January
28

This Much We Know – FA Cup Weekend

Filed under: Scout Notes - Posted by: Mark

A Belgian dropping deep, a Frenchman in bloom, a scrapping Spaniard, an Englishman restrained and a rotating Royals roster occupy our Monday lunchtime thoughts as a result of the weekend’s Cup events…

Marouane Fellaini’s role is suddenly a concern…
With Nikica Jelavic struggling for goals, you would have thought that David Moyes would opt to keep the Belgian up top to maintain his brand of havoc but, it seems, there are changes afoot at Goodison. The form of Victor Anichebe and the brief return to fitness of Kevin Miralles has suddenly see Fellaini dropped back to a deeper central midfield role to help fill the void left by Darron Gibson’s absence. With Phil Neville required at right-back in light of injuries to Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman, that could continue for Everton’s next two home fixtures – against West Brom and Villa – matches that looked set to be profitable for the 8-goal marauding midfielder. Johnny Heintinga’s winner at Bolton could yet see him rewarded with a recall and that might just shift Neville back to midfield to unleash Fellaini on the Baggies but with form also a slight concern, the Belgian’s stock is looking more vulnerable. A seventh booking of the season hardly helped his cause, either.

Oliver Giroud is looking a prospect….
His first strike at the Amex Stadium on Saturday demonstrated the calm confidence of a striker in bloom; his touch and finish for the second underlined it further. Giroud has struck four goals in his last couple of appearances and suddenly a potential Fantasy target is emerging. While Theo Walcott continues to look a near-on essential midfield purchase, Giroud has the form to overshadow the recent emergence of Lukas Podolski and put himself in the shop window as a 7.8 option in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game. Giroud looks certain to be given a run at the Liverpool defence on Wednesday – return in that one and interest in the Frenchman will pick up pace.

Spot-kicks are up for grabs at Old Trafford…
With Rooney on the pitch, it was left to the silver fox, Ryan Giggs, to fire home United’s opener against Fulham from the spot. The Welshman is unlikely to be present to convert such opportunities for the visit of Southampton in midweek: the presumption is that Robin Van Persie will now be free to bolster his season goal tally from this point on with penalty kicks. It remains to be seen if Sir Alex is true to his word and hands duties back to Rooney but, without the opportunity to score from the spot and with Rooney continuing to be used behind Van Persie and even in midfield or out wide, we could now see the points gap between United’s two heavy-hitting forwards widen further.

Reading’s second string are an annoyance…
With Premier League survival the priority, Brian McDermott mixed his lineup for the visit of Sheffield United, only to see his second string put in a superb shift in the 4-0 win. This is badly timed for Fantasy managers who were beginning to gain confidence in the likes of Jimmy Kebe, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Ian Harte as budget options across the positions off the back of consecutive league wins. All three were omitted from Saturday’s lineup and may now face a battle to reinstate themselves for the visit of Chelsea on Wednesday. Certainly McDermott gained confidence in his squad as a result of Saturday’s cup showing, dabbling with a 4-4-2 once again having stuck with a successful 4-5-1 in recent matches – that will only promote the idea that he can afford to rotate in various positions for the crucial run-in. Do we not like that.

Torres still has some fight in him…
A sweetly struck equaliser kept Chelsea’s FA Cup ambitions alive and offered a reminder that Fernando Torres is not going to relinquish the role of Chelsea first choice striker without a fight. Demba Ba’s introduction from the bench provided a spark for Rafa’s men at Griffin Park but the sight of the Senegal striker handed a role on the left flank will have caused some concern for Fantasy managers and Ba alike. It would seem likely that Torres will be rested to make way for Ba’s start at Reading on Wednesday but, with a weekend trip to Newcastle and the replay with Brentford to follow, the doubts over Rafa’s selection up front will continue: should Torres find form, it will only cloud the issue further.

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“Mark created the beast. He's now looking to tame it.”

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  1. Bale or Walcott next 4 weeks?? Bale easier opponents but 3 away games vs 3 home games for Walcott

    • 1 year, 10 months ago

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