We sign off on Gameweek 7 by name checking Arsenal’s Spanish schemer, looking at the potentially problematic route into United’s first XI and the upturn in defensive solidity by many of the big guns…
Arsenal’s win at West Ham, played out in front of the tv cameras on Saturday evening, afforded Fantasy managers the opportunity to run the rule over the Gunners’ assets ahead of a trip to Norwich next time out. While Arsene Wenger’s side impressed by coming back from a one-goal deficit to end the hosts unbeaten home run, there was little doubt as to the game’s chief protagonist.
Dictating the visitors’ play from his role in “the hole”, Santi Cazorla was simply a class apart. Offering a constant goal threat and providing opportunities aplenty for his team mates, the little Spaniard’s performance backed up our own ICT Index, where he leads the way after the first seven Gameweeks of the season.
After a couple of opening blank Gameweeks, the summer signing from Malaga is turning into one of the most consistent Fantasy performers around right now. Cazorla has now scored or assisted in four of his last five appearances, averaging seven FPL points per game from the Gameweek 3 trip to Liverpool onwards, while in the Sky Sports game, he has already received three Man of the Match awards.
While many FPL managers had considered Gervinho as an Arsenal midfield alternative due to his cheaper price and out of position role as a lone frontmen, the Ivorian’s shift to the flank last weekend saw his stock take a significant dip. Gervinho cut a frustrated figure out wide, as Olivier Giroud took the opportunity to notch his first league goal for the Gunners – Cazorla’s position as the main instigator of the Gunners’ attacking moves is nailed-on, by comparison.
With a trip to Norwich and a couple of home games against QPR and Fulham in the next four, the bandwagon is already picking up speed. Budgets are being juggled, squads reassembled, as Fantasy managers attempt to find space in our five-man midfields for a player who is starting to look irresistible for many.
A 3-0 win at Newcastle produced United’s first away clean sheet of the season, with Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra and Tom Cleverley the goalscorers. While that’s all good and well for Sir Alex Ferguson, from a Fantasy perspective, the Red Devils are proving to be a real headache right now. United, clearly, have plenty of Fantasy potential – top scorers with 17 goals under their belt already, they have scored two or more times per game since the 1-0 opening defeat at Everton.
In midfield, Shinji Kagawa was subbed off midway through the second-half yet again – the fifth time in a row this has happened – while Nani failed to make the squad entirely. Antonio Valencia could, perhaps, offer us an alternative – back in the squad despite his manager ruling him out earlier in the week, he climbed off the bench at the Sports Direct Arena and comes back into contention, having provided assists in his last two starts.
Wayne Rooney’s recent to the starting XI for the first time since Gameweek 1 also muddied the Fantasy waters around Old Trafford way. Starting alongside Robin Van Persie up top for the first time in the league, he stole the limelight with a pair of assists and maximum bonus; a worrying sign for the Dutchman’s owners, with sales of the former Arsenal skipper beginning to pick up after a single goal in the last four Gameweeks. Faith in Van Persie will surely remain strong but with Rooney coming in at 11.7 in FPL and Van Persie price at 13.5, the option to free up budget and strengthen elsewhere is suddenly becoming that little bit more tempting.
The Talking Point
Without a single clean sheet between them in the opening six Gameweeks, City, Liverpool and Spurs all finally produced the goods last weekend. Investment at the back has mainly been restricted to Leighton Baines and the nailed-on Chelsea contingent, with United’s Rafael perhaps staking a case for inclusion, too, but, as the season begins to finally settle down, are we seeing a resurgence in defensive solidity from the main protagonists at last?
With United also nullifying Newcastle’s threat on Sunday afternoon, this means that four of last season’s top six defences (in terms of goals conceded) all produced the goods. With Chelsea on the verge of a tricky run of fixtures, Roberto Di Matteo’s side could be hard pushed to maintain a record that has seen them concede a mere four goals thus far – Branislav Ivanovic owners will surely hold firm but last weekend’s results hint that the Serbian may have a fight on his hands to remain at the top of the FPL defenders rankings if the pattern continues.
Surprisingly, defenders have been the top scoring FPL players in five of the first seven Gameweeks of the 2012/12 campaign. Ivanovic, Angel Rangel, Alexander Buttner, Ashley Cole and Aleksandar Kolarov have shown that the men at the back are more than capable of racking up significant scores, with only two forwards – Carlos Tevez and Luis Suarez breaking this somewhat unexpected run. With a new-found resilience possibly on the cards for a handful of new contenders, investment at the back could become a priority for many over the next fortnight as we begin to reassess our squads and plan for the upcoming Gameweeks.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
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|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, 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