Never let it be said that I'm not happy to bow to the will of the audience. You asked for 11 things that we learned instead of 10 and, never one to turn down the opportunity to write more rather than less, I'm in. I have to admit that I was on the road returning from vacation all day on Saturday. I followed the matches online as they happened, I watched the replay of the Arsenal match, and I saw most of both Sunday matches. Not as much as I'd like to have see as the basis for this column but enough, when combined with highlights and fantasy results, to make for a strong column (or so I'd like to think).
- Manchester Domination - As soon as I declared that this was the year to keep your Manchester players regardless of where they are playing, I go and drop Rooney coming off a hat trick for RvP against a newly promoted team. Oops. Thank goodness for mobile devices and the Barn Door. Even if only two of Aguero, Rooney, and Dzeko start in any given week that seems to be enough at this point. They'll be staying in my line-up for a while.
- Silva the early MOP Choice - Yes, Rooney has been scoring for fun but David Silva has been just amazing now that he has some players that mesh with the way he likes to play. Forwards and other midfielders may come and go in City's line-up but he's the metronome that keeps them firing. If the season ended now, he'd be my choice for the best player of the year.
- Chelsea Youth Revolution - I'll assume that AVB either reads the blog or he has watched his team play because he isn't holding any cows (that's you Torres) as sacred regardless of how much was spent on them. Chelsea looked more up to the task even if it wasn't a dominating performance. Juan Mata was in the middle of a lot of good things (despite his goodness not showing up in fantasy stats) and Sturridge continued to build his lead on Torres in the "G" column of the stat line since Torres came to Chelsea last January. If only Mata were listed as a midfielder.
- Elsewhere in London - Huge sighs of relief as Arsenal and Spurs did what they had to do to get in the W column. Arsenal's win wasn't at all impressive. Really, the only thing worth noting is that, the Manchester debacle aside, they haven't given up a goal when at even strength. The Spurs performance at high flying Wolves was much more impressive. Two goals from two forwards and a clean sheet on the road. Can't ask for much more than that. More on the forwards from both teams below...
- Where's RvP? - As Arsenal's fortunes have waned, so have RvP's fantasy stats. Hard to know what's going on because he has generally been able to get his fantasy stats no matter what but this season has been REALLY slow to get going. I expect fantasy clunkers from Walcott but not RvP. We'll see how things adjust as the new guys get bedded in.
- K2: Real or Illusion? - K2 has a habit of scoring on his debut with his new teams (and there have been lots of them). The question is whether he's willing to continue putting in that sort of all-action effort. If he is, he'll be a nice option as a lower priced forward. That said, his history tells us that he's not likely to keep up this level of production so keep watching.
- Liverpool Stumble - I'm not going to get down on Liverpool losing at Stoke because it's a hard place to play. Regardless, with Arsenal and Spurs (the Reds competition for 4th) winning it points out what a tight race this is going to be for that last Champions League spot. (Yes, I'm assuming the Manchester teams are in a class by themselves and Chelsea are just more talented than ARS/TOT/LIV which means that one of those three will get that coveted 4 spot).
- Transfer Results - Some players taking advantage of opportunities provided by the transfer window include Leon Osman (in Arteta's spot), Baines (taking PKs again), Kranjcar (more the VDV injury but still), and Boyata (still cheap)
- The Bishop!!! - I don't know if the blog audience isn't particularly into obscure hiphop references but my favorite all-time Premier League nickname "Bishop Magic" Dong-Won went from just a great nickname to a great nickname who has scored more goals this season than Fernando Torres. If that isn't a good time, I don't know what is.
- Adel Taarabt - One game of the Taarabt/Barton pairing and Taarabt seems to be as good or better for the added defensive attention elsewhere. His price is still pretty reasonable so as quickly as I got off the the bandwagon, I'm back on in a Stuart Holden but a bit more crazy way as opposed to hoping for the "next Adam". In other QPR news, SWP looked (at least to Jeremy) like he wasn't doing much but had a very solid 8.5 points in his debut. At under 6, you wonder how he'll score in a week where he looks good to Jeremy.
- Quiet Impact - A player who is quietly having a great season is Ivan Klasnic. I mention this for a few reasons: 1) He hasn't been under 8 points yet this season; 2) He is still priced at 8.38; and 3) He's at home to Norwich which will be significantly easier than playing against Manchester United. Just saying.
Sorry to everyone for missing the live chat over the weekend. I should be back for it again this coming weekend.