Well, it's probably fair to say that my predictions didn't all quite work out. For all that he produced a solid performance hinting at good things to come, Giaccherini unfortunately contributed just the 2 fantasy points in recognition of his 60+ mins on the pitch. Never mind.
My non-Sunderland pick fared a little better. Paulinho produced a very good performance against Crystal Palace, and was named man of the match, however he did still only muster 3 points. 2 for his playing time, and 1 for Spurs' cleansheet. But again, in a narrow game that Tottenham only won thanks to a Roberto Soldado penalty (a player I have in my team but didn't recommend in the last piece, sorry about that) it is no great stain on Paulinho's performance that his total was relatively low.
So decent yet, points wise, disappointing performances from my two tips last week. My advice on who to avoid was a little more successful. Fernando Amorebieta, the Basque Beast, perhaps surprisingly didn't actually get on the pitch for Fulham last week. Seb Larsson did play for Sunderland, but produced an uninspiring display the like of which we've come to expect from our erstwhile dead-(yet-piercing)-eyed set piece expert.
Finally, I advised to skip out on Joe Hart (who went through a packet of Benson & Hedges and read half of War & Peace to entertain himself during City's game against the Mags) and instead stick John Ruddy in goal. Ruddy conceded two. Hart, erm, didn't.
Anyway, forget such trivial failures - here are my tips for this week!
Sunderland Player To Watch - Jozy Altidore
I mentioned last week that Altidore was very good value for just 7.0m, and whilst he didn't notch any goals or assists against Fulham, he did produce a busy and assured performance. If Sunderland are going to have any success against a good Southampton side, I'd back this lad to be at the heart of it.
General Player To Watch - Nathan Redmond
Norwich's most famous son recently proclaimed himself "Siege-face" on the silver screen, and if one was conducting a siege then the diminutive size, ingenuity and skill at attack of Norwich winger Nathan Redmond would certainly come in handy.
With that homage to the king of the dodgy link out of the way, I was impressed by what I saw of Redmond last week. The young winger looked bright coming in from the left flank, and is attractively priced at 5.0m. The Canaries are away to the Hull City Tigers (thoughtfully renamed by their owner in order to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered Bengal tiger) who didn't impress me against Chelsea last week.
They struggled to get any foothold in the game during a phenomenal first half for Chelsea, and although they grew into the game after half time that was more due to Chelsea being satisfied with a job well done and having their minds occupied by their midweek game with Aston Villa. So I'd fancy the promising Redmond to grab an assist against Steve "Face like a fat back" Bruce's side.*
Sunderland Player To Avoid - Stephane Sessegnon
I may regret making this tip as I have a sneaky feeling that the amorphously-positioned gremlin may react to an extremely poor performance against Fulham with an impressive display against Southampton in a now typical show of inconsistency.
However, his bad showing in the opener of the season can't be ignored, and could be suggestive of a Sess' head being turned by the extremely well-remunerated rumoured interest from the Middle East in his services.
Comparisons to Gyan's performances before his move at this time two years ago have been made. So, sadly, I'm predicting another disappointing game from the midfield maverick.
General Player To Avoid - Fernando Torres
Although he was, perhaps surprisingly, selected by Jose Mourinho to start as Chelsea number nine last week, his performance did little to convince that this season will be the one that he finally recaptures his pre-2010/11 season form.
Mourinho has made no bones about his desire to sign Wayne Rooney to play as Chelsea main striker, but if that fails then I'd still expect him to bring someone else in as Torres just doesn't look like a player capable of firing his team to multiple titles. At 9.0m there are much, much better options available.
The Roker Report League
Ellis Short sits in the Red and White Throne, Jozy Altidore leads the line of attack, and now another step forward in the American colonisation of Sunderland is made - Robbie Sweet off of America sits astride the Roker Report League table! It's a bit early yet to go through the scrap at the top, after all the league table is fairly irrelevant for the first few weeks until the gaps start to open up, but I'll take you through the current positions of the denizens of Roker Report Towers.
At the top of the writers' tree sits David Boyle. His Sub-Standard Liege side are in joint 50th on 67 points. Next up is Luke Bowley and AliadiereForceOne (yes, really) in joint 59th but just one point behind Dave with 66 points. A fair way below that is Stephen Goldsmith and his joie de vivre-inducingly-named Meh, on 57 and in joint 132nd. Then my Farcelona sit on 48 points in joint 224nd and, predictably, bringing up the rear are the Golf Wangs of Simon Walsh on 45 points in joint 254th.**
Shamefully, the rest of our writers seem to have not even bothered to enter a team. A tacit admission of their utter ignorance, I'd say...
That's in for this week! When the season starts to really get into gear I'll be able to have a better look through how everything's going in the League, but at this early stage there isn't a whole heap to tell. Good luck for the next week!
*© The Football Ramble
**Scores and placements correct for time of writing before the midweek game between Chelsea and Aston Villa has its points added on.