield for service, his partnership with Owen isn't clicking. One or the other is involved for NUFC, but rarely do both seem to be on the same page (or on the same pitch!).

The Manager welcomes back Ryan Giggs to the league after injury. He showed he's still a top class player but still couldn't bring ManU a victory single-handedly. Perhaps that will change with Ruud's return on Wednesday. Kudos also to Marlon Harewood who is starting to show some consistency. Something that has to this point been lacking from his game (perhaps Boro should pair him with Yakubu and Viduka?).

A lot of week-day action has the Manager's attention as Redknapp tries to keep Portsmouth in the EPL starting today @Tot. The Manager has a rooting interest in the game, so c'mon TOT! But the Manager has also been fascinated by Portsmouth this season. So he's very curious to see how Redknapp sets out the team, and how the players perform for him. Especially since Vincent Pericard is listed as a middie. ;-)

Until next week.
The Manager

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