When Saturday comes all the analysis, all the thought and all the discussion is put to one side as the Premier League teams take to the field to play the next round of matches. Sometimes the results make you look prescient, for example by tipping Watford’s forwards, other times they make you look silly, such as giving a vote of confidence to a goalkeeper who promptly concedes two.
I won’t dive into the data, but just record some of my thoughts from the parts of games I was able to see. I watched the first half of Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion as I had toyed all week with switching Micah Richards to a Baggies defender. Ultimately, I couldn’t bring myself to transfer out a defender playing at home to a team that had only scored three times this season and I paid the price. On the back of what I witnessed, that move will now almost certainly happen. The only question is which West Brom defender I bring in. I was looking at Craig Dawson, but I noticed a couple of corners arrowing towards the head of Gareth McAuley, so I’ll do a little more digging. James Morrison, who I highlighted a couple of weeks ago, grabbed an assist after his shot was deflected. The only other takeaway from the half was how poor Villa were. My lack of faith in Scott Sinclair was shown to be fair this week.
For the second half I was planning to watch Newcastle United v Watford because I hadn’t seen the Hornets yet this season. However, life intervened and I didn’t see as much as I had hoped. From what I did see, I believe Watford can compete in the Premier League.
Finally, I caught the second half of Manchester City v West Ham United – and what a half it was. I have not been more entertained this season. City were 2-1 down at the break, but laid siege to the Hammers’ goal in the second half. As an FPL manager with Sergio Agüero and Yaya Touré, I was delighted with what I saw, even if the end product was only one assist. Goals will come this season, I’m sure. For West Ham, Winston Reid and Adrián were immense. I had been cautious about Dimitri Payet during the week and he did finally have a shot saved, but he also contributed an assist. Despite the East London side being on the back foot for most of the half, I saw enough to once again suggest Payet will be the fulcrum of the Hammers attack.