Fantasyland: Week One heroes, leaders, busts, three names to monitor

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Several hundred of you joined up in our free Yahoo Fantasy Premier League group for Week One.

Many were rewarded for their shrewd buys, while a lot of the big-priced names paid off as advertised and others failed. Clean sheets were rewarded in mad fashion, with Hull City players leading the way.

And it’s not too late to join up, as we’ve only played one week of dozens:

Click on this link and enter the following information
League ID:25088
Password:9kri5jc

Let’s take a look at who starred in Week One and how it affected the overall leaderboard.

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First, the top scorers, bargains and busts. A pair of big-money Liverpool midfielders really let down their owners, while two players who entered the week with salaries under 2.5 mil (Erik Lamela and Jack Rodwell) each outscored the collective figures produced by our top five busts.

Top scorers in Week One
1. Allan McGregor, GK, Hull (29 points)
2. James Chester, DEF, Hull (26 pts)
3. Gylfi Sigurdsson, MID, Swansea (25 pts)
4. Saido Berahino, FWD, WBA (24 pts)
5. Raheem Sterling, MID, Liverpool (23 pts)

Top Five Bargains (points, current salary)
1. Rodwell, MID, Sunderland (7 pts, 2.13 mil)
2. Aly Cissokho, DEF, Aston Villa (10 pts, 6.05 mil)
3. Lamela, MID, Tottenham (6 pts, 3.79 mil)
4. Victor Wanyama, MID, Southampton (8 pts, 5.14 mil)
5. Anthony Knockaert, MID, Leicester City (6 pts, 5.67 mil)

Top Five Busts (points, salary)
1. Steven Gerrard, MID, Liverpool (2 pts, 17.34 mil)
2. Adam Lallana, MID, Liverpool (0 pts, 13.84 mil)
3. Romelu Lukaku, FWD, Everton (1 pt, 12.62 mil)
4. Yaya Toure, MID, Man City (0 pts, 12.5 mil)
5. Seamus Coleman, DEF, Everton (1 pt, 12.58 mil)

In terms of busts, we didn’t count players who were injured or not selected (Petr Cech produced zero points, and we warned you of the risk. His high-price will sink and his sale price will hurt your overall budget).

As for our group leaders, cheers to these five… and to two of our three writers performing this week. Kyle, Kyle, Kyle…

Pro Soccer Talk’s Top Five
Bootcamp (PST4) – 127 points
FC Shut Your Face (PST2) – 125 points
Xtina FC (PST3) – 124 points
Dynamo Todd (PST1) – 119 points
Musk of Mustoe (PST4) – 116 points

PST Staff
Joe Prince-Wright (Mini Bradley Cooper) – 93 points
Nicholas Mendola (FC Buffalo Wolves) – 92 points
Kyle Bonn (Magath and Friends) – 43 points

Now, every week we’ll give you a few new names to monitor who are owned by less than 1 percent of Fantasy players. Here’s your first batch to keep an eye on:

1. Leonardo Ulloa, FWD, Leicester City – 7.4 mil, .98% owned
2. Matt Taylor, MID, Burnley – 6.9 mil, .29% owned
3. Nabil Bentaleb, MID, Spurs – 5.64 mil, .38% owned

Ulloa tore it up for Brighton last season and fit in nicely with his new team against Everton. Taylor will get a lot of minutes for newly-promoted Burnley, while Bentaleb is among a trio of Spurs names (Lamela and Younes Kaboul) who started and could produce plenty of bang for their buck on the pitch for you (and okay, okay, new coach Mauricio Pochettino). Coaching changeovers usually provide the best value risks, so keep an eye on most names and Starting XIs at Spurs, Manchester United, Southampton, et cetera.

Brighton – Manchester United: How to watch, start time, odds, prediction

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Brighton – Manchester United: Impressive Brighton and Hove Albion hopes to continue Manchester United’s winless league season when the Red Devils visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

It will be the first two meetings in several days, as Brighton’s win at Preston North End and United’s takedown of Luton Town set up a League Cup fourth round date at the Amex.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

United handled Brighton well last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0, so this will be a great test at the acumen of both managers: Graham Potter in his second full season with the Seagulls and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempting to prove his doubters wrong.


Team news: Brighton – Manchester United (INJURY REPORT)

The Seagulls will not have Yves Bissouma, who was suspended three matches for his no-look, studs-up kick into the face of Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis. Brighton manager Graham Potter revealed that the long-term recovery of Jose Izquierdo is about two weeks away from being complete.

Manchester United will be without Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.


What they’re saying

Potter on the League Cup win setting up consecutive Man United tests: “It’s a big week for us with those two matches and then Everton before the international break. That’s what we wanted because we wanted to go through in this competition. Players always want to play and the best thing for them is to be out on the field on nights like tonight to keep everyone in the group ready for when they’re needed. You saw that today. There was a willingness to run and fight for the team and get the result and that’s why I’m very happy.”

United’s Solskjaer after goalkeeper Dean Henderson starred on his senior debut: “The goalkeeping department and training level has been really high, of course, you can see driven and dedicated people and I’ve enjoyed watching them. Dean in goal, good save, you can see he’s having to concentrate and it’s a different job to what he’s done a few times last season and he came up with the save when he had to.”

League Cup results
LUTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Dean Henderson of Manchester United saves a shot at Kenilworth Road (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Brighton is +375 to win at home, while a draw nets the wagerer +260. Manchester United is expected to win and thusly -130 to take all three points.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Brighton – Manchester United prediction

The only thing keeping us from pegging a very impressive Brighton team to collect another win is the shadow cast by Manchester United’s 2019-20 season (and long tradition of winning). United was rusty in its loss to Crystal Palace and had to work hard to defeat Luton Town in the League Cup. If that rust was there last week, how do the legs feel after a week? Anyway, the Red Devils still have Bruno Fernandes and it just doesn’t seem like this team starts 0-2 (or even 0-1-1). I grimace as I write 2-1 to Manchester United.


How to watch Brighton – Manchester United stream and start time

Kickoff: 7:30 am ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick

Frank Lampard reaction
Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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Chelsea rebounded from its weekend loss to Liverpool by getting the good vibes going through a number of new faces Wednesday in a League Cup blowout of Barnsley.

Kai Havertz scored three times, Ben Chilwell came off the bench to chip in an assist on debut, and Thiago Silva went 60 minutes in his first match in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues pounded the Championship side 6-0.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

We’ll start with the longtime PSG defender, who had four clearances, an interception, and a tackle while winning both of his duels.

He passed at 94 percent including six-of-seven long balls. Even accounting for the competition, that’s solid.

Lampard called Silva’s outing “a perfect 60 minutes” via Football.London:

“He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others,” Lampard said. “He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”

ProSoccerTalk talked about Chelsea’s need for a leader at the back during this week’s “Unfiltered,” and Lampard has clearly been waiting for someone like Silva.

As for Havertz, you only needed the box score to see his influence on the game.

Two of Havertz’s three goals were assisted by Tammy Abraham and a third from Mason Mount.

The German phenom also racked up five tackles and two key passes against Barnsley.

“He makes the recovery tackle for Ross (Barkley)’s goal, but then to also just have some freedom on the ball in central areas roaming behind Tammy,” Lampard said. “The combinations he had with Tammy, the way he grew into the game and had confidence and the three goals. It was a great night for Kai and the first of many for him.”

Havertz scored seven braces for Bayer Leverkusen, but this was his first hat trick. Barnsley may play in the second tier, but they had allowed three goals in their last four games.

Whoops.

Actors Reynolds, McElhenney bid to invest in Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC
Photos by Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Jim Spellman/WireImage
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“The Gang Buys a Football Team?”

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds are said to be in talks to buy National League side Wrexham AFC, reports The Guardian.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

The Welsh club, nicknamed the Red Dragons, was founded in 1864 and made it to the European Cup Winners’ Cup eight times between 1972-96.

They’ve since been relegated out of the Football League, dipping out of League Two in 2008.

McElhenney and Reynolds have bid to take over the club, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust says 97.5 percent of their members voted to allow the actors to propose their vision for the club before a second vote.

From wst.org.uk:

As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

It’s gotta get McElhenney’s goat that Reynolds gets the “award-winning” adjective added to his name.

Either way, this is definitely an intriguing club for investment and the potential addition of Reynolds and McElhenney to the fray would only increase the interest in Wrexham AFC.

Deadpool and Mac would be quite a combo in the transfer market.

Arteta drawn into Ozil discussion, reacts to Liverpool doubleheader

Arteta on Ozil
Photo by RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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Mikel Arteta did his best not to give a soundbite that included Mesut Ozil’s name following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Leicester City in League Cup action on Wednesday.

Ozil, 31, has not played since assisting the lone goal in a March 7 win over West Ham and has since only twice even made the bench (June 20 and 25).

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

Asked six times about the German, Arteta painted in broad strokes before mentioning Ozil in the second set of questions.

Arteta said that Ozil simply hasn’t warranted a place in an 18. This is how he responded when asked if he understood why there are so many questions about a player who has 44 goals and 77 assists in 254 appearances for the Gunners.

From Football.London:

“Of course I understand and I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible. I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.”

Okay then.

As for Wednesday’s win, the Gunners broke through on a Christian Fuchs own goal before sealing the deal on Eddie Nketiah’s marker just before the final whistle.

Arsenal was outshot 15-10 but both teams were decidedly second-string. Now the Gunners get consecutive affairs at Anfield, as Liverpool is the hosts for a Monday meeting in the Premier League and a League Cup fourth round tie days later.

Arteta was asked how big of a test that will be for the Gunners.

“You can imagine, probably the toughest place to go in Europe or the world. That’s the fixtures, we have to go there. Let’s go first on Monday, let’s prepare well and see how it goes.”

Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in July to deny the Reds a 100-point season, weeks after the Reds clinched the Premier League title. The Gunners again topped Liverpool in the Community Shield one month later.

The atmosphere and stakes will be high again next week. Surely Arteta can’t go 4-0 against Jurgen Klopp, right? Right?