Five Lessons Learned: Gameweek 8

Sergio Aguero scored lots and lots, Manchester United didn’t score at all and Liverpool sacked David Brent as manager. 5 things we learnt this week:

1 Embrace Jamie Vardy James-Vardy

Of course, don’t literally embrace Vardy, he’s most likely to spit in your face. The England International is already disliked for generally being a horrible player for everyone to play against. The Leicester talisman is rather like having a sneaky swig of someone’s gin at a house party: quick, reckless and only produces the sensation of vomit tunnelling up your trachea when he’s playing against your team that week. But like your Dad will say with the gin, “You get a bottle yourself when you’re older, more experienced and you’ll love it son.”. The same will occur with Vardy. Once he’s in your weekend line-up, you might just love him.

A feature of his game that often isn’t mentioned in discussion is his footballing intelligence. Give him 90 minutes and two central defenders to hassle: he will force an error at some point. This streetwise mentality was illustrated on Saturday in drawing the foul which lead to the penalty for the opener. With power Vardy dispatched it himself, making it his 6th goal in the previous 5 league games. His performance was dominating and without sounding too cliché, quintessentially Vardy.

Of course there is sure to be a cooling off period at some point along the schedule and Leicester also have the mother of all horrific fixture runs over Christmas. It is very possible that those two events will coincide so be sure to uncork your highly-pressurised bottle of Jamie Vardy soon before his inevitable return to normal form or 8-game suspension. Whichever comes first.

2 Don’t embrace Cameron JeromeCameron-Jerome

Norwich’s Premier League campaign that preceded this one was a lesson in how not to construct your team looking for goals. Anyone remember Ricky van Wolfswinkel? Gary Hooper? If so, you shouldn’t.

There has deservedly been credit given to Alex Neil for instilling a more attacking mindset  and what we’ve seen in these first two months has shown marked improvement from the East Anglian side after their drop into the Championship. Nathan Redmond in particular has wielded far more influence over games than he was able to do two years ago. However if their last campaign was a lesson learnt, then this years is one still ongoing.

Cameron Jerome cannot lead a Premier League attack. Norwich have been attempting to rely on a striker who surprisingly allergic to finding the net in the top flight. In 125 career Premier League starts Jerome has bagged 31 goals and that total includes any he scored coming off the bench. Tony Pulis managed to pull the trick off starting Jerome for some games during Crystal Palace’s escape in that same season Norwich were relegated. But Pulis doesn’t need goals to prevent relegation, just a cap and a mild Welsh accent. Norwich will need more from their frontline and Mbokani’s goal will probably earn him the starting spot next week. At 6.0M he’s a tempter. Jerome meanwhile may continue to provide pace, strength and workrate – anything but goals.

3 We’ll all pick Aguero – now we’re justifiedAguero-2

What about those premium players and their struggles? Last week Alexis Sanchez announced his arrival on the scene in dramatic fashion with a hat-trick. A similar occurrence this week then, only Sergio Aguero didn’t announce his return to form – he screamed it through a megaphone to the banging tune of 5 goals.

Manchester City are near unplayable at home save for an anomalous result once a season or so (West Ham this year, Stoke the last). A fixture up against the defensively challenged Bournemouth should be circled on every fantasy player’s calendar as a day to captain the Argentine striker. It’s a mighty risk to ever leave him out and this isn’t the time to go looking for differentials up front.

4 Testing power of the honeymoon periodStadium-of-Light

Dick Advocaat’s has had resignation eyes for weeks betraying his true feelings with each passing post-match interview. Although Sunderland have been abominable much of the season, one gets the nagging sense that it could turn around for them. We’ve seen the brief honeymoon effect with Di Canio, Poyet and Advocaat at the helm. Do we dare bank on it happening a fourth time?

They showed signs of consciousness at the weekend, if not quite fully fledged life, before letting a 2 goal lead slip. It’d be worth a cheap punt on a Sunderland player or two, especially  in the Tyne-Wear derby where the Black Cats transform themselves into Barcelona for one weekend.  Sunderland purely existing to be one giant practical joke on Newcastle is one explanation as to why they drift through the season just to defeat their arch-rivals once more.

5 Christian Eriksen will be a sleeperChristian-Eriksen

I could be smug here and tell you that I transferred in Eriksen before this weekend where he bagged two freekicks. I won’t, though.

We’ve already seen how lucrative it can be to select players who are the fulcrums of their respective attacks: Payet, Silva, Vardy all returning substantial point returns. For the same price you could go for Memphis Depay or Raheem Sterling, both on the fringes of play, or instead the Danish midfielder who Tottenham channel the majority of their goings forward through.

After the international break his 2 goals may have been forgotten by some and he’ll be facing Liverpool who will probably be sans manager. Let everyone else pick the star sidekicks at the Manchester clubs, Christian Eriksen can run things just fine for Spurs.

Harry Wallace is a Leicester City fan and Fantasy Football enthusiast. Both have been known to be unsuccessful at times. Keep track of his football related thoughts on Twitter.

Viktor Enoksen

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