As anticipated, Saturday’s returns were pretty miserable. Arsenal and Santi Cazorla stuttered again, while Fulham and Readng hogged the goals and assists on show. Here’s the Stock Check on the events so far…
On the Up
Having failed to notch in the favourable home fixture with Villa, there was some fidgeting amongst the Bulgarian’s Fantasy owners but Berbatov didn’t take long to get back on track and confirm his quality as a mid-price acquisition. His goal at Reading was his third in four starts and Fulham have now scored nine goals in their five away games this season. Martin Jol revealed post-match that Berbatov played on with a broken rib after undergoing a painkilling injection at the break. It remains to be seen if this makes him a doubt for next weekend.
Back-to-back goals for Baird have suddenly raised his profile and with Martin Jol choosing to drop Steve Sidwell to the bench to keep him in a midfield role, his stock took a dramatic jump. Baird is available as a defender in both the FPL (4.4) and the Sky Sports game (5.0) and will attract inevitable interest following his recent points hauls. However, there are still question marks about his long-term security, while Fulham’s fixtures are far from favourable with perhaps few clean sheets on the horizon. Baird also picked up a knock late on and was replaced.
A fifth assist of the season for Mikele Leigertwood’s fine strike for Reading’s opener: the former Palace man is proving to be a rich source of points in the budget bracket. His FPL price may have dropped to 5.1 but, along with Wayne Routledge, Mark Noble and Raheem Sterling, the Reading man offers a decent fifth midfielder option over Reading’s forthcoming run of favourable fixtures.
Adam Federici returned to fitness but failed to dislodge McCarthy in the Royals’ goal. That would suggest that Brian McDermott has decided on his number one, at least until McCarthy slips up. At 4.0 in the FPL, he is the only keeper currently getting starts in that price bracket.
The Belgian justified his start ahead of Darren Bent by calmly notching his first Premier League goal to open the scoring in the Gameweek. Benteke was later replaced by Bent on 69 minutes, indication that we can’t yet rely on his security of starts or pitch time. He is showing promise, however, which, in this Villa side, is a novelty.
The mercurial midfielder earned an instant recall to the starting lineup having proved his fitness over the past weeks. Regular starts look assured from this point on and Fantasy managers must assess Wilshere’s role in Arsene Wenger’s lineup before considering whether he offers coverage and potential for his 6.4 FPL price tag. The impact on Santi Cazorla’s role is also a key factor that will require monitoring.
Like Wilshere, Sagna was immediately restored to the starting lineup on his return to fitness, ousting the unfortunate Carl Jenkinson to the bench. The Frenchman is available as a 5.4 FPL option in the Gunners defence, hardly a straight replacement for the popular Jenkinson, but an option nonetheless.
We knew it was coming but Jenkinson’s owners will have hoped to get one more home match out of the promising full-back; it wasn’t to be. The return of Sagna now looks set to reduce Jenkinson to a bit part player and his huge ownership in both the FPL and Sky Sports games will now have to think again. Heavy sales in the next fortnight will be expected as the reality sinks in.
The Ivorian has featured here just a fortnight ago and his stock took another drop today as Arsene Wenger restored Olivier Girioud up front and added Wilshere to his midfield. That saw Ramsey shift wide right and with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also options in that area, Gervinho is basically caught in a world of rotation. His day was compounded by a late appearance from the bench, which led to him picking up an injury and being replaced within minutes.
The Spaniard was heavily backed, topping our captain poll and was nestled in the Scout Picks but failed to return for the second consecutive outing. To rub salt into the gaping wound, Cazorla missed a second-half sitter as the Gunners again struggled to break down the opponents in front of them. A show of petulance from Stephane Mbia and a scrambled goal from Mikel Arteta saved the Gunners but concerns on their form and Cazorla’s output continue to mount.
The former Portsmouth man offered such good value in the Stoke defence but suffered a knee injury early in the second-half to deny his owners returns and hand them an anxious wait on his prognosis. The early reports weren’t favourable with the suggestion of a broken fibula – Wilson could well be lost to us as an option, just as Stoke enter a promising run of fixtures.
The West Ham Defence
So profitable in the early stages of the season, Sam Allardyce will be seething at conceding twice at Wigan. His side are now without a clean sheet in five and, with the fixture list turning against them, confidence in their budget offerings are diminishing.
The Benin international has been blighted by a miserable season having notched 7 goals and 12 assist last term. Today, Sessegnon suffered the indignity of being dropped to the bench for the visit to Stoke. With Phil Bardsley set to return to right-back to push Craig Gardner forward, Sessegnon is no longer assured a start up in support of Steven Fletcher.
Sunderland continue to struggle for a cutting edge – today’s blank at the Britannia means that Martin O’Neill’s side have mustered just four goals in their last six. Fletcher will take opportunities but the concern was always that he would never be able to maintain his incredible early strike rate. With chances now limited, the Scot has gone three without a return and his 10% ownership will be banking on the home clash with Villa in Gameweek 10. Draw a blank there and we are likely to see a marked decline in ownership – particularly if Berbatov continues to flourish in the same bracket.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
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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