The Manchester clubs triumph to blaze the trail at the top of the table. Robin Van Persie delivers once again, as Patrice Evra turns provider. Over at the Emirates, Edin Dzeko finds the target once more for City, having missed from the spot. Here’s the Stock Check from Sunday’s two attractions…
On the Up
Having provided the assist for Robin Van Persie’s opener, the Frenchman was awarded the assist for United’s second after his header found the net via a deflection from Nemanja Vidic. He’s now produced four goals and five assists and has climbed to the pinnacle of the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) defender standings – given his form, he looks more than capable of finishing the season as the top scoring defender for the second year running.
Robin Van Persie
The Dutchman grabbed the opener to continue his incredible debut season at Old Trafford. Van Persie demonstrated just why over 72,000 Fantasy managers were willing to pay 14.0+ for his services heading into the weekend – he has now scored or assisted in 17 of his 19 starts for United this term and shows little sign of slowing down in his quest to become the top scoring FPL player once again.
Named as a substitute for today’s match, Sturridge needed just 12 minutes to open his league account for the Reds and propel himself onto Fantasy radars. Climbing off the bench after the break, he was handed the lone forward role, with Luis Suarez dropping deeper, though with Brendan Rodgers admitting the former Chelsea man is not yet 100%, he could continue as a sub as he builds up his match fitness.
Yet again, the Liverpool skipper was amongst the points this afternoon. Gerrard’s assist for Sturridge’s goal was the seventh Gameweek in succession he has produced attacking returns – up to 119 FPL points now, he remains firmly under most radars; an ownership of under 6% highlights his differential appeal.
A tap in today took the Bosnian’s tally to four goals in three starts – it could have been so much sweeter had he converted a first half penalty and if Tevez had taken his one-on-one opportunity later in the game. Dzeko’s start will remain under threat, with Sergio Aguero’s return to fitness giving Roberto Mancini options but his form is surely strong enough to see him retain his place and continue to offer value with a 7.4 FPL price tag.
Having been rested/dropped for the previous two matches, the Serbian returned to the City back four who duly kept their ninth clean sheet of the season. With Vincent Kompany facing a three-match suspension following his red card (pending an appeal), Nastasic now looks well and truly nailed on with Joleon Lescott also presenting an option, although Nastasic is cheaper at 5.6 in the FPL. Kompany’s possible absence will, however, dent their clean sheet potential.
The teenage winger’s game time continues to be reduced by Brendan Rodgers as the Liverpool boss looks to alleviate any worries over fatigue. Hauled off on 61 minutes, Sturridge has managed 90 minutes just once in the last five Gameweeks – he had managed the full match in 14 of the previous 16, by comparison. With Sturridge’s arrival boosting the Reds forward options and Fabio Borini also back from injury, Sterling’s owners will be somewhat concerned by the recent turn of events.
One blank won’t worry his owners ahead of a home clash against Norwich but Suarez’s move to a more withdrawn role upon Sturridge’s introduction confirmed that Rodgers is looking to change his position somewhat when the former Chelsea man is on the park. With winter wildcards being wielded, Sturridge’s price of 7.3 to Suarez’s 10.4 may persuade some to take a punt on the former Chelsea man as their Liverpool attacker of choice.
A straight red for dangerous foul play will see the City skipper serve a three-match ban, missing league matches with Fulham, QPR and the FA Cup tie with Palace. Roberto Mancini indicated post-match that he intends to push for an appeal against the dismissal, although this will risk a further one-match ban which would put his start against Liverpool on February 3 at risk. City recently decided against appealing the red card received by Samir Nasri at Norwich.
Mertesacker’s owners will now be wary having seen their man start today’s match on the bench. The German missed two matches through illness recently but this is the first time that Arsene Wenger has appeared to prefer the Vermaelen/Koscielny partnership in the centre of his defence.
The Spaniard’s ownership will benefit from double Gameweek investment ahead of matches with Chelsea and West Ham but Cazorla has now returned just a single assist in four league outings. With Theo Walcott outscoring him since the playmaker’s devastating hat-trick at Reading, the winger turned striker is continuing to look the more favoured option. Today was not the best scenario to judge Cazorla’s form but, clearly, his Fantasy stock is dipping as a result of his recent returns and Walcott’s potential.
Arsenal’s other Spanish midfielder missed today’s encounter through injury. Arsene Wenger stating post-match that he expects the calf strain sustained in training to keep Artea sidelined for three weeks.