Once again, Merseyside pair Marouane Fellaini and Luis Suarez continue to climb in the Watchlist rankings, with their respective form just too good to ignore, in spite of the fact they are both a single caution away from a one-match ban. Dimitar Berbatov and Juan Mata are also on the rise, while four home fixtures in the next five Gameweeks has Sunderland’s defensive assets leap in our estimations…
Despite the clean sheet in the 1-0 win over QPR, we find Stoke’s Asmir Begovic toppled from the top spot when it comes to our long-term planning. The Stoke stopper still has strong form and fixtures to justify acquisition, although with three away trips in five, his prospects take a dip.
Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet is the new target between the sticks. Like Stoke, the Black Cats are basing success on a resolute back four unit, having conceded just 11 goals this term to Stoke’s 10. Sunderland’s fixtures are that bit stronger than Stoke’s, with the allure of a double Gameweek now on the horizon. As a result, Mignolet has four home matches in the next five Gameweeks, making him an obvious leading candidate for those looking to tweak between the sticks.
Tim Krul is your main rotation option with Mignolet given that he offers perfect home and away cover with the Belgian. Newcastle’s back four will receive better protection now that Chieck Tiote is back from his ban, although with Fabricio Coloccini still facing two more matches out, reservations will remain.
QPR’s Julio Cesar is perhaps a better option to partner Mignolet in the short-term; he offers home matches with Southampton this weekend and Aston Villa in Gameweek 15 to coincide with Mignolet’s away trips. The Brazilian also makes a decent acquisition in his own right for those looking for a swap on a budget.
David De Gea is the clear choice for those looking to spend in this position, with his starting role in the United XI seemingly secure for now. It perhaps looks a safer bet to wait for several of the uncertainties to be settled, however. Right now, it’s unclear as to whether Wojciech Szczęsny will make a return to the Gunners goal as number one this weekend, while the Southampton, Liverpool and Reading keeper situation is also in flux due to injuries and absentees. Once they clear, there are likely to be more alternatives available.
Attacking returns and bonus points continue to keep Leighton Baines ticking along to justify his selection at the top of our defender rankings. In truth, the competition isn’t yet fierce enough to threaten him, right now. United’s Rafael keeps pushing to make a claim with continued attacking menace and strong fixtures but, with just one clean sheet in the last seven outings, Sir Alex Ferguson’s back four is just not reliable.
Sunderland’s Carlos Cuellar comes into our thinking as we prepare for the Gameweek 16 double; we don’t expect much from the trip to Craven Cottage this weekend but, after that, returns on four home games in the next five Gameweeks look likely.
Below this there are slim pickings. Newcastle’s back four is wavering without Coloccini, while Robert Huth and Emmerson Boyce are struggling to fetch the attacking returns that warrant the outlay. The budget route continues to look the most favourable with Ryan Nelsen, Kaspar Gorkss, Nathaniel Clyne and Ben Davies all offering regular starts – Villa’s Ciaran Clark could be a decent mid-term punt for those looking for the threat of attacking returns.
Despite the looming threat of a one-match ban, Marouane Fellaini’s ascendency has him claim the Watchlist top spot off the back of outstanding form. The Belgian is currently the biggest bandwagon across the Fantasy games but it’s difficult to question the merits of acquiring a player who has provided more goal threat than all but two strikers in the league this season.
Santi Cazorla slips down the rankings, then, damaged by the emergence of both Theo Walcott and Oliver Giroud as coverage of Arsenal’s attacking potential. Both Juan Mata and Raheem Sterling climb above the Gunners man with form on Mata’s side and fixtures and price boosting Sterling over the coming weeks. Arguably the 17-year-old demands selection over a number of heavy-hitters, given his role up front with Luis Suarez in an improving side with obliging opponents to come.
Antonio Valencia is your highest differential in the rankings – he threatens to overtake a stuttering Gareth Bale given United’s fixtures, although the obvious coverage offered by Robin Van Persie will likely keep Valencia from making our top five this season.
City’s David Silva and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott are other names threatening to break up the template midfields and may tempt some early adopters. Silva is perhaps the most interesting option as he offers an alternative to both Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez to free up a precious slot in our forward line.
There’s no moving Robin Van Persie ahead of his run of incredibly favourable fixtures that will surely promise further heavy returns. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, another on the verge of a one-match ban, is Van Persie’s nearest rival right now, with similarly strong fixtures and form in his favour. Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov completes the top three – while his fixtures are against him, Saturday’s brace at the Emirates proved that Fulham’s attacking verve and the Bulgarian’s class are hard to resist – regardless of opposition. Berbatov’s price surely cements him as the third striker option of choice.
There’s a world of uncertainty below this with Demba Ba stuttering somewhat with just a single goal in five starts, while question marks remain over the potency and security of the City frontline after recent struggles. That keeps both Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez out of our top three, with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud threatening a further climb if he can build on the confidence boosting brace in the 3-3 with Fulham.
Rickie Lambert is revived by strong fixtures in the budget bracket, with Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher also returning to the radar as his double Gameweek approaches.