Gameweek 6 was one for the goalscorers. In a dream weekend for centre forwards up and down the country they combined for a massive 18 goals compared to just 8 strikes in Gameweek 5. At this early stage there is a 3 way tie in the race for the Golden Boot between Romelu Lukaku, Alvaro Morata and Sergio Aguero. As for last season’s winner Harry Kane, his brace proved once again that whilst August is temporary, class is permanent.
LIKE A BOSS! It was a good weekend for…
Forgotten man Oumar Niasse: The Senegalese front man has suffered a turbulent time since being signed by previous Everton manager Roberto Martinez for £13.5M in January 2016. After a few less than impressive performances in his debut season things got worse for Niasse when Ronald Koeman arrived at the club last summer. After just 45 minutes of pre season action the new boss stripped him of his squad number and forced him to train with the Toffee’s Under 23’s, where he found himself without even a locker to keep his kit.
An interview with the Guardian newspaper shed some light on his situation, “The other players have where they put their stuff but I don’t. I come with my bag and I just have a place I know. I put my bag down, I train and after, I put everything in my car and go home.”
In a bid to earn first team minutes Niasse joined Premier League strugglers Hull City on loan for the second half of the season and scored 5 goals, including strikes against Manchester United and Liverpool. Unable to save the Tigers from relegation he returned to Goodison Park and Fantasy Football obscurity.
Having failed to replace Romelu Lukaku this summer and having gone 4 games without a goal in all competitions, Everton boss Koeman found a place on the bench for Niasse in the midweek Carabao Cup tie against Sunderland. He stepped off the bench to make his first Everton appearance for over a year and celebrated in style with his first ever goal for the club as the Blues won 3-0.
Enter Gameweek 6 and ten minutes into the second half Bournemouth are beating Everton 1 nil. With nothing to lose Ronald Koeman replaces the bloodied Wayne Rooney with Oumar Niasse and changes the game in an instant. The forgotten man scores twice to win the match and finally break his Premier League duck for his employers some 20 months after joining from Lokomotiv Moscow.
So far off the radar was Niasse that last Friday on the Official FPL game he wasn’t even registered with Everton and as such was unable for selection. By 5pm on Saturday he was not only on the website but had scored 11 points including 3 Bonus Points for Man Of The Match. He is certain to be the hipster’s choice for Gameweek 7’s fixture at home to Burnley.
Watford: Don’t let last weeks 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City cloud your judgement, Marco Silva’s side are much improved this term. A 2-1 victory at Swansea made it 3 wins out of 3 on the road for the Hornets and they find themselves 6th in the table, level on points with both Spurs & Liverpool.
With Andre Gray finding his feet, Troy Deeney’s return to fitness (the Captain bagged an assist this week) and the continued production of Brazilian newcomer Richarlison, Watford will be hoping to avoid the relegation stress of 2016/17.
Phillipe Coutinho owners: If you had the nerve to take Coutinho in the early rounds of your draft then it’s been a long wait to see any meaningful return from the Brazilian. Avoided by many due his desire to join Barcelona in the summer he conveniently suffered a “back” injury that prevented him from playing for Liverpool in the early rounds of the Premier League. Thankfully his fitness issues cleared up once the transfer window had closed and he has been able to get back to playing football which Coutinho must have been clearly missing, a fact shown by his miraculous ability to play through the pain barrier of his “back” injury for his national side.
Say what you like about his loyalty but the fact remains he is a quality performer and looked back to his best against Leicester City this week, boosting fantasy managers with a goal and an assist in a Man Of The Match display.
Gareth Barry: The West Brom midfielder became the all time Premier League appearance maker after taking to the pitch for the 633rd time against Arsenal. He now has his sights set on Ryan Giggs’ record of top flight appearances (the Welshman played 40 games in the old First Division before the Premier League was rebranded in 1992). Incidentally Giggs could still beat Barry in a foot race, despite being 43 years old and having retired in 2014.
TOTAL DROSS! It was a bad weekend for…
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes: A defensive crisis for the Potters meant that they were left with only 1 senior centre back for the visit of reigning Premier League champions Chelsea. Hughes elected for a back 3 with Bruno Martins Indi being flanked by full backs Erik Pieters and Glen Johnson.
It didn’t go well. Already 2 nil down at half time the home fans saw Martins Indi leave the field in the 76th minute and central defenderless Stoke conceded 2 more in a demoralising 4-0 defeat. After spending most of his career on the bench at the Bernabeu, Alvaro Morata proved he can do it on a windy afternoon in Stoke by helping himself to a first Premier League hat-trick of his career.
Serge Aurier: Tottenham’s short trip to West Ham provided Aurier with his first Premier League start since his summer arrival from PSG. The pacy wingback repaid the faith shown in him by promptly getting 2 yellow cards, a subsequent red and a grand total of minus 2 fantasy points. At least the rotation worries of Kieran Trippier owners have been momentarily eased. Aurier is suspended for Spurs’ Gameweek 7 fixture against Huddersfield Town making Trippier the weeks solid gold Streaming tip.
Gabriel Jesus: Whether you say “Jee-zuss” or “Hay-zooss” the real debate this week was how to pronounce the Man City star’s fantasy points return. “Zero”, “Zilch”, “Nada”, “Zip”, “Nothing” and several more offensive versions of “Naff all” were all suggested, and the arguments continued late into the night only drowned out by the smug laughter of Sergio Aguero owners like myself.
Logic suggests that balding genius Pep will now name the Brazilian in Tuesday’s Champions League lineup at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, which may in turn mean another starting place for Aguero in Gameweek 7’s crucial Premier League matchup away at Chelsea.
If that proves to be the case prepare to reach for the Thesaurus once more as Fantasy managers holding Gabriel Jesus fill their social media feeds with 4 letter alternatives to “Guardiola”.
THE TOP POINTS SCORERS IN GAMEWEEK 4 BY POSITION: