After Saturday’s eight fixtures provided us with goals aplenty, yesterday’s final two matches of Gameweek 8 proved something of a let-down from a Fantasy perspective. Two own goals, two red cards and no clean sheets – for many, it was a Sunday to forget…
Newcastle Hold Firm
It’s not been the easiest of starts for Newcastle in terms of injuries. Not once has Alan Pardew had the chance to roll out his first-choice XI this term but with Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Danny Simpson all returning yesterday, and Steven Taylor emerging from the bench late on to continue his recovery, their backline is looking solid ahead of a strong run of fixtures. Mike Williamson was impressive alongside Coloccini in yesterday’s rearguard action and it will be interesting to see if Taylor earns an immediate recall against West Brom in Gameweek 9. That match is the start of a favourable run for the Magpies (WBA, WHM, SWA) over the next four and while the ball-winning abilities of Cheick Tiote will be sorely missed in midfield, Pardew has the similarly tenacious Vurnon Anita as an option alongside Yohan Cabaye in the centre of the park.
Ba Remains Pivotal
An own goal took the shine off his performance but there’s no denying Ba’s importance to Newcastle’s attacking forays. Having supplied the assist for Cabaye’s opener, he has now had a hand in seven of his side’s nine goals so far this season – indeed, Ba has either scored or assisted all of the Magpies’ goals from Gameweek 4 onwards. With Papiss Cisse dropped to the bench for derby day favourite Shola Ameobi, Ba looks the one definite starter up front for Pardew and could well be set to plunder the points over that above-mentioned schedule.
Toothless Black Cats
Martin O’Neill’s side may have only tasted defeat once but their problems up front show little sign of abating. After seven matches, no Sunderland player aside from Steven Fletcher has found the net, with Ba’s unfortunate own goal earning the hosts a draw yesterday. It left O’Neill to bemoan a lack of creativity in his post-match comments…
“Our creative players are just finding it a bit tough at this minute…We just need them to get back to what they’re capable of doing. I’m hoping we can rectify that in the next few weeks.”
As this report reveals, no side in the top five leagues in Europe has recorded fewer goalscoring opportunities than the Black Cats. In terms of FPL points, Fletcher has the same total as Seb Larsson and James McClean combined (43), while Stephane Sessegnon has contributed no more than two bonus points so far – it’s a huge concern for the Wearsiders ahead of a schedule that sees them face three away trips in the next four (stk, eve, ful).
Everton’s Midfield Options Diminish
Over 200,000 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers shipped out Marouane Fellaini ahead of yesterday’s game at Loftus Road, with Steven Pienaar picking up 74,000 transfers in as an Everton midfield alternative but the South African is now sidelined for next week’s Merseyside derby after being dismissed for two yellow card offences. With Fellaini still uncertain of a comeback for the Liverpool match, it leaves David Moyes with a real quandary ahead of next weekend. Thomas Hitzlsperger could come into the reckoning on the left of midfield in Pienaar’s enforced absence, while Victor Anichebe could continue in the support role if Fellaini is indeed ruled out.
Post-match, Moyes revealed that, while he is far from happy with the Pienaar decision, he accepts the South African will now miss out next weekend…
“(It was) A rubbish decision by the referee. He had a poor game all day.I’m really disappointed with it (the sending off) because it probably ruined our chances of going on and trying to get three points. And in the end we had to fight very hard to make sure we got one. We will have to see how we cope with players out through injury or suspension. I thought we coped quite well without Marouane Fellaini, Darron Gibson and Tony Hibbert. So we have to try and get some of these players back and fit now because obviously we’re going to lose Steven Pienaar for our next game. I don’t talk too much about players who aren’t available so we move on.”
The FA have confirmed to us this morning that Everton are not in a position to appeal the decision…
“Clubs cannot appeal against sendings off for Persistent Misconduct offences.”
Toffees Short on Cleanies
Once again, the Everton back line failed to keep a clean sheet – they have now kept out their opponents just once in the last seven Gameweeks. With four home games in the next six (LIV, SUN, NOR, ARS), though, in addition to trips to Fulham and Reading, the fixture list continues to smile kindly on Moyes’ men, affording Leighton Baines and co further opportunity to produce the points as Moyes looks to keep his side in the top four.
Despite a home point, Mark Hughes’ side remain rooted to the bottom of the table. Once again, Hughes’ tinkering is making QPR virtually impossible to consider for Fantasy investment. Yesterday saw two changes to the back-four that started at West Brom last time round – Stephane Mbia replaced Anton Ferdinand at centre-half, while Armand Traore came in for Clint Hill at left-back. Shaun Wright-Phillips dropped to the bench, Samba Diakite was afforded a chance in the centre of a four-man midfield, while Ji-Sung Park moving to the right flank. Junior Hoilett – handed the role in “the hole” behind Bobby Zamora – grabbed a goal in his first start since Gameweek 5 but, just eight matches into the season, only four players have started more than five matches – it’s little wonder the London outfit are struggling for consistency.
Commenting is now closed for this post.
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|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|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|
“We have dynamic players with good movement, so if he can link with them fine. He can play a bit higher because his timing getting into the box is very good.”Rafa Benitez talks up the role that Frank Lampard can play in his Chelsea revolution