The Good, The Bad, and The Smugly: In a regular series, our writer picks out 3 fantasy picks with contrasting fortunes so far this season.
Midfielders made up some of the best players, in a high-scoring weekend of fantasy football.
Ross Barkley. The Liverpudlian was the standout performer last weekend, with honourable mentions going to Salah and Mane. A goal and two assists contributed to Ross’ 17 point haul – a great effort from a player priced at £5.8.
Even without a certain Belgian, the Chelsea midfield is inundated with talent. Both Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek were benched, with Sarri favouring the former Everton-man for this fixture. The Chelsea Manager’s bold decision paid off as Barkley’s first involvement came in the form of a slick pass to Morata. Being fed the ball by Kante, Ross stopped it with his left foot before threading an intricate pass through the Burnley back-line to the striker; eye of the needle stuff.
It was just before the hour-mark that he made it 2-0, with a well-struck shot from range. Seeing him take this shot with his left foot, one can only assume he’s in the best confidence of his career. I’ve seen him hit this shot many times, and they don’t always come to fruition. Finally, a simple pass to Willian secured his second assist and all three bonus points.
What is Barkley’s long-term prospects?
Barkley is loving football at the moment, although I wonder what his role would have been if Hazard was fit. This makes me question him as a Fantasy prospect. At his price, I would love to have him in my squad. The problem is he is certainly a candidate for rotation with the aforementioned midfielders also having a taste for his spot.
I think Barkley may be too much of a risk long-term, but could be a good short-term differential with Crystal Palace (H) and Everton (H) in his next two fixtures. I think he did enough last weekend to secure his place against Palace, as for Everton we will have to wait and see.
Harry Kane. Oh, Harry – what’s going on, man? You’ve given your third consecutive blank, and an awful performance against one of the ‘big six’ – a collection of teams you enjoy scoring goals against (19 goals in 40 games to date). It’s now been over a month since the star striker has scored a Premier League goal. While we stand on the precipice of Halloween, this is certainly spooky form.
Aguero, a man Kane stood opposite to on Monday night, equaled the latter’s two point tally for the game, but this by no means makes them comparable. The Argentine managed three shots and a 93% pass success rate, and was generally more help to his team. Kane executed a single shot and had less touches than both Ederson and Lloris, not exactly what you want from a man aspiring to play the number 10 role.
One of Spurs’ best chances came when Lamela released Kane behind the City defence. A poor touch from Kane and exceptional speed from Ederson was enough for the latter to keep his clean sheet intact. This play pretty much summed up Harry’s form-of-late; too slow to the ball before falling over and ending up on his ass.
Can Kane recover his form?
Looking ahead to next week, Tottenham travel to Wolverhampton. The last time Kane went four consecutive PL games without scoring was in 2016. The man is consistency personified, and always turns up at one point or another. This fixture against Wolves could be the perfect occasion. Espirito’s men (cue ‘Despacito’ playing in my head for the next few hours) have hit a bit of a rough patch, succumbing to two defeats in as many games.
I don’t think they’ll be recovering form too soon, as this is Kane’s perfect opportunity to silence the naysayers. Stick with Kane? Check. Captain’s armband? Check. Hatty against Wolves? Let’s hope so.
Luka Milivojevic. Weighing in at £6.1 and with one of the hardest names to pronounce in the league since Gylfi Sigurdson (Looking at you, Kevin Phillips), Milivojevic rewarded his 2.8% ownership with a whopping 15 points. Those loyal managers knew there was something to stick around for, as the penalty-ace went back to his roots against Arsenal.
Lucky for Luka, Arsenal squandered a scoring opportunity after the Serbian was dispossessed at the edge of his box. Thankfully, he got the chance to redeem himself when Palace were awarded a clear penalty. After closer inspection, it did look as if Mustafi got a millimeter of the ball before tackling Kouyate, but unfortunately for the German, referee Martin Atkinson left his binoculars at home. When you jump into a tackle as Mustafi did, it always looks bad and is almost always going to be a penalty.
Penalty king once again
Milivojevic stepped up to the spot one week after missing a penalty against Everton, but he dispatched this one with ease. Beautifully placed into the bottom left corner. I don’t think Leno would have got there even if he dove the correct way. The second penalty was a bit more shady, but karma could have played a part as it appeared Lacazette commited a handball before Auba scored. Luka stepped up once more and blasted a penalty at a keeper who guessed the right way, but Leno no stop the ‘peno’. Again.
Looking to next week for Mili, Palace take on Chelsea at The Bridge. This doesn’t look appealing for the South London club, as The Blues are on a bit of a steamroll at the moment. If you have Milivojevic, I don’t see a reason to get rid but I don’t see a reason to bring him in, either. He’s nailed and takes penalties, maybe that’s a good, safe option for some managers.