Having ran the rule over Arsenal ahead of the upcoming double Gameweek 23, we turn our attentions to West Ham as Sam Allardyce’s side prepare to welcome QPR to Upton Park before making their way to the Emirates the following Wednesday evening.
It’s also worth considering that, with clashes against Fulham, Swansea and Villa following their double, the Hammers’ short-term schedule is relatively kind, suggesting any acquisitions could be kept beyond for the next few matches until the fixtures stiffen again in Gameweek 27.
It’s fair to say the Hammers haven’t been in the best of form as we edge closer to the weekend deadline. Two wins in their last 10, with a single clean and 10 goals scored over that run hardly inspires confidence in Fantasy managers looking to invest in Allardyce’s main men. The visit of Harry Redknapp’s side looks the likeliest to provide us with a source of returns – the Hammers have picked up 18 of their 26 points at Upton Park and have notched twice against Liverpool and three times against Chelsea in recent matches. While QPR have impressed with back-to-back clean sheets in their last two, the Hammers will be confident of a clean sheet, bearing in mind their visitors have scored twice in the previous five.
On their travels, it’s been a disappointing story. Allardyce’s side have mustered a mere five goals in 10 road trips, though their 3-0 defeat at Sunderland last Saturday doesn’t reflect their resilient defensive displays away from Upton Park – they have conceded more than a single goal just four times. Arsenal have scored five or more on three occasions at the Emirates already, though, highlighting just why the likes of Theo Walcott has been drafted in by significant numbers ahead of the double.
The Likely Lads
Jussi Jaaskelainen is the Hammers’ top scoring FPL player this term with 80 points under his belt so far. A spate of recent injuries haven’t helped his chances of picking up a clean sheet, though; James Collins suffered a hamstring tear at the weekend, George McCartney is sidelined with a knee injury, while doubts remain over Joey O’Brien’s availability – if Allardyce’s side concede, the 5.3 priced stopper could have extra save points to boost his prospects.
Coming in at just 4.0, Guy Demel’s game time is benefitting from the injuries at the back. The Ivorian’s starting berth seems secure right now and is likely to appeal as a cut-price prospect, though it’s worth noting that Hammers chairman David Gold took to twitter to reveal O’Brien could be back in time for the QPR match – certainly, he offers greater potential of attacking returns than Demel, with a couple of goals, a pair of assists and eight bonus points accrued so far. At 4.5, his chances of recovery will be keenly monitored by Fantasy managers.
Top scorer for the London club with five goals to his name, Kevin Nolan has been off-form in recent weeks. The skipper notched in four of his first five home games but has now scored just once from Gameweek 9 onwards – hardly an inspiring statistic but at 6.5, over 8,000 have already snapped him up.
Mark Noble’s spot-kick duties and share of set-pieces has helped him rack up 69 points – only 10 less than Nolan. The 5.0 priced Noble missed the trip to Sunderland after picking up a “slight calf problem” ahead of the weekend but is expected to return – Noble has scored in two of his last three at home and could be worth considering as a budget option should he be passed fit; indeed, Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Old Trafford may give us an early indication on his availability.
Carlton Cole finds his way into our consideration almost by default. The 4.9 priced forward has scored in two of his four home starts since deputising for the injured Andy Carroll and has now been named in the first XI for the last seven Gameweeks. Carroll is edging towards fitness, though, and while Allardyce admitted last Friday he expected him to be back in a fortnight’s time, an injury update on Tuesday revealed he was “still waiting” on the on-loan forward’s return. Marouane Chamakh climbed off the bench to make his debut at the Stadium of Light, though he is unavailable for the Arsenal game due to the conditions of his loan deal, while new boy Wellington Paulista also comes into the equation – although he can play through the middle, his versatility means he could be handed a wide role if Allardyce chooses to field him. Paulista has yet to be added to the FPL game.
A pair of assists in his second debut for the Hammers brings Joe Cole onto Fantasy radars. The 5.6 priced midfielder supplied the crosses for each of James Collins’ goals in the 2-2 FA Cup draw with United and has started both games since moving back to the club earlier this month. Over 5,000 FPL managers have drafted him in for the double so far – he edged Ricardo Vaz Te onto the bench against the Black Cats, dimming the appeal of the Portuguese man as a forward alternative.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby