What a weekend of football! Derbies, nail-biters, blow-outs, sure-things, surprises and more. The Manager looks back to help you look ahead. Part the first after the jump. The rest soon.
Chelsea 3 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur
This one had it all, almost. In the end Chelsea were the dominant team, but that's not to say that Spurs didn't give them a scare or two along the way. Some great work in the midfield by Palacios - who is one of my favorite "real world" players - opened up the Blues on more than one occasion and Defoe perhaps, but surely Jenas, should have put Spurs up early. But in the end, class told. A great cross from Drogs was put away by ACole, who is finally adding goals to his game. A cheeky save off the endline from Lamps was put in by Ballack before ACole returned the favor for Drogs.
But for all this, the talking points coming out of the match are injury related with King, SeaBass and Drogba going down with injuries of varying severity. Drogba could be the least impacted if it was just a strain or a cramp, but 50% of the game's managers will be holding their breath. Bassong and King look to be out for a while, the former with a concussion/possible broken cheekbone and the latter with a hamstring injury. Surely we'll see Corluka at center back now with either THuddlestone or Dawson, if he's healthy enough. That would see Hutton keep the right back spot and possibly open a midfield spot for Kranjcar. Spurs' schedule opens up now that they've faced two of the big four on the bounce. Burnley, @Bolton, @Portsmouth, Stoke to come before the north London derby. Regardless of their last two results, I expect Defoe and Lennon to be VERY popular pick ups with some combination of other players a decent idea depending on health and price.
Everton 3 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
The talk will be of Everton getting themselves back on track - one win and they're all of a sudden midtable - but I'm not sure this match is a true test. But then again, neither will next week's trip to Pompey be a real struggle for them either. We've talked about Everton's early season run before, and they still have @Pompey, Stoke, Wolves, @Bolton before we're out of October. So if they are getting it together... Saha is getting the goals; Baines is taking all the kicks(though Bily Bilyatdinov is waiting in the wings); Rodwell is returning his value in points; and Heitinga could be a bargain in the defence.
Rovers continue to struggle and find themselves in the bottom three. Dunn continued in an advanced role, but couldn't create anything this week. Givet, another popular fantasy player this season was taken off at half time. We'll be watching that to see what happenend and whether or not it will affect his selection (injury or form) going forward. Rovers' schedule gets really tough now too with Villa, @Arsenal, Burnley, @Chelsea and @ManU. Come back in November - Pompey, @Bolton, Stoke - if you're interested in Blackburn players.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 1 Fulham
Fulham are a bit of a fantasy black hole this season. Not doing too well, but too expensive based on their performance last season. So let's look at Wolves shall we...
Milijas didn't make the field this week after increasingly peripheral performances. Kightly and Ebanks-Blake were on the bench as well but they got run outs late. Doyle got the opening goal. Wolves are at Sunderland next week, which is an interesting bell-weather game for both teams. It may go a long way towards letting us know where the two teams really stand. After that Wolves get what is shaping up to be this season's gimme when Pompey visit. It will also be interesting to see how the returning players fare (if they play) against Sunderland so we can gauge how they'll do in that Portsmouth match.
Manchester United 4 - 3 Manchester City
I've only seen the highlights, and the goals are spectacular. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see the full match later in the week. Tevez worked his socks off but as usual was the guy behind the guy, if not the guy behind the guy behind the guy. Bellamy and Giggs were the stars of the show with Fletcher's headed double making him look like K2 (while looking nothing like K2). Rooney was Rooney getting his sixth goal in as many matches. Incredible, really. Nani was on the bench again, but didn't even make a cameo this week.
For fantasy purposes I still don't know if you can pick Giggs. Seemingly the ManU midfield is as much in the air as Chelsea's. And surely Owen won't get the playing time to make him worth an investment.
Citeh go back facing their (former?) midtable opponents now. Given is cheap again and I would expect fantasy managers to pile on. He had some great saves, but couldn't withstand the loss and giving up the four goals. However, Citeh should return to winning ways and Given will return to stopping more than he lets in. It will be worth watching to see if Bellamy becomes the lates Citeh player to get into trouble if his punching a fan draws the FA's interest. He isn't too expensive if he gets to keep playing.