One from the archive. An old article revived and remodelled for 2013 – “This much we know” will combine fact and speculation gathered from the weekend’s action, blended with our dubious opinions, to hand you an extra morsels to chew over when Monday’s lunch bell rings. Today we’re pondering rotation hangovers, old King Cole and the contrasting fortunes in the North-East…
Rafa remains defiant…
Let’s no kid ourselves – we’re in for a rough ride. We can only thank our lucky stars that Rafa Benitez was unable to revive Chelsea’s Champions League fortunes – had he kept them in that particular hat, our situation would have been worse. As it is, following Sunday’s decision to start with Fernando Torres and Rafa’s defiant response to critics post-match (see our Scout Notes ), it’s clear that those who invest in Stamford Bridge pack are buying into agony and frustration further down the road. While Juan Mata looks worthy of all the heartache, it’s questionable whether there’s merit in holding Demba Ba given that, on every third match, the doubts will rear their head.
Joe Cole looks an option…
The spell in France looks to have revived Joe Cole’s appetite, while his talent is clearly still burning bright. Our members can dive into his performance statistics in detail but, suffice to say, Cole’s contribution to the cause against QPR amounted to much more than just a tap-in for the equaliser. At 5.6 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, Cole is far kinder on the budget than Kevin Nolan and, on the evidence of Saturday and based on Nolan’s lengthy goal drought, he’s already looking an interesting option. Three away trips in the next four dampen the enthusiasm somewhat but at least give us time to assess whether Cole can maintain his promising start.
Andy Carroll won’t starve once he’s fit….
The number of balls delivered into the QPR box was quite simply ridiculous. Ryan Nelsen and Clint Hill stood firm with air raid sirens ringing, only to be caught late on. If the Hammers can maintain such relentless delivery from both Matt Jarvis and Cole once Andy Carroll is back fit then surely West Ham are lined up to profit. Sam Allardyce is already purring at the thought of Carroll’s ponytailed bonce getting on the end of such service in an article published this morning. Interestingly, even the much-maligned Marouane Chamkh looked dangerous as a result of the Hammers assault and if Big Sam can make that happen…
Reading are up for the fight…
A late turnaround against the Baggies in Gameweek 22 was bettered by Adam Le Fondre’s salvo on Tyneside on Saturday. From nowhere, the Royals’ chances of clinging to top flight status are revived and suddenly the likes of Newcastle and Villa are left gazing at a trapdoor. With three home games in the next four, Brian McDermott’s side even have a platform to kick-on from their back-to-back wins. Can Fantasy managers get in on the act? Ian Harte looks to have the left-back role nailed on if you fancy defensive investment with a touch of set-piece promise, while Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak look likely routes for those scratching around for the cheapest cuts in midfield and attack.
Newcastle remain in freefall…
We might be biased, with the Senegal striker in the Picks this week, but Papiss Cisse really could have bagged a hat-trick. Adam Federici did his job, however, defying the odds with one flying save from Cisse’s snatched header particularly impressing. Opportunities weren’t taken, then, and despite Yohan Cabaye’s return helping to get creative juices flowing, Newcastle remain in trouble and scratching for points and inspiration. Alan Pardew is fighting to maintain morale, both on the pitch and in the stands and Gameweek 24’s trip to Aston Villa suddenly looks to be a match that could shape the remainder of the season for both teams. Lose that, and Newcastle go into fixtures with Chelsea and Spurs, with Fantasy managers surely circling the likes of Mata and Gareth Bale with confidence that they’ll be the latest to profit from Newcastle’s alarming decline.
The Black Cats have their claws out…
Just to compound the misery at St James’ Park, Martin O’Neill seems to have turned Sunderland’s form on its head. Six goals in two games with Adam Johnson full of trickery and Steven Fletcher looking as deadly as ever. Having looked woefully impotent for goal threat back in October, the Black Cats have started 2013 creating chances, firing goals and climbing the table. With Swansea and Reading up next, suddenly we don’t need a double Gameweek to start taking notice of O’Neill’s attacking assets.
Mata’s fireworks are drowning Bales’s bombs
With Juan Mata and Steven Gerrard seemingly delivering points every Gameweek, Gareth Bale’s failure to profit from Sunday’s clash with United hit harder than ever. Let’s keep a perspective – it was United, hardly a gimme – but the Welshman is displaying a propensity to explode with points rather than keep pace with the more muted, reliable feed supplied by the likes of Gerrard, Mata and perhaps David Silva. Those fielding a five man midfield may well be able to keep patience but, in a 3-4-3 scenario, Bale’s place will start to look a luxury if he comes up short at Norwich and Mata and company maintain their consistency.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
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“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas