Wayne Rooney provides a pair of assists and proclaims his new “midfield role”. Robin Van Persie risks the wrath of Alan Pardew and the potential of an FA enquiry. Spurs’ winning run stretches to four matches against Villa, with Hugo Lloris’ debut producing a first clean sheet of the season. Southampton earn a draw with Fulham via an unlikely source, while Stoke and Liverpool play out a goalless draw at Anfield…
Starting alongside Robin Van Persie in the league for the first time this season, he outgunned the Dutchman with a pair of assists and maximum bonus points. While Van Persie also provided an assist, his owners may be a little concerned with yesterday’s events – clearly, Rooney is capable of denting his prospects in any given Gameweek. With an FPL price of 11.7 to Van Persie’s 13.5, Rooney certainly is the more budget-friendly and also appeals as a differential – he is owned by less than 6% teams in comparison to the Dutchman’s 31%. A home clash against Stoke now affords both forwards the chance of points – yesterday’s win means United have now scored two or more goals in their last six matches.
Post-match, Van Persie’s owners were given cause for both optimism and apprehension. Rooney took to twitter to reveal he is more than content in a new, more withdrawn role – a clear indication that the former Arsenal man is primed to be the focal point of the most potent attack in the Premier League right now. Rooney tucked in behind the new boy and admitted:
“Great win today. Really enjoying my new midfield role. Always involved in the game.”
Van Persie was also at the centre of controversy yesterday after allegedly lashing out at Yohan Cabaye. The off-the-ball incident didn’t appear to be picked by Howard Webb at the time – if it doesn’t feature in the referee’s post-match report, it could, potentially, see the United man charged for violent conduct if the FA decide to take action – that would lead to a three-match ban. After the game, Alan Pardew was quick to highlight this and called for the authorities to step in:
“He has looked at Yohan and he has elbowed him. I think that perhaps needs to be looked at, if I am honest. I actually thought Yohan wouldn’t have gone down if he hadn’t done something. I didn’t see it myself, but I have obviously seen it on the replay and it looks like he has looked at him and put his elbow there.”
The United Defence
The return of David De Gea helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to their first away clean sheet of the season. While the Spaniard will always be prone to his manager’s keeper rotation policy, Jonny Evans put forward a decent case for investment with a 14-point haul against Newcastle. With Nemanja Vidic sidelined for a couple of months, the Irishman could be a worthy mid-price option to consider; the home game against Stoke looks prosperous and once they get Chelsea and Arsenal out the way, United’s fixtures brighten from Gameweek 11 onwards. Rafael still looks the front runner for our attentions, however. The right-back has shown great enterprise going forward and, right now, has just the returning Chris Smalling for competition.
The only Southampton player to play every minute of the season so far, Fonte leapt onto Fantasy radars with both his side’s goals against Fulham yesterday. While his cut-price valuation may appeal as a cheap defender, the Saints’ porous backline shows little sign of abating, however; they have now conceded 20 goals in the opening seven Gameweeks, more than any other side so far. Bearing in mind that Fonte had previously registered five FPL points in the first six matches, Fonte is unlikely to pick up many savvy investors, is spite of a reasonable run of fixtures to follow. Interestingly, Danny Fox fetched his first assist for Southampton in Sunday’s game. The left-back who earned nine assists in the Championship last season looks to be a more reliable source of attacking returns in the Southampton defence but his 4.4 price tag is proving an obstacle to investment.
Both Nathaniel Clyne and Gaston Ramirez missed Sunday’s game with thigh injuries. While Clyne’s sounds like a simple dead leg, the Uruguayan appears to have suffered complications that would make him more of a doubt for a return against West Ham in Gameweek 8. Nigel Adkins also suffered the loss of Frazer Richardson early on in Sunday’s game and brought us this on his injury situation post-match…
“It looks like he (Frazer) has pulled his thigh muscle so we will get a scan on that and see the extent of the tear of the muscle….Nathaniel has a dead leg that he picked up at Everton and had to come off which he hasn’t recovered from. I would suggest that as he hasn’t played today he wont be fit to go away with England….Gaston has a similar thing with a dead leg that he picked up on Thursday but that was quite a serious one because the muscle swelled up as there was nowhere for the blood to go which led to a lot of pressure on his thigh. He had to have a couple of days in hospital to relief the pressure there so obviously he won’t be joining up with Uruguay now in the international break.”
John Arne Riise
He may be pricier than the rest of the Fulham defenders but the Norwegian seems to be flourishing this season. Last term, with Clint Dempsey playing in front of him on the flank, Riise tended to play a little deeper due to the US international’s penchant for drifting into the centre but with the Cottagers afforded a more natural width by the likes of Alex Kacaniklic, the left-back is picking up the points. An assist in yesterday’s draw at St Mary’s took his tally to three so far – only two less than last season’s total of five and with three home games and a trip to Reading in the next five, the attacking returns could be set to continue.
Dimitar Berbatov and Mladen Petric
Martin Jol revealed post-match that both strikers were very close to making the game. Indeed, it appears that early in the week, Berbatov declared himself fit only to rule himself out as the week progressed…
“Berbatov was very close…He told me on Monday that he would play but then on Friday he said he didn’t know if he wanted to take the risk. But both he and Mladen Petric did a test on Sunday in London. If Petric had passed it, then he may have been on the bench, in Berbatov’s case he might have started, but it wasn’t to be.”
The Potters keeper moved up to third in the FPL goalkeeper rankings after returning two bonus points and his third clean sheet of the season – all the more impressive, bearing in mind he has already faced Arsenal, City and Chelsea before yesterday’s trip to Anfield. Although Tony Pulis’ side now face a visit to Old Trafford, their fixture schedule from Gameweek 9 onwards is surely set to see Begovic and the Stoke defence pick up plenty of new suitors, with the home/away rotation with West Brom looking particularly appealing over the next few matches. The only possible caveat to this is that Pulis may find himself without Robert Huth for three matches – the German was alleged to have stamped on Luis Suarez early on in yesterday’s game and, if that is picked up by the FA, a suspension looms for Huth.
The Spurs Defence
Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to drop Brad Friedel and hand Hugo Lloris his first league appearance coincided with a first clean sheet of the season for the London outfit. Although the Spurs boss admitted after the game he is still likely to rotate, Lloris looked far more at home with the high defensive line and yesterday’s display was the slickest Spurs have looked in the league so far.
Steven Caulker’s opener will propel the centre-half onto Fantasy radars. Since Villas-Boas reshuffled his side at half-time in the Gameweek 5 win over QPR, Caulker has produced an assist, a goal and a centre-half – an average of almost seven points per game. Much depends on whether he can keep his place once the likes of Benoit Assou-Ekotto or Kyle Naughton return to over cover at left-back; with Jan Vertonghen expected to return to the middle, Caulker could face a battle to retain a regular role, given that William Gallas has played every minute of the season to this point.
The winger kept the likes of Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey in the shade yesterday after opening his account in the 2-0 win over Villa. Lennon’s pace looks a real factor in the fact he has started all seven matches under the new manager – he has missed just nine minutes of the season and has picked up 29 FPL points so far, a tally bettered only by Bale and Jermain Defoe for Spurs.
The Togo striker made a return to fitness and came off the bench to replace Defoe on 68 minutes. It now remains to be seen how Villas-Boas rotates his options up front. Right now his system would seem to only allow one of Defoe or Adebayor to play and with the England man in the ascendency, Defoe would seem likely to retain his start. Adebayor will surely see significant pitch time and would seem better equipped to lead the line and these doubts surely dent Defoe’s potential and will give cause for concern for would-be investors. Such factors contribute to Gareth Bale’s appeal as the main target for coverage of Tottenham’s attacking potential.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas