Five things we learned | Week NineMonday, October 21 2019
There are no goal scorers any more.
Only four of the 15 goals scored on Saturday were scored by recognised centre forwards. That is, number 9s. And out of the four – Jamie Vardy, Chris Wood, Raul Jimenez and Danny Ings (all do actually wear the No. 9 shirt, bizarrely) – Vardy is the only one you would hang your hat on to get near 20 goals this season.
Jimenez, for all his quality, spends most of his time outside the box. Wood has to share the role with two other players (see point 3) and Ings will have to work hard for chances this season. Although he has started well.
And it doesn’t help matters when Man City start Sergio Aguero on the bench. C’mon Pep, give FPL managers a break here!
We’ve seen the last of Otamendi and Stones lining up together for Man City.
Pep starting two central midfielders (Rodri and Fernandinho) ahead of Stones at Palace this weekend tells us one of two things: A, he was confident that City would dominate the ball and didn’t need a recognised centre back. Or B, he doesn’t fancy Stones. Because dealing with the ball at his feet is a problem for him.
The Norwich shambles was a match too far for the Otamendi-Stones partnership. And both are playing for their Man City futures until Aymeric Laporte comes back. Expect City to go big in January.
Burnley have a surplus of centre forwards. And decent ones too.
Picking a good value ‘second’ and perhaps even ‘third’ frontman is crucial. And Burnley used to be a ripe picking ground. You’ve got Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes – two solid, dependable double-figures per season men (ten and twelve respectively in 2018/19, and both on four this) who you know are going to start every week.
But adding Jay Rodriguez this season has potentially created a problem – which two do you pick from the three when Barnes returns from injury.
Marcos Alonso has woken up. At Last.
The beautifully coiffured Chelsea full-back has been an essential fixture for the last couple of seasons – and blitzed through the opening months in 2018/19, leaving the likes of Raheem Sterling and Mo Salah eating dust early on. But this season, not so much.
However, a goal and an assist in the last two suggest he is awaking from his slumber. Plus, Chelsea – sorry, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea – look a more solid proposition of late, with consecutive clean sheets at home. Okay, okay, it was only Brighton and Newcastle, but in a season where clean sheets are few and far between, Chelsea will rack up as many as anyone.
BD – It will be interesting to see how Lampard rotates around the Champions League when Emerson, who is very close to a return following a hamstring injury, is ready to play. The Italian defender has been the preferred option in the league – when fit – although the Blues have only won one of their five games he has started. In contrast, Chelsea have won all four with Alonso, scoring more (12v7) and conceding less (3v11).
In Tottenham, we don't trust.
All is not well at Spurs. That’s obvious. Whether it is down to the alleged shenanigans with Mrs Eriksen – c’mon, we’ve all seen the Tweets. Or perhaps the ongoing speculation about Pochettino, it’s not a happy camp.
On the field, all three departments are struggling. Up top, Harry Kane is doing his bit, but Heung-Min Son doesn’t look the player of last season. The back four (sometimes five) has clocked up just one clean sheet, shipping nine goals in four away trips. And in between, it’s hard to name one certain starter from one game to the next.
Fact. They have only beaten Palace, Southampton and Villa in 12 matches this season.
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