There’s nothing more satisfying for a Fantasy manager than anticipating a bandwagon before the masses make their move. While Demba Ba’s goals capture the headlines and Fantasy suitors, and Papiss Cisse looks shorn of the confidence that made him such a lethal acquisition in the latter part of last season, Hatem Ben Arfa has provided a steady source of points for his Fantasy owners thus far:
The Frenchman’s brilliant form towards the tail end of 2011/12 hinted at his potential. Having finally convinced Alan Pardew of his worth to the Newcastle first XI, Ben Arfa’s displays on the right of a 4-3-3 saw a surge in ownership, with expectations high going into the new campaign. While Pardew’s return to a 4-4-2 has clearly brought the best out of Ba, Ben Arfa’s contribution – particularly at home – cannot be overlooked.
So far, Ben Arfa has had a hand in three of the four goals Newcastle have scored in front of their own fans. More encouragingly, his returns have been produced over three of their four matches in front of the Toon Army – goals against Spurs and Villa was followed by a crucial assist in the 1-0 win over Norwich in Gameweek 5, highlighting his consistency, rather than one big performance followed by a few blanks. United may have nullified his threat last time round but so far Ben Arfa has produced 29 points over his four home games in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) – with seven bonus points also accrued, that equates to an average of over seven points per home clash.
Away from St James’ Park, he’s been a disappointment. Trips to Chelsea and Everton perhaps understandably failed to produce any returns but a Gameweek 6 visit to Reading was a real let down for Ben Arfa’s owners, with Ba’s Madejski brace taking the plaudits instead. To a degree, this has allowed Ben Arfa to stay out of the limelight – 21,000 FPL managers shipped him out before the United game, while nearly 14,000 have ditched the Frenchman’s services prior to this weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light. What better way to banish his away day blues, however, than to get one over Sunderland this coming Sunday afternoon?
After the Black Cats showdown, Newcastle look primed for investment. The subsequent seven Gameweeks afford Pardew’s men the perfect opportunity to rack up the points and with four potentially prosperous home games (WBA, WHM, SWA, WIG) in addition to a trip to Southampton, Ben Arfa – currently priced at 7.9 in FPL and a mere 6.2 in the Sky Sports game –looks well positioned to be a major Fantasy asset over the next few fixtures as the Magpies look to put the United defeat behind them.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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