Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all rack up double figure returns as City hammer Villa. Luis Suarez bags a double as Liverpool sweep aside Wigan, Arsenal produce points aplenty in the north London derby, Michu is amongst the goals again, Norwich register a fourth clean sheet in five, while Southampton secure a vital win at QPR:
Silva Provides the City Spark
With just five goals in the previous four Gameweeks, City’s attack had been far from convincing in recent matches but the return of David Silva has clearly boosted the champions’ attacking potential. Having provided the assist for Edin Dzeko’s late winner against Spurs last weekend, the Spaniard picked up where he left off with a scintillating display in a 5-0 thrashing of Villa. Two assists and a goal helped the playmaker to a pre-bonus haul of 14 points and an ownership of just 5.1% is indicative of his worth as a differential this weekend. Undoubtedly, the transfers in will now snowball but with a testing trip to Real Madrid in midweek followed by games against Chelsea, Everton and United in the next four, City’s schedule is far from straightforward. For those Fantasy managers without the services of Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero, however, a fit-again Silva looks a strong route into Roberto Mancini’s attacking options.
Tevez Back in Form
With a single goal in his previous nine, he was sold by almost 63,000 Fantasy managers ahead of yesterday’s home clash with Villa, but Carlos Tevez served a reminder of his capabilities with a brace and pair of assists earning him 16 FPL points – his highest haul of the season, pre-bonus. Clearly, he remains in the driving seat for starts up top for City – he has now featured in the first XI in 11 of the opening 12 Gameweeks and with no international duties to scupper his game time, Tevez’s appeal looks set to take a boost now that Silva is back pulling the strings. Sergio Aguero grabbed his first double figure haul of the season with a double against Villa, though he was kept firmly in the shadow by the exploits of Tevez and Silva. Hauled off on 68 minutes with the points in the bag, Aguero is a sure starter against Jose Mourinho’s side in midweek – Tevez, on the other hand, played the full 90 and could well be rested against Real, keeping him fresh for next Sunday’s trip to the Bridge. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of yesterday’s haul was the fact that Tevez, with 38.9% ownership, is the second most popular player in the game. While many active Fantasy managers will have kept hold of the Argentine due to his consistency of starts, plenty “ghost ship” teams will be sailing up the rankings on the back of his Etihad haul.
Competition for Cazorla
Finally, Santi Cazorla produced the goods at the Emirates when it mattered most. Having provided a single assist in his first five home games, the summer signing chose the visit of Spurs to rack up his first double figure points haul in front of his own fans, with a goal and assist in yesterday’s 5-2 rout of their north London rivals. With strong form and a very set of favourable fixtures on the horizon, Cazorla owners may be more than content to hold, though there are clearly other alternatives on offer right now. Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud all picked up attacking returns for the second consecutive Gameweek, with Giroud vindicating the impressive displays highlighted in last week’s Monitor article with another goal extending his recent streak of four in three games in all competitions. Walcott’s return to the first-team last weekend has proved key in turning around his side’s attacking fortunes – the Gunners have notched eight in the last two Gameweeks, compared to a mere seven goals in the previous six matches without the winger in their ranks.
Drafted in by over 145,000 FPL managers ahead of yesterday’s match, the Uruguayan produced the goods for Liverpool yet again as he soared to the top of the scoring charts with a double in a 3-0 home win. His remarkable consistency means he has produced attacking returns in six of his last seven; the Reds are unbeaten in that run of games as the influence of Brendan Rodgers sees them climb up the table after a miserable start. Suarez has now played a part in 13 of his side’s 17 goals, with 10 goals and a trio of assists summing up just what a talisman he has become under the new regime. Rodgers’ tactics are clearly designed to get the best out of the Uruguayan and with a strong set of fixtures to follow, significant investment can be expected once again as Suarez goes from strength to strength on Merseyside. His owners will be a little apprehensive after reports of an alleged stamp on Dave Jones were backed up by Roberto Martinez, though the Wigan boss confirmed he has not reported the incident to the referee.
Sterling a Cut Price Contender
Having produced attacking points in one of his last five appearances, the teenage winger had disappointed in recent weeks but a return to form earned him a pair of assists in yesterday’s win over Wigan. Sterling is now up to 44 FPL points pre-bonus, only seven less than Steven Gerrard; bearing in mind he started the season at 5.0 cheaper than his skipper, Sterling’s cut-price appeal has justified our faith as a cheap fifth midfielder. Now up to 5.3 from 4.5 in FPL, Sterling has now started the last 11 for Rodgers’ side and continues to look a bargain.
Yesterday’s 3-0 triumph continued Liverpool’s impressive defensive displays in front of their own fans. Their last four at Anfield has harvested three clean sheets and with just a single goal conceded, investment in their defensive options looks a tactic worth considering. We highlighted Jose Enrique’s potential in this week’s differentials piece and he more than delivered – handed a role in the front three, the Spaniard grabbed a goal and assist, in addition to a clean sheet, for a 15 point FPL return. If he nails down the out of position role, Enrique could be set for significant investment, while Andre Wisdom offers a cheaper option at the back. The 4.5 priced defender kept his role at right-back, with Glen Johnson on the opposite flank, and has now started the last seven.
Hazard Back in the Goals
The Belgian remains the most popular player in the FPL game, despite a recent run of relatively below-par performances. With Juan Mata handed no more than a late second-half sub role after a long-haul flight back from Panama with Spain, Hazard bagged the Blues’ only goal to return seven points and maintain his ranking as the top scoring FPL midfielder so far. Worryingly for Roberto Di Matteo, though, the goals seem to be drying up of late – Chelsea have now notched just once in each of their last three, having previously presented us with a potent source of attacking returns.
With just two points in the past four Gameweeks, Di Matteo hinted at tightening up his tactics ahead of crucial games against Juventus and City in the next week:
“We have been playing a little bit different this season and we might have to go a little bit back to win games, to make sure we don’t concede and still have good combinations to score goals. Maybe it is the time when we might have to change in terms of our selection and the way we play, looking at the set-up of the team and sacrifice a little bit the attacking options to go a bit more defensive. We had a lot of joy with the way we have been playing and long-term that is the way we want to go but we need a couple of positive result to get our confidence high again and then move on.”
Michu Back in “the hole”
A hamstring injury to Ki Sung-Yeung saw Jonathan de Guzman drop out of “the hole” and into central midfield, while Michu moved from the lone forward berth to provide support for Itay Schechter up front. Despite their more withdrawn roles, both de Guzman and Michu found the net as Swansea clinched victory at Newcastle – their first away win since Gameweek 1. Michu had failed to notch since Gameweek 8 but his return to scoring form is likely to earn him further investment, with three home games (LIV, WBA, NOR) in the next four.
A 1-0 win over United continued Norwich’s remarkable defensive turnaround under Chris Hughton. The Canaries managed just three clean sheets over the entire 2011/12 campaign under Paul Lambert but, after a shaky opening few fixtures, their resilience over the last few Gameweeks is second to none. Unbeaten in five, they have produced four clean sheets in the last five fixtures, with a total of five to their name already – having kept out the likes of Arsenal and United over that run, Norwich’s cut-price assets look a real option, with so few of the heavy-hitters managing to replicate their returns at the back.
Newcastle Out of Sorts
Alan Pardew’s side were once again hit hard by injuries and suspension and despite a strong run of fixtures, have been unable to produce the returns many had anticipated. Yesterday saw the Magpies without four of their first-team regulars for one reason or another, with Fabricio Coloccini, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and Papiss Cisse all unavailable for the visit of Swansea. While Demba Ba served up another goal for his Fantasy owners to take his tally for the season to eight, Hatem Ben Arfa produced yet another blank and has a single assist in seven, while the Newcastle defence once again failed their Fantasy owners. A backline that produced 15 clean sheets in the previous campaign now has just one in their first 12 fixtures and the Magpies boss admitted his side are suffering right now:
“We had a young side out with a lot of experienced players missing, and we had a real good application to the game, a good shape to us and were putting good pressure on them. We created numerous chances but just couldn’t get the goal, and I felt if we scored the goal then we would have been in a great position. Unfortunately they scored, and the period after that is where we lost a bit of confidence and shape. You would expect that from a young side and with what happened last week. I have no complaints about the performances today, but we need our best players and we have to try and bring them back.”
Saints on the Up
Nigel Adkins’ side added to last week’s point against Swansea with a vital win at QPR – an unbeaten run of two matches is their longest so far. Rickie Lambert was amongst the goals for the first time since Gameweek 5 and also picked up an assist last weekend and offers a decent cut-price forward option ahead of a run of fixtures that sees Southampton play four of their next five at St Mary’s, albeit with a blank Gameweek 17 on their agenda. While Lambert is likely to be the focus of Fantasy attention, Jason Puncheon is an intriguing proposition. Priced at 4.4 in FPL, he has now started the last two and grabbed a goal and assist yesterday – post-match, he was the subject of Adkins’ praise:
“He’s been working hard. He’s had a good pre-season and again it’s about that consistency. Throughout the game, we’re not going to highlight individuals, but he’s scored a great goal and could have scored three or four more.”
Fellaini Falls off the Tightrope
For a number of weeks, Marouane Fellaini has had a one-match ban hanging over his head – yesterday, he finally picked up his fifth caution of the season and falls foul of the FA’s disciplinary measures. With four yellows in the league and one picked up in the Capital One Cup, the Belgian will now miss next weekend’s home clash against Norwich as the Toffees look to bounce back from a surprise defeat at Reading. Fellaini was in the points once again yesterday, providing an assist for Steven Naismith’s goal, and has now picked up attacking returns in each of his last four since returning from a brief knee problem. With Arsenal, City and Spurs to follow, many are mulling over a transfer out but, with four lots of double figure returns and 72 points to his name, selling on the giant Belgian could well prove a risky move.