Fantasy Football: John Generously hands over his lead at the top

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Sometimes the good nature of Generous John can be his undoing, and this week was one of those occasions as he surrendered his lead over his Ladbrokes Life chums.

His return of just 23 points was the lowest of the quintet, with only Romelu Lukaku (four points as captain) and Mesut Ozil (eight) scoring more than two points in his starting XI.

The addition of Ross Barkley (two) in place of Mauro Arnautovic (zero) meant that it could have been worse, but he will need an upturn in form if he is regain his place at the top of the pile.

The benefactor of his low score was Mr Brightside, who totted up 48 points which proved enough to climb to the summit of the table.

Keeping faith with Chelsea’s Willian paid dividends with the Brazilian adding 13 points to his total, but time might be running out for Watford’s Odion Ighalo who picked up just two points for the third week running.

Another six points from Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s 6-0 rout over Aston Villa and a goal for Harry Kane over Manchester City meant that it was a more-than-respectable return.

But he was outdone by one of the five, as The Gut Truster racked up 58 points.

Troy Deeney (13), Dimitri Payet (13) and Ozil’s eight meant that his climb up the table continues, but it could have been even better.

The decision to substitute Nathanial Clyne (13) and Per Mertesacker (two) out in favour of Jose Fonte (seven) and Robert Huth (one) didn’t pay off, with those seven points potentially being vital come May.

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The remaining pair of the group were much-of-a-muchness with The Professor and The Believer picking up 43 and 38 points respectively.

The former’s substitution worked well with Payet coming in for the injured David Silva, adding to goals and assists from Kane and Ozil to just usurp the week’s average tally.

For the group’s basement dweller, improvements will be needed if he is to avoid the wooden spoon.

More believing will be needed after Fonte, Ozil and Jamie Vardy were the only trio to reach seven points or more this week, while Southampton’s Matt Targett sat on the bench with six.

The chums are way off the pursuit of the £100 free bet on offer to the winner of the Ladbrokes Life League but the competition is heating up in the upper echelons of the table.

Just 60 points separate the top 11, meaning who bags the prize at the end of the season is anyone’s guess.

However, the man in the driving seat remains the same for another week, as Scott Stanley just holds on to number one position.

The decision to hand Mesut Ozil the armband paid dividends, with 16 points added, though Patrick Van Aanholt’s position on the bench won’t have helped with the Sunderland man potentially adding six points.

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Can the leader see off the chasing pack? Only time will tell.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.