Well that was an exciting week, wasn’t it? For the first time in ages Arsenal have emerged from an eagerly awaited Champions League fixture with a smile on their faces, while not for the first time Manchester City have been sent to the drawing board in Europe.
Anyway, enough of continental flair, tiki-taka and what not, it’s Friday afternoon which on these shores generally means lots of fantasy football talking in front of a couple of alcoholic beverages – the more of the latter, the worse the former gets.
So, while we can’t pay you a round, we can at least give you a list of four players you should sign for your fantasy team. One of the players we recommended last Friday – Aaron Ramsey – was on the scoresheet on the weekend, while another – Artur Boruc – kept a clean sheet, just to let you know that we mean business.
1) Simon Mignolet
Having jumped on the Boruc bandwagon last week, we were told to choose another goalkepeer this week to reassure the readers that we’re not, in fact, employed by the Polish stopper’s agent.
Mignolet has been superb since arriving on Merseyside, keeping three clean sheets and ensuring Pepe Reina’s bald patch is nothing but a distant memory among the Kop faithfuls.
Liverpool host a Palace side that have been shyer in front of goal that a teenager on a first date, thus expect the Belgian to secure another clean sheet and justify his £5.8m price tag.
2) Jose Fonte
Southampton have everything to become everybody’s second team this season – an expression that, by the way, we loathe – a stone-faced manager who can’t speak a word of English, a bunch of players who plied their trade in League One just three seasons ago and a journeyman striker who’s become the Premier League’s working class hero.
The Saints, it turns out, are also quite good at this football malarky and currently sit in sixth place, boasting the league’s joint-best defensive record.
Jose Fonte and Dejan Lovren have been crucial to the Saints’ mean defensive record, and the Portuguese has the best value-for-money return of any other player in this season’s Fantasy Premier League so far.
Fonte costs only £4.9m and has already accumulated 41 points in the first six games, making 15.4% of fantasy managers happier than Jamie Redknapp on a date with himself and with Southampton hosting Swansea, Fonte could keep another clean sheet.
3) Ross Barkley
We’ve decided to include Barkley in our list, purely on the basis that another classy performance would automatically turn the Everton midfielder into a mainstream choice.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been instrumental in Everton’s superb start of the season and David Moyes must be wondering if he shouldn’t have invested £27m on Barkley’s muscles rather than on Marouane Fellaini’s wig.
Barkley’s £5.4m price tag has seen him selected by 32.2% of managers and while a trip to City will threaten Everton’s unbeaten start to the season, don’t expect the teenager to be fazed by the colossus of technique and muscles that is Yaya Toure.
4) Loic Remy
Alan Pardew has claimed he believes Mike Ashley is fully behind him and that he can’t wait to see Batman become Britain’s Prime Minister – spoiler alert, only one of those two statements is true – but Pards could soon be in real trouble if his team continues to stutter.
One of the few positives of Newcastle season so far has been Loic Remy, the 25658th Frenchman to arrive at St James’ Park since Pardew took over. The former QPR striker has scored three of his club seven goals and could add to his tally against Cardiff tomorrow.
Mind you, at £7.3m Remy hardly represents a bargain but, then again, when have Newcastle appreciated the benefit of getting value for their money?