In a frantic Friday packed full of articles, we finally see out the day with our pre-weekend regular. As always, we roll out three overlooked alternatives ahead of tomorrow morning’s deadline for your perusal…
Having racked up four goals and 14 assists over 2,124 minutes in the previous campaign, the United winger had proven to be a constant source of Fantasy points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. The Red Devils’ summer acquisition of Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa and Robin Van Persie from Arsenal shifted the spotlight away from the former Wigan man, though, and with Wayne Rooney also in the mix, Valencia has been shifted to the periphery of our Fantasy thinking.
To an extent, it’s understandable. While the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Santi Cazorla dominate the heavyweight attention with eye-catching displays aplenty, Valencia’s highest haul has been just five points. In a campaign already hampered by ankle and foot injuries, the winger has returned to form and fitness and is again hinting at the consistency which served his Fantasy owners so well last time round – Valencia has now provided an assist in each of his last four starts and could well be set to torment Arsenal’s stand-in left-back Andre Santos in tomorrow’s lunchtime kick-off.
Priced at 8.6 in FPL and 7.9 in the Sky Sports game, Valencia has an ownership of just 2.7% in the former game and with a strong run of fixtures to follow, looks an enticing differential route into a United side that have already racked up 24 goals, more than any side so far.
A hat-trick and a trio of assists in Arsenal’s extraordinary midweek Capital One Cup comeback win at Reading highlighted Walcott’s current form. Having failed to start a single league match since Gameweek 1, he’s been something of an outcast this term but with Gervinho sidelined due to an ankle injury, tomorrow’s encounter at Old Trafford looks likely to hand him a chance to return to the Gunners first XI.
Much has been made over his desire to nail down a central role but Walcott may have to settle for a berth on the right flank, with Aaron Ramsey the man likely to make way now that Jack Wilshere is back to partner Mikel Arteta in the centre. Given the comparative form of Olivier Giroud, though, Wenger may well be tempted to shift Walcott centrally if things aren’t going his side’s way tomorrow and with a home clash against Fulham to follow, he also offers the potential for points next week, too. Priced at 8.7 in FPL and 7.5 in the Sky Sports game, and with an ownership of just 1.2% in FPL, many will be hoping Walcott can return to the form that harvested 169 FPL points in the season gone by.
There’s no question the season started poorly for the Republic of Ireland international. Paul Lambert’s departure to Villa afforded Chris Hughton the chance to take the Carrow Road reins and with the new boss undecided over his best starting XI, Hoolahan cut a peripheral figure, with a mere 14 minutes game time over Norwich’s first four league fixtures.
Since Gameweek 5, though, the playmaker has started four of the last five and has played every minute from Gameweek 7 onwards. As confidence begins to grow, a 1-0 home win over Arsenal was followed by a draw at Lambert’s new club Villa, with Hoolahan a key figure in last weekend’s match –he provided the assist for Michael Turner’s equaliser and resultantly picking up two bonus points.
Tucked in behind Grant Holt in Hughton’s now-default 4-4-1-1, his creativity is clearly crucial to the Canaries chances as Hughton looks to build on the back of the midweek Capital One Cup win over Spurs. Up against a Stoke side that have managed a single clean sheet in their five away games, and with a trip to Reading to follow next weekend, Hoolahan – coming in at 5.5 in FPL and 6.8 in the Sky Sports game and with an ownership of 0.3% in both games, offers a real mid-price midfield punt ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.