Mladen Petric is the star performer as Fulham rip Norwich apart. Michu and Nathan Dyer both bag a brace as Michael Laudrup’s regime at Swansea gets off to a dream start. West Brom hand Brendan Rodgers a nightmare debut as Liverpool boss, while Demba Ba is back amongst the goals as Newcastle see off Spurs at the Sports Direct Arena:
We knew all about his form heading into the season opener with Norwich yesterday and resultantly handed Petric a place in the Gameweek 1 Scout Picks. The Croatian’s five goals in pre-season had grabbed plenty of attention and he continued his lethal displays for the Cottagers by notching twice and providing an assist as Martin Jol’s side hammered Norwich 5-0. Fulham are always likely to get amongst the goals at home – only the top five scored more times in front of their own supporters last term and with Bryan Ruiz tucked in behind in a 4-4-1-1, Petric looks a sound investment at 6.0 in FPL and 6.8 in the Sky Sports game. With three away trips in his next four, however, he could struggle for goals – Fulham scored just 12 times away from home all last season and travel to Old Trafford next weekend. He’s earning interest but the Scout jury is still out on his short-term potential with just two home games in the next six to come, one of which is against the City defence.
The Fulham Midfield
Priced at 4.5 in FPL, Alex Kacaniklic justified the recent interest shown on the site by grabbing a goal in the demolition of Norwich. With Kerim Frei injured, Hugo Rodallega still being eased into the first-team fold and Clint Dempsey looking for an exit, Kacaniklic is staking a claim for a regular role both in Jol’s starting XI and a place in our midfields as a viable budget option. The winger was outdone by fellow wide man Damien Duff, though, after the Irishman bagged a goal and assist – at 6.0 in FPL he perhaps looks most likely to maintain his starting berth, while Steve Sidwell also came to the fore; he stepped up to slot home the fifth from the spot, though it’s unclear where he is in the pecking order, as Ruiz, Petric and Duff had all been subbed off before the award.
The Spaniard wasted little time in announcing himself to the Premier League with a spectacular debut as Swansea ruthlessly swept aside QPR. Handed the role in “the hole” behind Danny Graham, Michu continued his La Liga form of last term – where he notched 15 times for Rayo Vallecano – by scoring twice and providing an assist in the Welsh club’s stunning 5-0 win at Loftus Road. With five home fixtures in the next seven Gameweeks, Michael Laudrup’s side seem set for significant investment and Michu – priced at 6.5 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) and a mere 5.5 in the Sky Sports game – already sits on 16 FPL points, pre-bonus.
The Swansea Wide Men
We have to mention the wingers here, too. Last week we highlighted Laudrup’s decision to tweak the roles of the Swansea wide men and yesterday it paid off handsomely. Nathan Dyer bagged a brace and looks a steal at 5.5 in FPL if he can continue in the first XI, Wayne Routledge provided a pair of assists and Scott Sinclair also managed to find the net, despite a brief substitute role late in the second half. The latter could well be on his way out of the Liberty after refusing to sign a new contract, though – Laudrup’s decision to start with Routledge may indicate his thinking towards Sinclair, though it’s worth noting that the Welsh club are determined to snap up Pablo Hernandez; the Spaniard’s acquisition may have some thinking twice about investing in Swansea’s wingers, then, with Michu looking the most secure option amongst Laudrup’s midfield right now.
A hugely disappointing end to the 2011/12 saw the Newcastle forward priced at just 7.5 this time round but he ended a scoring drought that went all the way back to February by curling home an exquisite opener in his side’s 2-1 win over Spurs. Handed a central role once again as Alan Pardew rolled out a 4-4-2, Ba overshadowed Papiss Cisse and served a reminder of his capabilities through the middle – with home games against Villa and Norwich in addition to a trip to Reading in the next five, that price tag is beginning to look more enticing. Ba was somewhat unlucky not to grab two yesterday – he is usually the club’s number one spot-kick taker but had to watch Hatem Ben Arfa score the second from the spot, with the Frenchman refusing to hand the ball over after he was brought down in the box.
The West Ham midfielder had failed to feature in pre-season since sustaining a toe injury in mid-July but, handed a starting role by Sam Allardyce, scored the only goal of the game at home to Villa. The Nolan v Mark Noble debate has seen plenty of debate, with the latter’s cheaper price tag, in addition to spot-kick and set-piece duties, making him the more popular pick by FPL managers but Nolan’s Premier League know-how is already proving decisive for his owners. With a strong set of fixtures still to come, including home clashes with Fulham, Reading and Southampton in the next seven, Big Sam’s side have certainly been handed the platform to get their campaign off to a confident start.
The West Brom Attack
Handed a role out wide as Steve Clarke opted for a 4-2-3-1 against former club Liverpool, Peter Odemwingie looks to have stepped up the spot-kick pecking order for the Baggies. Both Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel gave away penalties – with the Dane receiving his marching orders – but after Shane Long missed the first one, the Nigerian walked up to slot home the second. Zoltan Gera (a 5.0 priced midfielder) is looking an intriguing cut-price proposition – the Hungarian was handed a wide role in the attacking midfield three and opened the scoring for the hosts, while Romelu Lukaku boosted his chances of a starting role after scoring within 10 minutes of climbing off the bench for his new club. With Everton, Reading and QPR at the Hawthorns in the next six, Steve Clarke’s side already look an intriguing option for mid-price talent.
Adam Le Fondre
Reading’s top scorer in pre-season, he was picked up by less than 1% of FPL managers compared to Pavel Pogrebnyak’s 17% ahead of the club’s double Gameweek. Le Fondre earned the Royals a point against Stoke by slotting home from the spot in the dying seconds – all the more intriguing due to the fact that Ian Harte, last year’s regular taker, was still on the pitch at the time. Although Hal Robson-Kanu took the club’s last penalty in pre-season, he – along with Pogrebnyak – was already subbed off prior to the award. Once Jimmy Kebe returns from injury, Robson-Kanu is perhaps unlikely to hold down a first-team role suggesting Le Fondre has a strong chance of topping the spot-kick pecking order for Brian McDermott’s side.
The only viable forward option for Spurs right now, Defoe certainly highlighted his capabilities with his side’s equaliser at Newcastle yesterday. Priced at 7.5 in FPL, he is no doubt set to pick up plenty investment with a very favourable schedule now on the horizon but question marks still hang heavy over his game time – Andre Villas-Boas has already had a bid for Roberto Soldado knocked back and has been attempting to sign Emmanuel Adebayor permanently all summer; Spurs will surely pick up a centre-forward before the deadline ends, thus denting Defoe’s appeal considerably. There are further reports today stating that a deal for Adebayor is now close.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
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|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
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|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
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|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby