Without a goal or an assist in his last seven outings, Fantasy managers could be forgiven for not placing Dimitar Berbatov at the top of their Christmas lists. Joint winner of the Premier League golden boot two seasons ago off the back of just 24 starts, the Bulgarian’s capacity to deliver explosive returns are without question; and whilst last weekend’s flaccid foray to Anfield furnished another chapter to the Cottagers’ sorry season on the road, Berbatov’s Fantasy following may nevertheless discern some appetising crumbs of comfort from their performances at home…
Martin Jol’s men are averaging just under two goals a game in front of their own fans: a ratio only bettered by Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal, and with three of their next four games at Craven Cottage the schedule augurs well for a striker involved in almost half of Fulham’s haul this season. When we take into consideration the imminent invitees the auspices improve further: Southampton arrive on Boxing Day having shipped 20 goals in just seven away ties, and whilst the subsequent visit from Swansea promises to be a more cagey affair – the Swans have still conceded in all but one of their away games since the opening day.
Whilst the New Year’s Day trip to the resolute West Brom will likely furnish a stern test for Martin Jol’s men, its status as the first televised game of 2013 will, at the very, least afford Berbatov’s owners the opportunity to cheer on their charge from the sofa. Bryan Ruiz’s predicted availability, which could even arrive early on Boxing Day against the Saints, should serve as a seasonable succour to the Bulgarian – and with three goals and three assists to show for their five games together so far, Ruiz’s return could well serve as a timely Christmas present for the Bulgarian’s owners.
With rest and rotation biting over the hectic Christmas schedule, security of starts is another factor in favour of a player seemingly blessed with the ability to get his resting done on the pitch. Still backed by over 250,000 Fantasy managers despite his long drought, Berbatov is now available at a January-sales price of just 7.1 in the Fantasy Premier League and 7.5 in the Sky Sports game. In addition, the statistical omens are stacked in Berbatov’s favour – in 11 Premier League matches played between December 26 to December 31, he’s notched no less than 14 goals. Take what you want from that but with Santi Cazorla’s recent 23 point performance at Reading after a string of blanks fresh in the memory, Jol’s languid lieutenant may yet serve up his own salutary reminder that patience is a virtue.